Sunday, May 01, 2005

Danny Chaucer (1)


Having posted some children’s poems from my two solo collections I thought maybe I'd post some poems from my other book – this one is for teenagers. It’s called The Journal of Danny Chaucer (Poet). The poems form a narrative. The narrative is based my own teenage years - the seemingly hopeless quest for a girlfriend and the band that I started with some mates. I've hopefully disabled comments on parts 2, 3 and 4 and so any comments should all be together, below. I've also put a link after part four. Please excuse this blatant consumerism. But a poet cannot live by rhyme alone...

Alarums Stage Left

Why does the firebell ring?
When Jenny and I
Are halfway through
An experiment to determine
(if she fancies me, really,
deep down)
The coefficient of expansion
Of various metals that
(she has a lovely figure
all curves
and light-brown hair
so soft
I can hardly keep from
running my hands through...)

Ringringringringringringringring
Ringringringringringringringring
Ringringringringringringringring
Mr Paine yells
K-E-E-P C-A-L-M
It’s probably just a practice.
Leave your coats and bags and...
His voice is drowned
In the noisy tide of Special Needs
Sweeping past like excited elks
In the corridor.
I hope it’s a real fire, I say to Jenny.
Of course you don’t!
People would get hurt.
Smoke. Suffocation...

We join the flood of students
And I lose her in the jostle
And noisy chatter
We go Down the Up stairs
(Which in these circumstances
We’re allowed to do)
But then I remember Tommy.
Where is he?
He’d never manage the crowd
With his leg in plaster.
And what if it’s not a practice?
What if it’s real?

I wait at the bottom of the stairs
Until the crowds have gone
And suddenly all is eerily deserted
And is it my imagination
Or can I smell smoke?
No sign of Tommy.
I rush up the stairs
Along the corridor.
I’m sure I can smell smoke.
And in to the classroom.
Empty - just a slew of bags
And coats.
No Tommy!
I rush back down the stairs
And out on to the playground.
My class see me and they all cheer.
Mrs Taggert tut tuts.
And there’s Tommy, grinning.
I went back for you, I yell,
In case it was a real fire.
I thought you’d need help!
It’s okay, he says,
We went down the other stairs.
Jenny lent me
A hand.

16 comments:

transience said...

i enjoyed reading these. quite refreshing this sunday evening.

Cocaine Jesus said...

Having recently bought one of your books and having told Tweezil (Grace) that I will get another I think perhaps this will be a good place to start.
Excellent stuff Roger. Deeply envious of Essex.

PS. That List. (you know the one)
Here it is. . .

1. Groon by King Crimson (b side of Cat Food 1970)
2. The Dust Blows Forward and The Dust Blows Back by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band (from Trout Mask Replica)
3. Mister Green Genes by The Mothers (from Uncle Meat)
4. Revolution 9 by The Beatles
5. Waiting For You by The Incredible Sting Band

michael said...

Excellent stuff as always. Its hard enough to put two sentences together in real life let alone on the page (speaking about myself here!). I'm envious of your way with words and wish i had but an inkling of what it takes to be a poet.
As for C.J.'s list- i never could get into King Crimson I'm afraid but all the rest would be high on my desert island comp. I think, especially Don van Vliet who is truly magical.
Someone sent me the Chelsea Sessions by the increds . recently which is nice too - demos but very good quality about the time of "Onions".

Anonymous Poet said...

Very funny. As always. What happens with Jenny? Or do we find out elsewhere?

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

I want the new one Danny Chaucer (The sequell)is it out yet and where do I get it?

NIC said...

Danny Chaucer sequel PUBLISHED??

Mystique said...

Hilarious - made me laugh out loud. Teenage crushes, and that exciting rush of adrenaline. *sigh*

Syl said...

well, just brilliant and absolutely takes one back to those wonderfully ackward years wish you
capture so uproarishly. bravo

Amie said...

hey i've read this! i've read this! and the others too from danny chaucer. and i really enjoyed it a lot!

Roger Stevens said...

Thanks Transience.

CJ - will get back to the list soon.

Anon poet. Well, you can read the whole story - but you'll have to get hold of the book for that I'm afraid.

SHD and NIc. The sequel is written but there's no sign of a publisher for it. It was all set to go when my editor left. As the sales haven't been huge and a new editor's appeared nothing much is happening with it. I have been touring it round schools, though, complete with electric guitar accompaniment.

So, thanks Mystique, Syl, Amie and Michael for the fab comments. I've been away but back now. Tonight it's the big one - Liverpool v Chelsea in the Champions League - then back to work tomorrow. Time for some more grown up poems maybe.

XXX

njc said...

Electric guitar accompaniment to the lyrics - W O W !!!

Hey - maybe u should consider bringing out "The Danny Chaucer CD" ...all that cool music needs to be heard!!! ;-)
Good luck with publishing the sequel.

jadedprimadonna said...

Love it!

Ostrich said...

Very nice series Roger. Enjoyed it

longblackveil said...

excellent...!
nice start to my weekend.
[and i don't much like Tommy.]

Roger Stevens said...

Yeah. It doesn't turn out too well for Tommy in the end.

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