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LETTERS TO FRIENDS

by
 I


Eddie Linden

Dear Eddie we’ve not met

Except upon the written page 

And at your age the wonder 

Is that you write at all

When so many have gone under 

Or been split asunder by narcissistic humours

Blunder following blunder

Barker and Graham, godfathering my verse

Bearing me cloud-handed to Haworth moor

From my chained metropolitan moorings,

O hyaline March morning with Leeds

At its thrusting best, the thirsty beasts

Of night quenched as the furnaces

Of Hunslet where Hudswell Clarke’s locos

Rust in their skeletal sheds, rails skewed

To graveyards platforms and now instead

Skyscrapers circle the city, cranes, aeroplanes,

Electric trains but even they cannot hinder

Branches bursting with semen

Seraphic cloud sanctuaries shunting

Us homeward to the beckoning moors.
II Brenda Williams Leeds voices soothe the turbulence ‘Ey’ ‘sithee’ and ‘love’, lastingly lilt From cradle to grave, from backstreet On the social, our son, beat his way To Eton, Balliol, to Calcatta’s Shantiniketan And all the way back to a locked ward.
While I in the meantime fondly fiddled With rhyme and unreason, publishing pamphlets And Leeds Poetry Weekly while under the bane Of his tragic illness, poet and mother, You were driven from pillar to post By the taunting yobbery of your family And the crass insensitivity of wild therapy To the smoking dark of despair, Locked in your flat in the Abbey Road With seven cats and poetry.
O stop and strop your bladed darkness On the rock of ages while plangent tollings Mock your cradled rockings, knock by knock.
III Debjani Chatterjee In these doom-laden days You are steady as a pilot nursing tired ships homeward Through churning seas Where grey gulls scream Forlornly and for ever.
I am the red-neck, Bear-headed blaster Shifting sheer rock To rape the ore of poetry’s plunder Or bulldozing trees to glean mines of silver While you sail serenely onward Ever the diplomat’s daughter Toujours de la politesse.
IV Daisy Abey Daisy, dearest of all, safest And kindest, watcher and warner Of chaotic corners looming Round poetry’s boomerang bends I owe you most a letter While you are here beside me Patient as a miller waiting on wind To drive the great sails Through summer.
When the muse takes over I am snatched from order and duty Blowing routine into a riot of going And coming, blind, backwards, tip Over arse, sea waves crashing in suburbia, Saturnalia in Sutton, headlines of mad poet Striding naked over moors, roaring "I am here I am waiting".
V Jeremy Reed Niagaras of letters on pink sheets In sheaths of silver envelopes Mutually exchanged.
I open your missives Like undressing a girl in my teens Undoing the flap like a recalcitrant Bra strap, the letters stiff as nipples While I stroke the creviced folds Of amber and mauve and lick As I stick stamps like the clitoris Of a reluctant virgin, urgent for Defloration and the pulse of orgasm.

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