Thursday, 14 February 2019

Blue Velvet Valentine

My hand an improvised blindfold, 
I jab the pin into the magazine, Blue Velvet! Roses
of wide screen dimensions remind me of Poppleton, 
every house a castle, behind the hedge, 
corpse facades, a cockroach once
behind the bed. Dorothy Vallens, red mouthed, glamorous
in a black sheath, the boy enticed, the cinema like an ear,
his hand at times, a blindfold on my eyes,
as though he wants to be my dad, the fabric
of the seat, on the bareness of my leg,
my dress slid rather up quite high.

The Bass Clef in Hoxton, next chance event. An ooze
of saxophone, Southern Comfort and jazz, 
we go out instead of having sex, I never had it,
you, my slick haired computer whizz, on placement year,
pressed beside me by the stage, ’50s attire, a Blues Brothers
style, whilst I crush (then) on long-haired men, paisley shirts,
patchouli oil, looking past - we so out of step -
for something else, letters, once the best of thrills, 
the postman so keenly awaited in Poppleton,
the neat blue Quink, ghosted, insignificant
after I moved into halls. There were other boys.


So, we both rate David Lynch - could this perhaps 
be enough? Was I once your favourite girl? Fake blonde fringe
in cornflower eyes, I could have been your Laura Dern
but, aged nineteen, so what do you expect? We drifted apart.
A dice throw - cinema! another Odeon,
Wild at Heart, with someone else,
but you could have played as Sailor to my Lula had you 
not gone and got married, texting on the internet,
because you’re not allowed to meet or phone. You
are so owned.

Meanwhile I tidy basement rooms for another man,
I first met outside the White Hart pub. One day, he said,
‘You’re on probation, by the way,’ strangely dark, 
a twisted thrill.
And are you the robin watching from a fence,
the game I try to play, but fail?
Years later, happens to be Valentine’s,
as I listen to the Angelo Badalamenti score, 
all night, remember seats like velour gloves, 
you beside, a popcorn crunch.

I could have had you, couldn’t I? 
Remember that night we first met eyes beneath the Tudor beams
at Club Gemini in York? How you charmed me with a
wedding offer I declined? Came next day to see me
in daylight at the bookshop where I worked, a Saturday.
'Look, the ball’s in your court, 
anyway,' you said, alone together in the book-lined 
room overhang above Stonegate, never thinking 
this is it. 
By now we could have had a row of David Lynch
Blu-Ray discs, a house, a paddock, and a horse.

Monday, 30 October 2017




Shakespeare and Company bookstore

The Museum of the Vie Romantique


Enghiein Les Bains

Paris at Night

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Reading Keats in Hospital

Reading Keats in Hospital
A poem for Salvador 
(now age 19)

From the pillows of the sofa, you avert your gaze.
You no longer want us to talk. At desk or stove, I am peripheral.
Don’t you remember those times before?  I wonder as I make
your preferred dessert.  The sting of the bedroom light, as I checked
your complexion, debating the edge between ash white and blue,

you like a fish out of element, about to die, the calls to emergency lines.
the paramedics in the night and a babel to you of words like - ‘pneumonia’,
‘collapsed lung’, ‘asthma’ and ‘oxygen supply’, the surreal gadgetry
in the back of the ambulance van, 
the ‘time travel; journey through some kind of portal we later said.
Do you remember when I read you John Keats?

You,  buoyed on medical attention,
Prince of a half empty ward, nebuliser attached to your pearl white face,
dislodged to make your requests, then back in place.
A range of drinks and half-finished snacks on the swing out table,
cherry stones used to passed down rhyming chants,
quoted like half forgotten mantras.

A sealed view of the London Eye.
Film screen windows so vast and pristine that it felt like we
floated as though beyond portal or boundary line,
hospital robes like angel gowns granted
by some unexpected God.

A vermillion zig-zag charting every abyss of relapse and recovery.
You steamed and mute finding a route like a gilded thread,
a was through the Odes,
restricted to hospital trolley and bedside chair,
as I read of nightingales, and ‘mellow fruitfulness’,
sand waves and sorrow glutted on a morning rose.
Surely your delight is measured against those airless, melancholy days.

Now you post pictures of the skate-park in Camden Town on the Internet and
I do not ask. 

I picture your face like a bud of possibility, the oxygen mask in place,
as I read aloud, ‘And full grown lambs loud bleat from hilly borne.’
I do not say.