In a rather cruddy function space
above a time-stale pub in Brighton –
sat uneven – at beer-stained tables –
we sipping poets of no published note

fingered our place settings of paper
in folders – our kicked headstones –
Here Lies M.A. Bell – and other writers –
who died slow deaths of dull rejection

There is no air or space these days
for me – from the other side of poetry
I quote verbatim Atilla the Stockbroker –
he put me in my place a long time ago

There I was – that fusty room’s rum alien –
in my coat – offering quatrains of fear
about warm croissants and disease
and Del La Warr and surrealism

I cannot get close to the slam-generation
with their pert feats of rhymed memory
nor reduce my voice to their flat intonation –
I cannot do their shopping list poetry

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