Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 8 October 2007

  • Joke Blood

    The self-dyed tennis-shoes’ new burgundy
    soaking my socks I made an expedition
    to the office block where I knew you worked

    past the castle mount   old marmalade factory
    static canal   out of a toy-box

    Part-time in polling seven pounds an hour
    you surveyed on hoovers and microwaves

    were you happy / very happy / not happy at all

    Drunk since breakfast I had to sit down
    cool air a bad knock ache a concussion

    I wandered a clown big foot cartoon
    squeezing and swelling in the mangle crowd
    what could I pour out to you that was real

    I started to run through the city like a slave

    by Graeme Richardson
    from Hang Time by Graeme Richardson (Landfill, 2006)
    Copyright © Graeme Richardson

    Hang Time is a sequence of free sonnets about youthful experiences. The unpunctuated verse of ‘Joke Blood' gathers pace from the painful romantic comedy of its first eight lines (the octave) to the more urgent realisation of despair in the final six (the sestet). As in the classic English love sonnets of Sidney and Shakespeare, the poet goes from being love's clown to love's slave. Graeme Richardson is Chaplain of Brasenose College, Oxford. His poetry criticism has appeared in Areté magazine and his poetry in the magazine 14.

    Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.