Bluebeard goes shopping

19 May 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since I had a minute to write anything here.  Because of Martin’s Whistle show, our lives have been taken over somewhat, and neither of us have been finding any time to make any new work.  On Monday though, I took part in Luke Wright’s This is What a Poet Looks Like, which involves a group of poets over a period of weeks, taking it in turns to sit in The Book Hive window and write something underneath a sign with arrows pointing This is What a Poet Looks LikeThe Book Hive is a wonderful independent book shop on London Street in Norwich and I sat there for two and a half hours after teaching, on Monday afternoon.

Pretty much the whole of Norwich walks past the Book Hive, so before long people are waving and taking your photograph.  It was actually quite nice sitting in the window, watching life go by while being disengaged from it by the slight kink in the window glass, which makes some of London Street look a bit swimmy if you catch it at the right angle.  I probably could have sat there longer, but I’d become chilly and was starting to seize up.  I’d been writing – yes, really writing, most of that time so I didn’t realise I was getting cold such was my laser concentration on the job in hand.  Perhaps I should have worn a thicker cardie.

I took two nearly finished poems away with me and some notes for another one.  The two kind of finished ones are both Bluebeard poems – one I have given to Luke Wright and Sally Roe for a Nasty Little Press anthology they are putting together to mark the residency.  It is called ‘Bluebeard at the Bookshop’.  The other I will paste in below.  I know this counts as publishing, so I won’t be able to send it anywhere else, I know.  But I like to use this space as an open sketch book, so occasionally a new poem will find itself here.


At the Dress Shop

At the dress shop, the assistants bustle
as Bluebeard watches from an ornate chair.

He has phoned ahead and they come at her
with his choices, all prim on wire hangers.

She parades for him and so do all the women
in the mirrors. Every one looks older than her.

She imagines being animated by Muybridge,
the drabbest dress painted onto her body;

Bluebeard at the handle of the zoopraxiscope,
she spinning too fast for herself.



In case you were wondering, the ‘zoopraxiscope’ is the carousel thing which Muybridge created, which heralded the moving image.