Sunday, 6 June 2010

warm and wasted

the heat in london reminds me of our first time in new york -
sticky restless and impossible to sleep.
up early from the jetlag
drenched in sweat and dreams
unpacking bags to create
some permanence in a temporary home.

brooklyn was dry and dusty, warm and wasted,
its streets sad and stained - like two broke-up lovers'
unwashed sheets on a bed unmade for weeks.
we traced the sidewalk cracks and subway tracks
famous trademarks and public parks,
mini-marts and shopping carts
full of rheingold and hershey's, wrigley's and miller,
mountain dew and alka seltzer
and, in amongst the pancake mixes,
aunt jemima's bright white beam,
smiling hard to forgive the past.

windows open, we sweat beneath the covers here and now
pretending to be there and then - or anywhere or when
that we don't have to think or work or try too hard
to just be us and happy.
well travelled back in time through cans of beer,
we are briefly there through humid air
to smell the hot rain on the street
and sing along to love and alcohol
and thoughts we've loved for years.
but we know all too well
just how the past will pass - come sunrise,
new york will disappear again
replaced by tired, dried, hayfevered, london eyes.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

piece by piece

if you could bury your bones,
do you know where you would put them?
because i still smell your scent
and will try to dig them up.
with muddy paws and broken claws
i'd drag you through the earth
until you surfaced piece by piece.
never let you rest.
i would lay you out
in the comfort of a home you'll never know,
peel off your skin
and lick you clean,
gnaw at your cartilage
then suck your marrow dry,
nibble at your eye sockets
crack your skull and break your ribs,
feast upon your spine
swallow all your teeth
and chomp and chew and crunch until you splinter into shards -
smaller smaller smaller -
one by one, piece by piece.
i'd never let you sleep.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


the clock is a heartbeat
is a metronome
is a life
counting down
not up
from zero to death
in a hundred years
or less.
could be tomorrow.
could be tomorrow.
could be tomorrow.
the thought of no more thought
like silence when the battery runs out.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

for vic

stupid preoccupations with your pronunciations
find me about to choke some ten years on.
wheelchair-bound, your strange translations
turned to soaring skies and unseen satellites -
new transmissions of the same old let downs,
the sad clowns and and broken crowns
are rhymes of times gone by.
drowned in silver lakes by your slowly shutting eyes,
you let the pills do their work.
you didn't realise
they meant you no harm.
i'll see you around
in your new town.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

never enough

and time runs out as always
fast or slow
slips away
like childhood dreams

we sit alone together
so many years silent
so many smiles apart
so many words thought

there is, was, always wish that there will be
the touch
of fingertips coarse
on skin as smooth as tears

everything shared and everything lost
left with ghosts
who scream in darkness
during dreams and nightmares
quiet nights
ups and downs
alcohol breath
burning hearts and bleeding lips
red eyed absolution
forgiveness and regret
scare away the memories

one last moment together
never enough
so have to clutch at air
and space to keep us there

like childhood dreams
we slip away
fast or slow
and time runs out as always

Sunday, 10 January 2010

peanut butter bagels

we didn't get to see your bones grow
nor hear your marrow stretch.
hidden deep beneath flesh,
somewhere far below the sinews of your heart
there was a stillness
that would stop you in your tracks.
rotten from the inside out,
your smile was solely superficial
but you had no idea - how were we to know?
and so you never saw your eyesight fail
or heard your hearing fade
or smelt your nostrils close
or felt your skin dry up
or watched your teeth fall out
while eating peanut butter bagels.
who am i to say
you aren't the lucky one?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

silence and strangers

the sun sets in the window of the bus
as we wind our way to california.
my thoughts are with you, ginsberg,
in your supermarket, in your baggage room at greyhound.
this is still your world, fifty years hence,
less buddha, more bullshit.
crushed and cramped in seats too small
writing, reading, listening, watching silence and strangers,
alone on i-5 between mountains and telephone polls,
black trees, weary limbs and the powder-white dust of the combine harvesters.
so many more hours to go and all of them for you.
we are all in this together.
nothing left to do but wait –
for the sun, for the night, to collect our bags
and to search the slopes of san francsico for your shadow,
for your soul,
for your grimacing, grinning ghost.

night in negative

there are some nights - apocalyptic, holocaust winter-cold summer nights full of wind and stabbing static rain as i'm walking towards the bus stop with my fingers frozen curved arthritic around a half dead can of beer - when i want to call you, just to hear you smile. i rarelyneveroften manage. instead, i walk along with the same songs in my ears i had ten years ago, with the same feelings in my veins, alcohol as love as blood, and i take my voice as yours, invent your words to answer mine. and even on the bus, slouched back against that rubber bending with every turn of phrase and road, i move my lips to speak words i wish i wrote and said as the wind battles harsh against the windows, and the air fights itself with the smell of cold and over-fried chicken every time the doors slide open and particles collide. and on those nights the journey spins as my mind fills with words unspoken phrases unmade reminding me not to drink and think at the same time ever never ever again. sometimes, sleepy drunk, i'll miss my stop, end up months away or years ago and when that happens, craving cigarettes to be desperate romantic hungry alive awake like blake (schwarzenbach not william), i'll walk the extra minutes through those months and years on cracked grey pavements and wish i was someone i admired so that this weathered smile would be worthwhile, if only for the few nervous heart seconds it exists. and then in that dying darting rain, exhausted tired drunk again with thoughts of work and the evils of a pretty face, i finish that stale crushed can, if i've not already dropped it, and try not to stumble home. and in my unmade double bed at last, beneath my cold open window sheets i heartbeat fast and close my eyes and feel like i'm watching my mother cry, holding her to me, trying to console what can never be consoled, saddened by the trembling tears i hoped i never had to see or wipe or talk away. and and and and all it takes is one short phone call, a few short words, some shaken woken memory brought to life through wires and buttons, the imagined structure of your mouth, curved, curling, caring, cutting, to make reality unreal, to feel what isn't felt, to dream what once came true. and on those nights i shake and shudder judder like the bus journey home and finally - 'about time!' say tired limbs - let decades turn to eyelashes and collapse alone into the darkness of an alcohol-lined mind until i wake to shake once more to breathe and rise again and try to remember how and where and why and who and when the fuck you ever weren't.