I have come to the end of making poems from tour set lists, gruelling over how to change the use of the word ‘spark’ and all the others. It has been an interesting challenge, one that I will continue whenever I’m on tour again…
The song titles that these prompts come from deal with love and thus bend the poems to that particular theme, not that we ever leave love. I’ll stand by forever saying that everything we write contains or comes from love in some form, even in its absence. But I’ve always struggled writing romantic love and have found myself closer to it in these poems… For good or bad.
Here is the list of prompt words I will be avoiding for a while… Feel free to spot them in the poems like a Where’s Wally for dictionary enthusiasts or to use them in your writing… As if you need my permission to do so…
The words are:
– The Art House
– The Steamboat
– Shift Radio
– The Thirsty Scholar
– The Cave
– The Railway Inn
The poems don’t really reflect the tour, maybe in very indirect ways but I’ll account my first band tour experience one day in a biography if I live long enough to justify writing something like that…
The band I was touring with was a backing band for singer/songwriter/acoustic madman, Scott Freeman. The songs the poems are derived from belong to him. You can find him and listen online here: http://www.scottfreemanmusic.com/
The art house is painted in celebrated
thread dresses no one owns,
scraps of books made into light.
The asylum collects people celibate
from themselves. The advice that occurs
most to me is stop working, leave the house.
The steamboat will carry on its drift
with everyone aboard.
I can eat lime-rind all I want,
it won’t bleach my smile,
it’s something to believe.
Cartoon physics scare some people.
If you can shift radio to mute,
you’re doing more than sleeping.
I met the thirsty scholar as he drank
a city of its propaganda.
He is going to write a cave of thesis
that learns about the railway inside
of us, how we can be proud of always going.
I kick the spark that blinks
under a train. It gives me scold-foot.
I swim it in the time the silhouettes
form behind the bedsheet-disco.
All that keeps me in this burn is the magnet,
being a blank shape of a human in love.
Pushing through the family of orphan-spark
coming out of the fire’s head,
I take time finding Dad on the otherside.
Back at camp, I tear a tent in tantrum.
Silhouettes do the sidewinder
in the forest. No train nearby.
I can hear everything. Dad stays
away until morning, tells me
he had to go looking for lost boys,
they could have been eaten by a Kraken
or leaf demon or scout-leader-gone-wrong.
I love how much of him can be fiction
while he makes a magnet of the world
onto himself. It’s something Christ
gave him, he says. His family
is always inside, all that he sees.
We have built a museum in the shape of a vinyl player.
It only holds good music, real music.
The song tuning the air at the moment
has one lyric. Fuck the BBC. I agree.
I have a pet here that is obsessed
with where the music comes from,
what spark falls into me when listening
to know. I go with whatever stays,
which is intentional vagueness.
If you put a magnet to the music,
it gets a grizzly-bear affect, like Dad
when I argue that the Blondie drummer
is average. All the visitors to the museum
have invented their own genres.
The person in front of me, shiny
with drugs, calls this acoustica,
but can’t specify why,
which is also the point, but she arches,
her body needs the definition.
The lyrics are now about someone
bathing in a tub of cellophane,
until they can’t breathe,
the casual gift of mock-water stretched
over them and the lover in the song
is lowered into a microwave to test
their faith. A review of the song
is that Houdini was a fetish artist.
After hearing this, a fighter in the room
will start a band called Rubber-Unite.
Their hit will be Rosemary, which discusses
outrageous concepts such as diet
and additions to cannibalistic meat habits.
I will think about my grandma when I listen.
I never knew what music she liked.
Our slogan for the museum is Pray.
People seem to know that before they enter.
I can find a time of night
that my body will train a spark,
deliver it to the past-boys
I have died through,
their silhouettes thrashed
off their skin, gathered in a pool,
trembling, a scared-heart size
bulb, the bad idea I placed
in the ground for love
to grow. All its leaves
are magnet-snatched plane parts.
I can find a time of day
that isn’t wreckage,
that is an hour, a minute, a second
spent exploring a tear,
hiding my hand in all that is missing.
In the box where we kept love illustrations,
I have put the map of a city
I drove toy cars around
when Houdini taught me the locks
of a space can change
if you think infinity. Like school.
We were small and wrapped
in tear-pages in the library.
The sun is a lightbulb spark.
There is a man in this foldable city
who stays in the same place,
weird from a heart-letter,
navigating time at the speed of my hands.
I have sold him an advert.
It says, That’s not lightning, it’s cocaine, boys!
He gets the jitters, vibrates his own form,
walks to the place a train station will exist
when I can set magnets at either side
of this continent and the metal
will know where to travel between.
The box is a well of handles
to doors that have retired
and abandoned shells we took
from the sea. It’s in here
that I know I never bought roses.
You thought it was a warped present
to get someone, something that dies.
I gather the shells from inside.
I’ll donate them to a vase maker,
they believe in life.
I’ll lock the handles into the air,
see what else I can open.
She cellotapes a spark to my eyelid.
I get the flutter. Sound of a train hurtling.
The kiss is a blinking magnet into my cheek.
I take love from it, barrel-roll home.
You’re asking me about my vices while you spark hand-fire,
I’m hiding four layers into Dad’s jacket, my skin a magnet
to the passing train,
my body, a tear in light,
a dark burn on the rose-bleached pavement swallowing the rain.
I hang my heart-shape answer on the hook in your finger.
He has screwed a bottle cap to the spark-box,
the heart boiling the house’s blood.
I want to drink that Pepsi forever, smile like the boys
who can pull a magnets with their teeth.
In the plaster cracks, he shows guitar thorns, the rose
shed petals, hard as train thunder.
I ask my silhouettes to live in these quakes,
but they are scared of the noise.