People asleep on the tube

Monday

A suited man with wispy hair

Gets on at Bond Street

He collapses next to larger woman who makes him look childlike

Another man, who keeps opening his eyes

To pretend he isn’t tired

Telling me? Or him?

And him too, two seats down

Inspired by the others

Tuesday

Face pressed against glass separator

With those ear buds in

What are they listening to?

Posh boy copies

Or tries to

But gets frightened by his own reflection

Worried I’m watching (I am)

So he readjusts himself

A slight woman

Rests her head against a bigger load

And drifts off

Wednesday

He smiles when he sleeps

I bet someone loves that about him

And then my own

Who met me after work

And now sleeps his way

Into my poem

Thursday

There are too many people

Too close

To s(l)ee(p)

Friday

Today it’s me

Half-drunk and restless

Dreaming of clean cotton sheets

Advertisements

The Fern

Surplus books

Scatter overpriced side tables

Side thoughts

Thought about

Too much

And walking past her

Who begs in a pitied hell

As the pits of olives

Drop from fed mouths

They read (loud)

‘You have too much

Time and money’

And she whispers (quiet)

‘Spare change, sir’

LED walkways

For hot totties

Drinking hot toddies

By the fern

Which slowly dies

But will be replaced tomorrow

By someone who dreamt

Of starting a business

By selling life to offices

But spends each day

Collecting and burying

The dead

How was work

‘How was work’

– It was just a normal day

Sometimes a normal day is a good day

Because it is sat between two bad days

And sometimes a normal day is just that

Completely average

Nothing worthy of note

But sometimes a normal day

Is the last thing you need

Sometimes you are expecting something extraordinary

And have to settle

For ‘normal’

Do you understand how tough that can be?

Prufrocked and Rushdied

I don’t often recognise references or allusions in novels. I think I gloss over a lot and miss much of what makes a book special. But, when reading ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie, something stood out. It was a line at the end of a piece of prose, poetry? The line read, ‘…is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?’. It was the rhythm that caught me. Made me stop. I turned to my phone as it was closer than the book and googled ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’. Now, looking back and knowing more, I see so many clearer links to the poem. For instance the reference to the narrator being ‘prufrocked’ and the almost direct quotation, ‘I have see her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening?’. Nonetheless, it was the rhythm that caught me.

Let me explain.

When I was in second year of university going through a rough spot. Rough? Maybe it was more weathered, or stormed? Anyway, I found it harder and harder to fall asleep. I tried all sorts of remedies but nothing worked. And as always when stuck in an unsure moment with no one to turn to ( or maybe someone but oh god not them) I averted my gaze and found myself looking at poetry. The one thing that seemed to make a slight difference was listening to T S Eliot reading his poem ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ each night. The 7.52min recital mimicked lullaby. The ups and downs, peaks and troughs, cadence of his voice sent my body into as close to sleep as I could muster. It became a ritual. I’d lie and let Eliot sing to me. I’ve always believed poetry should be heard not read and this poem proves that precisely. It is a joy to listen to. Makes reading seem unsubstantial and pointless. Makes my eyes redundant and my ears gold again.

I listened to it again after my recent early evening revelations and my body went into an almost paralysis, a lucid state. I was hypnotised by a familiar voice who had tried many times before to knock me out. But this time, although my mind was preparing to shut down, I wasn’t. I was still revelling at my newfound knowledge. Insider knowledge. Like I said, I never make the links. I can never cut as deep as others into the many facets that make up and inspire a novel. I’d struck gold and it felt amazing. And so, as cliche would want it, I couldn’t sleep that night. My head full of things I wanted to share. And so I share it with you. Below is the discussed extract from the novel ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie which I recommend no one reads but everyone to have read.

“The first night and the second night, the first two nights of the new year, she demonstrates her wares, let’s him see the quality of what’s on offer, not only physically but emotionally. She…and here I rear back and half myself, ashamed, prufrocked into a sudden pudeur, for, after all, how should I presume? Shall I say, I have known them all, I have seen her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening? Do I dare, and do I dare? And who am I, after all? I am not the prince. An attendant lord, deferential, glad to be of use. Almost, at times, the Fool…But, setting aside poetry, I’m too deeply in to stop now. I am imagining her already. Perhaps kneeling beside him on the bed. Yes, kneeling, I think. Asking, is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?” (p.78)

The Rude South

Commuters are like buses

And I am human

Or bus

Stuck in traffic

And everyone around me is beeping

Their voices

And the buses are ignoring each other

And no one is giving way

Or talking

Because we are all too desperate

To be away from each other

Not because we are the rude South

Or because London is lonely

But because this is life now

Or something like that