She’s cryptanalytic, head
Over ruffled-silk animal heat,
(Ripcord, hook, eye, combination lock,
Flip-flops the awning from their bed
Into his parachute.
In a twinkling death-deal
He quick silvers to a splatter.
She spirals triumphantly,
A golden-dyed head,
Purrs an obsolete lyric
Remindful of love,
Warps and guides
A vanishing trick
Into curly clouds.
A plain word: —
night. I crossed the rivers
Of washday overfloods
In terraced lanes
Blank as North Shields sky, with the percussion
Of nervous marbles,
Lynxy optics sparkling, petrol
Glittery on numb pavements
In the dips of hunchbacked streets.
Roll back to where the radiogram drifts along.
It’s ‘Baby Love’
A skim across grit, Motorcity glamour
And my sister flings dough
Onto brown-lung sticky-back plastic.
I could never have guessed
That in a trembling of fit-for-nothing hours
Penny would slap the midwife, nor that she
Would spend the next two years blubbering,
Loud…through Captain Scarlet,
Bill and Ben
And even The Magic Roundabout.
Bishop Suffragan’s Devotions
Two triangles joined
together by a small annular platform. From this a great
sculpture sprang thirty feet into Square Berlino.
Malformed heads, open mouths spat out water. Silver
needles, glinting, hypnotic sunlight, pricked
oxygen-filled spray. Lazy jets of Adam’s ale, slopping
into the font’s reservoir. City of fountains.
Caravella’s design was most original; murmurs gave
bewitchment to sleepy days and nervous nights of this
Was it those liquid spheres, capricious dribbles that
sent him off? A soft breeze through the vestry wooing
the bare wooden stomach of Christ? He was certain that
he was sinking; ambers, sapphires, lemons, a closing
lens, blackening at edges of Bible-stained windows.
Puckered, he wandered through a special unbelonging, his
desire. As if a candle had been lit, Eden appeared,
blond-haired, broad-shouldered, sky-green eyes. At a
lift of basilican robes they were one, a single bead of
sweat cried down the Bishop’s back. Then his usual
horrors came, the fall, swirl of brume, swollen heads,
Aimlessly, a rusty sawfly crawls over an El Greco.
Ebbing moon, blood red through glass, throwing ensnared
glimmers. A malign annoyance unsettles the Bishop. In
shadows, cathedral towers he glides dark streets. A
turn, a calamitous eye in stone, ogling. On, and a
whirling of splashes following, beyond a broken-up fence
into Valentine Yard. Steadily, a fussy look straddling
his face, to the dilapidated beef warehouse to cruise a
Bohemian In Winter…
…defoliates light on the
mystique of things
slips into (flexitime, before noon)
a punctilious wardrobe
of finicky lines, hot-quarrelling colours.
Mark time with a jaunt, intercity steel,
express-express, a townhouse landscape,
cheek by jowl semis, crow’s nest bridges,
the bloodshot brick of jettisoned factories.
And first and last it’s the tearoom
that tempts him in. He’s off and on
solitary, otherwhiles pally,
sampling at the edges
of a billow of quick-fire cream
in the dreamy mists of coffee.
There are the backbones of tomes to wrick,
deep-browed searches, airings
of splodged watercolours, crumpling oils,
skin-deep installations and pacific walks
along the riverbank.
So this life is never-ending
he squanders only Art,
makes secret studies of survival,
flings abracadabras up to evening stars.
I’ve sunk the pin-up of
in this shop-soiled scratch card.
with the Mexican Wrap, out-of-pockets,
sucking fizz from a can
not a lick of nutritional gravity.
Mundane cardboard gift-wrap—
high hopes sour
and in the screw-up precast as ‘Litter’
a printed woman’s neck
accordioned into her dislodged leg.
The paving-slab diviner
“in self-absorbed minutes
a Day-Glo King will be garlanded”.
“an hombre with no back-harking
plonks into the bull ring”.
who would be Matador
of Bilbao Street
thuds tan brogues
toewards to Conquistador inevitability…
…and a skin-graft pizzle.