Lost Between Stations: 5 [excerpt] | Matthew Clegg

Can you call your story an odyssey
If it stays put, the world passing it by
Like it would a newspaper seller
On a bad pitch, with no canny patter,
Just the same shrill cry, over and over:
‘Post… Post…’ Post-meridian? Post-mortem?
Can your telling be the movement of waves,
Both wash and backwash? Where each version
Erases the last, and the only vision
Is revision, the one compulsion

To expand, before the collapse of impulse
And the fear of regret? Like the sea
I can’t stop, only dig myself deeper,
As action breaks down into abstraction
And metaphors mix like sand and water,
Mainland and sea, odyssey and teller.
So is my hero, then, Penelope,
Who weaves without ever riding the waves?
Real waves, that is, over wine-dark seas,
Not those we make by opening our mouths.

This is just the round trip of a question:
From where I stand the kerb is a jetty
And the ship a bus, stopping and starting,
Twisting and turning across this city.
And so, after stalling at the outset
We embark into the particular;
Where what we have imagined is tested
And turned over; our once in a lifetime
First nightclub, first kiss, first taxi back home;
The fabric from which our own myths get spun.

From the pamphlet and CD Lost Between Stations (Longbarrow Press, 2011). Read Matthew Clegg and Fay Musselwhite’s discussion of the work here. The pamphlet and CD can be ordered here. Listen to Matthew Clegg reading the first poem in Lost Between Stations on location in Leeds: