Firstly, let me apologise for the video; for its specific darkness. Of course, this poem could be intoned and interpreted in a number of different ways. I hope there is something comic – darkly comic, I suppose – about it. Sometimes when I perform it, the final couplet gets a laugh. Occasionally someone is offended. The poem hovers around a violent core, with pseudo-allusions to the Whitechapel Murders of 1888.
Multiplicity is very important to me. In the title piece of my collection, How To Build A City, I say: ‘I do not believe in irony, just multiple levels of recognition. A democratic onion, if you will.’ (Note to self: must stop quoting from own book.) Alongside and dependent on the multiple is the notion of the SHIFT. Language in constant flux, relentlessly rewriting itself. Tonal juxtapositions, fault-lines, fissures. All terrible postmodern, I’m afraid. Sorry. My foundation influences are all masters of the shift in different ways, like Barry MacSweeney, who writes: ‘I am 16. / I am a Tory. My // vision of the future represents / no people. // Celeriac priesthood offers up my rifle to the sky.’ My use of ‘celeriac’ in ‘This is yogic’ is no homage. I just like celeriac.