Shadowtrain

Peter Hughes
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Earlier carriages

These five poems are taken from the sequence Site Guides (days out in England & Wales). The complete sequence, which takes its inspiration from Heine & the Caravan Club in almost equal measure, will be published by Harry Godwin's Arthur Shilling Press to celebrate & coincide with the forthcoming winter of discontent.


site 1


               roll up for the paragliding donkeys

      or synchronised three-legged dogging           

   but first    perform a one-man mexican wave

  to yawn     greet dawn      appease the demons

  in the clifftop maze     which points to itself

   eventually    the floor of the caravan dries   

      then we heave the whole box

              clockwise 35 degrees

                                    to follow the sun                & so on

                     if what we know is wrong

             suspended in a sea of ignorance & cack  

        (leave space)  suggest-abilities raise seal heads

              submerge again without apparently inhaling

       shopping results for the tibetan book of the dead

                                           your cart is currently empty

                          it has become necessary to imagine

         these companions & their fleeting theme tunes

                                           this one blending

                       tallis & the shithouse lilies

                is norman wisdom dead yet

           if not     why not

          head circus parade    talk to me until

             sometimes I stand so still

                  the rats come out to wash in peace



site 2


                    golf within 10 miles but safer to read

             the small henderson room

          for medicinal purposes

          whose ash & goats are these

            on the far side of the blackthorn

                  three hyacinths (intensely blue)

                  do what all the flowers do by night

           there are lots of little fliers in the toilet

                                  advertising free delivery

                               of meals to throw at trees

                       & worlds of fake attraction

                        let’s go to vaulted vacancy

     where the psychic octopus circles overhead

                            on a festo airpenguin

                   then again the keltic seal-juggler

          sounds exactly what we need

    after wrestling with decision

  & a vietnamese river cobbler

 to the accompaniment of cornish rap

 & the region’s characteristic  ronsealed  mdf   lutes

             the state of the evening decays

                                 to squatting on rock

              as the final tin of old speckled

                  hen turns immensely dark



site 3


      the moon’s    inexplicably abandoned

        in a different night of strangers

            devoid of pewter or cinnamon tunes

            or those of hawthorn    straw    or fennel             

              larkspur / curlew

               she said when I end this line

        I’ll count to three & you’ll awake

forget this ever happened       1          2

                                    you can smell tcp

     for up to three weeks after you die

we opted for an hour or two of music

                             luigi tenco megamix

                                         a bit of dr loco

                       a transfer deal involving

                             several pet shop boys

      with a neighbour’s plastic suitcase

            she left in the rain before dawn

   in her I fucked leonard cohen t-shirt

                the wrong registration number

                  etched on the caravan window

                            there is nothing in the field

                       except this empty grapefruit half

                                            two slugs nestling in the

                                            brilliantly white soft bottom



site 4


          those who danced were thought  insane

                 by those who couldn’t  hear the music

                      according to the old nietzsche hit

                       yet this is where they all relax

        divertimento macchiato

                 o spirits of the airwaves

          batter my heart & wrap it in tabloid

           paper-mache  pig banks

                       daubed with tar

                        so many sloping pitches

       wedges & ice-picks are strongly recommended

                          beautiful indian hair may be bought

                at the harbour of chamfered-toot-saints

                                   where prawns nibble dead skin

                                  from the feet of rich pink men

                who make decisions on water

                boarding & commission

                 in mature gardens

                  deep in quiet light

                    under the fine star fields around altair

                                                             in aquila

                            mrs hales as euphrosyne

                                            helps discord

                              & the winds fall into haven



site 5


 shit-cake ponies back into awnings

we line up for the contest:

 who looks

   most like a cross

        between paolo nutini

                   & a hillman imp

                    that summer of donovan pâté

                   logo by creeley

  I knew my swollen loaf

 how true & yet how now

   brown horse  is never now enough

     don’t leave without trying a molecatcher’s pie

                       &  paying for it    through dappled

                                    afternoons of otter racing

                         rippled with despair & sobriety

            in peak season the whole park hums

                                         with unwashed kids

                         dyspraxic lego professionals

                             the whiff of snagged crab            

         turn up in february & celebrate with

                 accommodating locals who put

                          slug pellets right around

                      the border of the county

              come valentine’s day


© Peter Hughes, 2010