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Dylan Thomas International Literary Residency: Anthony Jones

Med anledning av Dylan Thomas Literary Residence presenterar Populär Poesi de sex författare som ska medverka. Den sjätte deltagaren heter Anthony Jones och är från Wales.

Anhony Jones at Caca Milis
Anhony Jones at Caca Milis

Name: Anthony Jones
Age: 52
Domicile: Carmarthen, Wales
Favourite Food: It’s more what I don’t like. Yesterday, in Schipol Airport I had some Pizza with reheated mushrooms, spinach and garlic. It was like eating slugs!
Best Book ever written: 1984

What do you know about Sweden and Tranas?
Honestly, recently about Sweden, most of my information is from being compelled by ‘Nordic Noir’ in film and TV. I am a sucker for Wallander, Stieg Larsson and The Bridge.

About Tranas, nothing at all, I’m afraid to say.

What do you expect from the Dylan Thomas Residency?
I’m already finding that it’s cool to do what I want, but also allowing for interaction between the other writers. My eyes are wide open.

You work on your first poetry book. Will you tell us a bit about the themes in your work?
My poems are short observations about small things which have larger significance. I write about alienation, mental health issues and romance. I am a self-confessed sentimentalist and make no apologies for that. I don’t do nature poems.

Tell us a bit about on your work with creative writing?
I’m at the final project (or dissertation) part of an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales.

What is you’re project Poems and Pints in the Queens? 
This is one of the most prestigious and long lasting monthly ‘spoken word’ events in West Wales. We occupy half a bar every month and give established and aspirational writers a chance to stand up and perform whatever they like, whether it’s poetry, prose, slam poetry, reading someone else’s work, whatever. We try to have guests at every event, for which they are paid, and have featured a truly international group of writers since our beginning. I use ‘we’ here because, although I tend to do promotional work and the administrative side, the main protagonist is the curator of this residency, Dominic Williams, who is the MC. It’s like, we are the circus performers but he is the ringmaster!

 

Domino Jack

As darkness falls there’s a crescent moon
And an air of despair and impending doom
An uneasy hush in the dusky gloom
And shelves begin to rattle in your living room

A cat in poised on a red brick wall
Waiting for the night to complete its fall
His whiskers twitch, his eyes burn bright
Ready for the moment when he’ll set the night alight

Then

He hit the streets all white and black
Near a chimney stack off the beaten track
There’s a thunderous rumble and a lightning crack
You’ll be caught in the flak of his ack ack attack
He’s a monochrome moggy called Domino Jack

With claws as sharp as a kitchen knife
He’ll savage an intruder to a whisker of its life
He purrs like a Ducatti or a Jag or a Bugatti
As he sips a café latte at an all-night pussy party.

He’s Domino Jack, yeah Domino Jack
He’s not a little Jess like Postman Pat’s cat
He’ll always take the blame where Mcavity will not
He’s a super-psycho maniac a real-life crackpot

He’ll leave unwelcome presents on your welcome mat
Of decapitated dormice and eviscerated rats
And shiny stricken slow worms and wing-clipped birds
He’s seldom seen and only heard
When he’s brawling with pretenders to his fat cat crown
His miaow is like a banshee’s sending shockwaves through the town
He’s a two-tone cat in a pork-pie hat
And the widows tucked in bed cry havoc and alack
And protect their pretty pussies from the leader of the pack
Now the vigilante feline named Domino Jack’s back

 

Magpie Vultures

The credit crunch has crushed your bones
You’re home alone and unemployed
The howling wolf is at your door
Your self-esteem now null and void

We’ll take your shiny, shiny things
The heirlooms which you keep
In a high street shop with a scales and till
And reap the seeds you’ve sewn

We’ll buy the bookmarks of your life
From the day when you became a wife
And the jewelry bought you by your man
The bracelet gift when you were christened
We hope you will not understand:
We’ll take a large commission

We’ll buy your Grandma’s golden locket
You can keep your Grandad’s hair
We’re The Magpie Vultures, Magpie Vultures
We honestly don’t care

We’re the Magpie Vultures, Magpie Vultures
And we will not rest
The Magpie Vultures, Magpie Vultures
Feathering our nest

We’ll take your trinkets, chains and rings
Your crosses and your keys
And turn them into baser things
A twisted alchemy

And after the car crash we’ll tear and claw
At the gaping gash of your mother’s mouth
And rip the gold teeth from her bleeding gums
And console you with some cash

 

The Alcoholic

When drunkenly I got back hope to her
Pretending that I had not drunk at all
I could not hide my stumbling or my slur
Or tripping over on dustballs in the hall.
I ran through the excuses well-rehearsed
And promised yet again there’d be no more
Of wasted afternoons lining the purse
Of landlords who all viewed me as a bore.
I said I’d never drink again, again
Do anything you wanted if you’d stay
I know how drink has ruined many men
And driven us to terminal decay.
And now, as I lie prostrate on the floor
I swear to you I’ll dot drink ant more.

First published as An Alcoholic’s Lament in Shadow Plays by Scott Jones Power et al 2010 By Parthian.

 

The Quincey Question

From my dog
There hangs a question mark
Upside down
Like the ones they have in Spain

It poses me oblique questions
As it lashes like a bull whip
And his sad eyes implore me
-What?

Tail tucked away
He’s sleeping now
His half-closed eyes moving rapidly
And his limbs twitch involuntarily
I wonder if – like me – he dreams
Of sex and blood and death
Of being hunter or hunted
Or falling from great heights

In the morning
He wakes me from my dreams
Of sex and blood and death
His front claws sharp and stabbing
Like a Spartan spear
Shocking me from slumber

His bladder’s full
But mine is too
Am I the alpha-male in this house

I must defer to him

 

Mike

Face towards the castle wall
He peered at short distance
Glasses thicker than the ice cubes
In his Jack Daniels chaser

A Swan Vesta of a man
In light wood clothes
A red beanie on his head even in the summer time
Sixty one but more like eighty
A man who once had shone so brightly
Slowly burning out.

He loved to talk of former times
Aldermarston, Grosvenor Square
The festival on the Isle of Wight
With Hendrix playing there
In his acid trip through life.

I never knew his second name
Until he died alone
One rainy day in April

In a cardboard box in a Bedford van
He turned up late for his burial
In a bluebell wood

 

On Llansteffan Beach

We sat within the castle’s shade
and watched the tide go out.
We heard the cries of seagulls
And the coo-coos of the pigeons
Scrambling for bits and pieces
Of discarded chips and fish.

While from the sky above us
a red kite fluttered down
As a granddad and his grandson tried –
And failed – to launch the thing once more

Across the estuary the two-tone klaxon announced
The Fishguard train rounding the headland.
From that distance it was a miniature train set
Remembered from my ‘00’ scale youth

And I told you then that when I lived away for all those years
It was at that point I really knew I was coming home

And I told you there that I had never felt so at home
As when I held you in my arms and gazed into your eyes
Samphire-green just washed by the ebbing tide

Suddenly the sound was drowned
As two hawks descended from the waining Sun –
Killing machines destroying the tranquility
Anachronistically attacking the ruined castle

And I told you then that as a boy
I harboured dreams of joining the RAF
Was a member of the Air Training corps
You said
In another generation and another land
It would have been the Hitler Youth.

 

Bread Poem

As a gesture to my Welshness
She brought a loaf of bread from St Fagan´s Museum
Transferred crust by crust from the ruins of an abandoned
Bakery cellar in Troedyrhiw

So we toasted our love on Buckley´s Best Bitter
And Brains SA, and the best Welsh Whisky of Penderyn
We feasted on lava bread and cockles
Bara brith and cawl with leeks and lamb

In springtime we would walk through Brechfa forest
Laughing and kissing and loving on a bed of daffodils

But Winter came all too soon and all my love was spent
And now, my darling, all that I can offer you
Are crumbs

 

Birdsong in Sweden

I have taken birds for granted all of my life
And now I have migrated north to summer in Scandinavia
I notice
When the whistling wind, which rustles and whispers
Gently through the sleepy weeping willow
Takes a breath
When the boisterous blare of a passing roaring freight train
Fades away and there is silence
I notice
The insidioius birdsong perches uneasily on my ear
This is not the summer soundtrack I am used to
It is different and discordant and sounds all wrong
As alien to mer as I am to alien to Tranås in Sweden
I see these birds and I am the imposter
We never see these birds at home
And I notice
I can name some, a lapwing maybe or a peewit?
But I miss the blackbirds and the trushes and the pigeons
And there there is a solitary magpie
Who flits before me as if to say
God Morgon
Hello friend
You are welcome.

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