Street Music: poems by Mike Marqusee
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The poems, including the long sequence, “Multiple Myeloma, a suite”, weave together personal and political themes, home thoughts and thoughts from abroad.
Comment on Street Music
“Mike Marqusee’s Street Music is a kind of manifesto for the London streets, a noisy republic where the sun ‘sprawls in the street like a lazy cat’ and ‘Lorca’s moon’ floats over Hackney ‘full-faced, round-eyed and speaking Spanish.’ There is the ‘impure’ music of the buskers, ‘slippery, sarcastic,’ anonymous and ‘recidivist,’ taking ‘the piss out of Intellectual Property.’ There is the music of the city itself, ‘comforted/by the thick grey sound of thin blue rain/hurtling from above like a forest of sharpened pencils.’ And there is the music of the crowds, as in ‘Indiscriminate,’ ‘Stoke Newington bulerias’ and ‘Searching for an Assembly Point’:
The crowd reminds me that I only put myself
in other people’s shoes
because I couldn’t find my own
and the common locker was so near at hand.”
- Andy Croft, Morning Star
“At its core is a suite exploring his response to being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, with other acute, short pieces observing both his life and that of the neighbourhood; sensitive, dignified, moving and often incidentally amusing.’
- Richard Boon, N16
“A moving suite of poems … they display a mastery of the craft, as well as real integrity and power … highly recommended’
- Labour Briefing
“A fine and diverse new collection”
- Jewish Socilaist
Street Music is available from independent bookshops, or online from various sources.
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From “Street Music”:
THIS MORNING’S SURPRISE
This morning’s surprise is how much I’ll miss rail travel.
The green fields looming up and falling behind,
the milky tea wobbling in a plastic cup,
the engine’s steady vibration.
This afternoon’s surprise is how many shades of red there are,
each one sitting in a room of its own, dense in meditation.
Each one a field of conflict, a medium of conciliation.
This evening’s surprise is not that the novel ends
in a desultory return to the working week -
loose ends trimmed and tucked out of sight -
but the ferocity of my recoil
at the author’s glib contrivance.
Midnight’s surprise is Lorca’s moon floating over Hackney
full-faced, round-eyed and speaking Spanish.