Marquee Moon

A Poem

By Al McClimens


Television. 1977. Flashforward. The present-day. Same world, different planet. And I’m the urban spaceman, baby. Those we have lost. I never was much good with numbers. Failed one exam in my life. The bluebottle at the window. I’m so lonesome I could write a sonnet. Keats’ grave the second time. Is it true about Keats, said Byron to Shelley. Now there was a half backline. Ask your mother. And when did you last see your father dance the fandango. 1977. Amsterdam. Busking the Kalverstraat. The Miniaturist. Flashforward. The bluebottle at the window. I forget what memories are made of. Went to the optician yesterday. Tick each one that applies. Optical migraine. Morph makes his debut on. I keep seeing these spots before my eyes. Television. Red Rum. Aintree. Again. Liverpool wins the league. Again. Have you seen a doctor. Marc Bolan fails his driving test. But never mind. No, just these spots. The bollocks. The bluebottle at the window. 1977. Women are being murdered in Yorkshire. I’m 22 now. What’s on. Television. But I won’t be for long. The is of identity and the is of predicate. I read a lot. Forgive me. That Ibanez guitar. Those kids in the car park outside Malaga station. Semana Santa. North Africa at night. The stars hot and close. Reach out and touch. Their rendition of One More Cup of Coffee. 1977. The bar by the main square. Football on. Dos mas cervezas. Television. The bluebottle at the window. Stage and screen. The difference between looking and seeing. Being and becoming. The difference between writing up and writing down. Paper and pen. Trains and boats and standing by the autopista. Which side of the glass is the bluebottle on. A thousand miles away and no prospect of return. Further. Farther. Running out of road. Trains and boats and queueing at the embassy. Borders. Visas. Currency. Airports. Repeat. 1977 turns into 1978 and where was I. Television. I open the window and the bluebottle is free.