Before Today

I can almost recall a time when I didn’t care… there was so much life laid up in store

frivolous days tossed aside:

grisly hangovers of endless nights,

I used to observe the characters of Paris from a window in Chez Camille… sun light flashing through the green of horse chestnut trees lining wide Montmartre streets-

well heeled parents guiding their chattering children past a

staggering drunk, piss marks up his trouser leg, greasy hair clinging to his beard

he’s avoided too by those girls in summer dresses, all legs and laughter and dreams…

they are ogled by the old men drinkinga coffee outside cafes, complaining  about their busy wives…

back in that time when our choices could send us anywhere-

careering into old cinemas watching movies with wide eyes,

building driftwood fires on deserted beaches

or writhing with nameless shapes in little rooms

washed in strawberry vodka

back before our choices defined us and hardened into everything we are.

back when right and wrong were only whispering

and the streets of Paris called my name

Days

let yesterday go

         for she’s an imposter-

eager to steal

today

         a rose etched thief

who unnoticed, beckons

…………………………..

and do not wait for tomorrow,

         for he’s a tinker’s dream

a liar brushed in silver

       

dying to drain us

                of our youth

Golden Balls

Great Uncle Doug looks young for 97

(always a bit too handsome my grandfather used to say…)

even though he’s getting on a bit now

he still loves it when the sun’s out,

kicking off his shoes he trots into the garden, leaving clothes scattered across the floor…

I suppose you’d call him a nudist,

one of those who likes to let it all swing free. a Tarzan without a loin cloth,

his neighbours shut their curtains

tutting in disgust.

he’ll tell you all about it,

no sense of shame at all,

simply feels constricted wearing pants.

he did wear a suit for Mary’s funeral,

though even then, I bet he went commando.

Locked Down

finally, their sirens cease.

                    wailing echoes fade

          into foreign silence

at first… all is still

until the first cellar door tentatively

cracks open

very slowly those that are not dead emerge

eyes shielded from sunlight

             squinting at nature’s misshapen forms

lungs greedily gulp clean air

everything is changed

                    yet we are the same

Show Business

saggy white gorillas
in ten thousand dollar suits, choking
submission: movie careers hung
on meat hooks
beaten, sliced, sold in penthouses;
worn like cheap thongs and thigh high boots,

red carpets lit with flash bulbs, strapless
Stella McCartneys,
sips of champagne flute
adulation, stretched limousines
and private planes.

entertain us, they
moan at the girl
with green eyes, as she
writes receipts
for herself
again.

A whiter house

Imagine there’s a painting
adorning the wall of some president’s master bedroom. It hangs
beneath a mirrored ceiling where his wife
(lucky her) gets to watch his pumping arse wobble like a pale hairy jelly.
Let’s say it sits above a dozen nicotine silver wigs
on a perfect chesterfield dresser,
and maybe it gazes down, in lurid grey and gold:
a grinning Adolf Hitler
riding a merry go round of charging marble stallions,
one leather glove tightly gripping the reigns
the other waving at scores
of muscular blonde women
and heroic dead eyed men with lantern
jaws.

Let’s just say this now and get it out in the open,
before it’s too late.

Books you should have read

clad in a shapeless woollen jumper,
handing out paper bags
for 2nd hand books. she stumbles
over small talk and fumbles for
petty cash

waiting at the sign
for the no 9 bus, she twists
her umbrella strap tighter
and tighter, watching lights
welcome families home,
listening for the bark of a dog

some nights she mixes an extra glass of wine with gin
and lets her neighbour fuck her with his fat cock.
she won’t make a sound except when he starts
and sometimes when he ends,
but she likes it best when he leaves, creeping across the hall
when he thinks she’s asleep

other nights she calls her mother
and lets her babble
about holidays in the past
and the rising price of eggs.
her tone of voice sickens her,
as she considers safe ways
to dispose of a corpse

most days she’s so bored
she cries in the shower.
gritting her teeth
to restrain a scream
and trying to drown herself

she thinks she might be in love
with the book seller down the street.
he sells his books
in an alleyway. his scraggy hair
and tobacco breath
keeps customers away
but he gives books to people
he likes

he left her a beaten copy of ‘Papillion’ on the counter
but she hasn’t made time to read it

only once have they said more than three words,
but she cut them off.
she worries he might smoke heroin
or slap women when he’s drunk
or worse, be one of those bohemians
who vote conservative

 

Hard Times

he thinks he remembers a time
before she chopped off his balls
and pickled them in a jar
with mustard seeds
and chilli oil,

somewhere a sense
of not feeling sleazy
or desperate
only wildly energetic
and wet,

vague recollections of
dirty promises,
black lingerie and blow jobs,
fuck me boots and thongs,
or were they just dreams

of a Billy bollock teenager
standing to attention, ready
for action—mountains of man-
sized tissues hiding under his bed…

Maybe…

Don’t remember many nights in ’97.
Most washed away in Southern Comfort
and shitty house music. But I can recall
hungover mornings with Richard and Judy,

lying listless on a shapeless sofa
surrounded by fag-ash footprints
on their march towards sunrise,

washing down Marlboro breakfasts
with left over cans and Walkers crisps
as Gallagher sang about living forever,

stockpiles of Loaded magazines crowding
the bathroom, Begbie’s wild glaring,
Kelly Brook blowing kisses. Our manuals
on how to live badly.