Saturday, 23 August 2008

Villanelles a go-go, baby

Thanks so much for all your comments on my last post about hobbyhorses. I really enjoyed reading all the lists and related information and there is an added bonus - I now know who to ask when I have a question about 'Swallows and Amazons', botany, punk rock, Greek mythology or pretty much any other subject you can think of. Between us we know everything...more or less...

Mentioning some of my old out-to-grass horses reminded me yet again of my misspent youth (I say 'youth'...I started behaving badly at about 12 and stopped at about 30...that's a bit more than 'youth' I fear...). I used to think about it a lot but these days I have fewer regrets, more laughs about it all, a good load of stories to tell. Somewhere in that era I tried most things (well apart from good old-fashioned hard work and bungee jumping). I was a thoroughly bad girl and whilst this does mean I can honestly advise Small Girl on most of the evils of our modern world I am hoping for the Ab Fab daughter-is-opposite-of-mother storyline so I won't need to spill any of these particular beans at all!

I haven't written many poems about all this business – a person doesn't want to be a bore - but every now and again a subject seems ripe for a poem and this week (for various reasons) it seemed to be time for an acid poem. Several things prompted it – an email from a pirate radio DJ I used to know and another poem by another poet – and it turned into the villanelle that I will post at the bottom of this ramble. I like doing villanelles about the kind of subject matter you might not expect to find in a fancy thing like a villanelle. It makes me feel a bit like a 'Wendy Cope for the ecstasy generation' (a title SO much more appealing than the dreaded 'Pam Ayres on acid' I've seen used to describe a couple of other poets – for a start how does anyone know Ayres is not already on acid...all the time?). One of my rock'n'roll villanelles 'Not tonight, Radiohead' has probably been one of my most successful and well-liked poems to date and it has just been published in the magazine The Mental Virus too by the way so its good run continues (though they seem to have added in lots of punctuation that certainly wasn't mine). It always amazes me when people read it wrong and say 'so you don't like Radiohead then?' (Doh!) That poem is on my MySpace profile page or on my website in the Songs section for anyone who hasn't read it and who wants to know what on earth I'm going on about.

But back to the acid. I didn't take a lot of it – it really didn't suit me – but I did meet it now and again, said 'hello', spent one of those 'longest nights of your life', swore never to touch it again...The metal head, the ridiculous sleep deprivation, the paranoia...there's not a lot to be said for it really. Here's the poem...not to be taken too seriously...

And from the menu came a whisper 'pick me, pick me'

I'm sure that pizza keeps winking at me
An olive for an eye and a mushroom tooth
Eating out is simpler without the LSD

It seems a good idea but it really might not be
Who can tell that to a know-it-all youth?
I'm sure that pizza keeps smiling at me

I raise my eyes but the ceiling's just sea
Rolling waves of doubt and a current full of truth
Eating out is simpler without the LSD

And then the freaky food can turn much less friendly
I swear that flatbread is a touch uncouth!
That bloody, cheeky pizza is laughing at me!

You shake your clever head and these days I would agree
To know what's wrong it doesn't take a sleuth
Eating out is simpler without the LSD

Cutting through is hard but chewing sets us free
I can't look down, it's alive, oh struth!
I'm sure that pizza has got it in for me
Oh, eating out is simpler without the LSD

RF 2008


smith3000 said...

No comment! Well, maybe later - got a festival to go to when Lauren finally finishes getting ready. Grr!

Who mailed you? Jason?


Rachel Fox said...

Yes, it was Jason/Shock. He sent me links for a thing about his latest pirate ship too. Drum and bass in your face in the place...fantastic...brought it all back!

Did you ever get over your fear of huge men with machetes?

smith3000 said...

It was a samurai sword and no, I didn't ..

Ken Armstrong said...

A fascinating, funny... 'dangerous' sort of a post - I like that a lot.

My mind already takes me in such odd, occasionally pitch dark, directions. I wonder what it would do with some of those additives helping it along?

I don't think I'm ever going to find out - but one can't help but wonder.

Rachel Fox said...

I much to admit? Although the confession I just made on your blog is potentially far more damaging!

You're best to stick at wondering...some of it was very, very unpleasant and with quite possibly long-term negative effects. I'm not proud of any of it but it's done now so denial or shame or anything is pointless too.


Poetikat said...

I love a good villanelle! I have only one question: do you still eat pizza? I don't think I could after that.
Never got into any hard drugs--I read "Go Ask Alice" when I was a teen and that scared me off for good.


Jim Murdoch said...

So this is your Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, eh? I'm afraid it's an alien world you're describing. here I've never tried LSD and don't like pizza.

Rachel Fox said...

I don't know that book, Kat. I looked it up and interesting that the title came from Carroll's Alice. Interesting also that without drugs there would probably be no Alice (and lots of other literature, music etc.). As I say I'm not proud of some of my exploits but I don't regret them (completely) either. Life is about exploration...some of us explore the mototways, some the A roads, some the B, some get lost in the outback!

Yes, I eat pizza - lots of it. I was never traumatized by a particular event...this poem is more an impression than an account of one particular event.

And Jim...alien're the Star Trek fan...

Rachel Fox said...

I shouldn't type before breakfast. Excuse spelling and repetition in the above. At least these days I eat breakfast...and before other people's teatime!

Sorlil said...

This is great, I love villanelles and this is one of the best ones I've read in a while!

Rachel Fox said...

I've always thought you a woman of taste Sorlil! I like villanelles too...sometimes just can't help but write one. My favourites are by Wendy Cope for the most part.

If you like mine I have others on the website - one called 'The way life should be' in the Distress & Recovery poems section and one called 'Wide-eyed and bookless' (written just before I published the recent book - obviously) in Writing.

Dave King said...

Rather clever and beautifully humerous. I have tried (unsuccessfully, I might say) to write Villanelles, so I am full of sdmiration for what you have done.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dave. We do us best! (I guess you have to say that in a Yorkshire accent for it to sound right..or should I say 'reet').

Fiendish said...

Excellent job with a tricky format. I have to say, I've never had the urge to try LSD, but if I did, this probably would have put me right off. I may, however, try to write a villanelle.

Rachel Fox said...

Well if I can save you the grief of during-and-post-lsd confusion then I am more than happy to do that. Believe me there is no confusion like it (well, for sensitive souls anyway...some hard-hearted types barely notice any change)! And this poem is a very light-hearted look at some of the feelings...bits of the experience are funny but most of it is HELL...and such a very long version of hell.

You are much better off experimenting with villanelles.

Niamh B said...

this is great, very funny!

Rachel Fox said...

I've never read this one out's certainly not folk club material (not our club anyway). I have a thing coming up in June where the audience might be one that could appreciate this poem - maybe I'll give it a try then.