Friday, November 25, 2011

I am revisiting an old project, in order to try and get my writing muscles working again. Section by section, I am finally editing Voices; my poem collecting stories from in around the River Fal, where I live. If I could be so bold as to claim that the work is loosely based on Dart by Alice Oswald, I would. Although consider this a cheap pastiche, an oblique homage, a surreptitious nod.

I was looking for new ways to talk about old things.
Is that not the job of the poet, like the magician,
as Wordsworth says;
to present ordinary situations about low and rustic life
in a language familiar to all?
But to present them in a way that makes them extraordinary.
I want to script a journey around Falmouth, taking us
through its stages and ours within and without it.
I want to describe everything in detail.

So you could even smell the florists displays
and see the fragments of shredded love notes
the school-girl trickled from her pockets on the journey home.
Like a modern day Gretel,
 whose pebbles are words and whose gingerbread
 is the sweet taste of nicotine
 inhaled at the bus stop.

And feel the acrid blade of urine hit your throat when you walk
beside the old man who sifts the ground
to perpetrate his respiratory problems
with the used ends of anything he can;
and Lambert and Butler.
and thick papers, thin papers, tobacco from around the world.

Breathe the singed skin smell of the tattoo parlour .
Cough now as the tar mix hits the back of your throat and your head
rattles with the pneumatic drill in all its
erratic and

Listen to the sepulchral organ;
grinding out of tune and into the streets.
Its deadening chords in synch with the relentless
sighing chime
of time
of the bell.

Past the secret doorways, favoured by thieves;
each echoing times now changed.
Glimpses between houses;
like picture postcards showing snapshots
of seascapes,
sliding into the sea with its rattling flotilla
gently tugging on the water of one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. 
Caustic waves
of vinegar from a thousand fish suppers
under the bunting.
And feel the tiny droplets of rain moisten your cracked and dried lips 
as you see the colours lighting the sky
and in the rain and the storm;
the war ships stand grey and cumbersome
while the peace dove roosts on the rooftops
and coo-coos under
the sound of thunder.

This is the town where nothing happens.

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