Royal Holloway Creative Writing Anthology 2012

Three Poems by Paul Little


You stole my sleeping shorts
when you left my bed.
Now I’m forced to sleep naked
or else
sleep in my boxers
which – though not to boast – 
I do find restrictive.

I guess they must have been packed away
like my memories hold you in stasis
while you thread yourself throughout the world
and I’m left
and with winter coming on.

Country Song Senryu

These are taken from an ongoing series attempting to bring together the Japanese Senryu with that quality inherent in the Hank William’s song title ‘My Son Calls Another Man Daddy’.  All are potential titles for country songs.

My whiskey don’t need water
I’ve got my own tears.

She stole my heart clean away
So I stole her purse.

I am like a rollin’ stone –
Going downhill fast.

The sign post read ‘home five miles’
But it was nearer.

She put his gun in my mouth
(Sang it’s a penis)

The Stoat

birds’ wings
I the stoat
stand upright
back bent
my own
peculiar geometry.

I too
feel the urge
to sink full
on all fours
and feel
once more
fuller the soil.

I too
am suspicious
of him
as he
will be suspicious
of me
birds’ wings

with large biceps
I woke
piano playing hands
a musician’s ear
runners’ legs
a tuba player’s
eye for the absurd.

piercing the air
pierced it faster
I the only
one who knew
it shattered
the way soil splits
under hoof,
paw and foot.

who guessed
of field and gravel
as paper folds
matting fur and skin
with only
the faintest whiff
of rabbit’s foot.

and now feel keenly
how keenly
I felt
new wires punched
through old brick.

pulling constantly
at the knowledge
that one doesn’t
lead the other

to be struck tall
as those top end
piano keys
moving through final.

The Narrator Warns

I became bored with the view
of investing shapes with meaning
when the suspicion arose they had none.

A couple on the grass, their syntax interrupted
by hilltops, interrupted by wasteland,
then finally to here: nothing but shapes.

The time it has taken, the time I will take
to settle on top of the colours
that run off this landscape quickly

a singular, a boorish, a comedic even
We have been right and not right for some time.
This unfortunate clambering together of words

of wielding a marker to the windshield
applying a thick part darkness to the story
under the clock tower I use for eyes,

the supermarket as a body, the museum as a nose.
The little amount of grass left to rectify a smile
and the final toughness in them as a beauty spot.

You will find my hand in everything
I push the landscape far as it must go.

Goslett Yard

I have often muttered fuck you rain
then, near instantaneously, realising
the uselessness of my position
I’m under the nearest ledge or kissing
faithlessly whoever’s under the umbrella.
It’s teaching a game to the neophyte
and then being resolutely beaten.

Ask them sitting with wet hands
on a blanket spread or the person
stood disappointed under cover
you can’t live off City alone.
It’ll become necessary to recall
the bi-plane circling overhead
choosing when, and even if, to land.

For under this accumulative weight
of wet summer wear and luggage
dragged behind by those leaving a place
where left behind is a whole lot more
I have considered underfoot
and all around as rasping and tired.

But looking up there’s a space
where the buildings used to be
the city slipping like a school friend’s
mother’s gown open and there it is,
glimpsed, robust and flighty,
something kept secret just to be secret.

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