The Curse of the A4 Daemon
I draw upon another phallic cigarette
(Herr Freud, I’m sure, would have a lot to say on mine).
My coffee-cup is colder now that when I started;
still the steam of fags and Faggs will intertwine
as lovers in their frenzied lust to reproduce,
if not an image of themselves then compromise,
will wrap their double-helix round each other’s knees
in hope that giving birth will validate their cries.
My silent room is full of books, my desk unkempt;
my keyboard keys are blackened by the years of sweat.
The A4 paper sits atop the printer’s hide
anticipating what the poet might beget:
a single sheet is all it takes to catch my eye
and lead me to ‘the zone’, as athletes call that place.
I focus for a moment on the task at hand
in quiet contemplation of the artist’s grace.
And through this silence rises rich upon my mind
desires dipped in dreaming for the fecund verse,
a solitary line to change the world, as Byron did –
at least that’s what I tell myself, if nothing worse.
I’m drawn into this haze of images and sounds
where words which were at once both copious and sparse
are flowing here, and there are hard to grasp as fit
or as to whether they submit to rhyme and parse.
I’m crazy for these words: they beat me round the skull,
both inside and without, it seems, both bruised and smart.
Each failing pun or broken rhyme distresses me
and often brings me more despair than when I start.
I struggle just to keep the flow of lines alive
for fear of falling into some artistic slump.
My coffee can not tranquillise me now, it’s done –
the daemon takes control and wayward words will jump
upon the vacant page, or screen, I ought to say.
I can’t contain the flood of lines, this miss and hit,
but all I seem to bring to mind is something like
‘O pretty bee upon a flower’ and other shit.
Tap, tap, I try, and still the A4 waits for food:
it looks at me with hungry stares and yearning eyes,
each morsel scrutinised for verbal calories.
One word I like and yet another I despise.
I curse the constant clutter of the mind’s revolt,
at every turn submitting to creation’s spite,
where only that which proves itself upon the page
may stake its claim to moments in poetic light.
And with the spectre of our literary past
I battle in the ancient gladiator’s den,
where souls of each centurion will punish words
which are not up to scratch. But every now and then
there’s something worth the panic, something worth the pain;
in seriousness or fun I scribble what I think.
And all that time and effort binds the bloody daemon,
now confined to fonts and bathed in printer’s ink.
And so the A4’s full and maybe wanting more:
I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but what the shite!
For some the doing’s more important than the deed,
and for the rest there’s always yet another line to write.