Tom Bland: Blue

Tom Bland ‘s poetry pamphlet, The Death of a Clown, is coming out at the end of this year with Bad Betty Press. He is also in the process of completing an MA in Contemporary Performance Practices at University of East London. He describes his artistic practice as a hybrid form of poetry, live art, and the ridiculous.

We will be featuring another of Tom’s poems in the winter issue of The High Window.

Tom Bland: Poem

BLUE

Once a year, The Guardian has the headline
in their ever-shrinking culture section,xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAUTOBIOGRAPHY IS DEAD,

in bold lettering
in black ink.

One day soon
words will only be words, nothing more, when language and experience
have reached their divorce
settlement – a
wide unbreakable distance between them
neither/no one dares to transgress.

‘Oh shit, does that mean poetry is dead too?’ my
friend murmured almost breaking one of his teeth opening
the cider bottle. Weston’s Old Rosie which he liked to pour
into a glass of brandy and brown sugar to kill memory – any memory.
‘You
can’t experience anything with memory holding you
back,’ he said spitting out the top.

*

I was standing outside a Dalston
club when a woman
in a monochrome dress asked me
what my greatest achievement
was to date. I replied, ‘Learning to speak.’

*

I was born
constricted with the umbilical twisted around my neck and torso – born
dead. Oxygen-brain-activity-electrical-language
terminated for a pinpoint second.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMY MOUTH> MY BRAIN>
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCONNECTION> DISJOINTED

so, as a child, I only spoke
to myself. In my head. Only I knew what I meant.
I had to learn
how to say things. Sounds into words.
Actual words.
Others understood.

*

About a year ago, I found myself snorting
cocaine daily,
but I hated doing
it with other people, only alone.
Blue in the
face.
Breathing
blue. Heart racing. Near heart
attack.

Was this
orgasm? Was I even
xxxxxxxxxhard?

I hated/loved THE INTENSITY of being on my own –
my skin seething on the bed sheets – the nearest I came to
an out of body experience – my ethereal body looking back at
my pulsating
limbs; that self-
aware speck – the I –

jittering or jumping between the two, like
xxxxxxxxxbeing dead again.

*

Ranting so fast all my words blurred into rapid
hand gestures, the very
shapes of my tongue-tied jabbering.

*

Outside the Dalston club, she blew a smoke ring,
throwing
the butt on the floor. I took a long drag on my own cig
and felt
the heat. ‘You speak ok now though,’ she said rubbing her head.

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