Thursday, 31 December 2009

Nathan Thompson - One Poem

Possible Pieces for the New World Orchestra

Recently I have been making sketches – calculations in balance with the things we can choose to believe, red and plain as a crisp packet. I know that you appreciate company and trust, so please share this with me. Something must change. Transfers and postal orders can help us create it. I love you, more nakedly exposed than ever before.

everything in our power is
to choose to create it
this little room
filled with the scent of forgotten roses
ash tottering in a horizontal pile
and gone
                      can you tell the television is broken

30 August: I’m still waiting for your letter to tell me that what I’m doing is as freakishly beautiful as Frankenstein. Play your horn with a flute stuffed down it – a performance direction the equivalent of aural torture sex.

do you think they know you left me
as one ship crosses another in broad daylight
the furniture of our indifference

to hurt is to be a plant growing
                                                           evenings with Mahmood
for company      a sitar      that’s what I missed out

31 August: This should be cosmopolitan if it is to be truly all-encompassing and primeval. But the tax man has taken away the solitude of high piccolos and I shall have to rethink your cowbells in punk-style skiffle: washboards with an Irish accent, the hiss of missing teeth.

to continue      leaves are falling
whisky pains      suck this and
see if it blows      ideas birthing
later      spot the difference

how to incorporate everything
expression      criticism by all known
contemporary dead composers
into something coherent

I’ll need words      sonic
graphs in imaginary idioms
your language and mime
whatever’s in between
cheques and money orders payable

32 August: We’re in the future now. I imagine you dressed in a pink robot suit covering the essentials Zulu-style and I’m Michael Caine barking orders. It’s reasonable to feel you’re right when you’re dressed in red and your opponents have ‘incorrect weapons’. That’s how the hammer and sickle went wrong: ‘if you know where to shoot to find a heart and don’t mind...’

But something more visual is required to give this meaning. Here’s a picture I drew yesterday:

[small pig on a high-wire eating an Iraqi communist]

it isn’t easy      these lines
become the unstable nature of autopsy
Slinger: the horse is bolted
Hemingway: the hell it is

this is America for beginners
wild and cold as Alaska (is that really... I’m just not sure)
burning borealis separated
by an entire country or ocean

‘more tea?      the global economy may collapse but...’
what ‘s left      China aspires
and we’re living the dream      ISBN tenderness
to ease the joints      patterns we construct

In our musical instruments the world is richer, subtler, more complex than we imagine. White noise can’t be found. We hear portions, weights, textures and colours but ultimately we construct beyond our control. After all this, I hope you enjoy the string duet. We can surrender but what choice do we have.

Nathan Thompson is published by Shearsman, with pamphlets forthcoming from Oystercatcher and Skald.



Anonymous said...


James Mc Laughlin

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Poem from -

James Mc Laughlin