in black corners

the basement door ~ down a corridor ~ black boots on sticky floor ~ cracked linoleum ~ couples kissing ~ chewing gum ~ humming static ~ muffled laughing ~ your hand so small in mine ~ childlike almost ~ warm ~ sweaty ~ passing a joint ~ passing it round ~ mouth to mouth ~ resuscitating ~ kisses in corners ~ shadows flirting ~ from out of somewhere music ~ thump ~ thump ~ our hearts beat ~ senses pricked ~ poppers ~ pills ~ white lines ~ going fast ~ speeding’s fine ~ claustrophobic ~ now dancing now ~ black eye liner ~ red eye shadow ~ caught in the act ~ caught in a corner ~ touching too much ~ on a worn out mattress ~ play act fighting ~ a tussle ~ a hustle ~ punk posters hung on damp walls ~ smoke hanging on damp air ~ clinging to each other ~ stinging eyes ~ hoarse throats ~ louder now ~ shout to be heard ~ someone shouting in another room ~ a fight ~ a bright light ~ dark again ~ momentary quietness ~ red hair girl passes out in a corner ~ boyfriend rolls a spliff ~ it’s heaven he mouths to her ~ temple balls he’s saying ~ your favourite he adds ~ but she is gone ~ head lolling ~ vacant eyes ~ smile on lips ~ beer can in hand ~ dripping ~ your lips on my neck ~ your pierced tongue ~ love biting ~ coughing ~ hair spray ~ black pvc trousers ~ black denim and black leather ~ black ~ someone plays bass notes on an acoustic guitar ~ recognisable ~ joy division maybe ~ head is fussy ~ drunk ~ or high ~ or both ~ bauhaus ~ cure ~ velvets ~ cramps ~ bowie ~ find a toilet and puke ~ basement filling up ~ the usual crowd and more ~ word gets around ~ gets around town ~ gets underground ~ siouxsie sioux is spellbound ~ couldn’t leave even if we wanted ~ rammed jammed packed ~ but we’re safe in our corner ~ wandering hands ~ turn me on ~ turn you on ~ and later ~ we will walk along the beach and kiss some more before heading back to my bedsit for sex and one last spliff before falling into sleep in each other’s arms.

 

 

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I used to be a claustrophobic deejay

I used to be a claustrophobic deejay
I’d spin a disc then dive outside
hyperventilating
gasping for air
before the next tune was due to be played
I did this all night long
my heart thumping along to the beat
my head pounding out on the street
it was a crazy situation

but don’t get me wrong
I was electric and semi-eclectic
in my tasteful choice of songs
I played disco and punk
and funk and techno
I even once played al fresco
at a gig in Fresno (no not really)
but that was all before I went wacko
from too much Michael Jacko
and my life became a bad thriller

in my claustrophobic deejay days
I tried to stray from the straight and narrow grooves
by interspersing the unexpected
mixing with the likes of Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’
or Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’
just for fun and to give the dancers a rest
from the 125 beats per minute dance floor workouts

and to the twelve inch instrumental version
of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’
I would take the chance of performing solo
a sermon of sorts from the mount of turning tables
my mirrorballed ideas would flash with the strobes
and set my worshippers alight
to be born again of the night

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Early 80’s – this was the mobile disco I used to run with a friend before doing some club work for a while. The name was shamelessly borrowed from a brand of cigarettes! Can’t remember where the man and woman logo came from but I was into early 20th century b/w design at the time.

a-holding hands we’d go

i used to walk on pebbles in bare feet
high as the moon on Schlitz and pain killers
the cigarette smoke spiralling out of control
like the helter skelter on the edge of the pier
that appeared to be toppling into the sea
or was that me teetering on the edge of my own insanity?

you buried me there
amongst the seashells & cigarette butts
a cairn of pebbles piled upon my chest
that made for heavy breathing
a labour of love and lust & longing
for a morning that would bring us back to earth
with a crash and burn and a song and dance
a-holding hands we’d go

wild thing

I miss dragging on a cigarette
drinking until my head is wrecked

dancing until my legs are dead
not hearing what the hell you said

inside the music’s cranked up loud
our hearts are pumping to the sound

of disco, punk and reggae beats
the laser lights and strobes compete

with dodgy drugs and taking risks
swigging back cold cans of Schlitz

we’re just clowning not frowning
this morning’s young in a seaside town

now it’s 5 a.m. and we’re on the beach
the moon and stars are out of reach

our hearts and souls are on the wing
it’s time to leave my wild thing

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Thirty-Six Views of the South Downs (after Hokusai)

1. A Great Wave at Shoreham-by-Sea

swallowing water
spume tentacles drag under
laughing children dive

2. Light Winds and Clear Skies

endless summer sun
red bicycles and ice creams
mackerel clouds lurk

3. Rainstorms

beneath the thunder
unhappy memories float
loss of a father

4. Under the New Flyover

hiding out in nooks
traffic rumbling overhead
a den of devils

5. Awakenings

after school romance
secret kisses in phonebox
homework holding hands

6. Chestnut Trees in the Park

ancient sentinels
climbing high for prize conkers
pride hung by a thread

7. The Other Side of the River

with horses watching
releasing frogs from buckets
city kids delight

8. Climbing Mill Hill

new road through cut chalk
a searing white scar dazzles
diagonal path

9. In a Field on Mill Hill

golden straw crackles
lovers lie in crop circles
distant views ignored

10. Wind in Our Faces

heads bent into gales
on the cusp of adulthood
exam notes scattered

11. Shops on the High Street

toy cars in boxes
furtively pocketing stock
crime and punishment

12. Sunset Across the Old Toll Bridge from the Bank of the River

blood on the water
light ripples beckon and sway
a swan bends its neck

13. St. Nicholas Church, Old Shoreham

cassocks and cold stone
holy communion wine
mysterious world

14. The Marlipins Public House

thick snow like beer froth
talking with fake confidence
underage drinkers

15. Kingston Buci

patchwork allotments
a lighthouse to guide sailors
old names remembered

16. Changing Perspectives 

once there were windmills
the Downs a working landscape
now there are turbines

17. Bungalow Town

railway carriage homes
artists and photographers
early cinema

18. The Harbour Shore

sea defence ‘bumholes’
concrete structures for climbing
watching turning tides

19. To the East to Southwick

long coats and swagger
larking about with the boys
caught on camera

20. Watching Ships at the Old Fort 

fishermen and gulls
basking sharks in hot summers
comings and goings

21. Graffiti on the Rail Bridge 

a daring message
Happy Birthday to Louise
famous forever

22. Racing on Raised Paths

beside the airport
pillboxes and rabbit holes
brambles and briars

23. Pebbles and Sand

skinny dipping nights
smoking foreign substances
music and moonlight

24. The Old Swiss Cottage Lake

hidden history
torn down and redeveloped
postcards from the past

25. Reflections of the South Downs

this town we call home
nestled between hills and coast
still waters run deep

26. To Brighton by Bus

condensation drips
smoke fills the crowded upstairs
reading poetry

27. The River Upstream

mud banks and quiet
the tilled valley flat and low
mist lingers till noon

28. St. Mary de Haura Church

viewed from the tower
pigeons eye the waking town
breakfast is calling

29. Childhood is an Island

places we cherish
memories we store away
future safety nets

30. Views Along the Beach

longer than it looks
divided into sections
sand in sandwiches

31. Heron over Lancing College

gothic dreaming spires
choirs of heavenly voices
wing beating shadows

32. To the West to Worthing

the boats are drawn up
freshly caught fish sold from huts
family visits

33. Passing Over the Footbridge

it’s a long way down
hug Mum’s side and hold her hand
safer in the pram

34. Blue Circle Cement Works and Quarry

toiling and blasting
the belly of the Downs gouged
echoes of steam trains

35. A View of Hills Across the River 

these once wooded hills
sheep grazed and windswept pastures
still holding back time

36. On a Houseboat 

bohemian lives
time to set sail and move on
the world awaits me