Lizard eyes see
Emotions to the
Tombs will house
Wombs, and the
Coitus in death’s
Somnus be as
Fertile for a
These ‘Halloween’ poems come from a self-produced collection of many years ago – the first three I posted today were used with students and made more innocuous in comparison with the others. It should be obvious.
I was experimenting with frontal rhyming at the time. I have no idea of this is an established expression.
The wonderful cover illustration was done by a student I taught at the time, ES.
Incubus, like a
Measure sex as
But gloats too in
Ruts and grunts
Through sleepers it
Screws leaving a
Trolls, they’re as
Droll as the
Snide looks or the
All in the
Pall of death,
Leaving just the
Witches with evil
Smack you at
Night and suck
Traces in blank
Transpires that on a
Specks from torn
Blood like a
Dots as the
Spots of death’s
Hosts to their own
Attention for the
Retention of their
Razorblades inside the popcorn balls, LSD secreted in the
candy – here was the other horror story on Halloween
back in the 60s where kids in white sheets and carrying
paper sacks instead walked neighbourhoods safely
without parents and in the certain hope of bulging bags
filled with a different kind of deadly.
So much older and no longer there,
I wonder at those same streets now: escorts with guns
who might shoot anyone not giving because this is our
ritual; checking for messages on the inside of wrappers [like
calls to worship a different god]; strange scared faces at curtains
ignorant about years of these festivities and the dangers we can
imagine but at least call American, or subliminals unlike ours
about sugar and the other sweet certainties of who we are.
IN the morning, a Sunday morning, shadows of sea and adumbrants of rock in her eyes … horseback in leather boots and leather gauntlets by the sea.
In the evening, a Sunday evening, a rope of pearls on her white shoulders … and a speaking, brooding black velvet, relapsing to the voiceless … battering Russian marches on a piano … drive of blizzards across Nebraska.
Yes, riding horseback on hills by the sea … sitting at the ivory keys in black velvet, a rope of pearls on white shoulders.
I used to be able to recite this whole poem, and to do so for a class of students or any individual would draw immediate, incredulous looks at the performance. Understandable. It happened the other night, not that I could remember the poem completely, but I conveyed the gist, and explained the storyline my flagging memory could not deliver as originally intended.
It is a brilliant concrete poem, using a ‘grid’ of letters and from this restricted, defined parameter constructing a story of a gluttonous anteater who, having spotted a substantial meal, eats and is sated, but blissfully so.
I think it was this and other similar playful poems written by the great Edwin Morgan that initiated my interest in concrete poetry, and over many years of teaching I introduced this poem and its structural idea to students who wrote their engaging own. I have also used similar ideas with my experimental writing.
I buy Mantel’s Wolf Hall from one of the two
charity shops I visit today looking for second
hand books or vinyl, a tome so large it has to
displace the wholemeal tin loaf purchased a few
minutes earlier at the bakery – butcher’s chorizo
bangers secured in another compartment of the
rucksack. On both those recycling reading shelves
was a single and stolen copy of John Steinbeck’s
Of Mice and Men, this year’s exam over, and there
will never be the need again to read for study so the
school like each discarding student can care less if
future generations know about George and Lennie,
how dreams are futile, loneliness, why it’s the girls
objectified, if there’s any meaning to sausage curls.