Monday, 14 October 2013

A poem by Claire Trévien

After Rimbaud’s ‘Roman’

You can’t be serious when you’re twenty-one
-the evenings flare, a rolled joint behind your ear,
drunk on Wednesdays, university veteran!
You talk in your backyard of us all being queer.

The weed smells great on those June afternoons!
So sweet you could sleep through any exam;
the wind carries laughs, it’s humming a tune
older than you, Johnny Wright’s Hello Vietnam.

The sky is all yours, you spy it through brambles
palpitating like grass you would like to caress...
You think the answer’s there to be unscrambled
if only the stars stopped changing their address.

June nights! Twenty-one! Easy to be wasted.
The cheapest wine is as good as any champagne...
You ramble on about the Bourdieu you tasted,
your lips crumple like a socialist campaign.

You bildungsroman through books until
you spot a leading lady perched on a stool,
with the fruit machine lights pulsing her still
face red, green and blue. You think of Kabul.

She calls you a kid when you try to explain
-as her long nails trot gamely on the board-
why you are superior to her boyfriend,
but she leaves with her glass, looking bored.

You are in love: rented until August!
You are in love. She finds your poems laughable.
Your friends leave, your laundry starts to encrust
when at last, she responds to your madrigal!

That evening, you stroll out in the sun
you order a kiss or a ginger beer
you can’t be serious when you’re twenty-one
and there are summer evenings to premiere.

Published in The Shipwrecked House, Penned in the Margins 2013

Claire Trévien is an Anglo-Breton poet, writer and academic. Her first full collection, The Shipwrecked House, was published by Penned in the Margins in March 2013. It is longlisted for the Guardian’s Best First Book Award. Her poem ‘The Shipwrecked House II’ was highly commended in the 2013 Forward Prize.She is the editor of Sabotage Reviews, a website promoting independent presses. With Odette Toilette, she is the co-organizer of Penning Perfumes, a creative collaboration between poets and perfumers, for which she edited an anthology of poems. She co-edits the hybrid art magazine Verse Kraken with Tori Truslow.

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