‘One, perhaps his psalter, / the other, a manuscript, or a portable altar.’
Don Paterson reads his poem, ‘The Self-Illuminated’ in memoriam Peter Porter, from Granta 119: Britain.
‘It was a cruelty I first tried to blame on nature, / Then on growing up, on falling off, on it being / Just an old myth.’
Bird of Fire
‘No more, no longer the sweet difference / Between real and dream I knew.’
Abingdon Square Park
‘I once had had a thought / About a thought I once had had.’
‘Nobody wanted to hear / about the rain or its father / or leviathan slicing the deeps / at the black edge of the world / under the cold blue light of the Pleiades.’
‘Theory cannot be tangible fact / like driving on I-95 to get to a lecture / on supernovae.’
17 Melbourne Road
‘A room at the top of the street / preserving his life in sunlight’
‘Lichen-green lines of shingle pulsate and waver / when you lift your eyes. It’s the glare.’
‘I swelter in the dusk / and chase the flies, abstractedly, / until I half forget them.’
‘Let me tell you, boyo, bach: I love this place, where green hills shelter me from fear.’
6 March 1989
‘Damn, brother. You saw what they did to my face? / Poked out my eyes. Knocked teeth out of place’.
A Description of the Architectural Impact of My Home, Age 7
‘my apartment is neither over / nor under the sidewalk, / but both at once’
Why A Colored Girl Will Slice You If You Talk Wrong About Motown
‘Their newborn children grew / like streetlights. We grew like insurance payments. / We grew like resentment.’
from Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues
‘She was visibly ageing you could tell / that soon it was going to be a long / desperate race between cellulite and silicone’.