Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Redraft: Trafalgar Week

Don't blame me for the lack of posts: I've always been crap at keeping a diary. I keep on looking at the blog, and it keeps on staring back at me, an accusing stare within its typeface - you don't write me anymore; you don't like me anymore - yadda yadda, heard it all before. Tough. And the guilt grows within me until I find myself revising a poem not because I want to revise the poem but rather because I don't know what else to bloody post.

This one's a major rewrite:

Trafalgar Week

Dancers on the stage built beside
his plinth: his hair is a weave
of pigeon wings. They watch
the crowd below - billowy flags
tied across burnt shoulders. Today
our stage is glitter, our page
a crease across the usual trade
this place attracts. My hand
wraps yours and when the band
sings Abba, man to man, we kiss.

A singer on the stage beneath
a screen that somersaults
into the sky, its fringe a rump
of pigeons. Announcements ruffle
through the crowds of patriots -
each one crossed in red, and white,
and blue as dark as airless blood.
Some ghosts in Asia tally votes
and mouth a word: London! London!
Bodies scream and dance and kiss.

Children on the stage. They play
oblivious to sirens screaming
through the square. The crowds
today are pigeons; rats with wings
that peck at bread abandoned round
his plinth. He sees the bowl of London
from his perch, the whirls of smoke
that mark the city's wounds, the litter
of a busted bus to Hackney - trees
decked in death before October's kiss.

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