Tuesday, 27 September 2011

‘Adjectives’: the Novel; the Movie by Roy Fisher

‘Adjectives’: the Novel; the Movie

        Basil Bunting: ‘Adjectives drain nouns’

Defending more than defensive. Ill-equipped, formal,
            luxurious. Defending.

Generous, invasive, status-conscious. Anxious, generous.

Shallow, acquisitive, kitted out, entertaining.

Ill-tended, ill-fed, worn: stale tending to foul.

Grimly, well-organised, obvious. Drunk.

Questing, Attentive. Reserved. Contained

Roy Fisher, Standard Midland (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2010), 35.

Dancing Neanderthal by Roy Fisher

Dancing Neanderthal

Stronger muscles than ours;
Sharper tools –

Could speak?



Didn’t. Unless with sharp stones
they incised their skins
that would die with them, observing
the ban on lasting records.

Traffic in symbols? Paint on rocks?


Didn’t. May have been foresight and hard taboo
to stop themselves inventing
religion, football or flags. Our world’s ways of life
keep strong by prohibitions; and they may just have been
better than us at that, as they no doubt were
at contemplating extinction.

They could have danced?

All night, with that much muscle.


No reason why not.

Hard wired to diatonic?

Roy Fisher, Standard Midland (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2010), 32-3.

On Spare Land by Roy Fisher

On Spare Land

rank grass
kids’ dens: the entire
little essay.

Commons without commoners
the Unadopted. A footpath worn
from corner to corner. Wormwood.

And how at the edge the hoardings
paralyse words high up
in the common air.

John Cage
on a bland enough midwestern
              – use random means
to set coordinates then
hang around at the intersection
all day if need be. There’ll
be something to interest you!

Roy Fisher, Standard Midland (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2010), 13.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Past Time by Harvey Shapiro


               I believe we came together
               Out of ignorance not love,
               Both being shy and hunted in the city.
               In the hot summer, touching each other,
               Amazed at how love could come
               Like a waterfall, with frightening force
               And bruising sleep. Waking at noon,
               Touching each other for direction,
               Out of ignorance not love.

Richard Kostelanetz, Possibilities of Poetry: An Anthology of American Contemporaries (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1970), 344.

Automatic World by Philip Lamantia


The sun has drowned
virgins are no more
there is no need for understanding
but there is so much to see

So come with me
down the boulevard
of crawling veins
Don’t be afraid
blood is cheap!

A paradise song?
A dirty song?
A love sonnet?
Scream it out!
Then we’ll have the human walls
tumbling down to meet our march
into the raw-meat city!

The velvet robes are strewn
across the landscape
We step upon the sidewalk
that goes up and down
up to the clouds
down to the starving people
Don’t ask me what to do!

Keep on going
we’ll end up somewhere fast
on the moon perhaps!

Rainbow guns are dancing
in front of the movie queens
Everyone is laughing
flying dying
never knowing when to rest
never knowing when to eat

And the fountains come falling
out of her thistle-covered breasts
and the dogs are happy
and the clowns are knifing
and the ballerinas are eating stone

O the mirror-like dirt
of freshly spilt blood
trickling down the walls
the walls that reach the stars!

O the flock of sheep
breaking their flesh open
with bones sucked
from the brothels!

O the grave of bats
sailing through shops
with the violent hands!

When will these come?
When will these go?

The sun is riding into your eye
virgins are bursting
from under my flaming palms
and we are slowly floating away

Richard Kostelanetz, Possibilities of Poetry: An Anthology of American Contemporaries (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1970), 246-7.