Now Is Not The Time For Politics – Scratch!

Hello blog followers and whoever else occasionally drifts by.

I’m stepping in to taint the poetic purity of The Mundane Comedy with some non iambic prose for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I’d like to say a belated thank you to everyone that followed, shared, commented or simply read some of the poems I wrote every day from 18-6 months ago. It would have been really weird to have written all these Cantos without a slight notion that they were being appreciated somewhere.

Secondly, I’d like to let you know that the project is entering a bit of a second phase that will culminate in a (hopefully touring) one man show and a book. It all begins on Monday 18th March with a rough cut presentation of the one man show, entitled Now Is Not The Time For Politics. The title actually comes from a comment by our most prolific commenter and all round good fella, Peter Litton.

The show samples some of my personal favorite Cantos and shapes them into a loose narrative about the year in which I became a Dad. However, the whimsical nature of the blog is also represented in poems about journeyman boxers, racists on the tube, chow mein, my dislike of The Shard and pregnancy week by week guides that compare foetal growth rates to exotic fruit and vegetables.

The event will take place upstairs at The Poetry Cafe and will also feature Dan Simpson scratching his new show. Admission will be free but a hat might be passed around a couple of times. We will also beg you for your merciless feedback so that we can beat our shows into Fringe Festival shape. The event will start at 7.30pm and my show will be up first so don’t be late!

I will continue to post about further news in the months to come but for now I hope to see you on the 18th. Further details can be found on the Facebook Event page.

Niall

Canto CCCXLIII

That green outside the carriage,  whizzing by,
is England, out of reach and mythical,
reflected darkly in my daughter’s eye.

The lonely houses, facelike, quizzical,
lorded over by thick pylon wires,
where home’s a stopgap between the local

and work, where gardens cough up thick bonfires.
I don’t know if it’s fields or momentum
that keep my girl’s attention on the blur

before our city state welcomes us home.

Canto CCCXLI

The strange thing is that I always remember
where I was during those ten seconds
it takes to win the one hundred metres,

but can’t remember where I was last weekend.

Canto CCCXXIX

The last time I tackled this book of poems
(another copy, from the library)
was on our Honeymoon—the distant foam

(beyond our sunbeds, hissing at the beach)
was laced with jellyfish; the throbbing tide
would drag us quickly off, out of the reach

of any rescuers that might have tried
to dredge us back from the South China Sea.
The lines could never catch, perhaps my mind

was still softened by jet lag, so I’d sleep
until the clouds blew in from the rainforest
to send us back to watch Malay TV

as Orangutans shrank into their nests
and binturongs wrapped their constrictor tails
around thick, swaying trunks as the tempest

blew over in time for our evening meal.
Right now, the sun is squinting through our blinds,
the bills come in and undergarments flail

as the wash cycle clicks from rinse to spin.
Even our little girl, dozing next door,
has come to know the torpor of routine.

The lines that sailed over my head before
all spark to life as I read them again.
Some poems fail on bright, exotic shores—

they need the dry tinder of the mundane.

Canto CCCXXVIII

The only sunset we see from my flat
is reflected from the stacked windows
of tower blocks on a housing estate

in Forest Hill, about four miles or so
across the leafy swathe of Dulwich streets.
I doubt that I will ever come to know

the little lives played on the twelve square feet
of carpet in their cosy living rooms,
or whether they are taking in the sight

of the sun vanishing behind our roof.

Canto CCCXXII

An unheard poem infiltrates the ear
despite the pissed voices that drown it out,
just like cicadas that hatch on odd years,

time amplifies, there is no need to shout.

Canto CCCVIII

It’s quite a thing to spend each Tuesday night
in the company of poets, not the ones
that are “established” whatever that might

signify ( go ask the guardians).
For some there’s no conflict between the page
and stage or other dull meridians,

the tribal wars the Avant Gardists wage
against the mainstream and the popular.
Some haven’t heard of Simon Armitage (!).

You’ll never read them on Underground trains.
Some are lawyers, others sweep the streets,
some read once and are not seen again.

They come from places poetry can’t reach.

Canto CCXCVIII

Sixteen years ago, a ragged youth,
I was a bunch of nerves, itchy and frisky,
if only those same years had made me smooth

as they have done with this wee dram of whiskey.

Canto CCLXXXVII

The six foot skinhead, sporting Millwall tats,
sits on his own, minding an empty pram
inside the waiting room where rowdy tots

are building creaking Legoland kingdoms
then swatting them back down like oldschool gods.
He’s turning pages with his calloused thumbs,

a picture book with no big fancy words
about a panda bear at a circus,
which softens his hard man image a tad,

though after he plants a sloppy kiss
onto the cheek his beautiful brown grandson,
I get the feeling he’d still kick my arse,

it’s just that nowadays, he’s got a reason.

Canto CCLXXXVI

There’s nothing like a run in London rain,
in shorts and tee shirt, like a bloody fool,
your knee joints groan as loud as city drains,

you’re panting like a full bollocked pit bull.

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