Poet files #17

What a crazy week THAT’S been. I barely remember it now but I do know Rupert Murdoch is now the new King or something, isn’t that right? I signed a petition against it but apparently the coronation is soon. The NUJ organised a protest but my six-week-old cold virus (my new life companion: earache, deafness, headache – natch – and sinuses, with tooth pain thrown in) was playing up badly that day and it has been soooo freezing cold. Just crazy. So I didn’t go, and lo & behold, I felt a bit better yesterday. Thanks. It’s going around, we’re like a ghost ship at work, we all have it. We’re an extraordinarily productive ghost ship, and none of us are sleeping at all well.

No, NOT a goat ship!  Though that would have been a better segue to the email I received the other day in the throes of this manic week. (Tbh, I feel as if I’m living in a Laundry Boat, it’s so long since I had a chance to put everything away. I literally can’t remember the last time I was home before 8pm.)

No sooner had I written that Julian Assange and John Galliano must surely be related, and that Gaddafi was like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, and no sooner had I wriggled off the Charlie Sheen hook by saying I wasn’t the least bit interested in him, than I received an email headed: “Charlie Sheen, goat-arsed poet.”

So this is the first Poet File since September. And not only that – he’s even a “real poet” (as someone once defined it to me): one with a book. (It’s self-published, apparently, and “out of print”, but it has a great cover.

Don’t be fooled by the title (I know you won’t). From what I’ve seen, any peace will come not dropping slow or fast but dripping in damned spots. This is no serene ramble in a velvet jacket. It’s more like Bill & Ted have tea with William Burroughs. I knew I was going to like it as soon as I read Sheen’s remark earlier in the week, that: ““I’m insulted. I am confused. But these resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre.”

Not just anybody can do that, you know.

This line is good, too: “Can’t is the cancer of happen.” Can you see what he does there? He presents an apparent paradox which is formed mainly of the sound echo in “can’t” and “cancer,” and then interposes the word “happen” where the reader will have been expecting “can” – foiling the shared expectation of the ear and the brain – and uses that surprise, that cognitive disappointment, to bring the line to life. Who says poetry makes nothing happen?

Anyway, as my correspondent points out, according to one of the commenters on the web article there’s a poem in there about how he has a goat in his arse. You don’t get that every day; it’s a Biblically surreal vision, almost Blakean in scope and imagery.

Click here to read another poem, transcribed from the trailer of a movie by Adam Rifkin who did Sheen’s cover art. There’s also a link to the movie clip. Don’t say I never give you anything.

We constantly hear in the poetry world that no one likes poetry, that poetry is ‘dead’. Poppycock. Poetry is in fact everywhere: wherever you go, if you scratch the surface you find a poet. Poet Files is an exclusive series in which Baroque in Hackney scrutinises the unlikely, and finds the secret poetry lurking there. Look for it every Saturday. (N.b., don’t look for it every Saturday at the moment! We should be so lucky. Look for it occasionally.)

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