Michael Pedersen

We feature work by poet Michael Pedersen to mark National Poetry Day 2010

'Part truths' cover
Cover design by Ryan Clee.

Michael Pedersen is a 25-year-old poet who describes himself as being 'of Caledonian stock.' Michael has spent the past year in Cambodia assembling script for a forthcoming play/motion-picture and learning Khmer.

Michael's work is widely published in magazines, e-zines, journals and anthologies. His second poetry pamphlet, 'The basic algebra of buttering bread', will be available soon from Windfall Books.

These two poems are taken from Michael's first poetry pamphlet, 'Part-truths', published by Koo Press.



I'm indigo petals, you're a blooming sunflower:
spiral clusters, beaming head, stems frozen
on single stalk (plants can't stand akimbo).

It's like an oven in here: air cake icing
sticky and steeped in sweat - best
place for it is above the covers; breasts

flat on the chest. Who'd have thought
skin rises like yeasty bread and the body
like a sun like helium like mist.

She breathes so lightly, purrs, as if her lungs
were making music; restful notes throttled
by my brute orchestra of noise.

The room pulses, damp, bulbous; geckos
on walls balloon to the same primordial beats -
we've acknowledged this, the reptiles and I.

Their berry gaze understands hands touch hair
joints creek, skin slips, all in reminder
we are capricious mammals, keepers

of uneasy conscience, like a spinning top
near stop. If we stay together, me tit to your tat,
vice-versa, I will never yell Areeeba -

really mean it. You will never drop those sighs
into the sea. Unlike the sunflower
who arrives in annual bloom, these moments
come then go, just the once.



Leith's Lights

Down the Walk, by waterfront and shore
savants drink referendum whisky,
toolsmith talks his trade, hides a sea phobia
behind grimy nails and the intricacies
of laying the cobbled streets outside;
ex-docker taunts the splintered chinned sailor
who threw his hissing eyes straight back.

On the Link's ancient earthwork dog walkers pass swathed in local green,
tweed or seasonal macs; shoppers sift
with plastic bag crackles, like the simmering charcoals
of illegal barbeques in summer.

Leith: 'the Gateway to Fife' the golfing grail, Paolozzi's platform,
full of part-truths and devoted denizens,
known for brushing shoulders with Rio
: where oily dancers parade past Banana Flats
in feathered leotards; in silk shoes
take to Junction Street with pompoms
and the sound of steel drums.

I, too, share part-truths, among friends, in the King's Wark pub, where earlier today
over spiced nibbles, government gripes
were settled by the newly housed Scottish Exec.
At the next table, a residents committee
show symptoms of legislative fever; debate
construction timetables and parking permits
like leaders of nations.

Burgh Leith, Edinburgh's
Brother Leith, time casualty Leith
industry tortured Port Leith.
Shine now Leith with your Malmaison lights,
let your reincarnated waters
capture all our shadows skimming stones
and your steel play parks
spy sycamores drop helicopters
spiralling past the gloved hands of children,
laying new seeds on old soil.


National Poetry Day 2010


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