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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lawrence Upton: Two texts


Lawrence Upton at the Poetry Buzz




Coldharbour Portraits


# 1

Face of a sheep. Full face, head on and close up, becoming clouds, already fluff and without substance. White beard thick black pullover. One ear ring from an invisible ear. The other ear is a small darkness.

# 2

Of Mephistopheles, I think. Goatee chin divides a dress shirt. Ears decorative. The sounds they hear are rolls of velvet. Eyes fibre optic, through the snow, raising the temperature.

# 3

From the rear. Someone is taking him. From the rear, out of frame. Samuel Taylor Coleridge into Elvis Presley into a black-faced ram. Diorama threesome. A quiff of a raincloud puffs out of a powdered wig of dandruff. A big blockboard of haircut. The rest is painted black with a roller.

# 4

Despatch rider one way, chimpanzee the other. Two heads stuck into jelly. One skull. One life.

# 5

Earphones are the largest element. Sphere of the skull glimmers more than half transparent. Light from the west. It is daytime in the back of his head. I wonder what he's listening to. Hair short. Possibility of a beard.

# 6

All there was once has burnt up. His face is in woolly ashes. Jowls and a porous nasal cavity. Chin a frozen waterfall. Clouds in the eyes.

# 7

Her Royal Highness is accompanied by a rabbit. The rabbit is convincingly drawn. The Royal She is all hair and implication. Two ears stick up like a rude salute.





from Pictures, Cartoon Strips


A blind monkey is tapping his way, brick by brick, over a garden wall. A policeman in overalls is standing below, watching, with his wife standing beside him. From out of their backs, electric cables run to a temporary junction box on the back of a delivery lorry.

The policeman stands a little forward of his wife and is more in the street light, while overhead the sun glows in a plain blue sky; and his cheeks are clearly broken by jagged streaks of tumbling water. He is covered by small streams; across his forehead, in outline, two monkeys groom each other on a river bank.

From the left, where there is poor illumination, despite the violent sun, come men with similar faces.

From the right, walks one man, obviously sighted, carrying a camera which he does not seem prepared to use.

A small jet just clears the end of the wall, as it cuts through a portion of the picture. Beneath it, a disconsolate man seeks to use a public telephone.

One window in the street is open. Inside are visible a bed; a mirror, tilted at an awkward angle; and a small caged bird attacking its own reflection.




Lawrence Upton is a poet who works in many forms. These two texts he read at the Poetry Buzz, but they only represent one aspect of his work. I have a bulging file of small booklets, large booklets, proverb-posters, folded sheets, birthday cards, etc, not to mention his collaborative works with Bob Cobbing (they are in a separate file). See also his Reality Street volume Wire Sculptures. 'Coldharbour Portraits' was published in endNote # 2 (Canada - edited Beaulieu) & On word 1 (edited Cobbing) 'Pictures/Cartoon Strips' is due out in a book of that title from Sound and Language.

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