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CAUGHT IN THE NET 90 -  POETRY  BY MICHAEL PEDERSEN

Series Editor - Jim Bennett
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Introduction by Jim Bennett
 

 

Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.

 

You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.
 

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She breathes so lightly, purrs, as if her lungs

were making music; restful notes throttled

by my brute orchestra of noise.

 

The room pulses, damp, bulbous; geckos

on walls balloon to the same primordial beats -

we’ve acknowledged this, the reptiles and I.

 

                 from;  Flowers  by Michael Pedersen

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CONTENTS

1 - BIOGRAPHY
2 – POETRY
 

No.58, Slorkram

Arching Eyebrows and a Chalked Door

Newscast

Flowers

Hello Bréon, it’s nice meet you

Greenhouse Ganglands

Tom Buchan (1931-1995)

With Divine Ovation

 

3 - AFTERWORD
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1 – BIOGRAPHY:  MICHAEL PEDERSEN

 

Michael Pedersen is a 26 year old writer of Scottish stock. His inaugural chapbook Part-Truths was listed by The Poetry Book Society and was a Callum MacDonald Memorial Award finalist; his sequel chapbook -The Basic Algebra of Buttering Bread - is available from Windfall Book; and his first full length (part illustrated) collection is forthcoming from Red Squirrel Press. He is widely published in magazines, journals, e-zines and anthologies and has galvanised an electric reputation on the live circuit - collaborating with musicians, filmmakers and artists. Allied to this he script edits for a forthcoming motion picture; has written a short play that will appear under National Theatre of Scotland's banner and co-captains Neu! Reekie! collaborative arts night. www.michaelpedersen.co.uk


 

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2 - POETRY 

 

 

No.58, Slorkram

 

This stilted house (of heavy heart) speaks

out in castigation of the card-counting

swindlers gambling by the river.

 

Ferny feet hide secrets buried deep

in the soil, down beneath the timber,

where, all earthy, only spiders stray.

 

Together we watch the sky like television

screens: lapis days turn back to black

booted nights but we natter on,

 

letting colours creep and silence settle

behind the shadows of shrubs -

think milk mixing into tea. Tonight

 

the ether’s eyeballing us, winds gallop

from tufts to yarns, settle in yawns –

a telltale sign to shamble off to bed.

 

Remember Michael (with a voice

brass as bells), inside all bones are white

and souls are soft as ripened Mango.

 

Of course. I won’t forget it.

And tomorrow, can we talk about

the Big City who lost his feathered hat?

 


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Arching Eyebrows and a Chalked Door

 

X marks the spot of visceral malevolence:

cracked lips, thin as slit wrists, collide

like tyre tracks. Sweat pours past blemish

past blister, words rock back-and-forth,

like kids on swings. This is a man condemned: 

a gravy blooded, Xed, hexed, body filled with AIDS.

As with all commanders of devilry, he purveys

vicious charms, many men, fond of fame,

have followed him to battle; each battue

 

comes cloaked as coup d'étatJean:

an Algerian abdicator, a French defamer,

an aficionado of wartime suffering -

how at home he felt, hiding out in Nam,

flogging filth to US soldiers. Under stolen stars

they sparked Lucky Strikes and staked-out claims

for infinity. Now on sojourn, in Cambodia,

he’s bragging to strangers, about harm,

necessity, seeing things through.

 

Assumes each too wasted to collect quotes,

tap scales or severities, too scared to repeat

the rendezvous. Regrets? Only misfortune:

I’ll never see my son grow old. I’m withered,

dying because of heroin. Cut-loose by two countries,

pariah to both cultures.  Had I been on spirits

I’d have piped-up and said it: If I ever

meet your son, I’ll tell him his dad was a monster -

who called Bob Dylan an asshole.


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Newscast

 

Siem Reap is stitched together

with huts and hovels, electrical wires

and bent barbed fencing.

 

Each day begins to the oily trigger

of a moto-bike ignition, post porridge,

pre the first garish sales pitch.

 

This ‘want to walk’ flummoxes Tuk-Tuk

operators flanked by a bride - confused

as cowboys confronted by spacemen.

 

The red roads come without a welcome,

quickly turn to sloppy clay when damp,

clump, bubble and cook in heat,

 

forceful as a butcher tenderising meat.

Bees are bigger, beer is cheaper

the coins have absconded for China;

 

the poor paper scuffed and over-worked,

like beloved old sneakers. Evening

conducts its own incongruous symphony,

 

fickle as the habits of fish; and though

I end up bug-bitten and perspiring wildly,

taken for a mug and sometimes lonely

 

I am happy, in this wooden house, reading

a backlog of texts from a brimful list,

so many miles from all your news.

 

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Flowers

 

I’m indigo petals, you’re a blooming sunflower:

spiral clusters, beaming head, stems frozen

on single stalk (plants can’t stand akimbo).

 

It’s like an oven in here: air cake-icing

sticky and steeped in sweat – best

place for it is above the covers; breasts

 

flat on the chest. Who’d have thought

skin rises like yeasty bread and the body

like a sun like helium like mist.

 

She breathes so lightly, purrs, as if her lungs

were making music; restful notes throttled

by my brute orchestra of noise.

 

The room pulses, damp, bulbous; geckos

on walls balloon to the same primordial beats -

we’ve acknowledged this, the reptiles and I.

 

Their berry gaze understands hands touch hair

joints creek, skin slips, all in reminder

we are capricious mammals, keepers

 

of uneasy conscience, like a spinning top

near stop. If we stay together, me tit to your tat,

vice-versa, I will never yell Areeeba -

 

really mean it. You will never drop those sighs

into the sea. Unlike the sunflower

who arrives in annual bloom, these moments

come then go, just the once.

 

 

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Hello Bréon, it’s nice meet you

 

- please ignore the scratches,

I’ve been browning in gutters,

amongst wet cigarettes and the last

flecks of Camden’s lanceolated leaves.

 

As things stand: faith is grubby,

sweet premise pale, the railings, too,

have lost their stockings - nowt

but dankness underneath.

 

I’ve noticed your stories don’t involve

sticky risings, Senegalese dealers

or Lambeth car-parks and I’m very

intrigued; alas for fear

 

you’d think me mad

(or a poor secret-keeper), I snub

the amber squalls which haemorrhage

through the firmament. For you,

 

too, blaze, thatching synergies,

talking of six continents

operating like organs. It was years

further when I spoke of  the stars:

 

blinking blinking, as night

flinched beneath them.

To which you replied Ahhh

the Stars! I thought you’d never ask.

 

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Greenhouse Ganglands

 

Buttercups solicit ladybugs, bees woo pansies,

sparrows raid the strawberries. Mum just sits there,

in peaceful observation, potting then re-potting,

as scores of trespassers procreate and plunder.

Arthur’s Seat and Other Peaks tower overhead

 

like behemoth bull seals, whiskers from a brawl.

The Ulster and the Paisley streets are their grassy

underskirt, hiked-up, in floral theatre. Teeny tyrants

flee through thicket or downwards burrow,

when our half-daft cat comes tumbling

 

through the rhubarb patch. Bagged gooseberries

swirl, like wind spinners, on the back fence, a gift

from Mrs Fisher; her clothes pong of people

who spend too much time with boxes,

but she’s a sorceress with fruit and sugar.

 

I parent my own pebbled plot, years four through seven:

an ensemble of radish, raspberries and Venus Flytraps,

which all die and I later discover were from Dobbies

(off the A7, Lasswade), not a far-off planet

of fiery infernos. Then came football stickers

 

and wrestling figures, to pioneer expeditions Mum

would often ambush: a scarf of spider plants gangling

round her neck; muddy paws like monster claws,

she chased the winds right out of me. This picture

was my elixir through the teenage years,

 

with adulthood came predators far fiercer than

slugs or greenfly, true ghouls, like self-harm

and malignancies, who too had monster claws,

but unlike mum, these didn’t flinch as beetles,

underfoot, crunched like celery.

 

 

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Tom Buchan (1931-1995)

 

Tom wrote poems like fantastic pointing fingers

‘straight, strong and complex’

as Glasgow;

 

wrote pulsing prose with pursed lips,

served verities caked in salt, bent rules

masterfully;

 

captain of a body well lived in

chipped teeth, fractured bone, but enough

about his vessel.

 

Buchan brewed an eastern-western blend,

so like comets flew he spoke, in the heydays

and the greydays; moved

 

as a great touring caravan, compass pointing

alpine north. 7 foot they say, a strident mammoth,

a turtle-necked warrior.

 

It’s possible we were, at some point, synched

in time and place, tectonically on the promenade

Pittville Street, Portobello,

 

perhaps too shared insights on a story, spotted

the same flying kite, rogue seagull or submarine

emerge from the Firth.

 

It bends wits, brooding over

what forces lobbied night sky to swallow

up a brightest star.

 

As to how such verve came to plunge

like a rusty anchor into fierce waters,

the mind boggles.


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With Divine Ovation

 

As a resident of Brinsworth,

she enjoyed the acreage and courtesies

of the artistes’ benevolent fund;

a sixty-four-fold companionship; reciting

nightly, verbatim, alongside coupons

from occupants and the jaunted

pastiche of their loyal visitants.

 

Colin, a fan first and nurse after,

makes an impromptu stop

ensuing a missed appointment

with Earl Grey and buttered

crumpets - there lies Eloise,

decubitus and stone cold dead.

 

A more courtly passing

you couldn’t have ask for, not

tethered by wires nor sprawled

across iron, like pets on vets’ tables,

but serene, elegant, at ease.

 

Colin shuts the door,

lifts the rejected analgesia

- morphine, a syringe-pump –

and self-administers the full 10mls;

on closing her eyes, mouths

Bravo Eloise - now taking his seat

for the encore.


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Colmar

 

is a matrix of criss-cross canals, capitale des vins d'Alsace

and where, at 13, on the school French exchange,

                          I met Elodie Mullan.

All summer, would insist on croissants, slurp expresso

and defame Scotland with a fraudulent harshness;

 

for I knew nothing of our propinquity to the Rhine

or Vosges mountains, only that Elodie lived a stone’s throw

away and with craned neck out the attic window

I could see her boudoir; where there must have been

frequent nakedness.

 

Our moments were few: sat side-by-side on a boat tour,

locked hands walking through a rusting vineyard

and were dancing partners for three songs;

linked together like salted pretzels.

 

A photograph of us, in partial embrace, reveals Elodie,

alluring as Julie Delpy, me, wholly disparate, in a Scotland

strip with peroxide-blonde hair. The sky, like the shirt,

ultramarine, whilst I blushed rouge from little-boy syndrome.

 

I used to dream of returning a celebrity, with histrionic

displays of extravagance. It would have been horrendous:

white-limo, champagne, skunk, one-liners –

like something from a hip-hop video.

 

Nowadays, I’d explain how a poem is like a bomb,

a bomb like a poem, when assembled correctly

both explode rather than arrive, become

instantly important; as she did and could again.

 

 

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4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -
http://www.poetrykit.org/    

 

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