Sunday, 8 November 2009

Watching 'Garage' and what came after (kind of a Monday poem)

Back when some of us were writing Monday Poems for TFE in September and October of this year one of the assignments involved watching a film called 'Garage' (2007 dir. Leonard Abrahamson). I couldn't get hold of the film on the week in question so I took the other option on offer (reading a particular Plath poem...and then writing this). However some of the poems others wrote after watching 'Garage' were intriguing so I eventually got a copy of the film last week (via one of those clever postal dvd rental places) and sat down to watch it on Thursday night.

From the poems and comments (find them all via TFE's post here) I knew the movie wasn't going to be a light-hearted comedy but it wasn't the doom-fest some of you had led me to expect either. It was sad, sure enough, but...really...what isn't? Some days almost everything makes me sad.

Anyway, I enjoyed the film (maybe that isn't quite the right word - let's say 'I thought it was good'). It is slow and simple and, I assume, fairly cheaply made but that can all be good when done right (and I think it was). There's some great acting, a lot of truth and a little story well told.

Straightaway after watching 'Garage' the first thought that came into my mind was that I might write something about small town life and its down side...then I remembered I'd pretty much done that for another TFE assignment (here). Then I thought about teenage drinking (I did a lot of that...and I really do mean a lot) but I just wasn't in the mood to write about that (maybe another time...). Then as I thought on and on a (really cheesey) song came into my mind and helped me on my way. I'm not going to tell you the song (maybe you can guess has an Irish connection too) but here is the poem. Like the film the poem has sadness in it but it is not overwhelmingly sad (I don't think). It is just looking at what there I see it.

Hold on, hold on

Some riders insist on hogging the front
They think it's their place, their right almost
They want to face obvious danger head on
Look it proudly in the face - open eye to open eye
They raise their arms joyfully, most voluntarily
And they laugh at the very idea of fear

Others select the middle cars
They don't look out and they don't look in
They watch the noisy folks up front
Whooping, flying, apparently progressing
And decide that often...
Just thinking about something is more than enough

Odd ones sit at the back, always
They don't really want to be there at all
They hate the people at the front
They hate the people in the middle
They squirm and shift and hate the safety harness too
They scribble in notebooks, draw wings in margins

There is movement between the zones, of course
Nothing's ever simple, nothing's ever complex
And then every once in what feels like a heartbeat
At the top of a rise, or the dip of a fall
Someone undoes a buckle and jumps clear out
The cars keep on moving, the track's unchanged

The body just falls so quickly down
Sometimes hitting scaffolding, sometimes not
And it pretty much always makes a fair old mess
Pieces of a life
Pieces of a dear life
You can't expect nothing to come from something

But below in the shadows someone will sort it
They have mops and cloths and tools down there
And an army of tough, well-worn pit ponies
All is unseen and unspectacular
By silent hands the bolts are tightened
And the whole goddamned show goes on, ever thus

RF 2009


Dominic Rivron said...

Strange but good! :)

I really like the Penguin book of Surrealist Poetry and am immediately attracted to any poem -like this one- that I think would find a place in it.

I can't decide which stanza to put myself in: there is indeed movement between the zones!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Good poem Rachel,but I can't guess the song.Any clues?

Niamh B said...

It's a lovely one Rachel, sad but so kind of true, in a shrug your shoulders "that is life" kinda way, as well.

Rachel Fox said...

Would you call this surrealist Dominic? I wouldn't have thought it was nearly wacky enough. But it's hard to see your own work, I think.

The song, TFE, is SO cheesey that I'm almost ashamed to type it. I might leave it a little longer and see if anyone else can get it. It's not a song I've ever chosen to listen to but it's one I've heard on radio in the past and one I've even taken the piss out of quite regularly.

Thanks, Niamh. Bit like the film then.


The Weaver of Grass said...

There is an underlying sadness to this Rachel - not sure I like it. That is not to say that I don't think it is a good poem, there is just something unsettling about it. Probably my age showing through.

Rachel Fox said...

That's OK, Weaver, it is kind of sad. I could blame the film (and it is partly that) but I do generally veer between overwhelming sadness and giddy joy. Some might give that a clinical term...I prefer just 'poet' (or something...maybe just 'human').

Dominic Rivron said...

Re surrealism. Yes it's possibly not whacky enough as you say - but there's a lot of poems in the Penguin book that you'd think aren't. It's one of my favourite poetry books.

Rachel Fox said...

Go on some of your favourite poems from it.

(I did an avant-garde literature of early 20th century Europe paper at uni. but I can't honestly say I gave it my full attention...).

Rachel Fenton said...

I like sad.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes we can have a band called the Rachels who like a bit of Sad.

swiss said...

i like the voluntary nature of unbucking the harness plus the random deccelerated impact of the scaffolding.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Swiss, you old pit pony, you.

hope said...

Although it was sad, I actually enjoyed your description of the "passengers" and their seating.

You do make me think. But the song escapes me...maybe it's that being an American thing? ;)

Rachel Fox said...

I can't believe nobody got the song...maybe you're all lucky enough to have escaped it! It's 'Life is a rollercoaster' by former Boyzone man Ronan Keating (here). It's not a song I've ever owned or listened to out of choice (in fact I don't like it at all...or any of his songs - sorry, seem such a nice boy) but I've heard it on the radio and obviously it has to some extent invaded my head.

When I first heard it I remember thinking 'that is SO corny surely no-one will ever like it'. But of course I am forgetting that some people like corny (plus some of his fans are so devoted that they would buy versions of him singing pretty much anything). Personally I gave up boy bands (and all that)at the Osmonds (in about 1974) and luckily our Girl doesn't seem interested in any of the current crop (not yet anyway). She likes Fleetwood Mac, Chumbawamba and anyone on the Strictly Come Dancing cds.



Dominic Rivron said...

Robert Bly's translations of Neruda, especially Walking Around

HR Hays' poems too. There are more, but I lent the book to my daughter and haven't got it back yet so I can't quote chapter and verse.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for coming back with that Dominic. The Neruda is brilliant...and the first line is especially good in Spanish...
'Sucede que me canso de ser hombre' happens.