An audio recording made 3 years ago of a poem I wrote 15 years ago, there’s a transcript below the picture that was taken 1 year ago. The picture is of a man-made meadow near Llandaff Fields in Pontcanna and it’s just there because people apparently like pictures to illustrate mere words.
I wrote the poem in the canteen/refectory at Trinity College, Carmarthen after arriving early for a session of the MA Creative Writing course I was studying at the time.
I had driven through the wonderful Carmarthenshire countryside with its green green grass and rolling hills and become pissed off at how the beautiful and mystical nature of Wales and its inhabitants have come to be defined by stereotypes involving sheep farming, rugby, chapel and industrial abuse.
Where is Your Song? What is there to sing about in the dirty valleys of Wales? The land of my fathers’ follies, the land of Mam’s poison cake. Where sheep flood the green hills like maggots, munching to certain slaughter, and pass their moronic character to the people, through their plates. The rivers run cold and collect the toxic discharge that the Lords left. The stone-walled slate-roofed mausoleums of mediocrity, house the bigots and the hypocrites of fear. Why allow these demons to inhabit our beautiful land? Where is the sleeping Prince who promised to return? Wales is not a place of blood and tears. Wales is not a deposit of dirty rain. The evil of our history has skewered our hearts to a red jersey, the only paltry pride we have left. Oh Wales, where is your song of joy?
While working on my next novel ‘Bums’ which will be published in the Spring of 2015, I have been distracting myself by putting together a volume of other bits and pieces, called for the Time Being.
It’s going to end up as a 200 page paperback book and will be published in late October or early November 2014.
For the Time Being is a bringing together of short stories, plays, poems, snippets and other fragments of my writing. Some of it is brand new, other pieces have been lurking in drawers for decades. Some of the work has been exhaustively edited while some is still red raw. Some of the work has already been published on this blog in one form or another, some of it emerged as I was putting the book together.
I don’t know if the book has any commercial viability – probably not, but I don’t really care – it’s primary purpose is as a distraction for me and something for me to read in my dotage – the pure essence of self-publishing if you like.
There will be more information about the book on Opening Chapter’s website when it’s available.
It was 1998, 27 years after my only other visit to the Glastonbury Festival. I’d always wanted to go back to see if it was the magical mystical place that had stayed with me and influenced my life so much.
These poems were typed in from an old book dated 1970 – 71 on December 26, 1993 and re-edited a little bit for blatant typos only during June 2014. They are still a bit raw but I’ve kept them like this because it’s a link back to when I was a teenager and it would be a bit of an imposition to edit them from the perspective of a 62 year old man.
Notes: I used the pen name Del Brennan at that time. From Del – a shortened form of Derek and Brennan – my mother’s maiden name.Continue reading →
Tossers is a surreal pointless play first presented by Michael Kelligan as part of the On the Edge series of script held performances at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. The play includes three poems one of which is included in the extract below. Continue reading →
There’s a fire on the hilltop
There’s a fire in my heart
And it’s always been there
Since the very start
There go by the engines
The engines there go by
But they can’t put mine out
So they needn’t try
There they go again now
Racing from the hill
They’ve put out that fire
But mine is burning still
The memory was sparked off by the smell of a grass fire alongside the motorway. I saw the smoke first, smudging the spring-blue sky above the road ahead, I thought it might be mist or fog, but it was too dry and too late in the day for that. Then the sweet-acrid smell of a grass fire seeped into the car through the sun-roof – tilted open to compensate for the non-functioning electric windows. I love the car, it’s an environmental baddie, an old Rover Vitesse Turbo; it drives like a confident oil-baron and swallows a hundred miles of motorway without taking a breath, but it’s done nearly 200,000 miles and it’s disintegrating. Continue reading →
There’s a calendar on the desk in this office. One of those ones that show just one day. You’re supposed to rip a page off every day – and display it in a position that can be viewed from all angles. Just in case you forget what day it is. But this one shows yesterday’s day and date which happens to be APRIL 7 WEDNESDAY. Now there’s a thing it doesn’t show the year. What the fuck year is it?
The days are different. Each day is different than any other day that has gone before – significantly different. Certain things are the same on many days but even those things are different when you zoom in on them. What does this mean? OK – elaborate. You can go into your (or any other) garden, or a park or a field, or I suppose, go and look at a roadside hedge. Choose a leaf. Study it. Go back the next day, at the same time if you like, and it will be different. It will have grown, or decomposed, or become wetter, or drier, or droopier, or perkier – and that’s just one leaf – even a rock – even a diamond will be different from one moment to the next. Some things will require a higher zoom, some things will be obvious, some things will cease to exist between one day and the next, and some things will come into existence. What does that mean? Time is the path through the tangled mess that is the universe – inner and outer (what a fucking cliché – sorry). Life is awareness, life is best when it is simply lived. Age comes to us, we move towards it – we are actually time travellers – we think we can only go in one direction – forward – but how do we know that? Answer – because we remember what has happened before and we can’t see what will happen in the future. But maybe that’s only because of the direction we’re looking in.
Rolling around – being blown – blowing – blown. I am blown through the universe – buffering – buffeting, being buffeted, blown and buffeted – through a universe of song and colour – everything – all of it, a glimpse, a snap, a snip a flash of breath, a spark, a one of them, too many clichés and the meaning is lost – too many words the same – There is, this is – a Time Space cubicle – it is in this cubicle and in the cube or is it a sphere – a ball, a world – a planet, and there under a blade of grass a chiv of life, light, feeling, and the light, the light the right, it’s all there here round and down and up and spherically shaped – – – – – – there is nothing to wait for to look for to hope for – it is here – now – the time space bubble bauble – inside and everywhere and then and now and then of course it is of course and you know it – you have to – no – should – should will – in the end discover – unearth find it always gleaming dreaming and worlds and planets and galaxies and universes and inside, deep inside – the light – the truth + time to learn and time to be and it is a start to finish / in between. So there so there it is it is there – Look.
it is time again
it has been long coming
poking at my consciousness
in the night – asleep
or should be
but it nags
it is my dragon
I woke it
demanded its breath
said – let me lie
I am sleeping
I said – you are a dragon
not a dog
now it nags