After dropping in a second fizz of Alka-Seltzer,
I hold the glass to the kitchen’s fluorescent tube
and ask myself why on earth I carry on with this
in our age of mentalists, reality shows and rolling news.

The magic’s gone. A puff of smoke: the primetime slots,
the hairspray, the sold-out nights at the Albert Hall,
assistants with high-cut legs and spangled jackets,
and one last bow to the minor royal in the Royal Box.

From here on in, it’s gigs that smell of squash and biscuits,
and mornings with eyes a shade of Hammer-Horror-red.
One of these days I’ll shave the ‘tache, ditch the wig,
and write my resignation to the Circle in invisible ink,

then run a finger along the guillotine’s razor edge,
push a hand through the air beyond to demonstrate
the honesty of the trick (one last time, for old time’s sake),
before lying down beneath that fucking blade.

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