Page Count: 60
Publication Date: Friday, September 01, 2017
Cover Artwork: Photograph of the authorís mother
About this Book
Death is the great taboo. We donít like to talk about it or think about it. We try to hide from the brutal fact that someday weíre going to come to an end. Time will become redundant and space meaningless. Everything suddenly stops. Equal Night is a sequence of poems that chooses to face the reality of dying head on. Itís about someone experiencing the death of a loved one, moving through the events before, during, and after. Trying to balance equally powerful but opposing dyads: the fear and the calm, anger and acceptance, the mundane and the surreal, shadows and light. Itís a personal journey among billions of others, but one that becomes ultimately universal as it embraces each of us tangled within the bewildering condition of being alive.
ĎHis myriad sometimes quirky tabulation of objects fashions and local people in action has made Graham Fulton's poetry a distinct personal telling of urban culture in the west of Scotland. Now this previously sometimes detached, sometimes sardonic voice has recorded a journey through the experience of seeing the onset of terminal illness, hospitalisation and death of a mother. I think the cumulative effect is extraordinary, the most convincing, honest, matter of fact and unsettling account of the nitty-gritty of "going through the daily motions" of confronting death and the estrangement of close family bereavement that I have read, certainly in my own culture. Graham Fulton's poetry sequence carries the unmistakeable truth of genuine necessary art.í
ĎHe can be hilarious, gut-wrenchingly affecting and deep by turns, turning the relatively small area of his native town and city of Paisley and Glasgow into a universal place, and sharing it with us in his profoundly quiet, powerful voice. The intense humanity of these poems is what you will take with you long after you've read them.í
ĎA very strong piece of work Ö painful, touching, compelling and familiar.í
Scottish poet Graham Fulton was born in 1959. Heís been published widely in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and online journals in both Europe and the USA, and his many books of poetry include Humouring the Iron Bar Man (Polygon, 1990), Knights of the Lower Floors (Polygon, 1994), Full Scottish Breakfast (Red Squirrel Press, 2011), One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich (Smokestack Books, 2014), Photographing Ghosts (Roncadora Press, 2014) and Brian Wilson in Swansea Bus Station (Red Squirrel Press, 2015). Heís co-author of Pub Dogs of Glasgow, Pub Dogs of London and Pub Dogs of Manchester, all published by Freight Books. He was a contributor to an anthology of translated Palestinian poetry called A Bird is Not a Stone published by Freight in 2014, and heís also published over 20 pamphlet collections, many of which combine poetry, photography and illustration. He runs Controlled Explosion Press and lives in Paisley.
Read a sample from this book
Views Described and Imagined
Evening visit. Western Infirmary.
Trauma Unit. Level 8.
The slowest lift in all the world.
The slowest lift, in all the world.
Your ward room has a glorious view Ė
the soot-smudged tower of Glasgow Uni
licked by mid-September sun.
The previous scene was even better Ė
Clydeside cranes like Martian machines;
War of the Worlds, an unexpected,
crimson, cloudless, stripped-down sky.
You have to depend on me to report
the things you need to know are there.
Six billion lives just like before,
no one bothering all that much.
The TV in your room doesnít work,
all that you get is the video screen.
A Perfect World with Kevin Costner.
Sands of Iwo Jima, John Wayne.
A patient in an opposite bed,
out of her box, lost in space,
is wailing Danny! Danny! Where are you?,
seeing us from another place.
Another place, sounds quite nice.
A perfect world, sounds quite nice.
Theyíll shut her down
when itís time to sleep.
No one bothering all that much.
I ask you if itís alright if I go ten minutes early
because weíre playing Germany tonight
in a make-or-break qualifier
and Iíd like to make the Big Screen kick-off
in the Big Screen kick-off pub
with a big selection of beers on tap,
and you say Of course son
and I hope your team wins
and Iíll see you tomorrow.
And Scotland are losing and the pub is full
of people Iíll eventually never see again
and the screen is veiled by slow grey smoke
and a laughing German
is escorted from the premises,
and itís all increasingly small
and I canít really make you out
as I think of you alone in your head
and I wish I could have those ten minutes back.
I remember, suddenly, the gold stain
that appeared on a summerís evening
on the brand new rug that you loved.
And we took turns at trying to lift it out
with none of us owning up
as you took a fit, and dad sat in silence
with Songs of Praise in the background.
And we scrubbed, rubbed and hammered
with suds and water, and watched
with rising disbelief as nothing, nothing
had the slightest effect until, suddenly,
as quietly as it had appeared, the gold
winked out, and we saw
it had only been a patch of sun, only
a leaf of light, a trick, and we laughed,
and it was never ours to destroy or create.
Copyright © Graham Fulton 2018