I don't think my sticks will ever
Hold together. I will never slap your bum
In front of my mum, she being on
A completely different planet. The weather
Will always be changeable, and Oh my God!
What's happening now? This:
                                    I was playing
'Why Am I Always The Centre Of Attention?'
Then my cute neighbour called at
The back door. She is SO cute! I think
She wants me to be the reason I kill
Her husband. But like I always tell her,
I have this really serious job interview next week,
And my driving test, and you know...
                                   And anyway,
She stuns me by quoting Herman Melville
To the effect that I can go fuck myself,
Which I don't think is in 'Moby Dick'
And I've read it three times so I'm almost
An authority,
                And so, the next day
I was watching a hummingbird humming,
And a wagtail wagging its tail as it hopped
Across the lawn, and I was thinking about some stuff
Although I'm not sure what it was,
Probably it wasn't important, and my cellphone rang
And you'll never guess who it was. No,
You will never guess who it was
Because you don't know anyone I know, so

(When you stand in the shadow of a mountain
And think of home

When you sit in a bar on your own

When the moon shines in your window
And there is a pool of light

You think of home

In the bar a girl gets up on the bar
And her legs dance
                  You think, but you are not thinking)

The branches fall off my tree. The escape clause in my contract
Seems to have been very badly written. I ride my bicycle at night
Because I want to die before I get old. My lake is dry
Like dust and my heart too. You love me? I think you need
A certificate. I must go now because it is time to go.


          'To quote is to adore'
(Twill, 'Thinking About Idiots')

Relentlessly pursuing unicorns with spit on my lapel
The droplets of which catch the sunlight
'Like a lake in the early morning'
(Twill, 'The Story of Water');
Is this Friday? It's so difficult to tell
But most of the time it's difficult to tell anything
Unless it's a cow or a bulldozer. Oh, I just checked
And it's Thursday: 'The days of the week are like stabbings
Of Time's dagger.'
(Twill, 'Of Age and Drunkenness')
The road down into the valley is uphill all the way
To the bottom, then it just sort of plummets;
People absolutely fuck my head up. I didn't expect to find
A library there, and I wasn't disappointed,
And in the place where there wasn't a library
Neither were there magical beasts of dreams,
Although there were nightmares of peculiar immensity.
But I don't take any notice of dreams,
They're just full of the crap you spend all day
Trying your best to ignore 'like the mistake of a wife.'

(Twill, 'Another Fine Mess') I seem to be losing track of my life
Which perhaps is why I wake up in the night
As if from an experimental art film, as if there's such a thing as
Experiment any more; they call it innovation these days;
At least poets call it that; others have another name for it.
Meanwhile, while pursuing unicorns with drool on my chin
From a particularly close encounter with the stuff
Of which dreams are made I come to the half-island
Where everywhere else is behind the trees, where everything else
Is waiting to be discovered for the wonderful future.
The shadows move, nothing is clear either to your eyes
Or your ears, and there's nothing you can actually hold on to,
And you're all the time hovering around the wire
That separates optimism and despair. 'The day
I decided never to do anything ever again
Was a wonderful day.'
(Twill, 'An Autobiography')
There is exploration and there is hunting, there is futility
And there is forlorn hope. You'd also think
A teacher would know at least a little bit about learning lessons,
But what you think is not what you get. What you try
To ignore is maybe what you get lumbered with.
'Boys are worms and girls are children'
(Twill, 'Fifteen Hopeless Romances and More To Come')
And I would cry but there's a shortage of water.

'Fuck Off, And Fuck Off Now'

When was the last time you went out the back door
Into the alleyway only to be told to fuck off
In iambic pentameter
? I could say my poems are
My days 'but that would be bullshit'. I write to myself
All the time but don't always get the references. What
Or who, for instance, does 'The Thin Bastard
' refer to?
Love makes you see things in different ways,
The song says. So does glaucoma, so does a blindfold.
I push past the priestess whose smile is a brief epoch
In a long history of predominant gloom. Is self-dislike
A weak-kneed and watered-down version of self-hate
Or self-loathing? Popeye is an idiot; brute strength
Will always win out. I was up until two this morning
Thinking about that, and what about self-I'm not sure
If I like you or not? You can be ok sometimes but
Other times, well......  Over by the wall a man is
Asleep in his trousers. I've been thinking of writing
My autobiography, and calling it 'Fuck Off,
And Fuck Off Now
.' I think it should be an autobiography
In what people laughingly call 'verse', which I always
Reckon is the worst name for poetry in the world,
Because 'verse' is the same kind of word as 'frock'
And if you don't know what I'm talking about
The end of the world won't come, nor a voice out of the air
Saying 'Go away, you're a man and therefore an idiot.'
It was a Countess fallen or an urchin raised up.
Anyways, this afternoon I was getting a holiday haircut
At the back of the butcher's, there was a grocer
There, retiring and standing aloof, and Jingjing called
To remind me about dinner later, as if I'd forget
My specious longings, our desires for acceptance.
Which reminds me, have you ever been told to fuck off
In iambic pentameter
? Is writing talking to yourself?
I've been messing with some lines but can't get them
Right; when I get it ok I'll email you. You'll think
It's junk, and you could be right. I have so many
Different accounts, I'm almost other people. You'll have
To make do with basic iambic pentameter and nothing
Fancier; even though my passion knows no bounds
I don't think it's worth the effort of a sestina
Or a villanelle, and anyway all that stuff is beyond me:
I wanted to play the cello, I wanted to paint the soul
But none of that ever came near to happening.
It would be really good if I could wake up from dreams
Of a morning and still be in dreams. I seek sleep
In a sumptuous dwelling replete with damsels
Who still wreak curiously in every good work
Industrious damsels love to be employed about. I think
May I never be barred from these my sweet reveries.

            © Martin Stannard 2007