like . . .

land slides beneath my feet
like so many leaves of paper
laid one on top the other
blown from the writer’s desk
so many words written thereon
fossilised like sea creatures
stuck in layers of thoughts
splitting me like shale or slate
sliced through like sliced meat
an autopsy of all my years
grown like the rings in a tree
concentric yet linear years
graphite grey like the clouds
teetering and tottering on edges
cliff edges that crumble
that dream
when land starts moving
and your arms flail like windmills
and you tilt
and you call out
but you’re already on the move
paper and words blowing all around
the white of sky and surf
of gulls and paper
and chalk skulls
like
like
like
. . . .
 
 

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

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

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

when I go back

when I go back I ask
are you still there?
the memories drift down the river
remember the water on our toes?
I watch them from the chalky hill
remember the chalk on our skin?
they rush under bridges
I search for your reflection there
lingering past pubs and familiar places
we were without a care then
wending their way through the town
hand in hand the two of us and more
like a gang of gulls out on the piss
on the beach and under the stars
suddenly swirling high above the church
remember the shooting star on New Year’s Eve?
heads cocking from side to side
back to yours for more I remember
eyeing up the potential possibilities below
sneaking up the familiar stairs at 3am
unrecognisable faces in the crowds below
would we recognise each other now?
I was born here yet who do I know?
you left and now you are a stranger
searching under all the familiar stones
I leave none unturned
but of course no-one is expecting you
there are so many stones upon this beach
a dying man circling above his past
a dying man walking these empty streets
looking down at his own familiar loss
the sea breeze beckoning me
why not go there – head out to sea?
out – out to sea – but where?
maybe try your luck in a different land
and there will I be free . . ?

escaping the nightmare

i.
losing track of the days
rain washing them off the calendar
down the hillside
into the river
the beautiful boiling foaming gallivanting river
carried out to sea
a bloated body shaped log twisting in the current
no need for days when land recedes from sight
exodus

ii.
caught in the undertow
pulled under
beautiful black sleep
watery grave
seaweed blankets and luminous algal blooms
I wake somewhere unknown
far from the reality I have known
I am reborn
I am Adam
I am Crusoe
and here the sun warms my waterlogged bones
purity

iii.
I am reborn
cast up to the heavens on the back of a leviathan’s tail
shot from the bows of ancient hunters
scribbled on the walls of forgotten caves
clothed in animal skins
bearer of my own history
wanderer of continents
I meet no-one as I wander deserted lands

iv.
I am a deserter
words fail to leave my mouth
thoughts never dare to form
I am mute
I am blind
my actions are instinctual
my behaviour animalistic
grunting scratching cavorting wildly
I roam the land lost and blind and searching for an evolutionary window
mute

v.
mutating
opportunistic
impulsive
alone
hermaphroditic
shrinking evolving ever smaller
diminishing in stature
losing relevance
returning to the soil
to the sea
I crawl back from whence I had come
primordial again
a microbial organism
disease causing

vi.
man making
from the stars from outer space
I am reborn
I am finally free
free to float and roam in my own galactic bubble
creator of galaxies
time traveller
eternal being
master of my own destiny
limitless lover of freedom
I am gone
I am free
I am I
I am
I

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

Hove 1985

she stood where the waves turned to leave
a smiling line of debris on the shore
he looked back over his shoulder
a line of grey buildings washed away
when she waved the sea came in
when he waved back the sea went out
somewhere very deep inside
they were both crying

rolling

the waves roll
as if great humpbacks
are passing through unnoticed
below the surface turmoil
within the undercurrents
singing their songs of the deep
blowing holes in our imaginations
we can only guess at what goes on
when their eye meets ours
a lighthouse beacon glinting
warning us of danger
now surging ever closer
with the passage of time
these great leviathans
who roll with the waves
dive to seek respite
from the constantly curious
the flesh and photograph hunters
who follow so relentlessly
to the ends of the world
across rolling waves
that never cease
like the tolling of bells
on ships lost at sea