Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Introducing Tony Cullen

Photo: Patricia Farrell. Tony Cullen, the newest recruit to the Poetry and Poetics Research Group, attending one of our meetings, minutes after hearing that he'd received a Distinction for his MA in Writig Studies at Edge Hill. The PhD beckons.

Some of his poems are due to be published in Great Works soon: check the November issue at www.greatworks.org.uk

Here are some others:

Grande Arcade

It has a cathedral quality
high roof and hush yet
somewhere someone speaks
echoes flutter against

skylight windows looking
for escape consumers on automated
glide-by wear Picasso expressions
chameleon eyes swivel

and shift with the passionless
sanction of a broken contract
lock-jawed doorways reveal
gapping throats into which

shoppers simply vanish
feminine fragrances and magic
music lure the curious
with a crooked finger

schoolgirls skittle in awe
old couples merge together
for comfort children rattle
with excitement while mothers

browse for bargains through
glass plate and plastic
a hackled mechanical spine
winds methodically toward

an upper level escarpment
where coffee clouds mass
above the Casino Café
sipping latte or mocha

Olympians examine the synthesis
below bristling with the promise
of profit drowning soul
in a redeveloped see

buried in a wooded
half-moon pelt where
the homicide of Harlem
John plays out


Here’s George’s little sally,
embedded in the huge stone
shoulder of a cobbled bank.

On a gable opposite, a stick
rattles inside a swill bucket.
The original went for scrap

the year they exiled
Trotsky. This is a replica,
reinvented for tourists

still feeding on Eric’s
unhealthy diet served up
in the pub\restaurant they

named after his reinvention.
It’s a narrower gauge
than standard and tips

nothing more than nostalgia
and an admiration of a hardship
enacted in their comic playhouse.

Marsh Green Marsh

The sun quivers to cross
it. Not vast, but empty
and deep; it’s silent air
trimmed of alibis
and waiting.

Grasses army the surface,
gangling adolescent stalks
crowding to the river,
where rushes bull
the margins.

The ground there, three
quarters water, will
never let them go.
Things scurry
at root level,

only squeak and rustle
announce their attendance,
a splash of black water,
their shun. Tussock
grass stumps on sturdy ground,

short and sharp as teeth.
Each footstep injures moss
to weep over boot leather
and lace as the earth
gives. It’s the river,

reaching from beneath,
where clay prisons
hold tight in.
After sun-fall,
a lacy cloak

of ghosts hover there,
thickening to a nightdress
of nature’s shy cloud,
behind which, the dark
world disappears.

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