One trilogy and two poems from Ed Targett

Ed Targett has submitted three poems – Painting Away, Crying and City Songs, which is effectively a trilogy – the product of his 'pixels, sweat and tears', enjoy…

City Songs
Some staccatto quick steps
Some jitters
And people passing
In night mode:
Hoods up, caps on
Arms swinging
Or crossed.
Occasionally some
Back alleys,
Rectangular shapes
Pipes and steam,
Restaurant workers smoking break time
In the dim.
Yellow street lamps
Hang suspended
From private frames
In a private delight,
Not far extending
Not much including
Like spoilt toddlers
Clasping their toys
As mother night calls us to bed.
Occasionally clusters
Of Kurds
Outside bars with music trespassing
Onto the street
With glee
Shaking heads and laughing
In other tongues.
Occasionally a road crossed
White on the one hand and red on the other.
    The city swallows you
    From the approach on the train
    Smoke haloes
    Tighten as you struggle
    Like modern military
    Plastic handcuffs
    Get a grip.
    Don't fight it
    The rain spitting on old streets
    New people
    Balkan beggars; headscarves and
    Ornamental babies
    Is dead
    I thought
    As I averted my gaze
    Clusters of machismo
    The girls in tight jeans
    Fifteen or so
    Somehow, faces look like they are
    Chiseled from flint.
    Urbanity, yet;
    No one is urbane
    Just jaded, polluted, tired, scared
    A casual gesture
    Of camaraderie
    Offering the paper you've finished reading
    To your neighbour
    In the Tube
    Elicits a startled jerk
    Suspicious glance
    And several seconds of scrutiny before they
    There are no ulterior motives.

The city has ulterior motives though
The city wants you as its own
Foreign bodies
Objecting to the city system
Planting grass on their designated
Parking place
Are swiftly repelled
No more night-time jams
On rooftops
Tiles a-clattering
Noise pollution,
Acid rain.
Even my poems
Have been co-opted
Urban laments
The city hears me as singer
Royal historian.
Soviet air-brusher
Of official photos
The Metro tells tales of
War and blood in distant lands;
My neighbour's family
Screaming at night
With the caterwaul of stray cats
Acknowledge this violence
And are racked with grief.
The old man,
Is not keeping up with the rent
And the plastic guns of the kids on the block
Echo, like a shadow song
We all fought

– – – – – – – – –

Painting away

I exist in isostasy
Delineations of you, my monism,
My molten crust.
        I love in spite of you
To spite you
Bite and just fight through
These delusions of dualism
Things aren't what they seem
She says.
“The problem is with the seeming
Not the whatting,” I retort;
Life is endless and art is
damn short.
Who wants frames
Eyes are frames
Blue and brown of canvas daubing
A world of colour and cubes
Angles, angels –
“Modern pretence, give me naked women and cherubs”
she says with palpable glee.
Pastoral stultification? Not for my time:
        Naked or nude or nubile or neither:
Cloaked in royal purple, Praetorian guard!
My skin.
There's no debate.

– – – – – – – – –


It's like a trick:
Spatters of steel
In solemn
Skin cutting flashes of stainless
Heal with herbs such
Heroically hewn
Flesh wounds in memory
        Here with all the
Wherewithal withers not in
Autumnal tints of glamour
Perpetrated with all
Wishful clamour of
Leaves a-fallin and
Now: A crash of
Timber; tremulous and
Juddering such death throes
As betake an old soul like
Breath caught on the
Intake after,
Outbursts of
Such passion you
Shake like
A trick;
Spatters of collusion
In saline flashes of
Stainless hewn
Memories abound.

• Ed Targett is reading Politics and Religions at the London School of Oriental & African Studies. He is published in torn fragments across small media. He is 24 and married with a small, smiley, son.

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