The Cooking Pot
A group in a circle in an inn: fire gobbles wood,
soup comes, piping hot, from a cauldron: twice
puréed, crème fraiche, hat of basil - that sort
of joint. The windows, cut like cathedral glass,
let best light in; but now it’s night, and orange
haziness fills the room - a collaboration of oil
lamps, blinking candles and lit cigarettes
connect through squinting eyes.
Our main protagonist sports a necktie,
they all wear neckties, their neckties get better
acquainted as the plot gently sets. These are plucky
young British artists - lips, red with rioja, sculpt
sentiment like clay, charm threads ablaze.
This is an inaugural, David’s being auditioned,
him and his lass - though she seems to be
on mute; drowning words, without a whimper,
in wine. He silently curses her ineptness
as she narrates the evening on the walk home,
like someone who hadn’t been there to make
points in PERSON! Passing over purgatory,
stops the boy from yelling: ‘pull up your socks
and speak-up, for goodness sake’. David
is a closet Christian, he wouldn’t say such things.
Instead proffers a phrase or two
of humble reassurance: ‘it went unnoticed’
‘these creative cartels can be impenetrable’
‘I won’t hold it against you’. Truth is,
this approach of salving scalps, like football
loons, drives David up the wall. But being
‘closet Christian’, he takes the good
with the bad, swallows his resentment;
pictures thorny crowns, a heavy cross.
All wrapped up in Green
It’s a big ask to simply forget,
ignore a conscience smarmily
remarking: ‘in case you hadn’t noticed
five months have passed, by now
she’s probably the proud owner
of a ten-speed mattress
worked right to the knobbles
on its knees’. In the same key
mutters: ‘she was quite the go-er,
did enjoy to travel.’
It’s like that ferocious yellow sunset
you’re not supposed to stare at
or battling the urge to expose skin
in sacred places, when it feels so
viscerally human to carefully undress.
Real nudity would be waking
without these wishy-washy
words to cover-up
like clams, cuddled by a shell.
has been misconstrued as pages
and pages of baggage – if the poems
inside keep whistling, don’t give
a toss, why should you?
So for the first time, in some time,
I’m puffing cigarettes right to the ankle,
taking shoeless strolls by a speeding river –
not murky like dirty bath water
but truly filthy like old slate.
It’s something to smile about,
all the secrets the fish must keep.
Michael Pedersen is a 25 year old poet of Caledonian stock. He launched his inaugural chapbook 'Part-Truths' during the Edinburgh Festival 2009 (Koo Press). The book received a string of kind reviews, was listed by the Poetry Book Society and recommended by National Libraries of Scotland - currently nominated for the Callum McDonald and the Michael Marks Pamphlets Awards. Michael has been based in Cambodia for the past 8 months completing his first full collection and assembling a film script.
Poetry in Aldeburgh 2017
10 months ago