Bobby Parker’s Ghost Town Music

Bobby Parker is 28 years old and lives in Kidderminster, England. He has been published in magazines such as Agenda, Antique Children, The Argotist, Iota, Orbis (as featured writer in issue #147) and Outsider Writers Collective. In 2008 he was selected as Small Press Poet of the Year by Purple Patch magazine. Ghost Town Music is his first book, with another, Digging for Toys, due for release later in the year from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Bobby edits a magazine called Urban District Writer. His first issue as editor included George Szirtes, Ben Mazer, Luke Kennard and Salena Godden.

“The words ‘irreverent’ and ‘anarchic’ are often used about things which really aren’t either. This is both … The trick would wear off if Parker wasn’t multi-talented – with text and image, found and made – but he is, so it doesn’t.”
– Mark Burnhope
Madness Letters
Elizabeth was bored so I made
a dream catcher out of her old knickers.
Never heard a scream sound like sickness.
It was time to give up smoking dope anyway
and since she left it keeps the flies
from dancing on my eyelashes.
Elizabeth calls me, she says she’s
‘Bored of being a stuck up bitch!’
I cough. From the swing in my garden
the clouds over the allotment
look like three witches fighting
over who gets to sleep with the sun.
I kick the phone into the pond.
Tell the cat on the fence to kill something.
Elizabeth is long gone, she doesn’t call
any more. I wonder if she still brushes
her teeth after sex. Once, we tried to alleviate
her boredom by getting freaky in a tree
but I kept dropping the bananas.
Elizabeth is on my mind each time
I feel boredom on my shoulders
like giving a fat child a piggy-back.
I write her name in ketchup on
the fridge, then lick it off.
Doctor’s appointment Tuesday.
Elizabeth called! ‘Did I leave my diary
under your bed?’ I stuttered apologies
like a dog choking on a plastic bag;
the pages I didn’t burn I taped to my
mirror, all that melancholy bitterness
and hatred for men, especially male poets.
I wonder if she has ever chipped away
the Hughes from the Plath stone …
Elizabeth stood in the doorway
dripping with rain – I was so bored
I invited her in. We ate chicken.
We danced the funky chicken with
bellies full of chicken. We both kinda
missed the way we frighten each other.
Elizabeth turns to me after the sweat
has dried and our pillows have tangled,
‘What happened to that nasty dream catcher?’
I pinch her cute little nose, pull a funny face,
keep her distracted. When she’s in the bathroom
I dismantle the shrine in my wardrobe.
Elizabeth doesn’t get bored any more.
I don’t get bored any more; we don’t
get bored together – it sounds like
laughter before it reaches high pitch,
a gasp, a wheeze, a phlegmy gargle …
At night her bra moves across the floor,
whimpers to go out for a wee.
Elizabeth says I’m so crazy she’ll never
get bored of me; I am constantly creating
weird situations. She wants to have crazy
babies with me. When she pops to the shop
for cider and crackers, I fall to my knees
and pray to the light-bulb. Sometimes
craziness is a choice, then it takes over
and changes colour, constantly, like a British
sky or a pair of white boxer shorts.
Today I am grey with exhaustion.
The tablets worked. And the cannabis
is well out of my system – I can’t tell her
I’m better now, she’d get bored of me.
If she catches me watching a documentary
on Gothic architecture, I leap into the air
and declare war on the curtains.
If she catches me reading a book
on the industrial revolution, I jump up
screaming, ‘It’s dirty time! Quick,
grab the spade!’
It gets easier, you just let go. Let go, listen
to the singing colours. Make her happy.
Loneliness is worse, no one to grin and make me soup.
It’s quite comfortable, this kaleidoscope …
I smile, lick my moustache and close my eyes
like Nietzsche playing the piano with sticky fingers.
from Ghost Town Music (Knives Forks and Spoons Press).
Order Ghost Town Music.

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