Alistair Noon: Postcards from Home
Elastic lakes, bright as amphibian skin,
encoil the city I send this from. Sweat-scenting
vamps infest the banks – eight-legged, clambering
up into armpits, hair as foot- and handhold.
The symbol of a speedboat at Wannsee, under chugging rain –
by beautiful, infested banks.
Clouds spread on windows, cultures on film.
Sun strikes rooftiles like a mirror. Three stepping-stone stars
emerge in a clear autumn. And always the panes
flickering with the schedules, the culture on film.
Cold infringes the skin's liberties in the queue
for drafts and postures: a Great Hall to billow above
the eagle-grasped Reichstag, a palace to rise by levels
to a sun-pointing Lenin.
Communists in stormtroops' cellars in '33; resistance
is a staff officer in '44: beggars outside the clubs,
as a Mercedes rolls the white streets.
Not all's been made to last: a vase blackmarked
with curses, for priests to smash; boxfuls of china
to break before marriage. And now the mobile sarcophagi –
green, brown and white – surge with bottles.
Lean on glass meant to preserve the manifesto
'All Art Is Destruction' to receive the curse of the blacksuited.
Perception inflected: final paleness turns
white clouds dark.
In the shift of stars a satellite's swing
is a dancer's dash among a stageful of statues.
Among arbitrary fencing, thought is damp cement.
Window through a window, news rents the screen.
Land use changes as women with buckets and mugs
water their allotments in front of the Reichstag,
grenade-holed, as if hacked at by pissed-up stonemasons.
Later the forecourt will be an informal football pitch,
parliament an exhibition; later a fenced-off
construction site, around signs of the new rich:
What number must I call to rent a penthouse?
These may be the buildings I live my life with:
my sixties shopping centres, our thirties semis.
They'll rewrite the skyline, redraw the malls:
these the buildings to live with.
Millennium sextuplets land on the Planet of the Peacocks.
A schoolmate's tag was 'the one on TV'. Starlets,
wander into smashed-window supermarkets, pick up a six pack
and turn to the camera. Collect scorpions. Go shopping
near studios. Visibility durch Technik, departure
foot-tagged and body-bagged.
Empire silk in caravans across the oceans,
along the air routes; along airwaves and cables
the shows, the Great Phrases: 'To learn from the Talkmasters
is to learn to be victorious' – gestures, articulation,
the studio decor. Win a million in fifty languages.
Seasons are schedules to keep to. The programmer's directive:
'Global in form, national in content.'
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------An earlier version of this poem appeared in Oasis.