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Your love
a rungless ladder

that I
foolishly endeavoured
to climb

to a tower
that wasn’t

an unhappy ever after ending

there was no turning into swan

the clock was forever
striking midnight with a fearful ****

there was no glass slipper
that fit

there was no awakening

There was only
the rungless ladder
of your love.

There was only
a tower

that didn’t exist.

And I

a foolish
blind prince.

I never asked to be
de Born.

But I guess that
yes I am.

He in Dante's hell
carrying his severed head

holding it up
like a lantern

with a piteous
"Oh woe is me!"

But it wasn't Dante's
words but Doré's

illustration that
haunted my childhood

walking through
my nightmares.

Now with your death
I enter the eight circle of hell.

Like Dante I have lost
my way.
Bertran de Born  was one of the major Occitan troubadours of the twelfth century and as a sower of schism, punished in the ninth bolgia of the eighth circle of Hell (Canto XXVIII), carrying his severed head like a lantern. Gustave Doré depicts this in his illustrations to the Divine Comedy.
( I could not be without you )

a blood soaked teddy
a single left yellow shoe
sirens sirens

night creeps about the house
candle in window
answers a star

your curls
a golden catcher
of sun

the stranger
who is crying
is my self
1d · 22

A clock

A vase
reflects upon itself

in an enormous ornate
gilt mirror

her own flowers

& how they are

A fire
spits sparks

sending shadows
scuttling up walls.

A coal scuttle
is either half empty/half full.

A clock
strikes nine
&... chimes

slightly ahead of
the real time.

.A picture
quaint & antique

hangs slightly askew
against the horrid

wall paper
& its unattractive roses.

A record
(an old shellac 78)    

has found a scratch
&  keeps returning to it

picking at the musical phrase
like a scab.

Caruso’s... got...  got... hiccups.

One mirror
gazes into the face
of another mirror.

Both enamoured
of the other

seeing only

An un-drunk cup of tea
cools steadily

leaving a thin skin
on top.

A sugar lump
has come to rest

on a small
Turkish carpet

the delights of Paradise.

A moth falls madly in love
with an old flame

but it soon fizzles

The only thing living
in this room

is an old tattered tortoiseshell
cat asleep

by her master’s
stockinged feet

so deep
she hasn’t even heard


A clock
THEM ****** DAFFS!

said the ink blot

throwing itself
all over my copy book.

"Jaysus...wait 'til yer teacher
sees this!"

it chortled
proud as punch with itself.

I stare at it
in an almost total disbelief.

My bladder clamours
to be relieved.

my knees together.

King Blot bloated with
its own self importance

has totally obliterated
the last word I have penned.

"I wandered lonely as a
. . .!"

Teacher snaps it up
with great glee

holding it between
thumb & forefinger

with mock disgust
& real contempt.

"So, Dempsey...ya
wandered lonely as...

. . .an ink blot!"

The class sniggers
( glad it's me - not them ).

He glowers them
into silence.

I whimper &

suddenly seeing a loop hole
( I dive )into it.

not tell. . .Sir!"

His glasses flash
smile becomes sneer.

he enunciates clearly

each syllable
chiseled into an awed silence.

The cane cuts through the air.
The class winces.

The tips of my fingers
scream in agony.

I dance a hornpipe
of pain

palms tucked
under my oxters.

"Them ****** daffodils!"
I groan

moaning throughODILS!
my growing tears.

She believed that
deep deep inside her

the flame of a femme fatale
burned brightly.

Could imagine herself stepping out of
some classic Film Noir.

Cultivated herself
to look like Maire Windsor

opposite the dangerously gorgeous
John Garfield.

But her life it seemed had her
stepping into an Edward Hopper.

The isolation and the paint
still wet.

The lonely lady
glimpsed in an hotel window

from a passing train
autumnal rain.

Still she acted always as if
she was in her own movie

walking around  her tiny flat

except for red stilettos
red lipstick.

Making up her own snappy lines
to some imaginary leading man.

"Are you decent?"

"But you''re naked!"
"You only asked if I was decent!"

The mirror laughed
catching the reflection of who

she could have been
given half the chance.

She never
stood a chance.

She threw a cigarette up in the air
caught it between her lips

her one and only
party trick.

Lit or unlit.
Searching for middle C

on a battered piano
her mind off key

abandoning it
the piano's yellow smile.

She watched the sunlight
carve a block of time

out of the dividing wall.
fading the wallpaper roses.

The bed that was always
empty...always unmade.

She danced to Weil's
Youkali Tango.

Put it on again...again.
Scratching an already scratched record.

The needle gathering fluff.
The porcelain milkmaid...dust.

She disliked the way sweat
gathered under her *******.

They were always a little too large.
Hated men staring so hard.

Ahhhh the faded romance
a sunset heart attack.

Couldn't have wrote
herself a better script.

Staggering in her dance
gasping that all too unsubstantial

air as if trying to
catch time

the presentpastfuture
falling out of her hand.

The wooden acorn
of the tattered blind

tapping against
the ***** window pane.

Neon going green.
Then red.

Now blue.
And then green again.

He walked through
the wall.

And then: stopped

so that he was both
in and out of it.

"Jaysus, bud..!" I wish
ya wouldn't do that!"

"Now, look..!" he says
"it's no great shakes being dead!"

I had to admit
the truth of that.

"I'm keeping our childhood promise
that the first one to kick the bucket

come back to
tell the other all about it!"

I shrug and say: "Hey
that was a long time ago

you know
a kid's promise!"

He shrugs or shrugs
as much as a ghost can shrug.

"Well, here I am!"

"Yeah, I can see that!"

"Now if I had just appeared
I was afraid that I would scare

the living daylights outta ya so
I thought I'd throw in a little humour

that half out of/half in stuff
and it kinda was a metaphor

for my way of life
now I'm dead."

"Yeah, yeah...sure sure!
So how do I know you're real?"

"Well, yer looking at me aren't you?"

"How do I know I am
not just me talking to me

a fragment of...
a figment of..."

"Use your imagination
there's no N0. 19 bus back

from the land of the dead
so it has to be this way!"

I had to admiit
the truth of that.

"I enter into the intertisest
between your dreams.

It's not exactly a piece of cale
trying to pull it off.

I keep bumping into
all your thoughts.

Us dead have only
memories of the future

the stuff we didn't have a chance to do
but would have done if we hadn't..."

He looked wistful and
began to fade.

"Drop in any time!"
I say.

"Will do!"
he says.

The photograph of him
on the wall

showing through his
ghostly body.

And then he was gone.

I wrote him down
so I could keep looking at him

trapped inside this
bunch of words.
3d · 28

My career as
a human being

had begun.

It was I
who had been chosen.

I would not have  chosen
it for myself.

There is so much to learn.
And so little time.

I found I had to
downscale my mind.

The loss of such
so much knowledge

was hard to bear
and this thing

called breathing
was so annoying.

Just being an organic
system was an ordeal.

But it was necessary
to understand humans

from within
to know them.

The use of speech
in place of our telepathy

was so terribly
off putting.

"It is for the good
of the cause!"

I repeated our Leader's
motto like a mantra.

I had inhabited
my host for no more

than four hours
becoming him entirely.

Such is my torture.

"Just do what the human
was doing

before you
entered him.

But this endless day time
TV is killing me.

As is
his constant twittering.

I find his system is
taking over mine.

I have lost me.
Am become him.

No longer OF-FRON 777
but a creature called Trump.

reached for that button.

The mothership
deserts me.

Death had frozen
his mind

and all his musings become icicles
stalactites and stalagmites  of thought.

He snapped a thought off
an even number of stalactites and stalagmites .

Then he placed them one by
one in his jaws

like row upon row of
dinosaur teeth.

"Roar!' he roared
roaring himself out of this

"whatever it is!"

"Roar!" he roared again

eating the night
and all it brought

with his new stalactitestalagmite
dinosaur teeth.

When the night was all
eaten he

lay back and
fell asleep

inside the dream's

"Brother!" he said

and his dead brother
comforted him as if

he was not dead.

"Brother!" he cried

but the world had

ready for the new day
that was spread before it.

Not stated
( though it’s understood )

she will not say a word

like dust
swept under a rug.


His anger

into the bruise
she wears upon her skin

a jewellery
of fear

written upon pale flesh
his hieroglyph of hatred.

Love’s lustre
tarnished from the first

the tattoo
of boot and fist.

Holds her hand
under the grill

until her eyes bulge
gulls screaming overhead.

The bilge
of his vile

vomiting insults
upon her scared face.

his screams in a rut

matching each word
to each rising fist

a blow by blow

He the liturgist
in the nightly rites

of violence
uglier than can be imagined.

Lilies cower
in a vase.

He the high priest
of her despair.

An **** bruise
upon her soul.

Her eyes now
null and void

slit wrists
upon polished table tops

in a room
now unlit.
(for Debbie unable to sleep)

Bright yellow flower
dazed...standing in a vase

tries to remember

a blueness of sky...lost now
beyond the great window pane.

Tries to remember
a joy of sweet falling rain

lost now on the glass

& yet...the memory of it
persists...pursues it...& yet

tries to remember
the pleasure in being a seed

roots reaching into
a sheer richness of darkness

& its opening into sun

tries...remembers the
playfulness of butterflies

clouds chasing a cloud
winds scattering tiny stars

across the beauty of a night

tries &...remembers
the wonder of a bird’s song

the sun forever
almost just...just...out of reach

the sudden silence
after the storm is gone and...and

flower bows its head.

The new young maid is scolded
for not changing the vase.

as they used to call him

is( like me )
up a tree

the very topmost
tip of it.

Wondering at this
great height

"What must it be
to be


I too a boy
at one with the sky

a branch with a bird

who accepts me
as just

another( if odd )bird
of a different feather.

I wonder if the bird wonders
what it must me to be - me.

Esse quam videri
( to be rather than

to seem to be)
words carved into the living

the wounded bark.

Clouds too
are my friends.

Feel as if I could
step on one

have the wind
roll me about.

a green patchwork quilt

a silver thread.

a mere toy.

Time spreads out

It is always and
only forever.

The created and uncreated
map of Now.

"Skin" or
Gerard Manley Hopkins

as I will get
to know him

both up
our respective tree.

He in 1853.
Me in 1963.

Drinking in the world
with our eyes

and one big
gulp of the mind.

Charles Luxmoore on Gerard Manley Hopkins...

"...a fearless climber of trees, and would go up very high in the lofty elm tree, standing in our the the alarm of un-lookers like myself."

I on the other hand climbed trees to escape the world of my young sister's at this great height I could be both in and out of the world...longing to be someone else...somewhere else....anywhere else...anyone else...even a bird if that could be...the map of the world spread below me...high above this bitter grief. I would "vanish" into bay windows and sit for hours whilst aunts and uncle stood a few feet from me and wondered where "the boy has gone" and call my name that didn't seem to be me anymore. I remember sitting between two silver milk churns down in Cork and everyone unseeing of me as if my grief had made me invisible. I was "Of reality the rarest-veined unraveller..."


The Habit of Perfection

ELECTED Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:         5
It is the shut, the curfew sent
From there where all surrenders come
Which only makes you eloquent.

Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark
And find the uncreated light:         10
This ruck and reel which you remark
Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,
Desire not to be rinsed with wine:
The can must be so sweet, the crust         15
So fresh that come in fasts divine!

Nostrils, your careless breath that spend
Upon the stir and keep of pride,
What relish shall the censers send
Along the sanctuary side!         20

O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet
That want the yield of plushy sward,
But you shall walk the golden street
And you unhouse and house the Lord.

And, Poverty, be thou the bride         25
And now the marriage feast begun,
And lily-coloured clothes provide
Your spouse not laboured-at nor spun.
7d · 30

She watches as
I write.

The soft wheeze of lead
leaving words in its wake

like seagulls following
the trail of a ship

clamouring after
the refuse of the mind.

Soon the page is
littered with words.

They crawl across the page
in their best 4B.

It pleases her to see
the graphite leave these

tracings of me
upon...beyond...the white.

She looks at the journey of my hand
as if writing were a magic rite.

She asks if she can

"Sure..." I say
and the words cease.

I just put the tittle
on an small i and j.

The words splashed across the page
like puddles of thought drying in the sun.

I hand her the pencil.

She shakes it and shakes it.
And shakes it.

"What's that for?"
I dare to ask.

"The pencil is too full of words.
I want a pencil full of lines."

"I see..." I say
even though I don't really.

Well, it seems  to work for
nothing comes out but line after line.

She lost in the little planet of
her intense concentration.

She throws in the odd curve
and a wonky circle every now and then.

The lines look confused
not too sure just what

they are doing
on this scrap of paper.

I ask her what
the lines mean.

"The lines are you of course.

"I see..." I say
although I don't really.

But indeed in this
drawing I am

very much
as she sees me.

The page never lies.
These are scribbles that were my eyes.

I have as it happens
eyes five

stuck on the side of
what appears to be a head.

And yes only one leg.
One leg with seven toes.

An abstract alien
bird father.

It takes pride of place
Sellotape'd to the fridge.

"Yep...that's me
( for Heather )

"Ahhhh what happened to the world we knew..."

All the songs I sing
are celebrating

their 50th

Man that can't be so
seems like only a moment

a lifetime now away.

And that would make me
older than them.

And ******* I
guess I am.

And here's Stevie singing
just a month or more

after the moon landings
and hey

that's 50 years
one giant leap for...

And yeah I look like
the old man I am.

Don't know where
the boy I was went.

Time has gone

Left me here between
nowhere and some where

"...we could feel the wheel
of life turn our way

yester-me yester-you yesterday
yester-me yester-you yesterday

Sing with me

solo te...solo me..solo noi

One more time, yeah

solo te...solo me..solo noi"
50th Anniversary of the moon landing and when in Naples heard Stevie singing it in Italian on a passing car radio. Loved the song from the moment it came out(about 2 months after the historic one giant leap)and hearing it was again stuck in the middle of a Naples torrential downpour. Then in Leicester Square on a surprisingly sunny day( the next day it would pour with rain)we encountered a little busking band in German get-up  and a Sousaphone player delighting us with Stevie's Sir Duke and yes Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday. Sometimes the past wraps you up in its warmth and puts an imaginary arm around your shoulder.

All the way from the boy Wonder himself from his MY CHERIE AMOUR album. "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" was written by Ron Miller and Bryan Wells. At that time, it was Wonder's biggest UK hit.

Stevie was going through some vocal problems and was required to wait before recording a song. Due to this, instead of making Wonder record new ones, they decided to release songs that he had recorded years earlier, and this song was one of them (it was recorded two years earlier).


What happened to the world we knew
when we would dream and scheme and while the time away
I have a dream, so did you
Life was warms, love was true
Two kids who followed all the rules, yester-fools
and now, now it seems those yester-dreams were just a cruel
and foolish game we used to play
yester-me, yester-you, yesterday
Where did it go, that yester-glow
When we could feel the wheel of life turn our way
Yester-me, yester-you, yester-day
When I recall what we had
I feel lost, I feel sad
With nothing but the mem'ry of yester-love
and now now it seems those yester-dreams were just a cruel
and foolish game we used to play
yester-me, yester-you, yester-day

And it Italiano...SOLO TE, SOLO ME, SOLO NOI

Solo te, solo me, solo noi
Solo te,
solo me,
solo noi

Ricordo che,
due giorni fa,
con te ** scoperto una grande verità

Solo te,
solo me,
solo noi

Parole che,
sai dire tu
con un sorriso dai profondi occhi tuoi

Solo te,
solo me,
solo noi

Intorno a noi,
la città non c'è più,
non c'è più
e m'è rimasto solo quello
che noi viviamo
Da quando tu
quando tu
sei qui con me
la nostra vita, sì, è bella così

Solo te,
solo me,
solo noi.


Only you, only me, only us
Only you
Only me
Only us

I recall how
Two days ago
I discovered a splendid truth with you

Only you
Only me
Only us

Words that
You know [well] how to tell
with a smile from the depths of your eyes

Only you
Only me
Only us

Around us
the city is no more
is no more
and I'm left with only
with what we're living
Ever since you
since you
have been by my side
our life, yes, like that is beautiful

Only you
only me
only us
Aug 14 · 26

The square dressed itself
in moonlight

as if it were on its way
to a fancy dress ball

as one of de Chirico's

The puppets
after an inspired performance

lay tangled together
in a box on the bridge.

They waited as their world
was dismantled and

their stage sets stacked
neatly against a wall.

A glass eye winked but
didn't think the human saw.

But the human saw.
Or was it just the moon?

The moon played hide
and seek behind a cloud.

The puppets chattered
amongst themselves

untangling each other
as they planned their escape.

But before anything could
come of this

they were tossed carelessly into a case
that snapped shut with sudden finality.

They were carried away
into the early hours of the morning.

The rebellion of wood
had been scotched.

We used the left over de Chirico
as a scene to stage a kiss

as if we had been painted
into place ourselves.

"The Arrival of Enigma"
or some such title

scrawled in litter
below our feet.
Aug 13 · 45

The moon has fallen
asleep in a bucket

can't get back out despite
trying to slide over the rim.

It trembles as a train
thunders past midnight.

A child tries to catch it
its tiny hand plunging

through another dimension
through to its nothingness.

The takes its chance and
escapes to the sky with a splash.

It's all gone now
( the barn of course )

but the house...the child...that moon
are no longer to be found.

Strange to think
a house can die.

A tree enters through
the kitchen window

its head upon a table.

The bedroom
is without its roof.

A door still stands
without its walls.

It bangs in the breeze
a surreal morse code.

The living room is home
to a family of nettles.

A sofa moulders
a new line in zombie furniture.

A hare stands upon a chair
barely able to hold itself together.

One of the chair's legs
genuflects to a sunset.

The hare hops upon
the rotting table top

enters the tree's head
and leaves upon its branches.

Somehow the bucket

Still standing outside
the outhouse.

It is full of storm
right to the brim.

It holds within itself
the moon of now.

Trains no longer
thunder by.

I, that child
now - this man

let the moon
splash through my man

before throwing it
into the night's sky.

Always wanted to do that
before I kicked the bucket.
Aug 13 · 61

Saw you coming out of
the Co-Op today.

Buying milk.

And there you were
in the Post Office.

Buying a first class stamp.

We  both
just smiled.

You pulled up
at the petrol pump.

Filled her up.

And there you were
taking the bus.

One way.

We both
just waved.

I was surprised because
the Co-Op was in London.

The Post Office
in Gozo.

The bus going to

The petrol pump
in Guildford.

Now you're dead
you appear

everywhere at once
at anytime

walking into my mind
with a smile and a wave.

Everyone seems
to wear your face.

We do the same old joke
we always did before.

"Brother we
can't go on

no meeting
like this!"

Seems like everywhere we go
there we are.

We laugh.
And hug.
Aug 12 · 39

Here in the Museum
of Mistakes

I wander among
the many exhibits


at how stupid

people can be

look through
protective glass

at the ghost
of a love

my own face
reflected back at me.

Such finely crafted

Perfect little memories
glint cruelly against the lights

displayed against
the stark contrast of black velvet.

I remember these
didn’t realise

how valuable
they were




I turn away
& cry

having seen too much

in my Museum
of Mistakes

the Past

comes back

to haunt me.
Aug 11 · 29

The morning found
only blood & feathers.

The fox leaving
only Death

& its presence

& the gossip of the frightened chickens.

My uncle swearing
‘til the sky was blue

(early morning clouds that the sun shone through) .

An embarrassed ****
like a mad alarm clock

crying like a cartoon “****-a-doodle-do! ”

My uncle dispatching him
with a quick kick.

“Oh yeah, and where the hell were you? ”

I take in the scene of the massacre
& whisper:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a chicken! ”


All that next week
my uncle stalked the chicken coup
waiting for the fox

who was clever enough
not to turn up

until the eight day
driven by his hunger & his nature

she stared into my uncle’s cold metallic sight
& the evil acrid smell of a cartridge caught in flight

as both it & the fox(shot through the head)  
fell dead

at my uncle’s muddied boot.

My gentle uncle delirious with Death
the frosted air
stained with his breath.

His voice almost transformed
into an animalistic hoot:

“Hey boy, betcha didn’t know I
could shoot! ”

The good side of the fox’s face
seemed to still laugh
at the very idea of Death.

I whimpered:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a fox! ”

The countryside
brutal & Biblical


a life for a life

Yet all I could see
was Death...Death.


I knelt & whispered
a quick act of contrition
to the fox’s carcase.

My uncle probably thought
I was barmy.

That night in celebration
my uncle wrung a chicken’s neck

(the chicken’s name was Patricia)  

& I declined the clean
white breast

still haunted

by the chicken & the fox’s

Aug 11 · 66

after the funeral
your fingerprint lives on
in a jar of Pond's Cold Cream

a shopping list
dug out of a drawer
now a precious artifact

I an emotional archaeologist
unearthing a smile
buried in the past

all our I wills
become the past

the touch of your skin
still so real to me
a teardrop trickles into my ear

unreals you then
makes you more real

I call your mobile
just to hear you say
you are not there

Here in the church
of my father's carpentry

the incense is
of pine

sunlight genuflects
through the window

wood curls
in religious ecstasy

a blue bottle
preaches an  iridescent  sermon

a choir of dust motes
make this a heaven

as my father hums
"M'appari tutt' amor.."

this my epiphany
of the ordinary

this the everyday

I bow my head to
the saw as it sings

"....bella si che il mio cor ..."
"M'APPARI TUTT' AMOR..."Lionel's aria from from Flotow's Martha

M'appari tutt' amor; She appeared to me, full of love,
il mio sguardo l'incontró my eyes caught sight of her;
bella si che il mio cor so beautiful that my heart
ansioso a lei voló; flew to her with longing;
mi feri, mi rapi was wounded and inflamed
quell'angelica belta by her angelic beauty
sculta in cor dall'amor, which love has engraved in my heart,
cancellarsi non potra, and which cannot be erased,
il pesier di poter         and the mere thought
palpitar con lei d'amor; of her responding to my passion
puó soprir ji martir is able to appease the suffering
che m'affanna e strazia il cor! which distresses me and breaks my heart!

Marta. Marta, tu sparisti Martha, Martha, you have vanished,
e ji mio cor con tuo ne andó! and my heart went with you!
Tu la pace mi rapisti, You have stolen my peace of mind,
di dolor jo moriró ah! I shall die of grief,
di dolor morró, al, morró! ah! I shall die, shall die of grief!

You can see this sung as a charmin serenade in the film BREAKING AWAY ! and in the soapuds episode from ***** WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and used here and there in Hitchcock's  REAR WINDOW.There are also two swing versions.

My Da didn't know any of this and it was just a passing air on the radio that got stuck in his head and he would hum or la la la it every now and then as he hammered or sawed without knowing anything about it! It was only years later when he was 90 that I was able to tell him what it was and get him a recording of Domingo singing it.
Of course it features highly in a certain Mr. Joyce book as well. Caruso had made it popular and Joyce always a big Caruso fan( he had hoped to do an interview with the great man when he came to Dublin but that came to nothing.)

‘Singing. Waiting she sang. I turned her music. Full voice of perfume of what perfume does your lilactrees. ***** I saw, both full, throat warbling. First I saw. She thanked me. Why did she me? Fate. Spanishy eyes. Under a peartree alone patio this hour in old Madrid one side in shadow Delores shedolores. At me. Luring. Ah, alluring.

—Martha! Ah, Martha!

Quitting all languor Lionel cried in grief, in cry of passion dominant to love to return with deepening yet with rising chords of harmony. In cry of lionel loneliness that she should know, must martha feel. For only her he waited. Where? Here there try there here all try where. Somewhere.

—Co-ome, thous lost one!
Co-ome, thou dear one!

Alone. One love. One hope. One comfort me. Martha, chestnote, return!

—Come …!

It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don’t spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the etherial *****, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness …….

—To me!


saw the beginning of me.

I was born
in a railway carriage

between somewhere
and somewhere else

in an Europe that
would change with the map

the lines redrawn
by War

some unpronouncable
European nowhere.

A barrel *****
was playing a tune that

would soon be forgotten
on the station platform

when Mamma and I

at our final destination
the train breathing like a dragon.

Its whistle
cutting through time.

Later I would remember
a little wooden acorn

at the end of a string on the blind
tapping against the window

as if it were admonishing
the dawn demanding

entrance to
the room when I was three and

pulling the blind up and then
pulling the blind down.

"Shadow people"
thrown against the wall

would not survive
a morning.

All night they chattered
amongst themselves

prowling the room
that was holding me.

Debating whether to
eat me now or later.

"Beings" merely made from
the edge of a wardrobe or

a chest of drawers
the brass **** at the end of

my bed where clothes
thrown over a chair

made them come alive
I believe

in them until
I was nearly seven.

Too scared to ***
in the porcelain ***

wetting the bed
to the anger of Mama.

And now 1963
will more than likely see

the end of me
as I am

and the mind
that created who I was

offers me these
fragments of insignificance

that amount
to being a life.

I laugh as Noël  
Coward warbles

in his shellac'd world
forever singing

"But I can't do anything at all
but just love you!"
I used to look after this chap who loved Coward as much as I and we would sing all the songs together as I cleaned him up or fed him. He showed me his Dad's diary and the last entry was basically I thought it deserved not to fade away so I wanted to bring him back to a life in words!

Spring had blossomed
into being

infecting him
like a virus.

He could feel the season
run wild in his blood

making him
want to run

to all the fields of the farm
and all the fields of the farm

welcomed him knew him
as a growing thing

this the youngest
of his days.

He ran for only
the beauty of the running

the joy of being

to be the boy he was
in this moment.

The freedom of not
needing to name or own

in order to understand
the existence of this now.

And when he returned
from all the directions

that the wind had to

a boy of cuts and scratches
a smile stained with blackberries

burrs cling to him
for dear life

shirt torn
honeysuckle strewn

he was no longer
the boy who

had run off into
the beginning of spring

but had become
through his joy

all the fields
of the farm.
Aug 8 · 49

She burns
the words.

Kills them
with fire.

Death dies
in the flames.

But the words stil
stand there in the air.

Even now
in her old age.

The words
written in flames.

She misses the future
she never had with him.

She cries that he never
saw his child.


( she holds it until
it burns her fingertips )


( how dare they
even say his name )


( the black smoke brings
tears to her eyes )

Aug 7 · 17

Frightened by the storm
he crawls under

his mother’s skirts
all taffeta & tulle

clinging to her

before falling

upon her feet.

She continues playing
her cards right

winning all before her

as the candles

and almost
go out.

She remembers her body
wrapped about him

her flesh
protecting his innocence

as now her dress
encloses his sleeping

unconsciously stroking
his hair

with her
left foot

his dreams now
pooled at her feet.

the sea
herding its flock of islands
through a sunset

I fall to sleep
with a warm breeze for a blanket
a cloud for a pillow

a cloud
balanced on the tightrope
of an horizon

form their own mountains
above the mountains

a crescent moon chats
to the sleepy hill
a bird eavesdrops

the sun
bleeding into
a river

I travel across
the hours of daylight
to meet a harvest moon

moon and I
both arrive at the mountain
at the same time

moon rests
on the mountain's shoulder
I lie at their feet

***** a barrier of song
". . .this space is mine...mine. . .mine. . ."

we march into town
the Present & I
the Past lumbering behind
Aug 6 · 35

She catches the London bus
in her fist.

Gnaws it...then throws it
through the window.

Lucky the window wasn't

She chews it  when

Chews its redness
- off.

She is amazed to see
the real thing for the first time.

For her
her toy has grown into a giant.

Then she discovers double-deckers.
Counts: "One double-decker bus...two double-decker buses

...24 double decker buses!"
It is unbelievably so!

Doesn't know she is counting
the same bus twice!

And now to add to her
amazement she

encounters a green bus!
Will the excitement never end.

"The bus has changed its clothes?"
she says unsure that this can be so.

But now confounded by a bus
all in white!

Even we have never seen
a bus in white.

It looks like it has taken
all its clothes off.

A **** bus!

But to her it's worse
far worse than that!

"The bus has taken
it's skin off!"

She refuses to go on
this skinless bus.

We wait for a "normal"
bus to somehow appear.

And appear it does
busy being a red bus.

The world of buses
restored to its proper order.

I wandered lonely
through a crowd

lost to myself now
that I'd lost you

gathering even your footsteps
peeling your shadow from my wall

remembering that lost last kiss
did it have to end like this

"...beside the lake, beneath the trees....
...when all at once I saw a...."

host of saffroned monks
their robes " ...fluttering and dancing

in the breeze..." and behind them
bunches and bunches  of daffodils

outside a florist
chanting Hare Krishna

in all their yellow voices
delighting in their day

and for a second I
forgot my pain

dancing across a zebra crossing
with an old old woman and

a little
yapping dog.
( Memorial Monument )

Oh if only I
had an ounce

of your laughter
an iota of a smile

but you are where
all measurement falls away

and time itself
tatters and tears


memory both
blessing and curse

the ghost
of the mind.

I make you a cairn
adding word upon word.

I call your name
to make you real again

"Brian...Brian. . .Brian!"

Yet another anniversary of my little brother's death who was taken from us so early. Sadness stains everything and loneliness bites to the bone.

The best thing I can say about myself is that I am. . .

He was chopping wood and I was gathering turf when I had to remark on a little heap of stones: "Ha look at that Bud...ya would swear blind someone had built them up!" And he said: "Yeah...I did!" It looked both natural and at the same time had an arrangement ya wouldn't find in nature. Bud said: "Ya know when ya told me that there is always a little collection of stones placed in some pattern on French graves....well, when I am working I just take a stone from here and there over a period of time and let it build into whatever shape it wants to be. I call it a monument to the moment and I build them ever since Mam died. I take bits and bobs from the landscape and build them to touch the sky in their own little way to talk to somehow reach her in this little simple act. People either notice or they don't...or walk through them and I just build another  and another in time time after time.

I do this now for little brother and for my Da. But I also build a cairn of words placing one on top of another and let them find their own way and their own balance. So if you are ever passing Dempseys and see a little clump of stones stolen from the landscape to talk to the sky then ya know who they are talking to.

With such little things does one try to fight off the immense sorrow and loneliness.

Words and stones...stones and words...both are never enough...never enough


I love my brother.
It is impossible to talk about my brother in the past tense.
Brian always just "is."
He is a lovely lovely man and not even death can alter that.
My father is the most loving gentle soul I have ever known.
I could never be the man my father is but....Brian could. Brian is cut from the same measure of cloth as my Dad. He is truly his father's son.
The greatest gift a loving father can have is a loving son. Brian's mantra was always: "I am looking after my father!" He was about to take early retirement to look after his father full time.
Us Dempseys are always laughing( although you wouldn't believe it today ) old photos of the Da when he is a young man....he looks so much like Brian. It's almost impossible to tell them apart. They are like clones...peas in a pod. The same auld big head on him....the same tousle of curls and that self same shy gentle smile.
If my mother were looking through photos we would know when she got to a Brian photo because she would beam and say over and over again: " Ahhhhh's the little fellow....ahhhhh jaysus!" We used to place the Brian photo so that we would know when it would turn up and just as she got to it we would all do her "Ahhh's the little fella....ahhh jaysus!" Well the little fella grew up to be Little Bud as I was Big Bud but as he grew in stature and build he became Big Bud and I....just Bud.
If ya heard us talking it would be: "Ya ok Bud....yeah Bud....ya wanna cup of tea bud....are ya ready Bud." We would be Budding along to our heart's content.
My little nephew who was now to become Little Brian and a great Irish speaker at 5...looked at us in disbelief and asked us why we always called each other *****? Bud apparently being the Irish for the male *****. After this piece of info was given to us we would stumble over the Bud bit but we got over it and I would address letters to Bud the Brian or Brian the Bud. It was always Bud! and always "Are ya alright...Bud?"
Like father like son they share the same mental and emotional landscape. They have the wonderful ability to love with such devotion and care...a pure strong steady love that protects you against anything the world could throw against you.
The world can do without a Donall but the world could not do without a Brian....he was the vital spark in our family...the calm hand on the tiller that would weather any storm.
His loss is immense...our grief so intense....the pain unbearable and yet... we have to bear it.
The last thing he ever said to me was...Hamlet's TO BE OR NOT TO BE. Not just the first couple of lines but the whole soliloquy!
When he came over to me in the London of the early 90's he was confronted with me struggling with Hamlet struggling with his fictional fate.
He asked me what the speech meant and of course I explained it for an hour. He had the ability to soak up by some emotional osmosis the knowledge of whatever discipline he encountered.
He was telling me that at work they were debating some electrical technicality that was beyond my ken to even understand and they asked his opinion and he slowly and in his best deadpan said...the whole of to be or not to be!
The other thing that he picked up from my student days was Eliot's THE WASTELAND. He had come over looking for work but London was no better and after two months he returned to Ireland. Things were still no better and when I asked him in April how were things...he answered in best Eliot and in Eliot's vicar-ish voice:
"April is the cruelest month ...for electricians...breeding despair out of there being no work!"
He could always turn his hand to something...whether it was handymanning about the home or pilfering literary gems for his own use.
The best thing I can say about myself is that I am Brian Dempsey's brother. I hope to become more like him.
Brian is and will never cease to be a lovely lovely man.
A gentleman and a gentle man.
I love him
Not even death can alter that.

Out of the bonfire
a globe rolls

the earth on fire
its borders melting

continents peel away
countries are lost

an ocean tries to make a run for it but
wrinkles...blisters...into ash.

I kick the earth aside
like a God playing football

laugh to see that only Ireland( barely )

On the sidelines
a map of the universe

as it was known
is crossed by snails

taking their time
eating a constellation here and there.

So this is the way
the world ends

this is the way
the world ends

this is the way
the world ends

not with a bang but
a wife calling you into "...dinner!"
(for that lovely little devil of a barber Anthony Kelly in the town of Fermoy)

Snip...snip. . .snip
goes his mind

cutting through thought
with the voice of the scissors

his hands
two sparrows

dancing with Time

each head
a changing field

now flowing wheat
now bare stubble

his mind
taking flight

taking off
the too much there

dealing with
the not enough here

the making beautiful
the altering appearances

the human touch
the kindest cut

but where
( you want to know )

where does the barber's mind go
& what are his thinkings?

Ahhhh my friends
sure that would be

telling you. . .
Aug 3 · 20

How, were
and're not.

How, unbelievable I had
a brother...and now I've not.

The world turned and somehow
you got off.

Death, that
great Exit door.

I have seen you dead
and still - believe it not.

I follow in the footsteps
of your dying

speak your name
making you

come alive again
if only in sound

living upon my lips.

You forever my brother
despite what...Death says. in my mind.
It's yours!

See with my eyes!
I'll share with you

what you can never

Be me!
Every now and then.

I've got life
enough for two.

Carry you through
all the world.

Carry you through
all the days that remain.

The price of this
great love.

This ...
great pain.

Auntie Mary’s
currant cake & blackberry jam


The jewels in the crown
of our forever summer


precious Corkonian objects
brought back to the lowly lowlands of the Curragh.

All the blackberries
that ever were

bursting with sunshine
& childhood

jumping into the jar for her
as if it were an honour.

They & I
transformed by her

& lovely laughter

cake baked
with smiles & chuckles

winks & singings.

Me on her knee...tiny
being kissed to bits.

Me being devoured
by an enormous hug

smothered in bosoms
the many many yellow flowers on her purple pinny.

Her blowing my curls out of the way
so that her smile could kiss me

more &!

Me unable to comprehend anything
of her Cork accent.

Me saying “Yes..? ” & “No..? ”
in all the wrong hilarious places

(to my great embarrassment
& her great amusement)

her breath tickling my cheek
telling me she loved me...loved me...

& that I looked so good

she could “...ate ya! ”

Love as visible
as the flour

in the air
in our hair.

(* Homely little terms! A little jug of milk and a little cake in the palm of your hand.)

A cístín baise is a little cake made on the side of the griddle especially for the“helping” with the baking.

This was written for my Aunt Mary who passed away recently leaving me with nothing but the memory of her love...her all abiding love...that not even her death can diminish. I simply adored her.

The Cork accent is like fast fluent French cross pollinated with
sing- song Welsh...almost impossible to understand unless you are immersed in it for a couple of months! But of course she would also play with me and make up a whole lot of what they call in Cork...
“glig glag”...silly talk.

She was so easy to love.

A child’s delight!
Aug 1 · 28

our cigarette smoke
built up a spiral staircase

upon which our conversation climbed
word by word

becoming now a hieroglyph
blown away by the saxophone

our calligraphy  of thought
written upon the air

the jazz making it illegible
as a doctor's signature

words our words
collecting upon the ceiling

like out of reach cobwebs
or escaped Christmas balloons

our words looking down
upon us

at all that was still left

"Oh love is teasing
and love is pleasing. . ."

my sister sings to the cake
she is about to bake.

"And love is a pleasure
when first it's new. . ."

The rich Christmas mix
listens with all of its ingredients.

"Ahhhh but as love gets older
sure love gets colder. . ."

the brandy & fruit
weep into the bowl

"...and fades away like
the morning dew."

There is a lot of brandy in the mix.
There is a lot of brandy in sis.

Sad Irish folk songs
appear to be

the essential ingredient.

A pink and green balloon
clings to the ceiling

refusing to come down
by poker or by broom.

Takes refuge in the corner
just above the Christmas star.

My heart is breaking
with baking.

"I know my love
by his way of talking..."

flour in her hair
making her so ghostly

as if the original protagonist
came back from the grave

and sang her heart out

". ..and I know my love
by his eyes so blue..."

until the creambuttersugar
is all fluffy.

He voice adding a zing
of lemon peel.

At this stage
the eggs are beaten

". . .and if my love leaves me
what will I do?"

Slowly slowly whipped
to form peaks.

Now the cake is tipsy.
So - is sis.

I am drunk
on her singing.

My mind is in mourning
for all the love loved

and lost.

She daubs my nose and laughs.
I lick it off.

The tip of my tongue
a windscreen wiper!

And so the brandy fruit mixture
is folded in.

I can still taste
her singing.

Her cake the only cake
I could ever ate and oh

her almond icing!

These songs forever

And still she sings
down all the years

and I love her versions
the best!

"...and a troubled mind sure
can know no rest

and still she cries bonny boys are few

and if my love leaves me
what will I do!"

Ahhh it's such an elemental memory for me...I can at a second's notice step back into it in an instant. I'd bawl my eyes out....the words....the melody....everything was real to me.

Couldn't possibly forget these songs and the singer...they stained my soul. She used to sing them very quietly and so soft and tender....even today they haven't been surpassed...they used to **** me. And when she got to the bit where "...he takes a strange ******* his knee and he tells her things that he once told me..." it was all much too much! I thought they were exquisite!

Her voice and that moment tied to her apron strings lives forever in my mind. It is a little jewel of time that has never diminished ever. I was too young to understand the brandy factor and could never understand how other people's cake and almond icing just couldn't get next or near to my sister's!

wondering IF

he's coming on
too strong?


She's wondering IF
to kiss him now

would be so very very


He's wondering IF
he should

...go easy?

She's wondering IF
he thinks she's too easy?

& both awkwardly

And so
nothing happens.

"Good...night!" she stumbles
over the syllables.

"Good...good night!"
he echoes.

Once inside she
cries behind her bright red front door.

"****!" he curses himself ". . .& ****!"

Kicks an empty
crushed Coca Cola can.

The moon hides her face.
Jul 31 · 44

Spring, hung a left turn
& got hopelessly lost.

Buds: blossoming into frost.

(Kinda hurts’ve nowhere to turn
but learn) .

...left with nothing but a withered heart.

Spring gambled & lost
got cleaned out by Winter & Old Jack Frost.

(Spring got unlucky...that’s all...had to pay the cost) .

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

Spring got sidetracked & left upon the shelf.
(What happened...happened...couldn’t be helped) .

Delicate china... broken delph.

No use crying over the milk that is spilt

...left with nothing but a withered heart.

Your name on a window...written in frost
a last letter       lost       in the post

(Useless words written with tears) .

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

He was an Action Man
minus a left arm and trousers.

A dog had chewed his head
almost off.

But - he still had thought.

She was a Lego Lady,
Built of red and blue blocks.

She was forever coming apart
trying to keep body and soul together.

She had only one eye
and no mouth to speak off.

Same dog who had a passion
for the chewing of toys.

But - she still had thought.

They met one night when
thrown together in the toy box.

A giantess' voice had screamed

He loved the Lego Lady's yellow block hair.
It was like a helmet...suited her face.

And oh that one little eye
and the way it would look at you!

She saw at once that he had no *******/
but then - neither had she.

It was a purely platonic affair.
They thought and thought at one another for hours.

They got on like a house
on fire but

one night the house
went on fire.

They held on to each other
both melting into a final embrace.

Mother always told me
"You shouldn't play with matches!"

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you
...can’t leave it alone.

The moon is ticking backwards
the clock don’t know why

stars are just tears
that the night has to cry.

The neon dances in the puddles in the streets...
...heartbreak echoes in the empty passing feet.

You think your life’s a musical
but it’s more Film Noir.

You look at a map that says
but you don’t know where you are.

The sun came in the window -
- your love walked out the door.

I always adored Country & Western
but had never lived it before.

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you...

...leave it alone!

his love a wound
that scabbed over but
never entirely healed

she would year after year
pick at it pick at it
watching it bleed

his love that thing that
so much...a festering...****

his love a great big
Wooden Horse that
she always allowed inside her pity

her love a Troy
hope that eternal useless myth

A shadow creeps across
the lawn

dragging a sudden sharp chill
in its wake

pulling the night behind it
before settling it into place

shadow by shadow by shadow
with an almost audible click. . .

. . .the sun is sunk.

The dark coalesces
around a tiny candle flame.

One day blossomed
into another.

Spring was seen
walking in the wood.

Time lay scattered
all around.

Last Tuesday was
a bunch of flowers

wilting in a vase.

Tomorrow remained
to be plucked

as if he grasped the mystery
of the world

in his tiny fist
that now

( this now )

was the only time
that could be.

Life is simple
when one is


My little daughter
wants to be Cinderella

& go to the ball
with Mummy & Daddy

& so we banish the babysitter
(so wickedly pretty)

(who still gets paid just to be banished)

We dress our darling daughter
as if she were a fairy story come true

a spangled tutu...wand... and ballet shoes.

I sweep up my little pumpkin
and carry her like a male fairy godmother

to the ball of balloons and cocktail laughter
and dance with my little streamer-strewn princess.

But even a princess can tire of excess
and she ends up asleep

under my top hat... opera scarf... and coat.

Later I carry my sweetness through street after street
careful not to wake or spill her dreams

... remembering to steal her left hand shoe
...waking her just as midnight bongs

so that she knew...

But now she sleeps
(and sleeps believing)
that fairy tales can come true and that

...they can happen to you

with a Daddy who tweaks reality

... just that little bit

...just for you.
(Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi )

I once knew a man
who knew a man

who had seen
F. Scott Fitzgerald

drinking a milkshake
in a drug store

(vanilla or chocolate
he couldn't be sure)

flicking idly
through a magazine

( no he didn't know
which magazine )

in the company of
some blonde.

"I'll never forget
what he said!"

"Let's go to the supermarket
Shelia!" he said.

And that's it?
"That's it!"

His voice caressed
each syllable

as if
he were on stage.

But he was like a man
becoming a manakin

like in that episode of
The Twilight Zone

you know the one?"

In a future that had as yet
to happen.

"I don't know what I had

The man who knew the man
who knew the man

who had seen and heard
F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Maybe a Gatsby or
a Gatsby

who had survived the novel's
tragic ending

and wished
he hadn't!"

Here now
at home

Mr. Fitzgerald
sits in his armchair

eating a chocolate bar
checking out next year's

football team.

suddenly like a puppet
yanked on a string

he stands up
hand on mantlepiece

like some bad acting
in a silent movie

before falling
to the floor.

He will never
get up.

Nick and Gatsby come
stand by his dying.

So do Monroe Stahr
and Kathleen Moore

even though
words fail them.

Yet they now
more real than he.

Monroe reads
some last scribbled lines.

"There was a flutter
from the wings of God

and you
lay dead.

Your  books
were in your desk I guess

and some unfinished chaos
in your head

was dumped to nothing
by the great janitress of


closes his eyes.
WHEN DEATH COMES, IT WILL HAVE YOUR EYES(Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi )is of course the wonderful poem by Cesare Pavese.

Monroe and Kathleen are from  Scott's last and unfinished novel THE LAST TYCOON.
I also knew a guy who knew a guy who peed beside Richard Brautigan. He was so in awe as to who was at the next ****** that he peed all over the top of his shoes.
( Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes)

with a fat splat
it landed at my left boot

it looked like an angel illustrated in the Good Book
but it was no more bigger than a chicken

“Are you an angel?
I enquired politely

trying to keep tabs of my thoughts ha ha
( can this be a happening... happening to me for real )

“I am the Angel Márquez!” it stammered
obviously unused to words and the speaking of them.

“Never heard of ya!” I giggled
nervous of myself now

“GobbledegookUnseñormuygobbledegook viejocongobbledegookunasalasenormes!”
it squaked in some alien lingo or Spanish I don’t know!

” I gave it a kick turned on my heel but
it followed me home waddling

like a duck who thought it was a chicken
who believed in its soul it was an angel.

“I’m not having it!” snapped the wife
“Not in my home I ain’t!”

“Put it in the chicken coop maybe it might lay an egg.”

We waited for days for the angel to lay an egg.
But. . .no eggs.

We feed it the remains of other chickens
but it just got weaker and weaker and

its wings grew smaller and smaller until
they grew back into its back until it looked more

chlicken-like than angel-like.

That evening wife had prepared soup.

I slurped it into my greedy mouth.

“Oh this is divine…this is heavenly!”

I mmmmed and ahhhhhed
“What in God’s name is it?”

I smiled from ear to ear with my one tooth.

“It’s angel soup!” she beamed she smiled
with all of her no teeth.

That night in bed ( well fed )
we had a good old time.

This is my playing with and paying homage to García Márquez first collection of short stories, Leaf Storm, which included “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” in 1955...hence my calling my angel Márquez. It has always delighted me.
Jul 23 · 34

Grandfather Gordon
always scratching his wooden leg
insists "It itches!"

always a different explanation
how he lost the leg
enough to fill a book

Grandfather Gordon
scratching the air
where his leg should be

Grandfather Gordon's
wooden leg now
a tommy gun...a sword...a unicorn's horn

"Give me me leg...
...ya daft wee buggers!"
begging for his leg back

Grandfather Gordon's gone
his wooden leg lives on
dusty in a corner

I stroke his leg
remembering him
it itches in my heart

And he always dropped his 'aitches! G.G. as they called him lost a leg at Suvla Bay or as he called it "...'ell on earth!"

Another weird thing about this is that he was talking about his father who on returning from the War minus a leg had aged greatly and everyone assumed that he was his grandfather so he was called "Grandfather Gordon" for ever after. His son who was telling me this then went off to fight in the next War that was in the offing and came to understand that a man could return from the War minus a mind as well.The things he told me were what no human being should have to ever undergo and what the reality of being a soldier in wartime actually's **** or be killed. When asked what he did in the War he would always reply: "I tried not to die!"

The story telling is simply me being prepared to listen and to soak up the story by the process of emotional osmosis. Others actually listened but didn't hear and would simply pass it off as..."Oh gawd the old fellow's off again!" What I listened to was his great need to tell someone what had happened. He had kept it bottled up all this time and now was the telling time....but how can you tell your daughter that you killed other men just like you in order to return to your daughter.
Jul 22 · 62

I lived my life as if
I had been written
into a Barbara Pym novel

so prim and proper lady I
my soul smoother'd in camphor
yet my life...wot the mot hath got

and here I be
curled upon the Persian rug
in the foetal position

being born
into my dying
as it were

me an elaborate motif
beside an exquisite phoenix
oh the warp and woof of me

so this is death
rather nice
as these things go

not too much( ouch )pain
more easeful and slow and
when ya gotta go...ya...gotta go

rather like that Manx man
was it Brown...or...something
"...if thou couldst empty..." oh what is it?

"...all thy self of self
to be a shell dishabited..."
bit like ha ha that...innit( agghh )

wonder what an anthropologist
would make of me

I'd guess I'd be
so quaintly ever so English
so cue-cumber sandwich

settling down with a Pimms and a Pym
being one of those Excellent Women
**** this dying....haven't even read the book

only got as far as mean
the great unread

the words sticking in my brain
something being "...a welcoming
sort of place...

with a bright entrance..."
as if Mr. Death were saying
"Why...that's what I am!"

"Yeah, yeah...sure sure'"
I answer all Film Noir
another of life's little pleasures

the stuffed bird
stares at me sternly
deigns to speak

"Now that you are going to be
as dead as me...may I
have a word?"

it coughs unaccustomed
as it is
to public speech

"It's not so bad
being dead
it's being stuffed that hurts!"

the cat joins in
with its customary "I'm starving...
ya couldn't open this tin?"

now the cat howls
oh to have opposable thumbs
or a can opener at least

the stuffed bird and the cat and I
singing along to Beverly Kenny
smiling from the record sleeve

"Oh this used to be
my favourite as a girl
'I Never Has Seen Snow."

"Oh the girl I used to be
she ain't me no more!"
I could always carry a tune

the stuffed bird can't
sing for nuts but
the cat's got a good tenor voice

me...I'm letting go
the world is walking out on me
the world don't want to know me no more

I've even forget
can you Adam and Eve it
how to spell... fo'c's'le

my garden looks in
the window at me
well here's a howdy do

I never was '...a lovesome thing..."
even when young
"God wot!"

hee hee hee T.E. Brown
appears to invade the mind
when one is dying

and what would that Borneo
anthropologist make of that
or my love of Jazz

grabbing the music
by the tail as it shape-shifts
improvises world upon world and beyond

oh to be dying
in a smokey jazz club
thoughts climbing a spiral staircase of smoke

"All that not!"
now I wonder where
I got ha ha that

would the man from Borneo know
that is Phil Woods on
the Quincey Jones arrangement

"Oh I love sax me!
never could say the same
for ***

well - enough of that
better get on with
my death

and what better way to go
than with Beverly singing low
always thought I looked a bit like her

she smiles that record sleeve smile
the one I tried to sculpt
upon my own features

"I saw a new horizon
and a road to take me
where I wanted to be...needed to be.... took"

"God! I'm only starving!" yowls the cat
"Ya couldn't feed me before ya
**** those...**** those cans!"

"Oh ****...oh ****!" she purrs
the record's...the record's...the record's
Jul 21 · 59

The silence deepens.

As if it were a living being
it forages in the forest.

The next step taken
takes me out of the present

into history
into fantasy

as if I have become
a fairy story.

Tropes trooping through
the clearing.

The huff and puff
of a bad wind rising.

The silence broken.

Inside  the belly
of the forest

where green is
the only colour seen

lies a partly
digested house.

Vines snaking through
its empty windows.

Its roof thrown
upon its floor.

Its wall crumbling
back into nature.

I sit and read my
Richard Jefferies.

A finger of frond
reading along with me

eager to turn
the next page.

The silence
Richard Jeffeeries...he of the beautiful nature writing that influenced the nature writing of poet Edward Thomas.
Jefferies's novel, After London (1885), can be seen as an early example of "post-apocalyptic fiction": after some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life.
The house gone to ruin that nature takes back is my memory of numerous houses I have come across including even one on the island of Lampedusa
Jul 21 · 83

He builds her
the Sphinx

using only his voice &
a few scattered gestures.

Every now & then
he tweaks the tone

& lo the Sphinx
stands before her

ready to bite her head off
with a question.

Her belief
does the rest

and now he watches
the cat being terrified

out of one of its
9 lives all a bristle

as she tells the tabby
the story I told her.

The Sphinx now
living in her voice.

Her dolls too
too terrified

to even run
petrified with fright

as my little minx
becomes the Sphinx.

Or a mop as a prop
becomes a Medusa

and so the myth
becomes realer than real

as the storm
by Jove

throws down
a thunderbolt

and a little girl Medusa
and a little girl Sphinx

prowl about
the living room.
Jul 20 · 41

She a butterfly
in her little blue dress

chasing butterflies
blowing bubbles after them.

Butterflies and bubbles
skitter here and there.

Her "flying flowers"
as she names them.

One b one by one she
picks wildflowers.

They blossom in her fist
losing more than she collects.

I take the ribbon from her hair
tie them tightly in place.

"I have a garden
in my hand!"

She runs and runs and runs
as only a little girl can

joy and speed
fused together in her.

And when she returns
her petals have all gone.

She holds only stalks
in her hand

flowerless flowers.

"Shhhhh!" I shush her sobbing.
"Look what you have found!"

And I let perspective
take a hand/

On each stalk now
a sheep replaces petals.

The sheep unaware that they
have become surreal flowers

only existing
at a certain angle.

Who cares if they are not real.
It's the seeing that matters.

She holds a posey
of sheep.

I tell her they are
flowers made of magic.

On the far away hillside
sheep still safely graze.

And when she moves and
finds them "GONE!"

I reposition her and
there they are.

"Hold  still!" I tell her
and pick each sheep

pocket them
mind them for her.

Happy once again she
runs and runs and runs

clutching her precious stalks
in a tiny hand.

All her imaginary sheep
tucked up in her mind

possibly for ever
if not

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