Friday poem: 'Disinformation'

29 January 2016

By Frances Leviston

I am making jelly
for my nephew’s fourth birthday party,
any flavour as long as it’s red,
bouncy cubes snipped and stirred into hot water
in a cloudy Pyrex dish,
rediscovering the secret of isinglass,
or is it horse gelatin, while a radio announcer
intimates that certain unpopular
facts about the operations
hitherto repressed, like signs removed
from crossroads and bridges in occupied lands,
can now be revealed, if we just stay tuned.

Party bags designed
to please infants pile on the counter,
too-bright colours, badly made; blue napkins,
party-poppers; my red hands
put cylinders of sausage on cocktail sticks
(these pass for traditions)
and all the time I listen to them talk
fluently about foreknowledge, proactivity, stations.
It is winter,
treacherous to walk.
The children are on their way by now,
adults too, bundled against the promise of snow 

and the entertainer, with tricks and jokes
hidden under a blanket in the boot of his Volvo,
limp balloons into which he will blow
his lungs full of ideal animals, practises misdirection.
I chop yellow cheese. Out the kitchen window
the whirligig turns, metal spokes
merciless as diagrams
cutting the air
no clothing softens, tiny gems
icing the nodes where their lines intersect.
Every extant leaf is fixed
with glitter where the glue’s dried clear. 

 

From Frances Leviston's Dylan Thomas Prize nominated collection Disinformation

In her keenly-anticipated second book Leviston addresses one of the key questions of the age: how have we come to know what we think we know?

In this title poem, a woman preparing for a child's birthday party suddenly glimpses the invisible screen of false data behind which she lives - and her own complicity in its power. Disinformation challenges us to rescue our idea of identity from the mass of glib truth and persistent falsehood - and proposes how we might begin to think of poetry itself as a means to that end.

Find out more about all the titles on the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize longlist here

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