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I have this problem of managing all the things I create or buy.
Once upon a time, I was a real hoarder — the mantra was “never throw anything away, never let an idea go”. I realised that I ran the risk of keeping too much stuff and not having the room for it all.
These days, I like keeping the number of clothes I own on the low side, because it makes it much easier to decide what to wear on a given day. At any given time, my wardrobe is like a “best of” of all the clothes I’ve ever owned. If I get something new and I don’t like it as much as something that’s old, then it tends to find its way to the charity shop quicker.
When you have eighty-five pieces of poetry, it’s like having a cluttered wardrobe. There’s some stuff that you really like, some that you don’t like much, some stuff that you used to like now but wonder what you were thinking, and so on. So, with clothes, I try keep only things that I really like by doing a periodic cull. But when it comes to art (whether photos or poetry), I just don’t feel right getting rid of it. It’s stronger than that, actually: it feels wrong. On the other hand, I also feel like some of it just cruft cluttering up the world.
I have no idea why this is the case. Do I worry too much about keeping a record of the past? Would I really be losing anything if I went back and clicked “delete” on old poetry which doesn’t mean anything to me anymore? On some level, is deleting old poetry or unfinished ideas which will never be finished the same to me as deleting my past or my potential in the future?
I’m considering putting together “best of” categories which link the poems thematically or chronologically together, but even if I do that, there’s still that feeling of some of it just being cruft that might as well get chucked out. I wonder if I’ll ever find a solution.
(I’ve been meaning to make this a real blog for a while. That means linking to other sites, writing regularly, acquiring regular readers, possibly using a spellchecker, and perhaps posting more than just poetry. This post represents the beginning of trying that, though I’m aware I’ve done none of the above except the last one yet.)
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when streets around me darken
and the faces loom from the night
i feel trapped in a world where i don’t belong
. nothing’s going right.
i hastily keep walking
as i ponder how it fell apart
the money went, and with it my life
i shudder as i breathe in the dark.
then — i recall a house nearby
i walk up and knock on the door
it’s the one place left before i go to my rest
— i step inside, stand on your floor.
your face lights up like a firework
and you warmly invite me to drink
the living room glow, it diffuses so well
and soon i’m happily unable to think.
eventually time comes, and i walk out the door
i knew that it would have to end
and as i lay, back home, before my permanent sleep —
i remembered you, my last true friend.
downbeat as always, your little stories
paint pictures in my mind
dark and dreary, bright and cheery
the colours, you paint sublime
your lungs are wheezing, your spark is leaving
but your voice still carries on
the things you’ve said i won’t forget
even when you’re dead and gone.
— what’s this one about? maybe an old relative, a grandparent, who told you stories. he smoked and you see now how close he was to death, but it didn’t seem to stop him. now his stories which you thought you’d never forget are fogged over, maybe never to be heard again.
i stood in crowded space
trying not to stare
but something about your face
caught my glance like a snare
a quick look down and up again
hoping i wouldn’t be seen
but i see your head turn and you focus on me
inside i feel myself squeam.
we made eye contact just the once
and quickly looked away
it was merely a momentary glance
and no-one was there to say
that when our barriers slipped today
it was anything but distraction
there was no mutual attraction
open for all to see.
found: a lesser purple spotted bus pass
lost+found: sanity left on bus. please call 08806 571234 if sat on
lost: an american tv programme set on a desert island
lost+found: sheep on mountain
lost+found: bag with explosives accidentally left in a photo booth, ring 0800-AL-QAIDA
free time disappeared somewhere on the way to exams. reward offered for return
lost: warm sofa. heat lost in crowd somewhere between standing up and sitting down
lost: iraq. (oh, aren’t i political)
found: drunken irishman
lost+found: fishtank crudely engraved with “TASTY”. cat seen nearby
(credit for Mark for these:)
lost: evening. last seen before i fell asleep
lost: friends. please help me contact http://www.myspace.com/brokenaccount
lost: lose (NOT HAVE); verb [T] lost, lost
LOVEFiLM sucks. It’s dishonest: you pay per month with no guarantee on how many DVDs you can rent that month, and no information on the maximum number of rentals per month, or anything like that. It takes seven screens to cancel your account. Cheekily, the bastards even ask you if you want to upgrade your account in the process of leaving. They annoyed me. Lots.
So. Here’s a better model for rental firms’ customers, which is who they should be out to serve.
Each rental costs some small amount. Over here, that might be £1.50. Call one rental credit “R”. It’s gotta cover the cost of the rental, deal with the cost of the original DVD and any replacements, and have profit left over.
You have an account with the rental people, which must always have at least 5R in it. When you rent a DVD, you get have 1R deducted. If this takes you to 5R then you’d need to top up your account before being allowed to take out another movie.
When you leave, the remaining credits in your account simply get refunded.
Why is this better?
With pay-per-month schemes, when you cancel, you lose the rest of your credit for that month. Either that, or their system is unpredictable as to when it will send new DVDs, and you cancel a little too late — when they’ve already sent out a DVD — and end up having next month charged too. This is blatant ripoff territory here.
This way is more honest. No more “secret delays”: you pay per DVD, but it still has the convenience that LOVEFiLM gives, assuming you have a big enough collection of DVDs. It’s more transparent, open, and I’ll sign up to the first company who does it.
“you should have told me earlier
at least then i’d’ve known”
i sat and thought about the facts
silent and alone.
the futility of worry dawned on me
and i became still inside
why resist? it creates more pain
i– just accept you lied.
the way you told me hit me bad
like a bullet from a gun
you’d never tried to meet my eye
since you found you had a son.
the more i thought of our kid in you
our helixes intertwined
the more i realised i had no control
over what you did with mine.
i sat and tried to be reasonable
but i left me feeling resigned
i sit in my cellar and stare at the wall.
there’s noise upstairs, someone in the hall
i take no notice, but i still feel the fear
if somebody looks, will they notice me here?
i’m changing. and i don’t understand
how time slips away like sand through my hands.
who knows what’ll shift as i sift through the shards
of a broken mirror, left alone in the dark.