52 Poems for 2013, 30/52: DREAR GREY PLACE

Douglas Thompson writes,

Here is the 30th poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:


Unlovely city
how dare you so tediously resemble
what you were every yesterday
beneath that painted grey sky
(as unconvincing as a studio backdrop
in an early Star Trek series).

Unlovely city
you ate your own heart out:
heart with a triple motorway bypass
cholesterol-choked heart of a country
of eternally constipated weather and politics.

Sometimes I want to scream
and make every building
in your pompous imperialist grid
stand to attention and turn around
to march south in close formation
and demand independence
from these litter-strewn pavements
and fifty percent more sunshine.

(they’ll shut down the secret cloud factory in Rothesay
the sky will crack open to reveal blue above
while ancient celestial cogwheels fall
the mechanisms of the whole masonic conspiracy crumbling
the breweries will stop putting chemicals
in the beer to make everyone vote wrong).

Unlovely city
You make me build another city every day
inside my head, just to escape you, to stay sane.
You commit arson on my imagination.

Unlovely city
You have ruined every umbrella I ever bought
And made me love you.

(-Glasgow, September 1999.)


This poem always gets a laugh when I perform it. Unfortunately, the loudest laugh seems to come at the second-last line, then nobody hears the next and final line after it. (Read more)

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Filed in News, Stories on July 21, 2013