Sunday, 1 November 2009

FOUR LOVE POEMS by Jeremy Reed

Syd Barrett
Exchange vertical for horizontal;
the man is always shifting laterally
towards the big dip. There's a little tree
planted somewhere, a mile before the drop
into a bottomless gorge where dead mules,
scrapping cars, a rotting elephant

are jostled by the torrent.
Madmen pick thrugh the flotsam, poke about
for broken mirrors,books of nursery rhymes.
Reverse the years to 1966,

a ringleted, red velvet jacketed
voyour implodes with chemicals.
His mind's pyrotechnical Van Gogh
exploding into brilliant fall-out,

he sinks a canoe on the Cam and swims
clutching a fuzzy radio.
He picks the water jewels out of his hair,
they are a gift for Emily. She lives

inside a vase, inside a tree,
each green oak leaf's a peacock's ocelli.
His burn out so fast he watches it,
up on the fourteenth floor waves a white sheet
to his blinding demise and scrambles down

into a wasteland. There is no one there,
the town is empty, evacuated
decades ago. He walks through Cambridge dead.
He might be carrying his severed head.


Patti Smith
Delirium. A meteroric blaze
at CBGB's and the Bottom line,
a cocktail-shaker of mixed drugs
imploding,thin as a light flex
sustaining megatons inside a bulb

which had to blow; the Keith Richards',
emaciated grandeur, street poet
in bondage chains, gutteral, whipping lines
to stinging lariats, hyped up to bring

an epicentre to the stage,
an apocalypce of flaming horses
running headless for a ravine
in which junked cars are smashed to nickel cans,
and there's a woman in her pointed boots
celebrating the debris,stomping hard

on a black Cadilllac's bonnett.
Music meant auto-combusting,
pulling hysteria out of the throat
as a volatile fizzing coil,
a hit and run killer crouched at the wheel...

We look for her through fire. It's dead ash now,
the whole impulse defused; the dynamic
remembered through her records, the wild one
like Rimbaud, temporarily static.



John Cale
Symphonic dissonance. A viola
cuts worse than any whip. At Tanglewood
I smashed a table with an axe,
a form of sonic mania, a need
to assasinate harmony,
break things to their minimal components,
then stand back concussed by the noise.
Performance depends on paranoia,

the tension building like a hurricane.
Recording is the tight control
of fortunate accidents, improvised
felicities. Inside a studio
I'm Mozart, Wagner blowing themselves up
to rematerialize as unorthodox pop.

On stage, I've smashed glasses clean of the piano top,
decapitated a chicken,
declaimed like Artaud. And it's not enough.
There's a dimension to be broken through

called extra-sensory insanity.
I travelled that way once with Lou; the mad
empty the ash out of their ears and eyes.
They watch their heads float off into red skies.

I'm waiting for the big experiment,
the potentialized fuse inside my head
to blow, the ultimate schema take shape.
the one that leaves all other music dead.

William S Burroughs
Bullet holes pepper the shotgun painting-
a yellow shrine with a black continent
patched up on wood.
he sit's impeccable, no lazy tie,
the knot perfect between blue collar points,
a grey felt has tilted back off the head,
the face vulterine, eyes which have stepped in
to live with mental space and monitor

all drifting fractal implosions;
the man is easy in his Kansas yard,
his GHQ since 1982,
the New York bunker left behind, and cats
flopping around his feet, finding the sun,
picking up on psi energies.

He's waiting for extraterrestials,
psychic invasion; we can bypass death
by shooting interplanetary serum.
Some of us are the deathless ones. He pours
a cripplig slug of Jack Daniels.
The body can't function without toxins
or wierd metabolic fluctuations.
He's waiting for the big event.

And he has become a legend, now a myth,
a cellular mythology.
His double pressure-locked in the psyche,
for fear he blows a fuse, goes out on leave
and kills. He is invaded by Genet,
his presence asks for love, for completion.
The man wanders to his tomatoe patch;
his amanuensis snatches a break.
The light is hazy gold. He'll outlive death,
be here when when there's no longer a planet.


FROM "Pop Stars" Enitharmon Press 1994.