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.

Postcard from Hoxton

These money people float
Their money makes them
So light

Their soles are not touching
Anything, they live like

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

Council blocks they buy
When they come down from

But they never land, they
Glide an inch above real

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

(Written somewhere between Shoreditch and Hoxton)

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

Last weekend I saw an exhibition, watched a film and dreamt of reality…

I wonder if Klee, Schendel and
Godard are together
On the other side, sharing thoughts
On existence or death?  

Take Klee’s Creative Confession
And stir almost every line from Alphaville; use Mira’s recipe for Brazilian alphabet soup..Voilá,  

A taste of something
Extraordinary yet familiar
Their attempt to put
Eternity in the palm of
Our hand.


Tate Modern – Paul Klee exhibition

Extract from Klee’s Creative Confession:

“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible….Formerly we used to represent things which were visible on earth, things we either liked to look at or would have liked to see. Today we reveal the reality that is behind visible things, thus expressing the belief that the visible world is merely an isolated case in relation to the universe and that there are many more other latent realities….Art is a simile of Creation. Each work of art is an example, just as the terrestrial is an example of the cosmic…Art plays an unknowing game with ultimate things, and yet achieves them.”

Also at Tate Modern – Mira Schendal exhibition

Mira’s explanation of her work ‘Still Waves of Possibility’ (installation of thin, almost transparent fibres)

“The visibility of the invisible, that is, of things that are in action, but without our being able to see them, such as the laws of physics or physical processes… faithfully of this world. And yet not to be of this world. With all its love and joy and also the inevitable suffering, with devotions and without illusions.”

The fibres hang opposite an extract from the Old Testament, Book of Kings:

“And he said, ‘Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord’. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice”

Curator’s blurb: “Schendel saw her work as activating the void, thus posed between being and nothingness…
Umwelt – environment
Mitwelt – social world
Eigenwelt – inner world”.

Guy Brett, art critic, on her ‘little nothings’ or Droguinas’: “Their fragility and Energy indicate Space as a natural thing – a field of possibility”.

Film, Alphaville, Directed and written by Jean-Luc Goddard.

My favourite quotes:

ALPHA 60 (An intelligent computer): “Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along. But I am time. It’s a tiger, tearing me apart; but I am the tiger”

ALPHA 60: “Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.”

ALPHA 60: “Time is like a circle which is endlessly described. The declining arc is the past. The inclining arc is the Future.”

Vonbraun: “Life and Death share the same circle.”

ALPHA 60: “Everything has been said, provided words do not change their meanings, and meanings change their words.”

ALPHA 60: “Once we know the number one, we believe we know the number two, because one plus one equals two. We forget we first must know the meaning of plus.”

Vonbraun: reading extract from surrealist poet Paul Eluard – from his book: Capitale de la Douleur:

“We live in the limbo of our metamorphoses.
But the echo which runs through all the day
That echo beyond time, desire and caresses keeps asking…
Are we close to or far away from our conscience?”

A great article on the film and its influences:

“43 to, Friern Barnet”

The travel time
The bus line
The sound of snacking and
The woman who tells  
Us what we are
On and where we are
Going, repeating

For new arrivals   
Or the senile
Or robots forgetting they 
Got the Forty Three.

Wake up from the daily grind

Wheels on the bus
Go round and round, round and round.
Carry us.

Cleaners, brokers,
One ear off or, surround sound,
All yous, hark

The timetable
Perpetual, it turns found
Into lost.

Saturday 3rd Septemeber 2011: Demonstrations in London.Late headline.

One week has passed

And not much  has

Been said on the

BBC – as

Far as I know.

Saturday 3rd

The orange mosque,

Whitechapel – not

A word has passed

News Night’s tired lips;

Will The Week dig

Up what went on?

What’s clear is that

Certain breeds of

News aren’t welcome

Here, in Britain

The doors are barred

While truths queue up

Voices down, just

Protestors, no need

To make a song

And dance about,

The neighbours might

See, heaven forbid.

Looters and Lambs, Mixed Up.

Smart street lock

Stopped out from

Passers by who may

Or may not pace off

With an arm full

Of pulsing lung

Chasing every beat

Round the ribs

To neat blood

Sweat through

Polyester mix.



Park trees trim

With silk flame,

Waving to

Black eyed shops

While skipping,

Nomads bleat

For snacks and

Chew through wire,

Shit and eat

The last soft

Blades of grass.



Crime, Non Fiction, On Petherton Road, 3:30 am, 24th of July

 In the morning I walk

Up one side of the street

In the evening I sometimes

Try the other, but

Sometimes not, habit grates.


Half 3 am is like the strip of

Grass that runs down the middle

Of my street, a place

For robbers to walk on

Avoiding dog-shit, just like

The day would, carrying

Bats, ready for the night.


His hood was down, his

Head was out, his walk

Was fast, his bat was

Long beneath his sleeve,

I didn’t see it or his accomplice.


I looked on, walking

Two were upon me

Bees out of air, with

Stings I didn’t believe in-

Would I get hurt if I

Wouldn’t find my purse?


‘Give us everything,’ they said

Like kids for sweets, ‘or whatever

You’ve got,’ I took them seriously,

 Like a teacher playing along.

I threw some first class

Stamps in with the other goodies.


They didn’t think the stamps

Were kind or funny but bless

Him, he stuffed them back

In my little red bag, lips

Open, bemused.


They were blind to my lap-top

They ran off – like bats

Out of Hackney, I walked

On, thank god or the greatness

For twisting my fate just

Enough to wake me,

No pinch to my heart.

Next time I’ll take a taxi,

There’ll be no blood from

Me for bats dressed up in



Fish ‘n Chips

I will take one chip.

I am dipping it in

Mushy peas and I

Am pairing it with

Haddocked batter.

I will crunch gold

Through its tuber

Sponge till it runs

Thickly sweet down

My gloating gullet.

I will hold the other

Chips in their card

Board box and let the

Warmth pervade my

Ready knees uncrossed.

I will look across

The park rarely,

Keeping focussed on

The place of warmth

Bought from the chippy,

Worth its weight in time,

Each chip at least

A few seconds long,

Each crisped hunk of

Fish another golden gong.