Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Other Life

(blame the resonance of mince, lentils and black bean casserole)

There is no mobile phone.
You miss the train and trust
he will wait for you.

There is no supermarket.
You buy a meat pie from the corner shop
and a tin of Batchelor peas.

There is no video recorder.
You watch Planet of the Apes
on a black and white portable

and make your own entertainment:
marjuana grown from seed in terracotta pots;
you play marbles, and lose them.

You picture him in Euston Road,
head bowed against the hard rain.
It is so cold.

There is nothing but the Incredible
String Band singing, this moment is different
from any before it.
These moments -

you will hold them in your palm,
string them together like beads,
hang the beads around your neck:

each train the last train;
each bead the last bead;
each minute the last minute.


trousers said...

I'm generally quite rubbish with poetry - in the sense that it seems to take an inordinately long time for it to filter through to me. But the first and last verse immediately stood out for me - albeit for different (but positive) reasons - and so I'll hold on to that for now and be back anon.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, Trousers - perhaps I should have said this in the post, but: the very last line is taken from the last line of another (someone else's) poem but I can't for the life of me remember whose. So might have to change that.

cusp said...

Oh I love it. Conjours all sorts of image and memories for me too. I wish you could find soemone to set it to music. Think you've gone off on a sojourn to times past 'up the smoke' x

Reading the Signs said...

Cusp, I was actually hearing The Incredible String Band in my head, but actually they were already Woodstock dinosaurs by this time. Yes, definitely up the smoke, my dear.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

Fantastic poem - I love it. The past, even if it was largely miserable, proves its worth as creative material.



Reading the Signs said...

It's true, Pants, and even the miserableness seems, somehow, illuminated.

Thanks for the lovely comment.

Kahless said...

Love it. But then I always love your writing.

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless - Mwah!

it's me again said...

Signs, I love your poem, but then that doesn't surprise me one iota, really.

Sending you pebbles and stars and stars and pebbles and repetitions, too (let's not mention bosoms, people will get the wrong idea), and some background music to your writing. (Incidentally, last night something compelled me to listen to "Diamonds and Rust" - I think there's maybe a memory thing in the air.)

Mwah from here


Reading the Signs said...

Heavenly sychronicity, you again - I was inspired by my very own poem to go wandering to this very place myself just the other day. Indeed it is the only recording I could track down of the song - but then I went to iTunes and managed to download it.

No, do say bosoms. People will of course either think you have gone quite off your rocker or, as you say, get the wrong idea - but either way I come out of it looking just a touch more interesting and glamorous. Perhaps.

Used to sing 'Diamonds and Rust' on the geetar.

Minx said...

Wonderful. Some forms of 'entertainment' have stayed the test of time.

Reading the Signs said...

Ta Minx, and I guess you must be thinking of marbles - trouble is I keep losing them.

nmj said...

hey signs, i too am rubbish at/with poetry, and this is great, a poem i can understand, that has resonance... i too love the last verse... and btw i am tonight making a bitchin' spag bol, your last post put me in the mood. i am wearing cords too, they are back in fashion i believe. all i need is some incense and i am right there.

Reading the Signs said...

NMJ, I'm delighted that my words touched you at both the poetic and the bitchin' spag bol level! I know what you mean - just writing about it made me want to have a plate of it myself.

I've been burning the Nag Champa today. Something definitely in the air.

R.H. said...

I like the Euston Road part.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, R.H.

MrSpike said...


Reading the Signs said...

Cool of you to say so, Mr. Spike. Ta.

Tall Girl said...

This comes across like a song. A great song.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks very much, Tall Girl.

Digitalesse said...

Oh, happy daze! I love it. Brings back memories for me too. I felt inspired to write, too.

Reading the Signs said...

Hey Digi, thanks. Felt like going back in time to take snapshots.

Reading the Signs said...

Hey Digi, thanks. Felt like going back in time to take snapshots.