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Martin Stannard


from Things Are Good If You Say they Are

The buildings have flowers around them. Our cultural development is progressing apace. Demolition experts are ten a penny around here.


I fall asleep thinking about the cars parked outside.
Also I think about the big new industrial development
Weíll be able to see from the bedroom. You know
I will always love. It appears falling is always happening,
Something new is always beginning, lessons are not being heeded.
Grand trumpets are playing, and goons are grinning. Perhaps
This is a fanfare, Iím not sure. Packages are always being delivered
By package delivery boys. Sometimes one stumbles
As if by accident upon someone who will be in the rest of your life
Even if only as a memory although she refuses to speak to you
At first sight. You offer her your selected prose,
Most of which hasnít been written yet, but it makes no
Difference. Her haughtiness doesnít last.
She wanted it to last but it doesnít because it canít.



Youíre going to have to speak up. I have my headphones on (as you can see).


Iím a curious sort of a person stack full of questions
itís best never to ask. Does ďSovietĒ describe anything these days?
Or ďShape-shifterĒ? Itís purely academic, all of that nonsense.
Nobody can account for a flutter of wings
In the chimney. Okay, sure, yes. Perhaps itís a bird.
I was prepared to allow the possibility of angel but okay,
Bird. Then you sauntered into my life like you were looking
For a hat. Okay, sure, yes. Merrily I pointed to the hats
Which were over there. Then I said letís not get married yet,
Letís sit around and read the papers for a year or two. Giving up
Smoking should come first, giving up setting fires second,
And give me a moment I will tell you what comes third. Perhaps
A purge, or thereís always adventures to be gone and got.
Each day brings further temptations, mainly to boys.



Oh my. I think I shall have a glass of water, and perhaps just add to it one or two drops of lemon juice. That will no doubt raise my spirits and, perchance, perk up what I call "my system". Of course, there is no system to it at all.


I seem to be in a bit of a lull. I donít like such lulls. Sometimes
Being awake is like being in a psychology seminar
And weíre in a rage at someone we swear to God existed
Although there doesnít seem to be any proof they really did.
What we thought was something to believe in turned out to be
Fuelled by the promise of a recording contract and drugs. But
Looking forward with an open mind and only a hazy idea of the past
At either footprints in sand or handprints in wet concrete
I donít know if Iím afraid of something I only imagine is there
Or read about in a series of newspaper articles so it is there
Actually. Iím not at my best at the moment but Iím not mad.
The phrase ďexercise in futilityĒ means what it says.
When the darkness descends itís good, it says here, to take off
Your head and put it out of reach. That sounds very modern.





She showed me the scan of her baby, and it looked like one of those satellite photographs they sometimes show you on the weather forecast.


A hundred years without so much as a cold and suddenly
Your body decides not to work. This is going to take some time
To get used to. The car in the garage is gathering cobwebs.
When you came bouncing down the road towards me
You reminded me of someone I have been trying to forget,
Then I couldnít work out if I wanted to forget or to remember.
When I stood close to you all I could do was remember
What I have been trying to forget. Someone today described you
As feisty. Then, in the parentheses of the day, someone was
Miserable on the telephone and outside dusk fell in its manner.
There are so many ways to be separate. One has to be
Determined, or swamped. How many days are there when
You figure the next few days are going to break your heart
Or even your will? Itís Thursday. I want it to be Monday.




When I got home I found the water bottle in my bag had leaked and everything was swimming around in an inch of water. Address book, chocolate bar, The Penguin Book of Elizabethan Verse, mobile phone, mouldy apple.


A sharp thorn has pricked my pride. February is
Gone and March is no fun, although in some country
Or other they have just found a load of buried
Drawings of the rude kind, as Patrick describes them.
Apparently they are lots of centuries old, but nothing
Much has changed as to what people do to one another.
They fuck them up, fuck them down, then fuck off.
Late winter winds are disturbing the peace here,
You are a long way away, the translations of my poems
That were said to be in the mail have not arrived
And are more likely to be in the lake, by the side
Of which Pablo the linguist is alleged to languish.
He cannot languish as well as this, nobody could.
Nobody could without an awful lot of practice.



And he took his own hand, and mailed it to someone who lived a long way away. She sent it back with a note saying not to send her any gifts, ever, not even on her birthday.


I love toast. I like to be sunburned. I love
You and the memories I have of you. It is good to be
Honest and not forgetful. Itís a clichť but I regret nothing.
The fish died. Fish die. This is a poem to you.
There are three thousand years between us and several
Millions of miles, I am dumb and I am clever,
You are smart and you amaze me. I have not written
Any love poems for zillions of years, if ever.
I cannot walk down one road without you come to mind.
I cannot get through one day without you come to mind.
The world is an enormous place and I plan
To go and explore some of it. I will never forget you,
Not even when the night is filled with piano benches
And the earth talks to my feet about the way my lines break.



Audrey went out of the front door with her midriff bared. She was certainly a modern young woman.


Let me repent. Allow that much, generosity. Intervention is
Not necessary. Iíve thrown away the City key into the canal.
It took a lifetime, or half of one, to realise risk is
Necessary. The money in the bank is unsafe,
The promises etched by my voice into the air at the time felt
Necessary. But they proved not to be so. When I held the frog
In my hand I recognised it as a frog but at the same time felt it
Necessary to deny its frogness. Itís too late now to say
I made a mistake. Itís too late now to acknowledge the Princess.
Are you confused? To tell you the truth, so am I. Let me
Take your coat, you for a ride, you for granted, the piss.
Mrs. Baxter says youíre never too old to learn. The dictionary
Says necessary means that must be, that cannot be otherwise,
That which cannot be left out or done without.






Copyright © Martin Stannard, 2006