Thursday, 8 November 2012

My Ugly Ones

I went to see Pulitzer prize winner Philip Schultz at the Crosby Civic Hall for the Sefton Celebrates Writing Festival (part of the Writing on the Wall Festival). Also there was Liverpool poet Paul Farley. The poetry was very good, and I'm meaning to buy one of Schultz's books of poetry, only that while I was there I picked up his book My Dyslexia which is a memoir not poetry. But he signed it for me anyway. The only problem, sat with my friend, was the weird presenter, who kept reading her own poems in between speakers. And at the question/answer part, she pretty much forced people to ask a question. It was kind of rude and off-putting, making people uncomfortable and nervous. I didn't know who she was.

Other than getting Schultz to sign the book, what I liked about that night was drinking beer with my friend before the event began and we got food and took it with us, but we couldn't eat in inside the building so we sat on a wall in the cold and dark, and because I knew the area since I'd grown up there and my friend hadn't been there before, I said this was my idea of a night out, as we shivered in the wall eating burgers and he laughed and laughed. It was weird for me, though, since my primary school was across the road and the building was also the library I used as a kid. I'd not been round there in years. Those were the streets and places that are vivid childhood memories to me, other than my home. There are streets I live near that I knew when I was younger. Sometimes I find myself on them and it's this weird deja vu. There is one street I've never gone back to. That was the street I lived until I was about six, and moved away in 1991. That would be too surreal to visit again.

Anyway, every time I hear a poet speak I get in the mood to write poetry. Strangely, two days later I actually write it. I read some of William Carlos Williams because a friend in work told me to read him and I'd never read his work, and read some of his poems, which I really like. Read some Ezra Pound. Some Arthur Rimbaud. And then I was reminded by a poem by Rimbaud which has the lines:

 "Knock together your kneecaps,
My ugly ones."

It's from his poem My Little Lovers. I read Rimbaud back in uni in 2007/08. That's the one I remember. Already on my mind was a book of poetry that needed a constant theme or something like that, which I why I've struggled with my poetry as a collection because they digress from different ideas. I decided to make a collection of poetry called My Ugly Ones and base it around people I know or don't know. I wrote six short poems today. Here is one of them:

Why does Rimbaud imagine an orgy of fog?
I have never been to Paris.
Does that make me less of a poet?
I make myself a niche miracle,
I thought of myself an angel smoking pot,
night un-frightened, melting into a bed.
Unimagined electrified sunlight,
bursting old haggard face and eyes with light.
And this light, yellow and white,
like golden water, I bathed my hands
and feet, and I lay there, un-mirrored,
perhaps a calender marking my death.


Dan Pegg said...

Just roamed across this. Spooky how much I can relate to that. Nice work.

pat jourdan said...

Too surreal to go back to childhood streets - well, 'they' knocked down our house and built the John Moores Student Centre.
The Victorian terrace was replaced by the anonymous all-purpose 1960s building.