Monday, 25 April 2011

Good Friday


Under the cliff in the midday sun, the chalk and the sea. Left, right onward pace. My left wrist hotter, the only thought I give to my watch. It's a day of easy heat. Let the sun in, no one will burn, it will let itself out.


Nothing to be tired for, but a rest in the garden is something to do. A young girl is basking and fluttering with her sister on the grass. Her mother's finest work, stretched, skinny, and unaware. Early in the day I said all birth should stop. The race should end. We're all past saving, all we can do now is give the earth back.


We go to the church, well the grounds, well the graves. Our divine vision, he must be a raven, he's the biggest crow, flying, commanding. He lands and walks, limping. Walking got me here, but it's all I can do, left, right, sometimes backwards.


We read the gravestones, the big, black bird never far away. People who die have whole stories in their names. I vow to change my name before I die. I see a name for a famous woman. I resurrect Lena Scola. The bird calls from a tree. Was she adored? Did she wear rubies and silk? I see the bird drinking at the pond. I look for Lena Scola again, to be sure I didn't imagine her name. Was she a teacher, a baker of bread? Did she stand in the spotlight? I hear birds' wings. Did she rest softly?


We find a bench. The bird is on the wall, passing time, watching us there.



2011



A Night Out with Black Annis


We grab a corner of the town each


And give it a thundering shake.


Annis rises up through the dust cloud


She's caught her cloak on the church spire


Spinning it around in a twist.


My name I scratch into tombstones


While she's up on the roof tiles


Drumming a tune with a cross.


I follow the time of her rhythm


Lighting new colours in stained glass


To end I leave them all black.


She leads me through pathways unheard of


Where houses shiver and moan.


In the air there's a whisper from Annis


Turning the brooding womb barren.


There's an act going on through a keyhole


Temptation has his legs round a virgin.


They flock for a peep for a coin.


So we have the people distracted


A wailing babe is our next pious cause.


We slice it through a window left closed.


An eyeball for cats to paw pat


Hounds make carvings in bone


A crow soars away with a milk tooth.


The only use we can find is to eat it.


And I give twenty good reasons


When asked why.


We count the devils footprints


The crossroads is where we meet.


He knows of our occupation


And thinks it wise not to stay.


But he keeps on the right side of Annis


And offers to take up the blame.


Now she's become monumental


Her hair flying thrashes open the sky.


Annis is out on her own now


The time to be on the road home.



2011



Hearts Grating


Yesterday the curtain closed


And you spoke in abstractions


The room filled with smog of opposition.


Your eyes blocks frozen on me


I couldn't see to leave you alone.


I threw stones, anything


To break into you rock face


But they just made a wall


Too jagged for us to touch.



Tomorrow we will beckon


Our hearts grating fall open.


We'll be a God and Goddess


Who murder their children.


I'll plant gilded stepping stones


And cross them with you.


Where you tell me a staircase


For us to ascend and descend


To a room where


No words are ever spoken.



2011



Monday, 11 April 2011

Luna


In my bedroom


I can hear the sounds


Of a sea shell.


I'm pinned awake


And I can feel


The weight of moonlight.


I'm a mobile


My strings hung


From a crescent.


I search through tree tops


And behind tower blocks.


I find her


She's looking at her reflection


In the sea.


She's the maker of shadows


I'll always be in.


The night is hers only


And she has nothing


To say to me.



2011



Old Country March


The dead have left Glastonbury.


Stone faces proud and brave


Above the abbey archways


Have lost their memory


But smile euphoric


Like an old drunken beauty


Above her ruined body of walls.


A short road


Took all day to walk.


We hoped to find


Around the next corner


Graves of men and women


Who were born and lived and died.


But only found a sign


Saying an ancient king


May be buried here.


I knelt to touch iron cats


Waiting to scrape boots at a doorway


Needing something to follow me home.


The sun a high and golden crown


Seeing everything, again


Made me think I should feel warm


But I didn't, it was cold.


Outdoors caving us in, we climbed.


I battle to find an easier path


And the sky line is long


But I see nothing


But land bitten and sucked dry


By tribes who want too much.


I turned away


And wondered instead


Of the story you'll tell me


When you come down.


And I see that we are


A bigger place than this.



2011



Syd Barrett's Flower


Petal sparks burn, burst, and burn


From a stem


Thin and standing


To keep them alight


No fade, a tall line


Out of a party


Of leaves, swaying, air dancing


It's not one in the garden


It's growing alone


That's Syd Barrett's flower.



2011



Crazy Rexy's Got the Mean Reds


Remember to blink


Remember to stretch


Remember to breath


Remember to drink.


I'm sick and tired


I can't remember


If I shut the door.


You need fresh air


Go out, get perspective.


Relax, go home


Stay in, get some sleep.


Let it all out


Tell us your problems.


Shut up now, you're boring


Your time is up.


The money's run out


Get a loan.


We're here to help


Pay back time


You'll be fine by then.


You dream of black dogs


Read Freud.


It's all about arse


You're up your own arse.


Take control of your life


You're too in control.


Have a drink


Have some fun.


You feel sick?


Have another


It'll make you forget


Make the taste go away.


Put fat on your bones.


Don't worry


Go on have some more


Force feed, wind it in.


Think about what you eat


I'm bloated with facts


Today I'm not hungry.


If you squeeze enough


You'll find a lump.


Get a life


You're not going to die.


Be vibrant, wear red.


Bring it on


You can do more.


I'm vibrating, I'm shaking


I'm……. I'm…….



2011



The Night Watch Man


I am the Night Watch Man


I call for you at eleven


You always make me wait.


The night has work to do


And I watch over you.


It's the time


For your liver wheels to grind.


Some nights I see


You wake at three


Made afraid


By mind chasing poison.


At four the poison


Takes the body of some


And they will not


See the day.


I drag out yesterday


And pull in tomorrow.


For night is too strong


Keep away, be quiet, don't fight


By morning I am gone.



2011



Wisp Frayheart


Wisp Frayheart is climbing


She's climbing for her holiday


No time to rest


She hasn't got there yet.


There's shopping to do.


Everyday is windy


Wisp feels all blown about


Leaves swirling around her


One touches her shoulder


Who's there? Who's that?


She's shopping for new sadness


That old sadness


Doesn't fit right today.


Her round eyes search


For a new one to wear


One that will pinch her here


And sting her there.


Now something is scratching


She can feel it humming


It's in her hair


No between her toes.


Wisp can't find it


Maybe it was hidden


In a word he said.


She keeps it


And repeats it.


It's all she has


Since a gust of wind


Blew the seeds away


Before she could see them


Under her glass.


She forgot them yesterday


Tomorrows too late


She's always late.


He said there was singing


She's always too late


To hear the birds singing.



2011



Strings Lordy


Strings Lordy's weaving


Electric ivy


Nails on china bells


Playing space in mesh tides


He's a crowd now


Driving a chorus of icicles


Through the misty wall


Country people who can


Only breath in the town


Town people who die


In the country


He's viridian he's crimson


Riding a colt


On a cliff edge


Our church is falling


In a bow to storm echos.



2011



Maria Marten


I am the mole catchers daughter


And they should have buried me deep.


In a dream my step mother


To meet me she came.


My ghost to her chamber


Rose and followed to tell


Of my squire who cut and beat me


Into my unholy grave.


As a lad I dressed to be away


In secret to ride with him.


'Tis true I shared my honey sometimes


My stroke it played him my pet


For a promise


To make me a lady.


But once in the barn


Rough hands and words tore upon me


My blood fell to bloom in the clay


My handkerchief of primrose lawn


It broke my breath from my soul.


Only beasts were witness


And eight hooded rooks upon the roof


Were the judge of William Corder.


In the May sun set


Aflood with red is the barn.


My body lay bent against bone


'Till my father he found me


A lovely in gore.


And they should have buried me deep


For my tale lives long


'Cross the land.



2011



I Wish.......


I wish to love like a cat


To be calm in the shade


Of your heavy presence


Lay in the cradle


Of you love


And drink the love


You can give.



2011



Awake


My feet are walking roots


Flight is for birds.


My death link


A chain to the earth.


I awake in a bed of leaves


With a lizard and a snake.


I walk in the cemetery


A birth from decay.


I feel my feet sinking


And my throat


Is tall and strong.



2011



The Moth Gods


Draped round the scene are the Moth Gods


The cut of their bone


Sharp in their suits


Skin marble tight and pearl dust face.


Clip clap of their heel


See them drawn into shapes


Carpets become a cobbled street


Monotone is their film.


He had just stepped off


As the bridge gave way


Precision that hadn't a care.


Some children spellbound


They followed him on


A lantern in the darkest street


Saturday night is a scream.


Through smoke grey glass


They reflect a smile


She caught her breath


A recoiling cuff


The dragons tail revealed.


He will steal a gift from you


To wear and shine himself


Ice in you eyes


They're what he wants.


At the chime of their voice


We nod and agree


Were they feathers he sang


Or splinters of a sneer.


Moth God pours time as the ink


That stains his coat


Boot steps drop ash at dawn.



2010



After London Bridge


As the years have grown up


Some faces look sorry


For castles they haven't built


Like dried up infants.


And go silent


Eyes landing uneasy on me


When I revisit my old town.


Walls done up in shiny plastic


A make-up mask of desperate happiness.


They gave me an engine


But I have legs


They gave me wine


But I have blood


Are just words without wings


Who grow into nothing.


And I keep walking


Remembering no one


To chase some more butterfly skeletons.



2010



Three Holidays


In France it was as if I'd never seen day time before.


The gardens and roof tops were alight.


I washed the heat from my hands at the church


And looked down to the diamonds in the sea,


Wondering what I'd have to do to own them.



In Germany the old Jewess in the grave yard


Waved to the frost blue sky, sweeping it higher


And nodded to the earth, pulling it closer to me.


And told us the truth,


In a language we didn't understand.



In England over time flat fields


I could see as far as I was going.


Clouds falling in mist on dead Kings


My steps drawn on in an ancient journey.


I tried to look through the eyes of the slaughter stone.


From the stone circle a crow was watching,


And seemed to know me already.



2010



Claudia Vayle


Wet silk, black


Like bats wings


Hang in the sky


In the corner


A body of net


At the door way


Who will never go out


And didn't come in


The room has blown open


Darkness too far


A shawl of skin


Folding home now


Tunnel of breath


Sides fast and slipping


Tonight not to be


At the end


Ebony tribe chant


Voice from the sea


Dream flowers open


Heart drowning


In night blood.



2010



The Model


If the cold ever gave me goosebumps, the artists didn't say. It wasn't a hardship, the Sunday sun through the window. Some wondering whether to draw my tattoos, others who much preferred vases of flowers made them the subject, me an incidental shadow.


The sun lent me favours, I let my thoughts wander around the room. The warmth turning the circle of people to smudges as sleep tempted my eyelids. Dreaming myself a Parisian from one of those novels I liked to read, where the model would be seduced by the artist. Awake to the reality of the faces in the room. No dark and stormy Parisian there, just secondary school teachers and Dads with a hobby kept secret from the mother-in-law.


At the end of the pose behind the screen I'd go to put on my robe in private. A young woman in a towelling bathrobe, drinking tea barefoot with people in jeans. No one mentioned my strawberry birthmark, just concerns about the cold and whether my back ached.


Eventually curious, I looked at their pictures. One drew me as a flapper caught in the nude. Another as if I was sitting on the toilet, my face wearing a worried look.


A new pose and I was an object again, just lines and shade. Jimmy put on a classical music tape, reminding me of when I was at college and we'd listen to……it might have been Mozart, for all I could tell. My ears were more in the shape of The Cocteau Twins. But someone believed classical music would focus our eyes on the proportions of the model, when we were all wondering if our bodies would be like hers in middle age, well the girls in the class anyway.


Wriggling my toes felt cheeky, but licking my lips? That felt almost obscene in the situation I was in. So as a distraction I thought back to last Thursday, a man spoke as if he knew me well, and I had to ask who he was. He replied that he drew me on Sundays. So I glanced at each face, not staring too long. It often happened, being recognised in real life. I never recognised them.


As I was perched on my pink blanket throne, Land of Hope and Glory pounding out of the cassette machine, Angry Young Andy strode in. He who invited me to his meetings to save the country, I had a roll of excuses not to attend. A surprise, instant, blush, and, 'hello Lisa,' like he'd say in the outside.


My laughter I somehow swallowed to my knees. As Land of Hope and Glory staggered off, Andy had me on paper. I never knew he was an artist, I don't think he did either, He didn't show me his drawing, I didn't ask.


Dressed again, a neutral grey man and his olive green wife offered to drive me home. I accepted, it saved a bus fare.



2010



Sugar Leech II


Sugar Leech has lost her key


I see her before she sees me


She walks with eyes down


So I have time to hide


Does she want rid of me


As I want rid of her


Or is it me she wants


Sugar Leech gives nothing away


But loses everything


She's out to find someone


To look after her money


Yesterday she lost £10


When it was in her pocket


But she won't use a purse


Because they look daft


And doesn't see the point of cats


They just give her a look


So now she only takes out enough


To buy half a drink


And asks to share a pint


It gives her something to say.



2010



The Savage


One savage regards another


And they converse a while


Her nose kiss


A drop of scent on my hand


Tip toeing finger tips whisper


But Tortoise Shells eye is roaming


A blink of naked movement


A slinky down to the flower bed


Tulip ballerina on the wall


Twitch of life in her jaws


She is stone, the rodents rubber-whip tail


A garden feral, the mood in her claw


The air is turning


And she has ribbons to make


Our eyes touch goodbye


Cobwebs unlace as I pass towards town


I swallow my odour


And lock my face for people


And I laugh as I feel


The points of my teeth


Like needles on my tongue.



2010



The Jet Beads


The jet beads were treasure


To my teenage eyes


Sombre in the shadows


Of market stall trash


I claimed them like a bird


Proud they were mine


I wore the jet beads


Around my waist with them I would dance


And the jet beads wore me


In a picture I am who I most wanted to be


Calm inside


My cold string of darkness


My face like the moon


My hair dyed to mirror their colour


Midnight blue, alpine green, and black


My style changed


But I kept them


Until one day


I cut my string of jet beads


And gave half to my lover


It's left unsaid


But we realise


They are only glass.



2010



Missing



She knew it was time to die


Anyone who looked could see


But she wasn't suicidal


And hadn't got a disease


So she left on her own


To be found by a man


Who could tell


That some girls want to die.



2010



Gone


York Road Market got sucked into the ground


And the Stone Bench flew off


Nowhere to go for handbags, old records, and a greasy cup of tea


Nowhere to sit and make an average drawing of a gravestone


……..Again


I should have been there to file off the gate


And to chip away the seat


They didn't wait for a relic collector


We all move on so they say.



2010



The Burn


The burn is churning


Where I am deepest


Then takes me falling


The heat at my core


Is all there is


Nothing catches my hands or feet


Or they go straight through


The burn is my sex


A taste I can smell


And I wonder


Am I the only one


Who feels untied


By this rich red


Useless to me


A reminder to me


I can scream


And blame it on the burn


And I am hungry so eat


And tired so I sleep


The burn holds me still


A paint for my thighs


In the dark


Slow wings graze me inside


I am soft as I fall.



2010



The Adulterer


The Hammersmith Odeon run


The adulterer driving


His daughter and her friends


In the reliable estate car


They're all done up


In 1980s Romford Market glam


Constance Carole and day glo 'n' black


He keeps his eyes on the road


A model Dad who doesn't talk


Jail bait teens


Filling the car with pop star desires


His head is too full to hear


Full of the woman from church


Who waits in the Hammersmith hotel



The girls are glad


Her Dad was late


Husky voiced from screaming


For the chance to wait backstage


For a pop group who left by another door.



2010



The City



Do I live in the city


Or does the city live in me


When I was waiting outside


I wanted to be a figure within


Eyes stretch to devour


A horizon of wishes


Each the star of a jewel


To freeze my eyes afraid to blink


But now I halt


Before I can see the soft distance


For the city steps out


Running circles around my attention


To wave its wares for me to taste


Now I can feel my body object


Have I had too much


Or maybe not enough


Do I feed the city


Its wires enter my skin


To drink me weary


The bell sprung gate ahead


With its title in upper case


Is it me it needs to keep it swinging


The words on the next say yes


The city is breaking


Another road drill


Zig-zagging the air tight around me


Abrasion hangs in my mouth


And towers form in my ears


That make the air screech


From the concrete growing pains


My limbs jar against walls


As I try to unwind


Freewill a web to tangle my fingers and teeth


Locked into the city


A faceted dome


A choice on every wall


I turn to hear everyone


And buy so many none can grow


Start building one more


Before the floor has set


Screens for eyes


Tired of the repeats they see


Give me a space for reaction


No time for reaction


All the clocks in the city


Hold a different opinion


And when can I go home.



2010