Wednesday, 11 May 2011

In Memory of Barry MacSweeney by Terry Kelly

Geordie Bigfoot shape-shifter
moving like a cipher
at the edge of Chopwell Woods
lurking below the tidal mark
between Lemington Glass Works
and the single lane road bridge at Newburn
the strange wind on your face

displaced from Bluff Creek
northern Californian woods
October 1967
his smudged after-image snapped
in a 16mm frame
he roams the blurry margins
of rumour and vague sightings

like a fool in a monkey suit
or the Memphis Flash zipping
from Shreveport to Texarkana
to rip up the Municipal Auditorium
November 24, 1954
burning up his first pink Cadillac
between Hope and Sweetwater

Geordie Bigfoot the Hillybilly Cat
came to me in a dream
not as a hot stink of fox
printing the midnight page
but as high-pitched abandon
swaggering like Jimmy Cagney
in Yankee Doodle Dandy

roaming through dead Tyneside pits
up on his hind legs just like a man
Geordie Bigfoot Memphis Flash
shape-shifting cipher ghosting
through the forgotten places
holding in his blackened paws
the last piece of coal in England

Terry Kelly

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