Those who would join
start at a sort of nominal wage
by shirtfront rules
on a maxed-out card
While the music goes east to find piles
had a rag on (see Jamaica)
tom-tom agents coach and curate
Buy-to-leave, a glass ridge over spongy caverns
further away than a valium picnic
Sky cigarette lighter
no incinerator (me and Cinderella)
room for bikes and a wellness suite
Whose guide vox pierces the date
Starbucks loners (list of ex-lovers)
with a lesser loudmouth sting
never leave (be) your pizza burning
(beast of burden)
Credit assumes the chronic dye plan
boner (rose) in her hair
way got why got they don’t care
You can occupy this but it’s only ever
the wrong temple, gladly the cross-eyed bear
(Cross I’ll bear) will project rubbish
where the heart is pure
like some Crimean (cry me a) river
on seen it all chairs
He came out of the Clifton—doors, windows
boarded up. The piano is dead, the stone
is worth more than conversation. Oak panels,
mirrors trashed. Bertie’s silhouette swings,
scent of Lillie in the wind. Non dom angles
for another use.
Photos of my uncle and cousin, June 1954,
when they lived on the corner of St John’s Wood
and Edgware Road. A local for my father too,
across from Abbey Road. If I came trailing
I can’t remember, but Patrick, age seven,
has his nose in a book, Brownie ‘box’ on the table.
In the back garden—shrubs, a barrel, tubular chairs,
umbrella-arc over pint glasses. Out front a long view
past 90, 92 and 94, all Mrs Reynall’s, at least
by the late Fifties. Just one car parked in the distance.
The pub is cross-hatched for perspective,
a future drawing. Mania to quantify
like that other Harriot. Nature is mechanical
but then it is not seen that mechanics
contain that which is beyond mechanics.
A building, a person, a tree resolve into figures.
Stuff in the frame lies ready to rouse.
Joe tells a joke, plays a stringish piece, solo—
Forties through Sixties, well navigated.
Will it resurrect? Something zigzags
through a pinboard.
Big Ben, the river, embankment
blotches. You breathe
indoors, brake dust and diesel
lidded by what they call
a perfect storm.
It’s not Shanghai, it’s not Beijing
but something’s painted
the street. It tickles your throat,
We’re martians in Africa, find
by dot-dash buzzes, leave
grey fruit in a barrow.
Today lurches: the paper falls
from wall to pavement
at just the point you step.
Starlings fly another route.
What’s that? Soprano shivers
someone’s lost orbit. Drone
of a bell, a horn, or is it a scream?
Aummm, wye-nnn, the crave
to go over.
Any story comes in jagged pieces
with the heart outside.
Earth ferments to say a kiss
won’t cure it.
Our trees are pipes and girders,
a ship sails through the park.
Illustration Nick Victor