Portsmouth Writers’ Season: Richard Williams

S&C regular and admired local poet Richard Williams will be launching his new collection, Landings, at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth on Thursday 20th September at 7.30pm. S&C poetry editor and Ted Hughes Prize winner Maggie Sawkins has said of Landings, ‘From the Electric Arms and Istanbul Grill to the Feng Shui Shop on Fratton Road and the twice won FA Cup – the UK’s most densely populated city is Richard Williams’s oyster … these imaginative poems evoke what it is to be human — they are celebratory, sad, funny and wise.’

Click here for further details of the launch. Buy the book here. In the meantime, we present a new poem by Richard that addresses  contemporary anxieties familiar to many.

As if all that was left was still not yet lost (a poem for Nigel Lawson)

He is on the radio again. I am on my second can of Red Bull and trying to concentrate on the road ahead, the car in front, the truck behind, trying not to shout, but the air is blue, the air is red with spitting rage, he is on the radio again, spouting bollocks as he always does, a BBC spittoon of political balance, he says that the evidence is not clear cut, the evidence is not really there, that there are vested interests at play, and he is playing with words, playing with emotions, playing with the way we want to believe and I am shouting cursing raging at the radio because he is winning and

I can’t look my children in the eye, I can’t tell them what I know is coming, I can’t tell them how much has already been lost, and how much will be lost so soon from now, in my heart the sky is the colour of tar it seeps and weeps across the breaking camber, cracking open under all this guilt, all this time, I have thrown away so much, thrown away so much time, they say we must rebuild we must always rebuild we must resurface and I am trying to surface for air and I
am cracking, breaking open, breaking up, my bones ache with despair, my lungs are swimming with spite, my head is ticking, waiting to explode and this scumbag is going on and on and on and on about how it is all just a conspiracy myth and that nothing is going wrong it is just normal variance and we do not need to be alarmed and we just need to keep going for growth because growth is good because greed is good because in order to be good you have to need to want to need to have it all, don’t we all want it all but I am tired and need to concentrate

on the road ahead and the road is dissolving before my eyes the tarmac is draining away is now a gravel track is now a muddy lane and I am wondering what a cloud of butterflies looked like when there were still enough butterflies to make a cloud when this road was a track and this car a piebald horse and back further to a time of round houses made out of wood and smoke rising through a hole in the roof and

I am dreaming I guess it is comforting in my air conditioned womb and I am so tired and motorway lights are a canopy of white and it must have rained earlier as spray reflects is white mist through a tunnel of black and am I dreaming the canopy is swaying is beautiful like trees in breeze and I am speeding speeding speeding through this tunnel of light everything is blurring and I am so tired and it is so late and I am so tired and did I go through that red light and I can’t remember it must be OK so lift your head up keep your head up keep your head up and keep awake and

now I am almost home and barrelling down the Eastern Road past car dealerships a golf course a sea wall flecked with spray at fifty, sixty, seventy, and almost home and he is back on the radio it must be a repeat from earlier and I am cursing I am shouting I am blaming him and all the people like him and I am waking and lifting my head up and waking and slowing now slowing down slowing down so close to home so close to home so close