Friday, 21 May 2010

Adam

I lost my soul in the quarter mile from Foyles to Jerry's
or maybe it was Jerry's to Foyle's
and what I lost was my mind.
His name was Adam
or maybe I only call him that
because he was my first man
and he told me let's take some of this and we'll get caned.
It was the way his T-shirt stayed angel-white in the citygrub
and the way his tattoo moved but his teeth stayed still when he smiled
that pulled me across the street.
I'd never seen confidence or clarity like it
or maybe I had
and it was some wet-sheeted memory
he drew to him that sticky six o'clock
like a cloud of backflowed blood swilling round before the shot.
I would have studied at Cambridge
or maybe I wouldn't
and that was the lie I told myself
because I knew I needed guilt
and neither the junk nor the ejaculations gave me any.

I lost my life somewhere by Bar Italia
or maybe someone found it
and put it to good use
or maybe they wasted it
and now I haunt the shelves of Foyles, perpetually browsing
or maybe I'm outside Jerry's
and this absinthe in my blood is just too strong
or maybe it's not strong enough
because I can't stop thinking of Adam
or maybe I only call him that because he fell.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you. I'm reading and re-reading. Many lines I love so much I must remember they are not mine. Joel

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  2. Lawks! I love this! 'It was the way his T-shirt stayed angel-white in the citygrub and the way his tattoo moved but his teeth stayed still when he smiled' - what a line. Gutted I didn't write it myself. This poem feels like a new direction, the start of something bigger than you oo oo & I.
    Penny

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  3. Thank you.

    Yeah, Penny, it's odd - I wanted to write something that wasn't all about rhythm. I wanted it to be about London, too - that part just off Shaftesbury Avenue fascinates me - I come back to it again and again - the way you've got Chinatown one side, and Soho tother. There's a whole chapter about it in Songs. Jerry's and Foyles and Old Compton Street between is about as perefct a string of urban paradise as you could find. I can quite believe it's some kind of energising but enervating gyr that sucks in teenagers and only spits them out into the hearse, sometimes after 60 years; sometimes after 60 days.

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  4. his tattoo moved but his teeth stayed still when he smiled

    Ohh, this is a very original way of describing a smile. I love it!

    Great poem Dan! You are an amazing poet.

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  5. I do love this poem with its urban beat.

    Wonderful how it begins with Adam as the first man, and ends with Adam as the fallen one.

    You're very good at this poetry business. :)

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  6. thank you both. I still feel like an imposter writing poetry, because I haven't the first clue what I'm up to. I just knew I wanted to do something that wasn't all about the rhythm, but was about a character.

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