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Love Triangle

Mark Ford, 22 March 2018

... Here – ahem – is a motif that has proved popular in many diverse cultures in many eras: think, for instance of Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere; or think if you dare, of your own turbid y-y-y-youth ...

Oxford, 1985

Mark Ford, 5 October 2017

... Oh to recapture the golden summer I met Allen Ginsberg! That tireless man! – he had within minutes, produced a whole box of photographs of himself, all shaggy and naked, in bed with a blond admirer. Had he taken these pictures himself? I inquired, marvelling at their composition … he had! ...

Affirmative Action

Mark Ford, 7 March 1991

... In the original raree-show, of which this is a pale Imitation, phantoms swore and hurled mountains at each other; Tiny, endless columns of red-jacketed soldiers Adjusted their busbys before attacking a farmhouse; And ‘White Light/White Heat’ blared From bank upon bank of shuddering loudspeakers. Now a vast customer complaints department Imposes everywhere its blinkered theories of art ...

Funny Peculiar

Mark Ford, 25 April 1991

... I sit down here drinking hemlock While terrible things go on upstaris. Sweat creeps like moss outward to the palms, And time itself now seems a strange, gauze-like medium. Sleep will leave still newer scars each night, or, Infuriatingly, is a curtain that refuses to close. On the horizon, bizarre consolations make themselves Known – a full fridge, a silent telephone, The television quiet in its corner ...

Two Poems

Mark Ford, 24 May 1990

... Ledgers Accordingly, I lay with my wife for three Successive nights. During this exact period of time The Mets beat the Cubs and it rained continuously. October 8th. Fearful itching all over. After much prodding and goading from H. I agree to see a skin-specialist. The park by starlight. The margins Fill with doodles. This space, these Pages, shelve ever more steeply into darkness ...

Hooked

Mark Ford, 7 September 2000

... then thrown back, like a long-finned, too bony fish, I finally took him at his word, and felt the lateness of the hour acquire a dense, rippling aura that weighed down these eyelids, pressed apart membrane and nerve: howsoever I twist and retreat, I thought, or silently glide from sphere to sphere, the merest splinter of rage keeps returning as a glittering, razor edged weapon, and even after dawn has tightened still further the angle between reflex and use, a sort of sunken tide pushes open my ducts, washes through or else over uncertain crumbling defences, dissolves into itself whatever floats, like quicklime, filters the air through fluids thicker, heavier than water ...

I wish

Mark Ford, 4 March 1999

... you would please spare me your Western logocentrism! Isn’t it clear I’m the sort who rejoices when the Queen Mother chokes on a fish-bone? I’d shine a harsh, piercing light on the damage indiscriminately wrought by the tinkling music of the spheres. Our errands merely seem average and natural: every second is underwritten by an invisible host of dubious connections; like phantoms they flit and soar, then render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s ...

Six Children

Mark Ford, 15 April 2004

... Though unmarried I have had six children’ Walt Whitman The first woman I ever got with child wore calico In Carolina. She was hoeing beans; as a languorous breeze I caressed her loins, until her hoe lay abandoned in the furrow. The second was braving the tumultuous seas that encircle This fish-shaped isle; by the time a sudden riptide tore Her from my grasp, she had known the full power of Paumanok ...

The Passing of the Passenger Pigeon

Mark Ford, 5 August 2004

... This bird used to be the most numerous on earth And to blot out the sun for hours over Wisconsin and Michigan And to strip bare the great forests of cranberries, pine-nuts, and acorns. Whole trees toppled under the weight of roosting birds. In flight They made a sound like Niagara Falls. Horses trembled, And travellers made wild guesses at their numbers and meaning ...

Dithering

Mark Ford, 14 April 2011

... Let Spades be trumps!’ she said, and trumps they were; it leaves us free to cry, and whisper to their souls to go. Nor wilt thou then forget where are the legs with which you run, Hurroo! Hurroo!, or wake and feel the fell of dark. Like an angel came I down, when my dream was near the moon, the crux left of the watershed, and the stars that usher evening rose ...

Invisible Hand

Mark Ford, 19 October 2006

... I A white finger of frost along the spine Of the country, and the first rumours of the first Female Archbishop of Canterbury: while still In her cradle the Lord filled Her to the brim, and drove headlong The querulous demons whose riddles End only in debt and pain; her dimpled Right hand seemed to grasp and poise A miniature crozier, and her eyes Peered through tears at the sins of the world ...

Signs of the Times

Mark Ford, 21 February 2008

... Today,’ wrote Thomas Carlyle As the brown and barge-laden Thames rolled past Cheyne Walk, ‘I am full of dyspepsia, but also Of hope.’ On the Today Show today a dyspeptic interviewer set brusquely about A hopeful minister, and I ingested, along with the dyspepsia And the hope, a story about a dubious collector Of Regency soft toys and Apache Bows, arrow-flints and tomahawks ...

The Gaping Gulf

Mark Ford, 6 September 2007

... Cloud-capped, deserted, building and building site Exchange whispers and winks. I glide half- Asleep down the alley between them, as if Adrift on some superannuated schooner. Nearby, on another Kind of scaffold, John Stubbs gallantly raised his hat to the cheering crowd With his left hand, and blessed the Queen, while her Executioner held aloft his right ...

Enter, Fleeing

Mark Ford, 19 November 2015

... Undo that step, or at the least tread softly, for a sleek and bushy-tailed urban fox is counting chick- chick-chick- chickens in his dreams; when he wakes he’ll yawn and prowl, while I’ll be staring, shamefaced, down the grainy, haunted vistas opened by insomnia. Sing, birds, I mean all ye bird-brained in every furrow that you hop in; warble tales of the species that will wade through estuaries, and stalk the plains, or tunnel beneath them, after mishap or meteor ...

White Nights

Mark Ford, 27 August 2009

... after Lucretius A snake, if a man’s spittle Falls upon it, will wriggle And writhe in frenzied contortions, and may even gnaw Itself to death; and there are certain Trees, should you ever drift off to sleep In their shade, you’d wake clutching your throbbing head as if an axe Had been buried there. The blossom, I’ve heard, of a type of rowan That flourishes in the mountains Of Helicon has overpowered and killed with the vile stench It emits ...

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