Once I had a tape made of something that did not exist; I’d never be in a band
at that rate. After some delay I fathered a child with my neighbours, and we sang
the baby songs, till they went away somewhere. I cared, but I had a life to manage.
A pencil thin moustache would come and go. You didn’t know me then, not any
of you. It was around 1980 or 1988. I had not yet begun to think in ‘off the record’
terms. I felt myself immune from germs, also. Little fragments of memory, such as
moments of gardening, of talking like a hawthorn, or some flower (a Bill or a Ben
from Play School, but less noticeable in pitch), come back to me; a decorated plate
of macaroni, or cauliflower, kept me going then, or some refillable black potion
in a Styrofoam cup. It couldn’t be said I had a grammar, or a rhetoric, or a theory.
But poems decay. Honour decays, if it is not kept up. If I could have lived for long
in a voice I would have. London abstractions, Glasgow abstractions, on top
of Sydney abstractions, all had birds living in them. Not all English birds either.
The fun people had on TV then! The hair, and not only the hair, but full monster
suits. The mashed potato had a smoky, bullety, flavour, the gravy made the black
and white tasty. To know me is like pulling teeth, I’ve been told more than once.
I’m still immersed in 1986, with a student card, and a bank account, and a life
as thin as Peanuts really was, for the secondary characters. You can’t drink beer
on a diet of fairy floss, as they said back then. To fall in Manhattan was easy
in the shoes I was wearing. What is my point? Glamour has the right to children,
I said so from the beginning. It’s a nice day for a red wedding. For Otis Redding
to walk in and grab somebody’s trombone, and blow it. My point is not that this is
how to write poetry, but that while I had a penchant for acting like a steer without
a mother (no mother, no penis), when the greeny blossoms were on the tree, yet I
wanted, however slowly, without losing the poker in the ashes, or the milk-breath-
flavoured smell of a calf’s muzzle, to break into the abstractions, like love does.
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