False cowboys take up motel rooms.
You’re in that weary state where you mumble phrases
Like: “I don’t know man” and “just give me the key”
And you want to wave goodbye
To the ugly landscape. The person at reception
Tells you the pool is closed. There’s no barrier around the pool
But you don’t want to take a chance. There’s one room left.
A cowboy stands idle under the sad yellow light
Blackened by flies and acting forlorn.
You know for a fact his mind’s on the steak he had
When he was seven and his father came home early.
Motel rooms scream secrets
But you’re too tired for degeneracy – anyway,
The mayor of a nearby town is entertaining in room 207
Dressed as a gigolo Santa in July. Never the less,
The orange heat of the dawn sun
Coming through the blinds in the desert morn
Is as welcoming as any waterfall.
Propulsion, speed, Opera
Bowling down the road in sleepless coattails
And the same gloves you slept in –
What a gorilla, devoid of inspiration
Wallowing in howling sin, desperate as a star
Ready to supernova. Arrested for jaywalking
And screaming at the police for offences
Mismanaged. Work in the morning,
Sad wailing musical pipe dream romance –
Stale coffee. Dreams written as tattoos.
Every eye is on you like Apollo: a crumbling obelisk
Cursing to the dirt, asking the earth
“Why aren’t I rich yet?” – Some kind of prayer.
It’s an aspiration,
Nay! A dream!
To destroy a hotel room
While my body is as weak as a guitar string
Left on a guitar by an 80 year old
Farmer who’s seen everything before.
But, unlike him, I’ll be dancing
Gyrating like sin, singing and drinking
(Attempting to do both at the same time)
Ready to interview a Mancunian upstart
With a fringe
And a paisley shirt
But the guy will have to call me and not give up
Because I guarantee I’ll be passed out
Listening to the Replacements
Catching the bus
On blue winter evenings.
I wander if there’s a fire burning
Beyond the horizon,
And if it’s worth breaking away
With no plan
Lost in the vain determination
I’m waiting for fate to hand me what I want
Because to go out and grab it shakes me to grey
And I retreat. I want to wake early, before the world;
Get the bus, work. I want to write the feeling
Of changing seasons, that which excites
And fills the air with sweet leaves falling.
I want to know the names of streets
And follow them like a natural dance
Not having to look forward in a white shirt and tie.
And I want to rock and roll – but to write is to
Be safe. And that’s easier.
I want to be lazy, like an old string
On a rusted guitar or a prophet
Lounging in the Spanish sun. It would be nice
To have a clear mind, like a cat on the street –
But Coffee and inspiration makes me shake
And I can feel the weeping in my chest,
Like a Robin on the washing line.
Never mind existentialism – that doesn’t cut it,
My body is whole and wild and I imagine excess
And decadent days in which to waste away.
And then I write about them.
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.
I let Fred Schneider into my house
And now we’re selling discount fish
At tourist prices but I suspect my house
Is haunted now and a constant fog
Drifts through it like London and the walls
Are damp and blue. We have problems with
Seagulls and men with hooks for hands in
Yellow cagoules. Jazz is banned to my chagrin.
Tai Chi is practiced by the dirty green bottles
That house our experiments. Hausu, what a film.
Summer is busy for us but the day trips to the bay
To gather more fish are always a treat.
Ragged storm! With the voice and demeanour
Of God, do you encircle me for judgement?
Are my sins a veil to lose me between worlds?
I am only one among many servants
That fell to the serpent’s way,
Outcast from the dregs of empire
That, like a plague, covers the world in a more
Vengeful darkness than thee.
Now I stand helpless to your claws
And the lashing rain that cleanses us
And the torn lightning that whips us.
Towards the darkling plume we sail
And I wonder if we deserve to see the day again.
Da Vinci, looking into the dark canal
Deep beneath the ebbing stars and moon,
Catches sight of a woman standing
Faded grey, proud, and drowning
In the empire lost below the sea.