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Kenny Knight

A Long Weekend On The Sofa

The aisles are quiet today
no-one is opening anything
not even a door.
I'm wondering whether
it was like this
for Hemingway and Miller
when they first arrived
from woodwork class.

I'm squashed on the second floor
between Kipling and O'Hara
can you come and pick me up
and take me down to the table
by the big bay window
open me on page thirty seven
and you'll be hooked.
I'm waiting and while
I'm in the process
I notice the clock
handcuffed to the wall
it's got three hands
which is one more
than Lobsang Rampa.

Is it the weekend
or the start of another holiday?
I could do with some time off
A day trip to some beauty spot.
Maybe run off with an encyclopaedia
of modern art.

Did Hemingway and Miller
ever come here and socialise
with their books.

Did you know when I was young
I used to think William Somerset Maugham
was born in Somerset, but he wasn't
he was born in Paris and died in Nice
the year before England won the World Cup.
When Geoff Hurst hit number four
shortly after Somerset's death
there was dancing and singing
in the streets of Wincanton
and Weston-Super-Mare.

Did you know Shakespeare Road
has had more influence on me
than Byron Avenue and Tennyson Gardens
and did you know there's hundreds
of languages spoken in the world
and I haven't had a good natter in years
or nodded off to some bedtime story.
My favourites are Heidi and Huckleberry Finn.

Ever since I've been here
I feel like an old man in a residential home
who no-one comes to visit.

Can I come to your house for Christmas
do you live in a cowboy town
like El Paso or Laredo
can we go on a cattle drive
to Dodge City or Abilene
spend New Year in New Mexico
either Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

Zane Grey wants to drive
down to Durango at sundown
Ned Buntline's gone back
to the bright lights of Tombstone
back to where the Wild West
is a bat-swing door
away from peace and quiet.
It's so quiet around here
you could hear
a Penny Dreadful drop.

The last time James Fennimore Cooper
left the library he took an overnight train
to Wichita in Eighteen Fifty Seven.

Larry McMurtry's hanging out
with Cormac McCarthy in Texas
Walt Whitman's in North Dakota
on the Deadwood stage
stuck in a traffic jam.

I'm stuck with Rudyard and Frank
pretending you're Santa Claus
to a screenwriter whose going to turn
The Honicknowle Book of the Dead
into the next spaghetti western.

On the soundtrack
I imagine Leonard Cohen

singing Born to be Wild
and Lobsang Rampa
twirling the microphone
for The Honicknowle Blues Band
on Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
and Three Wheels on my Wagon.

If Pearl and Dean open
for The Honicknowle Blues Band
in the Belgrave or the Ford Palladium
it may put Hollywood on the A to Z.

In a voice borrowed
from old pirate films
shown on television screens
in the prefabs of Wild West Park
and Little America

I'd like to hear the Dalai Lama
and Geraldine Monk reading
The Honicknowle Book of the Dead
in Tibetan and English
while I spend
a long weekend on the sofa
with Jules Verne and Agatha Christie.

Sunset in some small town
would be a welcome distraction
from this vigil with Rudyard Kipling
and Frank O'Hara.

Maybe we could sit around the Dansette
next Halloween and listen to Led Zeppelin
then crank up the volume for the Drive-By Truckers

Maybe you like wild parties
we could do with one around here
for a week or two.





Copyright © Kenny Knight, 2016.