Saturday, February 15, 2014

Steel my Poem...(@dogtrax #rhizo14)

Fragmentary particles of his final words blurred the town as I was jettisonned from the platform with a jolt.

Random remains of his intent had been scrawled pele-mele, in the rush to get away, in a scruffy note-pad.  They now lay skulking among the oddments in an over-full travel bag.

Journey-weary, I glanced distractedly at those lines. "Steal my poem", I read. Steel my poem, I felt. A city glowed beyond the steamed up window. No, it wouldn't reveal itself.

Standing shakily against the carriage door, I held on tight to his words. From the page to the passing lights, to the track, to my eyes, it made no sense. No, he spoke again.

"YOU'LL appear;"

I watched as his words stretched out down the line. It was made up when I left, to be broken pitifully now. I had cheated him of his last breath. He was alone.

His poetry, sketched a track-scape, a lens through which I mis-read.

I reread, again: "Steel my poem."

Then it shuddered, we turned a bend.

"Tinker against type,
 Tinker against type,
 Tinker against type."

I opened the window to catch breath.

He was a wretched poet posing as painter. His ink tinted the night, tainted my flight with its insistence.

"Damn him!"

I had left him, shackled to his work, shackled to his plight. "God damn him!"

There was no turning back.

The train sped on towards an uncertain terminus.

His words tumbled down the pane.

Spattering, splattering, blurring my sight.

He was lying now. He had cheated me, he had stolen my space. Robbed me of my piece.

I ripped out the note-pad.

"Steel my poem, give it a home,
 Steel my poem, give it a home.
 Break it, trip it, rip it apart.
 Ink it, trace it, make it our art."

A flight of fancy had brought an inkling of sense. Now he was gone, he was gone, consumed by a distance.

I had paid my debt.


  1. wow, love it Simon - beautiful writing. It gripped me like a vice, I was engrossed. I love how you've woven it into a story too.

  2. (A short story response)

    The raindrop talked back to me. I swear. I know you wonder now if I had been drinking or if someone had slipped me an inadvertent pill, or perhaps some anxiety was flaring up as I took the train home that day. No. I was just weary in an unsettled kind of way, and the raindrop talked to me, as a friend from some distant place, about art and remixing ... about taking words from HERE and reconfiguring them THERE so that some shadow gets shared from poem to story to comment to poem to story to reader. I listened. I was the reader. When a raindrop talks, you listen, right? You might not believe everything I say here is true. The imagination must stretch. You have to believe that I saw it as true, though. In doing so, you quickly realize how little time there is as the raindrop slides down the window next to your head, whispering secrets of writers and words and texts across spaces. I remember putting my finger up to the glass, and tracing the words of the rain. Me, on this side, finger tracing. The raindrop, on that side, sliding. Us, communicating. And then it was gone, the remix sliding off into the night. The words? The words remained, etched forever in my head.

    (I have no idea now your piece inspired this piece but it did ... and I'll leave it at that)

  3. I love writing poetry - but I think I like this mixing, remixing, sharing, stretching even better! What a delight to be in on the sharing and see the evolving mix. I am fascinated by the cross-genre dressing of this remix.