Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lost Tools

You ought to have had a shed, moss musty,
You would keep some rank booze there
Which we would drink from chipped cups
Rinsed in the water butt
Not clean but clean enough

Because this is my idea of being a dad
Borrowed from an old idea of yours,
An apparition out of doors,
A bonfire curling lazy late daylight skeins
Around knock-knees and varicose veins

You ought to have had a shed,
Where the tools could wait for me
And might have forced
My unskilled hands to work
At the sweat black wooden handles,
Not clean but clean enough

Those tools in their oiled sack bag could tell
Of hands that dished out lollipops
Shot unthinkingly at hotentots
And steered a wounded Hurricane back
To medals, the cold metal applause of wars

The tools are gone,
And although they’re probably in use
They don’t have a story,
Beyond this one of loss;
You had no place to put them,
No shed, musty as moss
But a garage crammed,
Not clean, but clean enough.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Lady

Who was that tapping at the window?
Pain like bolts in her curled fingers
Arthritic yes, but betraying perhaps

A past, more delightful, yes light
Full life, lived through a domino
Display of opening doors,
And years of tipped hats and applause,

Giving her the strong back of the
Perennially loved, and eyes still
Fired to flirt even down two generations
And we flirt back, we boys, to her at least

But men to all others this side of the window
Their backs turned and already beginning to curl.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Going for a drink

Ok then let’s go,
to where the evening waits
like a mugger
to rob us of our faculties,
and yes, let’s wander
the headline making streets on purpose
we are fodder after all for stories.

And let us lurk in corner bars,
sinking a few jars,
celebrating the gutter for its reflection of the stars
and swapping tales of those same stars
and how they bounced off puddles
to take their twinkling place above these
poorly maintained roofs, locked like empty lovers
in an architectural embrace of stained ceilings,
witness to the couplings of broken men and whores
but let us never have cause

to fall too far
through the gaps in the bar,
where the drink
we sink
takes chunks and lumps of life
when it promised to restore it
because there will be time,
in time to call time,
to hear the bell tolling us into those same
bruised streets where we’ll pick up pace
and head each man to his anointed place
somewhere between the puddles
and the stars.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


When you put the bottle down the day comes on dull
like the ache they say of a lost limb

but in the sandy residue poured for tired cups
you can feel warm summer still

discerning in that purple grit the vine’s renewal
and its giving up of treasure;

orbs crushed leaking life into second hand barrels
patina producing pleasure

now withheld to end a deep winter’s draft
which once warmed fallow hearts

consuming themselves, wanting more than wine
and saying no, no more this time.