‘OWL (for Carl Shutt)

by Moscowhite • Daniel Chapman,

 

With apologies to Allen Ginsberg.

I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, watching David Robertson,

dragging themselves through the Holbeck streets at three looking for the occasional goal,

shavenheaded Leeds fans burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo Billy Bremner,

who wearing white and ginger haired stood in the supernatural darkness of away ground midfields contemplating tackles.

who bared their wallets to the ticket office and saw Glynn Snodin staggering on the west stand byline illuminated,

who passed through turnstiles with radiant cool beers hallucinating Lorimer and Clarke-light tragedy among the scholars of League One,

who were expelled from the terraces for crazy & singing obscene odes on the Gelderd End of the ground,

who cowered in Sky-lit rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and watching Richard Keys’ hairy hands,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Derby with a belt of money for Seth Johnson,

who sank all night in submarine light of Majestyk’s floated out and sat through the stale beer evening and said I think they ran down towards Mill Hill

who talked continuously seventy hours from City Square to Beeston Hill to Old Peacock to South Stand Upper,

whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, asking how Deane missed that,

who scored four against QPR this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Street Lane Flying Pizza, not even one free beer,

who vanished into nowhere Zen away grounds leaving a trail of ambiguous cans of Tetley’s,

who wandered around and around at midnight outside Elland Road wondering about Ian Baird, and went, leaving no broken bones,

who loned it through the streets of Italy with Bill Fotherby seeking visionary continental footballers who were visionary continental footballers,

who disappeared into the reserve team at Bootham Crescent leaving behind nothing but empty pie wrappers and a bar bill,

who reappeared at Crystal Palace disguised in bandages,

who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the defensive tactical haze of George Graham,

and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of Macron in the shadow of the East Stand and blew the suffering of Alfie’s naked mind for love into a reverberating cry that shivered Roy Keane down to the last radio

who broke down crying in Thorp Arch gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of Robert Molenaar,

who sat in director’s boxes breathing in the darkness under prawn sandwiches, and rose to leave early and beat the traffic,

who disappeared into the volcanoes of League One leaving behind nothing but the shadow of Sean Gregan and the lava and ash of pissed off fans on the pitch against Ipswich,

who plunged themselves under reserve teams looking for a free transfer or trialist,

who lost playoff matches three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open hotels where they thought they were making money and cried,

who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to sign up Cadamarteri,

who jumped in limousines with the chairman of Chelsea on the impulse of deadline midnight street-light Elland Road ruin,

who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Bernie Inn when the white and naked Ken Bates came to pierce Kevin with a sword,

who in humourless protest overturned only one symbolic trophy cabinet, resting briefly in Coventry,

returning years later truly bald except for a bobble hat, and Steve Staunton, to the visible mad man doom of the wards of the mad seats of the East Stand,

who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate, the one eyed shrew of Tottenham Hotspur, the one eyed shrew that winks past a whiskey nose, and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on his ass and count the money of Scouse and Turk contracts,

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with Peter Ridsdale, a sweetheart, a new striker, a new midfielder, and fell off the bed and continued along Aston Villa and ending fainting on Alex Ferguson with a vision of ultimate cunt and came eluding the last gyzym of being Wenger’s assistant,

suffering Michael Ricketts and Lamine Sakho and migraines of Peter Reid under win withdrawal in Leeds’ bleak furnished stadium,

who wandered around and around Viduka in the West Stand car park wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,

who thought they were only mad when Prutton gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

who howled on their knees on Lowfields and were dragged off waving scarves and match programmes,

with the absolute heart of the poem of Leeds butchered out of Wilkinson and Revie to Grayson, to last a thousand years.

II

What stand of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

Palmer! Pemberton! Ricketts! Gregan! Nigel Worthington and Cyril Chapuis! Children screaming under the stairway! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Palmer! Palmer! Nightmare of Palmer! Palmer the loveless! Mental Palmer! Palmer the heavy toker of joints!

Palmer the incomprehensible prison! Palmer the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Palmer whose through balls are judgement! Palmer the vast stone of midfield! Palmer the stunned Leeds fans!

Palmer whose mind is pure machinery! Palmer whose blood is running money! Palmer whose limbs are in ten directions! Palmer whose headers are a smoking tomb!

Palmer who entered my soul early! Palmer in whom I am a conciousness without a body! Palmer who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Palmer whom I abandon! Wake up Palmer! High ball streaming out of the sky!

Real holy laughter in the Gelderd! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the terraces! to the pitch! waving! carrying Leeds scarves! Down to the pitch! into the tunnel!

III

Simon Grayson! I’m with you in Elland Road where you’re madder than I am

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you must feel very strange,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you imitate the shade of Don Revie,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you’ve murdered Dennis Wise’s loan signings,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you laugh at this invisible humour,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where we are fans at the same dreadful third division,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you pin on the body of Beckford the hopes of the penalties,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you scream in a training jacket that you’re losing the game of the actual Millwall to the abyss,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you bang on the catatonic dugout Becchio is innocent and immortal, he should never die ungodly in a Leeds madhouse,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where the faculties of Snodgrass no longer admit the worms of the senses,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where fifty more Delphs will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a transfer in the void,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you accuse the Football League of insanity and plot the Yorkshire football revolution against the fascist points deductions,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where you split the heavens of the banqueting suite and resurrect living Bremner from the superhuman tomb,

I’m with you in Elland Road, where there are forty thousand mad comrades all together singing the final stanzas of Marching On Together,

I’m with you in Elland Road, in my dreams you walk smiling from a presentation table on the pitch across Elland Road to the front of the Gelderd with trophy in the Holbeck night.

••

From The Square Ball magazine 2009/10 issue one.