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Technical Difficulties…

(Copying and pasting this gets rid of some of the formatting which kind of takes away from the poem a little…)

Two Deaths

 

Two months.

one s l o o o o o w

one sudden.

(cancer, emotional brain)

 

Doctor fitting a catheter in the next room,

while we conjure up

cheerful conversation to drown out

SCREAMING

 

tea goes c o l d.

 

—Musician sings: you raise me up

as the body is

 

lowered          

 

The procession crumbles and quivers

with spasmodic tears and suffocating hugs from strangers

as the soil is dusted, sprinkled like manure

over the ornate wooden box

 

5 red roses and a pink one

(for the baby)

 

a subtle scent of flowers, febreze and flesh wounds

—the night nurse makes a call

to witness those final, tentative exhalations

 

(hoovered cheekbones and mannequin eyes)

 

undertakers struggle to manoeuvre

coffin through the narrow hallway;

like moving a piano down

curving flights of stairs

—he was tall.

 

Hospital bed deflated, dismantled,

ready for its next temporary user.

 

a wheelchair and a paper trail

date of birth, social security number,

bank statements without a f a c e…

 

—a tin of paint and everything will be fine.

 

 

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(Work in progress/unfinished)

Christmas List Thursday 15th Nov 2012

While composing neurotic ‘Christmas List’ for a month’s time (the month when love gains currency in increments of ten, twenty, fifty)

a name is missing

I remember your name, I haven’t forgotten; but for a moment I had and it killed me; made me wonder who I am and is this different to before: where did revelation go I am no robot.

‘Nanny’, also known as

Elizabeth Thomson, cackly laugh, bigot in her younger days when it was ok, the troubled times of which I know nothing and can’t comment on how evil or not she was. She also played the dreaded role of mother-in-law so stories of her tinted with this.

(Nanny you are multitudes, I can’t imagine you like this when your worst vice was hiding Werther’s Originals down the back of the sofa)

(We are all multitudes, hatred should not be possible because our evil is never final)

While writing this now straining the tears back. The tears not only of death but of sorrow of the world, at the terrible cycles of the universe, the cycle of having to die, that everyone has to die and there is no loophole — it’s not paying taxes.

Some more attributes of you, Nanny, although there is so much more to you than this and I can never know, and there is more to me too than this scribing, more than the other aspects I identify myself with, we are more than human in that we are only human. Here they are for you and I hope you find my memories in line with yours, wherever you are:

Wearer of slippers with furry rim and always those beige, skin-colored tights because even while sitting on your ‘press a button, get me up’ chair watching TV with infrequent visits you always dressed well, wore suit trousers and knitted Marks and Spencer jumpers; you had pride in yourself, maybe this is a generational thing, the old forgotten age of mending holes in jumpers instead of buying new ones.

Teller of gramophone-broken-tales: this is an oft-made comment about grandmothers but it’s true, you were lucid and yet your mind was weighed down with memories which circled round, you had to express them to take the weight off. It’s not about being so dull and having such an uneventful life that you have to look to the past, it’s more that you were taking account and willing yourself to remember the good things, the days with Poppy. This I understand now.

And those last days in the hospital that last time we saw you, you knew you were going to die, you knew, your glassy eyes said it, your crepe-paper enveloped eyes were creased with sorrow, and we knew that you knew and there was a connection of sorrow in the eyes. But also an immense guilt about leaving you there,

leaving you

because we had to catch a very unimportant train.

Celebrations

 

An iced-lemon birthday cake

decorated with brown swirling letters.

You offered me a slice, but it was yours.

I would have none tonight—

no use in isolated celebrations of the sun

revolving round the earth once more.

 

It revolves:  we evolve

Not Darwin, just compromise.

We change our delights to delight others

Left with a faded memory of the self,

like unholy grains of sand pouring through our fingers.

 

I met you in a dream the other night.

You stood at the gateway of another world,

the sky a fusion of crimson reds, startling pinks and

ethereal  violets.

I stood, watching from a creaking doorway

in a hue of sleepy greens and blues.

 

I woke to find you sleeping beside me,

recording haunted poetry behind your eyelids.

Stroking your cheek with delicate hands,

I remembered how and why we got here.

 

Our love flutters and stutters like a butterfly

—or maybe a homing pigeon.

It flies to different spaces only to return,

remembering its place of origin.

 

An American Dream: A Review

I am currently reading Norman Mailer’s An American Dream. Mailer is a brilliant writer; none can dispute that. My problem with him is that he is difficult to read. He writes a novel as if he were writing an academic thesis; his target audience appears to be scholars and literary critics. I cannot imagine a casual reader enjoying Mailer, as his books are a real effort. Let me explain: his sentences are unnecessarily long and verbose, and he clearly favours a comma over a full stop. Maybe his editors are to blame, but I read a lot of books, I read pretty fast and I am not grammatically challenged. However, each page is taking me forever to read because I have to keep retracing paragraphs and reminding myself of what just happened. I’m not saying Mailer should dumb himself down; if anything, our fast-food culture could benefit from the increased literary production of ‘difficult’ books instead of the countless celebrity autobiographies on display in book shops.  Nor am I saying that I am not enjoying the book. I just think that Mailer could be a little clearer and more concise in some areas, especially in the beginning when the main character Rojack is reminiscing about the war. However, aside from all that, An American Dream (so far) is an intriguing book. Rojack is an incredibly complex character; so complex, in fact, that I can’t decide whether I like him or not. He clearly has a deep and consuming hatred of women, most evident in his relationship with Deborah. It would not be an unforgivable sin to accuse Mailer of misogyny, as his imagery depicting women is crude and offensive; particularly when Rojack calls Ruta a Nazi and many other profanities during their sexual encounter in Deborah’s apartment. As well as this, Deborah, Rojack’s ex-wife, is portrayed as an absolute bitch who has done everything in her power to break down her husband’s spirit and confidence throughout their years of marriage. Mailer has a severe Oedipus complex, it seems, evident in the subtle allusions to motherhood scattered throughout. There is little wonder why this book was so controversial when it was first published: the scenes with Rojack and Ruta, Deborah’s maid, are sexually explicit to such an extent that I would feel like a teenage boy being caught masturbating if anyone caught me reading it. It is definitely a guilty pleasure; the kind that I have only ever experienced with one other book: Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir. All in all, if you can put Mailer’s intellectual elitism aside and don’t mind books which really exercise your brain (if you were a computer, you would be using alot of processing power), then An American Dream might just be the book you need to read.

Twin Peaks mania

 

After watching Season One and Two of Twin Peaks again, I just can’t get it out of my mind. Oh, Cooper, Cooper, what happened? I thought your empathy and Buddhist sensibilities would save you from the power of Bob, but no. Those last haunting lines ‘I need to brush my teeth’; declared so robotically, so mechanically. It was clear something horrible had gone down in the ol’ Black Lodge. Those flashing images of Bob and Cooper’s shadow self grimacing and laughing menacingly are etched onto my brain surface forever…well for a few weeks anyhow. It could quite possibly be the best piece of media I’ve ever set my eyes on…but let’s not get all ‘Top Ten turds’, ‘The 100 Greatest B-movies’, Empire-style list maniacal, eh? No, it is just something to be enjoyed, appreciated and interpreted as one see’s fit; it deserves nothing less. Let’s all raise our Surrealist, upside down, melted glasses to one David Lynch. Cheers, and don’t do anything Josie Packard wouldn’t do…which leaves us all with unimaginable possibilities.

Manifesto:

to unequivocally breach the boundaries of space, time, grammar, clarity and many other dangerous words. to recognise the futility of imitation, no matter how subtle. to write as freely as possible without the restraint of syntax and semiotics, ignoring but appreciating the burdens of discursive practice. to realise the enormity of writing one’s way into freedom; but no harm in trying. to harbour a constant awareness of the breath-line and the musicality of the word. to challenge the modes of sobriety and homogenous structures which elude the imagination and confine us all to  “lives of quiet desperation” (Thoreau). And finally, to refigure that which has become old and trapped within the Law; to wreak havoc on the page by drawing attention to the unstability of the morals and codes we find ourselves clinging so tightly to.