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.

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From the Bar to the Bus Stop

Let us be merry my photogenic heart;

We’ll wander the sodden streets of Manchester

Like a starving rat.

We’ll stop at the train station at midnight

To watch the first train pull in

With a river of refugees from the fringes of the town.

Wastelands hold no joy on a Friday night.

Cut, Paste, references, images,

A split second of a dancing girl,

A snapshot of a painter colouring the sky,

A Gypsy playing the accordion,

Cut, Paste. A scent remembered, the violent exchange,

The moment one flash of love dies and reignites

Like a wishful child.

All this in an hour walk,

From the bar to the bus stop.

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.

Back Streets

The streets are cold, wet, and unforgiving.

The suffering eyes of no named men

Stare up at the passive walker listening

To the rhythm of his footsteps.

One working girl works the married man

Behind the trash and the wire fence

Between the crumbling slums.

The moon seems as frail as a Robin’s bone,

If the walker caught it, it would break

And crumble and be taken in the passing

Trail of unclean air.

Glitterati

Like a deplorable trail of smoke

From the final cigarette of a bum

Who had it all and then lost it all,

You fade into the air and are forgotten.

 

Your body falls through shadows

Like hollow bones in a grave,

But you are lost, drunk and unfeeling

And you let the ether claim you.

 

Then like a lover expectant

Lying on an unmade bed with red sheets,

You try to sleep but your mind is in oil

And your eyes see angels.

 

You never woke, you never slept.

Like a cut out headline you imprint then decay,

Leaving only remnants of a burnt page

Dancing in the lost space of a man’s mind.

 

Champagne, no name, never to age,

Your eyes say they have seen it all

But you shiver at the sight of the poor

And your feet bleed as you dance.

 

Do not fool with the glitterati of the city.

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.