for Matthew Hall, after reading ‘High Pink on Chrome’ by J. H. Prynne
Light glancing off polished steel.
Steam, petrol, adrenaline in the air.
Surfaces – skin, metal, language –
all the muscle implied by them.
This wreckage of disciplines –
impossible to tell which vehicle
is which, and if this is a problem
of language or vision. The perspective
from within a dim, unplaced room.
The “accident” glimpsed through bent
horizontal blinds – lines of poetry
from 1975, still warm. Tucked into
deep folds of grammar – knives.
You could have but didn’t call
the poet ‘seminal’, the word too much
rooted in the historical, sexual to be
of more use than the impact itself.
Reading a photocopy, I’m jolted
by the motion of the last train
home, someone shouting into
a mobile, another – one bare foot –
burping through three litres of cola,
the rest of us facing each other like in-
determinate alternatives, swaying
and blinking into the night. The edge
of the palm of your hand that keeps
appearing in the margins is
to me the key to the long poem.
39.0: JACKPOT!Guest poetry editor: Samuel Wagan Watson
Release date: 1 August 2012
Index of poems
Featured artist: Queenie Chan