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.


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.


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.


Monday, 11 April 2011


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.


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.


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.


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…….


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.