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.

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