On becoming gloriously irrelevant again.

December 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Posted in writing | 15 Comments

There is some discussion about acceptance and trust going on around the bar but he really doesn’t care. Happily ensconced in some corner watching the endless parade dressed in fashionable isolation and exile to match their partners who grow fruit in village plots to offset their footprint. Unscrupulous is a word that makes him grin, holding the empty glass and wondering where she has gone.

There is laughter near the pool and a man in an immaculate goatee bustles past carrying drinks for three. He is thinking about the poem he started in the morning. He was terrible at writing to prompts or for commission, it had been the bane of his career. Another word that always made him snort in a kind of muffled chuckle, career. It’s not like he hadn’t a few of those, minor irritations, generally speaking.

You’re all mad, and wonders if he is supposed to go the bar himself or if someone at some stage might stop and offer to do it for him. Walking all that way across the room, through the glitter and gossip, he was afraid his mere presence would alert them to their ridiculous vanity. He catches a glimpse of her through the open balcony doors, charming. “Long since forgot the distinction between verbs and nouns,” he hears her say and laugh in that way that leads their gaze downward.

Sunday, I should be at home typing, he thinks. “It’s time,” says some young whippersnapper in a suit chosen for him by his stylist and takes his arm, leads him to the side of the stage. The introductions are being made and he momentarily regrets finding neither time nor inclination to make some notes or think about what to say.

A scattering of applause, jangle of jewellery, he almost stumbles up the step seeing several colleagues he has deeply offended on numerous occasions. The only reason they could be there is some sense of obligation which makes him smile. The same was true for him.

“Thankyou, I have absolutely no idea why you would present with me with this esteemed award. I am deeply grateful, it has long been a fantasy of mine to receive this kind of attention and acclamation, the respect of my peers and so forth. It is a great relief to me, in a way and reaffirms my faith in the power of taoist acceptance…

The bed is comfortable and she is taking off her jewellery. Sorry, he says, couldn’t help myself. That’s okay, they’ve come to expect it and turns. Tom said you look very nice in your new suit, very performative and sits on the side of the bed.  Did you finish your poem?

I got as far as ‘I hate New York’ he says and slides his arm around her.


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  1. acceptance, trust – isolation, exile
    commission – obligation
    grateful – relief – faith – acceptance
    Love the title Squires, but you might want to think about a way of working the phrase “acceptance speech” into it somehow.
    And yes, the tenses change, I know,

  2. I didn’t want it to stop. The ending made me laugh out loud which is a bit impolite for a Sunday morning when the kids are asleep. Perfect story telling, complete.

  3. amazing sophistication, wisdom. something about it is precise polished and yet moves with no restraint. the tao of acceptance! (applause, with gratitude) you are just soooooooooooo good, you deserve the award

  4. enjoyed this piece immensely..tiny little details of reflective chatter and the movement of tingling jewelry…

  5. I love these prose pieces you write. Acute observation translated perfectly into text. Irrelevant is something you’ll never be.

    This is brilliant ‘He catches a glimpse of her through the open balcony doors, charming. “Long since forgot the distinction between verbs and nouns,” he hears her say and laugh in that way that leads their gaze downward.’

  6. You are the master blaster of prose. This was better than chocolate.

  7. The narrative really sucked me in here, Paul – I especially liked the ending, like Narine, I laughed when I reached the end. I thought the cuts/time lapses were great too.

  8. This is the sort of everyday that makes real-life literature so esteemed and appreciated, the sort that keeps the reader close, whispering into their ear all the things they should notice in their surroundings, but don’t, until you tell them, and everything comes together, like it does here. Wonderfully.

  9. /cheer, love your style!!! just cut and paste the whole piece and that is what I liked most /giggle

    “gloriously irrelevant” /sigh, wish I had thought of stringing those two words together first…they match magnificently

  10. I visit, enjoy the good music, Otis Reding, enjoy the inspiring writing ,like film scenes for me, enjoy the reminder of tiny miracles of unexpected flowers blooming.

  11. Hi Paul – I’ve just tried to contact you and got a bounce from your e-mail, but I wanted to ask if you’d like to join in on the 2nd ‘poetry slave’ tone poem? if you’re interested lemme know, would love to work with you. I’ve invited Mark Jackson too.


  12. irrelevance is a state of mind, paul…

  13. Don’t take this as an insult Mr. Squires, because it’s not. On the contrary, it’s a compliment of the highest order. This read like an old fashioned movie script. I could actually ‘see’ it and that is saying a great deal. You’re a natural story teller, but you already know this.

  14. Love the precision in your words Paul. You move us from scene to scene so cleverly – that shifting use of time is something I still need to master in my writing…

    I’ll take this chance to wish you all the best of the season as well. It’s been wonderful to read your wondrous work throughout this, and every other year… 😀

  15. You got a new award a week or so ago, Paul. It’s over there – Top Lyrical Poetry Blog Award… there was no schmoozing for it, no notice of it, just a happy appearance in my google alert for ginagatao. The applause is ear splitting. It has been placed on the mantelpiece, rightly so.

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