Monday, April 08, 2013

Thatcher Dead

It's just been announced that Thatcher has died. I once said she was the most important influence on my poetry (half-jokingly); but I also said that I couldn't be really happy while she was alive. How appropriate she died on the day the Con-Dem government introduced more of its austerity measures, in part to demonise the very victims they are creating. As I type I can hear sanctimonious tones on the BBC downstairs.

Here’s part three of ‘Coming Down from St George’s Hill’ from Twentieth Century Blues

Democratic vista he parks the car
Then has to queue for the cashpoint
Whispering possessive St George’s
Somewhere above the embossed logo
Window tissue paper
And its history of pleasantly
Attired servants
In famous fables begun at this
Desk of irregular
Attic windows car door opens blonde
Hair spills into the gutter
He speaks in deadpan cockney learned
Of the East Sussex school of villainy
Creaming himself at Thatcher’s rush of
Active citizens revving up
Fumes and consumption’s vapour
Lists a pop capitalist
A staggering dislocation of the
Cocktail effect gone defective
Electric against meshed frost
Produced by desire dreams
An act of love a realised cell
Phone interrupts you all right mate?
Giggle at least it stopped a repetition
Of his ardent administered dream

20 September-16 October 1988

And here is a verse from The Lores written in the mid-90s:

The Millennium Enterprise Zone layers
on layers of torn calendars that
wipe Thatcher’s solid dream trappings
below any diction a satirist
with no worship centre his
ears adjust to a future
of persistent sensations, lacking himself

And I used her own words in another poem in The Lores, where I begin with the name that I ised to denote that period: 'The  Drowning Years', which alludes to the book I was using as a source for those lines, Thatcher's own The Downing Street Years. As I put it in the bibliography to that poem: '
Thatcher, Margaret, The Downing Street Years (a condensation [thank God] of the book) in Today’s Best Nonfiction [sic], Reader’s Digest, 1994 – a volume I found lying outside my front gate during the summer of 1994, a veritable found text.' (All of these poems may be found in Complete Twentieth Century Blues from Salt.)

drowning years

I needed no interpreter spoke the same
language the complex romance of international trade

I liked living over the shop good
wishes from people who are suffering free

to pursue their own dreams arguments always
give one appetite true vice second thoughts

not everybody cheers the same thing I
was glued to the radio for news

we were not fatally wounded but a
totalitarian state with siege barriers of coal

I prayed fitfully revolution still to be
made our problem was presentation red roses

proved photogenic families were the government nemesis
of gain (one country      one system      ours