Thursday, 24 September 2009


I'd been smitten by a poet - unexpectedly smitten,
because I'd never been all that faffed on stuff that he'd written.
Maybe hearing his words in his voice just rang my bell?
Who can tell?
But it was a warm night,
the trees in the square sparkled with blue lights,
and some flyer promised some music in some gallery.
Arty party. Dante and Beatrice, Stanley Spencer,
a guitarist harmonising like James Taylor.

I'm full of Stargazy Pie,
catching the eye of a bloke in a suit -
always been sweet on suits -
we're at the point of smiling,
when I walk smackbang into Bridget Riley.
Lines of lines.
My eyes are dancing.
I move close, almost touch the canvas
with my nose, but still can't focus.
How can straight lines send your mind whirling?
Make your perspective so defective?
Goggle-eyed, gossy-eyed
- she left me reeling.

Later in the cafe, a women I couldn't make up if I tried
sighed, "Write me a poem for Bridget Riley.
Inspire me."

So I told her how my eyes dance
when I press my husband's smart shirts.
The steam iron ploughs through furrowed cotton,
candy stripes suck me into the ironing board -
giddying, dizzying as if I'm standing on a ledge,
about to stumble.

One day I'll fall, keep falling, tumble
headoverheels until my limbs are spinning
like the sparks on a Catherine Wheel.

I stood in front of that striped canvas,
big as my living room wall,
and thought about ironing.
I'm fighting the battle of creases and crumples
and no matter how hard I try, Bridget Riley,
I'll never get anything straight.
That's the danger of looking at Art at night.
It's too bloody late.

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