There were no flies on Frank. Pulled out of Nation just after 9 as I read The Tay Bridge Disaster, by the poet “widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language,” William Topaz McGonagall. (Topaz????) Donald was on the night train. Wanda sang. Elena did Le releve du monde and cooked us up L’oeuf metaphysique. In Spanish, the next station was hope. Alexa laughed at passers by’s I’m-going-to-Hell-judgement. Dominic Ambrose read an extract from his book The Shriek and Rattle of Trains. Bex’s nature and machine exist together. Chai! Chai! in Nine and half hours to Hampi. Thank God I’m not blonde. Thomas woke up red-eyed, read his Metro Love Letter, declared the metro is the place we all know each other by smell, each guessing the other’s intention. Neil & his guitar heard that train a-coming, coming down the tracks. But then he’s a Molotov cocktail, baby I’m an anarchist. Seldon was I, racing to trains West. Nila asked why is it that when you see someone that’s interesting to you on the metro, why is it rude to look at them? Then she analysed his face. Donald reminded us that Paris a oublié que il était bâtard. À nous, Paris, declared Alexa, à nous des bottes à 2.000 euros. Bex was inspired by an earlier Spoken Word, inspired but she was tired. She wanted a poet, who just might (lick behind her ears.) Frank where are you? There were no flies on Frank, according to the ghost of John Lennon. Other people did stuff too. I insulted Slough and rolled out some boxcars boxcars boxcars from Ginsberg’s Howl. The Eiffel Tower glittered. We rolled around Etoile and headed back to Nation where we disembarked and went for a drink at The Extra Old Cafe. No arrests! No fights with buskers! Applause and general appreciation from metronauts (once they realized we weren’t asking for money and relaxed…). Only one phone call the next day from poets who missed the train and headed round the whole circuit of the line 6 on their own.
The Shriek and Rattle of Trains, by Dominic, details here:
Lines from Howl:
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steamwhistles,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish…