THE POETRY CAFE
THE POETRY CAFE’ [Cafe Grande, Dudley] revised
In the land of Mordor, where the furnaces roared,
And the grass was blasted black,
You can stand on a hill that looks out to the Urals,
Toward Tolstoy and Pasternak.
Black-country bards breathe tortured vowels
And the letter H is superfluous.
Where caverns once sang as the pick-axes rang,
Mining the tunnels below us.
Ghosts of industry haunt the museums,
And the town shuts down after dark.
Where numb was the colour of the afternoon sky,
And at night ablaze with red sparks
Voices take flight in the pitch-dark night,
Finding their mark with a groan.
While homeless bodies lie dead in the street,
You steal the idea for a poem.
Lyrical licentious streams of consciousness
Gather dust on shelves.
You can model yourself on whoever you like,
And sing a song of myself.
Whitman and Wilde speak of heavenly bliss,
As they lie on leaves of grass.
But the Judas-Kiss of Lord Alfred Douglas
Will eventually come to pass.
Ezra Pound stands accused with his modernist muse,
While we serve up his head on a platter.
And Eliot reflects on his mentor’s neglect,
What happened in Italy still matters.
Discordant diversions make familiar assertions
That come true in the fullness of time.
While the ghost of beat culture feeds like a vulture,
On the carcass of meter and rhyme.
Young men howl as their minds are destroyed
By nightmares in peyote dreams,
That tells of a future of furious fire,
While B52 engines scream.
Newport, electrified, retreats petrified,
‘Like A Rolling Stone’ is let loose.
If Dylan’s visions could only be seen,
They’d put his neck in a noose.
You have nothing to lose but your vanity,
So step up and have your say.
Just bare your soul; let your stories be told,
Down at the Poetry Café.