Throwing sticks into embers of fallen leaves
Dog, dancing on the fire, destroys each stick
splintering flesh with tame white teeth.
The day is damp with a burgeoning light
that picks rust and yellow from dull piles of leaves.
The old man struggles, pale in the day, face drawn
by age and the ills of existential care
The old woman bears, it, wanting to slap, it, out of him,
instead she leans on her twitching tongue for solace.
Flick up the Hilary’s with a forefinger
How fucking middle class
Hide in the 20k kitchen away
From passing eyes.
Tonight the lane has frozen
And mud ridges into still black waves.
In the lounge Coltrane talks about
The violent dead.
Daniele deciphers next door’s
Dave is gone and Maurice is dead
Danielle and James are all that’s left.
Millie’s transaction takes her
And son, ensconced in his Scottish room,
Waits for June.
Blue grey sky and sea
Belching thunder and flickering light
Smoke rises ragged from olive groves
to the black belly of the storm.
As mountains grumble daughter watches Friends.
Drip,drip,drip, flash, bang
The world is wet and grey
212 has had my day. 😦
She fingers new born clouds
That rise from glitter
wets herself in primordial foam,
Watches tittering sun kids on waves
deaf to empty echoes from the shore.
She MUST catch something
take it home, but
melancholy murders now.
She swims out, warms the sea and lies
Hearing the crush in her ears
knowing that this is what
death sounds like.
Lying back in the noise of forever
she sees mountains and tits
suckled by sunshine.
Outside Fletcher Moss Cafe With Dog
A woman in a hijab with two young kids
and four pink wellies
that want to splash in a huge puddle.
‘Mummy first!’ …. I say.
She laughs and they splash
and it’s all very lovely, but
the cars are too loud.
Much To Be Done
Reading Prynne in the rain, protected
By the over hang of the shed
dog scours the woods
Through the open gate.
The roar of the by-pass is dumbed
By dripping rain.
son sleeps in his house soon
To be gone north.
wife washes herself clean
Of righteous sweat.
I contemplate her plea for me
To sort myself out
She’s right, of course, there is
Much to be done.
Winning is bigger than truth
Rather the country die torn
In the teeth of greedy dogs
Than say you are wrong.
You and yours will be fine.
Me and mine will be fine.
Fuck the flesh that rots in the gaps
Between rabid teeth.
The mean have their way
The weak soiled themselves today
Like faithful dogs often kicked
A faithless hand their tongues have licked.
30 p pee
Apocalyptic rain trounces the station roof
A man at the latrine balances his can
As he pisses out the others he’s had
’30 fuckin’ p for a fuckin’ piss fuck me!’
Outside, the sun steams the sky’s piss from pavements
A man with a ‘Miriam’ tattoo on his neck
Holds his kestrel high while he snogs a reluctant girl,
And lines of beggars with paper cups scrounge in Piccadilly Gardens.
Trams part the crowds, Moses’ through a mad sea.
Two blokes fight in an alley off Spring Gardens
I retreat to the art gallery in search of finer things
But, nothing rings
In The Old Grey Horse
A couple talk about Beckham’s tattoo.
How do they know that someone was paid £600
For cutting Beckham’s hair?
I’m off to chant ‘Jeremy’
to the earless air.
Red Mini 2009
wife drives in the dark
Through Stockport’s wet streets.
Car gleaming the orange gloom
daughter safe in the back singing
And Then There Was Three
Three dogs, two black, one white
Snooze in the shed
Comfortable on old caravan quilts.
The black puppy plays nibbling
The mouth of the old black Lab
While the scraggy white mongrel
Mumbles his discontent
At the lively creature that has crushed
His ordered world.
Upstairs a taps black keys
And stares into limitlessness for hours
Until his stomach, gnawed by the sharp teeth of hunger
Forces him down in search
of human food makers.
Free from the clamour
Of wife and kids a man
There on the hard round orange table top
He writes, just for the sake of it.
For the feel of the pen
As it glides across the page
Recording something, anything.
Just words on a page to be
Tasted, savoured, consumed.
In this place where people pass
Balancing trays of coffee and pannini’s
Distantly curious about the grey haired man
In the bulky cardigan,
Two miles away
sits in his chair watching
Sky Sports News
Waiting for City.
He has a new scar across his head
From a fall .
Blood covered his face as he stumbled
Two miles home.
Now the dread of age looms,
He wonders how many times
He will walk well worn paths
Before he is forced to sit here
Until the end.
How close is the end?
Will I be first or her?
Looking at his wife as she reads
On the sofa in a dim light.
Fireworks fly around the house
Muted by damp air.
A fire flickers in the hearth
and the dogs lie, waiting for something.
I move, the dogs move, expectant.
Regina Spector plays from the boy’s laptop
The screen illuminates his forming face,
He travels another world with girlfriend and others,
Growing, learning, working it out.
The puppy paces the room
Impatient with the elders endless sleep.
She watches the flames and the muted T.V.
She watches me, not knowing.
Sitting on the blue bin in the sun and wind
looking across the black bottle pond
feeling shit, coming down with something.
Dog wants to swim
I want to write
my body wants to sleep.
The path behind is burnt,
We go forward so that we don’t become ash
A nuclear light is just behind erasing
to a shining slug trail caught
in the sun.
All, over exposed, dissolves, think of
Pompei, Hiroshima , the Old man.
Shadows of the were burnished into stone
A black dog sleeps on a red sofa,
a red fan warms my cheeks.
A young Cavafy poses on the arm of the chair.
Your car goes with you,
thick wheels splashing through mud.
Sitting on East Beach rocks
watching ships sail a tightrope horizon.
The harbour wall dips its digit in the sea
and twin torpedo towers of a dead cathedral
point accusations to the sky.
Cold sea murmurs to deaf rocks
wreathed in the greasy hair of black weed.
A bunch of birds take flight from a sea circled rock
shouting at the air.
Wind presses cold against my ear
and fear falls back.
Sunday rolls down the hill from Pirgos
Sound spilled by rugged hands
tolls past deaf things searching for a place to rest
For ears that will praise, or at least
The sea swells over white fronged weed.
There is metal in my mouth
A furry thirst
And the puff of tiredness in my face.
A rough wall holds me back
As I look upon an engorged sea
Curdle air into submarine clouds
That burst from inky blue to brilliant white
That flames the surface.
A big black bee is disappointed with me
And buzzes on to find something else.
Beneath the walnut tree an old lady accosted me
She spoke rapid Greek, in fragments I learned
About the Italians and the Germans the civil war
And her four dead siblings.
She had lived in this high village all her many years.
Content, vigorous and rascally.
She left me and sat by the taverna door
Singing old Greek songs.
Sitting on a bench in the shade
Drinking is my pill.
Let a blue moon rise in Madrid tonight
Let’s fleece fascist Franco’s dancing boys
Let them stain with tears their shirts of white
Let fiery fans make cheer with noise
Let this night be when warriors rise.
Fledgling leaves cling to branches
As the wind kicks in.
Kunsberg, Pienaar puppets of the powerful
- worm tongues.
Should I just add to the mass of the sea
Or piss pretty patterns into dry sand?
Do you know what you see
Or are you blind?
You have shit yourself!
Can’t you feel the clag of fresh cake between your cheeks?
Do you smell it or have you drunk cheap perfume
That makes you smell inside out?
Do you know if you walk or if you crawl
belly scraping the ground?
Can you talk or is your voice taken
By the same song you heard elsewhere.
The house cuts shade across the lawn
Dog stalks in the bushes
I hear the rush behind the trees
Where people vi
For the smallest advantage.
Sitting on the old roller
Where old kids fly planes
I’m waiting to feel good
But heavy lungs sit upon
A rebellious gut
And each course ends in ‘but.’
A frog on the lane
Crushed in mid croak
Dry like the mummies in manchester’s museum.
Death is everywhere.
I don’t want to die, but I will.
I want to live these years out
Without this languid fuzz.
I need to be tasered back to life.
‘The small music of childish breath’.
I like this, the smallest thing can cause rhapsody
In the head and heart.
I’m going to die
and that tube of a lane looking at me
Good night with German
and Aggie’s red hair.
Life drifts in wisps
taken by air
like vaporised sea
on high rocks.
On the terrace drinking coffee
listening to Muddy Waters
Mate battles IBS and Cavafy
thrutching red faced stares
at mount Kastro.
Time to get tough.
Nowhere to Run
Some sick fuck killed an MP
I feel like a refugee
Wanting to run
From a reloading gun.
J DUGDALE MAR.22.1911
With son munching crisps
Sitting on Dugdale
While the beck roars beneath
not a view in sight
son flits from rock to rock
like a mountain goat on speed.
He wields his ferrule stick like a ninja.
Voices sound through time
in an unconscious collective.
Magus songs seep through passage walls
mythological weaves of labyrinthal past.
Where do we arrive from?
Which station came before our birth?
Where do we go to?
What station do we leave for?
Nowhere to nowhere.
I knew no truth ’till ’72
then I woke with a slap.
A yellow t-shirt flapped in the wind
‘US Tank Division’ in red,
‘In blood’. Dad said.
I gave him cheek.
He slapped mine***
Review the View
I was in a glass bottom boat
above the world looking down.
Now the boat is stuck in mud
and the view below is brown.
Did the hospital kill her
or did she end the disappointment
I can’t be sure, but
the final view of her bony chest
white and crumpled in the V
of her night dress.
And the blue
of her smashed
as left the room
In my head a dull ache
in my stomach a dull
My eyes sting with tiredness
that shouldn’t be there.
Sun shines beyond the window
and a thin shadow stretches across this page.
Summer has gone
leaving concrete, brick and metal.
When I’m away in that other place,
that place with space to stretch out.
Where wind stings rain into cheeks,
where sand is sodden with lashing waves.
I love winter.
As the sun edges to its end over Messinia
an old man pushes a flaking gate with trembling hands.
He follows the same stone path passing the slick rock,
eyes moist with memory,
where Joan slipped and never came back.
A sharp breath and he’s buoyed.
Limbs freed from age
he’s as light as a child.
The sun never rose
just smeared the bellies of clouds
with gold and blood.
End of the Day
The day closes down
clouds are orange
and cool air carries Greek chatter
which I like.
goes back to the parrot
without a word.
Melted metal fizzes the shore
while I fathom fast Greek.
The sun beats sand
pitted by absent feet
beating the paths of home.
Waves flourish the morning
intimidating narrow sands,
but old stone stands
Shielded by the orange tree
morning sun can’t blind me,
bells peel from the high village
and the slow slap of winter
Ex- Pat Funeral
A wee Greek man came
with a bunch of wild flowers
and placed them on the dead man’s chest.
Two Greek men sang while the Pappas
stood stern above the body.
The bereaved offered little
other than he liked motor bike racing
and was a sarcy git.
Here I am at the end of this world
in the sun
with tzatziki and olives
and the blue swell
beating the harbour wall.
I drove through multi shadowed mountains
Simon and Garfunkel singing.
I came through the side door
to a bored old man.
He looked up from his unbusiness
asked my name
took my money
gave me a key
and a small bottle of water.
Last night I shared a cell with Mate
him on top, me below.
That God my nose is blocked
there were explosions in the night.
Salt mist wrapped
Good night with a grumpy dog
three beers , kilos of pretzels
French football and
barrels of laughs.
From the midnight window
a green Pharmacy sign
Sursee’s House of the Lord
His son hangs from a cross
stories are told by ceiling art.
Silence, o the silence!
the meditative silence.
Shattered by clattering cleaners
with mop buckets.
Hot sun writes sharp shadows on the page
Mate lies face down urging his back
to right itself.
Mario’s balcony 2
A dolphin hangs from a young silver birch
a lost party prop revealed by fallen leaves.
It twists in the breeze by the window
of a blue shuttered house.
Someone is sweeping
behind fat leaves
of a mulberry tree.
The pond is a drab place this late November day.
Water ripples brown and a thousand drops dot its surface.
The traffic is wet on the by-pass.
There is mud on every stretch of walk, yet
Dog swims as she would on a hot summer’s day.
Along the path we walk
zig zagging to the sky.
The long grass has grown ears
that hear the wind.
Pretzel knot &
Beery Cheese Fondue.
Err, no thanks.
Just beer for me.
Pegging wet clothes in the olive grove
the Milky Way hangs above
and assdark mountains slumber
beneath a yellow moon.
Golden apple cider
Wife chopping and
‘You in a cocktail skirt
Me in a suit.’
To a chorus of cicades.
And So On
Dead breakfasts litter the table
the aftermath of broken crusts crumbled on cloth
eerily still, soaking in spillage.
Outside, light struggles to form day
and the dogs wait.
I knew no truth ’till ’72
then I woke with a slap.
A yellow t-shirt flapped in the wind
‘US Tank Division’ in red,
‘In blood’. Dad said.
I gave him cheek.
He slapped mine***
South Street Pub, St Andrew’s
Young yanks talk presidencies
and scorn secular readings of the bible.
‘Heart of Darkness’. Conrad, Kurtz and The Congo.
Viet cong, Cambodia and Brando.
Well dressed proto-lawyers, a little drunk,
who will talk, talk, talk
’till they have their way.
They are here where the road ends at a cold sea
and I blame Spencer royalty for
‘The horror….the horror’.
The Hang Out
The old man with an age lashed face
sits with his treacle coffee,
a packet of Karelia
and a tiny bouquet of wild flowers.
Two French women talk
in their delicious tongue
and Claudia speaks
of the harsh Berlin winter.
Outside, the green sea
challenges our shore.
Inside: wife sighs in pre-sleep
pressing warm toes against my calf.
Outside: a bird twitters
in confused dark.
Bedraggled locks stick
to red cheeks
you look at me with big droopy
We spent the whole night watching
Ariel and Aladdin.
Tonight I sail the attic ship
bound for still waters.
Below wife rides night’s storm
float not sink
they decide who should swim
who should die.
Chicken Tikka Masala
It’s not about ‘fish and chips
fish and chips fish and chips’.
It’s about knitting.
Taxi From Nikon
Old Christos came
in his 80’s pick up.
We crammed together
with plastic bottles and fag packets.
Bazooki tinned from the radio
as we hairpinned down to Trahila.
Led like a withered lemon
the man with the moaning knees behind.
We saw hanging death traps
copulating beatles on thistle heads
as we laboured along the hot road to heaven.
Many times I sit here
on still days looking out
and the sea is silent.
Today chattering waves
tell me a story of happenings
on a distant shore.
A kitten eats chips
generously given by daughter.
A breeze blows the tamarisk
and evening sun grows long shadows
one of a girl clutching a replete kitten.
This page is written on orange light
with a taste of sea stolen from the waves
and brought to me.
White waves leave froth
where a man and woman cross paths
searching for something special.
As a small white boat steers a choppy sea
across Selintsa bay bound for Trahila.
A woman in black
enters the sea at dusk
just as an orange star falls
from our dulling sky.
Across the thin road
an invisible man sings
beneath a fig tree
and cicades shake their rattles
ready for night.
An old lady whips
leg tied goats from my path
late sun flush in her face.
I avert myself from dark encroachment
play ping pong with my girl
or drink German beer.
I gaze at the red mountains
falling to the sea.
Diversions from the call of hungry kites
hunting the dusk.
Hanging baskets are dying
my mind is dying.
Autumn is in my head
branches won’t feed
leaves that still hang there
so they fall and I am left
with the rustle of the dead.
In the red chair
watching rain make circles
on the swing ball base.
Brakes squeak on the by-pass
and Dog lies awake watching
every muscle movement waiting
They’re cutting the embankment
rumbling lorries are close.
Daughter sleeps upstairs
Wife is god knows where.
I stand in the breeze
at the heart of white beams
that shake themselves like wet dogs
but for longer, much longer.
I stand in the warm breeze
taking applause from
a million leaves.
A red breast hops in and out of shade
blazing colour on our summer lawn.
Apples and plums grow fatter.
Is Stoupa really over?
White clouds move above the trees
driven by distant billows.
The something from nothing quandary confound all.
An ambulance distresses the air
to save someone.
I tried to save a butterfly moth
that fluttered its ragged wings
butting the window in urgent fury.
It didn’t want to know and escaped
gentle hands with impressive speed.
Tomorrow it will lie on the sill fluttering
it’s final flutters.
Caravan days return
we step back eight years.
The girls race to the top of sand hills
The old man leads us down the wrong path.
I hear murmurs through partition walls
the gathering wind
and Dog readying for sleep.
Wind blows us back to the present
it blows, it blows.
Morning on wind blown sand
a smile crack her face.
Dog wonders at it all miles
of stickless sand!
Grey rain drifts from the grey stones of Harlech
black castle eyes glower left and right.
A runner lumbers past. That should be me!
High banks stand above low waves
Maldives on Black Rock.
Neice eats feta and cherry tomatoes
Dog lies listening, watching
waiting for food or exercise.
Daughter flew from this sandhill
eight years ago.
Today she tried again, but
the wind wouldn’t take her.
Dog lies where Rosie was
and a woman named Neice plays
like a 12 year old in soft sand.
This beach, this beach
with the crab apple slope
Hours on this beach-
hours, years apart.
Sand and wine
seabirds and sun-fall
Lyn grows pink
in a November wind
this first August eve.
On a rock near the Powder House
listening to the lurgle of weak waves
there is a promise of rain from clouds
that cup Ceridigion.
The Wright Stuff in the corner
wind sways a single tree above
Daughter sleeps. Neice reads.
The old man chips in with tangental conversation.
She limped across hard sand
hair blown all ways –
a helping hand up steep rock steps
wincing with pain
smiling all the way
ear to ear
all the way
my game bird mother
smiled all the way.
On a sunny sand hill
harsh wind dropped
me and Dog take in Criccieth
the white tooth town
with a castle tongue
that tastes the salt.
Above, careful clouds edge
their cargo out to sea.