Poet in Reticence

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Oscar’s back!

Last time I was here was November 2014. Since then I’ve been holding it all in like the south heading entrails of my lifetime’s vanity. Guys – poetry and gravity never relent. In the end you have to breathe out, express the urgent bulge of the soul. It’s only poetry so it’s only us who’re gonna notice. You can wear the same waist size – just lower with more over the top honesty. Only the true poets will spot the inversion of dispersion.

And, I’ve got a job. I’m a poet in residence. I’m dressing up and pushing it out on the wham bam instagram at the Virtual Book Café. It’s a run-down-up-town kinda place where the glitzy-glam-slam’s just walking by but the perfume tempts just long enough to hit the membranes of the poetic underclass. And you know who you are. And I’ll sure know who you are.

I need your lips to frame your clips. I’ve put up some footage in mouthage to give you a steer if not quite a bulletin. Sit with an accomplice in your current  café venue or capture the moment itselfie  or just one off the shelf behind the counter. I’m looking for that left bank feel of ristretto  incision or smooth latte reflection.

Do you wanna hang out?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/virtualbookcafe/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirtualBookCafe/

Twitter: @VirtualBookCafe

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The Importance Of Being Ernie.

With just a couple of days before my poetry collection “I threw a stone” is released, I know I should be revving up to full poet angst and beauty mode. I should have bought a poet’s cloak or at least a silly hat. I should be displaying my love of Seamus Heaney and William Wordsworth. Then you would all know that I was in the poet’s club. Then I would be sleek and sweet in clique elite. OK – you get the message. I’ve found tears on my cheeks at seeing a swirl of starlings against the cold winter sun. Odds are that I was thinking of a woman and driving a 40 ton truck when it happened. Poetry happens with 3,000 gallons of excrement in a tanker trailer a few feet behind your head on a highway to the sewage farm.

I adore Wordsworth and admire Heaney. I revere and respect that laureate of the milk float – Benny Hill. I guess you guys don’t know what was the  Number One song at Christmas 40 years ago. Yes, it was “Ernie” who drove the fastest milk float in the West. Anyone too young to have known the poetic magic of this Bard of the Bristols dressed in a buffoon’s doublet of entendres can see it here. I am not going to claim that this is great poetry, all the same it is part of a tradition of narrative ribaldry that dates back to Chaucer. A few lines such as “ghostly gold tops” and “all alone at Linley Lane” would not have disgraced the pages of the Greats. If you wish to study the lyrics as a poem see them here. Just be grateful that I have not exposed my tomes of Narrative Verse to posh up my assertions.

Today I made a pilgrimage to Eastleigh in Hampshire where Benny Hill was himself a milkman. I know this place since I used to live there. It is unglamorous and known locally as “Beastly Eastleigh”.

I was a taxi driver working the pubs and ranks of this humble terraced town. The humour of Benny Hill is hard to analyse. It hovers between the naughty and the creepy, the voyeur and the connoisseur, the naif and the perv. At it’s core it is the genius of a guy who knew the contradictions and inconsistencies of the human condition.It was a genius informed by the experience of life.

When they built a new housing estate on the edge of town, the Council named a road after him.The supermarkets have long since killed the milkies who would have served Benny Hill Close. The Market Street into which Ernie galloped, his badge upon his chest is still there. Not many folk would rank Benny Hill with the giants of poetry and he would never have done so himself. As for me – I’d be happy to come up to his chest.

Was Benny a true poet? Tell me your unlikely bards.

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.