Wednesday, 31 March 2010

New genre-defying poem is born - Hello Photo-em!

Performance poetry has been my bag, of late. Now, that's on odd phrase to use. My bag. I could have said my passion, my interest, my obsession. But I didn't. I'll let you dwell on what that choice means for a moment -

- and so, back to the point. Performance poetry has been my bag, of late. Now, that really is an odd phrase. Is poetry a receptacle for the various essential and non-essential knick knacks (and Nik Naks, yum!) of my life? Perhaps.... Now, this is getting into a poem. Here goes...

Do I carry it around with me,
a heavy weight across my shoulders?


I carry it with me everywhere,
it slinks into my thoughts,
dropping casual items of clothing
as it bares itself to me, filling rooms
with traces of rough scent
and leaving my bedsheets tussled and messy,
it leafs through my bookshelves,
delving into volumes and slim tomes
with glancing interest, leaving torn
bits of flyer as page marks, but never
bending the corners over, Heaven help
what mother would say if she saw.

Do I carry poetry around with me?

I feel its eyes flicker with intensity
in surreal situations; glaring
in remonstration in minutes hours days moments
of neglect; opening and closing with langour
in my most delirious dreams, trembling
cycloptic visions doubling and tripling
in insane stretches of retina, sight-bending
light-wending heaven-gifted fervour
of foresight, fever
of foresight, ferment
of foresight; dulling and glazing
as they cease seeking outside stimulation,
swivelling inwards, to the swirling numinous
vortigo of inner lights;
do I carry poetry around with me?

Do I carry poetry around with me?

I feel it shift and stir with pleasure,
haunches on a cat's silken back,
when it feels the sound of perfection,
although perfection is imperfect,
and each imperfection perfects the perfect
perfectly. Mmm. I feel it strain and arch,
taut muscles, balancing and testing the air
stroking its form, particles preening
its soft folds of skin at the scruff of its neck,
craning in the direction of love and attention,
too arrogant to mention its self-absorbed sway
of foot slinking foot slinking foot slinking foot.
I feel it leap and explode from potential
to kinetic in frenetic expulsion of lyrical compulsion.
I feel it.

Do I carry poetry around with me?

Do I carry poetry around with me?

Heck, I am poetry.

So. Performance Poetry has been my bag, of late. Or rather, I have been my bag of late, if a literal interpretation of that interluding poem is proven.

But, in a recent foray into London, which took in the many glorious sights of the city (Okay, really we just stood and gawped at the entrance to Number 10, or tried to, but 12 was the only doorframe in our line of sight. My sister, Sophie "The Snipes" Ellis, was most disappointed she didn't get a chance to test out her new toy) I had a spare half an hour on a railway platform. I had a camera for entertainment. So I made so made some Photo-ems (for want of a better word. Yes, I could have just said Photo Poems, or Picture Poems, but where's the fun in that?) Here's the progeny of that particular photo-em shoot. I can only put the first one up in this blog post, but have no fear, there are plenty to follow.

It was actually quite an absorbing task, and made me look at items in the vicinity with a completely different perspective. I wasn't reading the billboards in boredom, I was looking at them with words in mind, searching for single words that sounded and looked good, or short clusters of words that once taken out of context became more interesting. So for example where "New customers only" begins the boring sentence of a bank's billboard, it actually has a new life as quite a sinister phrase in the photo poem - sorry, photo-em - I used it in. (I'll post that poem in a blog post later.)

An oddly satisfying part of the process was noting - and refreshingly, feeling a complete indifference to - the assorted, confused looks of consternation and amusement from other passengers and those waiting on the platform alongside me. It must have seemed as if I'd taken leave of my senses, wandering in a daze about the platform, photographing close-ups of railway signs, train information and station notifications, museum adverts and vending machines.

Once on the train, I almost felt the need to explain myself to one poor lady sitting opposite me, a woman of at least fifty, perhaps on the way into London to visit a friend or relation, on a day trip, dressed in a sensible coat and a vaguely anxious expression. Or perhaps that was my doing. She even took a photograph herself, with a disposable camera, through the carriage window, as we streamed along the route to Waterloo. Perhaps this photo-em compulsion is catching.

Here's the first photo-em. I've come with a few titles just now, although I think I'd actually prefer not to give titles, as these impose an interpretation that wasn't there when I snapped the photo-ems.

Hey, maybe that could be a new feature of my blog - each week I come up with a photo-em, and ask for suggestions from readers. Like a caption competition, but not. Right, done. I'll do it.

In the meanwhile, read my poem below (either with or without the context of these imposed titles: "If Pygmalion was a Simpson Character" or "Golden Touch"). How about simply, location and date? Much better.

My First Ever Photo-em:

Esher Station on 30th March

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