Thursday, 1 November 2007

Telling Stories

On the storyteller's blog recently, I read this poem and Pat the darling suggested that it might be nice to be able to read it as well as hear it. Thus, making this weeks post easy for me. Here it is just for her. Please feel free, all you writers out there, to suggest punctuation, or other, corrections. Neither punctuation or poetry are my strong points so don't worry about offending me. I definitely think of this as a performance piece rather than a visual one. Some poems have a look on the page that, along with other aspects of form, contributes to the overall effect. Not this one. This one needs to be read aloud, preferably by a slightly stressed out housewife, with Charlie Parker playing in the background. So if you can get your most psychotic female friend to read it to you , slightly squiffy if possible, that will only contribute to its meaning. Failing that pop over to storytellers and listen to me reading it.

A Sense of Routine
- After Tomaz Salamun

I smell a blue tinsel Christmas tree
I smell excitement, expectation, a spicy fug.
I smell the lure of the snow but the threat of a cold not yet caught.
I smell Brighton, seagulls, cool blue light
The promise of the sea beyond that hill.
Sandcastles, ice-cream, flask-tea, modesty. Running, running to get wet.
I smell an ambulance long gone
I smell the absence of my father
As my mother ‘gets on’ I smell the fear in her eyes.
Time moves forward, I smell the silver jubilee
Bunting, street tables, a pride of neighbours, I smell camaraderie.
I smell puberty.
I smell the odour of indifference that permeates my school
Working class kids already dismissed
I smell the obliteration of hope. Teachers that preach resignation,
Boiled cabbage, meat pie, spotted dick, ho ho.
I smell a new boy in town, his middle class ease,
I smell London and restaurants and theatre seats.
I am infused with the perfume of ‘will you marry me?’
I smell parenthood. I am a mother, responsible, joyous, fat.
I smell Robert, Bob, Bebop, Bippity, Bobsey, BOO, there you are!
Baby powder, knitted booties, clown borders, Winnie the pooh,
Old broken pianos. I smell chit chat and giggles and tractors and trains and
When the fuck did I last talk to an adult?
I smell loneliness. To Kent, to Bedford, anywhere but here, I hate this town.
I smell grey, shrivelled, bastard natives.
I smell promotion, a new house a new town, hope.
The Heck, Islesteps, Glasgow, Bedford I, Bedford II, real friends.
I smell a garden, a kitchen table, supper parties and wine dipped nights.
I smell fizz at Christine’s, cat food at Julia’s, poetry at Frances’.
The aromas of friendship and comfort permeate my life.
Learn Italian, learn French, read law, learn to cook, to dress, to be, to relax.
Too soon, I smell change, smells like doom. Career, promotion, Moffat.
Leave friends, leave life, leave law, leave garden. Bob cries.
Follow husband, and smell stupid, sulking self.
I smell money, greed,
New interests,
Virginia Woolf’s trifles and foreign holidays.
Thirty different types of lettuce in a French supermarket
Ruins in Turkey
Barney’s in New York, Frank Lloyd Wright. I smell consumed.
I smell a burgeoning friendship while smoking in the rain.
I smell the choohie monster wild but with a good heart,
The dirty fairy, just wild.
I smell Julie Arkell, haberdashers, ironmongers, V. V. Rouleaux, wallpaper, green.
I smell normal.


Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Great to see it written down - it's mesmerising when you read it though. Absolutely fanbloodytastic.

Ello said...

Wow that was awesome! I loved this poem even though there were a few references I did not get, I made assumptions and really enjoyed the message and rhythm or your poem. I also have to say you have one of the best blog titles! I'm glad I found you - will definitely be popping by again!

Mary Witzl said...

I really like this, Eryl. I laughed out loud in several places. Oh, do I remember sitting there with toddlers listening to nursery songs and gritting my teeth, longing for newspapers, French roast coffee, and the camaraderie of other women, preferably ones who didn't only want to talk about their kids.

And what a shame that we cannot blog about this town. Perhaps we could come up with a different name for it?

Will you come over some day and show me how to use my microphone to record? Seriously? I'm running out of four-letters words and my kids can't figure it out, either.

Eryl Shields said...

Sam ~ I have to say something other than 'thanks Sam' again. So, the purple sheep is thrilled by radishing!

Ello ~ Hello, thanks for coming over and making the effort to comment. As for those assumptions, they are the right of all readers.

The name of my blog came from my son, like all children, I guess, he is inspirational and I do seem to spend most of my time in the kitchen.

Mary ~ We should take a leaf out of Dr. Maroon's blog regarding blogging about this time, I'm sure we could pull it off.

Let me know when you are free and I will drag my son over to help you with your microphone. I have to call him everytime I want to record something. He feels he owes you for the rhubarb anyway.

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ I meant 'blogging about this town' lord know what happened.

Mary Witzl said...

Until I read your last comment, I never even spotted that you'd written 'time' for 'town.' Weird, eh? And me a former proof-reader, too!

Pendullum said...

I spell Speechless...
Thank you for posting this great poem...

Carole said...

I've listened to it twice and read it several times. You done good. It is just excellent.

PI said...

Oh I'm so glad you did it Eryl. Thank you so much. It's so good to see it in black and white although I wouldn't have missed the reading.
My grand-daughter has typed out - step by step - how I record and I had a practice yesterday and it seems to work. I hope to do another soon.

Dr Maroon said...

I agree with Pat. Do another. We can't judge you on one however good it is, and be sure of this, we SHALL be judging.
Just kidding.
no I'm not.

Eryl Shields said...

Pen ~ Thank you.

Carole ~ I'm so glad you like it.

Pat ~ You're most welcome. I've just been over at Storytellers and listened to your latest offering, it's so sad and poignant ans lovely.

Doc ~ Pat said she hopes to do another, not that I should! Most of my poems are about death so I'll spare you those. If I ever cheer up enough to write another one that's about life I'll post it.

Dr Maroon said...

Death poems are the best.