Archie Calling: Altaforte!
in memoriam Archie Webb, artist and radical thinker, 1963-2005
‘Hello J., Archie here’ would strike a peace
of sorts. ‘Three new ones for you’ – pure music.
Damn Priest (Hoovering) left out to clash
with Priest (Ironing). We halt opposite
fresh judiciary. All three march crimson
off Isa’s bedroom wall. Is she happy?
Ay, sleeps all night under them, quite happy.
His Priest (Hoovering) would strike a peace
in Hell. ‘They Three Judges took all my crimson’,
he fumes. Finding the next takes music.
We shove Muirhouse Ox to the wall opposite,
and wait while, stirrer, he sticks on The Clash.
Mythical Muirhouse Ox probably did clash
once with yon Headless Pilton Dog. Happy
hangs Brixton Academy. Opposite:
brazen boots and bronze jacket struck in peace.
Next, Joseph Beuys (portrait). Next, pure music!
His Crematorium once flamed crimson,
gold, blues – til it bled all its crimson
‘to varnished scabs’, he mourns. How could they clash
against this ineradicable red music?
These pure rogue pigments replicate: Happy
Warriston Crematorium! Let peace
combust too in this ghost copse opposite
Ward One, the Royal Ed. Opposite,
the venereal clinic curds its crimson
peaks in a concupiscent peace.
His vista north from Drylaw does clash
since the gasometer got blown, unhappy
postscript in blue belated blade music.
In the jive of his palette knife, a music
of impossible impasto rises. Opposite,
a blue disappointed Brighton Pier is happi-
ness. All his blues now whip to crimson.
Where his black waves battle, lush hues clash:
weltering web. Ay, Archie’s call strikes peace
of sorts. Chuck Art School in the dock, greet crimson.
Hell makes music in Drylaw: two sevens clash.
Hell blot black Archie’s video box ‘at peace’!
is as if we can see all the stitches
at the seams of the borrowed dress you
wear to the Wee Red Bar, your flat-mate
next night to a Fire Engines gig – on whose hips it
falls a bit differently (for you it’s all throat);
but there’s no stitch to see au pays
de metaphor, where the frock heads off
(without so much as an as if) toute
seule to the Hoochie Coochie Club; and girls
of slender means, we meet the peachy dawn,
fingering golden cinches, our diamante clasps,
all blurry-eyes, suspiring: who is she
walking home now? We long to press back
the fine wool crepe, to take a damp cloth
to crushed pleats, to pin the torn hem, suspend
in wilful lavender, hope against stains.