Poems

You can read more of my poetry on the other website www.peterdaniels.org.uk – I’ll post here some that I’ve recorded for YouTube. Counting Eggs  and other publications can be bought through the website, too.

Here is my poem “Wall Street”. It’s about a visit to New York in February 1992, and a walk with the late poet Carl Morse. The poem appears in the collection Counting Eggs (Mulfran Press, 2012)

Wall Street

We walk further downtown, beyond the Village graffiti
that says AIDS IS THRUSH
AND IT’S CURABLE!
Life is money and the buildings are bigger here.
It’s Ash Wednesday,
this is a day to commemorate
some crisis: all the last-born, maybe,
picked from among the perfect suits, the ones
wearing on their groomed brows a smudge
like a smear of sex. Look how ready they are,
it makes them hunger for six weeks without sin.

Being with my sacrilegious Manhattan friend,
it’s time to look at a few spiky old churches,
because we don’t visit here often.
Remarkable needlework: the white altarcloth
with crossed pairs of three-tail scourges in red.
More smudges: gladly humble
to wear this dirt mark in public.
And Jesus, with his robes hanging off him,
stands at a bank of candles, warming his hands.

“The Captive” was highly commended in the Poetry London competition 2011. It’s also in Counting Eggs.

The Captive

Give a small donation, you bastards, ransom
for a prisoner in a kind of box, his body
a kind of harness that grips all round,
his bursting musculature, look, lovely –
here he is, ladies and gents, your applause
for he’s eager to please, a rhinoceros in heat,
look at him, give him his freedom, salvation

or something to make him look satisfied,
let him work his way out of those irons,
requited, salved in his weary skin,
give him balm for its chafing,
rancid butter to oil his limbs,
let him growl and whimper for his tea
– but give him his tea when it’s time, every
beast deserves respect inside
and you’ll give him that, ladies and gentlemen,
worth it to calm his soul
– your soul,
because if he was you it’d be the same, you’re
a captive, your limbs cramped, body disheartened,
home ransacked, inner resources all rinsed out,
but you’re ready for a slave’s retaliation,
waiting for the moment to reinsert
your two pennyworth into the wreck of yourself,
the price of your other life.

“All You Need” is about writing, and about London where I have lived now for more than half my life. It was published in Mr Luczinski Makes a Move (HappenStance, 2011).

All You Need

All you need is a pad, a stubby pencil
and the end of a road at a sea cliff.
You rest your mind there,
leaning your shadow on the sea.
Stroll up to the hut you share with spiders,
brew your cup of tea from a billy-can
and sip it in the shelter of a drystone wall.
You can attend to each arising moment,
an edge where you stand that gives
back-country behind you, and rough ocean
to launch across, when you finish with land.

All I need is people passing by, and bricks
gathering spaces between them
in a city I used to keep away from.
Once I’d wonder: how could they survive
in air so important, shared with the royal
and famous, brushing Parliament and Piccadilly.
Now I’m in Zone 2, the neck of the whirlpool:
the Queen could reach me on the 73.
Tracing the streets needs a sharpened pencil.
I’ll follow up what rages through my hinterland,
and fetch you a moment on the City Road.

Here I am reading at the Troubadour on 22 October 2012:

 

 

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