Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bus notes 16

In the third year of the course,
Geoff had done the words
        and I was the noise,
        the music, the drapery
        to show up against.
After a term or so, the thing
took up too much time,
        his energy all out,
        an always pouring wound
        to be tended and wondered at.
There was too much Patti Smith,
too much Rimbaud, too many crystals
cut up fine and that John Giorno track on loop.
        Geoff was too overbearing, too hurt;
        the ragged fucker talking at a volume
        while all the quarter-witted others' 
        dead glossy PoMo non-jokes 
        spun about his vast head like flies.
For all the good odd flakes
of worded magic he’d thrown up
        I couldn’t help in time but wander off
        and paint till it got quiet.
Somebody told me later that the speed
and the work of living finally had him burnt.
He was sectioned and then sent out:
a series of single rooms endlessly.
        And so, years after, the 126: that voice
        out from the Three Estates
        and polished up, enunciated,
        seeped through the memoried self’s thin skin.
The hair had gone, along with
that good dress sense done on the cheap.
        We said hello, both wary and still fond.
He told me his address and on leaving him
I unthought it from my head; it took a while.
        A quiet bit of work; quarantining
        the past; a betrayal.


  1. Well I dunno. The loyalty to a former fellow student of the arts is natural and admirable. But there are some memories that beg for the mercy of forgetting. And too... Fine cut crystal and Patti Smith... to survive these things at all, let alone be capable of climbing on and off a bus, bespeaks some useful fund of secret resource. Not all things are always evident. Not all things were all that evident in the first place.

    One sometimes tries to imagine Rimbaud's thoughts in the delirium litter, coming back from Harare to die. What was all that bother about, was any of it really worth the candle, & c.

  2. Unfortunately, writing the poem brought all the piss and wind of Horses and Easter back into the mind.

    I did wonder about the word, "betrayal"; a little too strong, giving the piece a tone that might be thought confessional (and public confessions are something I am wary of). Sometimes odd instincts win out.

    As for that cherub-faced monster, the absence of the poetry in the last years fascinates me more than much of the work in print. I never quite knew how to read him, truth be told.

    I suppose those questions are waiting in the shade for all of us.