Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lennon Triptych

Well I didn't make it into the slam final of the Liverpool Lennon Performance Poetry Contest upcoming in Liverpool a week on Saturday. Finalists in both the performance and paper poet categories have just been announced. In any case, here now is the full three-part poem. The winners in both the performance and paper poet categories will be announced by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, at the Liverpool Lennon Poetry Slam Final. This is to be held on Saturday, 6th November at The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts founded by Sir Paul McCartney. Further details available though the Beatles Story website through the title above.

Lennon Tryptich

I. O, Johnny-O

O, where have you gone, Johnny-O!
Where have you gone, O, Lennon-O!

You left us too soon, so long ago
-- although we saw you, back then,

in the clubs of Liverpool: the Cavern,
at the Mardi Gras, at the Jacaranda,

or else supping with your mates in Ye Cracke
or The Grapes. Aye, lad, we grooved

hearing you, O Johnny lad, as you stood
with your legs-apart stance,

thrumming your old '58 Rickenbacker geeee-tar,
raunchily singing for us, mugging

for the birds.... oh, what a flirt!
Oh, aye, we know what took you away:

Sex, drugs....... and, yeah yeah yeah,
Rock and roll! Segs, dregs, and drool.

"The Smoke" drew you from us -- a date
with fame. The world yearned for you,

you and your mates. And you and Paul had a ditty
or two or three to write, anthems for the universe,

for better and for worse. O, such dead-on lyrics!
Said so much -- dead good, yeah, as any poet's verse,

the sound of your generation... and who will
deny that you two Scousers often said it best?

Aye, but we were your fans first
-- in the damp and grimy streets

of the 'Pool, within hearing
of the foghorns on the river.

O, Johnny-O, you were a giver and taker!
Listen to that Managua-bound freighter!

O, Lennon-O, you left your mark on us
-- and Liverpool left its mark on you.
II. Julia

I stand over Julia's grave
in Allerton Cemetery, sense
some of what you're about:

an unmarked grave, just like my
great grandmother's in this same
cemetery; faded teddy bear tribute.

The night that the car took Julia
away from you, liquor stinking
on the off-duty cop's breath.

Julia -- knickers on her head
-- adult and child all in one.

Leather-clad rocker's mum gone
but not! -- not! -- not forgotten!

No room for sentiment, except
in your songs -- somehow;

the girls scream anyhow.
III. Here and Yet Not Here

strawberry gooseberry
strawberry gooseberry
strawberry gooseberry

songs for us
listen to the chorus

strawberry gooseberry
strawberry gooseberry
-- sirens in the night

broken spectacles
flecked with blood

Here and yet not here

rags to stem the blood
rags to stop the bullets

Here and yet not here

The same greased-back hair
the same leather jacket
sweat on the ceiling of the Cavern
rocking in the warren
rocking in the womb

Here and yet not here

Something else inside
something else driving
the gum-chewing ted
slouched against
the smoke-black wall.

Here and yet not here

Not just a snide word
a mouth full of knuckles
circles encircle eyes
crazed squiggled figures
words encircle thoughts
in a Lear-nonsense tongue

Here and yet not here

Inside the black leather
behind the hard eyes later
dreams from one to nine
a dream of guns stuffed with rags
quiet over the fields of war

Here and yet not here

One of four singing love
to the virgin world
yet the orphan the poet
the renegade for peace

Here and yet not here

Christopher T. George

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