Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Life By The Weirs

The potentiometer poltergeist digs domestic electro,
A genre inured to petty mencolek, thrown wrench and iron-crow.
My catalogue of naive songs, which entities of chaos regard
As a treatise on goitre and galactagogue, the cretin's cafard,
Has occasionally reached a more corporeal demographic;
And straying into the fiefdom of a spirit who scrawls the rubric
“Subito fortissimo” on every page of my lyrical notes
A living zealot is seen as a goosegog; hence bowls of milky oats,
Through apportation, arrive broiling on the ledge outside our kitchen.
I remember watching a man walking beside the River Itchen,
Throwing a ball for his dog, and as he came to the point where the path
Leads past our back garden, he glanced at me. I saw a boy in a bath,
His testicles being massaged with considerable force until
They were crushed, and listened out for any sound that would confute his shrill
Crying, but found none familiar – a carillon’s crabwise travail
And a market seller yelling in Italian could not avail
To rid me of the sense that I had slipped far from the Itchen Valley;
Then, as this vision faded, I saw the man again, gazing at me
Through the kitchen window, ignoring his wet dog and somewhat afeared,
Having witnessed my spasm and the bowls of porridge as they appeared
Out of nowhere; and whilst their steam was rising to cover the window
An unseen finger was scrawling upon it, “regge il moccolo”.
This dire vision, the bowls and message were aversive stimuli,
All because I had replied to an email which was sent to me by
A living person telling me how they had streamed my music online.
The potentiometer poltergeist manoeuvres to confine
My domestic electro to a permanent insularity,
Wherein my work is accountable to his affirmation only.
He believes that I should chronicle the stasis of the restless dead,
Whilst he ensures I avoid anyone living who might turn my head
With their eisegesis. By conferring visions and writing in steam,
He rebukes me and conserves the isolation of that sallow theme
Of emasculation coursing through all my songs, removing the stents
Of a correspondence lest corpuscles of a living malcontent’s
Earthly agenda invade. Most people glancing up from the path see
A serene old house, nothing about its clay-tiled roof, sloping gently,
That could be suggestive of sanctions, and others with a parallel
Cursoriness online will assign the tags “perverse” and “bagatelle”
To a song I have uploaded. Neither set is able to descry
How my house has been transformed into a conditioning chamber by
A spirit who considers my emasculation to be ichor,
Exposing the humiliations and indignities that he bore
When once he lived, as it circulates through the surrogate conduits
Of my work. When I sang about how other men open their wallets,
The words I used – mixed over pre-recorded field sounds transmogrified
By stretching – were ichor. Those men do not seem to stir around inside
With awkward fingers, as I do. Not having earned the contents makes me
Feel like I am a six-year old boy inspecting my pocket money
In a small clip purse with a floral pattern; and those men do not lift
Theirs so close to their eyes and seem tearful, as I do, adrift, adrift,
My fingers scrunched and dipping, feeling like they are wedged inside the four
Corners of a paper fortune teller; and, for him, this was ichor,
As was my sung account of an impecuniosity, also
Involving a wallet – my one, stolen from our car’s dashboard, although
All I had in it at the time was a quote by Thomas Gray, this where
A bank’s debit card should be: “the dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear…”.
Who knows what the thief made of that, but my account of it was ichor
To a spirit who wrought a vision so aberrant that I forbore
To reply further to the person who had streamed my music online.

When we moved in, a friend gave us two saws fastened together with twine,
Arranged into the shape of an awareness ribbon and red with rust.
In those first days in our new home, we noticed that the blades of the trussed
Saws seemed to be growing more red, hung on the door of our garden shed;
But the house was unfamiliar – doors were stiff and I banged my head
Continually on low beams – so we put this reddening down to
Our not knowing when and where in the garden the sun filtered through.
Soon, the saws’ brightness shone at the outer envelope of what is real,
What is rational, and we found beneath them an old fashioned creel
Containing a pharmacy block of alum, two testes, some rosin
And a violin bow. Something compelled us to leave those items in
Place, there beneath my friend’s gift, but we were woken up during the night
By a swarfous lament, and looking outside, discerned in the moonlight
A homunculus made from the medium of balls and bulk alum
Playing tetanus glissandos on the tolerance-laden fulcrum.

“This represents your old lives, let the lessons you’ve learned support the new”,
So had gone my friend’s toast, which made me recall throwing Nick Hodge’s shoe
Onto the pavilion roof when I was 14, persecuting
A sweet lad because someone said he was gay – why, ‘cause he used to sing
In the school choir. “Let your combined pasts be a fulcrum for this new life”,
Added my friend. This new life of stealthily fattening up my wife
To ensure that she stays with me, I had thought, and now, through the window
My wife and I watched a sawist, stood in the creel, with bosoms, although
He was plainly a man, who in playing our old lives was declaring
That he was to share our new life by The Weirs with us. The following
Afternoon, as I was listening back to a song I’d recorded,
The volume turned itself up to max, I ran out and was rewarded
With a bump to my head from a low beam. This is how the sawist first
Became the potentiometer poltergeist, and although I cursed
When I bumped my head, I understood that the spirit was expressing
His approval. I knew nothing of his tendencies for suppressing
All correspondence with anyone living, until it was revealed
To me weeks later, whilst I was walking past the entrance to a field:
A single wire was stretched across it and a plastic tube hung loosely
Around its middle was clacking in the wind. Something sniggered at me –
No! it was but the soft creaking of a sapling’s plastic spiral guard;
Someone was behind me – No, it was the wet earth where I’d pressed down hard
In my boots, squelching as it repaired; but something felt tangibly wrong.
Earlier that day, I’d replied to an enquiry about a song
I had written, about a misaligned jaw causing my chin to twitch.
Alongside this field, I became unstuck in time by a dream in which
I died and, rising upwards, glimpsed an image on Sam Parnia’s plate –
The Person from Porlock was selling Rilke and Kappus’s template
To Coleridge! This semblance progressed into a vision far darker,
And I use the phantasms that followed as a veritas marker
For all that I know about our potentiometer poltergeist:
The Person from Porlock’s inopportuneness and facelessness sufficed,
For his was the form that led the boy whilst a carillon was playing;
After being castrated in the bath, and as Porlock was praying,
The boy’s groin was cleansed with alum. He grew to be a celebrated
Castrato in Rome, but then, regrettably, his larynx was weighted
Down by a goitre, an onerous symptom of Graves’ disease, and he
Announced his retirement whilst on a tour of England, coming to be
A member of the brethren at Winchester’s Hospital of St. Cross.
Italian newspapers reported scurrilously on the loss
Of this great singer, who had sobbed so touchingly above the staves,
Calling him “Cretin Wet Nurse”, a most unkind allusion to the Graves’
Disease, whilst lying about him breast-feeding orphans at an almshouse;
A cartoon showed him as Diana of Ephesus, shooing a mouse
As he stood on a commonplace chair clutching a floral-patterned purse;
Headlines were in English – “From Angel Musico to Cretin Wet Nurse” –
To taunt the residents of Winchester, but tidings failed to converge,
As meanwhile the Hampshire Chronicle was running stories of a scourge,
Of how the “Coenaculous Snammer of Suppers from the Ledges”
Was stealing bowls of porridge – too hot to eat even from the edges –
That had been left outside to cool. The thief was eventually caught
And held in custody – like an oded damselfly lying athwart
Its freedom. Although he was found guilty at the trial, his only
Sentence was to leave the brethren. Wizened, long-limned but with an amply-
sized bosom, he walked from the court, and found lodgings where we now reside.
His defence had been that he collected porridges Winchester-wide,
Gathering them in a creel, so that he could apportion them as dole
To the impotent poor. A columnist likened this to the Creole
Telling of the story of Anansi, a wily spider, stealing
Food from the lizard Abosom, and argued that in mitigating
The castrato’s punishment the judge had been as remiss as the chief
With the bleeding heart, who rules in favour of the incy wincy thief.
The headline’s pun foreshadowed the anansesem-rich commentary,
Stating: “Eunuch vs. a Bosom – St. Cross Skopets gets off Scot-free”;
Thus, the readers were not told why this impunity had been received,
That evidence produced in court had shown the accused truly believed,
When taking the bowls, that they were being left out on the ledges by
People consenting to their donation; and this is the reason why
He had started to scrawl “grazie tanto” on the steamed-up windows.
These messages were redolent of the impulses that predispose
A person to unbridled charity – though they hastened his arrest –
And so this, with accounts of his returning the empty bowls, impressed
The judge, forming the basis for his leniency. Made abject by
His exile from St. Cross, the castrato played swarf requiems in high
Registers, took some rope and hanged himself by the entrance to a field;
Dying unseen, although Thermodynamic Britannica would yield –
130 years hence and at his spirit's bidding – threadbare
Pictures of his demise. It felt like the grass verge was vaporware
For a new technology that could broadcast an unrecorded past,
So that people may witness me throwing Nick Hodge's shoe and contrast
This with the image of enlightened poet. Nick Hodge. Odd that I did
Think of him – once when the castrato's brisk immemorial was mid-
way through being disclosed and again at the vision's close, when I saw
How the feet were jerking, one shoe kicked off to the ground; and the clack of ichor,
And the fizz of earth as I lifted my cheek, and I wanted so much
To hold Nick Hodge, to comfort him like he was my own son; and I clutch
My purse with floral design, and I curse the baby boomer cohort
That is selfish and smug, keeping subsequent generations athwart
Their freedom, and will not bequeath its porridge.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marginalia from "A Journal of Domestic Electro" by Pastor Whitenails

Morrissey’s New Album

Marginalia from "A Journal of Domestic Electro" by Pastor Whitenails:
"Mouse, hamster or cow; yak or aye-aye?"

Solicitous of waiting lists, we were pairing up animals' tails,
Bodies and heads, my daughter and I.

Morrissey's new album, "Waiting Times are Genocide", is on heavy rotation;
Prayers are obsessive-compulsive mantras, lost to semantic satiation,
And the want of results exposes such rents within the family and in the self,
Until this thought takes over: should I doorstep the radiologist, offer pelf
Or admonishment to expedite...

Track 3: NME All Over Again

As I was walking through Cheriton,
someone shouted “racist” out of his car window.
It took me ‘till I got home before I realised they had shouted “braces”
(I was wearing them to keep up my jeans).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My latest poem, "New Life by the Weirs", is largely made up of archaic words, esoteric words and neologisms. It is the age of hyperlinks in a readily consultable docuverse: the myth kitty's on Wiki for meaning, Howjsay for pronunciation; and neologisms are wont to find their way onto Urban Dictionary. It is a great time to be reading and writing poems, liberated from those boring old beatnik writers they wheel out every National Poetry Day, who accuse subsequent generations of protest apathy whilst they are actively trying to prevent file sharing.