Issue 16 · 2012





three lessons for Norman Jope


by Rupert M. Loydell





Lessun 1: to write speach yoosing speach marks


The sad part of me has been downloading progrock

without anyone knowing; all twiddles and beeps,

long solos and sighs from high-pitched voices

at the back. You mention Eno, Ligeti and others,

and I can see a link: your past spent elsewhere

but the same memories catching up with us both.

Here, we don’t let go of memories, let alone

toys we no longer play with. There is no room

for books and clothes or all our other things.

If we do not put stuff away before anything else

comes out, there will be no floor to stand on;

if we walk only in the shadows, on the cracks

between slabs, we may be able to find

a dry path into the future. The plumber

has still not been but I have been rereading

your prose poems and listening out for bells

as darkness falls and today’s six-part epic

finally comes to a guitar-splintering end.



Lessun 2: to make tishew paper coco beans


Over here is my collection of triangular stones

and here green, blue and clear smoothed glass

picked up by the sea. Here, round pebbles

and there, tangles of coloured fishing net.

Hidden in the loft, a pair of small red wellies

and the air that was trapped between us when

we first held hands. Now her tooth has fallen out

she can whistle through the gap at the front,

give voice to all her fears about going to school.

Music is not on her agenda; play and chocolate are.

Maybe the plumber will come later and remind us

again how lucky we are to have hot water at all;

his house very rarely gets up above ten degrees.

We should be tougher, stop whining and get on

with our lives. The kind of thing people say

when they want to not get on with their job.



Lessun 3: to take away elevun from thees numbers


The hidden part of me stays inside and lets me cry

outside. Apparently there is no grand conspiracy

and management wish to have more dialogue,

in a spirit of partnership. This does not mean

anything has changed. How dare you question

the plan. We have invented it and will follow it

through, though it makes no sense at all.

Turn off the mains, let everything dry out;

put these boxes in the loft. It is better to hoard

than to let things be given away. Out at sea,

steel islands wait to become private kingdoms;

in each suburb a principality dreams of its past.

Utopia is just an idea, but there is no reason

not to make a triple album of songs about it.

We could navigate any city in the world

with just a drum kit and a doubleneck guitar,

can always find the longest way back home.










Rupert M. Loydell is Senior Lecturer in English with Creative Writing at University College Falmouth, and the editor of Stride and With magazines.  He is the author of several collections of poetry, including the recent Wildlife from Shearsman, and A Music Box of Snakes, co-authored with Peter Gillies, from Knives, Forks & Spoons Press.  He edited Smartarse for Knives Forks & Spoons Press, From Hepworth's Garden Out: poems about painters and St. Ives for Shearsman, and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, an anthology of manifestos and unmanifestos, for Salt.  He lives in a creekside village with his family and far too many CDs and books.