Saturday, October 30, 2010



today Warner at least snaps the space
of her There by the railings
where she stood his lens might catch
some photon of her – not her yet there

the print he makes of this leaks emptiness
vacuum for his undelivered lines –

on the image then/go further in
click plus to magnify the space
and plus again – go in and past
the grey railings to an edgeless frame
enclosing where his silence passed that day…
no more than pixelated air-bricks
sliding to no-texture ghostly white

Warner tapped the minus key/tapped
and came out to the railings once again
still wondering about the scene
the ground that held her/ the skills he lacked
to copy from the time they’d almost met –
the rainbow lens in pavements after rain
that seemed to follow her –
rediscover the tiny suns
and planets spinning
in the emptiness where she was

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brassai By Night


In the darkness between lamps
the gutters babble in secret slang
he stops to record a curve
a pair of eyes widened by laughter

in the fluctuations of bar light
he sets up a flair across the floor
"kiss naturally, act nonchelance"
no nuance lost, artificial shadows

of smile and stance traced
from corner to elbow Sun
sunk down notes of a drunken music
a will to embrace Between the lamps

a man a moving shadow a lens
fluctuates between misty and sharp
what comes from the mist is sharp
fades suddenly The Paris mist

is moving fast under the streets
seeps into downstairs bars
- strangely lit the white tunnels
curve steeply away from Paris

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Starting Right

Starting Right

A courtyard, staircases you could almost
leap down landing to landing,
walkways, galleries, acoustic blast

as of a theatre – the bricks are handing
on the Elizabethans’ bloody past,
ills the state is still mishandling.

Down from the Bermuda triangle, one standing
holding the bicycle, the other sits on the last
step to the courtyard & does some quick rebranding:

white socks and baseball cap, and then the jeans
need something doing to them. Steadfast
and steady where the cross bar leans

his young mate waits, already dressed.
One black, one white – they have this understanding:
The right trouser’s rolled to the knee. Neat-pressed

the other is left long, an act of will.
The tall black boy is through and will ride fast,
stand on the pedals with handling skill.

His tandem sinewy, unharassed
gets neatly in the saddle – notwithstanding
us in the gods, their swagger isn’t sussed.
They slip from here, through speed and light expanding.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Sestina Camden Town

Sestina: Camden Town

The war, the war on Man, the
war on woman, the ghost
assembled armies vanish in
their realms

Allen Ginsberg
Planet News 1968

Sometimes the railway is sunk
between embankments; sometimes it passes
over the houses and canals
of Camden. The railway is like
an old copy of Peace News
still running – if war breaks out or peace.

All of it is real, every piece,
the trains, the lives, everything that passes,
and yet at times it seems like stale news:
dead stories blown by the canals,
the ink gone blank as soon as it is sunk -
sunt lacrimae rerum, or something like

the late Evening News: a paper I would like
to read again, discover zones of peace
where minds were broken or a heart was sunk,
knowing the bedroom where the night train passes,
where dreamt roads become burnt-out canals,
and morning brings the shock of dreaded news

or freedom from it. And still The News
is dreadful, do what you like!
Below your room, above the canal,
the trains rattle on. The face of no-peace,
for all that, reaches you, draws level, passes
so close, you see its pain has sunk

because everything that matters has sunk.
Through roofs and walls more wireless news
builds up like static, enters, passes
through ether. The wagons sound not to like
their steel-walled cargo, passing piece by piece:
their screech is mirrored in the still canal.

Making minute threads of the canals,
up where the whole sky is greyly sunk
in sound – a plane, iron bird if you like,
just passing through… There follows a peace
which is Prussian Blue, the Planet’s news
at last - where Ginsberg’s cool news passes

low, reaching through absence into peace,
while morning Metro’s clutch of bleeping news
chirps at the Oysters and the freedom passes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Woman Magically Appearing

To a Woman Magically Appearing
Twiggy Exhibition National Portrait Gallery
Feb-March 2010

You can look down
On all the decades of
Your Twiggy-life if
You sneak up the back
And along to the balcony
With the iron railings
And see the people
Looking in your eyes
And reading what you wrote.

Once in the not-quite square
Gallery w/its ornate marble floor,
There’s the one of you
With huge eyes soft-tone
Close up – you can see
The freckles and how you
Support your chin against palm
Nice fingers neatly folded
Just brushing lightly parted lips.

Then there’s Ronald
Traeger’s photos, dead at 32,
Blow-ups of you laughing
On the Downs or
Free-wheeling on a
Bicycle with small wheels
And big handle bars in your
Mini dress legs shot
Out and forward
In lace-up shoes and ¾ socks.

And there’s how they caught you
In the ‘70s “me as a woman
Not as a photo shoot” –
In a small interior your place
With its mod circle
Paintings + floral-quilted
Arm chair and the intimate
Architecture of you in a
Red evening gown,
And recently in the 2000s
Just as predictably blemish-free. And

The one that stays most
With me from ’67 – when we
Students with our sex stories
Walked in that rolling way left shoulder
Slightly pointing forward as
If this walking would make us
Talk better or be more alive
To the currents of the time –
It’s the famous one of you
At a Ticker Tape parade:
“Melvin came up with
The idea of making masks
From B & W photographs of my face
Which he gave to the
Crowd to wear…” and only
You are real in yellow
Mini-dress and black leather
Draped around your shoulders.
And you finish your account,
“Melvin and the art direction team
Won several awards.”


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Edward Hopper Floating Curtain for Jonnie and Anne

Edward Hopper Floating Curtain

each summer trailing from an open window
across the flat gardens or down the street
I see again that Edward Hopper curtain
a white promise lifted by the breeze
a presence of unshared regret
lingering across my vision/and the light
that comes and changes things
where all alone a woman
kneels on the bed and looks/I
not knowing if she knows just how
the light picks out the rumpled waves
the sheet she’s kneeling on in New York

in London that same light has come
to visit me in the just-before or
just-after I dial or log on boot up

it’s as if Edward Hopper knows my place
the way shadow is and how the light is straight -
straight as my trunk or table -
showing new across the carpet
like a lance from worship or silence
from some place other in the world
that came alight while we still slept

I daren’t go up too close
to those paintings at the exhibition
in case I get pulled through
into that bar somewhere on the corner
in America where loneliness
works by electricity or into a cinema
where the light is red and blue
against the tawdry lushness of cinema curtains
where an usherette lovelier than a film-star
shines in her polyester like a torch

come back home and look through a window
at a scene or part of a scene by Hopper/
it’s just a wall or a building or part
of a wall or of someone in another window
across the night over the street
and even though there is no message
on the answer phone
I still know Edward Hopper
dialled my number while I’ve been out