Poet Has Only One Ball

Last time we met I was telling you about my trip to Bournemouth. Oh wow! you cry, recoiling from the excitement. But hold on a minute because I forgot to share the most interesting thing that happened. I spotted an oyster catcher and a stonechat. To some this would mean little. To the likes of me who do not see these birds such an event is quite important.  Probably I should get out more. I also spotted a green furry tennis ball. I pointed it out to my partner Jill who saw straight away that it was perilously perched on a ledge on a treacherously steep cliff face of superfluous adverbial danger. Now, here was a moment. She banned me from the ascent with pronouncements of doom, injury and a world ruthlessly dominated by Nick Clegg.  For a few seconds I walked on like a house-trained poet. What would a Mills and Boon hero have done? I heard the voice of the massive shouldered billionaire, 6’4″ Franceso Romanelli in my ears. I felt my sexual potency dribbling away into a limp Pharmaski mafioski Viagra wrapper. Suddenly I turned back, pulled off my biker’s studded jacket, exposed my chest and vaulted across the fence with a feral roar. Soon, I was back at the side of my sexy tensing sherpa who had remained weeping at base camp. I drew her into my arms and showed her my furry green ball. She swooned, but there again, she’s not had much in life. So that you can re-live this moment here is a little photo reconstruction of my heroism.

All this leads me on to the matter of bathos, who as you all know was the disappointing fifth or sixth musketeer who spent the whole book in a track suit on the bench. Some say that the manager tried to send him on but he had lost his Italian phrase book and couldn’t understand what the foreign guy in the gogs was saying.  Laydeez – this is a football jest so do not throw yourself in front of the king’s horse in your maidenly incomprehension or in bitter angst at my vile patronisation of your gender. OK, I’ve worked my consciousness into Victorian mode.

Poetry is a serious business that reaches us with a kiss when the punches are too common to count. Recently I was reading a blog of my old comrade from the Chateau Neuf de Paparazzi barricades, Emma Calin who has gone on to be a best selling romantic novelist. She raised the matter of Theo Marzials who some say wrote the world’s worst poem – “A Tragedy”. We have here a scenario where a thwarted lover wanders by the river contemplating suicide. Seemingly some heartless trollop has run off with his best mate. Dear Oh dear oh dear – surely such a thing could not happen these days. Theo pulls out all the stops and starts while contemplating his next move. As he wades in to the water he gives mortality some real wellie. This is a great poem to read. I bet you could do it better than me. Here it is.

Only a few days until “I Threw A Stone” is released. It’s poetry Jim. Do you guys think poetry should be read aloud? Depends on the type of poem I guess……


Returning to the Scene of the Rhyme

About 30 years ago I wrote a poem entitled “Postcard From Bournemouth Park”. Very shortly I will be putting a first class stamp on it and publishing it in my collected Meister Werks. Left to myself I would plonk the whole text on this blog. My new publishing associate Rosina de Montfort , has chided me for even thinking of getting my powder wet. Huh! my powder has been wet for years Missus…ooh…don’t. (Can you tell I’ve been watching Frankie Howerd?)

So, 30 years ago I was wandering about as a poet on a wander. When you’re a poet it’s the kind of thing you have to do. I was on an angst filled wander in Bournemouth. Now, there’s nothing good or honourable about what I’m going to tell you. If you are highly righteous you would be better off getting out one of those old copies of the “News Of The World”. That particular organ stimulated my first meaningful sexual experience in 1961, but I know you do not want to hear about that.

So, in those days I was a youngish man. Let us just say that I wanted an inappropriate relationship with a highly charged female. In other words, she was Miss ion impossible. In that mood of unrequited voltage I was walking through the park and the things I saw and felt seemed charged and intense. A mood of nostalgia and sepia wistfulness formed the poem. The sentiments were genuine and heart felt and I know that I could never live them again.

By chance, this week-end I was in Bournemouth for a poetry event. Once again I wandered through the park, wondering if I could re-capture how I had felt 30 years ago. Try as I might, I could not. My life is happy now. The problem is that happiness writes white as it says in all those “How to be a Writer” books. Maybe during this final pre-publication/Audio track week I will come up with a second Bournemouth Park. To find out you’re just going to have to read the book.

Since I could not re-find my muse I went for the views and ended up with an arty photo of Boscombe Pier which I have called “Towards the Light”. In many ways I have come to see photography and visual media as the new poetry. You are there and the moment finds you.

Since I have been more aware of sculpture I have also seen poetry as  the art of receiving something already written rather than the art of the thinker. As we age and the voices outside of us become fainter, it is our receptors that fail. The true poems are there in the justice, the dead fit and the smooth glow of time. A poem is true like the perfect rocket above the exact beat of the music that explodes like the lover’s kiss, as the wave falls and dies, as the cloud passes the moon. It is there to be received rather than thought. It is the statue alive in the heart of the stone. It is the surfer’s wave 50 miles from shore. Poets are often pejoratively described as dreamers. I would accept the criticism and double it. The poet is not only a dreamer, he is dreaming of the dream that once an unknown stranger dreamed as he passed by. The voice is faint and the mob is strong. If you can’t write a poem, take a photo. It is there. It is it’s own words.

I stayed in a Bournemouth hotel. I dined with a bottle of wine. A young man brought the bottle. I said “Are you the sommelier?”

He said “No, I am Latvian.”

There are only words. We are revealed in the balanced asymmetry of of the tangle.

Formula One For Poets

There is a poetry to everything. The drone of an unseen aircraft in the drift of a sunny afternoon is a poem. A human mind is there to receive it, a heart beats and eyes take in the infinite blue. Between each push of pulse there is that pause of possible death, postponed by the next beat, the next turn of the crankshaft, the next opening of the inlet valve.

Among the scream of the Formula One engines it is a job to compose poetry. Yet there are far more similarities between the two activities than you would think. Both require a complete lack of self consciousness. Both attract groupies. Both attract some fabulously odious beings who have disappeared so far up themselves that their artistic integrity is interfering with their lap times.

This lunch-time as I watched the practice for the Abu-Dhabi Grand Prix, I was tempted to float the idea of the Petrol Head School of Poetry. So far no one has required poets to wear overalls, baseball hats, pink lens sunglasses or over tight white trousers. All the same, most meetings of poets will display a smattering of silly hats, scarves worn with vests, tiny specs perched on the ends of noses and inordinate competing egos. If international banks or purveyors of fizzy drinks offered to sponsor poets I can assure you there would be a stampede of stanzas to win the prize.

I shot an arrow in the air

It traced the name of Santander

Now come on – that’s gotta be worth a pair of poet’s overalls or at least a baseball cap. If any of you guys can come up with some F1 verse in the ‘Comments’ below, I will publish it on here and do my best to get it to Bernie Ecclestone. I rather fear that it will go over his head. But to me the real point of contact between the two worlds is that of the complete absence of that sense of the absurd that keeps most folk paying the mortgage and shuffling along head down. Watching the GP circus poses the same question as writing poetry. What is it for? The good thing about poetry is that it doesn’t try to sell you anything and very few people read it. Almost no one buys it, not even poets’ mothers. Millions watch as super star drivers tell you that their under-steer did not allow them to operate their drag reduction. Oh how I would love to speak to camera as crowds of women huddled round their screens to announce that my assonance was blanking out my verse.

I doubt there will ever be a Pit Lane Laureate. One thing is for sure. Poetry will be written long after the last car has passed the last chequered flag. And no-one will read it.