Friday, July 29, 2016

Finding Poke-Poem-On

Lilith by Kiki Smith
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
—Poems by Neil Fulwood, Nottingham, UK
—Photos by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA



I haven’t slept. My watch has stopped.
I found Keats at the bottom of someone’s garden.
Their dog made a challenge
for rights of capture. I’m not sure
when I ate last. I found Clare in a wood
where the bluebells were like pixels.
There’s a map on my iPhone screen
that doesn’t tell me where I am. I found Shelley
under a pile of mulch in a small allotment.
A fox made itself scarce in a motion blur of auburn
and I thought I might find Hughes. But
I was disappointed. I can’t remember
where I found Wordsworth and Tennyson.
It might have been near water. It’s cold
and there are clouds that look like dark angels.
I found Auden in a lay-by, crouched
behind an articulated truck. My battery life
is diminishing. I found Larkin in a library.
The “silence please” Nazis hounded me
with their ssshhh ssshhh ssshhh even though
I was only talking to myself. Flaps of leather
have peeled back from my shoes. I think my feet
are bleeding. I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept.

 Two Windows, Point Arena, California


Things are better now. The last shred
of white entitlement gone
with the outgoing tide.

An end to the two-man class system,
the strutting ownership
of a shipwrecked Englishman.

Palm leaves no longer double
as parasols over outdoor tables
at an imaginary gentleman’s club.

This island has been purged of gentlemen.

 Twin Tails, San Francisco


The guy on the Alaska railroad show
squeezes between hundred-ton freight cars,
freeing the handbrakes, ready
for three diesel locos to take up the strain
and inch a few million dollars of cargo
out of the rail yard. Snow’s coming down
like powder-coated razorblades
and he takes a moment to grin at the camera:
“I like to go home with everything I came with”
is what he offers by way of risk assessment.

My job is unmanly. The best I could give
to a film crew slavering for gory details
is “I like to go home without a paper cut”,
or “yuh, a day without my pen
leaking into the breast pocket of my shirt,
that’s a good day”. I need a career change.
I’m wondering about ground floor opportunities,
how much I’d have to bulk up,
where to send my CV.

 Gualala Beach Trail, Gualala, CA


WMD—that's a nice acronym
I'll be with you whatever
Saddam Hussein—let's topple him
I'll be with you whatever

Fill the news with rhetoric about I-raq
I'll be with you whatever
We've got the guns and each other's back
I'll be with you whatever

We've got the missiles, the tanks, the planes
I'll be with you whatever
All those oilfields waiting to be drained
I'll be with you whatever

The ground troops are ready to be deployed
I'll be with you whatever
We'll sort the dead from the men and the boys
I'll be with you whatever

For God and country and Lockheed Martin
I'll be with you whatever
For approval ratings and profit margins
I'll be with you whatever

 End of Trail, Gualala, CA


Our thanks and welcome back to Neil Fulwood from over the pond, who writes that he is sending us poems, “including a couple inspired by recent events in the media. I find I’m writing in a very satirical vein at the moment, but with the world seeming to get crazy and more unstable every day, maybe humour is the best response.” Ma-doo-zee hears ya, bro… And congrats on being the first to send in a poem about the Pokemon Go craze! Neil was featured in the Kitchen on June 24, 2015.


Today’s LittleNip:

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidly to pure wind.

—George Orwell



 —Celebrate poetry by heading down to the 
Three Penny Theater, 1723 25th St., Sacramento 
tonight and/or tomorrow, 7:30pm, for the theatrical 
release of Gene Avery’s new book, Death by Deer 
Rifle (a love story from the fringe), hosted by 
Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium/Bill Gainer and 
 starring Martha Omiyo Kight, JT O’Dochartaigh, 
Kellie Yvonne Raines & Dean Shellenberger. Free. 
(Sorry, Gene, that I didn’t know about this sooner.) 
Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box 
at the right) for info about this and other 
upcoming readings in our area—and note that other 
events may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.