I was under no illusions as we escaped the city
Watching the night and lost in the wisps of live music.
I thought of the Jetstream of the 60’s dream
A concrete moment in 1967 that cracked by December
When flats grew cold and the hippies froze
Then the dream deferred leapt into the sordid 90’s
When cockroach parliamentarians were as drunk as Withnail
And I saw the final remnants of peace and love in
The cocaine afterglow of cool Britannia
With flags plastered on champagne skin
And close fitting ribcages. I snapped from my remembrances
And naïve theorizing as the motorway lights blinded me
And I grasped my knees in fear thinking
‘Oh god’ but father began to harmonize as I considered
The majesty and mechanics of Nick Drakes right hand
Whispering William Blake innocence in the haze of Jane in autumn.
No need for obsolete baroque impersonations
The fashions of a company bleed into the rebellion
Streaming through the veins of psychedelic teens
Who wear bellbottom jeans to compensate for lack of personality
Could I borrow something as simple as a cigarette?
A line of code or a coda in the delicate prayer of jazz?
Or can I weave words into days, hours into ribbons,
Dresses into snow. Sudden stops. Can’t see
The traffic cones five feet in front of me
Sudden burst, could cold thought
Be any cheaper in city brains?
False nihilism, dust on wooden floors
A disease tended to with ennui
And nobody stops to care.
Thin stray cat stops and stares at me
In the haze of early morning;
Car wash shower mist over the fence
And autumn pine smell in the air.
Cold eyes green and bright
Motionless limbs and twitching ears,
No lights in windows yet,
Cars have not left their driveways.
I am stood still
Been a while since I’ve seen a cat,
But I’m running late.
I take a step
A rock turned
A molecule or two slides to the side,
The cat lightly runs away
Into the driveway
We were more than just friends
We were scorpions with tails linked.
We were venom spilled and mixed.
Our reclusive bodies
Made reputations of our souls.
We mingled in the air like smoke
And stood out like blue.
We were the belladonna in the ruins,
We were the heroin in the river.
We lay side by side,
And locked each other in thought.
It wasn’t long
Before our passion burned
And disappeared like paper.
Minnesota stoners speak
Like hard bop jazz,
With echoes of the cool
Blowing down a frozen trail.
Bruised orchids take the streets at night.
They are almost always drunk. They proclaim:
“I am Beautiful!” and their companion laughs.
And upon these words reaching me
Somewhere further on up the street
I say to myself: “I am beautiful too,”
Quietly, so no one will hear.
Snow, like a waterfall in angelic form,
Or like stars drunken and moved to dance.
Jagged air carries these sprites
Across an ocean of winter night
Until they are laid on the earth
And are at rest.
Words once wise in ancient times
Still somehow ring true.
This same sun was seen by Virgil
And Homer himself sheltered from the rain.
They recorded their lives; they run like ours,
Moments misspent through tired hours,
And some seconds spent in bloom.
I took tea in the drawing room with Countess Butterfink
And her incessant ramblings really made me think,
“Do you know why churches come to a point…” she said,
I suggested that it could point the way for the newly dead,
She laughed and said “no, I beg your pardon,
Steeples represent the thorns in Gods precious garden.”
I knew then she was insane. I nodded and sipped my tea
And replied “well, my dear, it seems to me
That the world is then surely full of pricks.”
Go for the throat and tear it out,
Do it quick or else they’ll shout.
Then stab the heart and twist and turn
Watch them plead, watch them squirm.
Watch the light drain from their eyes
Listen to their muffled cries,
Their blood flows free and crimson and cold,
Just not on the carpet, you’ve been told.
“Yes Grandma” I said.
In the winter Kings will fall
Watching princes take the shore.
Immortal fingers clasp the wild winds
That weave around like golden string.
This, a quiet call towards the maelstrom
Is taken by the foolish king.
Pride call upon your vessels
Spirits take your place;
The armies of approaching chaos
Will steal the wilting waste.
Cling now to the remnants
That bare the royal name
Defy the voice of thunder
And let the bastard take the blame.
For he is no impure desire, no,
He is the brightest jewel;
This sordid crown will conquer him
As he leads his band of fools.
“Sisters take your shields now
Children take your bows,
Prophets are just mortal men
Who keep from us all they know!
Trust not reason my heir
For that will be your death
Face the beckoning eyes of fate
And draw a defiant breath.”
And here I wait with the Seeing Eye,
Perched atop an obelisk
To watch the last king die.