Powdered

Apart from trying to convince people to do the right thing I’ve been doing the wrong thing. I rather caned it on Friday evening at Café Meinke’s second anniversary. The staff had the evening off, and the guests ran the bar, and a wild time was had by all – but even if I say it myself, me and Thorsten were the virtual dream team – well until things went all blurry…

And, before doing that, I managed to write this poem:

Powdered (first draft)

There’s a guy in a tie,
Propping up the door,
To a shiny white cubicle,
Where they’re drawing the line.

And they’re huddled like kids
Shivering at the poolside line-up,
Waiting for the shriek of the whistle,
The stunned splash of ice-cold powder.

The first throws back his head,
He’s starting to gag,
As the kicking white medicine
Tickles a fist at his throat.

He makes a dash for the bar,
And takes a swig of champagne,
While laughingly gabbling
The dross from his brain,

He sees a girl on a stool,
With wide, staring eyes,
He puts a palm on her thigh,
And burns his hand on her skin.

But it’s the heat of the hob,
It’s the glean of the glass,
The sheen of the surface,
It’s the wild lash of a tongue,
But emptied of purpose.

So they thrust and they moan,
Like cheap porno stars,
pummeling their bones,
And the sour morning taste
Waits for the wash of the bars.

But I didn’t like it. The problem with it is that it was meant to convey both the tinny superficiality, together with the intensity of taking cocaine, but it ends up just being superficial. So what do you on a Saturday morning with a bad hangover and equally bad poem. Well, I turned it into the lyrics for a song, which I’ve sent to my good friend Clemens and Golden Tone Radio. I’m curious to see what he makes of them.

But what I did, after taking a couple of paracetamol, was to cut a refrain from one of the stanzas, simplify the language and the rhythm, and add rhyme to it. Here’s how the lyrics look now:

Powdered (Song version)

There’s a guy in a tie,
Propping up the door,
To a shiny white cubicle,
Where they’re chopping the score.

Refrain:
It’s the glean of the glass,
It’s the sheen of the surface,
It’s the lash of a tongue,
But emptied of purpose.

And they quiver like kids
Lined up at the water,
Waiting for the shrill of the whistle,
And the cold splash of powder.

Refrain

He throws back his head,
He’s starting to choke,
As the kicking white friend
Throws a fist at his throat.

Refrain

He makes a dash for the bar,
And takes a swig of champagne,
While tellingly gabbling
The dross from his brain,

Refrain

He sees a girl on a stool,
All wide-eyed and thin,
He puts a palm on her thigh,
And burns his hand on her skin.

Refrain

So they thrust and they moan,
Like cheap porno stars,
And the bitter morning taste
Waits for the wash of the bars.

2 x Refrain

I imagined a sort of Lilly Allen voice singing it, while I was writing it – just because I like her voice, but it still left me with the question, what do I do with the poem. I like the story and idea behind it, and the rhythmic crescendo. So on Sunday night, I chewed over the imagery and beefed it up. It’s not the final version, because the rhythm should be refined, but this is what I came up with: you can read it here.

And now it’s time for some Spaghetti Carbonara and an episode of the Sopranos…