Coming Up: Soho 1980

these narrow stairs funnel bodies
pumped up from the street
fluorescent lights strip us naked
through a sudden smog of exhaled
– smoke and sweat and noise
music muffling our way
a stacked sound system
everything is solid yet floating
you shout in my ear:
how many heartbeats per second?
– we’re coming up
– we’re coming up
dry ice amyl nitrate discotheque
London locals insouciant
out of town tourists wide eyed
assorted low life stereotypes
up that narrow staircase
above that Chinese takeaway
you shouted in my ear:
you feel what I feel?
but I’d forgotten who you were
and all I knew was I loved you
and that’s what I told you
– over and over as we danced
– past present future conjoined

I was free to dream in Wyoming

I was free to dream in Wyoming
pulled in at the side of the road
considering an epiphany
not a soul in sight
if I came back here again
would the feeling be the same
the moment and the state of mind
wind dried grasses at the side of the road
silent voices and dark shadows
dizzy under the big sky
thundering of hooves
I look up
there’s no one there
my heartbeat bangs out the seconds
drowns out my whole past
on my knees at the side of the road
consumed by my insignificance
intolerably small
impossible to quantify
my own voice useless against the backdrop
washed into a river bed
herded away by cloud rustlers
I remember thinking
I want to die here
right now
here on this sacred spot
at the side of this road in Wyoming


our heartbeats float in whispers
dust motes pepper the air
the mottled mirror hangs askew
in it your reflection

I don’t know what you’re thinking
or even if you like me
you brought me here and now
you don’t know what to do with me

this room on the first floor
the world looking in
but you like it that way
you say you find the intrusion ‘cosy’

an overgrown cheese plant
artist’s materials on the floor
Matisse style work in progress cut-outs
all of your ‘things’

most likely I am just passing through
your life and your room
your body that you half give
reluctant as a virgin

and when you hold the door open for me
I walk down the narrow stairs
enter the street and look up
but your windows reflect only the sky

down the back straight (with thanks to Annie for the title)

it was the young woman’s hair that grabbed my attention
I could see it swishing from side to side as I grew near
tied up close to her scalp but free flowing through the air
long and like the mane of a horse but in such a beautiful way

as I neared I could see her power walking along the pavement
pink running shoes in stark contrast to all the gritty grey
white umbilical earphone cables dangled over her chest
connecting to the beat of her heart and the rhythm of her feet

I drove past this young woman in a ticking time bomb instant
her concentrated other worldly gaze unaware that I was there
she carried a self-confident demeanour whilst lost in thought
swishing her hair from side to side without a care


(I’m usually good with titles but can’t find one for this.
Please feel free to make a suggestion but don’t make it too obvious,
like ‘Swishing Hair’) 🙂

show me something red

I am driving  through a white van landscape that feels

The white corpuscle lines of dot-com deliveries
Traffic jamming
Under passing

Summer storms gutter flooding the soft verges
Washed out
Flat tire broke
Ego deflating
The uneasy driver

We are all paying for life’s highway maintenance
In vertical rain shards
In roundabout ways
In transit
In cold blood

Quick, show me something red like a heartbeat
A Ferrari sunset
Monroe’s lips
Albino eyes
Mushroom clouds

Climbing the hill now in a snaking switchback line
Losing speed


Painted Rocks

I wake
to a blank morning
your tears stain the pillow
like drops of memories left abandoned
on a melted heartbeat burned
and charred under this equatorial sun

another step closer the edge
another deep breath

a paradise for tourists
a flaming hell for the unbelonging
glinting sunlight on wave after wave
crests diamond studded and jewel reflected
as far as your eye could never see
when blinded by such darkness

another step closer the edge
another deep breath

I relive your last moments
imagine your plight
but it is unfathomable
lost to me on a dolphin’s dive
you are simply gone now
another name on a painted rock

another step closer the edge
another deep breath


(this piece links to my previous post – the memorial to those who had committed suicide by jumping from a cliff on Gran Canaria. I tend to use the theme of wide open spaces – sea, sky, deserts, highways – in which to arrange and hang my imagination. I try to leave enough room between my words for readers to place their own interpretations –  a dreamy vagueness perhaps. I might use this idea of linking from one post to the next as an aid to writing and exploring different subject matter. It is all too easy to get bogged down with the same old words and never realise that your writing has stagnated).