dedicated blogsite to Dave Wood's participatory poetry project in Northern Ireland. Started late August and finishing September 2004, it does a compare and contrast with previous visits 1988 - 1998. Also see

20 Dec 2004

further scratchings - after wednesday - a belfast laminate

part one

first church for sale
i thought we english were the ones
to lose our hub

along the belmont road
toward the lagan bridge
the union jacks
seem stiffer than before
more resolute
(have they been reading porn?)

run down estates
(like some buses here)
are flowered up
red white and blue
catch traffic's eyes
no comments then
no comments
(as before)

the morning works me hard
to find a breakfast (late)
that's cheap and
doesn't baulk at calories

and gone eleven
i give up
behold the greasy joe is dead!
long live the frothy world
that's full of air and softness then
the one that thatcher's ice cream woke
and brokered on the world

part two

chip restaurant (traditional) it said upon the glass (o - and fish!)
i wander in - coins rattling loose and teased on by my belfast tongue
the floor is laminate (o laminateé!) the room stretches dist-
antly along its spine - i sit disturbed and swallowed up by muzac song

and if i stay here long enough - will they cover me (too) in loving laminate?
will salt and vinegar loose their grain - get de-acidified - oozed down
with soul-less sweet talk - and will the fish and chips get eat
en up with flash or dettol now - each sprinkle seals its fate

with long floor laminate - if I should sit here - will they smooth me out?
they sell ciabatta here (o i say! - how posh) and dippers too
(for salad lips) choose egg soda then - eat roughness in (brown sauced)
sprinkle life with sharper cuts - chew (for once) some bloody truth

part three

donegal square - north south - four cornered like a learned hat
each road sprouts off and bounces round - breathes out
sucks in and draws the tourists back
each road leads fast to where it came - to where the city's fat

each road sprouts off and bounces round - exhales deep
becomes asthmatic when one tourist finds the path away
and when they do - the square (like english rain) weeps
hard – complains its coffers going down into the grey

square breathes in and takes the tourists’ stack
it's been there long enough - it's earnt its grub
and now with flung out doors - flung back
squats hard sobs down then reaches for its sub

part four

and in the middle of this sea
of banks
(not one nat west)
the tourist board
(that rides an escalator trip)
smiles with a digital display

come in
it shakes its hips
at me
winks dolefully

i take my number then -
walk round to murder time
and drum into my eyes
the stuff they seal with love and
shamrock glue

(flat caps
and calendars)

it's true -
they almost caught me
but not this time
not yet

the girl behind the counter
confesses she's downpatrick bred
she helps me sort my transport out

each bus is like a magnet returning to one place
(europa) we work diligent - i realise

whatever journey that i make
acceptance works both ways