Taking stock.

November 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Posted in memoirs, poetry, portraits, sheer selfindulgence, writing | 18 Comments
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just because you believe time is not linear does not mean I didn’t used to write this piece as a slightly drunken father on a starry night round a fire, a blur of his tattoo, an English flag long forgot on his forearm round his son saying,

there is still the past, both recent and distant, line them up. Look up boy, you’re always looking at your feet you should be looking for friend or foe, the pass, the defender, the ball rolls by itself. He was alive when they won the cup, ’66, so I was three.

He was a submariner at sixteen and Welsh coalmining stock.  Stocks which someone had spent some time building.



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  1. A fascinating piece, Paul: the push and pull of language, sounds, images, and multiple meanings.
    Coyote, dingo type poem, AP, nip in, grab some stock and get out again, taking stock, and Peter Bakowski told me to write a parent poem.
    Still arguing with myself about linebreaks? What about presaging the meaning of ‘stocks’ as something they used to put petty criminals in for public disgrace somehow earlier in the poem, cos most people are going to miss it, with the hinge at the end and all? Oh and style point- never put a full stop at the end of the title? Well that is a rule I am going to break for this one because I know without being able to explain it that this title should have a fullstop at the end.

  2. Congrats on your parent poem – it is fabulous, twisting in and out. My great-grandfather was Welsh and was a coal-miner. He refused to let his son work in the mines because of the conditions. So he became a plasterer instead. Love ‘the ball rolls by itself’.

  3. time and time again stocking stalking um stockings on feet friends or foes
    a colored pattern woven (sub..six..66..stock still slightly
    spent by someone) for coalmining the deep at least three ways
    and climbing out pockets full of treasure, a cup of joy to read

  4. excellent, I’m a sucker for father / son poems, and you drew me straight in with non-linear time, making the forgotten English flag tattoo current and causing my eyes to squint by the blaze of your fire.

  5. Stock makes good soup too – sometimes you can see your reflection in it. Ohhhhhhh, deep, deep, haha.

  6. Very nice, Paul…very!

  7. I think that is a grand full-stop, somehow fitting particularly well with this title. I did miss the bit about stocks – doh!. It is good to take stock at important times of year and happy birthday for whichever day it is too McPaulus.

  8. Good stock begets good stock, and good stock creates a better line.

    (Did you hear my applause?)

  9. Right away I absolutely got the image of stocks as in the stockade or where they’d lock up criminals…because our stock can do that to us…that was the word that really got me going with the multiple meanings in the piece and marveling at them. A good poem to do around your birthday, taking stock and all that.

  10. love it, the play with syntax as representing ‘time as not linear’…really, bravo on your logopoeia! You are not appreciated enough by your groupies, paul 🙂

    ps “logopoeia”: a term coined by that old bastard ezra pound, when he described Mirianne Moore’s poetry…


  11. The more I read of yours, the more I enjoy the fact that time is not linear, that moments that are simply had at one point are actually stories when you look them up again, when you look up at them again, saying they were more, and knowing when they happen with a smirk – oh, this is going to be good later on. even better than it is now.

  12. Very moving, looking at the generations through non-linear time, the mind-bending structure like “reading” and MC Escher drawing.

  13. I was thinking “stock market” and now thinking about stockades, I have to wonder if money isn’t sometimes a punishment — or the relentless pursuit of it anyway. But people have come round with various other stocks. The really old English words mean everything including the kitchen sink.

    I saw it as a picture.

  14. This is wonderful Paul… (I hope I don’t bore you by describing your work so often in that way).

    You remind me that memories are precious, precious things that should be nurtured and carefully protected…

  15. I’m part Welsh, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had some coal-mining ancestors. And I love how you write about memory, distant, recent, but always present. Beautiful, mind-expanding poem, as always.

  16. we forget sometimes that every man is/was a son..the acknowledgement is poetic in every way..especially so the tattoo..good on ya..

  17. Great text, is not only that time is not linear, it is also full of gaps and loops and all kind of distortions, it does not worth to try to analize it. Just
    pass it. Cheers paul

  18. Heartbreaking

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