Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Against the Silences to Come by Jennifer Compton

Against the Silences to Come                          
fr david mitchell                                                  

She is holding the faded blue chapbook in her hand
looking at herself looking at herself
she has carried it across the sea
                                                   & back again
                                                                         across the sea   
                                                    & back again
& she didn't know why
                                      until now.
                                                       The return of the ampersand.
Poets used ampersands back then
he did
& so did Ron Loewinsohn
Copyright © 1965 – Four Seasons Foundation
Distributed by City Lights Books
There is news of him.
                                   There is news to hand.
                                                                        News has come in.
There is news of the poet who gave her
AGAINST THE SILENCES TO COME                                     
in the kitchen of his flat in
                                            - as the taxi driver quipped -
                                                     Sentimental Road.
Where he gave birth to a typewriter
          while the refrigerator was 'making cold'.
His surname is written
                                     on the buffer page
                                                                    & the ancient price
& below
her name.
He is moored in a nursing home in Sydney
incapable of speech
his hand speaks for him
on the page
she finds
               she is not sorry for him
                                                     has no pity
                                                                       she finds
                                                                                      in fact
                                     she has been furious with him
from since then until now
since he picked her up & dropped her
all in one night.
He is sitting in the Babel Cafe
                                                     waiting for his wife & daughter
to dock tomorrow
                              - 'on the waterfront' -
he has bought a painting
for his daughter's room
it's mostly pink.
        she supposes
                             that he was drunk.                                                         
                                                            That habitual drunkeness
                                                       that comes across like charm
                            up to a certain point.
Tomorrow doesn't count.
                                         From tomorrow he would not ...
but tonight
once more for luck.
She supposes that she supposed
                                                    that she was safe because
- 'I write poetry too.'
& yet the gift.
                      I find on the last page of his famous book
I find a grief
                     a small grief
                                          a small grief like a sharp stone in my smart shoe
fr him.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuesday Poem - yellow room by David Mitchell

I have to give you a link to this amazing poem by recently deceased NZ poet David Mitchell.
It is of course, in the recent selected - Steal Away Boy - published by AUP in 2010.
Although the poem is called yellow room I always think of it as Cafe Lebanon.
I heard David read it several times when we were both kicking around Auckland back in the day.
We met in a cafe - the Babel - in front of the Barry Lett Gallery, just off Queen Street.
The photo is just a taste of what Auckland looked like then.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Tom Glew by Jennifer Compton

Tom Glew

If this man hadn't died untimely in his 37th year in 1886
his widow would not have been forced to keep house
for my great-great whatever and his thirteen children.
Nor would she have married him, long after his wife died.

He bequeathed it all, everything he died possessed of,
to her, to Lucy Glew, as was. Or so my brother says,
with bitterness. The mansion on the hill in Aro Street,
the Royal Tiger, the row of workers' houses, the lot.

The rents and revenues his children were accustomed to.
And when she died she left it to the Church. Imagine that.
I imagine she had been his wife in fact before they wed,
a bearded widower, a pragmatic yet comely housekeeper.

Perhaps sin preyed on her mind in her second widowhood,
stoutly creaking in her corsets, as respectable as anyone.
But the Spot, the Stain, known only to the One who knows.
So she drew up her Testament to save her soul from Hell.

She bought indulgence with money down, under the counter,
because this remission of punishment was quashed in 1662.
But still. No harm done to leave what you can't take with you.    
The generations yet to come left to make shift on their own. 

My brother tells me he throws stones at Tom Glew's epitaph
Beloved Husband Of Lucy GlewWhy did you have to die,
you silly bugger? We are shoeless now and it's all your fault.
Families do fall, and we fell into our familiar improvidence.