Wednesday, 18 April 2012

NaPoWriMo Poem Eighteen: CN, Tanita, Dido, Ludwig, Annie

The singer's voice is neither male nor female,
a whisky sweet as mead
and smokey as the Romeo and Juliets
I chomped when I was trying to look butch
and fooling no-one. I drift down

back to the road out by the coachworks,
the bridge that made my stomach flip, Twist
in my Sobriety on radio, my father's angry voice,
'Is that a man or woman?' I pitch forward,

land on your sofa, resting my head on your shoulder
as a whole vinyl record of Tanita's voice
spills out around us. Thoroughly domestic,
all I ever wanted: what chance did I have,
what did she have, what chance any of

the objects in your gravity,
linked in non-locality, colliding atoms
bouncing off this moment?
That night I made White Russians like a tic,
kept that Dido song I liked trapped on repeat
and sang along - 'I want to be a hunter
again' - and somehow got home, drunker,
almost, than I've been before or since;

that repeated snatch of the Pathetique
hummed under my breath
following Maria round the seminary, shamming
that I knew anything real about music;

trying to reorder Asian History,
the last shelf of my section,
while Annie Lennox sings of changes drifting
the morning after when we talked divorce.
No more I love you's. Language is leaving me
in silence.

        *               *              *

And, on the stroke of midnight, here's NaPoWriMo poem 18. This was inspired by listening to CN Lester's fabulous album Ashes, which I finally got round to listening to today, and which I recommend you listen to as well - they do a brilliant version of 'Joan of Arc', the Leonard Cohen song. Because I like to be peculiar, the title of this poem is taken, not from a CN Lester song but from a Rae Spoon one, 'Come on Forest Fire (Burn the Disco Down)', mainly because I realised when I ran over the draft that I'd left Rae out and couldn't see any obvious way to crowbar him in there. It's not in response to any particular prompt, but I suppose, in the sheer number of song lyrics quoted, there's perhaps a little bit of a hangover from yesterday's instruction to include a song lyric in a poem.

***Edit 19/04/12***: I've changed the title. 'Ask the Colonial Ghosts' was a nice way of crowbarring a Rae Spon reference into the poem, but didn't really fit on the day when the news broke that Britain had suppressed files about our suppression of independence movements in the 50s. So instead I've just gone for the names of the musicians featured in the poem, in order.

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