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Questions for Painters Nathan Thompson


The Red Ceilings Press

MMXI [rcp 25] www.theredceilingspress.co.uk www.redceilings.blogspot.com/


Questions for Painters Nathan Thompson


For Rupert, with thanks for his encouragement, and, as always, for Laura.

With thanks to Barabara Beck at Upstairs at Duroc, in which a version of one of these poems first appeared.


Questions for Painters #1 reading rain’s small-print tomorrow will be greener completing its circle phosphorescence on black glass pictures landscape walks backwards through split and oily

more probable sea songs hanging up a small room your retina

why do you think you are in control? this interpretation thickens dark mornings worms can be avoided here claiming parity the gaps between drops waiting eyes open for mine shafts travels incomplete

clocks moving past maps in silk telling you where be absences on terms with a con artist’s tears your honest ownership where stories begin


Questions for Painters #2 please don’t make me be specific your smile is abstract forging contours sounds like coyote makes a run for it how much do you believe in what you’re doing? the devil is in the tulips exchanging kisses mouthed yesterday

dancing bicycles I’m sure you understand plays on words shaped like a sofa

this new science of seriousness gets me down stuffed parrots in boxes form and content choices within obedient or disobedient your socially atomic activity Sisley with Gauguin’s cigarette contemplating the Nile

an allegory


Questions for Painters #3 we’re playing data cowboy snow on the steppes

this is bad naturalization

if you had commissioned it would you be pleased? Clint forgot his banjo and cyber-sculptors are first articles incorporating I don’t believe

our liaison’s sure fucked promises fulfilled out of the cave ‘too definite’ a stroke you paint

an associational system based on digital marble ‘look down the barrel of flux’ understanding high yields my skull is crystal savvy remember partner prosthetic animals are not your friends


Questions for Painters #4 a name many people can use ‘I’ would begin but adopted a pseudonym why wouldn’t you want anybody to know? this is the future within the speed of itself

reflectively mediating no-one is shocked

praxis tentatively a convenience you are at least partially responsible

please smile for this confusion


Questions for Painters #5 what do you think about when I’m alone? cold storm-fronts echo movement through the calendar deserters defect fluxus it’s 1990 and we’re all on strike a woman over my shoulder reads this rain starting on the page

with disapproval blending colours

if we walk down your street it is hard to remember when I wasn’t tight to your chiselled figure what I’m asking for or if it’s relevant

always nearly tomorrow in love with a kiss

gulfs of amber contours in distress redden your ceremony

defying hard lines full stop

I’m not sure

pink darker


Questions for Painters #6 hello I’m just leaving I resent the things you say you believe in and you cannot draw me straight

strings sky taut puppets teaching the meaning of irony what do you want?

I’m not sure I care how grass encompasses lion-free savannahs absence causes pain like lions tight round your little finger music starts you can accomplish

if you believe light pinging off plastic


Questions for Painters #7 sometimes if you pretend to understand Andy Warhol becomes imaginary like making friends with Penelope Pitstop yesterday I was sure I knew what constituted not being an artist

a sign reading

private no or property parking depending on the swing of a door a sample of poetry is included

confuses me in the appendix


Questions for Painters #8 we don’t do much pointing fingers is gold when the sky is blue

in munitions leaves flicker end of a century so much is hope

what’s the point in meeting you half way? a duty on peaches frames out of the window reversed infants’ heads and

luxury peering round Midas gold touched becomes out of date CD players

I don’t understand this enough to locate how myths fade to forgotten hits wrong turnings I must be mellowing to gondoliers who know much more than this square circled by loan sharks I don’t know what but I’ll answer memories

you list down water-logged alleyways giving the benefit of your doubt call me dada a huge slug emulating acrobats


Questions for Painters #9 call me under the slow generosity

I want my memories to fade of strangers

moving shadows creating ghosts that etch

a lantern turns other people reminiscing

another limb to find a use for

is this abstract?

I can’t tell which direction the shoes I bought for you will walk in almost prose a moment fixed to slide into imitation language dropped from a great height splatters interpretation you move me lines I can’t get out of my head


Questions for Painters #10 it’s a day later now you have arrived in your book chocolate and cognac made simple midnight footsteps in the hall trip-wired statements of muscular gentleness I imitate trespass stars procrastinating quiet sounds sitting down to write to someone else is difficult I’m not sure who is more wary of asking questions you want answered such as how many giraffes before beauty turns to terror? a piano recalcitrant among reed-beds cadences end rhymes poking heads through water the clocks have gone back to be told where to go next

and it’s dark without stumbling


Nathan Thompson Nathan Thompson’s recent collections include the arboretum towards the beginning (Shearsman), Holes in the Map (Oystercatcher), and A Haunting (Gratton Street Irregulars); the day maybe died is forthcoming from Knives Forks & Spoons and The Visitor’s Guest is forthcoming from Shearsman. He lives in Salford, where he is studying for a PhD in Psychogeography and Contemporary Poetry.


Thunnerplump And so, we say, friendship ends here in a tidal column of cloud that crumples the sky. Today has the saddest eyes, a tick of rain before the thunder swallows us into a house roomed by chance. Raw edges of what might have been scrape my metal fillings. Magpies people the light like an old movie devoid of sound but for a theatrical pianist. We close the book on the last brick of the story as dark paint swathes old weathered wood.

The Red Ceilings Press

MMXI [rcp 25] www.theredceilingspress.co.uk www.redceilings.blogspot.com/


Questions for Painters