Listening to the MJQ in the Mojave Desert

you might accuse me of not being there
but I might argue why bother
you might say my words are not authentic
but I might question your supposition why

here is my chair, here is my view
see what you will, it won’t cost you

you might want some further proof provided
but I might offer you none in return
you might try to reach out and touch me
but I might already be on the run

here is my chair, here is my view
feel what you want, it won’t cost you

you might not like jazz in the afternoon
but I might just turn the volume up high
you might not like the heat and the dust
but I might just turn you up to the sky

here is my chair, here is my view
hear what you want, it won’t cost you

~

the track through the canyon
is ever so understanding
the rocks and the boulders
cover my wanderings
no, I’m not really there
and I’m not really here
I am always elsewhere
so far and so near
travelling with the wanderlust
that binds my body to soul
from young to old
from shore to shore
I can hear the birds singing
calling me on

 

 

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Petite Fleur

She asked me if I was happy.
I don’t know, I replied, are you?
She paused and thought for a while before saying,
I think there have been periods of happiness but on the whole, no not really.

We were sat on the terrace of a bistro we used to frequent.
How many years, I asked, thirty-four, thirty-five?
We tried to work it out and settled on thirty-four.
Half a lifetime, almost.

A seagull strolled along the iron balustrade,
stopped and squirted a stream of white crap over the side.
It landed with a slap on the black tidal mud below.
This unsociable act appeared to give the seagull great pleasure.

Tilting its head backwards it squawked at the sky as if to declare
‘this is my patch now’ before flying off and forgetting,
circling away towards the new white footbridge to alight and no doubt
eject its fishy crap once more like an incontinent vandal.

A breeze blew across the line of low tide water below the houseboats.
It caused little ripples to fan out in all directions
all of which were unsure which way to run.
I looked at the side of her face. Laughter and life outlined.

The bone structure was less defined now under her fifty year old flesh.
Like myself, I noted a few extra pounds here and there.
Beneath her skin a slight translucence glowed,
a bit like an underwater river. I found it strangely alluring

but it also made me feel like I was drowning. Lost at sea.
I crossed my legs and leant forward and she turned and smiled
as if having read my thoughts but more likely a nervous reaction
to the break in conversation.

Do you remember, up on the hills? she asked,
turning to look southwards. The biplane had circled overhead
whilst down below we had made love in the wheat field
surrounded by poppies. How could I forget.

I went to get more drinks and when I returned
she was standing by the iron balustrade,
her dark hair across her shoulders, her head turned away.
In contemplation of the ebbing tide, perhaps.

I fought the temptation to stand close behind her,
to feel her body close to mine, one last time.
When she turned, her face revealed the single line
that a teardrop makes as it trickles down a woman’s cheek.

Why did you come back? she said suddenly.
Her words hit me like a gust of wind through a propeller.
I looked away and up the river, steadying my thoughts.
I’m sorry, was all I could think of in reply. And I was.

You used to call me your Petite Fleur, she said.
I’d forgotten that. A bit embarrassing really.
I had been her first and she, mine.
I had plucked the petals from my little flower

one by one, until the call had come and I was gone.
I watched her fly away in her poppy print dress.
A flock of seagulls battled with a biplane high in the sky
and I knew then that this war was finally over.

 

 

this is not an explanation

you won’t ever get me
the paint drips, the splodges and splashes
the poetry, the way it all comes together
through absences and curiosity
sometimes I am here, sometimes not
I am zoned out, cigarette in mouth
white t-shirt, big sky landscape

you won’t ever find me
I might be here in front of you
I may even talk a little, mumble things
wander off down a meadow path
to the lake, fish from the jetty
howl at the moon, laugh at my reflection

you won’t ever own me
the money means nothing, nothing
it’s all worthless garbage, jazzed up
comes from god knows where deep inside
I puke it up, regurgitate it, spew it forth
without control, an emetic

you won’t ever heal me
wherever you hang me, try to kill me
document me, hero worship me
my life is an endless spiral of creation
I am the devil, the dark angel of dreams
the thinker, the painter, the poet, me

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/doppelganger/

There were times

There were times
often coinciding with the end of an eight hour studio shift
when I would listen to the radio late into the night and drift
lying near motionless on the floor like a sedated madman
blowing cigarette smoke up towards the broken ceiling fan
paint stains on my clothes from all those abstract years
of city sound and landscapes that still buzzed in my ears
and out beyond the window past the fire escape ladders
tall cranes would cast their ugly shadowy gallows
along the graffitied brick and timbered warehouse walls

There were times then
when all the world but me was silently sleeping
and not even the birds had alarm called the new morning
I felt alive then as if electricity was coursing through me
as if the needle I had long forsaken had once again been
and found my vein and wrapped me in its calm serenity
a bright red bikini sunset throbbing with Rothko intensity
Kathy, Jack, Frank, Sylvie, Jerry, WB and Charlie B with his lowlife cheap tricks
on the road down the coast cruising in search of mind bending kicks
Florida, Arizona, Tijuana, the famous coast to coast bar crawl

Yes, those were the times
but we knew they weren’t to last, we sought our separate ways
Bill to Kansas, he said living there was a helluva lot cheaper these days
and less violent despite the stash of guns and ammo he kept
for hunting and shooting and for clearing his debts
or killing tooled up rednecks when the day of judgement came, we’d joked
in letters and on postcards that kept the fires of friendship stoked
Kathy and I to New York until that mess of crazy didn’t work out
Jerry and Frank to California’s Laurel Canyon hideouts
Jack the jazz-fuelled wanderer, well, he was in it for the long haul

And those were the times
when we honestly believed we would change the whole goddamn world
when we marched with Anti-Vietnam War banners unfurled
from Greenwich Village to the Golden Gate Park
from Washington DC to Washington State we left our marks
on celluloid, vinyl, paper, pavement, tenement, in space
on canvas and Polaroid Andy caught almost every angle, every face
and blended fact with his fiction, his pop with his art
but it was all too much for poor Sylvie’s heart
the talons that clenched, the babes that bawled

Yet those times were
and forever will be indelibly tattooed upon my subconscious
in psychedelic dreams tripping with a lyrical lusciousness
and it is why I lie here with poetry and jazz and art alive within me
here on this apartment floor motionless and carefree
the voice of the late night deejay a lone performance
at this very minute, this hour, this life of mine, of no real importance
I am lucky to have dodged death’s unholy harpoons to tell my tale
like Ahab and his godforsaken avenging whale
these lines I think, I breathe, I gift, I scrawl.

 

for National Poetry Day:
https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/