Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Poems an' Ting

I thought it best to offer some poems including one I've been writing in response to the theme. I've tried to be as liberal with the platform as possible and hasten to add that these are works-in-progress. Princess Caraboo's fascinating story provides the vehicle for an ironic comment I'm trying to develop about 'home' at the nationality level. I happened across Bird's portrait of the impostor princess in the Bristol Art Gallery next door to the Wills Building and couldn't stop pissing myself (on further research I discovered there was a mediocre attempt at a film, which I was a little gutted about since I thought I'd made this great discovery for a muse) [Note to self: you will probably not make any great discoveries, settle for reinterpretations of old shit]

Princess Caraboo of Javasu

On the untrained ear, gibberish
with a viscous accent
a heavy debt to consonants
scratching like vinyl
against the pit of a throat
can plant a palm tree in Redland
and stud a new silk night with jade stones.
She fed dignitaries the finest Javasuvian
pike, the richest Javasuvian Bovril.
They dressed in Shahrazad and Sinbad,
spoke oriental bindi bindi.
Javasuvian, so quick to learn,
to roll like bubbles off the tongue.
Deferred to yet paraded;
the princess sat still for her portrait
hiding the soles of her Devonshire boots.
The way I hide mine, sat
with my hands on my knees
describing, in gibberish
the romance of the nomad’s life
(we moved three times in ‘93).
Of course, the civil war,
how tough it was on us
to cross the road at kicking out time
we do our best to forget the sound
of smashing Hooch bottles.

Camel, you say?
Climbing sand dunes, their rumps swaying
like a girl who knows her lover is watching.

I am the son of an elder chief
a warrior, I eat with my hands

you can take my picture if you like.


This poem has nothing to do with the theme I'm afraid, its a bit of a Blue Peter (well, by 'earlier' I mean this morning, although the ideas have been bouncing (a bit like Pac-Man) in the limited corridor space inside my dome.) I'm sharing it because I think it expresses a philosophy I try to hold concerning poetry - life is poetic, language can merely represent that, so live!


I found it stamped into the preface
counted it legs, splayed like spokes
or limbs in a Michelangelo -
it’s the symmetry that makes it art.
Image the death note
the low swish of a turning page, crashing
like a breaking wave – perhaps
the spider was caught in the flux
and could do not more
than pose for her ascension.
Now the fossil-in-waiting asks
‘who will survive the other?’
when the ink has faded
and the book degrades
as page after page collapses
like a controlled demolition.
And this spider, stubborn as a web
survives each landing until it slots
nicely into earth, a jigsaw piece
waiting to be found and studied
by one who is aware
only the best poems exist

without language.


It's like Chuck D said
'Real people do real things!'


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