Tuesday, 31 January 2017

poetry 2017 / 024

Composting Words

I got into an argument
at the polytechnic library
where the lady on the counter
wouldn't let me borrow a book
on Tom Phillips, artist
(I met him once, an interview
for my undergraduate thesis)
who make concrete poems from old book pages.

“It's a disgrace,” she said,
glancing through the pages
“to desecrate a book like this.”
and wouldn't listen to me pointing out
the doctored novel was out of print
and stocked nowhere but remaindered shelves
of down-at-heel bookshops
and lost property offices
and besides, more people had read it since the artist's work
than ever did when it was in print.

I wonder what she'd say to me now
if she saw my growing portfolio
watercolours on printed pages
altered books and hand-cut pages
new art pfrom recycled books
with paper figures made from pages
and the leftover pieces
recycled in the compost bin
ready to grow neologisms
and basal dictionaries.

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