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Peter Dent


He was famous – no not exactly famous – for meanings in his
poems he’d not intended.

Being coterminous with me means you need a more erratic
universe than even I’ve bitten off.

To get where you are and not know where honestly you can
do it in your sleep.

How long can it take to write a bad line?

Engine running and clockwork clock set in grey stone with a
blue face is about as much as we can say.

The publisher was convicted on several counts of indecency
like muddying a stream of clear-cut similes.

Take it as read. Speak as you find when the cuckoo asks
whose bed you’re sleeping in.

What if you took the last sentence of a novella and made it
the first?



If only dust and time didn’t stand in the way of my doing
a job with this bag of rusty old tools. Think worms on a
spectacularly dewy lawn: a little of what we know and love.
Colonies grow up there and multiply. Going all green.

You fill up 10 notebooks with semi-collapsed sentences in
irregular shorthand and there’s still more to squeeze in.
Not sure how worthwhile it was or necessary – a lie? Like
Tacitus on rumour. What behind him and little me lay.

Like the one my people paid for. Handsome as a cab one
rainy night back home when my girl said she might when
she absolutely wouldn’t. I told them memory had the
better of her. In fact it was her rhythms had interrupted

Mine. The ‘ague’ they stumped up for was helpless.
Cash in hand – no worries – I knew better than to run but
did. ‘Let no man put asunder’ and so on. They failed
to do ‘the obligatory’. A result. She changed her mind.


Why is it Truth sends me pretty pictures when it fails to
win me friends? She took a shine to a biker who killed
a cat. If that wasn’t enough she did philosophy. (Later
on bringing home a 2 : 1 in ‘Veterinary Realignment’.)

How a cat feels stroked the wrong way brings me out in
bumps. Getting me out of the house – to kick lamp
posts and feel bad about what I did. Saying that it paid
for the holiday – wine and roses – which was sort-of it.

Of these rumours a few came home. Some never left.



6 – 8 weeks make for a great start as long as you can maintain
the practice without going off-diet. Marigold if you’re fully

professional otherwise maintain circulation – the right people
and places are a Byzantine issue. Start again if niggles

reappear when least expected. I go for the partita – mostly
but not every morning – by Bach. Not the Austrian baron and

government minister with a ‘von’ about whom I prefer not to
know more. I have records of course but some are ticklish

and can aggravate symptoms to such a degree you’re told to
take time out. Cravings in good order make for the best

kind of index. A lilt prevails throughout the A Minor Partita
in the hands of a master like Ashkenazy – why grow sad?



‘Ancient’ isn’t the word. How one longs for a guided tour a

recliner and time to think. At the correct temperature
Heraklion was just such a destination – a place where I found
my most signal obsessions were known well beforehand.

When we arrived at the beach a boy in a straw hat was limping
from one sun-tanned couple to the next selling fresh-picked
peaches. You didn’t ask the price you fell head over heels

for the value. Days of indiscriminate violence and stickiness.
And long enough to take another stab at the Oresteia
(Aeschylus, c.525-456 BC). Did you bring the towels – do

you remember my last lines off in the distance – weeping?






Copyright © Peter Dent, 2018