Poetry

100x

I
Some say ghosts walk these streets,
some say we are lost:
Mothers have shouted at their children,
and fallen under the second-hand swipe.
Businessmen have snorted, up white mounds of Coca,
and down on the skulls under their shoes.
Students have thrown up, pissed, and convinced themselves
of distorted philosophies, over bollards, and inside phone booths.
Expats have tasted and smelled, travelled; to an unknown
suffused by generations of in-jokes and do-nots.
Secretaries have slipped, into flat soles, out of French windows, and
over binders of address books, and baby toys mauled by teething toddlers.
Fathers have hit, with fists, and folly,
and ripped tickets beside traffic wardens.
Baristas have spat, cried, and confessed
into everything on the menu.
Professors have proselytized, the virginal, the ignorant,
and published to deafening criticism.
Militants‘ dreams of colourless cities and faces,
shrink with the Arctic, into an ocean, with no forgiveness.
Board members, sip on scotch and soda, and side wind
like serpents, to yachts and bikinis, paid by retirement funds.

II

Like other curious occupations, a lab technician,
looks at the smallest parts of the smallest atoms in the wide, wild world:
A politician, bumbling, chuckles as his silver-tongue begins to rust,
blame it on the Earl Grey, the scotch and daddy’s trust fund.
An actress weeps on the stage for glory; no other lover had infatuated
her with a vacancy for such melancholy.
A driving instructor watches, the traffic lights blink,
a ventricle to the veins of vapid city life.
A grocer hears a little laughter, before the click and crack of
a goblin’s gun firing mounds of metal into a father’s back.
A coroner stares at what is to come, the irony of his life
is that he’ll end up where he once, studied, and examined meat on a counter.
A prostitute, smoking on a futon, hears weird whimpering in her bathroom,
and finds her hands holding the businessman who spent his son’s university fund.
A boxer feints left and right, rook to hook his opponent, clean, right in the bishop.
A doctor barks orders when urgency is needed;
the life of a little girl is more than leaving.
A carpenter, cuts and sands with precision, how to
shape time into a table, is the gift his hands have been given.
A builder piles high, not bricks, but slots where memories
are imbedded, from a child to their wedding day.
Some say ghosts walk these streets.
But under the microscope
At least we are free.

On Pynchon in China Town

 

The moon shone cold on the tarmac, cobble, pavement streets.
I had wandered into China Town to try and avoid the crowds of the Square,
and after stumbling into an even larger hubbub,
I thought I saw the sight, of something rare like unicorns, or a full packet of crisps. Though, I’m quite sure it could have been, maybe, you. A strange paranoia inserted itself within me.
There were no V-2 rockets, marching bands of monkeys and strippers looking for money, no guiding pigs, aggressive adenoids destroying cities, no crowds of people dancing, singing grandiose choruses and limericks, or whole chapters, vignettes and sentences wafting over me.

Pynchon!
Was that you? In the black trainers, the black jeans, dirty, not washed for weeks, the denim jacket, the red hunting hat, and the thick sunglasses, haggling over a Tamagotchi, on that cold December evening?
Was that you, sitting on a stone step, eating, watching, and willing people to walk past you?
Was that you, in the bowler shoes, the green suit, pea green trousers, pea green blazer and a pea green hat, buying bootleg Beijing DVDs?
Was that you, in the poncho, with a thick moustache, smoking a hand rolled cigarette?
In the alleyway, sitting, feet outstretched across the cobbles, rolling a joint?
Back turned, pants down, crack showing, pissing into a bin?
In the mask, visage like a veil, a vestige of villain and victim?
Or should I look for a yellow man, paper bagged, question marked, with slits for sight?

Then out of the corner of my eye,
The mute horn, Trystero, graffiti’d onto a bollard.
Where is the nearest post box? Where is the nearest theatre?
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
I felt the venereal overflow of every facet of human experience;
thought and sound, craft and machine, every creed, every migration and generation, colours, pastel and neon, sounds of thousands of voices mumbling,
murmuring, every single inflection and dialect, succinct, every element and atom of every cell, every bond, moving, praying
for their stories to be heard, to be written.
Fantastic tales,
weird, wiry, tales of disturbance from the norm,
from what things are supposed to be, to what
they might, really, be.
On the ball of your pen,
On the ribbon of your typewriter
On the keys of your keyboard,
Ruggles, I feel alive.

Fitzgerald

It was not midnight, and I was not in Paris.
I was sat on a window sill,
looking at the cars, and the morning light
flittering over the horizon;
a green light flickered on the border
of another world, where the Earth curved away.
Despaired, I sipped my red and closed my eyes.
Squeaky trumpets twirled, tubas bom-bommed,
violins screeched,
and a drum tisshed and ting’d along, filling
a small Parisian bar.
I wondered from the dance floor to the bar itself,
looking at the glittery dresses and coarse suits.
Whilst I contemplated paying in sterling,
a figure lent next to me, laughing. It was a laugh filled with the joy only
sorrow can bear;
he closed my hand, and bought me a drink. He reached round my shoulders,
and turned me onto a Riviera, somewhere between Marseilles and Italy.
We walked up and down a beach,
in silence. I finished my drink
and he finished a couple.
And from one step to the next, we were in Rhode Island, in West Egg, on mountains,
near the Alps, where we watched others like us;
lovers, out of love and unrequited,
burning into a lucid aether,
that fell from his lips, and
poured out of his fingertips.
I wanted advice, one word,
a compliment, or damnation,
a sentence, or a sound.
But before I could pour another double,
he had wandered off the tops of lonely parasols,
into messy purses, bottles of day old whiskey, and
the asylum, that took his Annabel Lee.
It was bright, when I saw the Volvos
and BMW’s again, the sun was high in the sky,
and the eyes beneath it understood mine.