It didn’t take me very long to get up this morning, but I did spend a great deal of time getting out of bed. I walked immediately to the bank, because I like money and I wanted to look at some. I was dressed to the nines at a quarter to ten at a fiver for a four pence. The banker, a nice man named something, eyed me suspiciously. I told him I was due to stand in a field in an hour and I didn’t have a moment to waste. Well I left the bank satisfied, and made my way to the 24 hour chemist across the road from the conservative club. I begged for penicillin or at least something that could dissolve in water. The nun behind the counter was having none of it (he said, knowingly). So I spent the rest of the day at a wedding reception at the local tennis club. The drinks were free.
Let me enter the stunning worlds
Of rich circles in high society nights
And let my clothes be torn
And my hair pulled by the wind
So as to invite looks of disgust…
And then I’d start to sing
Awful cackles of misshapen carols;
Then let security chase me
As I slam into tables,
Step on champagne glasses,
Break a window,
Headbutt an aristocrat,
Then leave without a fuss.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.