reflections on Paterson – by Nick Allen


the bus driver who reads Emily Dickinson
on all the same streets   in all the same bars
how do you wake up dressed
next to a woman this beautiful and naked

how do you   or would you rather be a fish
in his secret notebook and in that of the young
girl also-poet who has the mouth of PJ Harvey
the Dorset eyes and mouth of Polly Jean

and so the water falls   and you must be in love
or at least have known love’s warmth
like a sun red brick or dog’s soft pelt   under your hand
you have to feel this film   or it is nothing

all that repetition and all that doubling
the rhyme and the rhythm   the internal logic that acknowledges
that sometimes the blank page is the greatest opportunity
cupcake me no cupcakes   just call me Harlequin

I need to piss   must be that beer on the way in
so I need to piss but I just have to write this
one day I will find the right words and they will be simple
sometimes the blank page is the greatest opportunity




Nick gets most of his sustenance from double espressos and malt whisky, and after a lifetime of denial is finally willing to admit his poetry habit in public. First published through the Leads to Leeds project run by Helen Mort, his poems have also appeared in The Cunningham Amendment, Pennine Platform, Poetry Salzburg and the Waterworks Anthology, and online at New Boots and Pantisocracies 

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