Barry Fitton’s Footsteps

Poetry Reviews
Litkickers will remember Barry Fitton. He is the wandering British poet who found himself in Amsterdam four years ago and since then has been spicing up the local poetry scene as well as countless European festivals. He's hosted radio shows and won grants for his poetry. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of his latest book: I Left No Footsteps Behind Me, and I'd like to share my impressions.

What can you expect from this book? Take a look at the Prologue:

This is not just about me,
its about a way of life that does not exist anymore,
...
it's a travel book
...
it's a collection of snapshots
it's a tribute to a life of freedom
...
do not expect any consistency
for there is none...


There is no consistency, yet Barry is always Barry, as in this short excerpt from The Electric Fan:
Arriving home,
I assembled it
turned it on...
instant nirvana...
...Krishna
never had it so good...
a beer is opened...
joint rolled...
ice-cold papaya
Straight from
the fridge...
what more could I want...
sitting here naked...
cool fanbreeze
against my body...
like kisses...


Senses predominate in Barry' work. The title poem No Footsteps Left Behind walks us through a collage of locations and impressions. Take this little moment for example:

"Chursie akadina Merci"
he yelled
and hurled
the battle-axe
in my direction
"THUD"
it went
as it
embedded
itself
into
the mud
wall
just inches
from my head,


With barely time for an exhale, we read on:
"You want we smoke a chillum hippie-man"


and so go the travels of Barry Fitton. A large portion of the book is dedicated to erotica - a specialty of the poet. Images ripple:

Orgasm

Seed pods seen inside while high
trip of fingers
to the furthest limits of the thigh
wafts of sticky fluid
and cypress resin
from peachy valley flow
under walls
of megalithic rock
to white horses
whinnying, rearing
through my bed


In fact, read all of the "Erotica" section. You will savour every moment.

Barry takes us on the road with "Have Poems Will Travel". In Pile Drivers, he combines eroticism with sounds of Amsterdam life:

Pile drivers

I arrived
to hear the
Thud, thud
thud
that is the sound
of Amsterdam

It rains here
just like home
thud, thud,
thud
killer bikes
rampage through
the streets
Thud, thud, thud

I walk the streets
watching
machines
copulate
with wet earth
Thud, thud, thud

Making the
city safe
incessantly
sinking their shafts
from morning till night
Thud, thud, thud
deeper and deeper
into the ground
Thud, thud, thud

I awake
to the sound
of the
Thud, thud, thud
It becomes
part of my breakfast
part of me
it is
part of the city
Thud, thud, thud
until when
one day
it will
cum at last
to its final
orgasm
and
the city
will
drown


The section called "Snapshots" deals with sketches of the dead and the living, from Ginsberg to Ted Joans. Look at this from
The Poets are Dieing (sic)

Only
a book
remains
held
in the hands
at
twilight

Read
under
the trees
at noon
or
on a terrace
while waiting
for the next
connection

Remember
and
remember
it well
we must
now
become
their
eyes
their
fingers
there
thoughts
there
dreams
for
without
them
we
too
are
dead


"Help I don't Want to Live Here Anymore" is an entire section devoted to the voice of outrage, high volume aimed pointblank. In Fear, he asks the big names (Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed) what they were doing while the earth was rumbling in disaster.
In first person specific, he takes on another role.

Wife beater

Its
just to show
I love you
I don't
mean any harm
every broken
piece of skin
I treasure
in my fist
so
just you be
a good girl
and
do the laundry
NOW

And if
you're very good
&
do it right
I
will
fuck you
really
Good
tonight

There's
no reason
to be
thanking me
that's the
reason
you married
ME

don't forget
before
you go
to wipe
the blood
from
the
kitchen
floor


The momentum builds as we get into September 11 and a series on war. War is written as a chorus for a number of voices; Wargasm watches in intimate horror as a soldier plunges into the enemy in wartime sexuality.

To wrap the book, Barry gives us an "Epilogue", leading us from political incredulity to innocence; from Who Put the 'great' in Great Britain to a translated piece written by a 7-year old Dutch girl.

A wild run through issues and senses, complete with illustrations and photographs, I Left No Footsteps Behind Me is an energizing journey over rock and beat, in outrage and ecstasy.

Pick up a copy and enjoy it.
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