Ben Brinkburn May 2014

Dalmatia and Other Localities before the War
When we ate grilled fish on the floating restaurant
lording it on the Dalmatian coast

...mistaken for Party children- daddy must be an
official for them to have a motor bike like that...

how cool

when we stood on the quayside at Budva then later
stranded on that hotel island watching the causeway
slowly disappear beneath an unhurried sea

when detouring to Kotor to see the earthquake damage
imagining the earth move a dust shrouded town
staring through chained gates as if at a movie set

when I drove the Honda too fast skidding around
potholes and you giggled later drinking rocket fuel
local liqueurs in a bar with currency for wall paper

then when we strolled the leaning streets of
Mostar where soon there would be tanks
Then what of our own smouldering conflict

our own trajectory of spite filled ordnance
could you sense that it was coming?
a nurtured, carefully concealed attack

time worn sophistry
what of that when gun smoke
smarts your eyes.

From the forthcoming collection 'Mythopoetic'
Ben Brinkburn May 2014

There is no honour where
thieves are concerned
skidaddling along Old Compton Street
pretending to be rich
striving to drink anything before lunch anything
on
the hoof
just so long as it’s over 40% proof
that’s important
or
drunk on the beach at
Playa Manzanillo
tumbling dice
touch of Midas
maybe the gold will rub off onto me
like pollen on a bee stuck to the legs
stuck to the fur
cribbage pegs
croupier blur
dealt a hand
relax with a mojito
hands clawed in the sand
cursing the might-have-beens
wishing for the might bes
chips one square out
90 degrees north
45 degrees south
the painted boats pulled up on the shoreline
Venezuelan Coastguard Launches
scouring the Windward Island monied coke lines
louche and free and slightly depraved
devil you do devil you don’t

and maybe

I should have done the dealing
instead of playing with what is dealt
career crossroad choices
casino neon
instead of
hot strand paper
Chinese lanterns many
spectral colours
remember Brazil?
‘Praia do Diabo!’
memories of London days
Oxford nights
Brooklyn JFK haze
Sao Paulo frights
chewing Samurai pizzas
watching a thunderstorm spewing rain
over Granada
on a boardwalk mozzarella sticky teeth
swordfish and octopus ink throw on
some red capsicum peppers
sliced like dragons tails
now that’s some pizza
dreams of blackjack and rum
high tail and lucky spots
working out my next move
on Isla de Margarita
remembering

what was the name of that bar
in Bayswater?

With the gambling room beneath-
old school, East Enderesque
not all are run by Chinese you know and
not that one run by Laotians from Vientiane either
no no no the other….one
and you wore that dress
covered in red sequins the one you slinked off
to the summer ball in Oriel in
the one in which
you shimmered and crossed dimensions
polymorphed through parallel branes
with legs to lick
breasts to suck
later limbs akimbo
in the good old days of propitious spots and slam ships
when the moon was less lonely
and the ocean had less reservation
and me, well
I had all the luck.

From the forthcoming collection 'Mythopoetic'
Ben Brinkburn Apr 2014

easy days

How complacent the thought
When everything is trying
to kill you, and you are
trying to kill it.
I mean look at this city
or walk the prairie
or the moor
and wonder
and then scrunch up a piece
of newspaper and laughing
set fire to it with a match
and throw it to the floor
at the back of the bus
low flames, watch it
smoulder
hold my sides

easy days

Life before history began, when
the dinosaurs roamed the Earth  
innocent primordial bloodlust
before the toxic torture chamber
of the Great Now
where the land is a toy
and the sky is owned and
tied up with steel studded leather
straps
to be filled and abused
and tracked by vapour trails.


The air is still... as if waiting with
glee for an air-burst: the great
cleansing of the thermonuclear.

I need further terms of reference
as I wander around the bus station.
No attack today
damn world peace.

Ben Brinkburn Apr 2014

It took less than twenty four hours
before Sanjeev knocked on my door
and asked to borrow an iron
I gladly obliged and he seemed like a nice guy
we went down to the local bar for a drink
all neon and deep sofas and young fools
who thought
having an unmanageable mortgage was cool
and would drink obscure bottled beers
and text fuck all
to fuck off people
all the fucking time
but I drank Stella and Sanjeev
drank Guinness
and he was lonely a long way from
his family
Mumbai far far away and
he couldn’t understand divorce
and why I was living on my own while my
ex-wife and kids lived
just up the hill
western lifestyle was clearly beyond him
the finer points
he clearly
would never ever get
but we got steadily more drunk and he grinned
and grinned
and he told me about his faith
about the Hindu religion
and it sounded really good
loads of little Gods running around
doing all sorts of things to each other
pretty cool really all in all
although I am sure my synopsis
doesn’t do it any real justice
but we wobbled home laughing
and he said that’s what he will call me
from hereonin
Captain Wobbly
and I like it
as I’ve been called things much worse
in my sorry ass time
so Captain Wobbly will do
for now
for me.

Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

so you've now got a glass eye
that's great
it really suits you
although
can't get used to you without
the eye patch that
gave you real character it was
really sorta you
y'know
and
mine's a JD and Coke
I know I know sacrilege but hell
hell what the hell
so what
and so here's a toast to the has beens
and might of beens and
the been's that still are
long may they prosper
in vulcan peace
well not really soon may their fall come
soon may they get it over and done with
soon may they suffer then swallow their pride
in a lake of rum
hey then they can join us in Alphabet City snuck away on
East 3rd a sparrow's erratic flight
from Avenue D
and this is not a great part of town
this is not hyper-cool urban angst
this is pay dirt and delusion and a hollow heart
yodeling in the gloaming
only full of words that
don't fit
and some times the bar is full of Belgians
sometimes Nigerians
sometimes English
some stray Chinese now
and then
clutching bottles
grinning ruefully about what might be and
what hasn't been
sneering
the days are for mooching and for flitting
for wincing and for teeth gritting
the nights are for hawks like you and me
feeling free
with darkness to cut
with
old world bravado
and neon to caress
with new world glass sharp
optimism tinged with the
smarts
of a hidden knife

Spare a thought for lost English souls in NYC
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

I dreamt last night of nebulae in my hands and dragons in my pocket.
Sleep cannot be trusted as new portals open and it is not always pleasant
or warranted what you glimpse through them.
The stars as grains of lost thought.
Maybe.
Trains of granulated think matter.
Perhaps.
I am a Spaceman and I stride through the ether talking to faeries dancing with sirens and berating the imps that wish to disconnect my air supply.
The light bulb is turned on, but there is nothing there.
When I was young I would walk cliff tops contemplating launches and teasing the gulls about their chains and plotting schemes of domination of the galaxy with the stoats frogs and squirrels.
Now I just carve out urban caves.
The dreams have gone.
The nightmares are friends.
Watercolours in the rain.

more musings on what it means to be a spaceman...
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

Off the job again and
secretly wishing I wasn't but
keeping the bravado crystal
and sharp
trying to stay cool
reading Beckett and
and  Fante
the suit isn't threadbare yet but give it time
whiskey flowers and
tequila headaches
and the roller girl shouted
'hey mac, get a job!'
broadside smiles
trying to stay cool
watching Bronson, Brecht
and  Bertolucci
looking forward to
the next drink
burning matches and seriously considering
setting fire to the curtains
dirty old town

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