Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Verity Limo is the name of one of the characters in my new book.

Summer 2001, I travelled from Chesterfield, England, to work as the sound recordist for a film being shot on the Croatian island of Silba. Soon after arriving, I befriended a young woman called Romina, a friend of the director's, who was working part time as part of the crew, whilst she also enjoyed a holiday on the island with her husband, Andrej.

Andrej's family had a house on Silba, and Romina told me that some woodlice had made their nest under a pile of logs next to an olive tree in the garden. I was invited round to play chess and to record the faint crepitating sound of the woodlice.

At the end of the shoot, as I was about to board the ship to leave, Andrej handed me this old photo. He told me that when his family had bought the house, he had found it tucked beneath the wrapping paper used to line a drawer in his bedside chest.

Written on the back of it is a note, and the signature, VL.

And here, the photo that Andrej found;
Verity Limo and the elfmill sound
Of woodlice ...

Verity Limo.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Two stanzas from Kept Man, the opening poem in my new collection.

2 in the wee smalls, wearily tweaking
Lines as shlothy as milky pobbies
Calibrating those rhyming jobbies
Till they rhyme unplodding,
As brisk as Wee Willie Winkie's nodding
Who is it loves the man whose nom
de plume is Rogan Whitenails?
She is as kind as the keep he fails
To contribute towards is pressing.
She sleeps upstairs, for sleep's her blessing,
A place where no rhyme goes.
The rhyme-widow, denied a widow’s
Pension, sleeps upstairs,
As still as the profitless wares
Of poesy are abounding,
As wan as Rogan's resounding
Rhymes are pyrotechnical,
As true and non-ironical
As Rogan's devices are knowing.

* * * *

Ask me "How is it going?",
And I will tell you straight:
If the Rogan Whitenails Estate,
A century after I die,
Can support my smug descendants, why
Can I not do the same,
Right now, for my baby daughter, whose claim
Must surely be more compelling?
And who, from the selling
Of my fusty rhyming wares,
Will benefit - perhaps the heirs
Of my children's children's children!?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Me reading a stanza from my new book. I had planned to deliver it straight, but a funny theatre happened on the way to the thing.

The first of the ghostly sightings was in
The winter of 1608:
Think of the months you associate
With spring, with summer, with birdsong –
All of these clement months had long
Been winter in Dymperk, so while
This sighting took place in August, I’ll
Stand by the wintry season ascribed.
In 1608, a man described,
Perhaps too keenly,
How he had witnessed a lady obscenely
Hovering in mid-air:
You would expect a ghost at least to wear
Knickers – not this apparition!
She hovered in an upright position,
Her legs spread, her knees
Bent; and a gynaecologist sees
Less in a whole career
Than that man, crouching in fear,
Saw in a couple of ticks;
With the power to transfix,
Her unmentionable chasm
Was served by the stirrups of ectoplasm
That held her feet estranged,
As well as the hem of her skirt, which ranged
High above her waistline.