a critic barks

It’s always nice when the walk to the village has some kind of productive outcome, other than the purchase of a not-quite-a-baguette Spanish loaf and the inevitable associated longing for proper English wholemeal.

Today there was the pleasure of finding two ‘letters’ in the PO Box. Well, “letters” es un decir: one was a glossy flyer from the bank assuring me that if I use my credit card over Christmas and get further into debt, they will give me a smart new cordless phone which will make it easier to run up bigger phone bills. This is one way to deal with la crisis, I suppose.

The other envelope was more interesting, though. A copy of issue 2 of South Bank Poetry magazine. I’ve been lazy this year about sending out material to magazines and competitions – too busy doing other things – so it was good to coincide with Peter Ebsworth at the Poetry Café a few months ago and have him suggest I submitted some poems for SBP. He took two of the pieces I sent him, so the pleasure of a new magazine to read today is heightened by the fact that my poetry appears in it.

Eager to see what else was in there, there was I, walking down the road with reading glasses on and my nose in a book. OK, I wouldn’t do that on the high street, even in the village, but I was on the home straight where I seldom meet more than a couple of cars and other early-morning walkers.

No cars today, but two walkers. The first guy usually smiles and mouths a greeting (he’s presumably had a tracheotomy as there’s never any sound) but today he went on to signal something more. Whether it was questioning my wearing glasses, suggesting that I was endangering life and limb, or wondering what was so interesting I had to read it immediately, I really don’t know. I’ve never been much good at charades and somehow I find it even more difficult to understand mime in Spanish.

The second person I met was a dog walker who I’ve only recently started to greet. The dog is a big black and white mongrel who is usually oblivious to other people. Today, though, I had reason to be glad he was on a lead as he saw me and went wild.

It seemed clear that he took the magazine to be some kind of threat. If it had been a newspaper this might have made more sense – what owner hasn’t bopped a dog’s nose with a rolled up newspaper? – but a neatly produced, small press poetry magazine? It makes me wonder what goes on behind closed doors in their house. It also tempts me to make comments about being savaged by the ciritcs, hounded for my poetical beliefs etc., but maybe I’d better not.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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