C-90

I ask her, Alexa,
for Prefab Sprout,
as I sip my coffee,
dipping in a playlist
first small-written
on C-90 inserts,
and turned to ten
on an Aiwa stereo,
then sounding
less compressed,
back then,
in those simpler sips.

Bonfires

They tripped the village
with explosions overhead,
tipped hip flasks, brimming,
and they smoked cigarettes:
Like wayward teenagers,
but with a greater rage,
the sisters from Sussex
resisted middle age.
She said: ‘There is one life,
but a single span!’
So they sucked on spirit
and exploded again.

Butterfly

I watched a butterfly die
after I had lifted it from
the laid-up timber store
where it had hid itself
from the last of summer,
four beats of its wings,
and then pinned still
by time’s invisible spike.

Remember

We eulogise the dead,
but not the living;
we recall past victims,
but not the suffering;
we celebrate history,
but not the present;
we are weighted by
a tradition of ignorance.

Evening Prayers

Across passing minutes
his foul envy simmered,
with another’s wide mouth
taking her down,

reducing the soft layers
(those he had watched,
so dutifully added),
a removal of fashions;

putting bare hands on,
lifting her to their God:
A few hours gone
of her agreed absence,
and he set to bed to weep.

This Moment

Paul said that he thought
of Cornwall,
it was the sunlight
which set him;
the past arrived in bits,
unsweetened,
those that we trade
too freely
in our hourly estimates
of now;
with his recall
a shade took hold
and his being here,
lit, was gone.

Wine

The developed hills of Nerja
were not designed for me
(the me now rested halfway
on ascents and descents
in and out of the old town):

A quick trip to drink red wine
and pick at slapped down tapas,
as the silvered pensioners,
springing from bar to bar,
leave me blindly tapping.

The Mediterranean laps
on this unfinished coast
of collapsed kerbstones
and mismatched slopes,
Dali’s own theme park
of shadowy hazards.

And I make it back, alone,
with my whereabouts online,
via Google’s data pool,
for those I left at the bar
able to still pub crawl.

One Bedroom

It is another place,
but one you knew
in your previous life,
in the last century;

a shared knowledge
allows you back to it
after you took advice:
a lease signed with a kiss

Note

Yes, no stick. No. More pain:
But you did not ask, although I offer
full disclosure, a guided tour of this
ever so slight inconvenience:

Just above the statutory distances,
but they will shorten along with more
outward signs which should
reduce your doubt.

But for now I will dance off indicants
you’ll never see: I will dance with them
until I die.

Substitution

If there is an English word
for this heat please send it to me

along with recent pictures
of you being buffeted

there in the autumn break
as a male storm blows over

I am a short distance set
by an internet search and flights

I sit in a festooned bar
watching football from London

as my sweating groceries lounge
in ten cent shopping bags

and I am avoiding the hill
the heat and the inconvenience
of my body

Clouds

This nuclear sun over Nerja
seems to be a false detonation
just short of early November
sent with no sense of guilt

It sears the white on sunbeds
and encourages black beach vendors
equally fearful of seasonal clouds
like those dropped by atomic gods

experts at praying against shade:
stay caught on the peak of the hills
tied to the now-misted heights
by beaded string to rosemary.

Returning to rain

I have only seen rain here
once before
when hitch-hiking
across the north
I was on the run from banks

A night around Bilbao’s industry
on my journey east towards
the mountains’ clear attraction
of duty-free heights in Andorra
where gold trucks delivered cash
and the coffee was twice as much

But now I look out at the tarmac
and at men in their high-vis attire
me
with more baggage than last time
and heavier weights on my ankles

Back then I owed a thousand pounds
but now a hundred times more
which buys me a lounge pass
a front row seat on planes
and the back row comfort in cinemas.

Red Skies

If we stop to look up
at that vast underbelly
of the slow, the turned,
those Gods above us,
struck indolent, stuck,
and expect their help,
a thunderbolt, salt-pillars,
such types of intervention,
we will find no solution:
we are the only gods,
unbelievable as it is.