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HOWL: THE SILENT MOVIE



PETER PEGNALL



Belfast LAPWING


First Published by Lapwing Publications c/o 1, Ballysillan Drive Belfast BT14 8HQ lapwing.poetry@ntlworld.com www.lapwingpoetry.com Copyright Š Peter Pegnall 2013 Cover Image Š Terry A. King 2013 All rights reserved The author has asserted her/his right under Section 77 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Since before 1632 The Greig sept of the MacGregor Clan Has been printing and binding books

All Lapwing Publications are Printed and Hand-bound in Belfast Set in Aldine 721 BT at the Winepress

ISBN 978-1-909252-19-6 ii


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My thanks and gratitude to: Claire Williamson, Graham Hartill and all the other tutors and students on the M.Sc. in writing as a therapeutic tool at The Create Centre, Bristol; they helped to unlock something at a time when I was under siege. Also Mount Pleasant Artists’ Retreat, for solace, company and a little stage on which to strut; Blackwater Press for the first print of Knitting Spaghetti, from Through the Rock (2000), the members of Bright Scarf for their acumen and passion and the company of many other writers, especially Tim Cumming, Steven Clayton, Milner Place, Sean McEvoy and Damian Thompson.

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CONTENTS

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PREFACE BY SEAN MCEVOY HOWL: THE SILENT MOVIE . . . . . . . BRIGHTON ROCKS NO MORE . . . . . . I MET JILL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . INSTEAD OF FLOWERS: . . . . . . . . . NERVOUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME . . . . . . . SOME FRIENDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEEING IS BELIEVING . . . . . . . . . . . MIDNIGHT TRAM TO HOUNSLOW . . THREE OF THEM: EPIPHANY . . . . . . TOSCANINI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KLEMPERER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BOOK OF REVELATIONS . . . . . . . . . A WINTER’S JOURNEY . . . . . . . . . . . CASTAWAY: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CAT WALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE HAG OF BEARE . . . . . . . . . . . . A STORM OF MURK . . . . . . . . . . . . A PRELUDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FOOTNOTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . YESTERDAYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MASTER PETER’S PUPPET SHOW . . . FARGO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GHOST TRIO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LEONARD COHEN ON TV AT SEVENTY BAUDELAIRE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HOW IT IS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HEALING IN HIS WINGS . . . . . . . . . GIRL WITH PINK UKELELE . . . . . . . DENIED FLIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ARTS POETICA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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9 11 13 14 14 15 16 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 34 35 37 39 40 41 42 44 45 46 47 48 50 52


KNITTING SPAGHETTI:

.......................... ........................................... I’m so tired of saying how tired I am . . . . . . . Picture him, at a desk in an emptied room, . . . Leave of absence: ill-wishers, well-wishers . . . Try art galleries. Too many words, Peter . . . . Now you’re here. Good morning, Iberia, . . . . . Dance dance dance, he said, as if I knew how, A flutter. While the sun god grills the earth, . . Gouge it out with your nib, tap it on the screen, For god’s sake pack it in, or pack it tight, . . . . Might as well talk to yourself. Go ahead, . . . . Getting bleary eyed’s one thing. Believing . . . . Or find another arse to sniff. Relish . . . . . . . . Come off it, now Affectation winds through . . Like a glimpse of Hitchcock, like a splatter . . .

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54 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67


PREFACE

Peter Pegnall and I are both grammar-school boys who grew up in the urban steppes of outer West London, a featureless flat plain of two-storey 1930s red brick. It is a neglected, peripheral city-zone where one ‘place’ merges undetected into its identical other - Feltham into Whitton, Whitton into Hounslow - and all under a huge sky, permanently filled with the different engine notes of aircraft ascending or descending on their way to and from somewhere more definite than where we lived. It happened to be a grammar school education, in literature, that gave us a sense of place, a voice, indeed a noise of our own, even if it wasn’t always in harmony with where we came from. In Howl: The Silent Movie 1970s Hounslow lurks in the background, safe and dull, a tedious Eden which was deliberately lost but is still secretly half-yearned for, first in the pubs of Soho, and later in the exile of Norfolk or Portugal. The words for love and loss in these poems echo Shakespeare and Beckett, but there is an equal place in their texture for Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and for the pop songs which once blared out of the sixth-form common room transistors and the juke-boxes of now desolate and boarded-up Hounslow pubs. That combination expresses the grammar-school boy’s fraught cultural fusion. The love poet in exile is a topos as old as Ovid; but the elegiac tone here isn’t just for a lost love, or for the lost metropolis of London in the days before Thatcher. Pegnall laments the coming of age without wisdom; he mourns for a love and a desire which are still seeking some kind of fulfilment that experience warns will never come, and maybe was only ever achieved in a remembered past when shaped into a poem. I am not sure that Peter would welcome the comparison, but the tone at least of many of these short poems does remind me of those Romans whose work explored and celebrated the contradictions of passion and loss, Ovid and Catullus, and with a similar tone: half way between sardonic and self-conscious, showy but vulnerable. Catullus also painted vivid portraits of friends and enemies, with no disguised feeling in the spare, melodic language.

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Peter Pegnall

Pegnall’s iambics lollop along in their characteristically ingratiating but usually appealing tone, finding some solace in the technical somersault or the sharp image, or in the sonorous phrase that can turn the lament for a once-lived life slipping incomprehensibly out of reach into a glittering or haunting poetic moment which stands outside that process of decay. This is, of course, a highly personal collection, boldly exposing troubled times and hard feelings with honesty, grace and wit. The successful modern confessional poet turns these times and feelings into art that stands outside mere therapy or biography: at its best Howl: The Silent Movie does just that. Sean McEvoy

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Howl: the Silent Movie

To Edna Pegnall, born 1926 and Susanna Nash, born 2006.

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Peter Pegnall

HOWL: THE SILENT MOVIE With more than a nod to Allen Ginsberg

Most days I’m calm enough. Radio Three eases the night, I slide in and out, limbs so heavy I dream concrete galoshes or an infant teacher weeping: ‘let’s cancel this afternoon and fly a kite!’ It’s true, Al, I’ve seen some fine minds stutter leak, immerse. It was not the wicked machine, ‘them’, it was not the atom bomb, it was not mummy, although it was mummy’s story, too. Claustrophobia, masturbation from Christopher Street to Tibet from a wild bare rock to Aunt Hattie’s bedroom, fluffy with April Violets; you’ n me, Al, defiantly batty, anywhere. if this be vers libre, a tinkle on the chime bars might help, a tab of acid, sniff of amy Miles Davis filtered through grubby sheets in some YMCA, broken, bloodied, periphrastic, queer ugly. All that’s beyond me, beyond me enough to be within as I spooned sugar in The Troubadour, glimpsed my favourite teacher planted outside The Coleherne, splendid in white leather, buckled boots. Howl howl howl and so on: enter fragments of a family, not all there. My daughter is still alive. I’ve alarmed her enough, lured her into a vortex3 begun to learn that I am not her last word and that she will live long after my last word – rosemary, darnel, brave weeds through the cracks.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

‘Howl,’ I’d never utter. Yell. Once, in The Spaniard’s, Judy Alderson caterwauled public threnody: ‘My mama’s dead’ We stood by the veal, ham and egg pie, paté, breaded ham, brownish celery. I perched, a guillemot in a black Burton’s suit. She pirouetted around me, the hip crowd turned to their real ales, their prosperity. Howl. So many things are unacceptable – time unpeels the pain more and more, until you tread your own graveside, live more in your granddaughter’s eyes than you ever lived, as a handful of earth thuds your wicker coffin, as a blackbird carols in the yew tree. Most days I swim at six. My bollocks squeal, this is most refreshing. Far out at sea the crab fishermen chug homewards, so nothing special resumes, so we go on. Then it bites. Punctures. Clasps close, a cat’s teeth in a mole’s velvet body, crackle of bones. Next frame, cartoon characters rise again, as the crested North Sea rages, subsides, mirrors the mighty sun and the other stars.

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Peter Pegnall

BRIGHTON ROCKS NO MORE I used to love this place; the faded brocade, stench of fish, dripping struts under the pier. Eddies of condoms, cans, underpants, even the six o’clock scavengers, the Geiger counter gang. Grand and shoddy, brazen and slightly abashed. I fumbled, staggered, bellowed with the worst of them. Slept on the pebbles, chewed sauce-soaked fried slices, black pudding, sawdust sausage in the Market ‘Caff’. Brighton was like falling off the edge, stage set for puffed up nonentity, exile for defrocked priest, safe haven for tarot reader and betting shop poet. Behind the station, an alpine warren – ladies of the anytime, dearie, student potatoes, osteopaths, psychopaths (in training) plastic bouquets, monopedic rain dancers, my ex-wife. After such razmatazz, a face lift. All Bar One, La Strada, Nando’s, Fat Boys – Fitzherbert’s almost aphasic barmen; they assure me I have no worries. Ask if I’m all right there? (upward inflection) I can assure them I am very fucking far from all right – I am starved for Davy the Piper’s wild eyes, parched for scoopfuls of stout with Big Rog, I lack Eoin’s whiplash tongue, soppy heart. I shall sail to Dieppe on the West Pier, me and the starlings, might even get lucky on the way. Is that Brian Behan I see before me, naked and mendacious as ever? Or dig i-print of that horror? Where shall I take my foul mood for a walk, where shall I inter my fossil unquiet? 11


Howl: the Silent Movie

* There’s Alice, graces a dirndl skirt at sixty, carves a life just below the old workhouse: deckchairs on the crazy paving, rosemary in cracked pots, yoga on the kitchen floor, coffee in blue china cups. Her daughter reels and plummets, chokes on venom, cannot do. So Alice, grandmother-mother launches Jack into the New World with love in his satchel, strength to bear whatever’s hatched by whoever’s in charge, courage to face whatever he can. To postpone, but not erase, to act. This is the place, Brighton, Belfast, York, any city, hamlet, caravan park, what we carry, what we make of it. I still love this town, never a city, it’s a tumbledown hive, swarms with drones, cantankerous bores like me glimpsed sliding into Carluccio’s – vongole and San Pellegrino. Ah well. The kissing had to stop. Desire remains. So here I am, surprised by sixty, mustn’t squander my missiles on regret. So what if they renamed The Nightingale? If they bulldoze the shanty town market serve Sushi where Joe Orton served something else? That’s what it’s about, Peter, you spend years rehearsing a tune only to find it’s out of time. Let the love you found survive burial, urban improvement, the next generation of tame vipers. How did those Brighthelmstone fishermen view fat dandies on the front? Let the cash tills ring, your daytrip last a lifetime.

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Peter Pegnall

I MET JILL Over a citron pressé she crouched behind a latté scratched out a Spanish lesson. “Like a dormouse hiding in a teapot,” I quipped and she replied “Well, you’re the mad hatter, then,” “Yes. And my trousers keep falling down.” “Buy some new ones, then,” “But I might catch someone s eye. She by the window looked askance, however, I cared not, not I. She was the type who’d terrify in the guise of care and attention. “That citron pressé will be good for you.” “Merci, sister-in-law, it’s deliceux. I shouldn’t mind giving her a kiss, but not in public so I shan’t. That’s the best thing, isn’t it’?

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Howl: the Silent Movie

INSTEAD OF FLOWERS: a birthday card for Eliza

If marigolds could speak, they’d greet the day in a riot of warm syllables, a dance, a delectation, If butterflies could pray, they’d press their wings together, a brighter glance, a tremble of light. There are no fit words Eliza to celebrate your birth; You’re some wild, magic music overheard, child of the air, blessing from the earth

NERVOUS

Ever felt shaken by the slightest thing? A passing glare, a voice too close to your ear only to ask the time; unfamiliar places suddenly all too starkly here. My first guess is guilt. And second and third, worst of all unspecified. You know damn well your fingers are in the till. ‘Who, sir, me, sir’?’ Stitch a letter to your shirt, clang a bell cavort in diaphanous underwear, get all your sums wrong again. Again. But, ‘Please, Miss, do I please you nevertheless?’ Christ almighty I do my little best, never seem to get through. Don’t know what’s wrong, really. Repeat that, Pegnall. Repeat that song.

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Peter Pegnall

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Unlike her sister, Mary, who began at school, in the chemistry lab. All those pipettes, Bunsen burners, beehive shelves! Ian Lavers wasn’t first choice, or second – weasel-eyed, sincere as a Christmas card; and the work bench was no double poster and one minute, forty five seconds scarcely stained the litmus paper blue – but there it was, Mercy was merry, she hurtled home to spill the red hot beans. Fake excitement. Ill concealed envy, a mordant temptation to snitch. Supper would never be the same again. Lamb chops drenched in Bisto gravy, a splash of mint sauce, redcurrant jelly for little sister, she gnawed the meat to the bone, defiant At the weekend, Uncle Vic as usual. Taller, better looking than dad, a boxer, ex-RAF, pencil moustache, polished brogues. Tagged on family holidays: Butlin’s, Costa Brava, Magaluf, Gibraltar. And always, Saturday nights at The Legion, Sunday roast, a farrago of limp jokes. Old Spice lingered in her gagging throat, yet she was moist, glowing below, remembered his deft fingers, pullulating penis, her muffled yells. Charity began at home.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

SOME FRIENDS: from Hartley House Recovery Centre, Ealing.

Prologue: ‘Drunk’ You’re through, you bastard, I’m through with you. No more the sweet thwunk of the cork, Burgundy dark swirl in the goblet lingering tang of earth, flowers blackberries, soft, Gascony sunlight. No more a glittering row of malts milky choker on the Guinness, crackle of ice, lemon smiles. Farewell the easy flirtations, saloon bar philosophers boozy promises, rheumy sentiment, blurted telephone calls, dank silences. and no more, never no more that four a.m. panic for a swig mouthfuls of bile, cisterns of guilt and regret werewolves of morning all the bright days buried in forget. The trapdoor, the drop. No more, you bastard, you, I’m through. Kiss me, kill me, dangerous friend I know you’ll stick by me till the end.

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Peter Pegnall

1. Patrick. Handful of his own teeth, carious, Zapata moustache, cannonball head, broad shoulders strong to bear dry days, his family’s long aftershock. Eyes fizz with memories, too many: that man’s leg on the bonnet, three to a cell in Brixton. Half deaf in Clonmel labelled an idiot cash in hand at the abattoir loves lost in a tidal wave of cider. And yet a mossy river, fishing, fantasies, a grandmother’s love, ten bob note on the kitchen table. Years on the roads, the buildings, Willesden, Heston, Beaconsfield Prince of the JCB, Romeo of the car park, Prize fighter on the floor, absentee father, like his own father, his mother, his father’s father… Ten years in ‘the box’, Tesco bag brimful of vomit, legion of cans by the mattress, the boys up to high jinks on the stairs. And now, slowly, oh so slowly, a life: gut tucked into a tuxedo, his daughter’s wedding, the sweet whine of Gerry Rafferty, the squashed face of a stray cat curled close and haughty. Go peacefully, Patrick, nothing is wasted: so much lies before you, oh taste it.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

2. Udit Night of the tornado, the young boy skeltered from door to door, locked cupboards, eyes vivid with terror, his taught composure smithereened. Didn’t mother and father care? It was Udit’s job to save the day. Bamboo bent and splintered. There goes a flying blood hound toy pedal car; plastic bags parachute into bougainvillaea: wind outrides the Valkyries. It passes, lulls. Young Udi peeks from his hideout, a survivor. His flag a little limp, but untattered. When he tells his father the story of the night he must not raise his gaze, is allowed a few words then back to the study. Latin parsing is all the rage in Calcutta. He has been schooled all along to disappoint. Years later, captain of another ship, Bombay Brasserie, Knightsbridge, Michelin Star, but no medical degree, he capsized. A damburst of vodka, tidal wave of self-loathing, Gilgamesh of grief, utter loneliness in a crowded kitchen.

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Peter Pegnall

You cannot lock this cupboard, Udit, the storm is an enemy agent, you invited it. Step by step day by day you learn to listen. It is the dew on the leaf It is the raga of the morning. 3. Hungry Horace He shrugs and confesses: what do I know? Abysmal jokes leap to his lips, puncture the cant that dizzies the therapy room. We groan, a consensus of kindly scorn. Beneath this protective reflex there is relief. Counselling jargon clogs the larynx like a fishbone. Back in Harwich, Horace sits by the Stour, watches containers as they come and go. He might be contented like this, but for the Diamond White, the sofa, the clamour of a good woman, dead. So he’s landed in Ealing, chubby flotsam, armoured in one-liners, nervous as hell. His place here is the fridge: like a gannet, he scoffs ham, tongue paté, canned beans, canned macaroni cheese, soft white bread, sausages (very pink), rice pudding, liquorice all sorts, Cheerios, the odd cherry, liver and bacon when I’m cooking, ham, tongue paté …

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Howl: the Silent Movie

Smokes Golden Virginia on the patio, all weathers. Scared to go home that stopped being home, So diffident he’s almost transparent. He’d been a shop steward at the warehouse, kept his principles. Still he speaks up for the voiceless. Is decent. 4. Anya Always second best to her smart sister, she sulks, lumpish in a shell suit. Her pretty face is unlined: where is the pain? George’s biscuits, low fat yoghurt, Cadbury’s Roses, bubble bathes in flattery does not trust it. ‘He loves me. He loves me not. At forty-five I’m his little girl. He loves me not’. So it’s back to Jeremy Kyle, One-to-one sessions, malnourishment a matter of course. See her on the tennis court. Thwack! The ball singes his ear like a shooting star – forty-love. T-shirt and shorts brilliant white. Let your sickness ebb away, Anya, jabber in joyful Flemish on the house phone, find your sister as she is not how you hate her to be. Drink your grandmother’s chicken barley soup. Eat her homebaked black bread, thinly spread unsalted butter. 20


Peter Pegnall

5. Theo Thunder Struts and frets: beats out wild times on his Premier drum set. Frost capped forests in Saskatchewan freeways on the West Coast, shotguns and Harleys glasshouses jam-packed with weed, head high. Or just a room upstairs in Lisle Street, fifteen minutes for fifty quid, dissatisfaction guaranteed and it don’t play the blues don’t smudge his dancin’ shoes his daily bad news and still he refuses to walk Their Way. When I met him first, he looked perplexed, squirmed and smiled, prepared himself not to belong. A baby, mislaid his false front teeth enlisted his fellow service users on a bootless search, party game without a prize. It seems that his bravado is a balloon, bright, moon-like, pricked all to easily ragged in the Horse Chestnut. Is it too late to come to earth, John? Have you mashed your mind so much that even the green cockatoos in Richmond Park will not engage in dialogue?

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Howl: the Silent Movie

I think of you at our shared table, relishing thick slices of honeyed ham, lightly poached eggs, coffee as strong as you like. Laughing, laughing till it hurts, toothless gaiety. Two hundred and twenty miles away, In Llandudno, your mother waits, locks the door against her darling boy. Has a welcome prepared for thirty years. Pick up your drumsticks paradiddle your way into a lush landscape, put on your high hat: ain’t nobody’s business but the blues.

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Peter Pegnall

SEEING IS BELIEVING with a big ‘thank you’ to Susanna

Crystals that catch the light, a leveret leaping a dry stone wall, Mr Frost on ice, two hundred kilo silver ghost. Your first steps by the French windows that headlong bandy missile. Imogen’s first morning in the world you fell out of bed, padded to my room tried hard to sleep again, at least fifteen minutes. St Paul’s Cathedral at sundown, the great hand of god so invisible you can see it. A puppy with a patch on its eye wees on the steps. Sniffs the air, bites its tail. What we see is beyond belief What we believe is more lustrous than sight.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

MIDNIGHT TRAM TO HOUNSLOW

A bit dodgy, Notting Hill Gate Station; junkies by the chocolate machine a shape in yellowed tweed in the stairwell. Dave and Pat shriek, upchuck the evening his neatly pressed mohair suit no peacemaker her shame ten sizes larger than her skirt. In Ladbroke Grove, the party still swings, swings as wild as ever. Neil Manson watches flying toads in the kitchen, Timmy replays Hendrix ‘Purple Haze’ fourteen times, still counting. Sits under the table to get a better view. Charlotte is oblivious, preaches Gurdjieff as Matthew’s grubby paws itch for bra-strap. Peter, however, is in the station, fretting: will the District Line catch the Piccadilly at Earl’s Court? Did his hair fizz in the rain? Will he see Sheila again? Next time he will jabber less, let his cheek bones narrate.

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Peter Pegnall

THREE OF THEM: EPIPHANY They turned up a little late, impractical gifts from Harrods sale, absurdly overdressed, sweaty in the snow. Amazed by simplicity, they ripped their books, read the stars in a different way; Each to his own tribe tongue tied, only the wrapping paper souvenir of the night. That, and their perspicacity: they’d seen through Herod like clingfilm.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

TOSCANINI For Michael Stephens

Toscanini isn’t a name we hear much now scarcely hear at all; bravissimo maestro! Rex Arturo with your crazy sable mane your magician’s baton your beloved Giusseppi Verdi your beloved country your stormy weather song. Yes, Toscani doesn’t appear on TV much not even BBC four it’s a name scarcely heard at all, not never no more. But, somewhere in an empty concert hall, Toscanini remembers us all.

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Peter Pegnall

KLEMPERER An old dog sniffs out another bitch, snarls and snaps. Gone in the tooth, he’s lively enough in the loins. In the concert hall, an eyebrow’s enough, wheelchair bound but his hunched shape soars, as cello consorts with viola, soprano sheds five stone three pounds, Daniel Jones in row D lets his bank balance slide. Lisa’s lesson plans take a holiday the reverend Sebag Montefiore sees his curate dissolve in golden syrup. Only Otto’s son remains on guard – bit parts in B-Movies. Ludvig Van has not, it seems arrived in Los Angeles. “Vater,” he cries, dumps the script, “Mein Vater, have you your son vorgotten?” After the rapture, the applause, unleash the hound. When you’re a god, it’s hard to be human.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

BOOK OF REVELATIONS “If today were the end of the world what would you do?” mused Eric, aloud. “I believe that I would devour lightly poached egg and home-baked ham, drink ginger beer, listen to Bach, the Goldberg Variations, played by Glen Gould, make love very slowly, discover some new mutual corner in desire then sail in a modest ketch towards the Needles, turn the coloured sand of the centuries.” “Lord, how worthy, how self-obsessed! Could you not think of beneficent murder, some cockle gang master, or a Bradford pimp with a twelve year old sister?” “Who’s the holy one now, then? What about the rector cycling naked, a senior citizen diving off the high board?” A timid pause, then closing the door for good.

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Peter Pegnall

A WINTER’S JOURNEY Ash trees stretch through the mist, magpies answer jays, The radio keeps warm company As all outside glooms. There’s a way to praise Even the raindrops on the line, even me, Sixty year old schoolboy, my songs are free, If a little world-worn. Say it again, Say it for family, say it for friends When silence smothers like a collapsing sky, When memory threatens, when hope recoils - When that brickwork retreat becomes a sty When imagination blurs what it soils, Sketch in a structure. Pretence sometimes foils The echo chamber of going nowhere, Spaces the hours into minutes you can bear. Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, watch me dance, children, Watch me fall over. Yes, my nose is red, Yes my hands are criss-crossed with purple veins. Think of the flotsam and jetsam in my head, See, for once, how it builds a comfortable bed, Somewhere to sleep, however fitfully, Somewhere real, like birdsong, like a threadbare tree.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

CASTAWAY: for Philip Sheppard

When we scrambled ashore on your cello I’d expected at least Las Encantadas; those shifting, desolate nowhere places, only the hiss of renegade sailors’ souls trapped for all time inside Galapagos shells, only flightless cormorants treading dry scum, seasons flattened to pale, desiccating fire. But it was Eastbourne, after all, so we set up our pitch in the Bandstand scored the autumn air with our own ghost sonatas; collected enough small change for chips, a Knickerbocker Glory, a postcard home.

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Peter Pegnall

CAT WALK I hate it, the way these candied dollies, these coin in the slot cuties plant themselves in that prissy stance, one leg delicately forwards, the other heel slightly raised as if the etiquette of elegance were only for the fashioned product as if style were a straitjacket. Give me someone who’ll stand on her own two feet who’ll fling whatever grabs her (let her fling it at me) chew over four noble truths as she gobbles a bacon sandwich; wear orange and magenta or nothing at all on her singular way across my threadbare carpet, leave and return in her own time, one foot after another: mountaineer in my heart.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

THE HAG OF BEARE The seas crawl from the shoreline Leaves tangled, stinking weed: A corpse’s hair. In me, The bleak, withdrawing sea. Call me the hag of Beare – Once beautiful, desired. Now all I know is how to die; I shall do this well. Finger my skin – Parchment stretched on the bone. This is where heroes have pressed their lips Memory is a knife. I don’t despise the men Who swore the truth was in their lies – One thing, one thing alone I hate: Women’s eyes. A young sun Blesses the young Crowns them with gold. In me, the cold. The cold. Yet a small flame Bums there. Women love only money now, Fancy clothes. When I loved, I loved naked – I loved men whose horses thundered Across moorland and meadow, Beat lightning from the ground: I loved them unmounted. And still the sea Bucks and plunges into me, Rolls and surges through my head: Pictures of the drifting dead.

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Peter Pegnall

A soldier’s voice Threads the night, A king fades, Flickering light. Does not every season Turn on itself – Have I not known enough love To conquer reason? I drank my fill of rich red wine My men entwined in golden hair; Now among the rancid hags I sip the bitter draught of prayer. There was a time the sea Flung kings as broken slaves to me Now I stumble near to god A spider crab crawls through my blood. I loved the heady race of sex, The fevered dance of fingertips Now a chill wind Stitches salt into my lips. This coward tide, Slouches, slides away from me, The abandoned bride. Smaller, smaller grows the sea, Farther, farther, Leaves me here, where foam scurfs the land, Dry as my shrivelled thighs, As the tongue that sears my lips As the veins that worm at my eyes.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

A STORM OF MURK For Antony Ward

Tony drank to stay alive; it killed him – At Cambridge he’d played cricket with Ted Dexter, Married Nicole Jouve, Provencal bluestocking Heiress to vineyards, post-structural text; Wrote a florid monograph on Pater, Two novels filtered through D.H. Lawrence, Crested young. At York he was lauded, mocked, So he splashed in Samuel Smith’s, sought offence Like most men seek approval. Swallowed time With snipes and jackanapes, lectured like Churchill Or the antique Yeats. Disgraced himself again, Whilst pony-tailed colleagues speared mealy mouthed pins Into his effigy. The cleverest man I’ve met But I saw him, bent over the box hedge An eighty year old at fifty. I thought He was the gardener. He tried to dredge Something of the glory we’d shared, jaundiced eyes Drenched in rheum. ‘We didn’t do much harm, Peter’, Seasick in murk. That Bell’s at breakfast, Our last embrace. Death, when it came, was sweeter.

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Peter Pegnall

A PRELUDE It might sound shit But almost everything Postpones a poem. What chance a top of the pops when they pop up like Mother’s Pride toast? Scarcely done, or charcoaled Nearly palatable, without goodness, A neat shape to stave off hunger, Postpone the real, necessary breakfast. To dangle a plump baby on my knee, Watch her fists punch the air, Enclosing, endless air, This place she harboured, A fleshy package That cannot be contained Until That cannot be contained, More endless than the air Her spirit begun, goes on. To notice a thread of spider spittle Jewelled with rain. A wrought iron curl Rose hips like torches. First, make friends with your butcher, Find a point of brotherly contact – Something to do with your carving knife, A little canter through The kindness of women; Maybe a tender slice of heart, How we cherish our children Imagine a place of silken quiet.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

Then cart home your giant turkey, Let it crouch in a cool pantry Unsung star of the coming delight. On Christmas Day, savour rich gravy Sweet sauce, meat that falls from the bone. Eat together, do not forget What it is, what it will be, alone. Or look down towards Hampton Court, The silver flowing bend in The Thames, Guillemot poised on the rag and bone boat Gaunt veins of beech as they grow again In the water, spread inside your wondering mind. Sit with the man on the bench As he reads St. Augustine’s Confessions And seeks to forget never-to-be love. The poem you mean to write Is a ‘loose, baggy monster’, Spins into a narrative So looped And jagged that your friends turn away Your once-upon-a-time readers do anything Other than plod on… ‘Fair seed time’ my arse. All I know Is that mum and dad didn’t get on, That we lived for a while with grandma. Whose rock cakes I still relish, Whose Lily-of-the Valley perfume I still dive into when the doodle-bug falls. I know, too, that the only thing I did Was dream an elsewhere. Sir Galahad In shorts, Roy Rogers riding a broomstick Cinderella. As yet, the ballroom dance has not begun.

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FOOTNOTE For Graham Hartill

this is just to tell you I’m tired of wearing my testicles as candelabra tasting my gherkin penis in vinegar; this is the last time I shall munch my tongue, however greasy delicious. your bile is past its sell-by date: nineteen seventy two, as I remember. even then, the Guardian cell was scarcely under siege sacrificed its own teenagers on the altar of Holland Park Comprehensive spawned Habitat and Vivienne Westwood sooner than the Herbert Marcuse Chiswick village socialist republic. this is just to remind you we met and parted equal idiots me grafted to an optic you drunk on ghost written rhetoric.

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Give me back my prick, my darling, let us both savour the pick of those not altogether lost years. Think of our beautiful child out there, in the world. Je t’embrasse. Embarrassed?

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Peter Pegnall

YESTERDAYS this is the slither of silver nail like a waning moon, this is the slender finger on the slither of silver nail like a waning moon this is the pale circle on the slender finger on the slither of silver nail like waning moon here is the golden ring graced the pale circle on the slender finger on the slither of silver nail like waning moon here is the raging greygreen sleeve engulfed the golden ring graced the pale circle on the slender finger on the slither of silver nail like a waning moon. and here is the ravaged face by the raging grey-green sleeve engulfed the golden ring graced the pale circle on the slender finger on the slither of silver nail like a waning moon. and here is the cheating drunken wastrel says sorry.

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MASTER PETER’S PUPPET SHOW Can’t find the centre. Hang my clothes on the line, nobody left to wear them, only bravado, refried histories. The day I met Samuel Beckett and he said, Sam said: “You are known to me, Mr Pegnall, most of my work shadows your haphazard peregrination. Thank you. Your chronicle was foretold.” But I can’t find the centre. Better drop the medication wander the M4 the short way home. It is not of myself of whom I speak: someone I met you might mistake for me.

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FARGO The titles a white expanse; you can’t make out the names, a car looms through the blizzard. Music’s anodyne, hypnotic; no figures, no landscape, not a heavenly wing. Not a prayer. William H. Macy, everyman’s loser, mousy hair, ugly cherub face acid smile, not-smile, grimace. Stupid balaclava husband without a hard-on, father fakes interest in the ball game. One son, conceived between sleep and awake. Not a shrub. But it grows car parks, motels, dimwit hookers, every minute of life a sheer climb. Two hired assassins, inept, cannibal. and so the whirligig snowstorm spins hapless puppets this way, that way deep freezes their private parts until, snug in bed, Frances Mc Dormand pregnant, cow cuddly transports her quizzing smile across the wastes, her fine mind; Lancelot of the glacier Guiniever of the moral gutter unmarried soon-to-be-mum happily dopey husband gannet of the eat-all-you-can pitstop saves the day too late to save the day. She cannot understand the random way of slaughter the grotesque subversion of the human. she hands the killer to state justice she hounds the coward to incarceration and his numbed conscience. and it breaks my heart. 41


Howl: the Silent Movie

GHOST TRIO First time in The French House, Gaston sparkled, And I gawped at Bacon, Henrietta, Tommy Cooper. Grained faces mimicked fame Or were nearly famous, or were beyond My teenage gallery. How hip to serve halves! Down the road, Ronnie Scoff’s, round the corner Ward’s Irish bar. Tipsy on two pints, I caught The ten fifteen to Hounslow Central. Glowed. Lost my ticket five times. Knew what I wanted to be. Grandma woke me at ten with a cup of Typhoo. At thirty five, after an illness, Kafka to hand, it was Beaujolais and a salt beef sandwich. Eyes all around. Munch, gulp, in medicated restraint. This was more fun than The British Library. But puppets talk. His name was Maurice, Pronounced Morr-eece, his shirt yellowed, cuffs frayed, ‘It seems like days since I was on the Avenue’, Meaning ‘The Prince Edward’ ‘Those purple tights, Wrinkled like elephant skin’ There’s something On his upper lip, it might be egg. ‘We’d scarper at ten-thirty’ stay here for hours. War time spirit.’ He must be seventy, So perhaps a boy wonder. Or third penguin. ‘I know nothing about this morning, but I recall Larry and Rafe and Johnny.’ He sucks whisky, Lights a Rothman’s, with difficulty. ‘No, thank you, I don’t. ‘No vices at all, then?’ ‘Well…’ ‘Yes, I thought so, I sniffed you out, pronto.’ You don’t lose the touch, even when no one Touches you.’ ‘I don’t think you quite… “Peace, child,” He pats my palm, his eyes glister and leak. ‘Would you like to see my scrapbook? It’s a life.’ ‘Yes. Yes I would. Thank you.’ I did, too. A Tesco’s bag, two huge albums’ Don’t worry, I’ll pluck the plums.’ You haven’t got all day Have you? The pause was One of his best performances. ‘That’s Showboat, You can glimpse me stage left. Frightful frump. We were alight for two years three months. 42


Peter Pegnall

Real songs. And at least the tarts were tarts, Not some weasel face’s second wife. ‘It’s not a show I know.’ ‘Of course it’s not. You were probably suckled on Berkoff, Narrowed by Pinter.’ ‘As a matter of…’ ‘This is The Winslow Boy, at Eastbourne. Terry’s straight drama. Got my teeth into that.’ ‘Look, it’s very kind of you to…’ ‘Lordy, is that the time? You’ve been very naughty Keeping me here for hours. Got no home to go to?’ ‘Yes, well, yes and no, the situation’s been… ‘I’m in a tiny place in Ilford. But there’s the couch. And I think Mrs. Spadger Would turn a blind eye. Well, she’s only got one. What do you say? I’ve got nothing on tonight.’ Easy to be firm and not impolite. Back again to Hounslow. Feeling all right. Yesterday lunchtime, two entrepreneurs Launch into a Brouilly. Nice to see an absence of fizzy water. They speak soft, No mobiles. One wears a tie. The usual waiting list for the photo shoot line-up. Me, too. I’d call it crumpled chic, has-been Aura. Palimpsests, not imitations, I think of how time tells us and other Trite scars in reason. Notice, in Levi’s, Reading, a boy-girl face, nervous, Alone. Try to write a letter, scribble Snakes and mazes. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I wait.’ ‘No, I mean, what’s your job? Student?’ ‘I study architecture. Want to fill space With beauty’ He does this and, like Aschenbach I scurry off, nurse my fever. Might be the way to go, the way to crack.

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LEONARD COHEN ON TV AT SEVENTY ‘He’s our man’ Gentlemen Libertine, razor-cool, agonist whose very faults are virtues. He was with us in sixty seven, with Suzanne and Lorca by the river, sybarite who paid the price. Its said he takes months to shape a lyric and it shows. Watertight laments they would be too much if they weren’t more than too much. He combines misery with laughter. We need him even more in the twenty first century. He is not popular with some women, even more men, men who block their ears to the lovesick zigzag that is their birthright woman who flinch from the heart, transmutations of feeling into something that scars, bleaches white. He is, it has to be confessed a touch theatrical in his pork pie hat. Exit, pursued by horror. That voice. Imagine a cocktail of sandpaper, sulphuric acid and honey. Imagine promises kept. Imagine he’s still there after the lovemaking, the cigarette. Happy everyday old father Cohen, I call you by name in the hope that I might discern who I may become, make out my features in the mill stream, in the glow of the embers.

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BAUDELAIRE Thread me round my city, Charles, lay me down where gas lamps frolic in the tar-black puddles, show me an innocent street girl. Tread gently on my flagstones, Charlie, I am worn away, my name in Père Lachaise is faded. Shed my tears, pass the absinthe. Spill your pomegranate secrets, Daguerrotype your unconscious, invent everything, for you, Charles are a magician. I am your straight man. Fill my goblet with your own blood let me kneel, gulp in wonder, transform me, monsieur Baudelaire unbutton my four piece suit.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

HOW IT IS A chill drizzle on the Harrow road; my students celebrate Eid, sacrifice a lamb. I trudge towards Notting Hill Gate, glad to be free from analysis. Think of you. Something stirs below. I smile, recall your breasts, one slightly larger; your eyes uncertain, asking too much and not enough. This is a kind of love, as you know better than I, perhaps and it will do, for the present. I don’t sense insincerity in this still distance. It is, as Fred Astaire reminds us, a fine romance.

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HEALING IN HIS WINGS

When you least expect it, in ways you can’t suspect. You might be cussing, those last steps towards your lodgings, the Waitrose bag’s so heavy it cuts into your palm, some gimp blocks the way, his giant bulk a grey boulder. A bandaged leg, that Phil Squad sideways gait; stymied, you grin at each other, invalid invalids, traffic jam of faulty flesh, marrowless bones. Time was, this unlikely pair sprinted cliff tops, sculled toward Netherlands, made lazy love in the Marrarn grass. Yes. O, not to each other. Some other time for that! Calls to mind two close friends, peppered with pain, Ballysillan ballroom dancers, ham actors hand knitted heroes. Much immobile now, except when Dennis gladly cradles Rene, they foxtrot across the soupy carpet. Christ lives in the bladderwrack, in hospital, in that scrap of boy and his fretting mum. Seldom, if at all, goes to church. Is here, now.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

GIRL WITH PINK UKELELE Part 1. Plays the hopscotch suite, an early Telemann, with a touch of George Gershwin. She riffs and strums, dances on a toffee wrapper, sings fit to silence jealous angels now it’s the times tables tango, the tears-before-bedtime galliard, an aubade for her baby sister. it’s a freedom calypso a soft blue an aria that shows no sign of finishing. it settles old scores, lifts the ashes of age galloping fever, the defects of loneliness. it remembers a time before talk chucks marbles at Chesil Beach all she knows is she plays the ukulele hides it away from sticky fingers. Let her not outgrow her pink ukulele, her precise lack of reflection.

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Part 2 Play, Susanna, play until the moles scamper on their mountains frogs lob bubbles across the pond the raven carols with the lark. Play until old bones can-can twisted trees blossom like snow sand castles last a full fortnight play for the times before you played, Mark out the constellations, chnsten a star. Part 3 Twang! Plunk! Skwark!

There go the red braces in the Stock Exchange The Buddha arrives on a Harley Davidson. Honolulu welcomes its new Queen:

garlands, coconuts, belly buttons and isn’t that Elvis Presley slim and cheery innocent as a child? Part 4 I gave my love a shiny sovereign, she bought a beehive, a glistening stream; Left me, promised I was not alone. Gorged on honey, I missed her eyes, misunderstood the water colour gleam.

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DENIED FLIGHT I’d like to shed the show, be as ugly as I am, if I am, be as strong and feeble as a baby splendidly dressed in nakedness. At times, it seems, as if the block is all there is, not a hideaway, but the place, the person itself reluctant witness to all this glory all this hummingbird intricacy echoing commination of the ages or just a fingernail on the floor puzzled at by some interstellar sleuth after the ashes, the long rain. And then the block’s a ladder on a horizontal hill immoveable as you push and push and inside there’s every lost farewell every lingering no, every stifled tear before bedtime and not a little joy as if you could catch that in a phrase or the blink of an eye. A smile curls around the edge, like a silver hint through a castle of cloud furthermore I say this block of mine I shall lay my head on its cold curve and survive, survive execution as I live and breathe my garden of remembrance.

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Let me back in to how it was when I was wild when morning was a tiger and in my top secret world I hatched rosy plans of revolution cliff top speeches where eagles soared and all the faces in the dumbfound crowd were my own or my loved hated ones who’d cut me down soon as raise me in grace and expectation this bird denied flight hero of sodden sheets this toy soldier with a sword of words unsafe inside a music box. Yet there’s music still muffled bells of the mountain goats laughter of an unseen stream clamour of the grass. Listen. You’re an orchestra, even as the auditorium empties and the mighty organ of one mouth is silence silenced marking time.

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Howl: the Silent Movie

ARTS POETICA Poetry needs to get down on its hands and knees fingernails in the muck. Needs to trudge the streets not a penny piece in its jacket pocket Meet Arnold sometime stockbroker Russell and Bromley shoes flap percussion he unfolds a letter fluff in the creases faded ink Halfway down the second page the word ‘love’. Needs to translate what cannot be uttered echo an echo of an echo recall the first bite of Melton Mowbray Pie that full bottle of Bombay Gin tucked up in bed with Nickey then no more gin for years and then far too soon never again icing sugar of snow on the distant Donegal hills any birdsong morning, anywhere, alone forget those who have trespassed against us praise on its hands and knees in Ripon Cathedral, in a Lincolnshire cabbage field in a bordello in Basildon or São Paulo on a number two eight one bus crushed between a baby buggy and a KFC bumper smelly box with chilli sauce

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relish the evanescence of freedom the beard on a Scotty dog know when to stop.

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KNITTING SPAGHETTI: Fourteen Sonnets

1.

I’m so tired of saying how tired I am how irked and cornered by what I’ve chosen torn and terrified alone, frozen in company What would you think of a man garrulous as water, closed as a clam, nostalgic for ‘yes’ plunged into ‘no’ then all swagger and wisecrack, profile and posing cracking in pieces to a silenced plan? Begin at the end. This is a project to waken the dead, a resurrection of nothing less than a person, self-wrecked, writhing inside his glassy reflection. This is a waste of paper, a gust of wind fourteen times fourteen, screwed up in the bin.

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2.

Picture him, at a desk in an emptied room, his ‘good with children’ child-like face crumpled, his fingers drumming out a ticktock gloom – all motivation gone. He’s been rumbled at least the loudest voice announces this the one that’s forgotten how to speak. The best of nights to come are nights half-pissed the best of days another wasted week. What is it that fixes the smile, bolts back the shameful cry? How long before routine capsizes, slides under the slackened will? This is no drama, this is the scene where pretend goes naked for the waiting crowd, “I can’t go on” dumbshows inside the cloud.

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3.

Leave of absence: ill-wishers, well-wishers on hold. Tablets lined up like promises, ‘know yourself’ paperbacks, hot air and pressure his baffled child confined to morning kisses, night time stories. Making a life without a name, without a having to be there: a table for one, a mouthful of doubt, a leftover panic. Learning to care as if by choice or chance, the happy way a world turns. Hours of unremarkable grief, painting by numbers: grey on grey on greya splash of confession for no relief. And all the while the friendly loss of face icy nostalgia, that sometime singing place.

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4.

Try art galleries. Too many words, Peter let your eyes relieve that restless wrangling know that there’s silence, somewhere sweeter: a woman’s back, a willow dangling in water. Grieve for what you can’t know, how long you’ll be like this. How to go on, how to hold the hurt in, how to let go, how to keep her love, although you’ve gone and don’t know when you’ll be coming home. Try landscape. Plant yourself on the hillside, be a tree of patience, make your own room where goats graze and silver herons glide. Imitate happiness. Nothing better to do; go and write your next last letter.

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5.

Now you’re here. Good morning, Iberia, the cockerels screech your name: Peter Pegnall, Peter Pegnall, eight hundred miles nearer the same guilt. But taste the blue, the sweet smell, white walls, skinny dogs, a woman in black creeping along the dirt road. Not belong. Here. Me. Last night I dreamt of going back, a smatter of Hounslow, a Dylan song a sharp figure who knew what he wanted much loved in dance hall, arts centre, her bed. As the sun announced itself, as the haunted whoever it is hauled my body legs head into a bright Algarve morning, beware, liar on the loose, stare through his practised stare.

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6.

Dance dance dance, he said, as if I knew how, as if I could swish around cool as Bogart, skate carelessly on the thin ice of now, tap suave patterns on the floor. I can’t start, you see, I’m netted by this legacy one step sideways, backwards, skip then stumble, my head and limbs and body don’t agree. And if the dance is metaphor, I fumble for a sentence I know I can finish for a ‘complete thought’ I can call my own. Like an over fed dog, like a landed fish like a sometime soccer star on loan to Doncaster Rovers, there’s no more movement: lie low; tell no-one; pray for improvement.

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7.

A flutter. While the sun god grills the earth, while sparrows tumble and squeak, while my shirts kick and billow on the line, it’s all birth and brightness, it’s forever held so quick it disappears. Beneath the flutter, what next? Where to? If only this were enough the deep unknowingness of ripe and rot, the glad accepting brave it out or bluff Yesterday, pasting her mobile to her cheek, a pink English woman seized the time: ‘It’s a great, glorious glitter, I can’t speak for how lovely it’s been.’ I knew I’d rhyme this company I keep. Like her, my words never fail to fail again, clasp air, bleat like birds.

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8.

Gouge it out with your nib, tap it on the screen, be your own couch, your own listening ear, your own sharp angled ‘yes’ to what you mean to mean, however ugly. Get on first names with fear, with rage and grief withheld, cascaded, shell off your sorry, your thank you all the same crawl inside a past that drank you, raid it for its knives of no, its play up, play the game, its grin and bear it. Wave your arms, conduct pizzicato trembles in the morning blue, outface the silver, a smile safely tucked in your poised armoury. At this moment, you were you alone. All your other figures line up for inspection, bigger and bigger.

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9.

For god’s sake pack it in, or pack it tight, get a cartoon grip on family demons: picture the breathless fumble in the night, the stench of promise, subterfuge and semen the bloom of paper roses on the wall, majesty of spiders on the ceiling, the price she paid when kindness came to call, and though it’s rape divorcing sex from feeling it’s worse than that stage-managing the facts to serve that special sense of child abandoned, to write a birthday message smeared and cracked, reporting half-remembered pain at random. Be satisfied with this and nothing more: she knew no better on the borrowed floor.

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10.

Might as well talk to yourself. Go ahead, play with your private parts, it’s the big event, mumble disconnections, repeat what you’ve read or garbled. All your golden words were lent, the weight of history spangles your ignorance brackets your collapse. A boy with an odd stare fostered by Richmal Crompton, D.H. Lawrence, chirping off-key wonky eye and curly hair, Bob Dylan clown-prince of your would-be antics your dark side of the coffee bar blues. (Who could forget your wrestle with semantics, your gypsy enigma, your snakeskin shoes?) Drink it all in, veined somewhere in middle age, too fat to tango, too choked to leave the stage.

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11.

Getting bleary eyed’s one thing. Believing as if you’d carved in stone, as if your dead dad spelt out the way to forge ahead, inweaving truth and flux, that’s another – self-pity clad in self portrait. What a creepy thing to do, under the shadows of a racing cloud, next to the glitter of a marine blue, draping your daytime in a conscious shroud. Put it this way, it’s possible to breathe, to pass the thin wafer of love without absolute perjury. To know how to leave as if your coming back’s not held in doubt. Shoulder your burden, get back up the hill: you move slightly onwards, just to stand still.

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12.

Or find another arse to sniff. Relish nausea, scan the town for mobile phones, laptop maestros, the satellite dish on the Georgian apartment. Never alone with a sneer, glued to the ‘me generation’ the ‘I’ll do it my way with feeling’ brigade, glad to despise a therapy nation coddled in victimhood, making the grade; convince yourself you glide untainted, conserving all that truth you have to offer – a touch of the satirist, the sainted, the fool. And all the better that grating cough, these fraying trousers, the once attractive whisky frown. Unhappy, that’s the way to live.

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13.

Come off it, now Affectation winds through the dark passages, goes only so far, too far. Enter the look-alike, on cue, aphasic, abashed, displaying his scars, incurious. Outside, the lawn grows to seed, slugs munch the marigolds, the light looks in. And what is it dissatisfaction needs, to what end this alphabetic skin, this cormorant gloom? As Tony Hancock might have said ‘What does it all mean, eh?’ daydreaming his way through suburban wreck, twisted reflection. This is where you stay, like it or not, this is what you’ve made, ruined, knitting spaghetti, spelling out the wind.

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14.

Like a glimpse of Hitchcock, like a splatter of Tarantino, you must have noticed my signature. It’s the style that matters, a gape of caesura, a flick of the wrist, a voice like black coffee in the morning; come to me undressed, I’ll drape words across our shame, I’ll scream all the too late warnings as we squash like hedgehogs. Now I’m the boss, I’d prefer my lexicon to catch fire, my steady pace to stumble, my fantasy to rummage through the secrets of desire spit milky skeins of undigested me. Breaking it down, there’s nothing left to mend: one-handed couplet, as if it were the end.

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L A P W I N G PUB L I C A T I O N S

PETER PEGNALL

Blogs for The Daily Telegraph, Theatre reviews for The Catholic Herald, book reviews for The London Magazine and Poetry Ireland and the occasional opera review for The Independent. I run a better class of poetry salon in Richmond, Surrey - Bright Scarf and a drop-in poetry ‘surgery’ at The Funky Mackerel, Sheringham. I now teach under-achieving 15-18 year olds at Greenwich University and have a regular slot on BBC Radio Norfolk. Getting known, as Beckett wryly put it…

The Lapwing is a bird, in Irish lore - so it has been written indicative of hope. Printed by Kestrel Print Hand-bound at the Winepress, Ireland

ISBN 978-1-909252-19-6

£10.00


Howl: The Silent Movie