Eels

Why did you say thanks

And offer your seat

No one does that here

⁃ People are too busy to be kind

Well you should stop

People will stare

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 too 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)

UTB

He spat his words

At my little tin cap

Which kept my thoughts warm

And ruffled the feathers

Behind my ears

They made hand gestures

Which offended

Further than across the field

And shouted hate

Through generations

But when ball hit net

They erupt

And bodies close in on bodies

And it is tender

More tender than they wish to admit

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

Thursday Night

I want to get home before you

And make dinner

Tidy and clean

And make my home feel like mine

I want you to walk in and kiss me

Not me to you

Because I haven’t spent a moment alone

Until now

Walking lonely in London

With so many other lonely people

And I thought about staying on the bus

Till the end of the line

Or getting off three stops early

So I can walk with myself

Hand in hand

And learn my body again

I remember her

She opens her eyes

as if for the first time

to her own tears

and doesn’t know how

or why

she is crying

and moments later

she wakes again

to her confused reality

and sobs slowly

 

She waits for him

to dry her tears

so she can forget again

 

 

It’s been a while

Its been a while

but life catches

takes you by surprise

and bites at your tail

It’s been a while

I’m sorry

But when him and her

and she and he take time

to organise

then life is left to linger

longingly online

It’s been a while

But here

Where I take time seriously

when it stops at the red light

(unlike some)

I can pause

and ponder

and forget outside these lines

black thick hairs

at the corners of my screen

sprout out

and ingrown

in my mind

 

…and yours too

hopefully…