A Poem I Wrote 4 Years Ago and can’t remember if it was ever published eek!

Competition

 

Is he queuing with low leg-ends?

Married Commies, in-ground Lords,

men tend to queue in all universes.

Queue so we can’t miss anymore.

 

People commence,

historians are wrong,

they roll on ancient romances

chanting “no vote”.

 

Now there are Commies amongst the trees

with lapels, colouring pain,

showing all and none of the battle.

It lessens to the north

where there are no dollars.

 

All bastards eat Commies,

join and say “no queuing”.

In long histories they’ll make amends.

 

Bruised infants of the corridor tumble,

these souls tumble.

It’s a surly ill-fated joy and the roses dance.

 

Achievers sing Commy tunes,

ring the room.

All regret the music.

The little valley with truth and lilies,

vilest violets, turns the view

to violent dancing gently.

 

The line has changed

and lost itself many times before

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a time

 

eye.

eye @

eye @ a thyme other dan dis

eye @ at a thyme time other udder (milked it) dan dis (too comic)

                                                   other than this

th

th

tha

thi

da/de

da da da dis

(after the phone call – dead noise –and over 30/firty/virty miles away a dada/THATHA)

 

eye av not got the time

eye av not got the lemon thyme

eye I av have (for chrissakwe have) not got god God the lemon thyme/I have no relationship with God

God is time

God this lemon thyme

God dis/miss lemon time

                        this time          this time          definitely this time

this lemon

hurts my open wounds

open wound 1 = distance (thisstance) to her voice – her dada/THATHA)

open wound 2 = ceramics fallen

open wound 3 = cold hands/no sex

open wound 4 = that it happened/dat id happoned/harpooned my choices

again

 

now I have lucozade milk tea an empty cup

now I have cigarettes

now I have the remnants of news

supplements

vitamin words

reviewed

I have a hunger

I have a hunger to take off my top

I have a hunger to take off my top sweater wolf sweater and shave rub oil into my chest pour milk over my chest

when I go into the kitchen I see a naked girl

when I go into the kitchen I see a naked woman

when I go into the kitchen I see my own naked reflection clothed reflection sobbing reflection

none of this is true all of this is true none of this happened none of this can happen again

 

I went to sleep last night dreaming of the prefix un

there are so many ways to finish that off (finish this off)

but I when I woke (I never slept) I settled on unappeased

I made coffee and I was unappeased

I pissed and I was unappeased

I undressed and I showered and I wanked and I walked and I smoked and I drank and I talked to a woman and I talked to the woman I saw naked from my kitchen and I talked to my own naked clothed reflection and I lay on the floor and listened to music birdsong nothing a football match

I imagined a time other than this

me in that time

I in it

I of it

I want it

I had it

I forced it

I for it

I for it

I for it

I for it

for it

for it

for it

four

f

This Is Not A Sonnet

And being born isn’t enough. That’s wrong.

Her being born was more than enough.

It’s just someone always has to blow the world apart.

Someone has to see God in a nebula. Or their head. Someone has to run.

Retreat.  Take yourself to the woods and know the trees

don’t suck in sadness and darkness and terrible beings.

Switch yourself off there and sleep. Or run away.

Retrace your steps and find your child sleeping on the floor.

Find her words. She can speak for herself. Or will soon enough.

For now there is only how those sounds are interpreted.

Cut up by effort. The effort of connecting and making sense.

Imagine we’re in the UN. Imagine a fish swimming. Imagine an app for this.

Imagine decoding her code. And what syntax hides there?

What links are being made? Don’t let there be chains.

Or if there are chains just make them out of daisies. Don’t let there be pain.

Don’t let there be explosions. Or news reports. Retreat.

Go back the way you came. Remember the time when you had a phone.

Remember the time when you took taxis. Remember the time when you didn’t

know silences like this one. The silence of her sleep. Go back to ignorance.

Like the first time you wrote a sonnet. It was about a fox. 

Two foxes. It was about sex. It was about sex that shouldn’t be happening.

It was about a fox disappearing into trees. Into the shadows of the leisure centre.

Into the darkness. You had to look up what a sonnet was.

No one taught you this. You’re a child man. I mean you were a child then.

I mean you need to stop lying that you know what a verb is.

You can only guess at that. Let this be. Don’t run away from ignorance.

Read books to her until there are no books. Read books until

there are no words. Teach her how to write a sonnet before she can write her name.

Write sonnets until you get one write. I mean right. It will happen one night.

Just like how the fox vanished into trees. Retreated into trees. You left a line unfinished.

Not enough syllables. Too much stress. You didn’t enjoy this dissection

of language. You only ever enjoy language from a distance. Language

seen from space. Look down on language. Don’t zoom in.

There are never enough syllables when you really need syllables.

Remember that when she wakes. Remember to speak to her.

Remember that once you couldn’t even count syllables.

Remember to teach her to count. And know. And sing.

This is not a sonnet. This isn’t even a poem.

 

Ding Dong

The whole village watched the crane lifting the chimney from its roof.

It almost fell. Almost falling like that couldn’t just be brushed aside. Forgotten.

It almost crushed the florist/private school girl dressed like a candidate

on The Apprentice/Bichon Frise/Methodist with flowers for chrissake.

I didn’t see them take the chimney down.

From where I sat I could only see four private school boys dressed like candidates

on The Apprentice. Each of them took a photograph of the chimney’s removal.

Each of them and probably more.

I couldn’t tell but they probably had iPhones.

They probably had briefcases. They definitely had briefcases.

Not one of them had a Greggs Sausage Roll/Sausage and Bean Melt/Steak Slice.

 

At some point in the 80s a myth arose.  There was a man, he probably had a moustache.

He was probably from Liverpool/Newcastle/Glasgow/Belfast.

He probably wore tracksuits.

The Witch told him, rang him for chrissake, to get on his bike.

“Get on your bike to Scunthorpe,” she said, “leave this place of the floating dead.”

What I mean by floating dead isn’t something I knew before this morning. It was Andrew Marr. He said that in the 80’s they considered letting the dead float away down the Mersey.

Into the Irish Sea with you leeches and cadavers and spongers and liabilities.

The Witch rang someone. She rang someone on a massive car phone. She rang the river pilot.

She said, “Into the Irish Sea with these deadbeats!”

 

I saw them take the fallen chimney away.

When I left they hadn’t replaced the chimney.

Just a roof remained. Just a roof for chrissake.

I remembered the story I’ve told too many times before.

Call it what it is; an anecdote for chrissake.

A man (moustache, from the abandoned lands, tracksuit, proficient on bikes) made a bomb.

He targeted a Conservative Club. He hoped the Witch would visit. He would wait.

He would always have his finger on the trigger.

But they started having functions at the Conservative Club and there were kids and all that.  Unexploded bomb. Unexploded history. Unexplored truths. Unexposed lies.

I’ve changed this. Anecdotal myths. A fable where hot water won’t wash her away.

 

I got home. I forgot about the chimney (the chimney without its state funeral).

I opened my emails.

There was only one email. No subject.  Just ‘THE BITCH IS DEAD.’

I tried to remember the look in the chimney’s eyes.

I tried not to cry. For chrissake I wouldn’t cry.

On Waking

You wake and know that you stayed up all night waiting for phone calls.

You wake and you remember that you dreamt you are a phone call.

You wake and you ring off the hook.

You wake and you believe you are a dog.

You wake and you believe you are Laika in Sputnik flying towards oblivion.

You wake and you cannot breathe.

You wake and you remember a line from a poem you haven’t written.

You wake and you forget the line from the poem you haven’t written.

You wake and you write ‘Write the poem you haven’t written with the line you can no longer remember’.

You wake and someone points at the light, the birds and a nose.

You wake and half the bed is empty.

You wake and there is yoghurt all over your words.

You wake and there is yoghurt all over the phone.

You wake and you remember a lonely runner.

You wake and you remember how you couldn’t sleep.

You wake and you can’t remember how you finally slept.

You wake and there is a man sat on the yard wall.

You wake and you mistake a cat sat on the yard wall for a man sat on the yard wall.

You wake and you imagine it is Richard Gere or the Mothman or Richard Gere’s voice sat on the yard wall.

You wake and you stare for a long time at the yard wall to forget anyone/anything was ever sat there.

You wake and someone has opened the front door.

You wake and the morning is coming in through the open front door.

You wake and the morning is greyer than yesterday ever was.

You wake and you remember the story you wrote about mist.

You wake and you wonder if this mist, this one coming in through the open door, is the same mist.

You wake and you hope you haven’t written that mist into being.

You wake and you close the door.

You wake and someone covers the carpet with yoghurt.

You wake and you remember that tiredness never left you.

You wake and the phone finally rings.

You wake and you miss the call.

OK/Rory 2

Rory

Listen, I got kicked out of school ok. Stuff went bad for a while and I did one particular terrible thing. That’s what everyone said anyway. They all said ‘Rory you’ve done something terrible ok, we have no choice but to ask you to leave’. I didn’t cry and beg them to stay.  I hated that school anyway. I was only there because my dad went there when he was a kid and his dad too but they’re all dead so what does it matter. They can’t be disappointed in me or anything because they’re dead and really they can’t ever even know what happened or that I let them down. It’s only the school and my mum who are disappointed but the school has kicked me out and mum is in Dubai.  Mum is always in Dubai. What I’m meant to do now is go home and spend the summer in the London house but I don’t feel like being stuck in London all summer. I hate London really. I hate the tube especially but the thing I hate the most is that I might see someone from my old school and they might ask me about what I did because they’re bound to know and I won’t know what to say. What can I say anyway?  Say someone, someone like Yazmina or Carter sees me and asks me why I did it then I wouldn’t have even a half decent answer. I don’t know, I’d probably say, I just felt like burning something.  Yazmina would be the most upset.  We slept together twice and she thought she was pregnant but everything ended up ok. She thinks we have some connection though.  She’d probably go, yeah Rory but why’d you have to burn a cat. She loves cats.  She would’ve loved that cat even though it was blind, red eyed and had this massive tumour lump on its back. She’d have this lovely picture of a kitten in her head and she’d shake her head and walk off probably.  Even Carter wouldn’t understand that it wasn’t about the cat. He’d probably say, man that’s messed up and walk off too. Even he wouldn’t understand that our headmaster loved that cat and I hated our headmaster so it was obvious. The cat had to go. Anyway, I can’t back to London for other reasons so I just get on a train and go north.  Go wherever.  What’s weird is that I could have gone east or west or even south, gone right the way south over the Channel to France and all the way down to granddad’s place near Carcassonne even. But I go north and I get on that train and I sit in that seat and there behind the crappy pull down plastic table are the pictures. Six pictures of this girl. Six pictures with six dates and six locations scrawled on the back.  All of them are of this really beautiful beyond beautiful girl with hair blacker than mine. And all the way north I stare at her and I get this feeling in the bottom of my stomach, this realisation just the same as the cat and our headmaster, the obviousness, that I have to find her, that I have to find her and tell her how beyond beautiful she is.

 

OK/Rory

OK

Listen, you are OK. I don’t mean you’re ok, I don’t mean you’re fine or safe. You’re neither of those things. You never will be either of those things. You are OK. That’s your name. I know it’s a strange name but you’re more than used to it after sixteen years and besides everyone else here has names like that. Your father is HT and your mother is D4 and your brother, the dead one, was 7J. That’s just how things are.  Listen.  That’s what the Pale Man said to you.  Listen, OK.  You were bathing in the lake when the Pale Men came.   You are used to men watching you bathe in the lake.  You are sixteen and have breasts and your face isn’t disfigured or strange.  You don’t even have any scars because your father never beat you.  The sky was clear and the sun was huge and pale. The sun is always huge and pale.  There is no moon on this side of the earth.  The Pale Men are huge and pale.  They have no eyes and their bodies are clean of hair.  Their skin is smooth and cold like a snake’s.  There are four of them.  There are always four of them.  The one who speaks, the Pale Man, tells you to follow him.  You follow him through the forest to the cliffs.  Below you is the valley and beyond the valley is the city and beyond the city is the tower.  The sun hangs in the sky behind the tower so the tower looks like it’s cutting up through the sun. The sky is white.  “Listen,” says the pale man, “you need to go the tower.”  It’s not a suggestion.  You know that.  Your father once told you that if the Pale Men come for you they won’t suggest what they want.  You’re still naked but the Pale Man doesn’t care.  He hasn’t once looked at you like everyone else looks at you.  “Why?” you ask him but he doesn’t answer.  That night you find it hard to sleep so you sit outside your parents’ tent and listen to the cicadas.  A wolf is howling.  There are too many wolves in the valley.  Eventually you fall asleep and in your dream the Pale Man is there. He has got into your dreams.  You are walking through the valley with him and the wolves are watching. In the dream they only watch but you know that isn’t how they’d really act. They want to devour you.  Everyone wants to devour you.  You follow the Pale Man through the dead city and into the tower.  You climb the tower and when you reach the top you open a door and come out onto a balcony.  The sun is huge and pale.  A boy is standing on the balcony.  The sun turns black and the boy turns black and you wake.  Listen, now you’re wake you have a choice. You can go back inside and get into bed with your parents and pretend that the Pale Man never suggested anything. Or you can go now. You can leave like 7J did.  Listen, it’s best not to wake them. They’ll only cry.  Just go, ok.

OK/Rory – a reflection on beginning a novel

Yonks ago I wrote a book. It was called Atlas but no one wanted to publish it. It was about a boy, Rory, who found an atlas and got obsessed over it.  It was set in Huyton (my hometown of Freddie Starr, Steven Gerrard, Rex Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe) in 1995. Well not at first. At first it was set in Huyton now but then it changed and fell through time and space etc.

Some less yonks ago I had this idea for a novel.  It was a sort of fantasy young adult thing about a girl called Ok in this weird future where the sun was massive. I’ve always had an irrational dislike of the sun (can’t stand beaches, sunsets, horizons, light streaming through the stained glass window of a cathedral – it makes me feel like I’ve got Lou Gehrig’s disease).

I wrote this (a very short story):

Ok was fourteen.  She was a woman now, no one could deny that.  The tower rose above the valley. It was a thing of glass and secrets.  Just getting through the valley was dangerous enough but even when night fell and she could them crying and slithering she didn’t stop walking. “Ok,” her father had asked, “why do you need to go to the tower?”  Ok didn’t tell him the real reason. The stairs spiraled around the tower.  All the way up she could see the valley, the desert and the savage beasts through the glass.  The savage beasts were coming down from the mountains now. At the top of the tower she waited with the horn pressed to her lips.

Then I started thinking about Rory again. Rory was always a bit of weirdo.  In Atlas he accidentally kills his girlfriend and her brother.  I also started thinking of the idea of the character’s literary interests seeping into their voice – in Atlas, Rory’s favourite book was Catcher in the Rye.  He also liked The Rachel Papers.  I sat down and I wrote a chapter for a new ‘Rory’ novel and it became a little of a pastiche of Holden Caulfield.  There was the same element of Rory potentially becoming obsessed with something – in this instance instead of an atlas it was photographs of a girl.  I then started to think about who the girl in the photographs was and slowly she became Ok (or OK).  I began to plot a novel that sort of merged a coming age story with a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian story – two narratives combining.  I wanted to limit myself and give myself a clear structure. The last novel/la I wrote was sort of spurred on by its structure – that of a sort of stream of consciousness, breathless, pace.  In this OK/Rory prototype novel I thought of writing each chapter as a paragraph – flicking back between OK and Rory. I think this is probably influenced by my reading of A Song of Fire and Ice and my own writing (I’ve been writing alot of fantasy with the goal of starting a novel called ‘Of Shadows and Mist’ which has that sort of George R R Martin multiple POV). So I did some editing of the Rory chapter, cut it down and then thought of OK. I had this sort of flash that if Rory’s ‘voice’ imitates other coming of age sort of novels then maybe OK could echo choose your own adventure stories.  And I had ‘You are ok…’ as an opening.  I liked that uneasy voice, the sort of strange narrator – unearthly. I used it in a chapter of Ark Noon (one of the discarded asides)  That chapter became a short story – DG, DG, DG (was I subconsciously creating OK from DG?).

Anywho I’ve ‘wroted’ a few chapters of OK/Rory and so I’ll post the opening 2 here.  It starts with OK and then flicks to Rory. I’m sort of thinking it’s a Young Adult type book but I also want there to be darkers scenes in there, maybe even some sex and definitely a bear getting beheaded (not really – I like bears).

Long Ago I Wrote a Poem Called ‘A Truth of Herons’


I am falling apart here. I am falling apart. Just over half an hour

ago I was crying into the sink. I won’t tell you why.

If I told you why you would ask me how old I was and I’d have to tell

you more. Explain myself. Unravel myself into understanding. It would not work.

I am still at the sink but my head no longer touches unwashed dishes.

There is the heron again on the rooftop. Sometimes I wish he was an eagle.

An osprey. A red kite. Sometimes I wish I would stop speaking.

Zipped up lips. Zipped shut. Sometimes I wish I was something simpler.

Something that if it fell apart could be reassembled. Not flat pack.

I mean something like society. Societies crumble. Societies fall.

Societies rise. There is the heron again. He is not an eagle.

He rises from the rooftop and flies towards the marshland.

Manmade marshland. He falls towards the marshland like an eagle onto prey.

He is gliding really. Gliding down. As he glides down and out of sight

he stays together. Hold it together. He does not fall apart. He cannot

fall apart. When I can no longer see the heron I imagine that he has fallen apart.

Beak from skull. Wings from body. Tail feathers scattered to the wind.

Out of sight he ceases to be a heron and cannot be reassembled.

The heron is not flat pack. I am not flat pack. I go back to the sink

and cry some more. When I’m finished crying I look for the heron

but there are no herons now. There are no eagles. No ospreys. No red kites.