space compost . . .

yes , I am certain ,
the unknown is simply the known 
and that we are spending our lives knowingly avoiding
this (                )
of that I am certain, but ,
known and unknown regional variants of this philosophy 
will likely exist , but ultimately  ,
are we not all living in some form of preparatory 
         animation ?

perhaps this earthly state is the glue-that-binds-us-together 
- before we are spent ?
or the bridge that delivers us - from the one world to the next ?
the light that shines on us - before we are dimmed ?
the active atoms that (once separated) 
will become space compost . . ?

our final restless (but peaceful) resting place 
unseen particles drifting through time and space 

is this, then, the space detective's alchemical dilemma ?
the goal to unceasingly endeavour to detect, 
transmute ,, mirror ,,, replicate ,,,,
and to recreate our birth 
and to relive the unknown 
knowingly or unknowingly avoiding the next unknown like

time travellers / asset stripping / the stars .

for I am certain , again ,
there are always other questions waiting to be asked 
other answers waiting to be invented , 
other human failings to be created , 
other interactions to be stimulated , 
other hopes to dash and denigrate . . .

my only wish then (when my time comes) will be this :
to travel on unseen , undetectable , insignificant , 
as octillions of hyper-serene space compost atoms 
out there with the rest of life once lived 
at one and at eternal peace . . .

turning point

my life etched in the rocks
spotlighted by the late morning sun
shadows and light
flashing by in an instant
the time it takes to graffiti a name
to twist barbed wire into a knot
to give a cloud a name
coyote, tumbleweed, drifter

a straight road through badlands
rolling rocks motionless
like the traveller
uncertain whether to continue
rooted like the sagebrush
tempted, almost, to stay put
become dust and carrion
or golden whispering grass


the waiter was
he took my order
for food I didn’t want
he sneered without belief
that someone
better than him
would bring it out
I wanted to reply
that wouldn’t be hard
but didn’t
and when it came
it was too much by far
for one man alone to eat
a huge kilner jar full
of a ratatouille like substance
which may or may not have contained
the preserved embryo of something
stillborn hidden
amongst the amniotic mush of
tomatoey aubergine zucchini
garlicky oniony salty basil
red baby pepper skin
and thyme

and although all of this
was but a dream
it reflected my own reluctance
to stand my ground
to have belief in my own
self worth
and confidence to interact
with others more confident
and talkative and seemingly
more knowledgeable
than myself
better to look in from the outside
than be
the centre of attention
better to quietly get on and do
than be
forever blowing my own trumpet
it’s where I have ended up
in this void called
twenty first century life
and it’s where I will forever rest my words
in peaceful obscurity


the hum of the bathroom fan
the last chopper out of saigon
the flickering death of a strip light
the deathly lick of a flick knife
the gurgle of water leaving the bath
the bloody froth on a gaping mouth
the flush of shit from the toilet bowl
the empty hollow of hunger’s howl

the fresh linen sheets smell of lavender
the stench of the landfill scavenger
the creams that ease the pains and sores
the exodus from the fields of war
the rattle of rain on an old tin roof
the submachine gun’s final proof
the free thoughts gently running riot
the police shots that bring disquiet

the art that hangs on suburban walls
the relics smashed when a culture falls
the sunset walk along a sandy beach
the napalm girl with arms outstretched
the shelves of plenty in the grocery store
the hands reach out for a few grains more
the charity that we give
the bloody lives we live


and lastly
I thought about
the first person
I should have thought about
in the first place
and I did
and I didn’t
and it was inappropriate
in some ways
but mainly it wasn’t

oh my
how you became
so beautiful
so suddenly
in my eyes
and to think

years and years ago
we were lost for words
and couldn’t speak
in the summer heat
skirting the border
windows down
heading for the coast
you said

pelicans fly in formation
up and down the coast
and people say
and hey man
it’s where we went
until the weather turned

from Woodstock to Laurel Canyon

from east to west and in between
I stared into many faces
held motel towels against my own
until my eyes bled sunsets

and my head hurt like the road

the beat of the day tormented me
I cried under many rocks
made outlines of my feet in the desert sand
until my skin burned

and my heart burst into years

you are the movie of your life
at least that’s what the people said to me
from Woodstock to Laurel Canyon
I painted away the fallen leaves

until the weather broke

until the seasons spoke to me
of car crash ditches full of fallen friends
where the blood ran to the sea
time frozen in a standing ovation

as we went our separate ways

Meeting Rimbaud

When I met Rimbaud
the bastard didn’t recognise me
I’m only the greatest living poet I said
Fuck off he huffed back in French 
or Arabic or some long forgotten
East African dialect 
I’m only the greatest dead poet 
don’t you know it
and he went on to accuse me
Yes me! Me!
of not being influential like him
reeling off a whole list of names
such as Dylan, Morrison, 
Ginsberg, Patti Smith
even Dee Dee from the Dum Dum Girls
I pointed out that influence was a by-product
of our own values and not necessarily
an indicator of true merit . . .
he looked at me vacantly 
with washed-up and scummy eyes
(not much dissimilar to my own
déshabillé state of mind)
Him a dead poet turned dead gun runner
Me a dead ringer for a doppelgänger
Perhaps we had more in common
than we cared to recognise
although I had no intention of playing
the dead Verlaine to appease any
modern day symbolism . . .

she took my hand

she took my hand and folded it
and turned her back and split
the rain was deceiving
as she was done leaving
but she never looked back

no, she never looked back
she never looked back

why she went and done that
we could have worked it out
the ring on her finger
that did not linger
coz she gave it me straight back

yes, she gave it straight back
she gave it straight back

I watched her turn the corner
she drifted out of sight
if I was much younger
I’d probably be up for the fight
but it just wasn’t right

no, it just wasn’t right
it just wasn’t right

so now I’m all alone
the leaves have all but blown
the wind has done moaning
and there’s no-one on the phone
only me on my own

yes, she never looked back
now I’m here on my own

like . . .

land slides beneath my feet
like so many leaves of paper
laid one on top the other
blown from the writer’s desk
so many words written thereon
fossilised like sea creatures
stuck in layers of thoughts
splitting me like shale or slate
sliced through like sliced meat
an autopsy of all my years
grown like the rings in a tree
concentric yet linear years
graphite grey like the clouds
teetering and tottering on edges
cliff edges that crumble
that dream
when land starts moving
and your arms flail like windmills
and you tilt
and you call out
but you’re already on the move
paper and words blowing all around
the white of sky and surf
of gulls and paper
and chalk skulls
. . . .

spirit fish

the spirit fish swim in the sky
some say they are the souls of drowned sailors
stomachs storm gutted on black rocks
their empty Cornish cottages let to Londoners
they fly in great shoals of grey clouds
scales glistening like a million deep sea stars
but you’ll never catch these moving rainbows
rising from the depths each time a ship is lost
born inside bubbles gurgling up gagging throats
out the gaping mouths silently screaming final breaths
a sailor’s last meal reincarnated as messenger
Neptune and Poseidon’s caves forever abandoned
from watery depths through spuming crests
the lust for the seafaring life of adventure
now turned to eternal heavenly wandering
and on a clear day you might spot them
the spirit fish that swim in the sky