This tea master story has been breaking my balls so much, I decided to take the first page and write it as a poem. This way I don’t have the constraints of prose and its genres and can write what I like! It came out pretty different from the prose version, though I managed to transfer a few lines. It’s a relief to write like this, heh. It’s just for fun, but I have to say it’s closer to what I want to write than the prose version is.
(ETA: The first 12 000 words are basically done, with some polish to go; but they’re not done, because I don’t like it. I like some sections in themselves, but not the overall effect; I don’t think all the pieces are playing nice together. The rest is getting done, and maybe when it’s all done I’ll see how to make it work. Maybe I can use some of this poetic stuff to break the back of the prose and make it more flexible.) Maybe after I’ve finished the story I’ll give the whole thing a verse makeover! Caer Vandwy and the soldiers of Prydain (Britain) are from this poem.
Dandies are often hungry, of course;
it takes discipline to keep a figure,
and corsets are for sissies who can’t live
from cigarette to cigarette –
but not hungry like this,
body clenched around an eight-day nail,
head light as a balloon:
this is hunger for a poet,
or the poor. Not for the titled
Butcher of Ruthven –
a place on a military map –
a fresh title with yell-hounds and crows
hullaballooing in its wake –
but that was another dream, and he
another dreamer, and Glastonbury
in another book, and Caer Vandwy,
Gwynn, or Fionn – let him be called Fionn
in the place called Usk (for it needs a name too) –
could speak poetry, but poetry missed the bus
and lingers in a café in that other place
where the soldiers of Prydain were slain
and ravens creamed over flesh (stet the typo?)
waiting for the pub to open.
So what he says is Worth you useless
Less than a page, and already
I’ve got hunger and an extra arse.
What does that mean, Herr Doktor Freud?
Note also ravine ahead!
(This whole damn story’s about tea,
ingesting liquid. For balance
I’d better mention peeing at least once:
characters hate it when you forget to let them go!)
But is the brain merely a switchboard, and writing
the secret work of other organs, older,
more important – was the brain, even,
their invention, so that eating drinking
fucking shitting pissing
could have a conversation?
But I’m digressing.
A dandy must be decorated, so
around the half-blind eyes slow-fading
warpaint, red and black, a splash of Japan;
Mad Max or Tom of Finland leather, sword,
pistols, horse, we’re good to go –
just purblind hungry lost!
Between the gorge walls a plenum of linty gloom
swallows the tired-voiced insult as a bird a worm.
Some landscape, now – vertical, many-cloven,
dour greys of some wild-coast fishing town
and darker fog (some battleaxe
old archpriestess’s stockings, or her vapours…)
Some of the fog might be real: subjective
and objective fog for the price of one!
Some minor war and a condottiere
Baba Denard – lovechild I suppose
Of Bob Denard and Sai Baba, or Muktananda.
Sometimes things just make themselves up.
Worth must’ve been a sidekick, hence
supernumerary in the acting sense:
a gentleman ranker
because I like the term,
companion, guide, coke roadie –
probably an own-right hero
out of Haggard, Buchan, Conrad or Kipling,
playing a corpse here like Errol Flynn
in The Case of the Curious Bride, leaving Gwynn
alone as far from Paris as from Dodge City or Troy
purblind hungry lost unhappy with the lousy trail
and the obedient horse too tired to talk
will walk and walk and walk and walk
and the thrill of falling has appeal
and there’s the matter, too, boys,
of getting it right the second time
for the sake of pride that once knew power
lion-curled around the soul’s delighted tower.