My first book of poetry was called “Pomes For Illitirats”, written in blue biro in an exercise book when I was eight years old. It was heavily influenced by Spike Milligan’s goofy stuff and Miss Hobson used to get me to recite bits from it in class. I took that a stage further and recorded chunks of it on cassette which I got her to play from a machine on her desk while I stood at the back of the room.
Once a week she used to read from a book of our choice picked from the school bookshop and she foolishly let me talk her into “Day of the Triffids”. She gave up on it as soon as the swearing and whiskey drinking started, as it was inappropriate for kids of our age to be doing that sort of thing, or at least not in school.
I must have been a nightmare to deal with but they made me “Pupil of the Year” anyway. And I still blame Miss Hobson for my ongoing weakness for sheer black stockings.
After that, I went off to do some research for 39 years.
How do you like your poets in the morning? Fried or scrambled? Hard boiled? Soft? At least you can bash their heads off and dip yourself in them that way. If Bukowski was a mongrel then Sylvia Plath was a Red Setter, but they were both barking. And now dead. Which is really how we like them. Drunken and degenerate helps too because its hard to read a poet that you can’t pity.
I’m still offended by the idea that Blogging Improves Lives or that Life Improves Blogging. Write to live or live to write? Writing for a living? Who’s living? Indeed do we have a write to live at all or is that just part and parcel of the modern fashion for an overblown sense of entitlement?
My main problem is that I have no idea how to talk. I really can’t be arsed because flapping my lips up and down gets such poor outcomes. Nothing I say ever does me justice. In 1967 the User Friendly Interface was not conceived, or at least not by my mother. There is something wrong with the software. My screen is permanently blue.
Sure there have been patches applied. The occasional update. I have turned myself off, and on again, many times, but the reboot is never quite smooth enough and I don’t have a Safe Mode.
I would rather be words on a page or a cassette player on a desk. Everything else is just too uncomfortable. This is why poets drink or blow their own brains out. I sympathise.
You must be pretty desperate
To sit and spill your guts
And write this stuff.
Well yeah. OK.
Can’t argue with that.
And the guys reading it
Hell they’re scraping the barrel too
It’s not even like
You’ve got anything to say.
But this is better
– I’m telling you straight –
Better by half
Can touch you.