Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Perfect Shot/ All The Hometown Friends You've Forgotten

Years and years ago I put out a limited run pamphlet of ten poems - thanks to the use of a Local Council work photocopier after hours - which was bookended by these two prose pieces, both presented in small print and italics at the front and rear.  I'm sure the decision to have them acting as opening and closing brackets for the collection made some sense at the time rather than being a peculiar random brainfart, since I actually spent far too long thinking about what was supposed to be a really basic, xeroxed publication to sell at gigs.  I've got to be honest, however, I didn't keep a diary or journal in those days and I've long forgotten the logic behind it. 

A few people liked "A Perfect Shot", but within about one week of printing the pamphlet I decided I hated it (I'm still not particularly keen) and never used it in any context again and only read it live once at someone else's behest.  "All The Hometown Friends You've Forgotten", on the other hand, still gets pulled out at live readings very occasionally, though I find the content of it to be less true these days than I once did.

A Perfect Shot

she didn’t believe she could be struck by lightning, and to see her laugh in the face of a camera flash you’d guess she didn’t fear more earthly terrors too.  It was picture perfect, each photo catching her radiance bubbling before it died.  Every shot for her was the picture they’d use in the paper for you or I if we were murdered, in the lonely hearts column if we needed to be held, in the missing person column if we inexplicably vanished.  Her face begged you to look at her, look out for her.  It was as if the lightning fork had found her on a distant plain, frozen in time laughing at the world, laughing at what was to come.  

All The Hometown Friends You've Forgotten

All the hometown friends you’ve forgotten can be seen on Oxford Street in the Autumn, rubbing their DNA on everyone you’ll never know.  They’ll catch your eye for a second like hungry pigeons before being sucked away by the crowd into the bargain electrical store.

You think these people are just the slightly fatter brothers and sisters of ex-friends and lovers, that their hair is the wrong colour, but you would be mistaken.  They’ve just got older and are hiding the grey with new shades, trying to stand out and get your attention.

You think there’s no conspiracy, no notable coincidence in bumping into ghosts in the busiest High Street in the South East in November, but you’re wrong.  They think this is where all Londoners shop.  They believed it inevitable you’d pass someday.  They’ve been walking up and down all year, cowering, crouching, their feet the roots of plants outgrown their pots, mangled toes twisting in their shoes.  You made them this way.  Your time will come to catch their eye.  They’ll make sure you remember them this time.

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