Why do you write? I write cause I don’t know how not to. Perhaps it’s because I do not switch off. I always have a note book with me. I think at least once a day There’s a poem in that and I attempt to write it. Most of the time I do not do the topic justice, but then I think that having caught something on paper perhaps at some point in the future I will be able to. I write stories because I live in my head and images and ideas run around my brain like puzzles, I know the pieces can be fitted together somehow, it just takes time to make it work. Then I stand up half confident that people want to hear my work and most of the times they do. That’s why I write-so why do you?
Here’s a couple of poems, the first is very old. I think I should explain the phrase character song, essentially it is describes songs from musicals that usually define the character of a participant, they dramatically advance the story but do not work as well outside of the context of the musical (You can read an interesting essay about character songs here: http://larryavisbrown.homestead.com/files/theater_topics/musical_theater.htm).
MY FAVOURITE SONGS ARE CHARACTER SONGS
My favourite songs are character songs,
Readymade suits of emotion
That I try on for size,
An off the peg experience of life .
I weigh the world through the eyes
Of someone other’s life and belief.
The ones that fit scare me,
I rarely play such songs.
Of the others I am never sure,
Hesitant metre, the rhythm strained
Or the cut too poor.
When I was young I wanted the answer,
Clear and concise in another’s words,
But real things don’t come manufactured.
The lyric takes a life time to learn.
This next one is about a group I once saw when I was involved with the Chard Festival of Women in Music, sadly the festival does not exist anymore, it had its grant cut by the Arts Council in the early 2000s. The festival existed to promote women as composers and performers. I may have talked about this before, I can’t remember but one of the things I really liked about the festival was the outreach work it did throughout the year, running rock schools for young women. I loved going to the regular gigs they would put on, the energy and enthusiasm was amazing.
I digress, the poem is about a performance by some band I cannot even remember the name of, essentially the group was dysfunctional and aggressive on stage-what’s unusual about that? Well the next day they blamed us, the support structure for the lukewarm reception and for the fact that they had overrun their allotted time to such an extent that the House Manager turned the light on and ended their set, she was waiting to close the building. There was this big scene, on their part, it was very sad. As an outsider I could see that the group was not a group.
THE LAST TUNE OF THE NIGHT
Unfocused anger finds expression,
As the band decide to please themselves.
They jam loose, it unifies them,
Yet they cannot play for ever.
Entropy is waiting
In the shadow of the House Manager
Who turns on the lights.
Tomorrow this dysfunction
Will cause a scene in the foyer,
But there will be no resolution.
The band stagger through
This first and final tour.
This last poem arose from a stray though one day, I had this image of the great Elizabethan poet John Dunne driving a car, just popped in from who knows where. I then wondered what type of car it would be, this set me thinking.
FOUR POETS CARS
John Dunne’s car would be so cool,
Deceptive as James Bond’s Austin Martin,
Carrying love not weapons.
Philip Larkin would buy a Skoda,
Delighting in its unfashionability,
The he’d take the bus.
Andrew Marvell would drive an Audi,
Robert Lowell a Daimler,
A plastic Mary epoxied to the wooden dashboard,
Jesus on his keychain.
Me? I drive a rep’s used car,
Big and red and sad.
All smooth lines to disguise
My limping second hand verse.
Have a good weekend.