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Folkloric by Nicholas Starkey

Nicholas Starkey writes on a fresh way of thinking about fore in the everyday in ‘Folkloric’ for Silk + Smoke Issue 2.

It doesn’t need to be
Thinking about mirrors and windows
Of civilisation that hopefully hundreds
Know about already,
But are too polite to tell it;
Or Indian Fairies as they
Frolic through weeds of despair;
Or a farm of famous animals,
Some more famous than others,
Although that kind of farm is great;
Or even the weed growing into the tree
That sees all and knows all
Evil, like an omniscient manager of funds;
Or even a multi-conglomerate empire
Allegorised as a jungle –
It doesn’t need to be this
To be folkloric.

It can be
Listening to police sirens
Vaguely in the distance,
Thinking about the crime of someone else
As you go about your day;
Walking like a limp straw of emotion,
Congratulating friends, congregating
In essence, an ecstatic epilogue for their endeavours;
Or thinking about the uniformity of religion,
Like Stephen Dedalus favours it not;
Or sucking out the poison of
Commercialisation in literary climax
So as to make your work original; or
Languishing in interest in anything
Other than your own well-being as a
Sane delusional, same-old pinnacle of human specimen;
Or even eating toast and bread together as one,
Butter and jam, wheat and burnt sandwich, and
Drinking the lumps of orange juice
To feel something;
Or even thinking of those children
In Spender’s slum-poem, who
Need to be thought of most of all,
For they have a bleak future, which
As Spender points out, is laden with lead sky;
Or even lighting a cigarette in the morning,
And coming to conclusive and depressive thought
About the negativity of your health,
But the smoke feels so good;
Smoking like a feeling,
Freely, erasing care,
Listening out again,
Looking to hear the sirens once more,
So as to imagine the crime again,
Wondering what it was that had been committed,
It is this feeling that takes hold,
Returning to the scene of the crime,
Excited to see what you’ll find,
Walking about like Holden
From The Catcher In The Rye –
This too,
Can be folkloric.

Read this while listening to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ by Bob Dylan.


Nicholas Daniel Starkey is a fourth year English student at the University of Strathclyde. He enjoys reading James Joyce, Alasdair Gray, Virginia Woolf and Stephen Spender. He also enjoys listening to The Strokes and The Velvet Underground.


All that I do when I write is write what I think, exactly as I think it, enjoy myself as I write, and then look over what I have written and question why I have written it. That way, I know that what I have written has meaning. This poem was no exception.

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