Sunday, October 10, 2010

My new poem on the anatomy of shock is published in the autumn issue of Monkey Kettle

Dippenhall Street’s Narrow North End

In Shock, Cycling to Roke Farm Nr Odiham Village

A deluge of cur, domestic and stray,
Having breached the Lidl on Dogflud Way,
Is pouring and pawing through Farnham’s centre,
Defying the model by failing to enter
Those turns that orthodox floods would ingress –
Borelli Yard, which leads to the cress
Of the low-lying Gostrey Meadow,
Or the upper ends of the oxbow,
Which, on either side of The Borough,
Lead down to Union Road's non-thorough
Description of a concave line.
After pouring past roads which incline
Downwards, this flood of caprice –
Compelled by fondling wisps of anise,
Or a parasite in its brain –
Turns sharply up Crondall Lane.
Inundation, sceptical of declivities,
Repudiating proclivities
That unpretending floods exhibit,
Raises its microchipped crest to fit
Through Dippenhall Street’s narrow north end;
And the poet who did not intend
For his last poem as a young man
To be about shock, enters the span
Of shock’s bardo.

Dear Patron of these unedifying
Couplets – my wife is lying
In the recovery position!
Won't you condescend, please, to commission
This poem as found,
As if the references to phizog-bound
Flants are as per your brief;
As if you requested the “shock” motif
And the Crundhal Hundred setting?

This morning, whilst my wife was getting
Ready for work, she slumped on the bed.
I pulled my jeans on over my red
Pyjama bottoms, and I could see
She had had a stroke, and so, gently,
I pushed her onto her side;
And went, dear Patron, on a cycle ride.

Let this be the verse/your invoice;
From a mid terraced cottage near the Rolls Royce
And Bentley showroom, commencing.
The pollen, perhaps wilfully unsensing
Of direction, is included as agreed,
So too are the chaplain, his singular mead
And the hopelessly spookable horses of Odiham,
Their flehmen and vocodium,
Their alien-sounding call of alarm.

In shock, I am cycling to Roke Farm,
Ingesting and inhaling flying
Ants; my wife left lying
In the recovery position;
We are fast in this intermission
Between the life we shared before
And the next, as carer and cared for.

Odiham’s three-abreasting equestrians –
As egocentric as Farnham’s pedestrians
(Farnham’s pedestrians – never trust ‘em,
For jaywalking there is the custom,
A blinkeredness, unabated;
And the bright follies of the designated
Points for crossing are ignored).
Anyway, as I am cycling toward
Some self-centred riders, three abreast,
Almightily they are dispossessed
Of their skittish, broncoing hosses.

Wendy Carlos and alpine schlosses
Set on mountain podiums:
These are the disparate things that Odiham’s
Horses evoke with their calling;
A brief spell of eternally galling
Vocoderous yodeling,
Evoking incongruous bedfellodeling
A rain shadow wind that flows
Down leeward slopes and ELO's
Delightful "Mr. Blue..."
Are spatchcocked with contumely into
My wallowing shock,
Wadding up my Being, like burdock
Wads up a horse’s mane with its seeds.

Alas! for Odiham's weak-kneed breeds
Of horse – prodigiously skittish,
Waylaid by the merest “pfft”, un-British!
Alas for those wazzock savants – aloof
And blasphemously un-bombproof,
And yet, by some untenable quirk,
Shunned by “The Sanctuary for Frankly Berserk
And Freaked Out Horses” in Ewshot,
The village that has a Rorschach inkblot
Limned on the sign that welcomes you in:
Effroyable papillon felphplurbin –
A butterfly or two rearing horses?!

The chaplain attached to the Royal Air Force's
Helicopter base near Odiham
Drinks windsock mellibrodium,
A lachrymose mead, best drunk alone,
Made with the pollen that collects in the cone
Of a windsock; and he does appear –
Emerging as he is from a gap that deer
Have made in the roadside hedge – to be
Considerably mithered and liminoidly
Lost to the billowing mead he quaffed.
The rays of the level sun – so soft
And sloomily rendered – are blinding;
And the poor chaplain, instead of finding
A mercifully remedial promenade,
Or temperate path, which one might regard
As not too much to ask for,
Staggers, and then staggers some more,
Into the way of the shying horses.
Slovenly pollen, extracted from sources
Of conspicuous direction –
Not to have made a slight correction
To its host's passage was remiss,
Making a mockery of the osmosis
That primed it to orient smartly.

The flants disperse as the chaplain, partly
Because of the pollen's inaction,
Collides with the breeds of un-British extraction;
But instead of screaming, he has the look –
Three fingers pressing on his elbow crook –
Of a mellow charades-playing guest,
Or of someone after a blood test,
Holding a cotton wool ball in place
On his antecubital space.
Pantomime or phlebotomy;
Forlorn fingers – the very three
He tends to press on the pulpit's rim
To steady himself – are giving him
No support, not here.

Shock is an angel, but insincere;
Stark but quite at home with lies;
It don’t philosophise –
It don’t even floss its teeth;
Shock is an angel, a soaring sheath
Of deliverance and deception,
Gingivitis and the perception
That time is slowed, each moment as long
As God's ever-voweling diphthong.

Syllabic fingers in the crook of his arm;
In shock, I am cycling to Roke Farm,
Ingesting and inhaling flying
Ants; my wife left lying
In the recovery position.
Sans denouement, verse in transition:
Fysigunkus shock, phizog-bound flants,
A flood that favours a road that slants
Upwards, the chaplain's futile resort –
Three fingers that vouchsafe no support;
And shock is an angel, a sheath, a bearer
Away from the life of cared for and carer.