Tag Archives: Mark Waldron The Itchy Sea

Mark Waldron’s The Itchy Sea

 

  
Mark Waldron’s first book, The Brand New Dark was published by Salt Publishing in 2008. His work appears in Identity Parade, New British and Irish Poets published by Bloodaxe in 2010. He lives in east London with his wife and son.
 
 
 

 

The Itchy Sea (Salt Publishing, 2011) is an extraordinarily vivid collection of poems which are, above all, entertaining. The poems each have a kind of freshness and cut-through that will hold the reader’s attention in a world that’s full of dazzling distractions. They are a protest against the well-founded idea that poetry has to be dull. Their concerns are sex, death, the soul and a chocolate car. Beneath their shiny surfaces they are an intense but carefree therapy session for all our infantile ids.”
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Were I to jump
 
 
or to fall, or were I pushed to my death
from a high window of an apartment block,
 
or from the edge of a cliff,
then, at the end of that fall, the ground will act
 
like a sieve, keeping my flesh and bones to itself,
as well as my clothing and any other belongings
 
which I may have about me,
such as my keys, coins and wristwatch,
 
while my soul (which I am riddled with)
will continue its downward journey for a little distance
 
(perhaps for a metre or so, depending on the height
of the preceding drop).
 
And then, relieved of its hot nest,
it will wear on its face the most abject expression,
 
not that of the exposed oyster as it’s sucked, sobbing
from its shell, but rather,
 
that which the fledgling wears underneath its feathers,
when it takes its flapping plunge into maturity.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Some Time Afterwards
 
 
Perhaps it was a sense he had
of missing something which made him realise
 
he’d handed her a weightless ball
of complicated moving light,
 
which looked, admittedly, very like
a special effect from that period.
 
It was of a size that would slip perfectly
into her palm (every slip is Freudian),
 
and when she looked down it lit her face
in a way that was reminiscent of a scene in a film.
 
The rest of the world’s light seemed then,
and still seems now, unaffected by what he did.
 
There is so much that is real,
such an abundance of it, that a tiny piece
 
of innocent spell like this is sanctioned
by the usually stern laws that govern things.
 
Everyone, even I, turned away
so he could give her his glowing, analogous stone.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Make Use of My Poem in Any Way You Like
 
 
Make an origami goose. Cut fine holes for the light
to glint through. Fabricate a paper chain of convivial men.
 
Make a dart, or a hat for a biggish bird or a cat.
Doodle freely in the margins if you will. Go ahead, jot
 
little notes on the more salient passages, cross-referencing
them with passages in other works of mine, picking up
 
on themes maybe, and noting how respectfully,
as well as snugly, it slips into a long-held-vacant slot
 
in the wider canon. (Notice, by-the-way how it somehow
seems to soften its important neighbours with an easy,
 
self-deprecating charm.). Make copies of it. Feel free.
Hand them out to special friends, maybe fold and slip them
 
into their shirt pockets saying something simple
and mysterious like, Check it out. Deconstruct it, help yourself.
 
Take it apart piece by polished piece, to see how it works,
to watch the keen little engine spin, lit with innocent heat.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
The Porcelain Dog
 
 
The porcelain dog,
despite his unruffled exterior,
despite his apparent serenity,
suffocates for want inside
his tight and glossy bag of glaze,
and so it is with me,
beneath this painted sack
that is my cloak of visibility.
 
 
 
 
from The Itchy Sea (Salt Publishing, 2011).

Order The Itchy Sea.

Read more about The Itchy Sea here and here.
 
 
 
*

Looking forward

  
 
Here are a few anthologies and collections that I’m looking forward to reading in 2011.
 
What should I add to my list?
  
 
Being Human, edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe)
 
Catulla et al, Tiffany Atkinson (Bloodaxe)
 
Neptune Blue, Simon Barraclough (Salt)
 
The Tempest Prognosticator, Isobel Dixon (Salt)
 
Egg Printing Explained, Katy Evans-Bush (Salt)
 
Occasional China, Gaia Holmes (Comma Press)
 
Rubber Orchestras, Anthony Joseph (Salt)
 
The Book of Men, Dorianne Laux (W W Norton)
 
The Best British Poetry 2011, edited by Roddy Lumsden (Salt)
 
The Frost Fairs, John McCullough (Salt)
 
The Exile’s House, Ian Parks (Waterloo Press)
 
Emporium, Ian Pindar (Carcanet)
 
Changeling, Clare Pollard (Bloodaxe)
 
Breaking Silence, Jacob Sam-La Rose (Bloodaxe)
 
The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions, Jacqueline Saphra
(Flipped Eye)
 
The Itchy Sea, Mark Waldron (Salt)
 
Confer, Ahren Warner (Bloodaxe)
 
Electric Shadow, Heidi Williamson (Bloodaxe)
 
House of Tongues, Susan Wicks (Bloodaxe)
 
The City with Horns, Tamar Yoseloff (Salt)