December 11-17, 2006: Graham Fulton and Sherry Barker

week of December 11-17, 2006

Graham Fulton and Sherry Barker

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Graham Fulton

Bio (auto)

My name is Graham Fulton and I live in the town of Paisley in Scotland I was born in 1959 I’ve been writing and performing poetry for the last 18 years and I’ve been published in many major British publications including Ambit, Other Poetry, Poetry Book Society Anthology, The North, Edinburgh Review and Dream State: the New Scottish Poets My previously published major collections include Humouring the Iron Bar Man (Polygon), Knights of the Lower Floors (Polygon), This (Rebel Inc) and Ritual Soup and other liquids (Mariscat) Recent online publication includes Nthposition and Raging Dove

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Graham Fulton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dali Rage

At the foot of Christ of Saint John of the Cross
a man in a Seventies Soviet top
with CCCP in big white type
goes mad as he tries to photograph
the icon oil on his Virgin phone
Excuse me he tuts to pensioner gangs
who shuffle his arty field of fire Worshippers keep on barging across
with buggies, crisps and Somerfield bags
He turns an atheist shade of red He feels as if he’s about to burst
A small boy with a Roman helmet
squeezes and weaves his way to the front,
determined to get a place
at the crucifixion, Jesus without a face,

hanging in sky above the sea Everyone loves a surrealist with taste Forgive them Sal, they know not what
they do Messiahs bring out the worst

Dark Age Rage

In a gallery hung with Renaissance art
an iPodded boy in a Road Hog shirt
is emptily dragging his thumbnail across
some unprotected enlightened paint
Tintoretto’s Ordeal of Tuccia –
made it this far for hundreds of years
but met its match in a Glasgow twat You can hear the endangered figures scream
Somehow, it wouldn’t seem so bad
if he knew he was doing something wrong He’s blank, his eyes are permafrost His nuclear mother and father, blank
It’s somewhere to go before The Mall They’re probably taking him downstairs to prod
the dead stuffed elephant, Great Auk egg He’d loved to have pulled the trigger himself.

Gaddafi Cafe

In the upstairs room of the coffee house
.date-faced ancients suck on hookahs,
gaze out the window, count the drops
.of rain still falling into the square .Smoke and coals and teeny cups;
they’ve breathed it all,
.counted it all
Three young lads stroll in, sit down,
.scan around to see who’s looking,
pull out decadent Marlboro packs
beneath a portrait of Colonel G .A passable form of infidel vice;
as Western as it
.ever gets
Outside in the souks the shops are full
.of everything that you never wanted:
genie lamps and Colonel watches,
.scorpions dead and pinned and framed .Cat gangs scrounge in Crescent forges,
crime-free alleys,
.Lockerbie hells
In the upstairs room of the coffee house
.date-faced ancients suck on hookahs,
gaze out the window, count the sparks
.of stars still falling into the square .The faithful flow their way to prayer
beneath the porcelain,

Tone Deaf

At the gas chamber site at Birkenau
a mobile phone goes off as we stand
in nauseous awe of SS butchers,
evil deeds that men have done
It makes a cock-a-doodle-doo sound,
defiles the moment with blase style:
a wake up call for those who can’t
Genocide rails recede to the gate,
Orthodox Jews wail prayers in the trees The owner answers and tells the caller
exactly where he is, then laughs.

Glen Campbell
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Confederate smoothbores guard the approaches Monster barges plough up and down
the Father of Waters, Mark Twain swirl,
beneath the bridges, this way, that New Orleans far to the South,
St Louis far to the North
In the riverfront bar a local star
has announced to his fans he’s taking requests He twangs the strings, taps the microphone,
listens for anything not quite right
‘Do you know Galveston?’ NOPE ‘Do you know Wichita Lineman?’ NOPE Do you know Gentle on my Mind?’ NOPE
the lap dancing girl has begun her routine She works the circle of regular guys,
bends, gyrates, simulates sex Places her palms, acrobatically hooks
her legs around a young guy’s neck
and pulls him forward, this way that,
until his face is against her twat The others howl and cheer him on Confederate rednecks guard the approaches,
good old boys pass out, fall down
‘Do you know By The Time I Get To Phoenix?’ NOPE ‘Do you know Southern Nights?’ NOPE ‘Do you know Rhinestone Cowboy?’

For Christ’s sake,
everyone knows Rhinestone Cowboy Everyone knows their role in the flow
She does private shows behind a drape
if you shove enough dollars into her thong.

Boat Person
Saigon, Vietnam

A dapper old man, every morning,
stands with a sailing ship in his arms
outside the hotel lobby doors,
trying to sell it to us or anyone else
who has a big enough bag
Every morning, there he is Necktie, suit, Jolly Roger There he is, every morning Brylcreemed hair, expectant eyes
A snowball’s chance in hell springs to mind MAYBE LATER, we say as we pass
He has to compete with shoeshine hustlers
trying to make some sense for themselves T-shirts that bellow APOCALYPSE NOW This way to the love-you-long-time!
Paintings of Marlon on danceroom walls,
Martin Sheen and Graham Greene Laddered Nylon Embassy walkers SEE YOU LATER ALLIGATOR Packets of flimsy embroidered cards,
idyllic dreams from a rose-coloured past
But of them all it’s him who comes back A Crusoe, a castaway master-craftsman
adrift on an ocean of progress, alone,
marooned on a rock on a cynical sea
Every evening he carries it home
and gives his family his hopeful news.


As I heave the hoover gadget about
a tiny whiteness attracts my eye I stoop to lift a single whisker
stuck at the foot of the skirting board
beneath the window, in the lounge My little cat, dead for years
Avoiding the housework All this time
among the crumbs, the skin and fluff,
occasional crispies and shrivelled peas Remainders that we never see Reminders we are less than perfect,
less than the sum of what we believe
A finely tapering thread of thin It brings it back, we things we slip
as life cleans up; baffling love
for green eyes, a tail, a grape-sized brain Instinct signals, redundant words,
a bell round her neck to warn the birds
It will go in the box that held her ash,
along with her name tag, shred of claw Essential, sentimental guff Resistance against the unforgiving
sweeping away of everything
that’s ever been, will never be.

Sherry Barker

Bio (auto)

Sherry Barker lives in Lake City, Florida.

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Sherry Barker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Obituary of Tommy Dean
Tommy Dean
of Florida, Route 19,
was buried today,
he was fifteen
going on nothing He lived his life
selling Dust
at the corner
of Drew & Hart,
at twelve
he had shot his first mark
outside Manny’s Drug Store No more will he snatch
Ms Wilkin’s purse,
smoke crack,
nor live on the roof-top
of Ted’s Five & Dime He will be remembered, Today,
by his brothers–Gang 69–
Order of the White Cross
(signifying dread)
by the burning
of his dregs at five o’clock
inside Warehouse 51–
corner of Sims & Mohawk He is survived by a Mother
somewhere in south Texas,
no Father, no Sisters, no Brothers,
All Dead.