Poetry: The Book of my Enemy — Adrian Henri Wants to Write Poems | clivejames.com
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Adrian Henri Wants to Write Poems

Remembering the day I walked five miles in my short trousers
To draw a picture of a plover’s nest
And found out when I got there
That my pencil was broken and I had nothing to sharpen it with
A Heinkel one-eleven flew overhead looking for Liverpool
Or was it a Zeppelin, it’s hard to remember how old
you are when you’ve been working on a youth image this long
cranes in the dockyards foghorns on the water clouds in the sky
lying on my back in grandad’s allotment discovering Mallarmé
seeing the world for the first time flowers earth grass weeds
a sad young poet needing something to bring the brilliance of his perceptions
into focus

EUNICE tall dark schoolgirl breasts like fairy cakes you show me
yours running up the sand hills sudden flash of knickers illuminating
a young poet’s mind and showing him his future
SHARON small fair schoolgirl transforming herself at night into a
ponytail teenager pressed up against me dancing to Guy Mitchell
breast knickers breast knickers knickers
SHARON’S MOTHER love-starved scolding horror screaming at
the sad young poet saying what have you done to my Sharon playing
hospitals realizing with a shock that Sharon’s mother wears

on a bus to London
reading Leopardi in the Heath-Stubbs translation
getting off at Victoria with an air-force holdall
full of spare cuddle-pie pea jackets, horn-rimmed glasses
and four thousand seven hundred pages of single-spaced manuscript
Pete Brown running towards me inspired liberated cute
yelling hey Adrian the whole poetry-reading circuit is opening up
the way Eunice used to and me yelling back
watch out for that bus
too late
in the Royal Free hospital Pete with all four limbs in traction
a splint up his nose and his mouth wired together
and the sad young poet sitting beside his bed
reads the whole manuscript Pete signalling gratitude with his left eyebrow

Edinburgh Festival lights fame repression
streets full of scotsmen Royal Mile chips haggis
Traverse theatre lunchtimes reading with Roger McGough
girls packed along the walls drinking in every word
knickers knickers knickers knickers

then you happened
middle-aged woman with body of a schoolgirl
lying all night on top of you like Moby Dick in dry dock
reciting Mallarmé to the rhythm of your loving
saying are you really twenty years old and hearing you sob no thirty-four

then she happened
girl beautiful as cupcakes frilly-edged knickers
lying all night on top of her reciting Leopardi
saying are you really twenty years old and hearing her sob no eleven

In Wormwood scrubs the sad young poet reads Rimbaud in the library
working on the autobiography Cape yelling for more instalments
dreaming of schoolgirls in cell at night
warm young bodies under blue gym slips open mouths questing hands
rain slanting down past the barred window
Brown making a million writing lyrics for Cream
got to get out of here, back in amongst it
fame knickers wealth adulation wealth knickers fame knickers
sad young poet writing on into the night