3 poems by Dunstan Carter inspired by Syd Barrett, Iggy Pop & Tom Waits

Another Life, Another Man

Lost in a doppelganger’s daze,


Painting yourself into the corner
Of another empty room,
The fumes nuzzle your sweat,


Confused nursery rhymes sing
Through the bristles as night falls
And bubbles pop on the ceiling,

A back splash of petrified joy
Dancing like sparks through the dark.


Flashbacks scuttle like rats,
Rust creeps into happiness,
Wearing away your ambition
And all the sweet things that glistened
As your reveries unravelled,

The magic garden and the innocence,
The twisted fairy tales and feedback
Melting in the psychotropic lights,
Detuning till your strings became slack,
Freezing as the TV cameras rolled;


And it’s all too much and ‘very noisy’,
Another life, another man.

You were the colours of an orchard
As the sun cuts through a storm,
A magnificent Icarus dandy dressed,
A handsome charm all glints and sparkle,
Tumbling words and jumbling laughs;


A fame lopped short and left to walk home,
A mind filled with dust and fading guitars,


A sun flicked off with a switch.

Contorted

Piss wet and wild
In a heavy liquid
Called ‘Kill Yourself’,

Writhing in shiny silver briefs,

He arches his back
And contorts his body,

Sweat and blood shimmering
On his sinewy torso,

Wounds sealed with gaffer tape,

Crazy eyes framed
In smudged raccoon eyeliner,

A robotic wig of foil strips
Refracting the light.

The band heave out
Heavy drones behind him,
A rhythm that taunts,

Amps pipe the din
Of hurled beer bottles
Breaking against guitar strings,

Violence fingers glory
As mayhem daubs its tag

And spit flies;

They can hear this
All the way downtown,

He’s no longer a man,
He’s a chorus.

West Hollywood, Late 1972

His hair’s thick
Like the flap
Of corduroy flares,

The back of
A black llama’s neck,

A horse’s whipped tail
Or an old velvet drape.

His smile is an ache,

A chiselled curl,

The light patch
On a leather couch,

And the warm spot
In an old saloon
Slicing dusty sun.

His voice is an interruption,
A ramble torn wild,

Cogs twisted
And splintered,

Rattling rocks and rust,
Lubricated by
Whisky and rain,

Then fermented

Dunstan Carter is a poet and artist based in Manchester, England. His poetry has appeared in Vita Brevis, Remington Review, Penumbra magazine and Buzzin Bards. He’s currently finishing work on a debut collection of poems.

Twitter: @dunstancarter Instagram: @dunstandoodles