Ted Bonham

Fragment (Consider Revising)

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In the Poetry Library – 24/3/16

Why did you get your laptop out even?

What could you possibly hope to write here, surrounded by your betters, sneaking fruit pastels into your mouth and wondering what you did with that bottle of water if it’s not in your bag? You can feel your teeth rotting in your mouth and you are thirsty. You remember the pain at the dentists was like having teeth pulled. Thirst is something to write about. And the feeling of nails down black boards. Children don’t get that feeling any more.

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An Anatomical Portrait of the Artist formerly Drunk on Shandy

I haven’t posted for (more than) a little while, so here is a poem I wrote for the most recent BCU Anthology.

 

Shall we for ever make new books, as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring out of one vessel into another? Are we forever to be twisting and untwisting the same rope? – Laurence Sterne.

 

Shall we-
Shall we dance?
Through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
To your beauty with a burning violin
With Leonard Cohen to the end of love?

One, two, three, forever?

First consider Pound’s binding principle,
Because though we may have read nothing new in ever,
There’s definitely money to be made here somewhere—
We should put together a proposal for the council
To take on that lucrative new recycling contract,
Or flip cheap property from bank foreclosure auctions,
Or else become involved in the manufacture of a revolutionary new drug,
Remaining one step ahead of Government regulation
And the University’s own guidance on plagiarism
To provide—for a price of course—a cure
For early onset cryptomnesia.

The key is not to pour your heart out
But to get a spare one cut
Keep it around your neck on a length of string
So you’ll never be without access to a liquor cabinet.

Are we forever to be decanting Shakespeare?
Was it the Immortal Bard who called for us
To twist again, like we did last summer?
I don’t remember much you know
It’s not only the old rope that’s unravelling
As we sit methodically pulling things apart,
But there’s money to be made here somewhere—
And a limited selection of goods
That can be purchased from the prison store.

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Metaphors are linguistic compounds

This is another fragment from my novel in progress and draws on this article about Bleach.

 

Metaphors are the linguistic compounds within a text responsible for its meaning. In order for you to change the meaning of a text you have to change the metaphors. The imagination in bleach breaks up the chemical bonds of the metaphor molecules thus altering the gist of the text.

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Ministry of all talents

(a poem found in this Guardian article)

The prime minister, David Cameron,
invited Boris Johnson to attend
all wings of the party.

David Cameron
was given a rapturous reception by Tory MPs
when he addressed them in Westminster on Monday.
Cheering members banged their desks to welcome his success.
George Osbourne
has been given the additional title of first secretary of state.
Boris Johnson, the prime minister,
will be given a rapturous reception by Tory MPs.
The BBC was given warning that it faced a tough fight.
The prime minister is prepared for a fight with the BBC.

Cameron hopes to highlight his aim to lead the party
of aspiration and compassion.
Cameron hopes to highlight his aim to lead the party
of George Osbourne.

The prime minister
said he wanted the Conservatives to be seen as the real party of working people.
Cheering members banged their desks.
The prime minister
said the Tories needed to bring the UK together.
Thatcherite veteran MP John Whittingdale, culture secretary,
has described the £145.50 licence fee as “worse than poll tax”.

George Osborne hailed the “great sight”
of seeing Eurosceptic troublemaker Bill Cash “pledging undying loyalty”.
George Osbourne, the first secretary of state, said after the meeting:
“There was a very serious message.”
Boris Johnson will attend meetings of the political cabinet.

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How to Make Your Own Baby Mobile

You will need: Two wire coat-hangers, some string or thread or broken headphone cables, and whatever small, sparkling items of junk you can find.

1. Push one wire coat-hanger through the other, tie it together with some of the string or thread or whatever if necessary.

2. Tie the bits of junk on various lengths of the string or thread or whatever and attach these to the coat hanger structure.

3. Hang the coat hanger off something or attach it to the ceiling above your child’s cot.

4. Watch their little eyes light up.

 

[From my novel in progress Notes to Self]

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Shouting at London (from the Top of Balfron Tower)

My latest spoken word piece, recorded exclusively for all of you in the highest quality possible from my laptops internal microphone.

This poem originated in a translation I did of the Lorca poem A Cry to Rome (from the Tower of the Chrysler Building):

Apples delicately injured
by the slender silver of the blade,
clouds ripped by a hand of coral
that carries on its back a kernel of fire,
fish of arsenic, like sharks,
sharks like the tear-drops that blind the multitude,
roses that injure
and the needles that pierced your veins,
enemy worlds and love smothered by worms
collapse on you. Collapse on the great dome
that smears the oil of military languages
where a man pisses on a dazzling dove
and spits coal dust
surrounded by thousands of bells.

Because there’s no-one to distribute the bread and the wine
nor to cultivate grasses in the mouth of the dead,
nor to turn back the linens of those at rest
nor to cry for the injuries of the elephants.
No-one but the million blacksmiths
forging chains for the children that are yet to be born
No-one but the million carpenters
to make the coffins without crosses.
No-one but the lament of the mob
that open their clothes to wait for the bullet.
The man who despises the dove must now speak,
must scream naked between the pillars,
and inject leprosy into his bloodstream,
and cry a terrible cry
that dissolved their rings and their telephones of diamond.

But the man in the white suit
ignores the mystery of the wheat ear
ignores the wail of the mother,
ignores that Christ can give water yet,
ignores the money burning the prodigal kiss
and the blood of the lamb on the beak of the idiot pheasant.

The teachers teach to the children
a wonderful light that comes from the mountain;
but what comes is the meeting of sewers
where the dark nymphs of cholera cry.
The teachers highlight with devotion the large, tipsy domes;
but below the statues there is no love,
there is no love beneath the eyes of hard crystal.
Love is in the flesh torn by thirst,
in the diminutive hovel that fights the flood;
love is in the ditches where the tillers fight hunger,
in the sad sea that rocks the bodies of the gulls
and in the darkest, breathtaking kiss under pillows.
But the old man with translucent hands
says: Love, love, love,
acclaimed by the millions dying;
says: love, love, love,
in the trembling tissue of tenderness;
says: peace, peace, peace,
in the shiver of knives and melons of dynamite;
says: love, love, love,
until you put the silver on his lips.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, O! Meanwhile,
the black man that takes the spittoons,
the boys that tremble under the pale terror of the masters,
the women drowned in mineral oil,
the crowd of hammer, of violin, of cloud,
will cry as they smash their brains on the wall,
will cry across the domes,
will cry, crazy in fire,
and cry crazy in snow,
will cry with their heads full of shit,
will cry through all nights together,
will cry with a torn voice
until the cities tremble like girls
and the prisons of the oil and the music break,
because we want our daily bread,
flower of alder and perennial threshed tenderness,
because we want the will of the earth to be done
that offers its fruit to us all.

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Your Childhood in Menton

A translation of Tu Infancia en Menton by Lorca based on my less than rudimentary Spanish, Google Translate, the Ben Belitt translation and this one.

Yes, your childhood, now the fable’s source –Jorge Guillen

Yes, your childhood is the fable’s source.
The train and the woman that fill the sky.
Your solitude, elusive in hotels
and your pure mask of another sign.
It is the childhood of the sea and your silence
where wise glasses are broken.
It is your stiff ignorance where once
my torso was defined by fire.
The rule of love given to you, man of Apollo,
crying with the alienated nightingale,
in a pasture of ruin, you whittled away
by quick, unresolved dreams.
Thinking of opposites, light of yesterday,
indexes and signals of chance.
Your waist of restless sand
serves only trails that do not climb.
But I must search in corners for
your warm spirit without you, without understanding,
with the pain that stops Apollo
with which I broke the mask you bore.
There lion, there, wrath of heaven,
your failure to graze on my cheeks;
there, blue horse of my madness,
pulse of nebular and minute-hand,
I must search the stones of scorpions
and the clothes of your mother girl,
crying of midnight and torn cloths
that take the moonlight from the temple of dead men.
Yes, your childhood is the fable’s source.
Strange soul of my hollow veins,
I must search for you, so small and rootless.
Love of always, love, love of never!
Oh, yes! I want you. Love! love! Let me.
Do not cover my mouth, you who seek
the corn of Saturn in the snow
or castrate animals on behalf of heaven,
infirmary and the forest of anatomy.
Love, love, love. Childhood of the sea!
Your warm spirit, without you, without understanding.
Love, love, flight of the deer
through the bosom of white without end.
And your childhood, love, and your childhood.
The train and the woman that fills the sky.
Neither you, nor I, nor the air, nor the leaves.
Yes, your childhood is the fable’s source.

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More Delicious Spam

This comment was a little too close to some of my own poetry for my liking…

“What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity on the topic of unpredicted feelings.”

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Laughing Song

(being a corruption of Blake’s innocent song)

When the green woods laugh with the voice of the dimpling stream runs laughing by the air does laugh with the green hill laughs with the noise of the meadows laugh with lively green grasshopper laughs in the merry scene when Mary and Susan and Emily with their sweet round mouths sing ha ha he the painted birds laugh in the shade come live and merry and join me to sing the sweet ha ha he when the green woods laugh with the voice of the dimpling stream runs laughing by the green hill laughs with the noise of lively green grasshopper laughs in the merry scene when Mary and Susan and Emily with their sweet mouths sing ha ha he the laugh in the shade come live and merry and join me to sing the sweet ha ha he when the green woods laugh with the ha ha he of the dimpling stream runs laughing by the air runs laughing with the dimpling hill runs with the noise of the meadows laugh with lively painted birds laugh in the merry scene when Mary and Susan and lively green grasshopper with their round mouths sing ha ha he the painted birds laugh in the shade come live and merry and join me and merry and join me to sing the sweet ha ha he when the green woods laugh with the voice of the dimpling stream runs laughing by the air does laugh with the green hill laughs with the noise of the meadows laugh with painted green grasshopper laughs in the merry scene when Mary and Susan and Emily with their sweet round shades sing ha ha he the dimpled birds laugh in the shade come live and merry and join me merry and join me shade and come merry and join me.

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Populating the Self (a found poem)

Consider the moments:

Over lunch with friends you discuss Northern Ireland.
Although you have never spoken a word on the subject,
you find yourself heatedly defending British policies.

You work as an executive in the investments department
of a bank. In the evenings you smoke marijuana
and listen to the Grateful Dead.

You sit in a cafe and wonder
what it would be like to have an intimate relationship
with various strangers walking past.

You are a lawyer in a prestigious midtown firm.
On the weekends you work on a novel about romance
with a terrorist.

You go to a Moroccan restaurant and afterward take in the latest show
at a country-and-western bar.

From The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporay Life by Kenneth J. Gergen. Line breaks added by Ted Bonham.