CHAMPAGNE FOR THE UNSUSPECTING

take-a-step-back-in-time

A Baltic Shoreline, summer 1926: Had she not been wise and worldly beyond her years then perhaps she would never have recognised the pathfinders Gethsemane kiss. To be haggled over as a prospective concubine to a well-placed coolie trader within the most public of public places that was the Imperial Gardens without The Forbidden City had scant appeal. Even more disquieting the actuality of becoming a mere seductive chattel to the aged merchants sickly wants.

No time to lose and lost in the moment she hurriedly vanished amid the jam packed lively throng of Emperor’s confederates bartering this and that for that and this.

Only a twinkling previous she had been smoking a Turkish cigarette Marlene Dietrich style upon a Baltic shoreline, nibbling upon a pickled herring and sharing alternate sips of mead from a Viking drinking horn with the one who claimed to voyage through time itself. At first she had doubted the fellow; presumed he had dreamt up the consummate come on. Not now though! Her rather bothersome episode in the Orient had put pay to that.

“You scared the living daylights out of me you know…why send me to bloody Ming dynasty China with the click of your fingers…I very nearly got sold into slavery…bastard!”

“Well you’re back safe and sound in your very own ‘here and now’…another sip of mead?”

“Stuff your mead…so you really are a time-traveller then?”

“Need I answer?”

“Guess not”

“Anyway let bygones be bygones I just wanted to prove a point, allay any doubts that may have remained. I’m thinking we might travel together on to Zanzibar…I know the Sultan ever so well, nice chap if one stays on the right side of him…Stone Town is at its glorious best in spring and I’ll treat you to a little something in the bazaar. How about it?”

“Are we talking backwards or forward in time here?”

“Backward my dear, backward…early 19th Century”

“I think not…I’d rather live my own life than keep tabs on yours”

“Tell you what then, if you ever change your mind simply slip these admittedly rather well-worn yet nevertheless absolutely wizard shoes on and you can join me any time any place in an instant…I’ll be off then, been a joy knowing you young Meta”

She never did try on the shoes…shoes that would stay quarantined within an old trunk in a loft in a land several oceans adrift craving liberation…that is until one fine day 90 years later when having a rummage of exploration someone else stumbled upon them…

Le Café Arrosé, Montmartre, Paris, New Year’s Eve 1921: Having dodged the drunken revellers out on the swarming boulevard an unusually reticent bohemian lass wearing scruffy footwear and an ‘out of place’ faux fur coat makes her apprehensive ‘where the fuck am I’ entrance. A dapper waiter gives her an all too knowing nod of approval, makes note that she wishes for something chilled that sparkles over absinthe. She politely refuses his bizarre offer of a Turkish cigarette. Regardless he leads her to a table and the unimaginably devil-may-care clique of Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, her self-effacing fancy, Alice B Toklas, F Scott Fitzgerald and, notwithstanding the night is yet young, an as ever worse for drink Zelda…routinely spouting bush fire profanities her husband’s way.

LUCID IN HIS COMA

lucid-dreaming1

Lucid in his coma
contradiction paralysis
devices that go ‘ping’
would never detect
ubiquity his best kept disguise

A malignant mortality
a thriving world apart
impalpable his hush-hush head
but oh what a life he lives there
lust, love and something in-between
starlets and a sweethearts rebuke
yes dreams within dreams also
Icarus wings in weightlessness ascending
damsels in distress and slaying dragons

Unbeknownst to the one dabbing eyes
who sits beside a plastic tube maze cot
she’s in there too, elfin in the morning
jezebel come night-time
no bankrupt cerebrum
the veiled light shines golden within

A DISGRACE

donald_thrump_mas_racista_que_hitler_by_atisuto17-d8xni00

 

My doctor is a Muslim

my dentist is as well

as is the man running the corner shop

who cares for his clientele

 

The bloke next door he’s one too

his missus gives us dishes

traditional Bangladesh cuisine

gifted to us with her best wishes

 

He also owns a restaurant

he serves the best curry money can buy

always stops to have chat

you couldn’t meet a nicer guy

 

Oh yes, and there’s the car wash bloke

he cracks a joke or two

when hosing down my motor

with the rest of his rag tag crew

 

The midwife, such a lovely girl

all those years ago

helped bring our son into this world

a Muslim compassion cameo

 

I’ve played cricket against Muslim sides

fine sportsmen, honest men

so what is all this ignorant vitriol

I note by spoken word and pen

 

For each and every one I know

all Muslims oh so proud

yet you never hear them spouting off

about their heritage endowed

 

So take my word as gospel

for even this old atheist

when I hear words of hate being chucked around

I’m inclined to raise a fist

 

I never met a Muslim

who’s not a decent sort

yet across the pond there’s a liability

who with his gob strives to hold court

 

Goes by the name of Donald Trump

wants to be next President

wants to make Muslins wear identity badges

shut their mosques and then torment

 

Like a proper little Hitler

clearly thinks he owns the human race

so please forgive me Donald Trump

when I say you’re a fucking disgrace

A SCRAPBOOK OF STOLEN MEMORIES

Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France

In the chilly raw hours
whispering his name
pricking him with her hatpin
ensuring he was sound asleep
she impishly for his own good
robbed him of his memories
tucked them in her rucksack
would glue them into a scrapbook
for the sake of the unborn
the very moment they got back
Only his worst memories mind
for they were the ones that tormented so
leave the rest in-situ, safe and sound

Rummaging through his collection
of afterthoughts and apparitions
while filling her bag the thought struck
that they were mostly monochrome stills
most out of focus, a dilettante’s technique
altogether captured with Brownie 127 eyes

Delving deep, what an archive!
much more than she had anticipated
zeroed in on those of things lost and
of loss itself, of endings without beginnings
a deficit of ancestors, felines and conquests
poems on post-it notes, a life in a hat, then
the motherload, a bare raven haired fire-eater
counting manly face beads on an abacus
another of the same woman tearing at a
human heart with her unadorned fingernails
Dante’esque the one of her joyfully feeding
tethered owls with pleading rodents skewered alive
but mainly just rats, razor-blades and fallen leafs

AD ‘long since’ he who had recently
been tagged ‘second-hand goods’ along
with she who was glisteningly untried
ventured far and wide to a place where
tide outpaced a stallion at full gallop
where a spiritual, peppery island buttressed
an 8th century monastery sheathed in a
café au lait skirt of pernicious quicksand
It went by the name Mont Saint-Michel

Accessed their pre-ordered two star
unembellished granite walled freezing room
via narrow ‘prayer and penance’
perfumed cobblestone passageway
barely enough space to house a ghost
blessed though with a bedstead an outsized
long since departed friar had left behind
tiny stained glass aperture, no curtain and
beholden that a lover’s moon had presented herself

Inside looking out to sea next morning
“You’re full of the joys for once I see”
A canny wink and the blithest of grins his riposte
By design she had triumphed, not that she would tell thus
maybe leave the scrapbook out on the side table one day

BUYING HER FLOWERS & OTHER GAMES OF CHANCE

Lovers with 3-D glasses at the Palace Theatre (Infra-red), 1943.

Lovers with 3-D glasses at the Palace Theatre (Infra-red), 1943.

He was troubled that she might simply reject them
Yet he’d never know if he didn’t dare
It was thus he bought for her a bunch of red roses
In the hope he might just ensnare

The heart of the girl he was besotted with
The one he had met summertime in Bordeaux
The one he thought of as exquisite
From her head to the tip of her toe

Of course he could never be certain
She spoke just French and him not bilingual
Yet somehow he had to win that gal over
Better than spend the rest of his days sad and single

While strolling from the florist to her place
The thought struck him that flowers alone
May not be sufficient for purpose
So at the jewellers for her a gemstone

From the pâtisserie a handmade tarte aux fraises
From the dealers a brand new Citroen car
From the booking office seats for the new Bond film
Determined to seal true love at the cinema

At first she seemed shy and somewhat wary
Still she took all of his gifts with some glee
And that night in the back row ignoring James Bond
She was a wild red poppy to his honeybee

ONCE UPON A NEON TAINTED MOON

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Once upon a neon tainted moon, not too long since a peckish dusk
had gobbled up daylights delights, tucked away in a little hideaway
a wooer plies his ageless art, the rarest of rare precious choice of an
‘in the know’ lover, Creuse oysters with Sancerre wine, the perfect aphrodisiac?
Maybe…only time will tell and the night is yet young!
Outside in the street the fledgling weekend stretches its wings
taxi cabs, traffic jams and bothersome horns, exhausted siren calls
clichéd accordionists and likewise Marcel Marceau lookalikes
rustling, bustling, giggling pretty girls in pretty frocks anticipate
as do the boys with silly haircuts and passion killer cell phones
from a balcony above a red light Madam keeps a watchful eye on the goings on below
a glittering transvestite made up to the nines flaunts womanish charms
a work weary gendarme yawns, scratches his ear, checks his watch, his shift nearly over
a ‘look this way and that’ businessman an astute pace or two adrift
from his ‘carefree for now’ little black dress, high heeled mistress
a family man of more honourable pursuit holds his little girls pink woollen gloved hand
the obligatory soap box saviour preaches to ‘give him a wide berth’ walk-on-by theatregoers
For one and all a special haunt, a space to revel in and be free for just a while
From the shadows a composed and modified boyman nonchalantly fires
a few random rounds into an apocalyptic tableau of now shrieking humanity
affords himself a grin of fulfilment, then detonates the bomb in his pants
Once upon a neon tainted moon in The City of Love the marvel of make-believe no more

JACK FROST’S SHOWTIME (renamed ‘The Tree Fetish’)

tree winter

When, having danced again
old fruitions fervid cavort of
The Ten Thousand Leaves
the now ripened boscage
harem is laid all but bare
what little modesty afforded
the sweet things, just the
tightest fitting skirts of cheap
evergreen self-supporting ivy,
then finally, and at great expense
Jack Frost’s ShowTime has arrived

The tantrum Sun having fled
south cursing lost possibilities
knows not what he is missing
not so the Sultan Owl or the
voyeur Crow, both shuddering
at the thought of the clamour
for prized faux fur cloaks made
of neat snow come curtain fall!

Enter my dear wife peering over my shoulder, “That’s either the most pretentious piece of rubbish you’ve ever written or you have a tree fetish”

“Pretentious it may be yet I can inform you I categorically do not have a tree fetish”

“Bet you do…I mean you’re always wearing green jumpers, t-shirts and you have green socks on”

“What’s that got to do with the price of eggs? Look let’s be clear…not even in the darkest recesses of my mind is there a tiny part of me that feels compelled to shag a tree…is that plain enough? Anyway I’m off out”

“Where you going then…the Pinetum I’ll wager?”

“No La Salle Verte for a coffee as it happens”

“La Salle Verte…The Green Room by any other name! And they’ve got pictures of trees on the wall…bet you salivate looking at them. Weirdo…anyway there’s a nice horse chestnut on the walk down, hope you can contain your sick desires”

“For fuck’s sake I just want a cup of coffee and a read of the papers”

“The papers are made from trees as well”

“Bollocks!”

“Can I come?”

“Suppose so”

EMPTIER THAN BEFORE

André+Masson+-+slays+(1931)+

Delighted slaughterers
gifted nurtured knaves
absurd devotional mimics
the black, black void your cage
now you are emptier than before
your whys’ and wherefores’ inexpiable

Aujourd’hui la ville de l’amour pleure
Demain est un autre jour
La liberté est morte
Vive la liberté

THE OWL AND HER SKATEBOARD

owl folkestone

“Let the magpies wish be sacrosanct
no blindfold, what good his eyes now?”
Nailed naked to a replica awaiting dissolution
no green hill without a city wall for the sorry

Disheartening witnesses all things considered
picnicking ancestors, a tetrad of smirking nuns
day-trippers Nikon and IPhone armed, and the usual suspects

Pinned up high he catches her, front of crowd
she blows him a kiss, throws him the Judas smile
this promiscuous one who has no special favourites
just exclusive favours, silk stockings and a sparkle

He always heard chatter when she played the cello
Vivaldi and snug sex, hackneyed moonlight and
defenceless mattress perfection, la petite mort unending
‘Something in the way she left’ his fleeting roughly plagiaristic take
a billion mosquitoes and itchy fading recollections small comfort
sticky drizzle the wipers hate compliment his unrobed blues
slipping in and out of here and there.

Letters of love, hate and conspiracy
best penned atop a dim lit corner table
She lights his candle, serves his drinks
knows just when to leave him well alone

Blood and blotting paper, his fine art restrained death dance
aesthetically ripe for sensory study is all he has become or will become
he was too easily defeated, only child, china jaw, couldn’t parry the punches
Suicide kerbside would be a better fate, too late notions meander…
“The owl…yes the owl, she would have spoken in my defence”

“The owl and her skateboard took to town
On a half decent winters day
Only the unfeigned one noticed the bird
The Emperor’s custodians all looked away”

Spare plein air?

I shall say, I guess subjectively that herewith a most splendid piece of surreal writing marking Remembrance Day from a gifted gal

A World

Krafne is doughnut in Croatian. Peter is Jason in real life. A breakfast bowl -not consumed- before embarkment towards The Spare Room. Not only did the name recollection mishap reiterate personal forgetfulness, it became evident poor yeast was used. Minimal rise lending itself to deflation of pre-conceived trust. Authentic recipe’s aside.

‘long black?’

The now Jason, Peter was already shooting big guns. Customer service, outstanding. Bravery paramount. Stepping away frontline cash register to spare room plein air; open fire amenity.

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