slow to get there

the new year starts
with a documentary on Stax
and Otis blowing them away
at Monterey

the doors and windows are open
but there’s no breeze,
just more and more heat
as if the sun had hidden it
in house-bricks for later,
and now mocks the moon,
now puts a heavy hand on my chest,
where I have sunk into the couch,
like the slowest of shipwrecks.

(I’ve just realised that I’ve been dating all my poems 2009 for the whole of Jan for some reason – including this one, which was written New Year’s day. Denial?)

10 thoughts on “slow to get there

  1. The ‘slowest of shipwrecks’ is the best line I’ve read in ages Ash. It’s also effective, since we started off with a blistering Otis Reading performing at Monterey (where Hendrix also kicked arse by the way) and this leaves you with the balance of wanting a new year to start off with a bang but being crushed by the old, or is it just heat? Otherwise why shipwreck? So for me there’s this great contrast with suburban heat and ennui and the desire for pristine moments of passion and joy. Which you do find in this poem. Bravo.

    • Yeah, the Hendrix set was supposed to be amazing too – I’ve never seen/heard it. Must investigate. Wow, Alec, thanks for the deep reading – captured what I had in mind right on. I was a long time considering what/whether to add, but in the end it was probably enough!

  2. Excellent poem. You have just described exactly how I’ve been feeling ever since the new year…slow and off balance. Your note made me smile, too. I’m also having a hard time remembering what year it is.

    I love how the poem begins with a slow beat. Oh, and yes…the last line is brilliant. Actually, I love the last four lines. “Now mocks the moon” is also fantastic, and the next line picks up tempo just enough to sink me down into the couch like a shipwreck. The word “shipwreck” makes me think of permanence (or at least something that will be down for a long time). It fits the mood of the poem wonderfully.

    I’m late…and slow…to wish you a happy new year, but I do hope it’s a great one for you!

    • Thank you so much for the close reading, Julie! Happy NY to you too! The years move so quickly when we look back (unsurprisingly) but it always makes me stop a minute.

      It’s great that permanence comes through, there’s so much that is static about a shipwreck, that I knew it had to be the simile, because it had the added bonus of being slow, through water (the humidity of the room in summer)!

  3. This so perfectly captures the hazy feel of summer. The lethargy that is so easy to succumb to. Like Otis, you are blowing them away at the moment Ash!

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