books

Beach Reading

Essential to any beach trip this summer
is Mouna Lellouche’s Obsidian Nights,
an exploration of the self and modernity,

and best consumed in its original Berber,
of course. She’s been gone a year now.
There’s no book that shouts ‘READ ME!’

louder than the waves which crash
upon the rocks than John Phillipston’s
fine new exploration of equine prostitution

in early modern theatre, ‘Tis Pity
She’s a Horse’
. I woke one morning
and she’d just cleared out. And, finally,

any time spent relaxing underneath that –
no note, nothing – Mediterranean sun
would be incomplete without the latest –

she’d only taken the little suitcase –
Oriana Malmoud, whose new book,
The Insubstantiality of Things, is a sustained critique

of consumer culture – pizza again tonight –
which, she argues, can only be combated
by a new set of moral imperatives.

BRIAN BILSTON’S COLLECTED POEMS

In a break with tradition, I’m not posting up a poem. Rather, I am indulging in some utterly shameless self-promotion. I apologise for that.

I may have a book of my poetry published with the wonderful Unbound. But to make it happen, I’m going to need your help.

Unbound are a crowdsourcing publisher so they only publish things that people want. Whether the people will want my thing is another matter. Anyway, they’ve made a video about Brian and there are a number of “pledge levels” for potential purchases. It’s all here:

www.unbound.co.uk/books/brian-bilston

Thanks for listening. And I promise that I won’t do this kind of thing again.

Brian
x

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Special Offers

I took the volume to the counter
where the bookseller said to me,
“You do realise, sir, that today
is Buy One Get One Free.”

So I went and chose another book,
and waited patiently in the queue,
but this time he pointed at a sign
which said Three for the Price of Two.

I thought I’d go for something lighter
and so I came back with a thriller.
The bookseller said, “The Impossible Dead!
That means you get to sleep with Cilla.”

His assistant took me by the hand
and led me into the stock room;
we made love against an unsold stack
of biographies of David Hume.

The bookseller had more to say,
when I returned to the shop floor,
“As the 100th person she’s had this year,
here are the keys to the store.”

He took an urgent phone call and said
“It seems that you’re in luck again.
Head Office have told me to tell you
about “Win One Store, Get the Chain.”

And so it went on for days and weeks,
each special offer bigger than the last,
I won shops, businesses, countries, planets,
my empire was boundless and vast.

It wasn’t easy running the universe;
indeed, every spare moment it took.
So busy was I, no matter how hard I tried,
I never got to read my book.

Book Group

The last Thursday of every month was Book Group,
When the books would gather together
To discuss Graham.

“He has barely touched me I am sure I am
Only here so he can show off to his friends,”
Complained Ulysses, in a stream of self-consciousness.

“Consider yourself lucky,” cried Fifty Shades of Grey.
“He’s always got his dirty hands all over me. Look at my cracked
spine and turned down corners!”

“At least he’s prepared to put you two on display,” sobbed
Coping with Erectile Dysfunction, limply, from behind
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

“The problem isn’t him, it’s you,” declared the Oxford English Dictionary, with meaning.
“You get too involved. With me, it’s just a quick in and out.
We have an understanding.”

“That’s all very well for you to say, pronounce, utter, articulate,”
muttered Roget’s Thesaurus, who always had some words
To add to the conversation.

Graham entered the room, carrying a box.
Dipping into it, he pulled out a slim, shiny metal object.
He stared at it all night, his interest kindled.

The books sat silently on the shelf.