I’ve been reading more of Daniel Bailey’s Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf – in awe and excitement at what poems can do.
How language can be made as uncanny as a flower, an oxblood stem, a neon red burst, an epiphany between yourself and a fuddled pane of glass.
How reading a poem can make you want it to be Spring, to run down a great green slope with your arms out (not singing The Hills Are Alive…, but perhaps thinking of some other song you like better).
If there was a scale of poetic melancholy feeling that ran from noted miserabilist Philip Larkin to let’s say, Frank O’Hara in a good mood, Bailey would be firmly at the O’Hara end, digging furiously for even more of that good blue air. Here’s one of the poems I particularly liked (Mr Bailey, if you are reading this, I hope you don’t mind how much I post of it, it’s just really so wonderful. Fangirl sharing):
SWORDFIGHT ON THE COUNT OF 3 OK…3
I’m sorry. I just tricked you by starting at three
don’t worry so much that I tricked you, instead, worry
that you have a stab-wound in your belly and you are leaking
blood all over the ground. again, I am sorry
keep in mind that
this is a special moment in our relationship
because I get to see what your insides are made of
they’re so beautiful
I never would’ve guessed
your blood would be so fragrant and musical
it’s like harmonicas in the alley
behind the soup kitchen
you’re still mad at me
I can tell by the way you are stabbing me
this is not good. it hurts
it’s like arctic waters diving into me
with the hurt. we are both bent over, bleeding
everything inside spilling out
we should lie down
this is better,
lying on the ground like this
how long do we have to live? three minutes?
maybe two? however long, I don’t care
this all hurts so much, but I’m glad
that I’m hurting with you in this way
come here. I want to hold you
what, you can’t move either?
it hurts too much?
I know, I know
swordfighting was a bad idea
whose idea was it anyway?
mine? oh right. I forgot
I don’t know what just happened
I think I just blacked out a little
oh, you’re dead now?
ok, I’ll see you soon
And really, this is all you can ask of a poem. That it runs you off over the hills, into the trees and over the moor, towards some idea of a setting sun, or rising, whichever. If you’d like more, Bailey’s Tumblr is here.