Delirium is a Disease of the Night
chapbook from Shadow Archer Press
reviewed by David McLean
Richard Wink's new chapbook is unmistakably English but not restricted in its appeal, not parochial as things English so often are, or were. It's dedicated to Norfolk and the poems manage to give Norfolk a distinctive charm in the depiction, which is clear-eyed too, an amused but tolerant slice of life, a book of poems that uses unabashedly words like “kerfuffle” - a word perversely underlined in red by Open office.
I sit on a train to London
listening to a Grandmother and her Granddaughter
playing a silly word game
as the business man next to me
scoffs down a chicken Caesar salad sandwich.
The journey is delayed twice for line maintenance
apologies are distant from the driver
who remains safe in his air conditioned cabin
People begin to cough in unison
as the air gets stuffy
people twitch, wriggle and mildly complain.
It’s ok I’m not in a hurry
(Norwich to London Liverpool St)
Like the poem's protagonist this chapbook is leisured and uncomplaining, not in your face and self-righteous, not sentimental and cloying either. it balances between perspicuity in observation of human defects and eccentricities and a willingness to let life and its defects happen and observe and learn, a tolerance presumably enabled by the authorial voice's own readiness to confess to the odd eccentricity he may happen to have himself.
I switched the bathroom light on
and turned on the taps
the bath rand deep and I sank in
spilling water over the sides.
I submerged myself and explored the tub
finding nothing but pubic hair
knotted around the plug.
I rose to the surface
and began to think
(An Hour in the Life)
Some parts are very entertaining, a weird and surreal feeling as in lines like the following
In the caravan a goblin squealed
abandoned by its owners who gallivanted in the
Consuming the Seafood Special
and a bottle of red.
When they get back
the goblin will be dead
Some parts are shocking, there is an editorial note telling us that “The Crass” refers to The Crass. Ok, not a Gary Bushell cover then.
And there are parts in which I have to wholeheartedly concur -
and those who called themselves ‘beat’
Fuck Leonard Cohen
and all the musician-cum-writers
that claim to be street
buskers, cool hustlers
top hat spinning
because they make more money than me
(I'm Really Upset)
Wink observes with unwavering accuracy the torpor of the unemployed who don't know how to distribute time and engagement, don't know how to accept their gloriously economically deprived leisure in the new England.
In the end the deepest values of the book is that awakens one question about sociology and social psychology. Wink asks the question for the UK but the situation is the same elsewhere probably. i can absolutely recommend this book, it rocks.
the blue cheer of rising veins
the scared existentialist
the glorious innocence
in this one final question
what is the matter with all these people?
(One Final Question)