Relay

Relay. Poem pic.

 

We pull back on the strings

of history

for comfort and to create

and re-create a sense of awe.

 

We praise the past with our lips

and words that search

for melody in the echoes

that souls leave on beaches and in fields.

 

Old bones fettered by gravity,

the sacraments,

weeping with impatience

muddle in and out of grace.

 

Until nothing is left

beyond peace and praise.

The memory embellished

and ready to be passed on.

And so

And so..jpg

I recognized him at once

From the portal into that room

His expression came to me like sonar

And so I sat with Bob

On the edge

Of a chair beside his resting place

And we stroked the air

That lay between us

Half trying to embellish history

Knowing that the cells that made him

Have turned against him

False friends in a spiteful retreat

And now I am home

The echoes of that sighting

Fade like all we have ever touched

I fear to phone

In case he has gone

Yet we know he will

So transience, as ever

Has the upper hand

And I am left with what I have left of Bob.

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

 

Short skirts on the terminus floor

At a quarter to midnight

On a cold night in Glasgow

The young marionettes tick tock

In false excitement

Cheap perfume and ritual movements

Teetering on heels. To and fro

The public toilets at 40p a throw

 

This is my welcome tableau

To friends across our northern border

And as I wait in line at a taxi rank

I feel foreign but glad

That we live in peace

And the excited tongues of people in transit

Ignore me yet accommodate my presence

As they step purposefully about

 

I will look back on that night

Reminiscing of how they swooned

Made a profit on their exuberance

Or not, as the case may be

And I know that their confusions

Were mirrored shards of experience

Across the globe in different garbs

And all their tongues fell silent eventually

Hampton Ferry

Hampton Ferry

Hampton Ferry

 

An ancient tale

Will travel between the banks

Of England’s most famous river

And here, at Hampton

The ferryman still plys his trade

Oblivious to ghosts and superstition

His transport now is much the same

In that he transfers passengers

And denizens of faraway places

From side to side

And we, the inheritors of now

Indulge ourselves with modern coinage

To perpetuate this ritual

And ruffle the waters

As citizens who find pleasure

In short trips

Duke’s Head Passage

Duke's Head Passage

Duke’s Head Passage

 

Who will come to pass

Through this bright arch

Safe passage between the Duke’s Head

And Henry’s Royal Park

Where walkers exchange pleasantries

And dogs acknowledge their own formalities

 

Who will mark time as seasons change

And speculate on the weather

On clothes and family matters

As they pass yet another familiar face

Take note of difference, of growth

Of time passing and fading light

 

Yet all the time

As black and white dissolves

Roiling clouds and personal moods

Exchange their subconscious wares

This path will be resolute

A stoic witness to familiar traffic

On hearing Leonard Cohen’s new album, ‘Popular Problems’

Popular Problems

Popular Problems

 

Reconcile yourself with the past

Buy some music from the mouth

Of a man who knows

Whose words rode over you decades ago

When even flesh wounds were deep

Tears were squeezed out of innocent pores

For the loss that the future already knew

Weighed heavily on that version of me

 

I could taste the void

The useless beauty

That would be the gulf

Between now and then

An ocean of lies

The dark passing echoes of closed doors

A concertina of blurred emotions

Emerge now

 

To his voice which sounds embalmed

Dark, grainy and spiritual

Stripped of peripheral notes

Unnecessary harmony

Just carrying flesh on articulate bones

Stretched to near the end

And still he makes sense

Of the solitary in me.