I Went to a Marvellous Party: A response to the Noel Coward song of the same name.

I went to a marvellous party

It really wasn’t so great,

For people from parliament

Came by in their garments

From the family tailors

I hate –

Ghastly golds and silvers and bows

With black coats covered in snow

And hats made from tropical birds,

But haven’t you heard?

Lord Arnold came in already drunk on gin

With a girl on his arm from some family farm

That he’d found in the local Inn;

And the state he was in my God I cried

I looked him up and down

Gave him a frown

‘You’re divine it’s true,’ I lied.

 

But it was a marvellous party,

For Beryl from the herald

Came by with a pen in her hair

And lipstick all smeared on her face;

Oh what a state! She’s seen Tenerife

In the spring, she’s seen India in the fall

But London at midnight

Was the single sight that

She loved that most of all –

I believed her barmy, totally mad

I chalked it up to the wine and the

Many pills that I’d had!

And the line that escaped me

That set the beast free

‘You’re an amalgamation,

A collected mass of some

Ghastly creature from the sea!

What with the colours from France

And the scandals from Rome

It’s a wonder you had the dignity

To walk out of your home!’

And thus the blood was boiling

Several centigrades high;

Such an explosion or exquisite implosion

Would surely make the night.

 

It was marvellous though

Can’t remember nought

But I think that it went down

Better than I thought,

For I found my shoes on the roof

And Alfred asleep at my door

And several pictures

Predicting the ruin

Of some men from the House of Lords.

It’s clear from sparse recollection

That I was the belle of the ball!

And I couldn’t have liked it more.

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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.

The Arrogant Conquest

 

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.

Soldiers

They told me statues would weep for me

After I lost my heart in a foreign country,

They told me the Gods would offer me peace

But they lost me when I heard them speak.

 

Venom, hidden poisons on their breath

Like thunderclouds around my head.

Lies are always told to solders scorned

By the deathless tide of tired war.

Cheap Street

We all rest on cheap street,

Some convulse in wasted anger

Red eyes shot at the rain,

Those that succeed do so in silence.

The brave seek the jungle,

And move like they were born

To the scorn of the ones

Who refuse to believe the street exists.

Red wine rain on New Year’s day,

The first bell and the street turns crimson.

Catch what you can, they last.

Cold War

This world is not as cold

As its endless war,

That festers like a black heart

Below its surface.

Its people are not content

With fighting for the heart

To continue beating.

Instead, the exploding star

Like a substitute sunrise

That encapsulates the consciousness

Shared between us paints

The volatile sky yellow,

So that even in winter the hidden figures

Cannot hide their games.

Yet we abide in the false knowledge

That to be apart is to survive.

Were we Worthy?

The sea turns to royal red

Under a high cliff covered with green,

The fire of the divine torches the sky

And time stops to breathe.

 

Those with compassion cried

As they joined the thieves in their game.

And kings will kneel with their subjects

When they recognise that we’re all the same.

 

A watcher on the shore stays

To watch the ashen winds circle and fly.

Ember rains pour like open veins

Or like the tears that the innocent cry.

 

Their money can’t halt their end

Caught in a tempest that will never rest

We joined hands like we thought we should

And gave in to the final test.

Salem’s Fools

We are Salem’s fools

Fearful and hollow,

We are cruel

And born to follow.

 

Our eyes are bright

With firelight,

And our devils die screaming.

 

Our village unbound and

Our vision blind,

Our victims are found

To be our kind.

 

It is too late, for their blood

Stains our hands

And we cry to ourselves at night.

 

Yet we are still sure we are right.