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.

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.

The Lodger

He lay flat on his back,
jacket off, the worn soles
of his buffed brogues
almost rudely exposed,
any sign of breathing
invisible at the distance,
and my mother stood
at the kitchen window
Do you think he’s dead?
It must have been 1975,
and he was an old man
who was not known
to do such hippy stuff,
like lying on the lawn.
If it was ’76 then the heat
would have been the cause.
After that day Grandad wed
once more and moved out.

October ’17

A century of remembrance
but slipped over today
nervous shifts of stick into mud
The Right want a return
to Passchendaele’s blood

A late dragonfly buzzed
its barrel-blue hints
manic ahead in the dusk
A stuttering biplane
without one God to ask

I need a bench
as I cannot stand
even on this newly-laid route
Stamped
parade-hard paths
an old man’s bench will do

BN01

I only know I am walking in Brighton
because the numbers 74 74 74
on taxi cabs semaphore the fact
that and the Number 24 is in club mode

It could so easily be east London’s
red bricks and lunatics
pumped bars
shops of tat and shops of coffee
with scooters outside McDonald’s

and pairs of staggerers off to shag
whilst round the back of the Co-op
people raid the big-mouth bins
looking for out-of-date two-for-ones

If I was younger
if I was single
only ifs
I would struggle less with urban stuff
which is Brighton’s after-dark equality
to every other smacked-in city

Steve Coogan Ate My Poetry

Thick, propped
in the black-slapped
under-belly
of Brighton’s Komedia,

for an evening
of Henry Normal
(other Northern Poets
are available):

I sit stool-high
(beer table handy),
an American asks me:
‘Is this guy funny?’

Before I respond
her English friend
offers explanation:
‘He’s friends
with Steve Coogan.’

Making Poetry, Because Causley Did

I am in the place of making poetry,
as Causley did, a revelation when
greengrocer-ed by school kids,
and then he described the act:

We will explode if its not written..
Appease the angel and the demons..
The poems have to be written..
Life goes on..

‘On Being Asked to Write a School Hymn,’
(this verse disturbs our tamest poet),
such creation was Causley’s response
to being exhausted, to being re-awakened,
daily re-set, after school, by the writer’s clock.

In 1982 Launceston appealed to me,
stone-faced before the town was laid,
found in that broken-back paperback ‘Collected.,’
which I stole from Surrey Libraries.

Now I pit my reducing self
into making poetry, which sits unread,
unpublished, not in bound paper,
re-edited only when I come across it:

I am making the words
to fit the verse of this hammered work,
but I use no blistering tools,
just the weight of big hits on tin ears.


[Poem #866]

#CPC17

#cpc17.png

Tossers, tossers,
tossers in suits,
groomed to an inch
of their Tory blue roots.

A lanyard, a sneer,
to let them in,
so the conference starts
and cock-sucking begins:

Motions are raised
in the near-empty hall,
as the screens are filled
by the faces of fools.

They bay for Boris,
pray to lose May,
pull knives out for Gove,
but no big beasts today.

They’ll ship in the blue rinses
on a new battle bus
this one will read:
‘You plebs are now fucked’.


[Poem 865]

Endavant

The same streets which I once took
with Kodachrome and pesetas
are now stolen by cruise line tourists
in digital edits of Catalan fist-fights,
of baton-crash-policing:
Here Spaniard cracks Spaniard
outside padlocked primary schools,
as Generation X rights are suspended,
here blood is the paper’s crossed mark.


[Poem 864]

Ms. Gyllenhaal

Aye, I would ask Maggie Gyllenhaal
to be my bride, with her feisty call,
and looseness of her expressive doe,
above, and under her doen breasts I’ll go:

but her new child meets, most devoutly,
so I’ll remain unfed, to lie quietly,
as my wife lambastes, half-heartedly,
my ask of Maggie? They both laugh at me.


[Poem #863]

The Mass of Men

Inspired by an interview with Stanley Kubrick by Eric Nordern  for Playboy in 1968

The odoriferous sound
of others’ discomforts
may force to reduction
your gnawing intolerance,

but instead you must find
a sweet tone of acquittal
by listening much less
for their off-key approvals:

No more the simplified
repeal of nursed rhymes,
but a tune you’ll compose
when not feeling for lines:

Their trip on indifference,
when felled by jealousy
over others’ flat arias,
there you’ll find armouries;

strike this shone torch,
to guides with beams,
illuminate everything,
even old-echoed screams;

you’ll now light your voice,
here in the brightened throng,
to end at the same gate,
but with a much richer song.


[Poem #862]