Accidental Street Love
Richard Atkinson can often be found banging out his work at poetry open mic slots around the region, and is part of the Scratch performance group. Charles Bukowski is an obvious influence on his work and he gets a couple of name checks in Atkinson’s latest chapbook, which has been published by New York’s Underground Books. In it, he reports back on the world as he views it, sometimes through the bottom of an empty glass, in all of its surreal glory. He sees an enormous man with a beard “a picture of serenity in a / tiny mechanical digger” while a contretemps on a bus sees someone proclaiming: “I / AM / NOT / A / HOMO / SEXUAL!” (in ‘the man who normally says nowt speaks out loudly at long last’). It’s only 36 pages long – and the lines in Atkinson’s poems don’t usually run to more than three of four words (often just one word) – but they carry the weight of someone who has been around the block more times than he cares to mention, but still has plenty to say.