Monday, September 01, 2008

Day Tripping

This is the poem that opens the 'Camper Van Blues' sequence in my new collection. It is amongst my personal favourites in the book, and sets the intended tone of the collection perfectly, which is by turns one of nihilism, vatic utterance, emotional restlessness, and irony.

Frustratingly, I can't do the HTML effectively enough to manage the indents, but many of these lines do indent, and that really makes a difference to the poem's dynamics and fluidity on the page. I'm afraid you'll have to buy the book from Salt - next month? - in order to see how it's supposed to be presented. Meanwhile, this is the basic text.

Since I was unable to place it in any of the magazines I sent it to, this is Day Tripping's first outing in public. It was a disappointment to me that nobody wanted to publish it - though I agree it's not a great poem - but at least I can give it some respect on Raw Light, if nowhere else.

Day Tripping

Wasted again, I’m slumped
over a fold-up table
in a battered charabanc
by a Stygian river
listening to nothing.

Slumped on both elbows
in whiskeyed vestments,
hair lank with the addict’s
unwashed sheen:
three months now
unable to pray, or pay rent
or put pen to paper.

Slumped, unseen
behind the stained blind
of a flyscreen
I listen to the wind-shear song
of nothing
the thin translucent whine
of nothing
until my bones begin to smoke
my eyeballs roll up white
and sing.


Bo said...

I like it. Good luck with the collection. You can sign it for me when you and Steve come and visit next (door always always open.)
The html code for a space is &nbsp - you need several to make a decent indent. (Yvonne of Nemeton taught me that).

Jane Holland said...

I'm looking forward to that. Really am. Visiting you, that is. And I'll have two books to bring when I do, if we wait a while longer. I've got a small pamphlet of my Laureate poems coming out in October too, called 'On Warwick'.

I know the html space code - but as you say, it takes quite a few to create a good-sized indent, and it's such a FAFF!

Lazy, lazy, lazy.


Jane Holland said...

Looking at this poem again, with a cold eye, it occurs to me that one of its problems may be that it's too restrained for its subject.

Of course, I wanted to capture the flattened mental state that comes with depression, and it certainly does that, but in the final stanza the poem begins to show signs of coming to life and edging away from the perimeter fence, maybe even tipping into a sort of Ginsberg HOWL for a couple of lines, but I refused to let it and brought it safely back instead within the territory of the short lyric.


Women Rule Writer said...

' lank with the addict’s
unwashed sheen:
three months now
unable to pray, or pay rent
or put pen to paper.'

That's powerful.

I love the poem; it is contained and desperate and true. It doesn't need more.

Jane Holland said...

Thanks. Can I recruit you to be available for such praise at moments of quiet desperation in the future?

Seriously though, I appreciate it.