Poem in Which the sky proves not to be eating the poet

Make out with your poems. Are commonly reported side-effects of loving human relationships. Jonty Tiplady knows. Offering praise effusive. So much so teary bus journeys follow imagining late afternoon chats in basement bars. The Digbeth poem is virtually unknown. Spend whole days on the couch not staring into space rather staring into the most inner recesses of your soul. Find nothing EVER. But radio playlists, discarded. The DJs choose their own records on radio 6. Janice Long’s knees cause Janice Long pain. Remember that criticism re the overuse of real places names in your poems? Hate them for it – all attempts to create and market their own ‘personal brand’. No I didn’t know I Know What Boys Like wasn’t first sung by Shampoo. An unread Frank O’Hara; his Selected sitting unread bar Having a Coke With You on the table. The hardest month being that wherein everything must be renounced. Find how hard the meds hit. Not wanting to eat wanting to sleep but not being able

[oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo]The smell of your hair is not porn

[ooooooo]The pint of Timothy Taylor: Landlord is not porn

[ooooooooooooooooo]The first poet being mediocre is not porn

[ooooooooooooooo The stripped wallpaper (woodchip) in bin bags in the hall is not porn

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooYour face out of focus so close to mine is not porn

Oxford road station: indefinable and made-up. An obvious red-herring. The guess had it either pinched from Jonathan Meades or else sold down the river – some demented piss-head. Which, along with all the onesies of March, was on the short short list; decreed off-limits. I know what my dad would say about demotivation better than anyone else knows I reckon. Imagining the sex lives of strangers: all texting manufactured towards the apology – forgiveness moment. That ersatz closeness. You poor damaged boy. Four things at once with absolutely no offence taken at the meds comment. Restrooms and drunk girls drunk in restrooms at half one in the morning. Home. The Sertraline online discussion forum flashing welcomingly. How vampiric Facebook is –  draining the very life-blood from my Pink Floyd viewing habits. Alec Newman. Eating what the locals eat (though without the slang).  The nastiest filthiest thing you can picture in your mind being a £20 note. Yes. I like it in me. Ooh yes I like it in me. Ooh ooh yes

[William Gaddis: dialogue]

oooooooooooooooThis street I am walking down now and have walked down a million times before is not porn

ooooooooooooooooooooFeelz are not porn

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooLooking like Peppermint Patty – 35 years in the future – is not porn

oooooooYour knees pressed against my knees is not porn

ooooooTravel Scrabble on the train to Preston is not porn

Dead mothers. Wondering ‘comfort or something else this?’ In my life there have been some big things but this is the biggest (probably). In Dusseldorf Irish theme pubs host week long festivals of Barrettiana. Over-subscribed. Tiplady floats in space. Gaze held across the table across the bowl of sausage and mash hands touch. Realising how much only finally. All father father father. Harvest pulp sci-fi novels for vocabulary. Whiff of suburban angst diluted. What is poetry? A list of discrete unrelated things and incidences or something else? Don’t write what you know when you know fuck all she says. Two people sharing an experience as a solid basis for change. I believe in that. And listening to the radio in the past. Drinks and dinner with Frank O’Hara. I will go to Birmingham again this September I expect, yes. Do you still live there Christine? I am so sorry if I hurt you. We hurt each other. Giving way, knees; views of Piccadilly; dreaming of  – of Indonesian cuisine and stomach cramps (unrelated). Not eating properly. Slumped at work, yes; please accept these empty apologies. The sky is not eating me. Under the sky. The colours. I cry

Richard Barrett



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