Friday, 18 November 2011

Do I like poetry?

Poetry seems like a thing I should be interested in. They come in books, and they're all wordy and literary. I've tried to read poetry. It usually goes like this: 'Okay, okay, yeah, okay, no, I don't understand'. A poem has always seemed like a puzzle I don't know how to solve. There's a whole form to it. A secret language. What about the pentameters? And the triplets? And the iambs and the foots? These words give me a blank face and an even blanker brain. I always take a poem at face value without hanging on every syllable. There are poems that I like. I can't name them right now, but I'm sure they exist. And I like them for what they're saying, not for their clever clever verse structure. And then there's the poets that fill every line with references to Greek mythology and ancient Celtic folklore. What am I meant to do with this? Okay, I'll rush straight to the library before I tackle the next verse.

I'm allowed to say these things, because I'm a postgraduate.

So I write poetry even less than I read it. In the past, when I really had to write a poem for academic reasons, I would start feeling deeply cynical and take out all the line breaks. I turned them into paragraphs. Now I have a chance to take a poetry module. And if I'm ever going to be interested in it, it's going to be now with these tutors and these people. If I did write a few poems, I don't know what they would look like. I don't know if I would like them. I'd much rather write a short story about evil machines. But I might have a go.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nobody really knows

A lot of the houses are dark. If it wasn’t for the street lamps the street would be lost in the black, and nobody would see anything at night. Maybe some people are in their houses with the lights off. James can see the next street through the gaps between houses. A back garden with high fences is lit up with big bulbs. The other streets are hidden behind each other. Are their lights on? They should be brighter. They should shine up into the sky. No, these lamps don’t light the streets. They only make it less dark. A murky pale glow that wraps around everything until morning. The back garden light in the next street flickers and turns off. James imagines a power cut getting closer, taking each house as it sweeps across the streets. Only his street is left. He stares at the light in Boy’s house. It stays on. Eventually it will go out like his own bedroom, but it’s on for now. As the night goes on all the lights will turn off. James thinks that nobody really knows what happens then, when the garden plants shiver in the breeze and the concrete glares with empty. In the playground and out into the fields and into the trees. Nobody really knows what is happening then.