7 poems by Steve Hanson [Poetry]

Freckle Myopia

Without glasses

she is red cloud

max Photoshop blur

yet a vagueness

I feel able to pierce

like a javelin thrower

plaits fog

but without glasses can only tune

into radio-over-there

 

Constellations discovered

as the eyes adjust

to flesh as darkness

lay of the land, pixels of infinity

rendered in a range

labia pink to melanoma brown

 

Sunset pool

with strings of abandon

 

A thrown puppet

with strong engine thrum

 

How to Spend It seminar

Watches

High end double page, full bleed spreads

Watches watches

Vuitton ads, many at the front

Watches watches watches

Nature, wild, untamed, lizard, fur prints, animal tracks the outdoors

Watches watches watches watches

Teacher student male female, male in power, aimed at smart people

Watches watches watches watches watches

Could be a father or a sugar daddy, technology winking James Bond, sexed-up cold war dossier tones, grey fade, steel texture

Watches watches watches watches watches watches

Dating ad, cricket ball, Englishness, win yachts, yacht special, futures markets, future of family, passing on the watches to sons

Watches watches watches watches watches watches watches

Properties at the back, Holland Park three million six hundred seventy thousand and one hundred pounds, SW7, two million two hundred and thirty five thousand six hundred and eighteen pounds, W8 Four million fifty four thousand and four hundred and twenty seven pounds

Watches watches watches watches watches watches watches watches

 

Untitled 5

The teapot pours serenely

and then cockeye pisses it boiling

all over your girlfriend

without any warning

 

Says a lot about humans

the only sane golf is crazy golf

habitats ravished and sculpted for your little balls

 

Things that fall onto the floor

vanish to the other dimension

and your trouser button

 

Don’t be dirting the fame y’all

all the mad folk are the sane folk

light shines out from their great cracks on the things no-one says

 

Flies the same way as the tea

half an hour before the interview

for someone else’s job

or has been promised, wink

 

Someone next to you looks like

their right arm has shrunk or been pasted

schlup, back on, and you say it because you can see it

 

Everything needs nailing down double or it flies

if not that it won’t move and you really need it to

even with others shoving

 

The dog will go forty five degrees left to arrive

exactly at your front bicycle wheel

 

It could not be better co-ordinated if planned

 

The same will happen with the pram or the toddler

the articulated lorry and the corner terrace

 

The driver waking up to banana leaf wallpaper

and bits of the breakfast bar

 

Says a lot about humans

that they see like this but never say

instead they brood, over chipping it into the rough

 

The world is this why, why expect any other

we live in the big slow disaster

 

Only now it’s getting much faster

and not just for our species

 

Get over it, get used to it, no insurance will cover it

 

(Homage to Jeffrey Lewis acknowledged)

 

Untitled 6

Mean trepanation headfuck, so…

he can’t make new memories

lives the last half of his life

in a permanent present

then neurology eats his brain

 

Now we don’t need to drill holes

in our skull, or the toilet walls

or our arses

capital wipes for all of us

 

What does it feel like, well it feels like this

 

Eating trifle, small paper bowl

a party was underway

cake, and what looks like champagne

no time to look properly

lecture due to begin, ten min

 

Burst into room booking

young woman, party hat

I need a booking checked

 

Carefully, on paper napkin

my lecture is due to start

bowl, her plastic spoon, and… but

can’t you go access the App?

someone is in there, she turned, sat

 

Know who he is, all he can see

but don’t you remember it?

 

Four PC screens in a row

but what is your staff number?

calmly, shit in bag, Jesus Christ

 

Three numbers in the universe

in the first seconds he doesn’t…

 

National Insurance, then

it came out and she made hmmm

6.30, smashed bits of planet

 

Sounds and clicked leisurely

through a series of screens

she found his timetable

 

And a torturing constant bleep

blue glow as his feed kicks in

swinging round a white dwarf star

for now this is all there is

 

Needs to pee as well, finally

department role and level

through his collapsed shoe soles

into the heavy duty

 

G4 now until one, can you print…

A series of banal questions

shifts again from foot to foot

nation, carpet, paper twitched

out shunts the deathly series

it had seen his identity

 

From Debord’s permanent opium war

to transparent opium for the bored

 

Look for your lost seconds, bristling

blue seconds of balloons, gone

 

Yes you are booked, sighed, right clicked

over and over until

right everyone, turn off your phones

 

And I have to listen to this?

it sounded like a crap squawk

it hasn’t printed anything

 

I want to be out of here

I want to be out of her, left

 

It will probably need to calibrate

what Being had collected drained straight back out

 

Identity begins at 9:32,

along with the extent of his hangover

 

Now we know which neurotransmitter does what,

but we still can’t be honest with our parents

 

or really understand what money does

 

Untitled 7

the state

teaches me to be delinquent

when it lies to me every single day

 

the courts

make me fizz with delinquency

when they have people in for sleeping rough

 

police

demonstrate a delinquency

when they arrest them

 

unions

teach me how to be delinquent

by cowering when my hours are cut, leaving it to me to do the speaking out

 

I am droolingly delinquent

when they liaise with HR, a lunch laid on, vegan section marked with a post-it note

 

the institution

teaches me to be delinquent

by behaving like a big delinquent

 

the institution is my greatest role model

the plastic lid on the prawn marie rose melts to make a life or death mask for me

 

you get a pension if your contract lasts twelve months, so they kill after eleven

you’re due redundancy after two years, so they stiff you after one year seven

 

my breath mists the transparent surface, I’m watching you and waiting for my moment

you crisp eating cunt

 

I want to be a citizen, I try to call myself a citizen

the police teach me how to be a citizen

I kill the baddies in my head, they kick shit out of black men in South London nicks

 

the institution

teaches me how to be a citizen

he gets the girl, and then sacks her off with one text message after six weeks

 

the state

shows me how to be a citizen

when it lies to us, he lies to her and to them, but mainly to himself

about how to be a good citizen

a righter life couldn’t be lived this wrongly

 

the courts

teach me how to be a citizen

when they bust the already broken and let the billionaires off

 

negligent, neglectful, remiss, slack

words that can only be rolled down the hill at guttersnipes, never thrown up at the windows

 

although this poem is reverse advocacy, going all the way up the chain to god

if you still believe there is one

 

I’m sending it all the way up there, but let’s not use the stupid gee word, or The Word word

 

and if you ask the question that’s on everyone’s lips

simple questions like

 

why has our pay been cut and nobody had the decency to even let us know?

 

you receive pretentious, puffed up, arrogant, scornful, mocking, sneering, scoffing replies

 

your anger is not legitimate

your anger is not professional

your anger is not appropriate

your anger is gross misconduct

 

but their gross misconduct is not anger, their anger is covered at all times by conceited, supercilious, smug performances

 

their anger is fed forward in a trajectory that will drive right over you

leaking sulphurically round the edges, absorbing all the water from the air, chemical burns, thermal burns, the whiff of bad salts and smoke

 

PIGEON DUNG AND RAPE DUST

a selfless drive for experience

hunger for success and future growth of

 

PELTS OR SPETCHES and the ability

to think laterally

you will be

 

BAD BUTTER OR GREASE

going forward and

a flawless communicator

able to deliver both universal values and local detail with

 

LIME, IF CARRIED UP THE RIVERS OR CUTS

 

IRON, a roving economic player with no baggage

 

instantly transportable into any context or location PER TON

a flexible operator and team player, you will need

 

SOAP, PER TON, a ‘can do’ individual

a believer in the rewards of the game

which, TREACLE, PER TON

 

changes infinitely, plays indefinitely

and MADDER, PER TON

 

it is called a career

 

their psychoanalysts wait in the future, their eyes kerching with the glassy magic of breastfeeding infants

although not

because twelve year old sporto jocks don’t know about psychoanalysis

 

nobody stands up to answer the question

nobody is the last answerer of questions

nobody wants you to big up the city as radical and creative for no pay, nobody wants you

nobody wants your eyes to bulge towards the infantile goop of the pretentious title on your name badge

nobody doesn’t need to wish it, we’re all chewing the same watery teat

 

no longer ‘I don’t feel good don’t bother me’, I don’t feel bad, but you don’t listen, don’t talk to me about big societies, or powerhouses

 

no longer ‘I won’t write my poem until I’m in my right mind’, I am in my right mind, you are all out of yours, talk to me when you can think straight

 

to my colleagues whose acquiescence is the grossest misconduct of all

you have all taught me to write about how you have taught me to be delinquent in bad poetry, because I refuse to blow up The Trafford Centre

and if that makes me a bad citizen then so be it

 

there isn’t a transparent ceiling but a concrete cellar

we look down, not up, at the filthy tents

warnings have replaced ambitions in this time

 

think of how it’s gonna be as things get on, I mean, it’s early man

Ananke is waking up, Phanes hear me!

 

whole processes eradicated, thousands of employees, exercises in reverse Taylorism as metonyms for the final wave

get those massive coronaries booked in, it’s the best exit door considering what’s coming

stuff your nutribullets up your gaping arseholes

 

you might put on weight, but they are

 

morbidly corrupt

morbidly amoral

morbidly otiose

morbidly shameless

morbidly underhand

morbidly fulla shit

 

stare into a cold steel frame with a dead eye in its forehead all day

a wastebasket that isn’t a wastebasket but save us behaves like one

 

humans write poetry in the fire of their own extinction

why am I me and not everyone?

is the last question, that nobody will answer

 

now isn’t now because you are and aren’t reading this now

Baudelaire wrote for the dead but there are no dead in our future

 

you hafta be alive to then die and nobody is alive there

and there isn’t even a there

 

because there is no future in our future

 

Untitled 9

In the sauna the Bristol goddesses

discuss inadequate energy flows

with men who have to go

 

Their bodies wish-fulfilling jewels

as their former landlady arrives

screams where’s my fucking rent

and you can have your flea-infested furniture

 

I see it filled with ice

wolves in this no-longer-architecture

 

Panting, plump, pink babies

with extremely powerful phones

 

Untitled 35

the shell starred United Nations tour on extreme poverty in Britain

their rider consists of restaurants

suits, laptops, watches and

all of the itty words, ‘conditionality’

 

to make you listen to the stuff you listen to…

to listen

 

from Sports Direct where he

he achieves conditionality

barf of slab headlines and bikinis

lazy, feckless, shameful

 

someone has been called out

now this is the part where someone screams

but the opposite rhetoric boils

prime bloc of poverty

 

at the same time as it

it makes no claim on anything, or

the house is needs must, its shell all stripped

but now where are we, where?

 

I just want to reinforce

and I’ll finish on this

but I just want to say that

and I will finish on this

that in no way are we

 

an itty bikini, bikinititty, it’s

to listen

 

to the repetition,

repetition repeating

 

just this one last point now

we are not any of us

rising, performative

anger and finger pointing

 

Let’s make history, or

Let’s make ex history

Let’s make why history

 

the ill-starred disunited kingdom retired bore on scroungers, in England

he achieves conditionality

and they need their pumps primed

or when it isn’t being looked at, by a human

 

to make you listen to the stuff you listen to

to listen

 

and they need their pumps primed

to achieve conditionality

when isn’t something in its condition?

when not being looked at

 

a picture of Mogg now

but yet pretends to say everything

and something, nothing with the nothing

sleeping in the house, and

 

that floats in zen space, or

or even does any rhetoric

because that would be unethical

post-post-nothing, neat trick

 

inspected by inspectors

if you only take one thing

then really it’s this

I want to reinforce

and I’ll finish on this

 

to make you listen to the stuff you listen to,

to listen

 

to the repetition,

repetition repeating

 

Make history history,

let’s make make, let’s make make Make

 

his rider consists of lager, lager shouting

where were we?

 

prime chip of poverty

when is something in its condition?

their rider, consists of restaurants

laptops, suits, watches and

 

stripped of all its imaginative nutrients

and prime pumps

 

one whose eyes have not been burned out yet

and some of the see words

and all of the eff words

when is something in its condition?

 

a rhetoric that says nothing must be achieved,

because time

 

the same look, laptops, everything, all

the rider floats, horse drowns

 

backbone bent to fat arse,

but continues to gallop, and hard

 

by Steve Hanson

  • Steve Hanson is the author of ‘Small Towns’, ‘Austere Times’ and ‘A Shaken Bible’.

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