The Poetics of Truth

Continuing with Dave Woods as poet in residence, I’m posting this from Dave. It’s a combination of an interview he did while here, with his poetic translation.

(This ones for you Pete)

the poetics of truth

(combining an interview with poetic translation by dave wood)
no really and truly – one side just backs the other
they’re all in their back pockets – everyone of them
they wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t a’
got paid – and they hand the money out willy-nilly

what’s real and truth – one side keeps in with others’ hands
back pockets full – the shavings of the rich keep up the ways
both sides get paid peace rate? let results be paid like land
– spread evenly – and when they’ve grown the peace – let cattle graze

if a pensioner is mugged – what happens? don’t do it again
be a good boy – don’t do it again – they get inside – lap of luxury
no bills to pay – i’d break the law myself to get inside to be quite truthful – it’s got to that point – and most pensioners are

what happens then with pain? the struggle of the elder ones
that brutal-kicked are kicked again and witness red
slapped wrists are given out – but what’s gone
before remains an angry word seeped in – undead

i was up at stormont for the seminar for age concern
and all the politicians were sitting – orange green black white
…all agreeing – they couldn’t give a twopenny toss about the
ordinary law abiding – god fearing people

each gather then – in stormont seats of power – wave flags
the flags so representative of what they are – all equal? –
yes –their twopenny toss – equal and tossed in bags
the bag’s no room for simple god fearing all

they close the libraries – they close the hospitals – they close
everything…good god almighty – people on the falls – on
the shankill are both suffering – both sides are suffering.. do you not think?
…and they’re getting away with it all…it’s all wrong

and down one goes – and another one goes pop – and suffers
like a flattened cake of hope – one library closes like a book
one hospital – the beds go rolling down the pan – utters
death rattles to the services we need but have been sunk

and there should be projects going out…every other week
that window’s broke – i don’t know why – what – what is there
to tell?…the politicians are there to get their photos in the papers
there should be more police on the beat – really – i think

that window’s broke again –it’s not just glass – it’s principal
– the fragile shards – the remains of us splintered like a scratch
that’s rubbed against our disbelief – and look at all
those lot – for photo’s sake – and smiles that generously match

i saw one last summer – riding along on a bicycle – i think
the police station’s closed there…another thing there – take sick –
what happens? – a friend of mine – her child wasn’t well
and she had to take away to newry i think – isn’t that right?
a child could die

to all our generations – where’s the health we’ve paid up for?
where’s constancy in law? and what about the our next in line?
our list of questions – diggings round for answers – more
questions yet to come – too long a distance – too long this time

if she rings the doctor – it could be some man that
doesn’t know the area – how would he know where
ballyvally was? I would hardly know…myself…
you know it’s all wrong – the whole system…

and wrong again – and in the twisting guts of the mournes
the system’s in reverse – the paths lead us astray
the doctor’s lost – one foot wrong and another falls
where no one talk to others – that’s the clay

[on reconciliation]…the people – you know the law abiding
god fearing people are – but you’ll always get you know the
ordinary people – like I have some friends of different religions
but it suits the paramilitaries to keep – ‘this is my territory’

who owns who and where and this is mine and what’s yours
does not belong – and down below the gentle simmers
of the people keep bubbling on and on – the swaying shores
between religions at the core have all but done and settled

don’t you encroach – this is my drug area – you know
don’t encroach – they’re like dogs pissing round a lamp-post
really and truly –put it as rude as you like…’this is my area –
stay away – this is my patch – don’t enter

encroaching – dogs sniffing – pissing at a post
and proud as you like…’this area is my own – now go on home
don’t you encroach – this is my drug area – you know
stay away – this is my patch – these are your bones

you’d be lucky if you were tied to a lamp post and tarred
and feathered…you’d be lucky if you got that – they’ve
let the thing go out of control…that’s what I think… they should
have nipped that in the bud long long ago

for many years – they never noticed what was brewing from those beds
they twiddled round their thumbs and let the bindings clutch
what thoughts that seen are tarred and left unsaid
a set of feathers glued onto a bird that’s said too much

[the way forward] if you get the politicians to agree – then
but then they’ll not – it suits them to sit gutting each other
on television – then when they’re in the pub – ‘what are you havin’. –
what are you havin’ – it suits them to keep their people

each holds a knife for the goggled eyed and for the stabbing backs
behind closed doors – the handshakes moving up and down
and let me get you one – I insist – gin and tonic – rum and black
the smell of fish is for the gutting of – what’s told is underground

if the people were agreeing – they wouldn’t be happy – I don’t think
do you not? you english people must think…they’re pouring money in there
what return have you got?…And if you’re an alcoholic – you get a week of benefits
they’re throwing money into their own thing…and there’s hospitals…

what could be peace is shovelled into masks and out of mouths again
what you hear behind the backs is not the stuff from out the guts
investments fall apart – the questions brew up – leave a nasty stain
there’s only some that get the benefits and others get the cuts

they’re always there for them when there’s a photo call
stop their money until they do something – [peace rate] really and truly
– by results – you wouldn’t get paid or you wouldn’t get paid
and I would not get paid if I hadn’t got out of my bed to go to go down
to Belfast to work

who works for peace? what price we pay – but wait forever more?
Which conveyer belt does peace fall from the end of –if it will?
and let them put their hands out for their wages – then check their scores
tot up their results – is peace a little nearer – is it still a bitter pill?

[work] I was with the civil service – I worked for a firm of undertakers
for a while – I was in the civil service up in newcastle police station
until I got phone calls – they didn’t like that – I had to leave it
but truly – it’s all wrong – wrong, wrong, wrong – god help you if
you got a job there

civil finds uncivility – the wrongness of the right and the righteous
of the wrong – the phone calls opened nests that could not be bared
for what the job entailed – let peace be judge of that – let fuss
be gone – let peace and all her hopes from the past be spared
let peace and all her hopes from the past be spared

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