Mr Paraschou 2

May 14, 2007

this version may still need work…constructive crit welcome…

Another letter
for Mr Alexander Paraschou
today. The debt collectors
have been writing their
debt collecting letters
ever since he left,
or it seems that way.
It’s been over a year now
since I moved in.

Dear Mr Paraschou,
We are writing with reference
to the outstanding debt of
two hundred and 83 pence,
we understand you have accrued.

Mr Paraschou, please
contact one of our advisers
immediately.

When I first moved in
I rang the number on the top
of the first black
letterheaded letter-

Hello,
My name is LYDIA-
TOWSEY…I seem to be
receiving correspondence from you?
addressed to a Mr –
ALEXANDER PARASCHOU?
I’m afraid he doesn’t live here anymore.

They made a note of my call.
but the letters carried on.

Dear Mr Paraschou.
Your outstanding debt has now been placed with
‘ScotCall’.

Failure to pay or contact us
within 7 days
of the date on this letter
will result in your account being passed
to one of our Field
Representatives
.

I don’t think the company on the
letterheaded letter believed me…

I suppose it’s understandable.
For all they knew
he could have been
sitting on the sofa next to me
when I made the call-
His sister, his girlfriend,
a friend from down the hall.

Dear Mr Paraschou,
Please contact us immediately
to avoid a doorstep call.

I suppose,
I should have rung them back-

Hello,
I rang the other day…
I seem to have been geting these
letters from you…?

But for some reason,
I didn’t want to.

These letters –
they’ve been going on for months-
they come with the regularity of a
well oiled clock. They are
something to rely on…

Dear Mr Paraschou…

In my head,
Mr Alexander Paraschou
is a young man, down on his luck
forced from the comfort of his social housing
by bully boys,
hammering on the door
chasing after blood,
or else-

he’s an old man,
struggling to pay the bills,
here from Bosnia
Herzagovnia,
Russia, Poland,
Lithuania
and fleeing violence-

I can see him,
pacing in my kitchen,
knocking back the vodka
or taking furtive sips
from cups of over sweetened tea.
Mr Paraschou, who’s never been in debt
who’s trying to work his way
round what he’s going to do.

Mr Paraschou,
we will soon
be starting
legal proceedings.

Mr Paraschou,
It feels like I’m lying for you…
buying you time
as I hide in our kitchen,
with someone ballistic
in the corridor outside

Mr Paraschou,
I think the baliffs have arrived-
but I don’t mind-
I won’t let them in.

Mr Paraschou-
This is a kind of war
that we’re in
and now we are comrades.

Mr Paraschou,
for the rising damp in the bathroom
and the carpet tiles in the bedroom-
I am with with you.

Mr Paraschou,
Mr Alexander Paraschou,
keep on running,
I’ve got your back…

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8 Responses to “Mr Paraschou 2”

  1. qemargie said

    I really like this. I feel the end is very well done. Sadly I am off for a job interview but its great work.

  2. Andrew (would-be stalker) said

    I suppose it would be totally obtuse of me to point out that you could simply hand the – preferably unopened – letters to the concierge, who will return them to the Royal Mail, complete with a sticker which states ‘addressee no longer at this address’, as to the veracity of which the sender can have no doubt? (This worked for me, although it did take rather a long time, and in my case the addressee had never in fact occupied my flat, but I digress).

    This may, in due course, remove your problem, but it would, of course, also take away the inspiration for this series poems, which would, I am sure we would all agree, be a shame. This in itself strikes me as an interesting subject; take your ‘Tits’ poem, for example – would it be better not to suffer the original (and no doubt very distressing) aggravation which led to the poem’s composition, and therefore have no poem? At what point, in fact, does suffering for one’s art become utterly necessary to the creative process, and therefore not only ‘acceptable’, but something to be welcomed? Discuss. (Or, failing that, feel free to write a poem about being stalked. I’d be glad to provide any practical assistance).

  3. Andrew (would-be stalker) said

    Oh – just an afterthought, Lydia, but it may help: I suspect the name ‘Paraschou’ is Greek.

  4. QeMargie-Thanks for that. Yeah, I think the ending on this version is much better after its edit. I’ve done a recording so will be posting it up on my pineapster site soon. Thanks for reading me:)

    Andrew (would-be stalker) You make a terrible stalker. I just saw you in the street and you were entirely unaware of me;)

    Yes, I wonder sometimes whether I might actually incite incidents in order to have stuff to write about. Would that mean I had some kind of personality disorder? Seeing as I now appear to be stalking you (I see you everywhere) it is entirely possible…

  5. Andrew (frustrated stalker) said

    Damn. That’s another career ambition thwarted, and it doesn’t even look like a viable hobby any more either. On top of that, I’m now starting to feel frightened.

    By the way, the email address you see may be different from the one(s) I’ve left before, as I have several (to keep them guessing, you understand) and I just pasted in the last one I copied. They’re all valid, in case you were wondering.

    I’m sorry none of this has got anything to do with Mr Paraschou, either the poem or the former tenant. I don’t do ‘relevance’ very well.

    However, you did ask me to send you the link to my Flickr gallery (or am I just imagining you did because I wish you had?) and given the cancellation of my MySpace account this is the only way I can do it. It also has the advantage that other people will see it, and I’m desperate to reach 400 views (in two years!!! Pathetic or what?) Here it is, don’t know whether it will be clickable or not when you see it:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/leicanthropus_erectus/

    As I mentioned the other day, the latest pics I’ve uploaded are from the Tinariwen concert a couple of weeks ago, and there will be more in the course of this week.

    Perhaps I should end by saying something about Mr Paraschou, particularly as I’ve just had what I regard as a quite brilliant idea (with which assessment you are more than welcome to agree). Without wanting to frighten you, do you think there’s any possibility he’s still in your flat, i.e. a ghost, or, to put it another way – and here’s the clever part – a supernatural stalker? Do you see what I did there? Having made myself out to be waffling insanely about anything and everything other than Mr Paraschou, I finally brought him not only into the discussion, but to the very fore, in a way which also ties in quite seamlessly – if I say so myself – with the very first motif, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the poem, which is, I confess, a little unfortunate. (But then, you might now feel inspired to bring a supernatural theme into the poem, which might even earn me the status of collaborator).

    Anyway, I hope I’ve planted a little seed there, to supplement the ones which are now hopefully germinating in your window box.

  6. Reformed stalker said

    Lydia, there is something I must, absolutely must, share with you!

    You may recall – or, if not, you can easily refresh your memory – that in my first comment on this poem I mentioned I had had a similar experience to you with regard to receiving mail meant for someone else, and that in my case this had been eventually resolved – albeit after many months – by passing all the items, along with the responsibility, to the concierge. Well, after several months without such items appearing in my post-box, today I received one, addressed, as were the others, to a Mrs Madeline Nghembou (who, as I mentioned previously, was never a tenant in my flat, which I have occupied for a mind-boggling 21 years).

    I am quite at a loss as to how to react to this situation; should I regard it – as I have to date been inclined to – as yet another, if minor, irritant in my irritant-ridden existence? Or should I follow your admirable precedent in using it as the basis for artistic achievement? And, if the latter, how am I to mould this unpromising-seeming clay into the transcendent sculpture which your example suggests that it could, and indeed should, become?

    I have to say that a poem seems unlikely in the extreme. Firstly, while I am undoubtedly full of pretensions, I have no pretension whatever towards the verse form. Secondly, I cannot think of a single word which rhymes with ‘Nghembou’. (I realise of course that the belief that poems should rhyme is rather unsophisticated, but it is one I have great difficulty shedding).

    Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    By the way, as this comment has shown disturbing signs of being broadly relevant to the ostensible subject, I feel bound to make a detour, which I will do by clarifying that when I – rather thoughtlessly – stated in my previous comment that I was beginning to feel frightened by the apparent reversal of the stalker – stalkee dynamic to which you had alluded, I had no intention of suggesting that you are remotely scary.

    Finally – and with even less relevance to Mr Paraschou – thanks to anyone who may have followed the link to my Flickr gallery. My Tinariwen pics have had quite a few views, though I’ve no way of knowing how many of these have been as a result of my posting this link. I’ve just uploaded a few more images, and the remaining good ones should go up next week (but I really do need to upgrade my account).

  7. Troy said

    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I found this to be very helpful. The information was good and I look forward to you writing in the future. Thanks again.

  8. I wanted to take time to thank you for this interesting article. I found it to be very helpful as I can relate to it. I look forward to you writing again in the future.

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