The Tomato, the Time and the Tube

A ripe tomato wobbles on my plate – I pierce it
with a fork, it sprays my eye so I smear
the rest of the mess around, covering the plate
in gunk and seeds, like a greasy, pimply
face – the wrinkled red peel seems to moan like a mouth.

They put up the clocks at my workplace today,
one each for five different time-zones –
I look up from the shimmering spreadsheet
to their white faces, yet to be set – their tick-tock
means nothing, the office hums, someone sneezes (very small or far away),
God bless them, the hands move, a phone rings.

Bodies surround me, I half close my eyes,
inhale the heat and let the rattling send me into bellies
and rosy breasts, then clutch tight to the pink pole
which vibrates in my hand, smile at a stranger’s pale face
feel the closeness of hot skin, the murmur and breathing of women.

Deborah Kolesar - TomatoTimeTube_DebK_HiResPoet: Sean Robinson
Illustrated by Deborah Kolesar

This poem was Commended for the Poems Please Me Prize 201. Another of Sean’s poems was shortlisted. See ‘Underground Lines’.

Sean is a poet, filmmaker and economist who lives and works in London. Explore his poetry at; follow him on Twitter @seanmrobinson Follow @seanmrobinson

See other illustrations of this and all winning and commended poems in our eBook Red on Bone