interview with a
they’d read stuff I posted online somewhere,
wrote, in pro-forma letters, they were ‘impressed’,
that I had ‘potential’, they were ‘interested in my work’,
and would I like to ‘discuss matters further’ –
would I bollocks!
give them their due, they persevered,
ignored my knee-jerk ‘fuck off’ emails or
non-committal, more considered, ‘maybe’ answers,
‘good manners’, learned across mother’s knee, won over me -
lunch it was.
handshakes in the *Station Hotel, Selby.
one wore a suit, the other, a folkie
Oxfam-looking fisherman’s jumper,
‘good cop bad cop?’ vague smiles, no reply -
down to business:
they unwrapped exposure to broadsheet reviewers,
nationwide publicity - hinted at access to Radio Three,
(as if), an editor to nurture me. presumably
my cows would give milk and my hens would lay -
but business is business - no more giving my books away.
they talked, I drank, foresaw it all;
deadlines, taxes, bookstore signings,
wine and cheese launches, press releases,
bow-tie lunches with local celebrities –
in from the cold - my life would find meaning.
I’d be glad-handed, eulogised, university
poets would acknowledge me
as, ‘one of us’... but grudgingly.
the waiter opened a third ‘house red’ -
the wine went down well. far too well.
after splashing the pissoir floor, I zipped,
checked for ‘leakage’, and, all clear,
nipped out through the plongeurs’ door
leaving the vampire bastard pair
with the bill.
*The Station Hotel, Selby does not exist and I’ve never graced Selby.
I used it purely for a gratuitous rhyme with ‘folkie’.
It could just as easily have been Whitby or Tiptree, Derry or Bury.