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Charlie Preston

Updated: Thu, 18 Oct 2012 06:10 pm

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Biography

The formal stuff: When I was at school, I did an A-Level in English Literature - throughout which I remained fairly indifferent to the subject preferring instead to write long and trivial diary entries about all the boys I was in love with. For some reason (perhaps because I didn't know what else to do and also because I didn't have many options having flunked my A-Levels completely - due to spending every last second of study time writing about all the boys I was in love with) I chose to study for a BA degree in English Literature (and Psychology) at university. I messed up first year (too many statistics to contend with in Psychology; too many boys to contend with in the student union bar). But, in second year, something clicked. After changing my course to English Literature with Art History, I was off. Like an apathetic whippet spurred towards the finish line by the dawning realisation that, if it doesn't run, its mum is going to make it get a job in a fast food restaurant where it will labour for the rest of its days, reeking of chip fat and despair, I began to take my studies seriously. I found I rather enjoyed reading and writing about books. I graduated with a 2:1 hons in 2004 and enrolled on a part-time MA in Creative and Critical Writing. I discovered that I could actually get a qualification by writing about all the boys I was in love with; I graduated for a second time in 2006 with a Distinction. Next, I did a PGCE in Secondary English; graduated again; got a job as an English teacher; taught for three years; decided I didn't like marking and dealing with despondent adolescents who only ever want to write about the boys they are in love with (or unicorns...or quad bikes); and began studying for an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies. During this time, I got a job as a One-to-One Literacy Tutor at a different high school and bobbed along quite happily for two years until the funding ran out. I was lucky enough to find employment at a newly built and highly acclaimed art gallery where I have worked as a Visitor Services Assistant for the last ten months. I also work as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school - where the little girls have not yet fallen in love with the little boys. I have just been awarded a Merit for my second MA, so now I'm wondering what on earth to do next. Oh and I write poetry. The informal stuff: I like films (especially if directed by Woody Allen, David Lynch, Guillermo del Torro, the Coen brothers or Terry Gilliam). I like novels (especially if written by Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami, Douglas Coupland or Jeff Noon). I like art (especially if it's colourful, smooth, disturbing or rude). I like music (especially if it's grunge, funk, electronica, alternative dance or jazz). I also like tea and cats.

Samples

Her Habitat A clean, cream carpet, Glittering glass: a squeaky carapace. Grand, old, oak bookcase, Slide in spines. Covers carefully confined - Embraced between the dust-free shelves. Enshrined. Polish the coffee table to a gloss, With wax from bees – cold cream for deceased trees. The toilet protrudes from plaster like a Porcelain-capped tooth. My pearly bath, each nacreous tile agleam, And shower pod: a pristine, plastic dream. Such taps! Platinum sculptures, Which rupture The shining, sacred sepulchre of sink: My marvellously marbled monolith. I cup my hands to drink. Reflections: the twinkling of insect eyes, Tiny twitches – like the dying limbs of flies. But round the wooden ridge of window frame, Seen through the lens of glazed, pellucid pane, There cluster lace-edged knots of spider seeds – Skeins stuffed with squirling, squirming, thronging beads: Silk sacks of legs and throbbing abdomens. A vision: vestal virgin-bottled bleach, Between the sponges, cans and sprays I reach. Candyfloss cocoons, festering festoons, Slashed at by searing, slicing, squirting spears. The atomised elixir saturates. Finally, furious and nauseous, A big one breaks out, She, sopping, writhing, stabbing at the air, Flails fitfully and spirals from her lair. Fast fading – and her babies all at rest – The chill, grave thought: How fragile is a nest? Zeitgeist Heist We're Rimmel nails in Delicious Dark, Our god is a great, Golden Arch trademark, We hurt sometimes like R.E.M., Stipe's blue stripe; condemn ConDem. We’re Anderson’s Trash, you and me, We’re big-balls-basslines thumbed by Flea, Roal Moat’s shots and the cast of Glee. We're The Millenials; Generation Why? We’re Moomins, mood rings, Sky, tie-dye. We’re Sub-pop Seattle in flammable flannel, We’re Oasis and Blur on every channel. A pubescent princess in Playboy pants, Pert and proud of our plastic implants. We hunger for heroes: Holmes, House, He-Man, Indiana Jones? Batman? Supergran? We’re Daz-white and Bold - a fantasy team, We’re Cantona’s stubble not Luther King’s dream. Johnny’s revenge in Short Circuit 2, We’re Chakka Khan, Shamen, Cher and Shampoo. Tiananmen's tank; Party in The Park, Ikea, Top Shop, Aldi, Primark. We are the graffiti on the Berlin Wall, The ‘Two weeks’ tranny in Total Recall. We’re ash on the breeze after Eyjafjallajökull, So sleepy and hollow like Kurt Cobain’s skull. Homogenized drones. monotonous hum. No thoughts of our own. We steal to become. The Ideal Job I'd like to be a poet, but it doesn't pay the rent; I can't eat words or verses when my money's all been spent. If I made pounds by penning prose, a happy lass I'd be, I'd buy a new thesaurus and an Oxford dictionary. I'd spend my days in attics blotting ink from manuscripts, With puns and quips and parodies I would be well equipped. If only words were cold, hard cash, I would beat Billy Gates, But sadly rhymes just aren't enough to pay my blasted rates! Ode To A Bigot "They all should be shot!" He barks with a snort, "The niggers, the ragheads, the pakis, the wogs..." He glugs down a glass of plum-purple port, He feels that the fire requires more logs. "They're sub-human species, like monkeys and apes." "Dirty and stupid and nothing like whites." He states, spreading stilton and groping green grapes, Canines crunching crackers with vigorous bites. “It’s just like the gypos – cretinous curs –“ “Good only for kicking, or warming the sheets.” “Any more wine?” he suddenly slurs, Whilst ogling the olives and succulent meats. “Hitler had it right! He knew what to do!” “I’m not kidding you, that fellow was bright.” He plucks parts of chicken to cheerfully chew, Shreds smoked-salmon with salacious delight. “This world would be better if we bombed the swine.” “The blacks and the coloureds; the chinks and the Jews.” He captures a caper suspended in brine, He guzzles the gammon and imbibes more booze. If everyone on Planet Earth disappeared, And he and his maid were the last to survive, He’d savour the solitude; wouldn’t feel weird, He’d lap up the loneliness, prosper and thrive. Although, as the days marched on just the same, He’d begin to suspect that something was awry, Threatened and haunted, his attendant dame, With her substandard skin-tone, would soon have to die. He’d blow up the bitch with a left-over mine, She should’ve been younger, and softer and thinner, And then he’d be left with the monkeys and swine, With none to make wine, or cook him his dinner.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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Comments

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Simon Marks

Tue 4th Jun 2013 00:14

Zeitgeist Heist is genius. How the hell did you manage to get THAT volcano name into a poem? And a Raoul Moat reference too. As someone who grew up in the very street he did his killing, can relate to that and so much in that poem.

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pauline sewards

Mon 8th Apr 2013 09:07

Really enjoyed these poems, love the use of full and slant rhyme and the word play and diverse imagery. Do you perform these poems?
I especially enjoyed Her Habitat as it turns dark with the minute description of the spider's habitat.
Thanks for posting, I will be reading them again
Pauline

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Pete Slater

Fri 5th Apr 2013 13:12

Hi Charlie.
Thanks for taking the trouble to read my offering. A chord is struck huh? Must be doing something right. Ha. ha. The amounts of money being bandied about now for houses is boggling my mind. A two up two down terraced a BARGAIN at £100,000? If all you need is £25,000 for a deposit surely you only need dip into your back pocket for any loose change. What planet do these people live on? Glad you enjoyed it nevertheless.

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Ian Whiteley

Fri 5th Apr 2013 11:02

hi Charlie
thanbks for commenting on 'jigsaw' I appreciate it. Don't know whether I'm being too clever for my own good on this one - but it isn't literal ;-0 although I'm happy for it to be taken literally or otherwise as long as folk like it
cheers
Ian

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Lynn Dye

Tue 28th Aug 2012 21:42

Hi Charlie, welcome to WOL, and thank you so much for your kind comments on my work. I have enjoyed reading your profile and poems and am very much impressed. Especially like "Zeitgeist Heist", and so agree with sentiments of "The Ideal Job".

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Isobel

Tue 28th Aug 2012 00:33

Thank you for cheering me up. I'm on a downer with my poetry of late. Haven't written anything substantial in ages. Perhaps I should tackle another STD :) On that note - I'm off to bed lol - night night x

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Isobel

Tue 28th Aug 2012 00:28

PS Welcome to WOL! I have read one of yours recently in blogs. Didn't comment cos I'm a bit 'comment weary' of late - I go through spells like that. I did enjoy it though and will return to read again.

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Isobel

Tue 28th Aug 2012 00:23

Thank you Charlie - I think it's a poem for the ladies. For some reason it never goes down well with a male audience ;)

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Laura Taylor

Fri 24th Aug 2012 16:57

Thank you :) I'm glad you enjoyed them :)

Looking forward to reading much more of your stuff

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Laura Taylor

Thu 23rd Aug 2012 10:03

Why thank you ma'am :)

Yeh, that bloody Warning poem pisses me right off ha.

Oh, one lil handy hint of the day - if you're replying to someone on here, put it on THEIR profile, then they get an email notification and will know about it :)

Enjoy WOL :)

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Charlie Preston

Wed 22nd Aug 2012 16:23

Cheers Laura. That really means a lot.

I'm a fan of your poetry too. Feisty!

I love 'On Not Wearing Purple'. My mum's always quoting 'Warning' at me. It does my head in, so this was a refreshing change.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 22nd Aug 2012 14:27

Gotta say - that's one of the most funny and interesting profiles on here :D Welcome to WOL :)

Loved Her Habitat :) That's a great line:

With wax from bees – cold cream for deceased trees.

I'll never be able to think about polish again without this in my head :D (erm, not that I ever even use it, let alone buy it!)


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