Poetry

POEMS


By Robert Kyriakides


FOREWORD

I wrote these poems between 1967 and 2017. I have written poetry before 1967, but no examples survive. This must be a good thing. I remember being impressed with Tom Gunn's Carnal Knowledge. I tried to write like him.
I typed my first poetry on a manual typewriter in my father's office in 1967, in July just before I went to Canada. I also typed out most of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the same time. There was a magic in the sturdy mechanical keys which frequently stuck and misaligned themselves, but best of all it looked almost like print. This was the object after all, to see my name in print.
In Canada in 1968 I typed out three or four poems on a law firm's electric typewriter and thought myself a poet. I carried them around showing them to anyone half interested in poetry.
I enjoyed really prolific years in 1969 and 1970. Ruth typed out a deal of poetry on a portable Corona that Chris gave me. Ruth used this in my room in Manchester in 1970. Also in 1970 some typists whose names I am ashamed to admit I forgot did some more, when I was working temporarily in the Registrar's Department at Lloyds of London. They also typed out a children's book I scribbled while I worked.
The next major retype was on my PC using Lotus Software in late 1989. I then learnt that using Lotus software was unsatisfactory because it is spreadsheet based (somebody told me that) and was a pain in the backside because it did not seem to be terribly logical in its processes, so I decide to type everything else using WordPerfect (I should be so lucky) software. I need the software because I cannot type well, and I do most of my writing late at night. I have always preferred to do this.
Through some accident of chance I happily found that I could convert what I type out on Lotus to magical WordPerfect. Gosh, it even looked better on the screen. Gosh, (again) when I started to write, I resolved that it must be better to write on a full stomach, in a comfortable house, healthy and happy. It might not be conducive to writing better poetry but it is certainly more pleasant.
Given any kind of say in the matter a person should always, if possible arrange to be rich, or a least comfortable in his financial circumstances. Also, I am not a disreputable sort of writer, as most writers are these days and as most writers have apparently been. Some would say that I am not any sort of writer at all, but merely another rich person (cannot call myself a man) indulging himself.
I digress from the task of explaining what follows. Some writing (not a lot) was done in the street, on scribbled bits of paper, and some on bed on large note pads, scraps of paper and in bed on the portable manual that Chris Calcroft gave me.
I first wrote from fear of death. As a young man (barely a man and very young) I realised, with fear and revulsion that I would die one day. I looked for ways to avoid this catastrophe, and chose writing. And now in my sixtieth year I fear not death but many other things. This cowardice is sufficient for now but at least I will remember this; the frightened youth who learnt slowly and foolishly to write out of fear of death, and now wonders at the cold sweat that the fear thrust him into.
I am no less frightened of death today but I am more feared for the future of life. We are so small so insignificant yet, yet, yet...
Some of these poems were written for music and you can listen to me reading to Chris Calcroft's guitar playing under the Words & Music Tab on this Website.






WIND BLEW THE CITY

 I went for a ride on an omnibus
 Somewhat curiously out of date
 Kept a forgotten timetable
 Was never very late
 I went for a ride on the underground
 I thought it would have to stop
 I was never always quite like this
 I never counted the cost
 Stretch, stretch, for in the valley
 We smoked the day away while
 Wind blew the city
 Wind blew the city
 Stop, stop
 I’m going to ride this great big world
 I’m going to travel it good
 Until it is all forgotten
 Until it’s all deadwood.

CAN YOU HEAR ME

Can you hear me in the morning
Through the rolling hills of England?
Can you hear the sweetened echo
Falling on another world?
Do you see me in the evening
Through your eye’s intruding image
Do you see my vision coming
Calling on another time?
There, we are here, there we were
Frolic’d, witty, touched in laughter
Waiting for the years to teach us
Hoping to be very happy.
Will you find me in the night
Tired, lonely, out of sight
Where the open faultless mind
Says it simple; love is blind

WHERE IT HURTS

Starlight again and the clouds fall over
Moon bright refrain bouncing forever 
When the clouds are gone 
Our dark night shudders pleased to shake off its coat 
When daylight threatens another hope, another hope, another hope.
Softly at first It creeps through the branches 
Sadly at last it hides in the trenches 
Wonderful devastated concubine so loved and hated 
Thrill me you my only companion 
Keep me so close inside your vest wrapped by your coat 
Where it hurts 
But not inside your heart where it hurts not.

SEA VOICES

When the voice of a woman speaks to me
It bursts my own ear drums
And the blood from my brain leaks to the sea
Where it lies warmed by the sun

I have walked along the shore to see my blood
Frozen for so far
But when the wave that greets me there
Meets me there I have always cried for more

Yes the power of movement dissolves me
And it leaves me lame
For I don’t know what will become of me
When the women speak again


WINTER WALTZ

A voice in winter is a voice in vain
This is cold magic
I touched the sun in summer
I held it in my hand
Knowing all of time to come
Will drop from me like hour glass sand
A voice in winter is a voice in vain
This is cold magic
We danced to please the valley
I held your hand in mine
On ice you did your pirouette
In water I did mine
A voice in winter is a voice in vain
I pushed aside the snow
For a voice.



COMING INTO FORM

A shade spoke
Beneath the wide below
(yes)
And yet, before I heard her speak I felt her
Below.
Blown eyes blown ears blown teeth blown smile
They shook she shook them all

Were I a star I would I would I would she were
Me now.
Sweetly descend most easily
She beckons yet she counts (one two three)
The drum beats the drum beats I hear the morbid sound
The drum beats the drum beats and echoes in the ground (all around)

Before beneath below she spoke
Told what she would do
But now I understand
(You see she will not kill my eyes)
I never even knew.

THE CLOCK

If the clock ticks all night
when does it sleep
when does it eat
for it certainly ticks all day

If the clock ticks all night
when does it sleep
when does it eat
for it certainly ticks all day

And although I can hold my clock in my hand
I can never hold time in my grasp
I may feel I may see
But through all eternity
Time will always come first and last




THE WHITE PIGEON

I have spoken many words
I have sung many songs
I have kissed many women
I have stolen many wrongs
I have fought with the tigers
On the strange and distant shores
While I spent my nights
With the debutantes and whores

Could it be I am living
On someone else’s time
If that’s so I can tell you
That I really do not mind
For my life is an empty shell
Falling down the hill
As empty as a bucket
That I never knew to fill

I will touch many creatures

Or at least I will try
But the rules that have taught me
I suspect will have lied
So the white pigeon sitting
On the ledge out in the rain
Will not know what she brought me
Left when she came to stay.
 

THERE MUST BE TWO IN THE THREE OF US

Is a hill very high
How long is an arm
And if I fall in love
Will I come to much harm ?
Is water wet
What is a test
How many loves lie
Between better and best ?
A push from those thighs
Arches me back
And we two turned whole
As we lay in her lap
All the world sees her
Loves her rounded place
With as much as they see mirrored
A pleasure made straight
Who is a question
And how many times
Can children of Jesus
Swallow his wine
Why does your stallion
How can it be
That children and water
Mirrors and Jesus
Pleasure and lovely
All follow free




REJECTION

One by one they came
The emails
“Thank you, we regret, we wish you success”
I filed them in the folder I called writings
One by one I threw my mistress pieces to those,
But I was not of their class or comprehension
An unfashionable soul seeking mere immortality
In the shells of circles of no connection,
So it is rejection.

One by one they came
Holy bodies with such taut pleasure
And when we had fed enough, sated in ritual rights
Shouting “God speed” into the nights.
Ended thus.
I still treasure, yes treasure;
I thanked, regretted and wished them the best.
I filed them
In the folder I called memories.

And I cannot bear witness
To which is the harder mistress.


 MONGOL

She sleeps in a cage
Holds her hands to her lips
Strokes them gently
For they have never been kissed
Nurse came in a rush
Stabbed her in her lovely arm
Made the mark gently
For it has never been kissed at all
Maybe her head is a little too large for her body
Maybe her tongue too big for her mouth
Wait for death dear
That is all you can do.
She sleeps in a cage
Holds her hands to her lips
Strokes them gently
For they have never been kissed

The Secret Door

I thought there was a secret door
Hidden in a yellow wall
Where grownups played in fields of grass and flowers
It opened up once in my dream to show a vista so serene
Where they would visit in clandestine hours.

I dreamed a reservoir of tile
That begged the sky to satisfy
Its cravings and its growing thirsty life forms
Some swam some grew some lived anew
Concealed from living people who were strife torn.

I wished three ghosts that guarded me
Protecting my body holy
As I walked in dark nights so full of danger
No demon then could steal my soul for my ghosts kept me almost whole
A bulwark and a sanctum from the stranger.

I journeyed under London’s heel
Below the graves when people sleep
Whose rotting coffins begged the Lord to open
The rattle and the sounds of speed
Blended with death’s dreamy sweep
To find salvation is what we were hoping

THE SAGA OF LITTLE WILLY

Blackbeard had a black beard and Redbeard’s beard was Red

Long John had a long john and slept in a ten foot bed

But all these famous pirates, they are all drowned and dead

There’s little can be said for they are all drowned and dead.

But there is one swashbuckler whose legend goes untold

He was brave and he was mighty and he had a heart of gold

His name was Little Willy for reasons best left untold

His breeches had no folds, but he had a heart of gold.

One day when Willy was roving just off the Dogger Bank

He hadn’t brought his mackintosh so he was wet and dank

He saw a Spanish treasure ship and all his mind went blank

“That Galleon must be sank” he said, “that Galleon must be sank”

Willy hauled down the Jolly Roger and put up the flag of Spain

The Galleon thought him a Spanish ship until a point bank range When Willy opened fire, firing again and again and again and again

He fired again and again and the cannon balls fell like rain

The galleon blasted shot back and the air was thick with smoke

Things were getting mighty dangerous,and bits off each ship broke

“This ain’t no blooming joke” cried Willy as his sailors ran amok

No time for love and hope, no, the sailors ran amok.

Meanwhile on the quarterdeck Willy was sinking fast

A cannon hit him on the head, he thought he’d breathed his last

“I’ve breathed me last, me hearties”, he cried

“Tie me to the mast”; they lashed him to the mast.

Slowly both ships sank beneath the briney ocean blue

The sea was clear as clear can be, save a for a piece of flotsam or two

And no marker told of the men who died in Willy’s last yahoo

And the derelicts sank fast and deep and with them Willy too.

REQUIEM

I felt summer in the water

And I kissed the silver dawn

As I tremble with my freedom Mother am I born

My blood was flowing through my eyes

And splashed upon your brain

Mother I am sorry

But our bloods taste the same

I recall the Sunday diners eaten

I was kept outside Listening by the window

While the parents took a ride

Now a hundred thousand helmets marching

Through the winter’s night

Why do her suitors anger me

Please don’t make me fight

For I’ve heard the sirens singing

On those strange and distant shores

And would have reached to follow

But my deaf men pulled their oars

And the nature lover lovers smiling

Bouncing on the stream

Softly slow my darling

I shall kiss you in the field

And his Helen playing dancing dancing Saraband in hand

Let me wipe away her orange tear

For Sergeant Pepper’s band

Then I waited by the bus stop Soaked and hoping for the sun

Hold me, coat, please hold me close

I’ll wait for anyone

I can meet you by the wall of death

Or meet you by the pool

Let me know which one you choose

Or darling we are two

I can drive my bus around the fair

Until I reach the wall I can find it by the bright lights

I am starring on the wall

Round and round the wall of death I am driving in my bus

The Americans are cheering

I hope they’ll make a fuss of us.

I WAS SITTING BY THE LAURELS

I was sitting by the laurels

Where the breezes danced and played

Saw a vision pressed in touching

Held it safe for other days

There where I was found in sunshine

Kissed and blessed by fortune’s glove

Marked and made for tender wishes

Smothered in the fire of love

Had you been there holding for me

Had you found my roughened touch

I would love and conquer for you

Endlessly to lie so much

Lifetimes passing, broken hearted

For our paths were forked and parted

A POEM FOR THE FIRST OF NOVEMBER

Sink fine, sink fast and sink away

No more the open night time comes to chase away the day

The leaf has turned to crimson on its way

To fall down deep into the frightened paving lay

Look kind look fine and never look away

So much more in times to feel afraid

So much less in ounces we can weigh

Behind the stanchion where the play was made

And you, whose face I grasp in feeling say

You love me now this moment and today

Dead as October’s leaves from ash trees tall

No more time to turn, just time to fall.

Good Advice

Remember I taught you and never forget

The rules of the game and the rules to upset

Sleep late in winter rise early in spring

Promise me thrice and smile at the wind

Think while you sleep and dream wide awake

Hold hatred fast while your loves you forsake

Lose your possessions find your lost way

Sleep late in winter at the dawn of the day

Think in iambics and speak just in rhyme

Die when you need to die all the time

THE PRAYER COMPASS

Cross myself, began in the woods,

Could never collect for remembered too well

And recently taken (forgetting to breath)

I do however remember dusts we stirred together

Penance we won at the side of the Rhine

Together we sat we finished our wine

Held hands we laughed remembering times

Apparently dead and ghosts.

Now fancy horse carriages meaning appearing

Their absolute never nearly quite real

Black plume and crepe feathering break Spiriti sanctus,

Are we too late!

Flowers and essence, take them away

Can none of our orders ordain today ?

Will none of its fashions root in the mud

To suck the elusive imperial blood?

A coat of many colours for each of our many soldiers

Spinning soul, slip back to the dream

Wheel away army , follow the sea

Where you take us you shape us you call us the real

The royal fine person who dances on wheels

Supergirl supergirl where has she gone?

Super girl left us, superalone

The world on the march, hot effortless place

The sun in the firmament moving in space

Time cannot end here before we have sang

For trees came to kneel, as we began.

Cross ourselves, began in the woods

And recently taken

 

TEARS WILL NOT HELP US

Tears will not help us In the confusion and hardship

They will wash us but we are clean

Drinking our tears leaves us thirsty.

God will not help us In the holy achievement

He will watch us but we are alone

Not merely unclean but dirty

We are beyond where we live

We are above where we die Death will not help us

With the debts we must pay

We are beyond our dying

When we are alone

 

I LOVED YOU

I loved you

When ever dawn has hit my face

Whenever you left your embrace

I loved you then

I saw you

Smiling your love right back at me

Laughing my tears into the sea

I saw you then

You held me

Throughout the coldest nights of spring

While I was holding everything

You held me

We ran free

Singing our praise into the earth

Giving our love for all its worth

We ran free then

 

TOUCHLIGHT

Touchlight of winter’s song

Come along to touch with me

We can touch where we belong

Sailing wildly on winter’s sea

We can pass our dreams away

We can show them wild and free

We could watch our good dreams pray

If you would be good to me

 

JOURNEY

One track we passed so fast In huge, black stark and lost

Through a tunnel (The darkness bent)

Then white again

Take me Take me; take me away from her memory

Two rails that find the time In failed love and bitter rhyme

Through a tunnel

(The darkness bent)

Then white again

A dead woman can show no mercy.

 

SUNDAY MORNING

Your body is warm and sweaty

Your breasts are full and heavy

Your hair lies in my eyes

Your legs twine around mine

And I can lie here feeling you feeling me

Love is the only way to be

On Sunday morning

Your neck is white, and tender

Your body fine but older

Your breath sets in my ears

And each stolen moment fears

That love never hears

On Sunday morning

 

DREAMS

Drums upon the humming bird

Bass upon the running bluebird

Grace upon her soul

Eyes away from stealing sleep

Petals leave them in a heap

Set upon my all

Sooth away cacophony

In a thrill of ecstasy

Slim around the night

He made her rise Spanish in triumph

She fell, she fell

Drums upon the humming bird

Bass will get that running bluebird

With awakened vigour vapoured.

 

THE REVOLT

The sea moves Whispering its waves and motion curved peace

Let it move

Let it move me

We are near and yet there is tomorrow

Sailors throw their cigarettes

On giants wheeling in the mists

Stand, see, hope, pray

It cannot always be as it is today

Watch the sea move

See the waves Away

 

THE MISSION COMPLEX

Why do you let The wind shred your decay ?

We met in Detroit, wild land fall of youth

Behind the Cathedral

Where the executioner kept his tools

In the dirty city where no body moved

Except you and I

You and I

Took to smelling perfumes

To wrap around the dead

No one speaks

This year of our Lord

Threads told stories, occidental stories

Of weaving and simple, in the theatre of worship

We took no notice Needlessly

They told us You and I

Be assured

(You and I)

You laughed be as you are

So were we, you and I

Now,

Why

Do you let

The wind shred decay?

 

WAYS OF THE EARTH

Mine is a very special world

That hurts each footstep with a pain

And laughing at the wonder life

Can only kill each birth again

Mine is a very separate life

Of spiral pity and the thrust

Could generate despair of truth

And tell my world so very much

Mine is a very ill filled hour

That fought with pain until it cried

And with the miss and peace of grace

Multiplied until it died

 

DEATH IS AN ANCIENT TYRANT

Winter came slowly to my poor Queen’s face

Pitting her skin, crumpling bones

Alas she can no more stooping with decadence

Take her away my poor Queen, take her to where

Death dances

When she has gone

Hide me in your overcoat

Hide him in your overcoat

Hide him his skin is smooth

Hide him and see how

He is as we saw him

Growing

Inside your coat.

Winter has hidden her (inside the coat)

No-one can find her (inside the coat).

I wish I was the fragment of a lover’s quarrel

Or the air breathed out by all, all the patient people.

My dead Queen had lines on her faces

Bells on her toes

She shall have lines to greet her in hell

In winter by the ancient lake

Death dropped his coat and danced

Death lost his coat to find

We were dancing; death is blind.

 

WINTER CAME INTO THE KINGDOM

Winter came into the kingdom softly

Plucking to discard brown leaves off the trees

And hardening the earth and its arteries

Can you find one green growing thing?

Uncovered exposed or braving the march?

No! Just the soft slow step of winter

Creeping slowly in

One certain step at a time.

And you and I?

We aged and raged and aged again against the fear

Overcome, unable to walk, thus disabled saw

Winter came slowly into the kingdom

Stealing leaves from trees.

 

MINDING

I would love to dance my arms held high

Rush in beat to the opened space

Weaving the threads of time so fine

On the windless lake

I would love to speak in sweet toned rhyme

Painting sounds from my mouth to race

Defeating the questions that always sigh

On the windless lake

I would love to see the view beneath

The boat that formed my worthless shape

Striking images hard and deep

On the windless lake

If I mind and watch my time

The wind might come to blow my mind

 

THE NUMBER OF NOTHING

There are so many numbers

And so many figures

None of which I know

Grains of sand in the world

A grain Stars in the universe

A star

People now living

Alive

Two and a half billion seconds in a long life

Many of them sleeping The number of everything

An eternity in dust I do not know

The number of nothing

 

WHEN SOMEONE DIES

When someone dies

You see the world with different eyes

The skies are greys

The cold wind bites;

On summers’ days A

ll are alive and all are gay

But when our old friend death comes to stay

Dull eyes cry

The tears away.

A winter’s tale cannot be brave

It casts away the soothing tones

The long fine lines T

hat scarred the face of

One who died.

Mar no more

Dull eyes cry the tears away

On frozen nights when

Good friend death has come to stay.

 

IMPERFECT CHAINS

There were good times which I let pass by, not knowing how to keep them

And people I passed by, not knowing I should keep them

So much I have not known, so many seeds unsown.

These days I count in blister packs

And look see, look up, look up, look back

The dead and the dying are there to see

And though I forged my chains in water they held me tightly

Tempered to my taste but weakness came as weakness always comes, apologetic and unsure

Except in its geometric confidence to wither and decay

And one day be no more.

So when you point to the window to show me shades chained

Remember that I was ignorant once

Of how my actions bound me and not wise enough to make imperfect chains

 

THE IMPOSSIBLE WISH

Do they ever think kindly of me

Those who once shared openly?

When they are quiet and the night is long

When sleep’s fine comfort fails

Do they think kindly of our past travails?

Do they think of me at all?

Am I lost to their memory, a ball,

Decayed into dust Scattered to the earth

Dust without worth?

Can they picture my face and my body

As perfectly, perfectly, As I picture them?

Have they forgotten instead

That we once dreamed together in bed?

None was ever perfect enough

My impossible wish for silk not stuff

 

FEELING NOT SO SPECIAL

I thought it was my fantasy or my nightmare

That I was the only person the only living thing

In all the world and all the universe not God but the one

Who had that idea you mentioned and imagined that possibility you spoke of And felt that way

But I find

Dozens, hundreds, thousands and millions imagined knew and felt that I thought I was alone with that secret

That I was the only one who knew it

In all the universe

And it would burst my head with its power or frighten me with its hold

It is a published secret I am sorry for this,

Heartily, I thought I was special.

 

MAGIC DARLING

Magic darling with those faded sad brown eyes please leave with me

I implore you not to say your sweet goodbye too hastily

My sweet darling let me once more play with you

I have your gifts

Gold and forests lakes and jewels abound still you won’t kiss

O let me fall up

And let me rise down

I always come

And sometimes your proud

O let me fall up

And let me rise down

Little darling with those faded sad blue eyes please leave with me

I implore you not to say your sweet goodbye too hastily

 

THE PROUD PIT

“And this is what I have all this From the trees by the stream to

The near side of the Saxon churchyard

And I have many lovely things, am blessed.”

He modestly hung his eyes claiming luck

While I smiled consent and then

“But here the pride of my possessions

(Possessions are such ephemeral things)” he expanded

As he threw his eyes to the earth

“This ?” “This pit, dug with my,

And with its glass sides

And made in the fold of the

This mine”

His.

 

URGENT LOVE

Waiting for you outside the stones of an old hotel

Looking for your face among the crowds passing by

Smile and you’ve come and then urgent love

Away from all my ties

Locking and smooth inside the cold plaster done white

Breathing in your eyes above the noise in the street

Catch and your taste inside

A shame to hide

Parting and thus goodbye the time has left us alone

Sweetly the love stolen each week in the afternoon

Stress and the fear so carefully washed

In shame so soon

 

THE GHOSTS CAME OUT TO PLAY TONIGHT

The ghosts came out to play tonight

Better than that better told that

And laughing kissed the day away

Than that to that than that

Special, such property in this

Goodnight the dancers, this night was good,

Wisdom, yet another sweet waltz,

Found out but uncovered can we

Cold snaps your fingers off the radio said

That was good

The radio bled another night into

Wireless ether, every one.

The dogs stood up to dance tonight,

Circling their ways

And touched the other men not now

Some of them never stay

Dog radio days, wise waltzing ways.

Dog radio days, why dance amaze.

 

ENERGY ENERGY

Above the noise of the night flight and yet there was a time when these things…

Excitement, thoroughly driven

Still not at the opening of the times were loved in

As incitement.

You all provoked me.

Far away, should the countryside never reach

Lost inheritance, such circumstance

Could never deride thus abide

The spectacle born within birth

Paid for and receipted

Time within a clock

We owe for the energy, used and driven in.

 

ALBINO

A rabbit stands by his ears

And counts them one two three

Although he’s white and generally bright

He loves his ears two three

Falling backwards at the half

Those ears fall, see two three

Thus loves the rabbit counting ears

To prove he can count three.

 

THE SWEAR SONG

O shit knackers arsehole tit cunt

Fucking Sunday Bolochy Monday Shitty Tuesday Balls to Wednesday Thursday ain’t no sodding laugh

Friday I farted in my red hot bath B

ut on Saturday (o) I loved it (o)

Saturday is my cunting fun day

Not like fucking Sunday O shit knackers arsehole tit cunt

 

LAUGHING SPAM

Laughing Spam is a jovial man

Who picks a fight whenever he can

He can munch all his lunch

And he packs a mighty punch

Drinks from a pot while it is hot

And when he hits you he laughs a lot

See him run with his gun

Shooting people in the bum

He’s six foot tall that ain’t all

Six foot wide and lots of gall

And my song it must end

Cos laughing Spam’s come round the bend

 

WE’LL

We’ll turn it out

We’ll churn it out

We’ll learn it

And then perhaps my friend

We’ll burn it

We’ll seek it out

We’ll dig it out

We’re meek

And then perhaps my friend

We’ll eke it out

 

THE COOL SCENE

The cool scene beats generations betrayed and sold

A fast outlet with Aristotle’s poor cave being cold

A hazy sea of lie; a fat head chin upon finger

The short breaths of violent sparks; distilled actions linger.

What if we sat cross legged

Looking at the inside wall of the cave

And outside people passed by tall and free

Carrying cardboard people plastic dogs and

We inside only see the shadows

Must it be a shame; behold and see the complexity.

Contorted posings giving a feeling

An idea of orgasm

We bounce like a ball in a box never ever free

And the magic only wakens in spasms.

Loving time we were not fair

We spend in cold and central caves with no ideas

Hazy we linger in our actions

And the fat becomes us

Look and see look and see

See through all eternity

Turn the pages Shadows free

Bounce like a ball in the box,

For the magic fails to waken

Even in spasms.

 

ONCE SANG A SONG

Once sang a song and sang it through the night

Dancing in the wintertime would make our evenings bright

But the then sun came and drove away the night

Leaving only widow’s tears in the starless white

And although she’s gone now I still feel the pain

And so I laugh and sing now but don’t feel the same

Watch my body feel the pain breathing ice cold air

Oh so cold with frozen lips there’s nothing I can share.

Once sang another song but it didn’t change

A song of love a song of joy we sang the song again

But then the sun came and drove away the white

Leaving only darkened lips in a starless night

Now she has left me but I feel the pain

Though I laugh and dance and sing I’m really not the same

For the empty feelings blessed with ice and air

Tells me with each breath I draw there is nothing I can share

(acknowledgements to Chris Calcroft who wrote:- Once knew a woman who didn’t want to know Dancing in the winter we were happy in the snow But then the sun came and blew away the snow Leaving only melting tears to fight the summers glow (or at least that is what I think he wrote).

BIRTH WINDOW

Animals circle at speed

Sweat pours from her brow

Not another new creation

The mice are gabbling their need

To the maze of eaves that show

No response or vibration

She is amazed at the ease of conceiving new life

Hard hit to be heard T

he careless midwife says “Birth’s the word

Inhale forward wit”

 

THE UNION BAR

Pip

Sweet oranges make my mouth sore

But apples give me more

I don’t like to waste but I have no taste

So I’ll eat the apple core

Steve

If I ever make a woman for love

I’ll never give her any liver

Colin

Affy topple happy poffle

Poffy tapple

Toffee Apple

John

Quack quacked the duck in the library

As he welshed upon a bet

I didn’t have a duck opener

So took it to the vet

Red Keith

In my head it’s all red I

t’s so truenion at the union

But I’d rather stay in bed

 

CELEBRATION

Words not used

Thoughts not pictured

A meal of gold and old pewter

Crested trees

Moonleaves;

I ate a star by mistake.

Grief lost in bloom, why late you star is mistake.

I slept these many years

And your rounded body

Kept me away.

Tombstone.

Carved head

Stand at my feet, can never used

To taste again

 

URGENT LOVE

Wait…outside the old hotel I’ve been waiting for you to show

Smile… now you are come along

Then inside for urgent love

I’ve never enjoyed her love

Yours is sweet but our encounter is brief

I’ll never be free of her

And yet you’ll wait

Love… we lie inside the bed

And to those whom we love least

Come… I will love you again

Here now more urgent love

I’ve never enjoyed her love

Yours is sweet but our encounter is brief

I’ll never be free of her

And yet you’ll wait

Time… Soon we will both be gone

We’ll be waiting to meet again

Come love,

I’ll wash your fragrance off

If we’re found out that wouldn’t do

I’ve never enjoyed her love

Yours is sweet but our encounter is brief

I’ll never be free of her

And yet you’ll wait

 

THE FALL

John is in the attic

Thank you Albert

John lives in the attic.

Yesterday his old buddy

Fell down the stairs into the cellar

To ferment

Now dusted off to greet his old pal.

He sometimes complains that his son

Is not up there with him

Giving the comforts required by age

Wishing He would lay off the whore next door

He is in the attic

Sharing the only bed with me.

 

DRINK WHILE YOU MAY

She found a broken mess of stars

In the cupboard under the stairs

She could not speak to them

Or even play with them

As hard as she tried

They tangled in her hair

Her files were full of people

Who only had a name

A claim in the rough hills

Decays in a forgotten dream

The pick is forgotten

The prop is forgotten

A laugh is a ghost that sounds

Through the wires of old machines

The names are full of people

Who only have a file

Walk alone arm in arm

Through the rooms of the old hotel

Fall beneath the earth and ashes for a spell

The world is full of people

 

MEETING TIMES

In hollow twilight will you meet Tommy singing on the beach

Poor Tommy sins but Tommy’s mad

Leave him reflecting where the water is sad

Our pond is stagnant, it is dull

You touched him you touched him

Enough, in my sleep I scream enough

It falls in the evening

Awakening it falls

The failure the traitor

Arriving in time with the acrobat

That falls

Blow blow you summer

Across the clear beyond

It falls before my failure

Spiteful tonight

The rain from the sky falls into our eyes

Yes it falls in the evening it falls and fails me

Before my awakening it falls and fails me

The ships lights fell on the shiny sea, westwards

“He fell in the evening, he fell and failed me

Before my awakening he fell and betrayed me”

Tommy laughs

“He has merely betrayed me”

Tommy sins

“Yes he has failed me”

In hollow twilight will you meet Tommy singing on the beach

Poor Tommy sins but Tommy’s mad

Leave him reflecting where the water is sad

 

THE OFFER

Missed heart beats, speed thrashed out.

In the roads, where the sun lives, there

Let it hang from the vines

And its shadows cast, wine is given, here.

Winter bread, can all these times have so little to offer ?

And you will hold me, won’t you Mary ?

Cast steel spins, born around

By shelter, how the men live, there

Let them fly in the sky

For they tremble fear, tie in freedom there.

I’ll offer I’ll offer and you’ll hold me.

Do not leave me in this silent life

There is no music to fire me, nor earth to bury me

No sweet daughters to soften me

Do not let the music die tonight.

Missed heart beats, speed thrashed out.

By shelter, how the men live, there

I’ll offer I’ll offer and you’ll hold me.

You will hold me please Mary.

If I were a hunchback I would wear loose fitting shirts

If I were a blind man I would count the stars

Play with me, do not let me slip into you

Without protest play with me, my body will do the rest,

Play with me and let each ounce earn its keep

Play with me and forage deep. Touch me play, and I’ll offer

Touch me play, and I’ll rest

Touch me play together

And Mary will do the rest.

 

WIGMORE STREET

Those sad blue eyes

A little scuddy, now, appealing

Simple, gaudy, the professional

Counting her money in the side room,

Hoping to have enough for…

That is her business

Quick pumps for such handy work

The mouth that faces pleasure

Too subtle too much alone to care for feelings

Me ? Never more than a sturdy amateur

But it is nearly on its way it is Hurrah.

Came.

And the messy shame of it

Cleansed by the catholic soap.

I wean on other milk

And inhale deeply but once into the world.

 

THE WALKER

Struggling down the street he polished his glasses

And did not embrace his brother drowning in a puddle of the pavement Could not catch the sunshine

As it sparkled in the park

His coloured friend had placed it there

Hoping it might last

But all things die

Within these walls our walker made paintings

In these fine walls he laid down his lines

A tree dead clover green river

But the lines that fell into the sky

Were of a scarlet giver

Created by the walker

ON THE WINDLESS BAY

I would love to dance my arms aloft

Rushing in beat to the opened space

Weaving the threads of time and days

On the windless bay

I would love to speak in melodies

Painting my pictures with sounds from my mouth

Defeating the questions that always arise

On the windless bay I would love to see the view below

Making the ship that forms the shape

That strikes the images of time

On the windless bay

 

MAGICIAN

Magician comes

Enter the night

O yes he comes

Destroying light

He changes hearts must it always be this

Turn you to ice, so you too can be him

Go to him, he’ll love you true

Go to him, he’ll thrust his serpents in your womb

Magician comes, I never even knew

Magician whose fingers are blue

Sweet Jesus came

Brought with him light Sweet Jesus here Destroying night….

 

SHE, KAY, F. & ME

She smiled at me with a restless eye

I kissed her crippled lips

Listlessly I had a weird day I spoke to Kay

And wrote to F who died yesterday

Five years ago I confused love with my meaningless rule

Made a fuss, “scurrilous”

I sprang a leak.

PASSION PLAY

Full eyed, you blossomed in my mouth,
Such elastic energy
You ran through my arms, unsprung,
Dancing beneath my body
Hard I wandered through your tongue
Lips that would kindle
As I thrust through your skin
Where you let me in
Tender mother of tonight
Bend, thirsty, you let me
You, stormy, afflicted, fearful loved.
You control while I dominate you, clever girl
This is blood well spent.


1989

One hundred and one years ago
In a part of the world I have never seen
My grandfather
(Whom I have never seen)
Was born
One year ago
In a room I knew so very well
My mother
(Who I never saw well enough)
Died.
And between I lay, lay my father
Lay my sisters.
And sure, certain of all of them
(We like to close our eyes in our family)
Perfection.
This year this very time
My mother’s country
(O she told us the stories)
My grandfather’s land he defended and lost
(O we knew the stories)
Yes those lands
Are free

COLLECTION

We were collecting ashes for the cage
Sighing, Ironwater, I
Held your hand turned your face, wound your arm
Hazel lights
Tatters of memory
The wilderness seems futile this year
Last year my crops
Isolation and very hungry
The wind was to blame
I am blind
He is a dead man
Everything is wrong without gold
Rainbow
Not in the wind
Without storage or learning
And I am sorry
Very sorry for the trouble I caused
I will not blow again
this year.

IN CELEBRATION OF THE CRUCIFIXION: A GOSPEL


  1. White sandstone and the well was one. Victory solemnly. Soapy earth where water sprung and heaven’s chimes rung.
  2. A bird in crazy flight the phoenix pursued her and food sent seed spiralled down deep inside the well as her anguished cried in death.
  3. Centuries, the tree grew far higher than the well. Its roots filled and fed and leafed until it died, the ash white planed by sun and wind rain bark fell grown out of the white sandstone a dead tree.
  4. From the hills it looked like a dead mother.
  5. Holy men, passing traveller, showing the nails and the blood stains against the white, until the reality dissolved, desecrate, sorrowful, and mourned as they wrapped the evidence, far away from sight
  6. O I wrote it all down, just as it happened, just as men have always written it down, just as it happened. So I would not forget. That is what I do.
  7. This is the testament, the evidence and the truth. By its nature, unassailable, by its word enduring.
GOODBYE JAN

Time to go girl
Love is so girl
Very hard to keep us kind
Time to kiss me
Time to miss me
Time to have you on my mind

I always will remember
These times we kept together
Goodbye Jan
I always will remember…

Must not hold you
Cannot hold you
We might be seen outside the town
Got to hide girl
For a while girl
In a place I can’t be found

I always will remember
These times we kept together
Goodbye Jan
I always will remember…
These times we kept together
Can’t forget you
Won’t forget you
Never ever felt so bad
Wish I kept you
Hadn’t let you
Let me leave you feel so bad

Morning in the city
Has touched me but it won’t affect me Jan
And so we say goodbye girl
You’re telling me goodbye, Jan.


CHANGED BY THE LADY OUTSIDE

Cold lady young lady standing by the door
Whisper your promises with your eyes
Like a doll.
To sleep with you would break me in two.
Inchoate crimes afflict my peace
Not the King’s but mine here now
Like a word
Left unspoken in the tide of casual work.
I have wasted so much time
With this pantomime.
Breathing so much recently
Yet you never came into anything but income.
There is no-one in the gully of this dark city’s face
The wind that blew this city once now blows over me
Dreams that tumble over nature’s breath now deliver me.
Copy the ten dollar bill
See it run
Ink melts into finger tips
Tips melt in the sun
The bones bleached.
Torch light and winter sun
Come along to feel with me
We can touch where we belong
Sailing wildly on winter’s sea
We shall pass our dreams away
Thus we show dreams running free
See our proud and good dreams pray
To throw the nightmare into sea
Holding bodies clutching tight
Gentle sea to have us there
Can we fire the wayward night
Salt wind dancing in our hair
But my dream still breaks when the morning sun
Leaves me empty when you don’t come.


OLD MEXICO

The canyons and the hamlets
The scrublands and the desert
Hot and dry and dusty
On the Southbound stagecoach
The Churches and the cactus
The heroes and the cattle
Companions tell the stories
Of phantoms of Old Mexico
Starwheels and the water
The Padre and the dieing
The strongbox and the peasants
And you have lost your journey
You are frightened in Old Mexico




LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS- HOLDING HANDS AND COURTING

Sequences:
In the light of all
On this
Dedicated I begin
The leaning teacher taught on me
With wand and finger sport on me
I stared at the man who threw
A lump of cold clay
He thought he taught me that
And told me today we will make a cat with clay.
Today we will make it of clay.
Can a song be the thing ? I cannot sing
Elias:
Fortune met old Elias in the doorway
(Was he out stepping in or in stepping out?)
Where clutched him, raising his voice above the darkness
Black wind darkness why have I forsaken you?
Elias thus to Mary
His mother’s child in bondage
A city of the night time
And daughter of the morning
Red ice darkness why have I forsaken you?
Elias grew; food of tears
In each of those reflected years
And stole from me; stealing is wrong
But I have stolen from everyone
Fortune, darkness, why have I forsaken you?
Amazon:
Came and went but Elias he died
I cut to welcome
Pensively
Again:
Reputedly, level headed proven guilt?
See old man what time has done
While outside in the easy street a coldness rings
And passion leaps, so proven dry it does not matter
A man is fire, a woman water, and couples rarely live in laughter
But my mind still turns and swirls in the beat
And my tongue is dry when I think of the heat
Never ending chain of pain, happen here again
Conception:
Scorn cares it is there
I can mouth words
But not speak immediately
Discovery:
He told me
“I have shown you each dimension
And you know by me that eternity
Is but a light in the night of time
And still there is fire
It burns with every movement
And cries within each moment
For all your cares you walk the night
But it will never lend its light”
Old man old man you have made me angry.
Ending:
I go to die
And do not lie
I walk and run
I bleed
I am free
You cannot be
As free as me
You cannot be me
And we cannot see
Beyond the facade of infinity
Beyond lies you
She too lies
Just like me
The end:
The end is tangled water
The end is the laughter of my Mistress
The end is not my Mistress.
The end is not
My Mistress

LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS – ENGAGEMENT AND THE RING

Starting again:
I danced in London Town
The bridge was taken down
The river steamed
The money gleamed
The race an empty sound
Talked carefully for them
Among the Jews, among the agents
Wheeling their conceits
Limping through the city’s seas
As graceful as a grin
With palms that itched and hands that grabbed
I fought and ate the dust
Renovating Homelessness
According references to instants
Thanking receipts
And the tears of my Mistress fell into the gutter
Which savagely drained into the river
Where women waited in flood.
The Trial:
The sea was as clear as white rum
But mucky barges lighted onwards
I carried my dunnage in my pocket
Pass the port, December,
With you old chap.
Amongst the gates dead soldiers lie
Amongst the death their bodies sigh
When touched by those afraid to die
And join the stench of sleep.
Touch, and the sun dies
Touch, and the wind hears
Show us God in the city’s dust
Another port, my love, another time.
The port is with you, December.
Touchstone watersand lifeblood of toyland
They will not listen and could not dance
And would not chance the dance
They will not fear and could not chance
And would not dance the dance
In the beginning was the violence of December
In the beginning was the violence of this silent cold December
In the beginning was the violence and the silence of December
My mistress began with the ocean
Then started on the sea
My Mistress began with the ocean
And then in December
In the silent cold December
My Mistress turned to me.
My Mistress began with the ocean
Then frolicked with the sea
She stunned the fluid silence
And then at last in December
My Mistress turned on me

LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS: MARRIAGE TIMES

Enough
I scream enough
In my sleep I scream enough
Awake I scream enough
Whimsical volatile smiling
Between the boulders acrobat
And lengthener of knots
Blow, blow you summer
Humility gone
Lost madness, kindling wind
Hail our redeemer save for her
Coarse recognised, save the corpse.
(Of course you have looked after yourself
My skin is pitted with dust in its pores
But see how well soaped is my hair)
And there where we once lay lies nothing
Not the cold earth of the grave
Not the empty times gone long spent
There lies nothing.
At the boundaries, here, a little more here,
And again here, where they stayed,
Were frightened lawyers huddling together for comfort
Such recognition
And passed as they stopped to hail with the passing.
Pour out with haste, much; much too late
And in the spiteful night
I did my best and stumbled on
It was so cold to stop and talk
Needed the desert monarch.
The end was a frame but Mistress
Why did you then stop laughing
Sitting on the bed
Counting with the Count
Take care take care
Over over here
Pour out into the spiteful night
There where the green hills fall
On the wall the setting sun
Down past spitting fighting town
They jumped and bumped the good men down
And over they tumble they call for a crown
They acrobat tumbling down.
Can you retract the good men ?
Can you touch away and feel the sheets
Rubbing precious the good men?
Can they all disengage ?
For the ladies who danced and laughed
And tangled the essence of drought
And sought to abort the endemic retort
Of the ladies so taut and distraught?
There there, there is not enough
To feed all those who demand
For the silence is plenty and plenty enough
There, there, there, there, that’s enough
And the corn in the fields and the rice in the store
And the mice fed fat with the grain
And the holy men stop us arranging the corn
To the old and the young and new born.
There is not enough corn
There is not enough corn
To feed the demands of the born.
And we stop the parade
As the feel of the rain pours down its forlorn story
We will not witness this
And will not permit this
There cannot yet still be enough.
Count the faces that watch the parade
They are leaving and turning away
They are hurrying past
And are moving and fast they
Empty the streets and the stores.
The lonely man at the grand piano
Cannot play, hands tied and eyes burnt
Must not try to coax music out of the keys, she commands it.
And like a ball of fluff, blows away,
As neatly as dust.

LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS:TRYING TO PROCREATE

Here once more again:
The well trod books read until the pages fell out
The glue in their spines
Limpid now then stiff
Read them enough and you will
Kiss them
When you pick them up
How your wrists are strong
You can flush me hard
Never, never stop
And your little lines and the joy
We touched each other, never meant more
Smoothing blubber in your moods
Stiff and white and skinny
Eyes that hid your art
Teach me what you did to me girl
Sitting on trains
Waiting for my turns
Wanting nothing but to star
Rattling from side to side
Teach me with your mouth
Pressing your tenderness
Breasts you filled with smiles
Do what you never could bring yourself to do
Passing passing passing
In adulterous dreams
Turn away your hair
Toss your G String down
It is all there where you wanted
I am a drug but you are
Frightened to lower your mouth
You can fuck me well
How I hate your smell
Close to equal me
Mind touch stimulate you lending library
Without a penalty
Let me touch your breasts
Small confine the joy
Dance around my eyes
Athletic, I will toss aside my cares
If you promise to pick up my caution, guard it,
Return it with my heart
Eat my heart
For the ride was with the times well spent
And the touch of the slopes and the hill
And the thrust of the flow
And the stuttering joy and the run and the fun as I come
Yet the pleasures and thrills never measured to her
That I praise each day of my sentence
For the mistress who does not make love.
For the lady who does not make love.
The lady that lady this lady my lady the lady
Who does not make love
You should not write such: these are secrets
The ladies are married- their children even yet
Begin to explore the bodies they meet
It is not fair-they did not give you
What you forced for public exhibition
But my Mistress is jealous; she hates them all
Draws pictures to tease me of their faults
And will not let me ride again
She will not let me ride anew
Haunt me
Please.
Yet the pleasures and thrills never measured to her
That I praise each day of my sentence
For the mistress who does not make love.
For the lady who does not make love.
The lady that lady this lady my lady the lady
Who does not
Make
Love

LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS - MIDDLE AGED FANTASIES

The Complaint:
We grow old together, she much older than me
Is young to all her suitors.
My bones ache.
Her face is lined, mine is wrinkled. The hair grows unevenly, and we
Fail to touch together as perfectly
As we grow old together
There are places of fat around my waist,
I feel her bodyfat, touchingly
Seething with hate for the years that are gone
Because they left us
I hate them I hate them for failing to stay
Each day we are a little louder of each other
In our peculiar personal ways
I cannot fly
I take care when I climb the stair
I have grown careless of her
Still we dance stiffly
Cracking arthritic joints
Until the blood pours inside
To lubricate our dance
When we stop
Our bloods congeal
We stop arthritic
In our dance
O, I followed her into the mountain
Where her caves flowed into tunnels
Deep into the earth
Return into the earth
Let him return into the earth
From whence he came
He will be happy with his cold mother.
High above the earth her rivers flow
Between the hills and there below
The good mother earth stays her hand
To see the resting dancers stand
Trying to learn new dances
Trying to sing new songs
Trying to find a piece of earth
Where we can both belong
Bury her in the mountains
Bury her in the sea
Bury her when the dancing stops
Bury her inside me.
And she holds me
I hold my breath
Waiting for my edges to turn yellow.
Chorus:
We talked of many fine things
Treasures lay buried, pleasures lay there
We spun, wearing gossamer things
Forever would stay her, forever feel this
Lady, I call you to come
Lady I call you to stand at my side
Lady I call you to come
The waiting and hoping is nearly all done
The illness:
Suffer not to him
Not like this you butchers bones
Too marrowless for gruel
And the dogs crawl quietly away when they smell
My cancer in the air
Illusions, yes, I will be well
Times long spent, hoping, clicking my fingers
Staring at the walls of so many different hospital rooms
When my life is completed
I shall be deleted
One way the fire
The other way the night
Chorus:
We talked of many fine things
Treasures lay buried, pleasures lay there
We spun, wearing gossamer things
Forever would stay her, forever feel this
Lady, I call you to come
Lady I call you to stand at my side
Lady I call you to come
The waiting and hoping is nearly all done
The Ceremony:
Lizards scatter here, in this dry place
Where we are ready to start the event.
This will not happen to you again
This is special my dear
See the fit, remarkably well
Thirty inches wide, and that is enough
None in extra large (the cancer does that)
None in anything you have worn before
For your size has now changed
And no-one will sleep with you now
Not even for money.
Chorus:
We talked of many fine things
Treasures lay buried, pleasures lay there
We spun, wearing gossamer things
Forever would stay her, forever feel this
Lady, I call you to come
Lady I call you to stand at my side
Lady I call you to come
The waiting and hoping is nearly all done
I have reached the fifth age. My hair
Once long and proud now
Trimmed to perfection
An insurrection in parts of my body
Succeeded in bringing down its governance
An unholy alliance of Churchmen and whores.
Together sipping our ancient sherry
Clinking our glasses of heavy sweet wine
Wishing for times when we had long hair
Stuttering as we walk upstairs more
Slowly than before
Five; I am five. I am alone and by myself in the world.
I can find no relief
In the ways of a thief
Or sleep in the nights of pastiche.
I once had a man
Who would lend me a world
If he had it to spare in his pockets
The favours are called
And he man is long gone;
I will buy him his tombstone tomorrow.
Debts:
Pay my debts
Please pay what I owe; I will not repay it to you
Pay my debts
Clear my accounts; I need to continue to do.
The dwarf sat ready
For Darkness and Pain
Promised to enter his lodgings again
The dwarf sat ready
What else could he do
Darkness and pain would see him through
Satan stood there outside the door
Satan cavorting with our dwarf’s whore.
Exit:
Time to go time to sow
Time to turn your collars up
Before the wind blows.

LIFE WITH MY MISTRESS-OLDEN TIMES




15 January 1994:

A decade has succeeded Orwell
Senseless night, highest time,
All will calm our restlessness
Surround the girl, take her into your heart
Large young being coming into the bright
Wake it is time for action
Must not let the dull drag you down
Excuses, excuses I bring you money and you bring excuses
To prevent me from gathering
My feelings
I follow myself
(the lead man goes first)
watch me follow myself.
Brightness, cannot stand still
Let it all happen, whatever it will
It cannot destroy me, my destiny’s done
Whatever it chances I’ll find it has run
Two lives, one here where I worry and grope
One elsewhere where there is good fun and hope
To live in two bodies is not very hard
Watch me I do it with ease
Starlings flying west, towards the fibre satellite
One thousand flights of fancy in the night
The birds eyes see downwards the strangest of sights
The tops of the trees, the houses in plan
The scars of the earth on the body of man
Love child, love kind kindle in me
The feelings of pleasure of high majesty
The feelings of peace
From heaven on high
The feelings of love from the corners of her eyes
Let her wait, let her wait, there will once be a time
Let her wait for the city to swallow the lime
Let her wait for the corpse on the woods and the bell
That rings for us all let her wait for her hell.
Let her wait in her portrait, like all excellent wives
Let her wait with her message, and I’ll wait by her side.
Here we start the time
Now the clock runs
Like mice around the shelf
Or mantle capes and spices
Trigger
Turn
Sharp
We have to learn our lessons
We will achieve our lessons
To teach them to you
Yes that is what we will do
We will sing them to you, my dear.
Faster, pull the boy fast
He drowns in the middle
Of his very own message
Pull the boy faster away
This is the time
When we will, being old
Remember and say what turned the tide
No matter it turned.
Pull the boy faster
He wants to learn.
(Forgive the Roc
For he has taught
Within the door
Intrusively)
Here now my dearest while we are young enough
Half way gone more than half nearly done
Quite enough life in me left
Row the child towards tomorrow
Get him there today
Wind his watches clean his laces
Set him out to play
For
The river storms up and burst its banks
Flooding the lowland meadow
The cows are wet the cars are sunk the garden leaf a shadow
The cows are wet the cars are done
The starters will not work
There is fish in the milk and milk in the tank
And the river is full of mirth.
Quietly, you’ll disturb the dead
And you must not do that
The penalty is a life sentence.
Thus the teacher taught
Catechism daily spent itself
Learning its time as I stumbled under
The weight of the teacher;
We stumble asunder.
Modelling with the material
The right medium
The most effective communicator
The cat:
I had a cat I moulded in clay and dust and ashes too
I tried to breath life into his lungs
But failed I could not do
What the almighty did
My breath wrecked the cat
It grew longer and thinner
Its tail sprouted eight children
Its smile sprouted
I doubted whether it loved me
My cat my instrument
Share him with me deep
Inside him his sinews his tendons
His muscles wrapped in perfect
Athletic sheafs.

THE TRUST

In the far corners of each earth where there are
No tireless eyes
And cigarettes burn into
Fire tires necklace style
Because we care yes watch us care
To forfeit this our gain
Forget the star that fabled us
In days when fame became us
Come again; the dinner dance of light
Come again, the earth is burning bright
Come again; the men are turning
Yes Bedlam here, yes nurses fear, yes all the madmen run
The long thin halls and wired walls; see how the madmen run.
Everywhere
In every head
On each peculiar hair.
Eating
As the eyes pluck themselves
Such clear brown eyes
Making the message clear (can you clarify?)
Feed them, and their eyes shine, feed them and their hair stands
Feed themselves upon the corpses of their children
Give them blood, their mothers’ blood and offer all they need.
The cup held high aloft
That was his vessel, that was his right
That was the man who held that light
That lit up our night.
Yes Bedlam here, yes nurses fear, yes all the madmen run
The long thin halls and wired walls; see how the madmen come
Away.

FAMILY

Five sisters, none of them older than you
Sighing denying
Change in the wind their crying
Weeping grieving
When you want them to
Four brothers, none of them keener than you
Golden wooden
Boxed in a cedar coffin
Harden crashing
Taut and tired for you
Three fathers, none of them kinder than you
Minding, finding
Careworn and corn is chaffing
Learned sterned men
See how they love to do
Two mothers, one of them kindled you
Charming disarming
Weep as the growing harming
Sowing and showing
Life for the dance for two
One God, one, yea one; none of Him lonely as you
One God, you God
Tired in the rush of battle
Trampled in the fear of passing
One and one makes two
God and you makes too.

MINDING

I would love to dance my arms aloft
Rushing in beat to the opened space
Weaving the threads of time and days
On the windless lake

I would love to speak in melodies
Painting my pictures with sounds from my mouth
Defeating the questions that always arise
On the windless lake

I would love to see the view below
Creating the vessel forming the shape
Striking the images of time
On the windless lake

WHAT IS IT

What is it now, the old man is dying,
The never ending misery of his breathing
As he struggles vainly for death
How can it be, the once strong frame expiring
Wheezing and discolouring
As he tries to pull in his breath
A hero my father my light
You feel puzzled that you feel weak weak
Surprised that death should be like this.
For all the ways that you can suffer
Why do you think that
At three in the morning I fear for him
At ten in the morning I hear from him.
The phone is grabbed quickly.
He picks it then pauses,
Coughs wheezes splutters
So I know he is ill.
“Robert do not worry
No need to worry
I had my life”
God bless him.
May I live forever.

WISHES

I wish an American University
A seat of scholastic learning
Would ask me to keep
Every scrap of paper
That I ever make
Notes on.
My computer would have a fit
It would need a new disk
It would find a new programme
For storing the paper
Then, at the end of each month
I would periodically expel my paper
Swiftair delivery to the United States
Where literary virgins
Would assemble and dissemble
My scrawling tampons
They would pay me
Large sums (I would modesty note them
See collector of taxes money thus gained
Is so awfully easy
To declare for the tax)
I would modestly make speeches
Make speeches humbly
At Mrs Foyles’ luncheons
About the behaviour
Of those American dons.
Curious people, those American dons.
Me from where the air is dusty with stale cheese
Stealing a mouthful
There the rinds of bacon gather flies in the boxes
Where flat chested women
With glasses
Pass for the beautiful girls of the beach
Me from whom the keys have been hidden
Would be proud to assume
Mantle of fame
For the string vest of destiny
Bought for a bargain
Bought for a bargain
When I was young.

CASTLE

There are but two
sisters sitting
One higher one lower one not at all
Two little dears ageing but painted
One is mine and the other is there.
If a leaning tower leans on a tower
And battles never fought echo round
Peace places, deathly faces, subtle rides and curious races
Here and there and now.
Here the Lord
Of Castle Town
Out of his armour
Dug a pit
Clay sides
With steep walls
Baked ovens
Well cooked on special
Bricks laid
on fire
Build it high.
Can a building be a poem?
Can a Castle be a home?

CUSTOM

Stormy and the heat arises, rain washed gutters
Now dry and parched, the city lawns and arid rose bush
Peeps out, startled bare and stark
These are the times we feared
Made in the times of madness
These are the moments when the taxman collects
For the madness
Simply and she tangled inside as they questioned
She drank too much; the city slaked her thirst.
I advise: slowly, or the men will get you
These are the times we feared
Born out of times of madness
These are the moments when they all line up
To collect for the madness
And I left her there, weeping as she caught her train home.
The dusty station was enough, I could not face her platform
I did not take her to her platform
The feeling was enough
These are the partings I feared
A long journey is always too much
She must travel; the fare is paid in madness
Times ago.

I COULD DIE TONIGHT 25TH OCTOBER 1976

I would see lions in my death walking
Across my corpse, slowly watching it decompose
I must not think of these things
I compose myself and look at the flies in the glass
Cold glass warm sun and across Africa
Would you ask me if I can decide
To revise and advise?
Will you ask of me
When I die?
Seeing my body
Surrendering
Into the circle and across the cool wide plain
Where Africa sits behind me
And I rot in the bowels of the Earth
One day I shall plant my seed inside the air of the sky
Instead of the bowels of the earth
Can we see each other you and I
As we walk across the sky. Like a patient girl
Spreading amok across a centrefold
Looking nearly young, flapping old
If you look at her with a medical lens
You can see her kidneys, dripping urine
Into the wine glass labia.

PLEASE

Please play to me I am in need of you all
Can feel for me and my plucked heart
Finds your picking sympathetic
And less. And less. Can you either find me
Or either lose my independent plasma.
Do you want me poor, fallen or not at all?
Let it not be not at all
Let it not be never at all
Let it not be at all at all
Please talk to me. I am in need of soft talk
And would hear your voice in my throat telling
Such things as may never be heard by your ears
Do you love me as I am or as I will not become?
Let it be as I will not become
Let it be as I will not become at all
Let it be
Wave your flag or your spear but disappear
I have felt enough for now and will
Feel later, but never with you.

THE SEED

Dandelions scatter seed
Into the wind to wrest with nature
And chance the spinning of the earth
A night’s movement may prove less than truth
I am no flower
I am no fighter
I am no lover
When she brings me the temple’s water’s
And tells me rest pursuit
Laughs my weapons, hides my armour,
And lets me speak the truth
Then I will carry
I will be the sun
And subdue quietly
In harmony we’ll kiss the sunrise
Together we will touch the wind
I’ll love the apple, open window
And breath her body as she lets me in.

FOR DYLAN: MAGIC

To begin where you ended
(Why Dylan Thomas, were you pulled
From your dream to a neon light scene?)
It is still winter and a lump
Of sun may make you in Reasonland
Forget cold fingers that snapped in February
Till you remembered
Your nearly final line
An invisible cripple man
Whose crutch you stole thus teaching him to walk
Unnoticed.

POST SCRIPT

The wings of a membrane
Obvious oblivion
Brings travelling doors home
Stayed prison.
Butterfly blessings
Lessens barred walls
Long is nearly the same as tall
With my finger or any membrane
I will stop the sun at noon.
But my sleeping books lie on the shelf,
Say, can a man condemn himself?
Can a woman bleed each moon?
Can then beating wings find home soon?

SQUARES

I have hunted the greatest number permitted me,
Consolidated what I have seen in my spleen
Perhaps the gesture
Is a little belated
Can Edward the King
Rule the realm much longer?
A wiser man than you
But one who never went to school
I passed a policeman in the street
I smile at everyone I meet
Judge Rudi Kipper wrote another tale
I spluttered when I read it
And my laughter fell down a drain in the street
(I smile at everyone I meet)

MUSIC OF THE PARTS

Eyelids pull at the sockets
The face is older than tomorrow in tears
It drags in the morning rain and never
Lifeless future
Pink of tears
The blue smoke has disappeared
Quiet while your mind is falling from your head
The body frozen quick fingers
Never moved
Now are dead
Must feel those colours
Ah, they swim so deep in the lead
And the meaning you thought so little
Often starved
Now is fed.

THE LAST SONG

Soft eyes show a heavy face
Scarlet in the evening
Grieving tomorrow’s pain
We must sometimes forget today
For all the human race
Deafened by our speaking
Needing forgiveness from the rain
I give you time to play
This must be the place
Doing all my breathing
If I kill it will I feel the same
By knowing what to say?

LAST WEEK

You were not in the school clock
Nor the coffee bar, nor night in winter
Yet I thought I saw you in those places
I thought I saw you there.
Look you are not in the sky.
Library lecturing, drunk Friday
Before you I spewed then to love
You are sleeplessness fighting
I was drunk on Friday.
Look you are not in the sky.
Inviting thighs, scant clad welcome
Sad because you thought you a giving
But I was a stealing
Except nothing of value, I should have grabbed
What you gave. Look I am not in the sky.

FIREFLIES

Fireflies
Jumping upon the bumpy June Road
Just fireflies
Shouting and jousting their way in the night
See them fireflies
Meeting and greeting and eating and drinking
The June Road forks, one to July, one to Camelot
One hotter and harder, one young and dew ridden
Watch them fun
In their indecision
Shall we move towards to death of November
Or dance to Merlin’s Art?
Fireflies rumping plumping gadzooks hunting
Fireflies wasting away
And the Magician weaves his path
To December death: Camelot is shut
It’s just a short cut.


SUMMERDANCE

Gazing at you
(Eating your lunch and showing your proud nest
And) looking up at me
I saw your eyes blush.
Together I danced for you,
O the dance that I learnt years ago.
I still know the steps and you, yes you know
You need not fear
For the meaning of feeling and
Being and loving and touching and dancing for you.
In the night we would have smoked once,
Each of us
But now
Walk talk move, set cross word puzzles
Playing and pushing your welcome
And dancing for me, as I applaud
I pine when we are a part of and at the same time.
Yes
I sent you roses you sent me toothpaste
yes
All the way across the ocean
Yes
Toothpaste and roses flying at each other.
The nights (have we made it, did we get away?)
The afternoons (I face your tea)
The evenings (our skirmishing)
The mornings not enough mornings not nearly enough.
Together I danced for you,
O the dance that I learnt years ago.
I still know the steps and you, yes you know
You need not fear
For the meaning of feeling and
Being and loving and touching and dancing for you
My heart beats a little faster when I see you waiting for me
My skin pulls a little tighter when I smell you ready for me
I rub my fingers through your lovely hair
I drink deep of you, and inhale into my body holding you there
For once would have smoked.
O together I danced for you.

SHADOWS OF CLEVELAND

In the shadows of Cleveland
Where the sun never reaches no matter the season
I saw her bustling
Her eyes shiny
Hair streaked beauty
Surrounded by her fawning followers
Bathed in the sun
Here in the night time of summer
At the still silent doorway
I would have smoked once
Tossing my match at her
Watching the fire die before it hits the pavement
Long before the wood
Could ever touch her
Never again
She half dances into a taxi
Our number one winner
Our woman of love
And our lady of time
And our sweetness of summer
Our touching of laughter
Lost in my shadows
Together no longer
Remember together when we were one.

LITTLE

A little bright lady
With flowers and rings
Who sits waiting for the very next thrill
Holding my hand in the mound of her hill
Where Venus once lived and the shell wave sat still
For hours it sings
My little bright lady
Do you have to
Bring me into your life?
Do you want
That is me so much
Can you possibly feel comfort
And can I manage you
Do I deserve your support
Do I again
Have to care for someone?
I am full of caring
And sated turn
To see what
Summer brings…

SUMMER DAYS

The warmest of summer’s days,
Sat on the backs of our shirts as we
Mourned for the falling leaves still holding
But soon to end their useless clutchings.
These times return to us
The seasons return
And all these grand thoughts
Picture me as you see them
Imagine me as you feel them
These times return to us
The seasons return to them
I have dedicated my life to your comfort
Turn make sure you are happy
I have dedicated my life to your comfort
Autumn comes as sure as it came last year
Our Indian summer was an illusion
Never hot enough for scanty dress, not dry enough
It is hard to choose clothes for you
I have dedicated myself to your comfort.
For many years they warm things
With their fine possessions
Stood at the back of me
Orphaned now I await to stand at the back of them
It is hard to chew food for you
I have dedicated my life to your nourishment
These times return to us
To us

CONFUSED

What a mess
There is a softness between her legs I caress
And the fortune found in victory
I digress
From my love for her to my fears.
Such a mess
As she waltzed though the door in her dress
Dancing as I limped my sweetness
I confess
My fears for her love in tenderness.
The stable is too dirty
The river too far
And I am too weak
And I need to engage in some rest
All a mess
Torn between day and night more or less
Caught in mind to abandon ruthlessness
Hopelessness
Frightened love life relived in her nest
The sky is too far
The sun too strong
And I have no hat
And I am without her success.

THE ALTERNATIVES OF DEATH

I stand at my parents’ grave
A cold wind blows through the headstones
When I am ill and frail, soon now, if I am ill and frail
Will I long for the rest,
That sleep that shrouds perfectly?
Will I remember those nights
In rooms of hotels listening to strange languages, wanting
And pictures dancing through the night?
The grave is unkempt
Not unbecomingly so. It is in the order of death. That suits.
I have failed surely with certainty; in living I exchange experiences
If so, was always thus and I will remember, imperfectly
Perhaps the touch and techniques of my particular
A thousand and one nights when I was free but
Chained to the disharmony of my hormones
This cemetery is well tended and flowers dance into the wind
And the smell of frankincense delights bringing memories of the Eloni Adoni
The bitter sweet of barley and prayer
Shall I cry “let me go” like my father or
Half smile caressed into death like my mother
Or without lucidity or reason
Simply fail and fall into the grave
Singing a different song?
Enough for now; later I shall return to this speculation

THE CARES OF YOUTH

I see the wrinkles to come in her young face
I did not know if I would ever see them real
Slowly and death like age will you embrace
And kiss where my lips should kiss and beauty steal:
Silent sleep, unholy sleep
Bitterness around you keep
Matter not if your sour charm
Steals my youth in your ruthless harm
Sleep or close your eyes
Sleep or close your eyes


MY LOST LOVERS

I saw you two, my lost lovers
In an image in my view, my lost lovers
Both looking happy
Both looking good
On the beach, silver beach, there in Autumn.
You held her waist
Just as you held the waists
Of all our other lovers
In Manchester, all those years ago.
Where we flew away, where we flew to grow
And time dissolved
Left us old
Time treating all of my lovers
But my mind holds true that view of you
Two together two I knew
Two of you who were
My lost lovers
Fewer years yet to come
But the picture still holds true
When I saw you once again
My lost lovers
Thirty years on.

MOVING ON

Is everything placed is everything put exactly where it should be?
Is the screen right does the book case work and what about the TV?
Why everything should be where it lives for anyone must be
(The moon cries its light to the skies)
Am I more of me if the chair is there where everyone can see?
Your taste and colour schemes designed to soothe and comfort me
And you make my place you create my place to please the man that’s me
My senses sated comforted loved
I slip into your best perfect bed

SONG OF LIFE

I see the wrinkles to come in her young face
I never knew if I would ever see them real
Slowly and death like age will youth embrace
And kiss where my lips should kiss and beauty steal
Silent sleep, holy sleep
Tenderness around me keep
Matters not if your lively charm
Folds with tears in time’s holy arm
Keep in death yes there keep
Keep in death yes do keep


TOUCHING WITHOUT
You touched me when left
Telling me to get about my work
Knowing that it would take me far
You touched me when I left.
You stroked me as I walked away
Trembling but feeling each part of my skin
Knowing that your touch would leave me waiting for you to begin
When we meet again
You embraced me when I was so far away
Holding your arms around me such tender hooks
Caring to caress me entirely whole and questionless as we learn to yearn for each other
Touching without

WAITING FOR THE SEASON

We stood engendered winding around each other
Waiting for the next step
In the strong sun of March
As we grew together
Planted in the open land
Light that hurt our eyes
(Notice how
The wind lightly moved a dead leaf
Left by winter undiscovered
Broken, crushed to death)
Here were we, you and I,
Watching our lives pass by
Counting dying friends
How many of them died!
Whenever
Whenever I deceived you
It was not done knowingly
But like a paring knife blade cracking
Splintering me as it drew your blood.
Whenever I was faithless
To the cause, to the flag and to the truth
I did so anxious
Frightened about the effect
The night is long yes the night is long
And desperate, I wait for the sun.
Who lived in the times of grass
When leaves grew on the trees
But now scaled and unmendable
Spoiled by growths uncontrollable
The friends and trees are skeletal bare
Yet we shall hold each other firm
Like roots that keep their branches warm

AKIMBO

Legs akimbo in the arms of the wine
Lying and waiting to move
Proud and grown effortless time
Tasting of closeness, the feast
Racing through, there’s blood, there’s blood
That’s rising forsaking and breaking
Repeating revealing revolving and moving
There’s blood there’s blood and there’s blood
Legs akimbo in the arms of the wine
Lying and sated and moved

ALONE

Alone at night the wind blows cool
(Too warm for this November night)
Across the town around the tree
It comes from you and comforts me
At one with me the darkness comes
Aside on a motionless sea
Then waves and tides put up a show
To mark the journeys we must go
The darkness sits and waits for you
The clouds block out the stars
And ever there and ever stilled
I wait for you to be fulfilled

CAN I FIND A WAY?

Can I find a way?
The fallen leaves that covered my mistakes
Are blown away and with them my pride
It leaves me naked in the streets
Look now, look now
There is a thing to find
Which was never lost and rarely known.
There is a thing to find.
Hold me so that I may step away lightly.
There is a thing.
You see,
I have written verses in many places
Shaped my words throughout the world
I have worn out my fingers on many devices
Can I find a way, any way?

NEED ENGINES & PILLS

Restore the beat that I need for my life,
I need for my blood I need for my mind
Mechanical life in these mechanical times
Needs engines and pills
Try to restore, try to revive, life as it was once, once it was here
Episodes of change confusing as a puzzle that no one can solve
With engines and pills
I try to stay calm I try to recall but all is irregular now I am old
Even with engines and pills.

LIGHTLY STEPPING
Lightly stepping into the night,
Where my dreams puzzle me.
Dreams never make sense, only nightmares do.
It is true.

It is not the cold clammy fear that dreams bring,
or the sense of events that do not happen
But the bewilderment that dreams bring,

That fine and certain knowledge that I do not know what I see and do not feel what I touch and what touches me.
It is all a twirl
And waking thus, into the nightmare world.

EXCITED

You excited my molecules
Your hands rubbed me and warmed both of us
The friction of desire
And having warmed you held them so close but not touching
That I could feel our heat and that comforted me
To sleep.

RUTHLESS

Careful man wandering through
So much you have left to do
So far come since you began
O Yet in the sunshine softly played
Through those nights and rainy days
Ruthless, gone to a place away
We should have stayed where we made
Each other glad.
Careful careless man.

MAGGIE

I slept with Maggie the other night.
Dear sweet Maggie.
Have known you so long.
Is it really nine years, it must be nine years.
You would not have looked at me then.
Gangly I was, gawpy stupidly bespectacled.
I was rough house to be looked at with a side ways glance.
now she sleeps with me,
calls me Dear Robert and cuddles close and hard
wants to
on body
on a body
in heat
and does so.
She and her family
(for I have also slept with her sister)
Give off the same antiseptic aroma.
I enjoy that now
And her tiny but smaller and firmer than tennis ball breasts.
Yes Maggie and the way to play with you
The way I did that night would have been
Unthinkable not so long ago.
And yet I saw the sight I saw the glances
The way you looked at me the little things you said.
I remembered how jealous Nicki became when we met and how she
Pretended to like you-
Strange how strange
I trusted to instinct, and failed you so completely.
Dear Maggie
Dearest dearest dear.

DON'T CRY MARY
Don’t Cry Mary
We both sit alone and afraid
As our tears fight by
As our hearts defy
The fearsome shells we have made
Don’t cry, Mary
Don’t cry, Mary
We need to feel across our souls
And our touch line
To spend our time
Acting out those perfect roles
Don’t cry, Mary
Don’t cry, Mary
Your are much loved and praised by another
Your quick fright will die
Your singular sigh
With be smothered by your lover
Don’t cry, Mary

PERCEPTION

Pieces we can make awhile
Etna was a gestetner
The mouse down New Brighton
Ever so frightening

19 Responses

  1. I read some of your poems.
    I did not especially like them but they did not make me dislike you.
    I think there are probably some good lines, although what are the chances? Maybe your poems could be sung as songs without being too terrible. I think they got better as I read down the page but I didn’t read all of them.

    I came to your website to look at something about a central heating boiler.

    I hope you are happy.

    • Thank you for reading them. I wrote many of them to be spoken over music.

      Robert

      >

  2. lovely work. A bit too much to digest in one sitting; I’d love to see these posted separately–to enjoy incrementally. 🙂

    • This comment gave me great heart and encouragement. It was lovely of you to post it. Thank you.

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