Alex Chilton’s Song

Just for a moment,

A shadow that lay over your life lifted,

And all that could be seen in your dark eyes

Was sincerity, insecurity,

The need to be loved and happy.

The cold plague that held at you,

And the voices that tried to remind you

Of the troubles of your years,

All fell to silence,

And just for a moment

You found that the simplest words would do.

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Childhood Conversation

I miss conversation

That falls like wrong notes

In the right rhythm;

That played about the air in the summer

And melted the snow.

It was always about nothing,

But to feel the words,

And to hear the music of another,

Builds a moment in time.

Uni Years

In the years of learning and city freedom

The breeze always seemed blue.

My feet sprang from the Victorian pavement

And my eye caught the beauty of buildings,

Fallen leaves, a car pausing to let a passer by

Cross the road. I walked through art

Like Van Goughs whirling night,

And left my thoughts to run with words,

Words to play in the paradises of my creation.

I had some to share it with, and some I wish were there.

But it was never more-easy than when I walked

Through the days when I knew I was part of the rhythm

Of everything.

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.

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.

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.

The Cat

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

Gravel dishevelled

A rock turned

A molecule or two slides to the side,

The cat lightly runs away

Into the driveway

And disappears.