Friday, February 24, 2006

The year 1191

The fire five or six years ago had destroyed nearly the whole pitch. Worst of all was the end of the real old holy church, which was so vulnerable, just a wood and daub shack held together by kisses. Now it was just a black patch with no grass, like at the end of someone's garden. This was the holiest place in the kingdom! We did what we could, we went over the charred land to see if anything could be exhumed. Some of the things we found were old; people reckoned Patrick and Dunstan. This is the centre of it all, man.

Straight away the old man made it his darling project. We had the whole exchequer surplus in the first year to get us moving again, we laid out something that would match the abbey itself. We needed it for Patrick and Dunstan and the crowds. We got cooking and the Mary part of it was run up in a couple of years. But then, he died. Richard wasn't interested, he needed every penny for his Palestine adventure, and it seemed our church would never get built after all.

Then a few people began to say that we weren't paying enough account to just what a special place this was. They said we'd only scratched the surface, that we ought to think about where the major burials would have been and just keep on going down until we hit something. We were all thinking saints, Columba maybe. What we found was husband and wife. No, it wasn't me, it was Will that touched her hair. It was yellow gold.

I'd been around here all my life, but for the last seven years we hadn't had a proper roof over our heads. I was bivouacking with Wally and Loz and I lay under the stars that night and it was the first time I knew I was in fucking Avalon. Someone had Creedence playing Fortunate Son and man, it was a beautiful feeling. At dawn I was tripping on Wearyall Hill and I saw the waters surrounding it and the old bridge where the river runs out. The landscape flipped and I understood, I saw Bedivere standing on that bridge and flighting the sword. How many times have I parked down there and strolled a couple hundred meters along the road to the Shopping Village and I never once noticed that dusty sign "Pomparles" as you cross over the Brue.

I always love the village. The streets are packed with shoppers, there's lingerie, kitchen shops, sportswear shop, oh a Body Shop, Wrangler, Starbucks, M & S, you name it. Hawkmoths slip 4-inch tongues into the hanging baskets, there's Food Factory when it's cold, or if it's fine you sit in the yard under the mulberry tree and you can wander round the tent display or you can watch people queue up by the cash machine. There's a brick chimneystack from the old Clarks factory, it's in the blue sky, everyone's bright-eyed with the bargains they're finding and it's just a place that makes you feel happy to be alive.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

time passes

It was cold and spotting with rain. Through the trees blazed a cream-coloured light, warping the tree-trunks; as Kev drove out of the car-park we saw that this was a white sunset getting underneath the fierce weather. Looping back on the main road we felt small between the toes of a hugely-arched rainbow, splashed into steadier rain and so into town, while we listened I think to the Sex Pistols but this was inside a dance mix and I didn't ask.

I collected my car and didn't blink at the bill because I'd got ready for it being almost that much. The shoes were all broken, I said to her to show that I'd already had a phone conversation about it. We conversed about a house that we both had links with and it reminded me of a sad story but I tried not to look upset because we always got on well. I liked my car with the brakes working. Verdi's Falstaff was howling and being pinched by the merry wives; I drove straight back to work, and was briefly puzzled by white flowers in the cream light, as if it was a Tuscan summer and then I remembered where I was and they were snowdrops again.

Eventually everyone went home and I started the differential backup. Hermann found me smoking beside my car and he told me a complicated story about how he and I would never be like those fat bastards who had better cars than us and who went home early and how someone he knew had wangled a people-carrier and a jacuzzi and all because they read the small print. Never mind, he sighed, I'll never change anything. He locked up the store-room and went back indoors.

Then after an hour or two Dennis found me and he was obviously worried about the lights still being on, so I promised him I'd close up. Moving the data took much longer than I thought. It was black outside and hail was bouncing on the moss. I seemed to be regretting the Boro match that I'd hoped to watch on TV but gradually I realized that I was still thinking about the conversation in the garage.

When I'd finished everything I texted Vinnie who was on call. He texted back: Congratulations, I can't believe all your blog and poetry work took so long :-) Then I felt better and lit up again even though I could go home and sat there playing Pinball with the other hand.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grey Poplar

        tiny beads up P. canescens
    offbeat sixties satire     bigboned daughter
        rivet black on purling
            smooth eye fountain.

        puff vault rolls wrens
    inspires wool     roll along water
        render belt black sterling
            line kernel town tin.

        drew up in shadow a lens
    cabbage-heart hire     wanted it shorter
        days sanderling Girling
            studded account in.

        wait while I drop it over Ben’s
    grey sleeking upward     paste in mortar
        smoke in its catkin curling
            a bloom in mountain.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

saturn in opposition

Saturn, the yellow planet, was in opposition on 27th Jan. Actually there's no desperate hurry to go and see it - it's available for evening viewing until the end of June. And next year, it'll be much the same. Since it takes thirty Earth years to complete one Saturn year, it's almost like a fixed star and is easy to find a second time - unless you don't bother to look for about five years.

Saturn obliterates the rather faint constellation of Cancer at the moment - to the naked eye, I mean (it's more or less over the Beehive cluster M44).

On a Saturday morning I don't have to get up. Something wakes me and I look at my watch, 0750. I think about the extra things I would like to do if I get up at 0750. I can't decide, really. I'm still tired but I like the morning light, I'd have time to do things unhurriedly, and I would feel relaxed, maybe even go outside in the frosty yard. As I imagine this I doze, and I'm still thinking that I can't decide and yes I will definitely get up at 0750, yes I think I really will, when I suddenly realize that the light's changed and it's quarter to ten.

Sisters, daughters, workmates, friends, parents: everyone is the age, I imagine, that I last heard they were. So G who I thought was 23 is 25 in March. C who I supposed was 20 is actually 22 - or no, when did I find that out? Maybe she's even 23! Fretfully, I begin to dislike this way of saying someone's age. If someone says "I'm 23" it means "I'm at least 23 when I said it". Why doesn't it mean something you can pin down?

They're all running together, and the course goes out of sight for a while, they're all running again, they're my time and they're buoyantly trampling the years together, and then the years come down in an ambush, the years are trampling them and it never stops.

When I was a child I was filled with excitement at the thought that I would actually be alive in the year 2000! We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves, the whole world would be changed and perhaps the Queen or the United Nations would announce: OK, that's it, we'll party and change all the laws. But when I worked out how old I would be, forty-two, it seemed so old that I thought I'd better just enjoy myself in my own century because there wouldn't be much left for me after that.

But now in 2006 when I look at my photos from the twentieth century they seem small and dull, and I don't see most of those people any more and it has become an unimportant time, personally. I run across a second-hand book published in 1997 and it doesn't really thrill me because the gloss has faded. Yes, this was going on too, I admit, but I was involved in something else at the time, and now it seems a bit late to talk.

Yet I'm kind of the same, if I look very carefully away from everything that isn't the same, if I don't count it or I make it so it doesn't count, which is what we do.

I forgot to turn the page on my desk calendar. So that's it for January, it's already gone? New Year, I remember, but it's no longer new. I'm missing it by the day. The brilliant green of cow parsley shoots, the white snowdrop glades, the raven flying unk, unk, unk, overhead; and the moon already gibbous again; a scrabbling in the eaves, have they already got babies? I'm recycling pitchforkfuls of unread magazines. I meant to text you, sorry I forgot the homework again, I wanted so to ask how you were, I meant that we'd have a walk this winter, I should be down to see you soon, I moved the flights, I'd have liked to see him... I should have... I think these words every day, and neglect to water the palms again. And now I'm late.

Go! Go! Go!

Funny thing is, Saturn's day is only ten hours. That's real spinning, that is. On Saturn they have winds of over 1,000 kph.

Monday, February 06, 2006

intercapillary space - new uk poetry team blog

Having generally agreed with my perception of a lack of decent UK poetry blogs (see below), Edmund Hardy has got me involved in a new co-operative blog which is intended to focus (though not exclusively) on the current British poetry scene.

It already looks like it's going to be fun. There's some terrific things there from Edmund and from Melissa Flores-Bórquez (Lisa Robertson, Helen Macdonald, the year 1190, Andrew Duncan, Olson and I can't remember what else), and I´ve done a little patchwork in shades of Kathleen Raine.

The blog's called Intercapillary Space. Check it out, then come join us.

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