The stars are sad the city can’t see them. The pencil trembles with anticipation as it is poised over the paper. Crumbles of mud tumble with giggles as they fall from bashed boots. The sun loves to shine on politicians. Lashes are fame for a snowflake. Lightbulbs unshaded are ashamed. Keys are tragic lovers. Curtains always part reluctantly. Unlit candles sullenly withstand. Beds are favourite uncles, pillows their patient friends. Forks writhe and sigh upon your lips. And all things, when ignored, pray to the space between them; for men do take the cups they lift for granted. So when you are held by distracted hands, follow their example, and then you’ll too know, my love, that life loves you sometimes secretly.
Dear office dweller,
You may have noticed a peaceful patch of distant blue through the window, or a tiny triangle of light that managed to sneak into the upper right corner of the stationary cupboard, or a strange instant of peace just as your hand reached down for a door knob, or the warmth that a mailed message of beauty spread through your cramped legs, or the lovely colours that Susan from finance has chosen to wear today, or the wonderful clarity of the sunshine after you turn away from your computer screen, or a ghastly yet quite unexpectedly interesting quirk you notice about some stiff’s facial geography, or a completely unprofessional moment of honesty that, for a split-second, nobody knows how to react to, or the pangolin in the canteen, or a sudden realisation - a thought that is pristinely there before you - of being immeasurably powerful and calm and above all this nonsense?
Well that was me.
I just dropped by to say hello.
All my love,
Your heart’s a hundred and one thousand crimes,
Which my heart commits, one at a time.
Your heart’s a poem which my heart explains,
Then writes on the walls of the underground trains.
I hear the song which your heart has sung,
My heart’s an audience, of one.
I've sung duets with Spanish girls
I've played games with little Japs
I've waltzed a few Russian lasses
And I've made some Danish knees collapse
I've done all kinds of things
With girls from all kinds of places
I've shed a tear with Western girls
And I've had a laugh with Asian ladies
But after all I've discovered
It's English girls for me
I prefer snow white shoulders
And a touch of sarcasm with my tea
I love a girl not lightly fazed
I love my girls with eyebrows raised
I love a lady who'll take a chance
I love a sidelong English glance
I love pink noses
I love wry glances
I love guffaws and clumsy dances
I love gasping giggling nerds
I love sarcastic English birds
That's right, I've discovered
It's English girls for me
I prefer snow white shoulders
And a touch of sarcasm with my tea
She's good for me like my legs are for my torso
She's good for me like vitamin c, only more so
She looks like c minor but she smells just like rainbow
Obsessing me messing me happiness heresy losing my sanity oh no!
She wakes up and makes up a song and sings the solo
I go back to sleep and then she hits me with a yo-yo
She spits at me barks and then she takes off through the window
She keeps a candy bar inside her padded bra think I might take a bite oh yeah!
She's good for me like the queen is for the kingdom
She's good for me like philanthropy and then some
She kisses me, with modesty, then hits me with a dum-dum
Hurting me healing me sweet little injury bleeding me feeding me oh yeah!
She speaks in infra red and travels at the speed of light
She gives me her heart and a thousand pounds of dynamite
Tsunami, volcano and her favourite little meteorite
Right all along, she's a hydrogen bomb... and this is my swan song.
On high heeled mountains
Under skies silked and pearled
Climb soft-necked trees
Around cool brown branches curl.
In soft-limbed valley,
From meadow's heart to dive,
Dive into dancing river;
Whirling, smiling, warm, alive.
There's a garden in the city.
Dear office dweller
Do you remember when you placed your cheek against the warm bristly flanks of a living cow? Do you remember when you dressed up as an bunny and performed a play for your friends on a makeshift stage built in the woods? Do you remember when you sat under an upside down tea-tree, drying out in the attic, twirling slowly above you throwing its orbiting fractal shadow over the candle-lit ceiling? Do you remember when you made elderberry champagne from the berries that grew beneath your window? Do you remember when you rested naked on your spade, muscles singing, and then showered under the warm water of the watering hose? Do you remember when you sat having a shit on the side of a wide empty hill, and the donkey, which you hadn’t fed yet, came up and nodded its head, oddly huge, against you? Do you remember noticing how the wild flowers came in waves as the seasons passed? Do you remember walking back from the well at the end of the day, swinging your buckets in big loping arcs as liquid golden light fringed the grass? Do you remember how surprised you were when you first ate a minute-old well-loved pea? Do you remember when you stood around the bucket that the chicken had drowned itself in, and you all looked somberly at its upturned feet, and the little boy said, “is it dead?” and you said, “yes, its dead.”
Do you remember?
Or are you in your office, and your flat, and your shop, and your classroom, when these things seem a long long time ago?
So listen. I won’t be here for much longer. Please come and live with me, because I love you and miss you.
Parsnips have an effete 'pursed' kind of intellectual giggle, but not affected and still charming. Carrots have a toothy sherbety snicker. Radishes have a wheezy muttley gaspy kind of laugh. Beetroots are excellent smirkers. Cauliflower has a high pitched west-kensington middle-management whinney. Aubergines have a sucking parping honk, like a beautiful woman with big feet, and bell peppers, as far as I know, laugh silently, their bodies trembling helplessly. Celery laughs like my auntie, with an infectious gawky naughtiness, new potatoes have a gurgly mirthful bubbly chuckle, like a fat Asian baby, and leeks have sweet bright ringing laughter that tinkles down my spine.
Smile like a pea, my darling.
We got married this weekend, my love and I. We arrived at the mountain hall a week in advance and made preparations, decorating the stage, practicing our swing-outs, hanging hammocks, setting light to dead trees, marinading and marauding.
The guests arrived on Friday afternoon in twos and threes and fours and they sorted themselves and sat down for dips and chatter while some local accordionists with huge moustaches played whimsical waltzes. That evening we didn’t do much, allowing everyone to get to know each other and rehearse if they wanted.
Saturday morning, after a breakfast of blinis, we all went swimming down at the waterfall. We covered ourselves in local clay, baking in the sun until tight and crackly, then dived in the deep rock pool, wherein did lie unspeakable things.
We played some running around games; stick-in-the-mud, ding-dong-zombie, moon-garden and manhunt. The children taught us how to play bomb-boy and crazy-snakes.
Saturday evening was the floor-show. Sam was master of ceremonies, splendid in his top hat and tails. He introduced all the acts that people had prepared, Larry set himself on fire and sang Wagner; Mary, Maya, Kim and some kids on washer-boards played a few thumping rags while hanging from the ceiling; some clumsy sketches, tight-harmony a-capella renditions of post-punk classics and plenty of impro classics (the king game, freeze, word-at-a-time, etc). Tony had a good party trick.
Falton then taught us the first few basic steps of the waltz and we finished the evening in disco.
After a lie in and late breakfast, all seventy of us, and three donkeys, went down to the spring in our midday finery. Old Peter presided over the ceremony. We swore, my bride and I, to walk slowly, rid ourselves daily of the restless tenant and throw ourselves with hopeless perilous passion into the raw and the glorious. I said I would give up my hankering for independence, love her straight even when she was emotional, and she said she would softely shatter my crystal systems into sweet smithereens, learn the bassoon and brew my tea properly; not just bash a bag about in the cup until the water was dark. Then we kissed each other and swapped rings. And then the whole congregation had a custard-pie fight and dived in the spring.
That night we all dressed up as gods and monsters, Falton, in his bunny-suit, gave us our second waltz lesson and, in ripped silk frocks and antlers and floppy dog-ears and frock-coats and hooves, to the rancid sound of the accordion, smokey hammond and liquid flute; we waltzed. We circled the large oak hall all night, moonlit with fireflies; and we are circling it still.
Now or never
Put your foot to the floor.
Why should I
Be scared to die
When we’ve done this before?