Mr Cohen’s Words on the Matter

I’m reading Lorca’s poetry
whilst Leonard sings to me
on the hottest Easter Monday
since nineteen-sixty three

My poorer verse dissipates
dispelled by blows of blame –
She vaulted ‘cross my body
on her way to another game

He’s old enough to be her father –
she was fool enough to be his wife
Their papers have been posted
He typed out her loving lies

He will see her in that lawyer’s room
who’ll be paid to watch them fuck –
his hourly fee is twice as much
as she was paid to suck


A too-bloody-loud blonde
stood gin-fucked at the bar –

stretching and over-pitching
her filthy lung-and-gut cackle

It was high-and-wide enough
to threaten every nervy glass

as she – blindly drunk – upset
those low murmurs of diners

who slyly turned to witness
her public orgasmic judders

She split atoms and chatter
and spilt wine across matting

as punters’ mouths dropped
with her heavy-footed acts

and re-enactments of others’
disgraced and shamed ways

Ariadne’s Clue

Ariadne’s ball of thread was called a clewe
that word being of an Old English source –
cliewen – which can mean a skein of thread

Now – no trial and error among your words –
instead my art is gathering your scatterings
of clues and insinuations – of what you said

before your lies fermented to find you drunk
Our shared bottles of removed inhibitions
took us both into a playground of sweated beds

They oiled your snare – your sour smell of sex –
your perfume to attract others under bindings –
those you bought to find pain without blood

I found your lace and black bits curled sullen
in a hard-knotted bag – One item – a mouth gag –
admits your desire for ill-use outside your head

As If She Had Struck Herself

Banshee my first thought –
followed by lunatic
and then spitting feathers
but was spitting nails better?

Her hand was sudden –
flat – iron-hard on my face
in such a swift upper arc
It was well-practised –

she was beating
every man and boy
who had ever dare ignore
her high pitch of orders

Those grey eyes revealed
a fleeting wince –
as if she had struck
herself with this hate

An instant recoil
of her upper body
as her buckshot rebut
kicked her back

And every crease
on her lined face
doubled up
She had struck herself

Taking Stock

Under such circumstances
as these in which we live –
an old skill of mine – of gauging

by tipping
chiming barrels in cellars
or more likely cold side rooms
of ex-forces drinking clubs
to blindly assess levels left

Under such circumstances
my senses should be well-attuned
to any watering of truth
in unsighted places

By eye and by hand – in
old weights and measures –
my work was to balance stock
and it was never greeted well