Lungs in mouth - switchback to the border (you had to cross) - Christ empty as a kiosk in January - no you - no need to summon the hordes that passed here.

Great for junkies now (they love the desolation) - douane & snaps of terrorists. 

In the first town (Catalan of course) bullet holes pock facades by broken liquor stores.

No pleas by me though - feels safe in my rented Peugeot.

Footfall of harried intellectual
with suitcase tattered
heels so vulnerable;
snap, snap,
even an inch is enough -
I cannot help enjoying the glamour.

Always the English confused by abroad.
They wrote too much
buggered Marxists cheering conflict
(but here for sex and verse)
from pulpits in basalt cliffs
and now the rain starts.

One Way Street

Fuck Modernism. Now it's weekly bins whereas
(in my street) parking and directions are impossible.
Long ago I travelled there - via pilgrimage to Collioure -
now in Witney - birthplace of 'lager louts' © Douglas Hurd
the Chavs are controlling my movements. I visit MOMA
(Oxford) a cultural divide I worship (am stuck with) -
such damn fools - peacock in a giant gold cage - I scowl my rage -
see the comments book - I dared address the curator by name but signed 'Gilbert Gobster: outraged Sunday painter and local water-colourist'. Returned on the 100 bus - sweating oleum; O wanderer wherefore art
thou? Into the Market Square abode of 'shiremen' (beefy-headed Oxon fodder).

Once I tried painting them
the sluts and venereal turds  
I toured the bars and pubs
affecting a lisp and offering to listen.
Fucking hell I suffered!
Became known & can't move without jeers
(negative equity and downturn meaning
Summertown is out of the question).

'Who is producing art for the new builds

The putative title of my surely-to-be-rejected project. One day I'll pack up,
take my case like Walter Benjamin but only to cross at Eynsham (toll bridge free on foot) or hop along the A40. Please mistake me for a migrant - preferably an Eastern European artist dealing in platitudes about borders. I'll put my work into any drawer (with labels) gallery visitors can open and shut quick as larry-oh and just glance at my name; I exist in the comments book anyway under my own (erased?

Seriously though. I say venereal but nothing so dˇclassˇ
nor bohemian, I remember my house purchase from Barratt's
I joked about the opportunities, not just for mixers and diggers:
I'm run ragged, kippered, stalled on bob-a-job memories from whenever.

Wrong Turn

Of course I read Orwell in my youth - I can quote reams from 'Down and Out...' (my own writings are furthering that tradition!). Class is unimportant -
opportunity - all cultures - little Billy the ballet boy shows how narrow assuming all such are bovine - Frears dribbling how art transcends - still, I'd scarper myself if chased by 'shiremen' - one wrong turning off the ring-road I did regret - returning from stakeholders' meeting on 14-19 outreach to ethnics - you know the signs (tyre places, young people on corners, large mottled forearms clutching comestibles). Stopped dead: 'Beuys woz ere' I half-joked then realised my wheels were gone, brick-hoisted and installed for the fuckers to skewer at leisure (c.f. kebabs).

Appalling - the ingratitude.


Animals; I remember painting a sunset in the Market Place and some shit throwing fried onions at me. So I went conceptual. An installation of racist chants superimposed on multicultural pieties. No takers. A collage of used nappies on takeaway cartons. Ditto. Recordings of nightbus' incontinencies overdubbed with Larkin and Kate Clancy. A terse rejection.

An anthology for some clap-house publisher prompted various responses:

'...showboats his sneering irrelevance. Best understood as an attempt to attack true poetry, of which I know him to be profoundly ignorant. Veers between fevered lunacy and formless obscurity; there's nothing here to interest this discerning reader.'

Jed Bracewell - poet and translator - winner of the 2003 Feta prize for the collection 'Mumbling in the Moon's shadow

'Too loud and bullying; hasn't he stared at an autumn sky, scudding with crows and leaves flying widdershins? If so he lacks the means to show not tell. And where's the science? Natural magpies that we are, some of us jump from fractals to Schrodinger's cat as easily as we juggle families and writing. Go figure.'

Su Tenderdrake, co-facilitator of Hard Tacks, a heuristic workshop for unlucky sods.

'I ask only one thing of a poet - that she makes me see afresh this mad myriad place. His poetry leaves me cold as a snowman without a bobble hat, cold as a pike in a northern reservoir. Kippered'

Tilly Stigmata, poet and winner of the 1998 Brodie prize for her (first) collection 'Sumo Wrestling in Auld Reekie'.

Fuck 'em all!
Fuck 'em all!
The long and the short and the tall:

The Thames seems any river only ours.
We walked the banks so many times, 
I trace them in my dreams and
at sunrise the traffic howls;
I know you're passing, north or south. 

     © Paul Sutton 2008