Peter Finch: Some Uncollected Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now You Can Again Be Your Father


The cat has a name but
suddenly you can't think of it. In
the wardrobe are 18 pairs of shoes
you do not wear. The poor had none
when you were younger.

Last week couldn't find anyone
who could remember Gary US Bonds.
This week still can't

Time is in the next room
hissing like a cistern
almost spent.

Soon you'll become what you
were always going to,
only culture held you back.
Needed to be something, desperately.
Now you can again be your father.
His jacket when he was sixty fits me now
used to be like a tent.

He couldn't really swim either
said he could.
Breathing ineffectually down
the pool at tai chi speeds
overtaken by toddlers with
floatation devices
and men who had lost limbs.

I sat in the chair he used
still there in the back room
like a megalith
went ahhh.
This only starts when you are
over 50.

Lost:
string driving gloves
jubbly
telegrams
bosoms with points
hard-rind cheese
fishwives
smuts in your eyes

Length of time it takes to open
a shrink wrapped CD:
5 minutes 20 including scissors.
World record is 2 seconds flat.

He stuck to lps. Liked Edmundo Ros.
Told me that if you could get
women to dance then you were half way there
didn't say where that was.

Mambo, samba, things that were in the blood.

Beat

John Tripp 59
B S Johnson 41
Arthur Rimbaud 37
Buddy Holly 29

Kingsley Amis 74
not managed him yet

My father said poems were
things you used when you died
air fresheners for the eternal soul

Basho's was

on a journey, ailing,
my dreams roam about
over a withered moor

He never liked the moors, my father,
but I did

full of space and incessant air

that's me over there
that smudge
big coat no hair
just like my father
slowly mamboing into the future.

 

 

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Hawksmoor

 

White Spitalfields
Light from the skies.
Beyond Palladio
Pointing
Hawksmoor's fifty reduced to six. Arm wrestle.

Hawksmoor the hall of whites western mansion
Hawksmoor the spital of sea southern infirmary
Hawksmoor the count of ham high country
Hawksmoor the place of singing extreme envy
Hawksmoor the factory of shoe sliding installation
Hawksmoor the college of sgrifenu scratched classroom
Hawksmoor the hopeless of Nazareth north helpful
Hawksmoor the nested of the Great Eastern etched den
Hawksmoor the wizard of greenery growing darkly
Hawksmoor the howling of fortress fissure wallet
Hawksmoor the habitat of the Mediterranean middle helpless
Hawksmoor the northerners of great saints mammoth
Hawksmoor the pressure of razors rising and their shapeliness
Hawksmoor the elevation of running rises and the lost faces of the ancients
Hawksmoor the rolling rises right-angled and the power of depression


Chelsea, the Jewel Tower, Ockham Park, Hosleydown, Castle Howard, Orangery, St Alfege, St Anne, St George, St James, St Mary, St Michael, St Luke, St Listlessness, St John, Limehouse, Oxford, Spitalfields, Bloomsbury, West Towers, Hampton Court, Broadenfield Hall, Radcliffe Camera, Brick Arcade, George the Martyr, Whitehall.

Ley plan glass pure mockery
special scrambling bowing Madame inventory
Sinclair rain pulp scratched pample
thousand audience fabric struck stop
limewash screened Palladio vanquish victory
press priory brick bolt previous
pyramids scrolls flowers clumps satyrs
jest sullied diamond design ray
beam blueprint sand crisp crystal
happiness clear coral industrial pathway

The tomb of Mausolus in Pliny
The ancient tombs at Baalbek,
The tomb of Cecilia Metella on the Appian Way
The Temple of Solomon

Walked old London in the searing cold. Climbed the Monument 202 feet up the precise distance from the source of the Great Fire in Pudding Lane. Lit bagel. Fire flour. Tower Bridge. The Thames. The Eye. HMS Belfast viewed through steam like it was still at war. Victorian Leadenhall. Georgian Fournier Street. Huguenots. Christians. Freemasons. Freemarketeers. Jews. Musselmen. Bangla funeral at the Great Mosque. Faith like a limpet. Glory frozen. Hawksmoor's masterpiece built above a plague pit the power centre around which we had rambled. Christchurch spiral. Maze. Hexagram. Pyramid. Pentacle. 2.4m to save from gradual dissolution. Wood like cabbage stalk. Rust. Mortar crumble. God permutated like Oulipo poetry. Pristine. Pressure. Primate. Permanence. Passion.

 

 

 

(walked across London, Christmas 2005, looking for how it must once have been.)

 

 

 

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Mabinogion Translations



Bendigeidfran overlooked the sea
from Ireland
they could see the ships

When they saw
the ships
near at hand
certainly they had
not seen them

The ships were
blessed by God
and prospered
with brocade
This was certain

God was near
was he not?

The brocade and the shields
were pointing upwards for peace

These are ships
said Manawydan
but we cannot see
them

It was an early Zen problem

 


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I Chew My Gum & Think Of Rifles



What we needed was a
great leader in a set of Castro fatigues
with a gun. He would have
stood on the balcony they'd have
erected hastily along the front of City Hall
and told us we were worth everything
in the world and the enemy,
rich with gum and nylons, could go to hell.
Imagine that.
Strutting up and down Queen Street in
our camouflage pants with the
crowds roaring. No planes, we
wouldn't have planes. Some rusty vans,
maybe. And a truck, with a whole
crowd of us, singing and dancing on the back.

But it was never like that. We got people who
hectored us, with their hands in the till
and some fake tongue in their mouths.
Not one of them wore a uniform.

I chew my gum and think of rifles.

Then I recall that we are a peace loving people.
If we'd had rifles then, by now,
we would have given them up.

 


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Trying To Find Bela Bartok



Top of the hill at Farkasrti Temeto in a mild rainstorm.
The mamoushka flower sellers
in sailing polythene squat by the road.
A Trabant has its front off.
There are bullet holes in the ferro tram stop
and there's a man with a dog.
The guard at the car-park has
the red fire face of a drinker
and no knowledge of this land's greatest son.
The paths like death itself are interminable.
I find him next to Solti
marked by a chiseled bass clef
and overgrown with conifer.
There's a fragment of a red star
and no flowers.

Was your visit to Hungary: yes / no
Which of these: Concerto for Orchestra / Hungaroton / Race With The Devil
Rate democracy: 1- speech 2- obstinacy 3 - epic 4 - fiction
How: tin can / mixer deck / mini-bar / high-peak military cap (please circle)

Please hum 14 bagatelles into this microphone
koszonom

 


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The Miro Mini Bar



By the lift-shaft we find a plaque
telling us that Joan Miro was born
in the very room in which we are
staying seems so ordinary with its
minibar and shower-tray and Miro damp
marks moving up the wall. On the
street we see him standing outside the shop
which sells figs. I thought he was
dead but he's in fine form testing the
splatter technique he's learned from the
Americans on the front of the tapas bar on the
other side of the street. Free Political
Prisoners read the smears in red and
when the Guardia arrive to take him off
no one appears surprised that the country's
greatest painter should be treated like
this. Later in the bar a man with a mustache
tells me that was not Miro but an impostor.
"Miro, he never use words, too precise."
In the park his giant mute statue of woman
with bird glows in the sunlight. At the
hotel I take a beer from the Miro minibar
and consider its beauty. It has much -
slender, upright, radical. I check the
price list. Traditional.
What would Miro have done?
I do a little sketch of it in the back of
my notebook. Then I put it back.

 


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Starting The New Magazine



Worn by drizzle and tired.

The radio like pandemonium
dragged through birch hedge,

Check the advice section

Dear Mavis
In the night all night the dream time and again the
hard nipple will these things ever cease?

Dear Peter
No Stay with it. The age is new.

God almighty, yes. Turn the radio down.

I start the magazine with a team of
tough grey fucks not yet wedded to all
day comatose.

How to cope with weight. How not to be mistaken in pubs. Not
catching the eyes of old, almost-lovers now it's too late. Strategy for
hair loss, scalp condition, whiteness, regress, dryness, falling and
fading. Avoiding stoop, shoulder bend, wrist thinness, ankle shake.
Not running. Less sex. Living with artificial parts. Realigning.
Degouging. Crop rotation. Gum buggering. De-calcification of
breath. Article on how to remember what you just said. Article on
how to convey this to others. Ads for fast cars. No poems.

Dear Maldwyn
In the night I see most of it. Stars and rattling. I understand
what there is to and that isn't much. I no longer sleep
the dreamless never wake bright and glowing. The chest is a shaking
drain. I'm up all night tending the prostate and thinking
about winter radish. Are there ways to improve things?

Dear Peter
No.

Issue One sells out in a week.

 


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Fibrillation



You go to a mosquito at midnight and give him a certain number of photons. That particularly well- timed jolt turns off the mosquito's clock. He doesn't sleep. Insomniac insect beast. But after that he'll doze and wake and buzz a bit. It is what he does, all at random. Like always. This perpetual jet lag you've stuffed in his head it doesn't alter the middle of things, just their beginnings and then their ends.

The mosquito's narrative does not use sequential syntax but darts rather in bursts of talk and then long stretches of silence riddled with the ghost fragments of that which went before. Can. There is an acceleration here which leaves nds ds nnn ds s s s ss e llll ll.

The narrative never. Point different from all the other points. Point pl. Point ll l. The point law point can of worm. s. Cycle both non-wake tsss. R. ll ll llll l. The sleep-wake cy. The narrative ten to twemnt. ty. l. Even pl. Seems about resetting even. Erratic bot ll ss kys hg. But the buzz a buzz z. The cy slop ll h.

Even fibrillation chao. Wrm. l ssss. Start how stud why when nds. This mend and the mos.

Quito o.

Secret strt (somewher). Please pl.


 

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The Problem Of Mathematics



Mathematical talent often develops at an early age. Normal psychological development of a person stops at precisely the time when mathematical talent sets in. This is the gricer phenomenon which, in an urban environment, relates transport number collection to (largely) male identity function. I have colleagues in this category with a mental age of something like six and this creates practical problems. They operate like silk in an academic environment but do not survive well in the harsh world of love, pain and evolving language.

Try this simple test. Start with a chosen set of basic assertions. Substitute, say, a set of artist's biographies for their actual work. Relegate the marks they have made on canvas and substitute the chronicles of their daily lives. Proceed now to construct chains of further assertions based on your original model until one is generated that looks particularly nice. If you were a talented mathematician you would now invite your colleagues who would admire your work and suggest its beauty. The chain of intermediate assertion would constitute its proof. An assertion that can be stated simply and concisely - shoulders, temples and breasts are always points of crisis in cubist paintings for example - often requires an extraordinarily long proof. You should know intuitively which definitions to introduce and should construct your path as convolutedly as possible.

The length of proofs is what makes mathematics interesting. Mistakes here are death. One has to see the future.


proba("non A") = 1 - proba("A")
A = the whole lifestyle
non A = product. Both independent.
Then proba("A and B") = proba("A") x proba("B")

This is intuitively reasonable. The purpose of mathematics is to make sense out of the world. It says train-spotting is as relevant as cubism's cones, cylinders and spheres. Cross this out. Construct a further chain of assertion.


 

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Like Snickers



I am so afraid of radioactivity. I live too near nuclear power - ten miles across the channel like pit- bulls - and there are trains holding flasked-waste like huge zingy hot-dogs going past me on the local line. I want to do without this. Not stand on some Porthcawl beach in my 50s sun-glasses and the yellow glare looking manly but pack it somehow putting polystyrene between the nucleons and cementing the protons into things like giant SNICKERS and sinking them in trenches in another ocean. I am so afraid of the way these things deposit energy as they pass through our bodies. Ivan and Zorica Draganic advise that just holding up a hand ought to be enough to stop alpha waves. I've been out the back and I can tell you it works there are none on the bricks at 19 Southminster.

Fisher says the topographical analysis of a breaking window should be plan enough for anything. He was thinking of a poem. I'm concerned with skin. 50s poets lived in a world where the fear was cold but only surface. Aluminium 0.12cm would stop beta rad but only 3.00cm plus could hold gamma. The trains then glinted of this mock silver. People rode them. Now the shit is unstable and de- regulated. Mad Checken h-bomber stows on Aeroflot. Republic emulsion coming through cracks. We hold up our hands in horror at the unpredictability of nuclei decay. A billion years and then it's fine. No worry. Furioso change the world. I know the poets are with me on this. The politicians too. They all know we can't.


 

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Cover Blown



IM William Burroughs

William Burroughs goes to Rio

for a new face. It’s a brilliant piece of
plastic surgery, makes him look
like a taller JFK. He’s so proud getting
off the airliner at New York’s Dextromorphine
that the bullet coming at him
smiles a little itself before going in.
It makes shotgun art on the 747’s side.
Could have been anyone
Burrough’s mouth says while
his Brooks’ suit body slumps el
hombre invisible cover blown.
In Lawrence, Kansas when John F
finally slides into the earth the West
thinks it’s lost a city in the red night.
And it has.


 

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Watering Can



Some of us decide to have a fire to
add a little drama to the world. We fix it for a
bright boy from out of town to torch his
car outside the rear fence and set the study
roof on fire. The flames are great slashing
sheets. They do not douse when I drizzle
them from my green watering can. The
oily smoke has turned world dark.
When the brigade at last arrive I am dancing
on the flat roof in my hot slippers
trying to stem the spread with a washing up
bowl and a mop. As the mask-clad firemen
spray everything with post-modern foam
their uniformed boss catches me to discuss his
novel. I'm having trouble with the plot,
he complains, steam and smoke pushing
past his head in streams. I find myself
advising on dialogue and offering to
re-enter the inferno to find him my copy of
101 Copyright Free Plots but the item is
burned to dust. When the party's done
and the police have left me a crime number
for the insurance I go to bed but don't
sleep. In the lane the car's skeleton clinks with
the night's coldness and the charred house timbers
flake in the wind. At the station the leading
fireman again battles with his novel. Amid the
smell of burning the most I can manage is a gob
of verse. This is it.



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Trying For The Job



the number you have dialled has not been
recognised - your fault - try again
for an appointment leave your details
you are really important to us - you are in a queue
all our operators love you - press the hash key
the interview occurs without you
a choice is made - it isn't you.

the tv looks dumb - in the graveyard shift
it gabbles - it fills your time - the bar code
on the beer bottle has a perfect check digit
you dial it - nothing - the number you have
dialed has not been recognised - you check
in the fridge - no queue six more
what the hell - you try again.

 


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Me And The Lone Ranger

 

Me and the Lone Ranger hit the hill
at a gallop nothing goes walking speed,
ever we've fixed it no one's been shot
in this street since 1955 the gardens
are all solid not one neighbour has
missed any cattle yip yippee yi eh.
He wears his white hat like a cricket umpire
and his eye mask like a burglar.

Next door Carys's mother too young for
the matinee pisses coke, her toddlers are
locked in where cowboys never go.
Don't eat. They used to bawl.
Now they don't.
Tonto comes back with more fags. Six pack.
Here hun. He's a turncoat. Full of crap.

Me and Lone-o crack some repartee. Sheriff's
thinking of giving me a badge. I'll refuse.
We do this for black and white love.
It's a wonderful life. Next door the toddlers give up.
Carys floats.

Can we fix it, I ask the Ranger?
His silver spurs catch the light.
He's full of sun but you can see age
on him. Check the wrinkles round the mouth.
Fix what, he says. He puts his gun away.
We go up the pub.

 

 

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Recycled

 

thj tsay I hv eaten tplumat rein
thicebox & wch youreprob
savbreakForgive thy redelicious
sosw eet &socold wmcls m

 

 

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