Learning From the “Masters”

Personal, Prose

Edit: I fucking hated poetry again for a short time lately, I forgot its value, I looked on it as a poor excuse for a few chatted sentences, and then, again, Dylan Thomas saved me and my sense of poetic value, of betrayed and crushed romance, breathing under the boot in rebellion.

I’ve been watching a couple of documentaries on distinctive artists recently: (google image them if you don’t know them) Francis Bacon and Stanislaw Szukalski. And while their personal moralities and lifestyles may seem, may in fact be, highly problematic to most people, you have to admit they have a talent for creating evocative imagery. I mean images that aren’t just what they seem. Images that refer to other feelings and experiences in the viewer, about which the artist probably only had a distant inkling…some feeling based on their own understanding of how deeply the image effected them on their imagining it, or the parts of it. I mean these images startle something crawling around in your head and in your body. Creatures climbing the ladder of your spine etc.

So I’ve decided I need to try and put some more of that into my own use of imagery in the poems. These guys from the documentaries go to town imagining and communicating what they’ve imagined. Lately, I’ve just been wanting to produce something that a reader somewhere might like. And I don’t think that’s the way to go about it. I still firmly believe you need to have a sense of what different readers think of your work, and that you need to interact with your readership, but you can’t really let them determine what you’re making. They can help with formulating the ideas that inform your creative work, but the work itself, unless you’re starting it as a collaboration, has to be yours. From your own private brain workshop, manufactured using the tools of your emotions, instincts, your fingers, your sweat. With art anyway. With that kind of art that you immediately say is “art”, because it’s so fucking artsy.

I guess that’s not always what I want to write/make, actually, now that I think about it.

There are exceptions, but work that comes from your soul really seems to be work that’s worth the creation going into it and that’s worth people seeing it.

At the moment I’m at a bit of an impasse. Whenever I try and start out on something new I get caught not knowing whether to go for smooth shapes or hair and dirt and rough. Maybe both are the way to go. After all, how can you really talk about one without having the other at least as a reference point, if not an immediate contradiction.

I’m trying to put aside time and space to dream out landscapes. This is something I used to do regularly when I was more of a romantic, and when I engaged less with the world anyway. I’d hide away from my surroundings even as they encroached on me with increasing meaning. I was the kid wandering on his own or standing in the group not saying anything and clearly daydreaming about something else. And that fed nicely into weird and extreme romantic landscapes streaming through my head…but being at school and stuff I never really spent much time fleshing those out into words. Or pictures I guess.

Since some harsh but enjoyable waking up to reality I’ve cut myself off from that place for a while, and now it feels like the right time to scavenge there for remnants, time to rebuild some clearer sense of romance again…I mean the passion’s bled right out of me. I need to rediscover the source from before and approach it again, with more care and self-knowledge this time, and use it for the poetry. For the sake of the poetry.

Yeah. So that’s what’s happening with that.

Also if I’ve not mentioned it before then have a look at this: https://hackhastings.home.blog/. It’s the other non-poetic project I’m working on at the moment and will occasionally show some of my writing that’s not turning up anywhere else. Also various other Hastings locals doing their thang. Check it out.

Poison to the Antidote

Personal, Poetry

In that Netflix series Narcos, Poison is a pretty un-chill guy. He reminds me a little of the protagonist in the Sniper Elite series of games, just doing drug hits and about 30 years on, and younger and Colombian.

Here’s my latest poetic adventure. I wrote it inspired by discovering King Krule, and trying to recount an incident after a concert at Ally Pally that I still don’t fully understand. The incident, that is, not the concert. TLSP are fookin’ amazin’.

The slashes are there to help me read it, because it doesn’t have any punctuation. That’s not to be “groovy” and “trendy”, it’s just to force you to make your own punctuation while desperately trying to find some of the real stuff, like a comma. Everyone loves commas. But they’re not in this poem. This poem says fuck commas – make your own pauses. Or try to follow mine, I guess.

I’ve got you bleeding on my heart in minature/
An action figure temptress/ arm missing
And the paint faded/ go figure that overuse
Would wear and tear your eyes still bright/
But now blue tracing my heart attack
With creeping electric sugar/ sonorific infections/
I keep Alex Turner in a box in the freezer/
Crystalline watery eye discharge and shut lids/
He’s between life and death now/ when I wake him
I’ll heat slow and careful/ he always opens with
Do I wanna/ and no, it’s you again feeding
On my heart in minature/ parasitical love bliss/
How beautiful the worm of an idea wriggling
In that/ grey matter jar demanding pickle juice/
Of red and blood or wine and fine/ spirits or
Caffeine or legal excess heart palpitation/
Explosive thumping and DVT and hours in
Front of the blue-white light softly screaming/
And your gnawing something fictional I’ve/
Got to breathe I’ve/ got to get a breath above/
Your erection pushing over my eyelids/ the
Watery discharge of eyes in distressed cold
And bulging/ weary discharge of eyes/ your
Presence up and dagger thru the ribs/ your
People dagger up the ribs/ ceremonial sword
In the eye/ your eyes and distant memories
Of perfect protrusions in panties a vision/
I try but I can’t replicate/ I hate the way
I beg your action figure for favours
Alex Turner/ snaps in the freezer box but
I’ve got superglue in the drawer danger/
Flammable liquid lighters catch well on bricks
Tho/ harmful vapour may spew affects the brain
Or nervous system/ prolonged paraplegic
Exposure may result in severity/ physical injury
Developed for war casualities, used by jilted
Lovers/ I may have thought about you too long/
And the others also feel this that I was burnt/
Before they set me on their eyes/ and that drunken
Prize value was lost on the turn of a lightswitch/
Catching fire mechanism broken and glasses
Empty everywhere/ I don’t know your hair some
Silken straw maybe on a pillow or in a hand/
How does your worm still make me want it/
In my salt shaker chilli pot I’m your gusset/
Soaking or flattery aside an accidental art class
Colour mixing stain/ on something lost to black
Plastic landfill/ still too much I find and Alex
Shivers with me behind the scenery/ Bill Shatner
Shaking hands with a styrofoam dino meanwhile/
A Waitsian wino dribbles on my shoulder fabric/
Reassuring soft skull, again, like yours, again/
Your pop-up platform shoots gyrating/ sheer/
fairy/ wings/ and flying pink papers[wings] scuttle what’s
Left of me/ that’s the story I hear recounted after
The dream, that’s still what I wake up to even as
I’m culling/ and they see it in the half looks cast
Away seeds to salty turf/ they feel women in the fall
My ratio is 4:7 and the lights are down low on
North London’s streets/Ally Pally apocalyptic market
Stalls lining my liver/ each concrete step the sweetest prostate
touching excrement/ and a catalytic mind’s eye over
Hollywood hills/ vest open tie low jeans hanging
Off thighs a belt buckle dangler bouncing/ the night
Propositions through a young creature/ wild whites
Locked about my lumpy indecency and Strongbow
scented exhaust fumes/ thanks but you can fuck off/
King’s Cross unfettered stomach adoration
Replacing you/ you lost in the folds of the past’s fat
I’ll have another pint but they’re shut and it’s three
if you can get it in the morning Alex trying to change
My mind Turner to agree with the pit of my chest not you
Anymore missy/ I’ll not call you love at all/ but I’m still getting
Mined by friends or at least I wish love can’t die
Can only fade/ and yawning to the mobile buzz bright mean
Screen/ I’m alright in the bed spread/ trousers falling down
Stumble through the brain strain down an alley not in the rain
And piss in a cascade.

I’ve got to work on it still, as with them all. And it might be one in a three part mini-series. At least, that’s what it says in my folder for it. So you never know.

If you feel like feedback, anyone, I’d love to know what you reckon. Too long perhaps? I love it. I love long things. Don’t mind if you don’t though. I want to try and plumb the depths of a topic, either in the time and resources expended on its exposition or in the wit and content of the phrasing used in its mere description.

Sorry, I’ve got a…prosaic brain on at the minute. Is it prosaic? Is it just a bit twatty? I can’t tell. I hope you can ignore my comments and enjoy the poem.

Incidentally I would recommend King Krule. Have a look.

The Lusty Abbatoir (V1)

Poetry, Prose

In the alleyway of forgotten hotel rooms
Unserviced, we shrugged
Up to a numberless door, a key protruding
From your coat of sheer confidence

Tumbled into the breathing air and you
Showed me past the pots and on the staffroom
Carpet we cried our little hearts
At the dusty old past and that
Empty work filled into the night

Butcher lights cut our drunken daze
I considered the toilet to wash
In case the cocktails worked like in movies
Aphrodisiac in every drop of Campari, Martini

But your face was inscrutably beautiful
Mouthing me things with your sparkling eyes
The tone of your voice settling in my mind
Leaving something somewhere bound with the drinks-memory

Even crusty kitchen meat-hewn meals
Spoke notes of quiet understanding
That put me naked in that blue place
Barely a shiver before sheets enveloped

So in your bed I was back at the bar
All smiles and cards and happy stories
Yet with a grin you let yourself under your sheets
And I could feel our sweat touch cold

The lips holding daring hands when you asked
Can we kiss. The twining like misty trees
Silent shiver of blissful fear as your boxers
Were pulled away