Gary Langford is the author of 25 books, including 9 novels
such as Newlands, 9 books of poetry, the latest being
Rainwoman and Snake and 3 collections of stories. A CD Rom
of him reading his poetry has been done by The Poetry
Archives in England (www.poetryarchives.org) Gary lives and
writes in Merlbourne and Christchurch. He wishes you well.
Death in the Province
The town hall lies in decay,
photographs of past mayors
weighed true by chains:
snow floats down in summer.
I walk in the newness of a child,
down the decayed roads of thought.
A man is invented under a tree,
impenetrable to doubt and worry
he is Homer but only in the cartoon,
able to sing out of a bottle,
all you need is love...love...
out of tune and happy.
The woman is the provincial walker.
She is bent. She is tired,
still able to give birth to sound.
Her eyes are orchestral instruments.
She waves about with a knife,
tightly held as a passing truth.
The province thirsts for a previous age,
crops of gold; pubs replacing churches.
Contracts are thinner than pencil marks,
signatures as fake as the perfect.
We crave; we list and love ourselves
in the brevity of rightness.
I am a small canto in my province,
referred to in chokes of laughter.
I lay it all aside, returning for more
as if I am still a hapless child.
My grandfather designed World War 2's suit.
That was the province's highest point.
Citizens waved flags of loyalty,
prepared to purge anyone who did not.
The cemetery smiled at my grandfather,
man of the nodding head,
regardless of what was said.
I saw him passing, ball punctured.
I hum to myself. I coo in darkness.
A ghost is tearful.
It is the province of youth.
There is nothing we can do.
Stolen From a Diary
I find the diary near my gate,
opening it without a furtive glance.
The words have a startled look in the eyes,
the ones before a trigger is pulled,
shooting innocence like breathing.
Confessions grow, bald as the odd thought.
A few of these are embarrassing,
even if they are read by a stranger,
cheering up at your despair,
turning your pages like a book.
Novels can be hidden diaries.
This one cannot hide.
Major events are simple,
darkly growing as the years go by.
An entire life is held in a single diary.
Mortgages are drained, relationships closed.
There is a long aching sound,
a singing the more nobody listens.
The stage is solitary, the sound system low.
The voice is pure for a moment.
Each affair becomes a year,
grabbed by the neck and shaken.
The words trail off on the last page.
I close the diary to find
the name on the cover is mine.
We Are All Talking to Ourselves
Life's letter arrives, smoothly pushed into the box.
I open it uneasily. ‘Dear Sir/Madam.
I discover I no longer exist,
cancelled cards, closed accounts, final debts.
I make phone calls. Nobody is home.
I talk to locals. They do not appear to see me.
I am on the internet except it is closed.
The weather puts me on Jacob's ladder.
I write these words to prove I am here.
Each one chuckles to walk off the page.
I appear to be in the country of sleep.
All I need is a passport to wake up.
The more I try, the more I talk to myself.
The ghost of language is on my lips,
scaring nobody, not a single reaction.
I dance and sing; laughter echoes. My laughter.