Paul Graham Raven’s poetry remains unpublished as yet, but has been read aloud at hitherto unsuspecting audiences in pubs, bars, music venues, festival crowds, second-hand clothes shops, Mexican off-licences and (both memorably and unexpectedly for the staff) a Berlin kebab joint. He also writes reviews of albums, gigs and books, runs and edits two webzines – one on science fiction (Futurismic), one on rock music (The Dreaded Press), manages online public relations and promotion for boutique genre fiction publisher PS Publishing, builds and manages websites for busy authors and other creative types, plays guitar in a band that prizes volume in equal measure to texture and melody, and even scratches out science fiction short stories from time to time. He fervently wishes that there were more hours in the day, or that a rich and tolerant heiress would marry him before installing him in a rent-and rates-free garret. Or (ideally) both.
Shredder Poem 2.0
Remembered I keep meaning to destroy
three fat bags of correspondence past,
aging, yellowing and brittle-thin
and lurking with the hoover in the dark.
Twenty four quid ninety nine, and now
I own a cross-cut shredder. Lucky me.
At home, unpack machine, then plug and play!
Watch old financial fuck-ups disappear,
becoming rough confetti, trapped within
the bin of metal mesh beneath the blades.
I’m feeling fresh, invigorated, pleased –
the weight of history has slightly eased.
I quickly shred all my bank statements, then
my payslips too, up to the current date.
Old college coursework next, and now
certificates from training and exams –
my education torn to worthless bits,
reduced to hamster bedding, nothing more.
Still on a roll and unfulfilled, it’s time
for letters from ex-girlfriends, mates from school
and bitter pleading notes from Mum and Dad.
Sheet by longhand sheet, the words depart
reality – their meaning gone for good
or maybe just forgotten on a whim.
The void they leave, like extra lungs
inhales the oxygen of emptiness.
I can’t stop now! Not yet! And so
my records and CDs, my precious books,
my clothes, computer, carpets, radio,
my duvet and my sofa, my guitar,
the posters, cooking pots and shoes and comb,
the toothpaste and the door-key and my rings –
until my world is quite devoid of things.
And I feel
as if I’m made of gas:
ephemeral, unanchored, unattached
as if I’d float up through the ragged cloud
and further, end up drifting into space…
but there’s one thing still holding me to Earth.
The shredder’s blades are waiting for me now;
I jam the switch, and slide my fingers in.