acting out your own death

early morning
low winter sun
stirring from sleep
stirring coffee

I'm almost in the clouds
up here I'm almost a new god
your apartment is heaven
my angel sleeps in the next room
she lies under her eiderdown clouds

I'm standing by the window
looking out over the road
looking out over the prom
looking out over the beach huts
looking out over the sea beyond

I'm reminded of Chicago 1986
the Doral Plaza on N. Michigan
another apartment on the 25th floor
we swam in the pool on the 38th floor
clouds and days drifted by
another angel in another lifetime

now I'm down on the prom
a man standing his ground
his back to the waking town
his eyes fixed on the horizon
ready to make the walk

between the beach huts
over the shingle
into the sea



title taken from Shadowplay by Ian Curtis / Joy Division -
words inspired by a photo by Caroline Collett

Fran’s Mini

in Fran’s purple Mini singing
“alone again . . . naturally”
driving along Madeira Drive
past the Ferris wheel and crazy golf
we got the windows wound down
the smell of sea on the right
the stench of piss on our left
the down and outs on benches
slurring “underneath the arches”
their bottles of Thunderbird nearing empty
and UP the ramp we go
put the pedal to the metal girl
give it all she’s got girl
MOT’s due next week shouts Fran
she cannae take any more I shouts
wheezing onto Marine Parade
heaving a sigh of collective relief
take her up round Sussex Square I suggest
arm out window indicating our direction
and we’ll stick two fingers up
to the posh cunts in their Regency piles
left on Eastern Road
(we didn’t do the two fingers after all)
too busy singing
“oh what a lonely boy
oh what a lonely BOY!”
all the way to the Royal Sussex Hospital
take a left here down Sudeley Place
then next right into Sudeley Street
I got some memories stored here
idling past the Corner Memory Store
then left then right then straight ahead
Fran turning up the radio
it’s so loud the doors are rattling
people outside shops stop and stare
“we had joy we had fun
flicking bogies at the sun
but the sun was too hot
and the bogies turned to snot”
pulling up outside The Crown
squeezing Fran’s purple Mini in
lucky to get a space
turning the key to No.23
walking down the dank corridor
turning the key to bedsit No.8
we’ll talk about travelling the world
we’ll smoke some dope
we’ll laugh and watch TV
but she won’t stay the night
and the summer is ending

and so it turned out

loud guitar intro

turns out you was an alcoholic
and in trying to keep up with you
all that loving made me sick
all that drink and all that worry
I couldn’t stop the feeling, sorry
I couldn’t stop the spending either
I blamed my selfish self
I blamed your deadbeat dad
I blamed your bear of a bastard brother
where the fuck you got the money
only your Irish Catholic god knew
where it went
where it went

it blew and blew right through
the rusted legs of Brighton pier
it sprayed its bleary eyed and salty tears
right through the narrow Lanes
calling to the derelicts to drain
their tomorrow sorrows today
drink to forget
drink to forget
drink to forget
but you couldn’t forget the mantra
and you wouldn’t tell me what the fuck
you were drinking to forget

so we drank some more
and we smoked some more
and we drunkfucked a little less
the thrill was leaving us I guess
the Marlboro reds still glowed
and we kept spliffing up the blow
we had stones for beds
friends floors for beds
hard floors for beds
other people’s
slept in beds
for beds

and for company once
we had the clouds of Michelangelo
executed on a bedroom ceiling
what a weird and dizzying feeling
living like Kafka
sharing our vodkas
Sid and Nancy punk rockers
bare naked light bulbs dangling
I couldn’t keep my hands off your body
under those clouds we were somebody
fuck, it felt good

we were loud too
innocence long since ploughed
can’t remember the soundtrack we played
the tunes are all mixed and frayed
like the years, months and days
the tides came and went with a stab to the heart
we split when you left rehab
the fun had all but disappeared
the beach strewn with empty cans of beer
Schlitz and Special Brews
the vodka bottle run dry
no more reasons why

you melted back into the night
a ghost from those dark alley ways
out of sight but never out of my mind
haunting me
haunting me

loud guitar outro

not altogether clear

it’s not altogether clear
how we made it here
your brother’s house
somewhere near Elm Grove
on a settee, you and me
the washed up night’s debris
and there you fucking are
in my baggy blue jumper
must’ve lent it to you earlier
though where we go from here
is not altogether clear
when two worlds collide
those worlds can’t run and hide
your life versus mine
like we both stepped out of line
but somehow that seems fine
and there you are sleeping
in my two dead tingling arms
afraid to move in case
that drunk smile on your face
is lost from my close up view
dried vodka spittle lips on you
smeared make up, angular hips
morning breath, white as death
no, it’s not altogether clear
what the fuck I’m doing here
think I’m falling in love with you
but then again I don’t know you
what and when and why and who
did this thing just really happen
seems a long time since back then
the vods, the beach, the first kiss
I’m not altogether sure about this
I’m gonna need a piss soon
there’s light coming in from the moon
or is it morning coming out too soon
so frail and helpless
in a world that couldn’t care less
just see if I can ease myself out
you’re still out for the fucking count
there’s cramp in my shoulder
I drank so much I’m sober
happens that way sometimes
gotta piss, gotta leave this house
your brother’s fucking house
for fuck’s sake it’s getting late
it’s getting early, can’t stay and wait
for you to wake and then what
your brother comes downstairs
a growling hungry hungover bear
and then what, and then what
it’s not altogether clear
my nose in your ear
I’m sliding to the floor
crawling to the door
I’m out in the cold air
I’ve left you there, in there
wearing my baggy blue jumper
I must’ve given it you earlier
I light the last Marlboro red
first rays of sun stroke my head
takes a piss behind his shed
still taste your vodka lips on mine
it’s like we both stepped out of line
not altogether clear how this came about
how we made it here, made it there
and will we find each other again
any some fucking where

falling

she crashed through the door
bought liquor, Marlboro reds
staggered about, left, came back
another crash, she swung about
bells ringing like it’s Sunday
not Saturday night, late night
about to close up, pull the shutters
tally up the takings, light my own
long drag in, dim the strips
want to join me she says
but I’m shy, she’s drunk
whole town is drunk, me I work
it’s late, night is young
tempted, what the fuck, fuck it
come on, she laughs at me
there’s a hint of Irish in her smile
momentarily mesmerised
who is this girl, where did she
where did see come from, drunk
done, locked, doors shut, locked
it’s all locked, check again
hey what you waiting for
she holds the bottle to her lips
vodka, it’s vodka, it’s a Stoli
shit I gave to her cheap
she holds out her hand and
you know what, I’m falling
let’s go to the beach, she says
but it doesn’t sound like that
words slurred, vodka lips
take her hand, just take it
it’s a short walk, alleys, bars
late night, shouts in the dark
she passes me the bottle
the vodka taste of lipstick
mesmerised, I’m falling
we stumble onto the beach
stones in banks, steepish slopes
finding the right angle
not too steep, not too flat
vodka lips, vodka breath
it’s a Stoli, gave it cheap
make up the rest tomorrow
exchanging names, falling
she shouts my name, loud
echoes on the water
echoes on the moon
our faces reflected in the bottle
Marlboro red glow
midnight sunset eyes
fingers in fingers in hair
in her mouth, biting
and I’m falling for her
this drunk girl, the beach
we’re part of the night
we’re part of each other
no turning back, falling
me for her, her for him
there’s something more there
behind the bravado, subtle
a story to tell, unfolding
falling, the night is falling
we’re both falling and then
what will happen, what next
we don’t fucking care

chasing

what was it
that I was chasing
way back when
I rode my dreams
by sea and Downs
and river paths
and later
holding onto
aquamarine railings
a hungover sun
squinting on the horizon
gulls prospecting
the promenade
for breakfast
before the tramps
rose from their slumbers
like preserved timbers
exposed at low tides
I wanted
what they wanted
a dream of something
out of reach
soaked in sun
and Special Brew
the shingle on the beach
made us stagger
drunk on love
and laughter
but love is a lie
you said
but I wouldn’t believe that
I kept on chasing
chasing . . .
chasing . . .

but mostly not

and then after
the week’s work
we’d drink our
hard earned pay
on Friday nights
and Saturdays
in bars and clubs
or strangers’
basement flats
where on occasion
love was found
in a cold kitchen
or crowded hall
but mostly not at all

on Sundays
we’d sleep till noon
or crawl our way
home on our own
or in the company
of a red haired girl
or a boy in black
as the sunlight rose
glinting gold
on a rippling sea
under a rusting pier
and a clear blue sky
yes you and I
but mostly not you

the week then
from Monday on
was mainly grim
with not much fun
as we soldiered on
our minds still on
the weekend been
and the one to come
pulling us back
pushing us on
nothing between
dawn and dusk
a trip to the pub
but mostly not much

years roll on
where did they go
none of us know
life happens that way
one day we’re young
the next we’re old
some drink on
like they were young
or wear their clothes
like they were young
which isn’t wrong
don’t get me wrong
it’s the way life’s sold
but mostly not mine

weekends now
come faster than
my memory span
can recollect the times
we’d drink our way
through all those days
the night times too
that red haired girl
that boy in black
those basement flats
those bars and clubs
all in the past
all fading fast
but mostly not

the only ones

on bright winter mornings
we drove hungover along the seafront
last night’s disco ball now a low hung sun
a billion twinkling dance moves glinting
on every tiny ripple of a wave
and through it all the beat of our lives
ebbed and flowed with every tide
racing – pulsing – floating onward
not that we had anywhere to go
except perhaps to the end of the pier
where the fishermen cast their hopes
and the drunks dreamed in gathered shoals
like driftwood drawn from the north
they too had nowhere left to go

we used to park at the end of Madeira Drive
and make out in the car when the clubs had closed
we weren’t the only ones

orange beetle

under a Brighton moon

in our palatial bedsits
punk posters on the walls
we stared into the smoke screen
can’t tell what we saw
can’t tell what we saw

and down the street
at the end of the street
between the sky and dirty gutters
is where we used to drink
is where we used to drink

we drank to get drunk
we got drunk to forget
we forgot why we’d even started
until the time was spent
until the time was spent

and down below the pier
on the dead and pebbled beach
the tramps all licked their wounds
just like they were dogs
just like they were dogs

yet still we wanted more
a line from a song or more
any something more we could score
to take our breath away
to take our breath away

under a Brighton moon
the glow of cigarette butts
stars safety pinned to the night
it’s all so long ago
it’s all so long ago

it’s all so very long ago
much longer than a lifetime ago
now it’s pulled out from under your feet
oh such a cruel fate
oh such a cruel fate