Extracting the Wisdom.

Budapest. I’ve been here a week now.  Travel home today.   Between 9am this morning in Budapest  and   9am  in London tomorrow morning I must write two poems,   the first lasting twenty  seconds  and the second lasting one minute. At 9am tomorrow morning I will broadcast them to the nation on BBC Radio four’s Saturday Live. But  first I  make an hour long tram  journey from my hotel in Buda to VitalEurope the dentist in Pest.  The city is split into two halves (Buda and Pest)  by the Danube.  The number six tram traverses the two. 

I  arrive  and  receive the obligatory Jabs as introduction to the day.  Good Morning! Lay back. NyaaaAghhh.   Four  jabs in total  or was it five. I lost all count  after the first. My bridges are added  over the next hour and half to the back upper left and back upper right  but the dentist  noticed a wisdom tooth that had to come out. This was the most stressful job of all. It took fifteen to twenty  minutes and two different plyers.   His winching and wincing heavy breathing and huffing and puffing  surrounded me  as my head yanked from side to side.  It was my top left wisdom tooth. It was medieval.    The plyers stretched my mouth  and cut the skin beneath my lip. All part of the service.  Nice.

After the three hours I leave the dentists feeling battered bruised and traumatised .  It is  1pm and I have two poems to write between now and 9am. Plus a flight, packing at the hotel and all this with the distracting backdrop of excruciating pain as the numbness wears off.  Fortunately last night I got the main ideas for the poems .  So at a cafe in The WestEnd shopping Mall in Buda  I get to expand on them.   No tthe teeth, the poems.

The first poem will be about the politics of football.  The second poem is not as  accessible...  It’s about Heather Piercey a guest on the programme and daughter of  William Joyce, Lord Haw Haw,   the broadcaster of propaganda for The Nazisthroughout the war.  He was hanged for treason in the 40’s.  So my  poem shall be about  the deceitfulness of charming fathers and the awakening of their daughters.

Writing the poems is not unlike taking out the wisdom tooth. It hurts at times. But you got to work it and work it.  Slowly the poem comes. It’s petulant. It is rooted.    I don’t think about length just  write it at this stage .  It’s unwieldy and unclear... I have six pages of text and I can feel the poem in there waiting to be extracted....  I fold them away.  I realise the tooth comparison is plain wrong.  By 4pm I am back at the hotel and by six I am at the airport. The painkiller’s have worn off and the pain has truly arrived

By 8pm I am on the plane home. The cabin pressure as the flight leaves makes my gums inflame... pure pain.   I arrive home at 12.30am.  The messy poems  are flying around my head in... in alternate rhythm to the messy pain.  I am so tired I could fall down.  But there is so much pain I can not sleep.   I have put my alarm on for  5.30am which gives me twoand an half hours before the taxi will pick me up to take me to the bbc .  . I am asleep by 2am.  That’s an almost twenty hour day,  two countries,   1,000 miles traversed, The beginnings of two poems, insertion of five teeth, extraction of one. Done.

Just a note here. The dentists are state of the art and brilliant. But pain is universal.  The staff were brilliant and the job excellent.

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