Coming from the Cold

I got lost on the way

Didn’t know what for

Looking for a side road

I’d never seen before

 

I wanted to call you

Exhausted in my pride

But forgiveness was out of hand

And shame so close behind

 

I’d come to you with teary eyes

If I knew you’d take me in

And I’d drop to my knees to tell you

How good it felt to be back again

 

By the burning stove

I told you all my tales

All the times I reached the top

And the many times I failed

 

You looked at me with pity

I came to you with pain

Didn’t matter about the story

The ending stayed the same

 

All the forgiveness you could hide

I searched but I could not find

Those words you’d buried deep inside

They hit harder than any of mine

 

I wandered from this life

I strayed far from this love

The pieces all lay scattered now

Beneath the foreign sky above

 

I offered my understanding

It’s easier now to see

The reason why we began at all

And the fact we’re finally free

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Ode to someone

You light my heart like an opportunity

That I let pass by me in the street;

An excitement, like rushing rivers through my veins

Or a hand promising everything for nothing.

 

And I see you in the moon when it’s late

And the last bus is leaving.

To me you are everything I wanted.

 

You stand there on another plain

And I wonder: if I held you would it be enough

To burn away the storm that is currently

Falling on me?

Lost in New York

Wandering around cold New York

Lost between the towers

Rising high through the clouds

And the cars pass me by on their way

To the highway

And men are breaking down in the doorways

Where they had sheltered their girls from the rain.

 

And everywhere there are parties

In the glittering night

Filled with stars who felt they shone the brightest

Off Broadway

And their connections are as endless as the river running

Away with the diamonds to the sea.

 

And me? I’m confused in leather shoes

Looking for road signs;

I’m new here, got the blues here for the first time

Riding the city bus

Counting out my change

Figuring it’ll go my way pretty soon.

 

And underneath my feet the street is roaring

Like the tide

Rumbling in the subway tunnels

People hanging on for life and happiness

Wanting to be home again.

 

I’m reaching for the electric moonlight

At a quarter past midnight

And I’m stumbling drunk with joy

And taxis speed by me in their lanes

While high above like steel doves

The sky is crowded with tired and lonely planes

Bringing families home.

Belle and Sebastian

Thank god Belle and Sebastian came along

To save Smiths fans in English classes in the 90’s

With sexual confusion and Nick Drake jangle

Pop fusion. What is it about wispy words and

Shambolic melodies of silvery pop, like carp

In a pond, that makes the heart start like

Kerouac’s car in a book not yet read?

 

It’s like the rain in Cambridge, or sun in Oxford

Where Wilde is king of the homesick

And the music pours like a quick gold fix of Shakespeare.

Plaid skirts and small cars on muddy lanes

And coffee dates under grey skies with scattered planes,

She’s got hair like Tina Weymouth, she writes in French,

Her eyes are a deep brown. She speaks like jazz,

Or a Mancunian in the slums. Her mother’s a nurse.

Goddamn, I’m in love. Time to Tipp-Ex those lines of

Cynicism that flow like waves in my notebook.

Sunday Afternoon

On this afternoon the city exhaled and

Allowed the blue to linger far beyond the

Usual yellowing of the deep night. There were

Streams of people all passing me by, going

In the opposite direction like the pale wisps

Of clouds that swam above me. I walked like a

Dance, haphazard and unbound and people

Had already started getting drunk. Some complained,

Some were Dickensian in cold hotel doorways –

Women like swans with their heads bowed

Trying to get from A to B. All this in artifice

And I hear the unrestrained hum of evening life

Being lived perfectly by so many.

Morning

Your morning soul is drenched in caffeine

And stained red with wine. Solemn cold and the grey sky –

A canvas for the motorised symphony of the streets.

And you sigh, turn on your phone, and watch the news on the TV

While you count the coins in your hand. You are sure that this

Will be a good day.

St Enodoc Church

The wind whipped the sands.

The sky was grey and as we came to the café

It began to rain. We took tea under the cover.

The rain stopped, we found the footpath

That led to the open greenspace – the golf course,

The sandy paths, the long grass. The sun was starting

To burn through the tough clouds. We approached

Nearer to our destination. I could see the steeple.

One more path led us to the site of the 12th century chapel:

‘St Enodoc Church’. The black headstone of Betjeman

Stood proud and gleaming. We sat on the bench

Next to him and looked out on the perfect blue sky

And white wandering clouds, the long green fields of

Padstow opposite and the wide free sea. I looked, in the heat

And the breeze, for the oldest grave. One weathered and worn

Told of a man born in 1700, died aged 100 in 1800.

This is not the Nouvelle Vague

You looked like you were about

To smoke until I remembered

You don’t but if you did you would

Look like Jean Seberg or Anna Karina

Or another French icon because

All the fashionable icons are French.

I’m not saying I’m Godard or Truffaut

But I’m definitely saying that I’m the artist.

Although, I don’t see an uprising sprouting

In Albert Square next to the library,

Even if it’s quasi Roman design sparks

Renaissance aspirations. Such revolutionaries

Would be quietly herded into the Costa nearby

Where they can watch the statues not move.

I got off track: the scene opens with a shot

Of the Eiffel Tower.

Motorway Poem

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.