(regarding the legend behind female figureheads on ships)

under the fraudulent cover of a soporific oh, so slender decresent moon

a harem of brazenly snooping sparkling stars affording sufficient glow

the small craft makes light work of glinting, inconsequential ripples

carrying she of captivating looks and charming demeanour away

surrendering the hustle and bustle of Tripoli’s manic harbour

for El Mina’s gulf and sanctuary of this resting rover’s ship

the overmuch amorous sheik back in Bagdad overlooked

her talent of foresight, seeking to tether both she and

her cloaked duplicitous affections by draping her in

opulent golden bangles as article of ostentation

bangles by insistence she declared should be

set permanent, fixed about her petite wrists

oft glimpsed ankles and much kissed neck

no stinking rich emir ever the match

for a Machiavellian mademoiselle

bent upon profit and swift

getaway on her mind

golden adornments

travelling as part

of her brazen


I knew full well that laying claim to the lives of the unsuspecting and seeking out untried antidotes for seasickness were masked by titanic beauty beyond measure, false manners beyond refute.  Still I cared not a jot, my promise of safe passage back to Tilbury for the price of just a worthwhile few shavings of gold, sufficient. Not so my superstitious crew, believing as they did the old adage that a girl on board ship angered intemperate seas that would take out perilous retribution.

Safely outside the Pillars of Hercules, north into Biscay’s Bay the seas turned foul, tempest beyond measure, the ghost of Jonah nod. Yet, leaving the relative safety of her quarters, she took to the deck

unperturbed by ill looks of fearful mariners of unfounded fears.  Seemingly satisfied as to the general state of affairs, she returned below deck.  As if by magic, the storm abated, all was quiet, Davy Jones downhearted.

Later, from the warm comfort of my captain’s cabin, “You have no figurehead captain?” she observed over a salted beef dinner, adding, “Surely, you’ve heard tell the bare breasts of a women perched on the bow of the ship, ‘shames the stormy seas into calm and her open eyes guides all seamen to safety’?” Plainly I responded by advising that of course I knew, yet put it down to an old wives’ tale.  “Then you really know nothing, do you? Back in London you will forego your golden fee, instead I shall model for your figurehead. An equitable arrangement do you not agree?” I found such overture impossible to refuse, she had me in her spell. Even my crew thought well of her proposal, notwithstanding lost income.

Regardless, model she did, our heroine she became. It was a good likeness and over time her figurehead became the very spirit of the vessel of 1,000 more violent commotions adrift.  Upon departing for ‘wherever’, I felt compelled to ask of her, “That night of the storm, you made for the bow I recall…you didn’t…surely not…did you?” Her riposte, “I’ll leave that to your imagination.”  I never saw or heard of her again.



The uninvited weasel, occupying appropriated lodgings had had better days. Certainly, none worse. So much for the mouth-watering anticipation of red light potential and the sheer delight snapshots of ‘spring again’ tulips would bring to loved ones back home.

Deathly quiet within four walls, yet in the street below the sissing of cyclists, the chitter-chatter of panicking stale bread hunters was broken only by the blunt decrees of the hard-nosed uniformed playmaker directing gun totting subordinates toward likely attics and basements where the fearful hid or were hidden, the clatter of jackboots upon cobblestone and the odd terrorized scream of female distress. 1942 in Amsterdam, a place where those not quislings, were either taken on a free train ride, left weeping or resisting the best they knew how.

She could not help but to absorb the grandeur of his purloined surroundings.  Albeit that he was a high-ranking officer, he was, in the global plan of things of arguable consequence, he had certainly done alright for himself. Highest ceilings flaunting crystal chandeliers she would, in different circumstances readily swing from, delicious sweeping views of the city from the balcony, a Dutch Master or two adorning aesthetically pleasing walls.

Ever the compassionate assassin, that he was on his knees, hands tied fast behind his back, feet tethered similar, her revolver as good as glued to his temple, she had afforded him the decency of retaining his socks. That that small modesty made him look ridiculous pleased her. Apt revenge for the evil he had orchestrated? She believed that to be the case, besides if God was reticent in coming out to play, then she would play God.

A little earlier, more out of boredom than anything else, she had, with painstaking care, removed from the bridge of his debatable Aryan nose his wire framed spectacles, placed them upon the sumptuous carpet, then, with the heel of his own forsaken boot, smashed them to smithereens before his screwed-up, searching eyes.

She already had all his secrets, and some more. The chapter was near complete. Tilting her head mockingly, her giveaway violet eyes drawn to his near unsighted equivalents, “You really are not as I imagined. All sinewy, half blind, a skinny little fully paid-up member of the self-proclaimed master race.”

Now looking sheepishly at the floor, he mumbled as would a small child caught scrumping apples, “They’ll catch you and kill you…you know that?” 

“Maybe, maybe not.”

Without the benefit of lenses, his now reluctant eyes struggled to interpret exactly what she was up to as she slipped on a rubberised glove, upon the palm of which she placed a thin-walled glass oval capsule, the size of a pea. “Stick out your tongue like a good soldier if you wouldn’t mind.” Although now aware of what was coming, his overwhelming desire to cling to dear life just a little longer ensured he almost voluntarily complied. With theatrical aplomb, her rubber protected thumb crushed the cyanide pill against his tongue. Insofar as she allowed, he squirmed a moment as she slammed shut his mouth, holding on tight, locking his jaw. Within just minutes’ consciousness had taken its leave for someplace else. Shortly thereafter the heartbeat followed on behind.

Bagging up his clothing she paused to take a last look at her dead adversary.  The thought struck that for his gestapo uniform to be complete, to be authentic, she needed the socks. A pity really, her artistry spoiled. Needs must when the devil drives, the socks she had to have.

It was evening when she returned to the scabby garret we shared on the other side of town.

“Success?” I asked.

“Of course, here, a genuine gestapo officers uniform, boots and all, for your chums in the Resistance for covert activities.”

“Did you get it out of him as to just how much he knows of our whereabouts and operational plans?”   

“You wish to debrief me so soon?” 

“What do you think?”

A long and not unpleasant post-witching hour sharing both privileged information and each other came to pass. In times of war, I found, as did she, one takes what one can get tout de suite.



come fading glow, vampire bats crisscross a ripe moon

silvered chimney smoke outpaces the silly, chilly moths

rushing ever upwards chasing heaven sent white light

a befitting sight worthy of the promise magic bestows

upon an otherworldly place few beings know exists

midsummer day’s spawning of the briefest obscurity

so stingy the gratuity of darkness’s deepest pockets

leaving just wafer-thin messages for the abandoned

subdued tidings of those condemned to life in limbo

no time or place for squirreled away final goodbyes

solemnized in melancholy words begging guidance

a hint of urgency shrouded back-of cautious tongues

a flock of lost sheep favouring tarmac over lush grass

time has no mercy, offers no favours when on the tail

of a sleepy sun, hell-bent on tucking itself safe and warm

beneath horizons snug blanket of guarded hallucination

a stark moorland tumour, a misshapen granite hideaway

bad luck, curiosity or wanton kidnap lead to such a place

last rock of Celtic fascination under Aurora’s frigid border

all that is left, an easy birthing of street life’s pornography

she, in trademark denim dungarees, her hair a loose mop of

ebony locks, knots and scarlet ribbons, adrift yet still alive

immune to antics privacy gifts those sat smug behind doors

spitting two-faced grunts and groans to breakneck applause


I’m biased I know, yet I like this post from my son, George (aka Zoolon Audio) a great deal.

Zoolon Audio


I was sat in the back of a car stuck in an unreal queue, waiting. I was able to borrow a pen and paper to help kill the boredom, kill the time. I wrote down some random words as they came into my head. It’s a thing I often do. Sometimes a song appears. When the traffic started moving again I put the scribbled bit of paper in my back pocket and forgot about it. I was emptying my pockets today and found it.  I could barely read what I’d written. My handwriting is not good and you don’t get a spellcheck with notepaper. My brain had to be my interpreter. It wasn’t the gig it wanted but helped anyway.

I thought, for now, I’d leave the words as they are and go back to them sometime. You never know. There is a theme begging to get out, but for…

View original post 181 more words



First a sip of champagne, then a rare girlish tilt of the head and in an instant, her naked iris, roseate eyes ambushed mine. Detained them for the duration. Not too long, yet likely just long enough. Was it contemplation as to my purpose of being? Mental telepathy? Thought transference? I never could translate the language of those conspicuous, yet most agreeable eyes.

A little earlier, not long after we had sat at our corner table and the waiter had taken our drinks order, she had insisted the candle be snuffed. “My photophobia demands it” her courteous reasoning.  I obliged, killing the flame twixt wetted finger and thumb. She had me light her cigarette. I was keen to ask of her why she had chosen to wear a white silk cocktail gown upon her snowy frame, yet thought better of it. Felt it improper to delve.  Notwithstanding, it was charmingly low cut, invitingly filled, both she and it, a heaven-sent, magnetic art form.   In that regard, my own straying eyes would have, no doubt, published the daring workings of my desirous mind. Such poor form on my part seemed to bother her not. I guess it was a thing she was used to, the price to pay for blessed beauty bestowed. I would have liked to say it was me who first found she, although in truth the opposite was true. Such was the way of dalliance in times of war. Times when only the losers surrender.

She picked at her food as if to not enjoy, made note of my quizzical glance, “A little over-generous with the calamari, the white bean puree was sufficient in itself. Worry not, my appetite has never been that rife…unlike some!” Her soft gibe aimed at a palpably ashamed me. “Well, The Savoy is exempt from this wretched rationing, no reason not to have my fill. Thankfully, you’ll not find dried egg and that dreadful chicory coffee here.” She smiled. Just a fleeting smile. Sufficient to appease my self-evident guilt.

To the backdrop of the big band playing, appropriately, at least insofar as I was concerned, ‘In the Mood’ we discussed the methodology of assassination. “So, you will help me then?” I nodded in agreement. She continued, “Good, that’s settled then. I am fully aware MI5 briefed you in this matter some time back, and that you have the expertise to covertly gain access his suite here. It is, as you will understand, in both our interests the pseudo human dies…by the way, it would be best you book a room here, you and I as man and wife. That way, you will be my perfect cover, no-one will suspect a thing, plus we can track his movements, find his weak spots, before I make the kill…as such, we remove any chance of failure. In a place, as grand as this, where the walls really do have ears, team work ensures a successful outcome. We can take up residence tomorrow.” Her eye for detail was impressive.

Take up wedded residence we did. At her insistence, we acted out our respective roles as if our marital status were honest. Her lovemaking was clinical, seemingly devoid of passion. I think she found sex a mere professional necessity, pointing out that the chambermaid, from the state of next day’s sheets would be in little doubt as to our bona fide standing in the, albeit unlikely, event she was ever questioned thus. Additionally, she made sure her lipstick stained cigarette ends married those of my own in the ashtray upon the bedside cabinet. “One can never be too careful in such matters” her gambit and prerequisite to further entanglement. Whilst the creature in me did not mind her ‘lay back and think of murder’ approach, the lover, rake perhaps, that part of me was always left wanting her evident eagerness to explore, less mechanics. Maybe just an old-fashioned fake embrace that had perhaps a little meaning, though that was never to be. That she sought such union so often surprised, was contradictory. Her stock phrase, “It helps me think” did little to boost my waning spirit. Surely, she must have known that I was besotted.

War torn London, in June meant sunshine, showers and bomb shelters in equal measure, though whatever conditions prevailed, she wore darkest sunglasses. Upon our picnic in Green Park, aside Piccadilly she had the added protection of a simple straw sunhat and the purest demeanour…the latter, no doubt to signal that any hanky-panky on my part would be unwelcome. We discussed the task in hand in some depth. Her contempt for the one she had christened ‘the pseudo human’ was palpable.  I prayed her sheer ferocity in that regard would not end up an Achilles Heel.  Regardless, she advised that now we had established his movements about town, his habits and regular haunts, that tonight would be the night he would meet his end.

“You have the copy key to his suite…Good. Pass it me…also, I think it important we stay on a couple more nights after the assassination, rather than depart immediately the task is done and dusted…should we simply disappear the tedious uninformed constabulary might put two and two together…organise it if you would please. Other than that, I’ll join you in our room after dusk”

I was lost in the previous day’s copy of The Times when my Cheshire cat grinning liquidator returned. A grin of affirmation, duly noted. Just a well-placed single bullet apparently. I had the bellboy bring us up a bottle of bubbly…told him it was the occasion of our first anniversary, and… how shall I put it? Suffice to say, after all these years gone my indiscretion in spilling the beans is, I hope, forgivable, she was not backward in coming forward that night. Good Lord no.

Our paths crossed several times thereafter, yet circumstance meant we never revived our carnal pursuits. Such is life for seasoned espionage agents.


TOMORROW (an ‘almost’ poem)


Playing out her dreams, rocking plate in hand, she sieves for golden crumbs along the wandering river trail, oblivious that paradise is ablaze. That a harmless crèche playground drizzle had fledged, turned into a streetwise gang of ripened raindrop bullies troubled her not a jot. Welly boots and tangled locks tucked inside an oilskin rainhat saw to that, for they were, in any event, more than a match for bittersweet elements.

Long ago, back when she cared, she had concluded the rosy vagaries of fate to be the most romantic of things. Then one bleached shivering winters day, thumbing through her unsullied little black book of ‘then and now lovers’ it dawned on her all had been handpicked; realized that circumstance had played no part…that each and every way she looked at it, eyes wide open ‘choice’ and white walking cane blind ‘fate’, were sworn enemies.

It was at that time, staring at four walls became less of an issue, more a consuming hobby. It no longer troubled her if all that matters or mattered was reduced to ashes and gifted to the breeze.

“Slim pickings today, que sera, sera. I’ll try again tomorrow”




here I have no tag of stereotype

here I am unique, here I am locked-in

here, within the lemon sandstone walls

of a timeworn, breathless Moorish fortification

I live a little, dream a lot, suffer, eat, wash and shit

He was looking out through the barred window, elbows upon sill, crossed fingers supporting his chin, his back to her. Heard her footsteps as she approached. Noted she was alone, for once. Out of choice he did not turn about face, did not acknowledge her presence.

For her part, she observed he had lost a little weight. Even from behind, protruding ribs told their own story.  The unsuspecting often took his blasé indifference toward all and sundry as a sign of resignation, maybe outright defeat, or perhaps just that his fabled genius had finally played out. How little they knew, for such apathy was merely a façade. A fact she was well aware of.

“Here, I have clothing for you…just an old gandoora…it’ll have to do. I couldn’t find any sandals. The thing is we can’t have you…well…not like this…not today”

In the blue times twixt constant contemplation vis-a-vis his passion for lost causes, and the equally irksome conspiracy of idiots focused on inflammatory design, the prisoner would lay down and wait in anticipation of a Popular Front parade.

“I’ll leave the gandoora folded on your bed. What are you so engrossed thinking about?”

Still he did not turn around. “For no good reason, other than perhaps the subliminal, I resolved that I would see if I could count up to one billion in whispers and wondered just how long such a challenge would take.  Too long I reckon.  You see, having determined that there are 86,400 seconds in a day it would take more or less 11,574 days, which works out at nearly 32 years to achieve such a quest, and that is assuming I take no sleep for the duration and only allowing one second to speak each number. Plainly I would need the occasional rest and further, as the numbers got bigger they would take more than one second to say. Given that I would likely pop my clogs, or be disposed of prior to completion I am thinking it for the best to abort the mission at this embryonic stage…by the way, why favour me with clothing after all this time? Since when has compassion been within your gift? And what’s so bloody important about today?”

At home, she would watch, sometimes even play with the antennae bristling ants that owned her garden.  Yet in this place, she reigned supreme, played no silly games.

“Look at me, face me.” Be that an order or request he cared not, studiously he ignored her. “Have it your way then,” an out of character statement by any standard, the iron rod her usual preference, “You are free to leave…obviously, you can’t leave as you are.” She found herself wishing for storm clouds to match her imperfect mood.

At last he changed position, looked her in the eye, “How so?”

She knew well that her cigarettes would kill before they cured, a presumption of her own private subjugation. Looking at him stood there stark naked the thought struck that, ‘spellbound are the idealists, the others are in their graves’. She thinks she might write that down a little later. She could see his bruising was fading, though his scars were eternal, ensuring memory of her would live on in his worst nightmares. Then, “Franco fell into a coma and died last evening…natural causes, hence…well, hence your ‘freedom’ assuming you’ll ever be ‘free’ in spirit, that is.” He sensed that word ‘freedom’ she spat out had left a bitter taste.

“So, all Godfearing, one-time fascists so very fond of The White Terror can now sit back and count their pesetas, and claim they knew nothing about anything?”

She wore a phony smile, “You should know my preference would have been to have your head on a platter…excuse the metaphor…we never did break you; dehumanise you, you ‘the one who got away’…still, I feel sure we’ll meet again one day. Come, make haste, you will be escorted all the way to the French border.”



“Oi Len, fancy a quick one at The Chelsea?”

“What do you mean Svetlana, a swift libation?”

“No me old fruit bat I was more thinking both.”

“Fine…why not, I’m up for that.”

 “Anyhow Lennie boy, you got any new songs you can belt out for me in your own indomitable style by way of a serenade as a prelude to my seduction?”

“Can’t say as how I have presently, luv. Me mind refuses to wander creatively anymore.”

“You’re having a laugh surely?”

“No Svet, it’s the honest truth. I’m bolloxed in that regard at the moment. Even now whilst your otherwise engaged abandoning your kit in a manner most tantalising, my creative juices fail me. I must admit I’m getting a tad worried about it if the truth be told.”

“Well Lenny, if you care to cast your gazers over here I’ll lay odds you’ll feel inspired, you old rascal you?”

“No nothing at all. Even the vision of your heavenly naked naughty bits fails to provoke the onset of the old inspirational process. Not a word in my head nor, just as worrying, a firming in my parts for that matter. What a to-do!”

“I’m sure I can sort you out on the latter…have no fear! Changing the subject, you still seeing that Suzanne bird back in Montreal?”

“Yeah, she quite often takes me down to her place near the river, I can hear the boats go by, she even lets me spend the night beside her, and notwithstanding that, I know that she’s half crazy, if the truth be told that’s why I want to be there, and… you’ll never believe this bit Svet…she even feeds me tea and oranges that come all the way from China, no less!  Still, all this chat about Suzanne is getting me nowhere…I just got to find some words for an epic, signature song that will stand the test of time from somewhere.” 

“Best I get dressed then…we’ll pootle off down The Chelsea.”

“Yes, good plan Svet, for I want to travel with you, I want to travel blind, and you clearly think you maybe can trust me, for I’ve touched your perfect body with me mind…botheration, I’m off on a tangent again…when, oh when will the words start to flow!”


I must add here that the recently deceased Leonard Cohen was a true genius. I have his entire collection of music, poetry and biographies. I still remember the first time, all those years gone, that I heard his song, ‘Suzanne’. A love song like no other. If you have never heard it, here it is.