Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Poem by Patrick Williamson

University years

We were like pretty flowers between the rails,
we watched demagogues run rings round
language and us baying at them crying we
will tell you what is right as if we knew, hopscotch
playing for the hungry, cutting blood
in that socialist pledge, boy scout brigade
there was no grit to our show, just plenty of blow,
& night-time delusions, as the early hours bring
their scents - as I trotted out last-minute essay-jobs,
scraping up gleaned fragments into a patchwork
that really made no sense - but none of us Gods
saw the shopping arcade was grimy & full of drunks,
the sky not reflected in glory but miserable pools
of loneliness heaped up against the wall,
this was me the I who knew nothing better
than being ripped off by Soho whores, and begging
for love off the inner roads of darkness
from where streetwalkers drag you into stairwells
and pluck, chicken – but this was a later spiral
into the core, a continuation of what
is never finished, fathomless pit, bitter well.

Patrick Williamson is an English poet and translator currently living near Paris. He has translated Tunisian poet Tahar Bekri and Quebecois poet Gilles Cyr. In 1995 and 2003, he was invited to the Festival International de Poésie at Trois-Rivières in Québec. He is the editor of Quarante et un poètes de Grande-Bretagne (Ecrits des Forges/Le Temps de Cerises, 2003) and editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Latest poetry collections: Locked in, or out?, Red Ceilings Press, and Bacon, Bits, & Buriton, Corrupt Press, both in 2011.

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