Felicity Maxwell Smith, a journalist in Toronto, who persecuted me with her unrequited love when we were nine and ten found me on the Internet using a search engine. She got as far as a date when we were sixteen in 1959, but now in 1996 she has all of me as she possesses my poems. So, in response, I type `Susan Jooks' into the Lycos search engine and find her within two minutes. Loves are interlinked and entwined over the generations. There is no ending, a brilliant eye recalls the beginning. As Felicity says all there is in life is people. I would never change a moment of it. It is mine, This voyage through the world. So many with me.
Ten years ago I read Martin Wiener's `English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850-1980' and Correlli Barnett's `The Audit of War' and realised that there were matters in history I didn't understand. Then last week I read Paul Ormerod's `The Death of Economics' and Will Hutton's `The State We're In' and all was plain. The English upper class hijacked the Dissenter's Industrial Revolution and in Jane Austen-style reasserted their supremacy by ordering inflated returns from their stocks and shares in the City of London, to maintain their lifepattern. There was never any money for Research and Development. And investment returns were twice what they should have been and have been maintained so till today. Our pension funds are all askew and the income from them should be halved or our contributions doubled. This is why England cannot be European. We are a nation dedicated to the lifestyle of the rich elite and the poor can stuff it. It is a conservative world and a socialist change of government can't alter the fundamentals. We need a revolution. The future decline of England is inevitable and I am pleased that Scotland can opt out of it. The English upper class is quite ruthless and has been so for a thousand years. They feather their nest. They don't want Industry. And the country can go to hang.
It has been a dreadful life The voices of poetry in my ear The voices of hate in my head The voices... And it has all come to naught I couldn't hold a job I couldn't find a wife I couldn't... It is all written down in my books The last one not to be published The last one the truth The last one... Now I wait for my box to be buried I will burn in the bye-and-bye I will burn with my books I will burn...
Susan Jooks tries to get me chucked off the Internet By complaining of harassment to the Postmaster at her University, That I sent her a nostalgic email on my 54th birthday After I had drunken three pints of Bass and three Rusty Nails. I found her name on the Internet six months ago And sent a message inviting her to examine my Webspace And detailing the very few entries for the name Jooks. She must have a cousin in Brazil. Then, knowing her vanity, I sent her the halfdozen poems Containing her name written since my `Selected Poems' compilation. And when I wrote my poem `Lycos' for Felicity Maxwell Smith I sent Susan Jooks a copy. Nostalgically I praised her for having done so well in life. I praised her for having so many files on the Altavista search engine And resolved to register all my 63 files in competition. I praised her for making Nepal for her 40th birthday. But really after twenty years there isn't much to say to her. I am amazed that the fires still burn so deep in her That she cannot look back with humour on the situation. I have always refused to accept her as a nasty bit of work. My readers wouldn't like that.
Drummed out of life by the vision merchant I wish I knew what to say. She opens the trapdoor on my corpse And my madness is carried screaming away. There's a dark dark wind that blows from the grave as I elbow my way to the Front. Beyond the hills of home rose a rare talent And a sick crunching dive my last stunt. I butcher my lilac blown down by the gale Carve it into fragmentation on my lawn. I outlived it as she will outlive me The creaking passage of an ancient dawn. `Et in Arcadia ego' says Death But it was never really like that. Torture torture more torture Has been the song I have sung to my cat. I was born to the purple and it's all come apart It's a shame I'm not right in the head. It's drink and the woman, the woman and drink, Get the poem writ down then safe off to bed.
Alone Old and worn out I sit and love my cat. Not the great visions of a Rilke But simple thoughts of friends in the pub My distant family, Someone to talk to, Are what possess me. My black cat Ludovic is chunky now he has grown. We sit in the Winter depths. He purring, me empty. I am fiftyfour years old and will never love woman again. It has all been a waste of time This living. We really should be allowed to end it at the touch of a button. I wrote my poetry in the Spring and the Autumn. Now seems a travesty. Perhaps I should look for God. But there is no God An illusion of the Schoolmen. Praising said Rilke All I want is a pint of strong beer And oblivion.
Fred Beake asks me for a poem of Arthur and Merlin, The English Celtic heritage. Instead I think of my extraordinary Irish grandfather George Clark And the Glasgow village of Calton. My mother's greatgrandfather, Robert Pettigrew, a retired master carter, Died a pauper, aged 70, in Calton in 1877. The oldest son of William Pettigrew and Jane Pollock. It was his son William that occupied the farm at Malcolmwood In High Blantyre, up the hill from the cottage Dysholm. My grandfather Clark turned up one day in Calton in Edwardian times. With his waxed moustache, his stylish spats, His rolled umbrella and his bowler hat. The very epitome of the Irish Planter from County Antrim. Where his Scots accent came from is a mystery. But Dick Gaughan says they all talk like that over there. He played his mandolin to charm my arid grandmother Ady, Arid like her Calton mother. As he made himself at home in Abercromby Street, Where her clan, the McCreadies, occupied flats in a close, A family to each tenement flat. They were married in 1907. In 1908, when my father William was born, George Clark was working as a grocer's assistant. But later his gift of the gab took him into a credit drapers job. And he worked as an operator On the Bell telephone exchange In the evenings to raise extra cash. He took my father back to the Antrim coast one summer. And he went right through the Great War in the trenches. Eventually he and his little family moved out to a bungalow at Kings Park. Calton is an old part of Glasgow going East from Glasgow Cross And West from Bridgeton. `I am McGinn of the Calton' Used to bellow the Scottish working-class philosopher Matt As he sang his home-spun 60s folksongs. There is Calton in my accent.
It's all been a terrible mistake putting me on this planet, Lord. Couldn't you have chosen a better time and a better place.
Michel Foucault destroyed him. With his analysis of Classical Greek boy-love In the `History of Sexuality'. Foucault, of the Collège de France and the bath-houses of Berkeley, Analysed how the Uranian love so embarrassed the Greeks By its emphasis on the demeaning penetration of the boy. They didn't want to talk about it. A free-born man buggering a free-born boy wasn't on. The Romans agreed. And the Christians hated sex anyway. Ianthe the Paedophile, A throwback to 60s radical freedom, Desires to fuck boys. Every week he posts his desire In the Poetry Usenet newsgroup. He tries to justify it intellectually. As the purest form of love. But he just wants to bugger little boys. Everybody knows. Why does he have to dress it up as art? Even Foucault, long dead of AIDS, Was repulsed by the likes of Ianthe. Ianthe's articles in the Poetry newsgroup Are a cumulative corrosive presence. No single article warrants censorship. But Voltaire's axiom is put under considerable pressure By Ianthe's continual presence. If there is an argument for censorship it is Ianthe. Buggers amongst themselves do no harm. But when it comes to little boys I scream. I was one.
I saw a poem in the pub just now. I must write it down. I list all these women who have turned me down over the years. Not one has wanted to turn into a bubbly wife. And now there is only enough money for me and my cat Ludovic. Those women weren't daft. Edwin Morgan, the Glasgow poet, wrote to me twenty years ago: `All the editors can't be wrong'. He was referring to the continual rejection of my poems. More importantly it now seems to refer to rejection by possible wives. I see from the hairdresser's clippings this morning that my hair is turning white. Is it fair to be condemned to solitary thru life. I would have liked to have somebody on my side. I've had an entire life with nobody. Being in love don't count. My poems are always rejected nowadays. But I have had my moments. Both with editors and girls. It's all been a terrible failure. All that matters in life is getting your drink down you.
Douglas Clark /Poems97/ Benjamin Press, 69 Hillcrest Drive, Bath BA2 1HD, UK/ email@example.com