Wednesday, 21 August 2013


 Perspectives on a Lake

On that shore small people move,
walk tiny dogs, sit on small benches;
on this shore birds patrol their grove,
slow and long-legged under green branches
that etch the unrelenting rays
in bars of complicated shade.
Stretched thin out there the sunshine plays
easily on tree,  colonnade
and path. Perspective grinds them down
to semblance on a tapestry,
a distant likeness of the town,
pastiche of inches, lacquered sky.
Whilst here, an insensible curved rat –
still wet from the swim that made her great.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Leicester Square Puddle Image

I see myself in Leicester Square
which is a kind of overcoat
loose and comfortable to wear,
with bars and diamonds
and tree motifs,
and the weave itself
made up of tiny laughter
and griefs.

Walking through mile-high drizzle
the people here
are dressed to dazzle:
there goes a giant eye,
here comes the Planet Mars.
Some are dressed
as teen-age gangs,
a few as cinemas.
A woman smiles at me,
her gown a shimmering clock
that strikes on the second.

The carousel has run amok;
you can’t see the old grey-beard
who thinks it’s Derby Day;
the clouds fly past him,
Hitchcock’s Birds are coming.

                                Now that
                                              is weird:
I know that girl
                             In the mini-dress –
I remember her corduroyness.

A ghost steps out
                                                of a Silver Ghost,
a crowd of masked lone rangers gathers
gasps. Someone whispers, “Diamond!” or
“diamonds…” Is it Legs
Or Neil or that man Bond?

I tighten my belt
                                as erically as I can
and amble on: it’s my coat that wanders
out of the lime-light
into the night, no cares
but The Care of Time.*

The Care of Time was Eric Ambler’s last novel.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Alan Ginsberg Dream


Alan: I decided to write down those memories I recall from the non-ego memory e.g,

When I was so little
I was barely a weight
in my mother’s hand…..

Then, I see in my dream, the reader has a choice between hyperlinks to reach the end of the poem. The hyperlinks become feely bags you can reach into and pull out the poems. Some of the bags are shaped like Teddies. Joyce knows some of the poems – she comes in as I am pulling out the one above. I wake up.


When I was so little
I was barely a weight
in my mother’s hand

knitted shoes
the size
of her thumb

the beating
of her heart
was my Paris

the conversation
of strangers
London’s mighty roar.


Being on the river
with my mother when
she was still young
enough to fall
on the pavement, pick
herself up & carry on –
luckily her glasses
not broken.

Tall just up to her
shoulder, sitting together
on the wood-slat,
cracked varnish seats
and reading the names
on the sides of barges
yachts & launches and she
knowing I am short-sighted,
saying: “You may
need glasses some day.”


From the Summer
of being fucked up what did I learn?
That people we don’t know
are just as important as people we do,
and other people’s mothers and fathers and best friends.

That night I travelled up the Northern Line
thinking to sleep at my Auntie’s house:
all locked up and silent, forgot she’s
away the weekend – stalled me - I travelled way down
the Northern line to Oval, Cleaver Square
to tell Martin about my girlfriend
and having nowhere to sleep –
and chanting Martin, Martin to no effect, no
window slung open in reply –

Up the Northern line, back up again –
in Pond square I found a
parked car – the replica of Martin’s
black 1950’s Morris his parents ‘d bought him
second hand – knowing it’s not Martin’s car
I get in and find there’s a neatly
folded blanket on the front
seat – curl up that summer night
in door-mouse comfort, feeling
like a Camembert in a picnic basket
sleeping until 6.0 am, when I

stealthily slip the handle up & roll out
onto well-worn tarmac under green Highgate Trees,
remembering to refold the blanket

thankful for this unlocked car
in the morning when Ginsberg was
king of Czechoslovakia
and the May – headed back past Highgate Cemetary to
Achway, and Mum and Dad in Brighton
for the weekend, saying I
spent the night with a friend.


Friday, 8 May 2009


To a Woman Dreaming

O woman in the act of dreaming,
with your sweet misnomers, understand
how I can plunge into roadless bliss.
Keep my wing safe in your hand.

The freshness of evening light
fans you with the passing of each beat,
with a force so delicate
it pushes the horizon back,

quivering vertiginous. See
how space is like a vast embrace
which, sick of being born for no-one,
can’t pour itself out or calm down.

Couldn’t you feel the paradise
begin like a concealed laugh,
and flow from the corner of your mouth
to the depth of your one white throat!

Aegis of red sand beaches,
stuck in golden evenings – this is it!
This whiteness of closed flight you place
against the fire of a bracelet.

From the French of Stephane Mallarme

Friday, 10 April 2009

From-here-to-there Portal

From-here-to-there Portal

Not without its own history, this Park
where no one just now goes walking;
once the travellers had their site
underneath its railway arch,

their caravans and washing lines
squeezed into the little space.
No place to run or play, Summer
or Winter when the windows steamed up:

the dogs barked; the fences got trampled;
the Council moved them on - only
July sun bore down on bare gravel.
Beneath the arches, events to be started:

a Mind Body fair was staged -
organic food stalls, herbal remedies
and rain sticks with their tinkling shells.
With idle curiosity I wandered there

amongst the mentors and magicians,
each with a secret to impart:
the ginseng-free tonic, the Healing Ray.
I was a good listener then, as now.

There's grass now, shrubs and daffodils,
and a path swept quite recently,
a straight line to the old brick arch
that's built as sternly as a portal.

A new wrought iron gate half open,
inviting someone to venture in,
with March or April's wanderlust,
in cool sunlight or tingling rain:

There's no one there to meet or talk to,
no one there to impose
their presence on my reverie.
The lingering moment draws me on,

and by the path that's still vacant,
why is it that the Spring flowers seem
like bits of the world refocusing
when the brain wakes from an anaesthetic?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Peppermint Aero Chutney

Peppermint Aero Chutney

It was a fortunate misreading
the kind that over-rides the first
dull meaning in a magazine:

four tigers in a frame.
I see them painted by Rousseau.
One gate at least hangs open:

There's a barrier, ten foot tall,
of dull wood painted green,
where the flowers and pathways were.

The overwriting hand is poised.
I think of William Blake,
his birthplace up the concrete steps.

There's an old VW convertible
that often parks round there,
yellow as a plastic bee.

No shop front that I pass
and pass again is ever the same:
blue as surreal ceramic.

Why does latte come out black?
With spikes up close, they look
bigger than church steeples.

A lemon nestles among the apples.
Being very sorry, or just being...
Acting up or just acting...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Soho Side

Soho Side

Walking the Soho side of Soho Square
I stop and stare: “Who locked the gate on us
in broad January day light?” I enquire
silently, where two girls chat and share. I suss
that they don’t care, don’t notice me; the gate
was never open for these sleek women,
whose English sounds quite confident and bright.
Staring on past them through the gate, it’s plain
to me: Summer has been padlocked away
by the cool giant who wants to ban our pleasure
of lying on worn grass in idle array
until there isn’t any grass – a measure
of potential, in one part of the melee,
for talking up a rapid urban culture.