Friday, June 29, 2012

Full Blood–John Siddique


Love Poem.

I want the next thing I write to have you in it,
I always do. I want to write about your hair,
or your hands, or the smile you have when you
crack with emotion. But the next poem
has a white wall in it, and a halogen lamp
that’s so bright, it leaves ghost trails in the eyes,
and is dangerously hot to touch.


The next poem has got a beech wood in too, or
the path that runs through the wood, and a
with a dog who smiles when you greet her.
It will be a love poem, the next poem with you in.
They always are love poems, even when they turn
to have bombs in them, or politics, or light


FullBlood -j siddique

Full Blood is an anthology of poetry, previously published in an assortment of  magazines, poetry journals & shared anthologies (Granta, The Guardian, Poetry Review, & The Rialto), before being collated in this work. The subject matter is as wide and as varied as life can be in our times and is encapsulated by the poem above, which even when it wants to discuss one subject it can’t help bringing in others. So the poetry runs through subjects such as the War (Afghanistan), Childhood, Racism, sex etc.


In the official bumf for this collection it states that, “Full Blood is John Siddique's fourth full-length collection of poems for adults. Erotic, physical, completely open and fully engaged with the moral urgency of life, Siddique tackles his themes robustly and yet with great sensitivity, constantly defining and reimagining what it is to be a man in today's world, living fully in the moment”.


All of which makes sense and is a fitting description of this book, this is muscular erotic poetry, the writing is beautiful as only someone who loves language - whatever it’s shape, whether fey or concrete, whether spiritual or something more bloodied, visceral can write. John Siddique has said that he regards his true countries of birth to be Literature & Language, this I can believe, but it isn’t what I want to say. What  I want to say is that sometimes all those wonderful descriptions, all that verbosity etc., although by its very nature is wonderful, just gets in the way and all that really needs saying is…



Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.

Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.

It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.

Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.


The Road.

Carrying my father home.
His photograph pressed between the pages
of a notebook as if he were some flower
cut and kept for the memory, but as
with all memories locked into pages
and books, unless someone records the details,
the name, the place, a record of the event,
then things get lost to the linearity of time.


I am to carry my father.
I am my father’s son.
I am my father’s father.
I carry him in my cells,
in my pages, in my mouth,
In every word I do not say.
He is the absence of silence.
The solitude of noise.
He is the road that leads out
Of the city to the country.
I am the one who takes
the road both directions.


Find out More.

Salt Publishing (Full Blood)

John Siddique.

John Siddique (blogspot)

John Siddique (Wiki)

British Council

John Siddique (born 1964) is a British poet, essayist and author. He grew up in a house with no books; his discovery of his local library when young began his life long love affair with what words mean and how they sit together. He has published three previous collections of poetry, one of which is for children, and was shortlisted for the CLPE poetry award. He has also co-authored a collection of short stories, and written a short play for BBC Radio 3. He teaches poetry workshops both in UK and abroad, and has worked with The Arvon Foundation, The Poetry Society, The Poetry School and the British Council. He has been a visiting lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan and Vienna Universities. He is well known for his captivating readings, his infectious love of literature and his ability to communicate with all types of audiences. He teaches poetry and creative writing in the UK and abroad.


stujallen said...

another wonderful intro to a poet Gary ,all the best stu

James said...

This is a poet of imagination with a twist, a quirky way of describing the quotidian details of life. Yet, the poems resonate and breathe with deeper meaning as a result. Thanks for bringing more new verse into my life.

Col (Col Reads) said...

As usual, you have introduced me to something totally new. What a gift with language!

Bellezza said...

The love poem at the beginning and the father poem at the end are my favorites.

(It's always a bit intimidating to me when an author is within a few years of my own age: they seem to have really accomplished something while I just putter around in my hobbies.)

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Stu, thanks for your comment.

Hello James, check out his blog for some other stuff.

Hi Col, the language is wonderful isn't it.

Hi Bellezza, they're great aren't they & I know how you feel, makes an old Word-Botherer like myself a tad envious ;-)

Laurie said...

Thank you, PL, for introducing me to this particular collection. I will be tracking it down pronto based on these poems.