Poem With No Title
This poem has no caption
and that's my problem:
what am I supposed to take from it?
And no instructions,
so what do I do with it?
And if it has any answers
then I don't know the questions.
17 October 1986
This is the eighth poem in my collection Reader Please Supply Meaning. Only a few people have ever read it before today. Which is a shame because although the poem itself is nothing to write home about the collection as a whole is rather good. IMHO. I hadn’t intended to publish another book of poems so soon after This Is Not About What You Think but I was so scunnered after spending months polishing my short story collection Making Sense and not selling a single copy that I slipped into a funk for months and a poetry collection was the easiest thing to put out next. (Technically I did sell one copy of Making Sense to a friend in Ireland—you know who you are—but I’d already posted him a copy and so I refunded him.) The poetry collection fared no better. Worse in fact, if you can imagine that. At least the short story collection garnered a few decent reviews. But I tried not to let it get me down and got lost in working on The More Things Change, my fourth novel which I ended up spending the best part of a year on. (Technically it’s the third but I decided to publish Milligan and Murphy first as it required less editing.)
The More Things Change won’t sell. This is not pessimism or fatalism. This is a hard fact. I will publish it because it’s a damn good book and quite probably the best thing I’ll ever write and I’ll send out review copies and gift copies and that’ll be that. I might try a few competitions too this year. Always shied away from them in the past. But that’ll be it. I’ll move onto my next novel, Left. Or the second short story collection, Still Making Sense. (Technically it’s the second half of a single themed grouping.) But it’ll probably be the novel.
Which brings into question this blog. I said I’d take a year off to work on The More Things Change and expected I’d go back to articles and reviews after that but I think I’ll stick with the poems. If the odd review turns up then so be it. I’ve enough poems to get us through to my ten year anniversary and maybe we’ll call it a day then. It—and by ‘it’ I mean the blog—has not been a huge success and most of those who were writing blogs when I started have packed it in for Facebook or real life. I suffer Facebook at the best of times but let’s not get me started down that road.
It has been suggested I seek out a traditional publisher for my books. It’s not the worst suggestion in the world but at the moment I don’t have the energy for that. It takes me all the time I have to get done what I’m doing now which is next to sod all. Christ knows what’s the matter with me but I worry where it’s heading and that’s another road I don’t want to get started down. This post has been moany enough as it is.
In a few days it’ll be 2016. I still think of these dates as science-fictiony. I remember watching Blade Runner in 1982—1982!—and seeing ‘Los Angeles, November 2019’ on the screen and thinking it was so far off and now it’s nearly here. Back to the Future Day is history. 2001 is history. 1984 is history. It all passes. And all our fussing and fretting won’t do a damn thing to stop it or even slow it down. From the new book:
At her leisure the Widow Time will methodically locate every scrap of paper you’ve ever written or typed on, every tape you’ve ever been recorded on (both video and audio), each and every hard drive, flash drive, zip drive, DVD, CD and even floppy disk if you’re old enough and reduce them to dust and all copies will be ground to dust and all those who remember hearing any of your words or seeing your face will be expunged from history and one day—one day or another, one day much like any other but most likely a Tuesday—a generation will awaken that has never heard of you and is none the worse off; it is the nature of things, built-in obsolescence.
Oh, and after all that, happy new year when it comes.