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To Pray

As I breathe into this window
misting the rain streaks
nose catching the chill.
I look down and across.

A child runs this way, that way
through the graveyard.
Maybe laughing.

Oh! If I only could be carried to the daisies
the creeping and stinging weeds of age.
I would hold a scythe to myself
hack at the waste.

On the glass I write,
‘All is not lost.’
Maybe believing.

On Dean, Frith and Greek

Friday night alive with the metronome.
Payday peacocks say farewell to the week.
Show all our colours on Old Compton Street.
Then peck the streets of Dean, Frith and Greek.

Pubs we hop in as if penguins.
Amphetamines and Guinness.
The black on white, the white on black,
in praise of Colin MacInnes.

Dancing to music we can’t comprehend
from New York to Mornington Crescent.
Shop girls spinning in Penny Loafers,
Doormen barring the pheasants.

And there’s a pop star swanning in Bar Italia.
A Maltese loan shark cutting a cheek.
As we flutter and chirp into daylight’s gauze,
the young sparrows of Dean, Frith and Greek.

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There May Be Good Blossom

We have wounds.

I tell myself this as I finger the scar on my cheek, wince at the film of it in the mirror.

Memories are blood.

I walk downstairs. The party swings like a bell and detritus reigns. There are crushed cans, plastic plates, dog ends and a burnt sausage in a wine glass. There’s an assignation in the hallway that ends in a punched wall.

My birthday party comes and goes each year. Why do I have to host it?

The music is too loud, an elastic band of bass tied to a snare. I walk out into the arms of the garden to clear the fog, breathe some night. There are no stars shining in this London, just the glare of a fluorescent city. It’s warm for April though; there may be a good blossom this spring and a new summer to graze upon.

Helen never comes to my parties anymore. Not since the cactus juice and cocaine. We drank and snorted too much of it. I told her I loved her and she panicked, slipped to get away from me. I grabbed and missed as she fell through the window. She scored my face with her sharp nails because there was nothing else to hold her up. Helen crashed to the concrete below.

This garden and this night. This party in a cell to which no one ever comes.

The party of my head where she is dancing.

I touch my cheek again.

Wakefield

 

 

 

 

 

 

A not bright
Red Kite
hung, strung
over a city,
whilst dawn flushes
the moon, the stars.

Eyes beaded as the
Westgate winds
march kebab meat,
chips, and prophylactic
knickers from
kerb to kerb.

For Shrews and Voles
are confusing to hunt.
And as King Lear
noted of the Kite
he detested,
”Look to your lesser linen.”

The Southpaw

The Southpaw
walked away from home
a long time ago.

Leaving behind friends,
clutching addiction’s book of lies
that would never pull him through.

Unaware of the revelatory
he went down those steps
and then down some more.

At the bottom he found
a place that even devils
could not comprehend.

It was a world without love.
Where blood is boiled
and the heart eaten raw.

(That absence of love
can be welcoming
to the unloved.)

He found sycophants rubbing
the backs in the shadows
of those only gifted at rubbing.

He slept fitfully among
the narcotic lizards.
Their needles and pipes.

He missed his past
and after time, curiosity climbed him
back up those slippery stairs.

Where a stranger gave him a new book,
the pages to read.
Pages to heal him through.

The Southpaw decided to stay.
To fight left handed with love punches
and never to flail behind again.

The Foot Of Our Stairs

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My Mum brought us up.
Five kids,
a husband,
a dog.

A shed of pigeons.

We were washed,
fed,
carried to bed.

She had jobs.
She loved them.

Newsagent,
then factory.
Then her garden.

Then illness.

And she still carries us to bed.

Poem for Piers Morgan

This night screams for mercy,
as you tell yourself a tale.
Keeping your own company,
is the man who never learnt good.

Come the dawn chorus,
you’ll hide from the sun again.
Stoning two magpies dead,
if they ever bothered to show.