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