To Read And To Write; The Creative Life

I spent the morning finishing The Innocents by Ian McEwan.

I felt a great sadness when reading a letter contained within it, suggestive of other lives and other alternatives.

Literature, art, has the power to do this.

I find myself more and more subsumed into the creative life.

I’m currently on the second draft of a novel. I’m not a very disciplined writer. I don’t put aside set times to write. I just decide to go over a chapter when I have a window in time. Although this may seem a quite casual approach, from crude, rudimentary beginnings the book is beginning to take shape.

And yet, amidst this deliberate foray into fiction, poetry is beginning to call to me again. I have long had an eye on a second collection. Not one to multitask, I intended to turn to this after the completion of my novel. But words are beginning to nudge their way in, filter through. Single words, combinations of words, predatory lines demanding attention.

Inspiration doesn’t pay respect to timeframes and schedules.

I have a few new poems written: Judas Kiss, Boathouse, My Father As Child, In Brigantia and others. I’ve not posted much poetry recently on City Jackdaw as I’m holding them back for a possible next collection.

At the moment I’m still deliberating the order of my creative endeavours. My procrastination was given a nudge recently  when I received a letter in the post from a great writer and poet that I gave a name check to in the foreword of my debut collection Heading North. Now in his 81st year and still as creative as ever, he wished me luck on my own foray on this open and crafted path.

This path of conjured words, and alternative worlds, that exist long after the demise of their creator.

Seven Winds

Seven Winds

The seven winds.
Are there seven? 

Stapling 'Missing' posters to telegraph poles
sweaty black leather
and the odorous stink
of sex and B.O.

A slip with a girl's number on it 
found in the pocket of an old coat
ragged and threadbare

could she still be out there?
a fixed point
in a perishing dream.

Coffee. 
Caffeine doesn't keep you awake

it's a myth
it's the toilet trips
that need to piss every goddamned hour

slipping through the tincture of light
that crawls from the horizon 
with a Kirlian glow.

There are friends long gone
who festered for a while
couldn't take the hint

but maybe I was their project
grasping for words
as the dying gasp for breath

carving my affections
instead
into the flesh of trees.


©AndrewJamesMurray

A Four-Way Collaboration

I was sat in a café, reading a great poem about my home city of Manchester.*

The opening lines read:

Queen of the cotton cities,

nightly I pick you back into existence:

the frayed bridal train your chimneys lay

and the warped applause-track of Victorian rain.

You’re the blackened lung whose depths I plumb,

the million windows and the smoke-occluded sun.

 

A couple took the table behind me. The lad never spoke, but the girl:

“I’ve always had weird drinking habits. I used to drink the vinegar out of cockle and muscle jars. I think it’s the cause of my leaking bladder.”

 

All of this was underscored by a female cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power Of Love. Haunting and ethereal. Alchemical.

All of these things merged and mingled into one tributary, collaborative moment, leading me to the page, transcribing slowly.

 

 

*Manchester, Adam O’Riordan.

Work In Progress: Night Poem

These are a few lines that I wrote the other night. Needs a lot doing with it.

Night Poem

The loneliness of distraction;
a question of language.

Cravat pirate,
hogging the turntable.

Wait — to see the shooting stars
tearing holes in the firmament.

Name a rose after that velvet queen
lost in the garden,

painting portraits and hustling
the elite for a pound.

Taste the names of those gone before,

their unfinished manifestos
staked to scarlet trees.



©AndrewJamesMurray