:: Article

Three Poems

By Steven Porter.

A Critic Waiting for the Rain to Stop

I put on Beethoven’s
Allegro ma non troppo
and watch people
scurry about in the deluge.

An army of umbrellas –
the defeated, run for cover
or simply surrender.

A loose cannon
on an unfinished apartment block,
launches a salvo of water
(free of charge)
onto an abandoned Porsche below.

This film has its moments and is
enhanced by the Beethoven soundtrack.
Think I’ll give it four out of five –
provided it doesn’t last too long.


The Red Telephone

In the days before mobiles there lived a man with a red telephone. Being homeless, he tucked the phone under his right arm and walked the streets day and night. Nobody knew why he carried the red telephone or who he wanted to call. No-one asked. Maybe he expected god to ring and bail him out of the chaos of living, to mend the sandals that bound his wounded feet, to patch the half-mast corduroys in which he sailed up Liberty Avenue, to buy him some spectacles to look at the moon, which in his madness, he could not see.


Degas of the Typewriter (the Beat Goes on)

Charles Bukowski died in 1994
and took his words to the grave.

There’s only one CB.
Well, two
if you include Hank Chinaski.

They said it
as well as anyone could.

If he had known he’d spawn
so many clones,
he’d most likely
have punched their lights out
(assuming he was half as hard as his stories claim).

So sup up your beer, folks.

There are no more vacancies
for drunken heroes,
spilling beer and blood over the floor
of warm apartments.

Time to clean up your own mess.

Anyone who loses bodily fluids while writing
is in the wrong line of work.

By all means take the odd leak,
but a poet in a democracy
requires little more than Dutch courage.

Feel those cold hands on the scaffolding outside?

While you have little to lose
except 20/20 vision.

There are odd jobs to be done.

Dismantle the mirrors,
install windows.

Take a road trip if you like,
but Neal Cassady on benzedrine
has already passed this way.

Poetry has to go somewhere
Bukowski and the Beats haven’t already been.

It is not running with the bulls in Spain
or about suffering any other kind of
pointless death,

a la Hemingway.

Poetry is no longer at the races
with Bukowski –

the Degas of the typewriter
has been unsaddled.


Steven Porter’s first chapbook of poetry Shellfish and Umbrellas was published by Koo Press (and reviewed on The Beat). He publishes extracts from his novel, Countries of the World at Steve Porter’s World of Books. He still finds time to conjure up the odd poem when not writing prose, translating, teaching or procrastinating.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, June 21st, 2010.