There at the heart of London’s theatre district,
Comes something real as the weather
Casts its torrid abstractions above.
A talk between friends and a set of commandments
To understand with compassion what we may hate
And still love. Alan Moore. Stewart Lee.
In conversation. The topic is Alan’s
Jerusalem Novel, and how it is
A possible means to be free.
Stewart describes the book,
In his inimitable way, lit by humour.
But by scholarship also,
Schooled as he is in the word.
He captures this book of Spells
In which Moore conveys his family’s magic
In ways that are truthful
And with a tongue that can
Nevertheless taste the absurd.
The book imagines Moore’s home
As the Afterlife’s garden.
The broken streets and lost buildings
Are the temples that death
Can rebuild. A stone angel speaks,
Along with the Devil.
Alan’s brother Mike, as a ghost-child
Is also a featured after a brief
Sojourn with those killed.
The laughter rings sharp
In this West End Theatre.
Deeper no doubt, with more reason
Than the usual pale joke expressed.
Now these art partners each support
Their combined assurance. Alan as Author,
And Stewart, reading had to call and wait
For Aviva insurance, which put his connection
With his good friend’s book to the test.
The Lucia Joyce chapter wakes
Finnergan into a higher energy level.
Yet Alan’s re-invention of language
Is not where his proper genius rests.
It is in the eloquence of his thought
And that his now white hair echoes
Snowy, his Great Grandfather Vernall
Who lived as he does in high realms.
To listen tonight was to somehow locate
A new season. One in the mind,
Fed by reading and how our love
Of what’s there seems to meld
With what we are, what we need
And we what we want of each other,
And of the world and the weather
And the never quite found
Someone else, who will unlock what was kept
Behind our senses, but is all we feel
Sparked by the beauty of the book
He wrote. Its ourselves.
So many profundities come
Bidden by both style and substance,
A fierce understanding of all that we’ve done
Remains his. One feels Alan knows
(And Stewart Lee helps to serve this),
The path towards reformation.
And so this special book is a kiss.
As is all his work, from song to comic.
Alan now turns to poems
As the form to which he’ll fix his name.
And he will write them, I know
Above these endeavours, knowing
That the work so far is a poem
And that there’s poetry too
In each frame. We get the world we deserve
And the one we imagine.
The only one we can picture
With our somewhat limited view.
Alan soaks in his bath
And contemplates shadow.
‘Lush’ body products are his
Preferred balm for skin truth.
He loves them so much
‘Lush’ sought to market his essence.
And asked him, ‘What was the fragrance,
Which aroma could hold and reflect
What he was, what he is,’
What was it he would summon?
‘Hash and superiority’ was the answer,
And indeed that is what we might expect.
But beyond the flip lays the found
And in the found the forgiven.
Alan Moore knows the answer
And the location (Northampton)
Of Where Jerusalem attains ground.
David Erdos 7/11/16