commentary

In search of lost time

I’m sitting on Bute street
In my head the French bookshop
And French bakery Bonne Bouche
Are still here, smelling of books and
Bread, livres et pain

I’m still sitting on Bute street
I open my eyes, I can smell Mama
Pho and it doesn’t go with my
£pp3.50 flat white

I’m looking at a shop called Blanc
With towels and a sign ‘Fashion doesnt
Have to Cost the Earth’ instead of
Books in French

Now I know how old women feel
The ones who talked about the
Old days as if they were better
Now they’re gone

I will not come here again to
Look for the past, I will not
Find it, I will go somewhere
Else to remember.

Carl Fabergé – a god of small things



Did God know, when he made
The world that he would make you
And you would make mini
World’s out of his shiny
Offcuts?

Of course, God knows everything
God is everything, God’s work
Is intricate, the diamond
The cut, the carve, the egg
Hatches

It reminds us of the surprise
Of birth, of Spring, every
Year, reborn, but totally
Unexpected in its
Dazzling

Postcard from Hoxton

These money people float
Their money makes them
So light

Their soles are not touching
Anything, they live like
Angels

No memories staring back
From the streets they pass,
The ex-

Council blocks they buy
When they come down from
Heaven.

But they never land, they
Glide an inch above real
Living

You can still hear the mortals
From time to time, they
Break out

With feet that know the old
Streets, feet that can’t float like
Angels.

(Written somewhere between Shoreditch and Hoxton)

Sidelines


We are loping in the margins, waiting For time to become ours again.
The margins get smaller as Larger type fills the page.

Back stage romance

I know they think

Less of me because

I am not seen with you

A single woman

A single human

A strange thing

A heavy thing

A pack animal

Alone.

A flat plain

An empty pan

A loose string.

And so alone we go

And it goes on and on

Like Herbie Hancock

Playing to himself,

Cooking music on his stove

Avoiding all the expected notes.

Quiet panic

The heat has taken our

Breath away, has robbed us 

Of free will. Everything must

Tilt towards the coolness

Between our self and this.

But where is it?

She is angry, she is raging 

The taste of Nature has curdled

And we were curdling it 

Deliberately, like we could 

Sell it on to the next generation

Or aliens as some sort of

Local delicacy roasted slowly

Between Venus and Mars

Or somewhere in that primitive 

Galaxy, so strong, so stupidly.


Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat

These feel like the end days

Of life. The sun, the moon,

The clouds that move, the

Train that stops at every stop

And then goes back again.

The cyclists in the queue

At the traffic lights, leading

South. How long it feels, this

March to death, this mess of

Locks and wheels and limbs

That we call civilisation. How

Vile the stench of sweating

Plastic and half-eaten sandwiches

Discarded in the wrong section

Of the bin, into general rubbish

Down and out

​I was eating pizza on the steps when

A beggar asked me for money, I had
None but offered him the other half
With artichokes still hot, but he said
No it wouldn’t feel right, and walked on.

And the next bites were sweeter and
Clearer in the context of his pain, the
Mozzarella soothed my heart as a velvet
Curtain richly slices off the ache of frost.
Lucky me to eat and eat outside out of

Choice, not at home, a home to choose to not be in, not to have to find a nook every night to hook my sleeping soul on, not to
Have to sleep on stone a sleep closer to the night than is comfortable, a public

Closure of my body, a performance to the
City of my freezing lung, not enough heat to snore, just enough to breathe in before the next dreaded dram of coffin-cold air.

Girl begging on the tube

Every step a struggle
Every word a prayer for
It to stop, every blink

Caked in cheap mascara,
Every thread of jean
Grabbing at hunger aching

In the hips and knees
Under the floating breakers
Washing round the hollows
Of her emptied heart

Birthday Past

image

Dark cake and a pair of shoes
On the grave outskirts of Saint James’s Park, just outside the gates, in fact,

On a grey paving slab, quiet clean, but
For the crumbs and smear, like dog shit,
In its roadside homelessness, nowhere

The sweet kitchen that supported it, we presume, before it got led astray, wandered from the safety of the

Picnic blanket, perhaps taken by these shoes..
But they lost their way, neither shoe can tell tales to passing

Strangers now, both are mute.
Was she Happy when she left?
We can only guess and hope she got some new shoes