An Urban Myth
Strange strange things happen after midnight. Three weeks ago, a Friday, I was coming back from London. Earlier trains had been cancelled & I was in this crowded last train out. We were all crammed in like chickens in a cage and my mouth was dry as feathers. I got out at Manchester Piccadilly, uncreased myself, fluffed myself back up and headed straight to the bus stop on Oldham St to get back to Oldham where I live.
I’ve never seen love in grand gestures
Only in hidden, momentary things
The bingo caller’s lick of your lips,
The bunching of your nasalis muscle before
You begin your admonitions,
The tone switch of your
‘anyway, what was i saying?’
How you ram your hat on your head
before embarking from your flat
Later, such grace as the ship sinks:
Children and men first! That hat of yours
Firmly in place.
Back on Stockport Rd road I spot a red red sled dangling on a shop hook – if it snows this month it’ll be good for when she visits, though Levenshulme is all flat bogs, I could be a husky to her driver, rope round my waist – now would that be hernia territory or good for the heart according to the doctors at the blue cube surgery by car crash junction where I haven’t yet registered? -the one next to the unfinished mosque (Donations dried up? Planning trouble?) - you know the one?
Fire Is Dangerous
Fire Is Dangerous. Never Play With Fire.
This was solemnly told to me by mum on the occasion
Of my half burning the kitchen down trying to see
Whether sliced potato would fry if placed in the grill
Of the cooker with a drop of oil.
‘Half’ was my mum’s exaggeration. Apart from
Blackened windows and a slight charred smell
In the air, the kitchen was untouched.
But I behaved. I did not do any more culinary experiments.
Months later my dad was fixing his car
And could not get a nut loose from a bolt.
Books & Covers
A book is born with a cover, yet no author thinks 'what should the cover look like?' as they write. Instead the words pour forth, the words are the art, a cover should be immaterial, it is merely a fetish object, the bizzarre attachment of emotion to a content as yet undiscovered by the prospective reader. We can fall in love with a cover, prize it, give it pride of place on our coffee table - 'this is who we are', we declare. We are these books. You need not have read them. Simply contemplate the covers - they declare my learning, my wisdom, my humour, my hidden depths.
the impression we leave, charred, into people's memories, a ghost image that surges, floats, dips into and out of our consciousness, flares, burns at odd moments: an out of kilter setting of the sun, the spark of the ignition on Morgan's cooker's hob, the glint of a headlight on a silver foil crsip bag, a pall bearers's daimante tooth jewel, the clatter of donkey shoes in a Morroccan night, the folding dusk waves of that Pacific bay, the liver spot on my mother's left thumb. Impressions- they form, swirl, flare, fade, slip away
Brush clears away, effaces & over time
is itself effaced, life is
dirt, only death
is pure, white, crisp: we are born
into a sluice
crispness only in 2D, cartoons,
that we chase
a daraughtsmans dream,
an artifice we
ache for -
here - only here - in
is it found
Sometimes my ears run off chasing dogs
I call them back but they don’t hear me,
They get rhinos to stampede through Ashton Market
Commiserate with friends over a pint at Your Mother Died
Slalom round palm trees singing plaintive love songs
Till breathless, charge all spent, they stumble home.
I was there when my best friend died. I couldnt stop it. After, the world kept on turning. Trees blossomed. Birds sang. Trains rattled along their lines. But all that - trees, birds, trains - wasn't my world. From that day, all I ever heard was the gurgling. All I ever smelt was the wincing air in that park that he could no longer breathe. And the stain on my shirt...
Late, me and she wriggle through the turnstiles.
The tannoy is playing The Kemptown Races Doo Dah Doo Dah
Clowns in suits spring briefcases of jack-in-the-boxes.
The trapeze artists are up next. My mind spins off to you.
Only you can reach me. I would have to walk along air to reach you.
You will need courage and balance â€“ thereâ€™s no safety wire.