Winged Thoughts in the Age of Air

Month: May, 2014

Dusters at Dawn


for Katey K


Nights in the towerblocks of South London,
a late moon horning over Camberwell,
Nevio dropping track-after-track from heaven,
Stockwell rumblings blocked by The Source
(Ali Farka Toure always flowing
like The Old River of Wells in every line)
you got my attention carrying the goddess
obviously, innocently, kindly, fiercely,
Katherine of the fairy-hills, intense
with oblique cosmic perspectives,
funky axioms, vibrational theories,
the big ring of your words still there at dawn
when Youssou N’Dour of Senegal was keening,
Metheny diving like a sun-drunk dolphin
through monoxide waves of dark morning.

I heard ‘American Kate’ first in Sutherland Square,
someone from The Pullens had met a wisewoman
over at St Agnes Place or up in North Brixton
living with a Triestine world-music wiseman,
hereafter legendary shamanic redhead
Texan Kate from opposite the Swan of Stockwell.


The mission-field you considered with interest,
mythological treasure-house of Britain in The Cross.
(I sang you the future waterzone of the sunchild.)
While your detachment of the new fatalism
proclaimed with ironic smile, street-sister,
the black gospel of the Shift at the end-times,
told me the rebellion was sanctified, blessed
because of the refinement of the apocalypse,
opportunity completely surrounded by death;
reminded when vision-flame was wavering
after the conspiracy of Hawksmoor gathered force
hittting the outer walls of lightning-struck Camelot
(seige-towers up against the lice-ridden derelicts)
slowing down the mule-trains in Kennington,
(backing the band’s VW bus into a lamp-post)
demons pissing all over the Pancross,
world-music drowned by heavy-metal, Hendrix
completely misunderstood, lyrical chordmaster,
his searing leadlines and polyphonic genius
Bach-like making the architecture of pure beauty:
Little Wing, love-song of the twentieth century,
up there almost with No Woman, No Cry.


Aquarius, hallucination of those saints
who see the heavenly lathe of the galaxy
turning the light which is endless into time,
you come around again in the faith of seers:
idea of a macrocosmic dawn.

They pulled your papers in the end,
dropped your passport in the abyss
because you did greater things than Him,
getting the children back with kinesiology,
now Colorado has the advantage of your presence.
(I re-dedicate that poem of the same name.)

Here eviction-orders triggered heart-attacks,
peeps went mental, non compos mentis, bananas
just on the strength of the idea of homelessness
contained in a brown letter lying on the doormat,
small rectangle of terror on the bare floorboards.
Yes, my friend, you were frequently on my mind
as we went sailing suicidally into the nineties.
(A seven-year-old angel fallen from a window
speaking her first for a long time in your presence,
the telling of that story often down the years.)


Bless all my tribes of the urban resistance
who shall be aldermen and alderwomen of Jerusalem
‘in England’s green and pleasant land’
glowing and radiant in retrospect each of you,
enlightened in the face of Armageddon,
remembering that the flight from mortality
is the flight from love, letting be, letting go.
Katey K, Quiller, the man with the mean D50,
Nevio, stratocaster master-blaster,
jazzy-crazy, Metheny-sceney-Baby;
Spikey, Seaweed and all a ‘dem man ‘dere,
Gabi, Prunch, Ravi Holy, Generator John
(and behind the yellow door) Nice, skull-goddess:
big up in the Church of the Sunchild, yuh know.



Street Sale

wr 3

for Q


The buyer sets
his face grim
all his hard-earned
on a whim.

The bonnet’s up
someone’s tempted
from fate we’re
few of us exempted.

The eye of the seller
sparkles quietly
here’s a punter
from kindergarten.

It’ll go five hundred
conk-out nightly
fall on the road
no Ast0n Martin.

They argue tightly
the dealer’s suction
is all a dramaturgical

Meant to prove
he trusts his winner:
the dupe rides out
his pocket thinner.

From paunch
the cowboy starts to sing
‘Well, somebody had
to buy the thing!’





Nightmare of
slick dimensions
airless spaces

Journeys back
and forth between
incurable walls.

Dizzy battle
with unfeeling
surfaces, defeat

Facile translucent
skin which
rebuts approach.

Profound entrapment
in what is
not understood

Worse: vision
of a life without
motive power.

Refuge in mad
centrality under
false ceilings

Hothouse conflict
with fellow-prisoners
no fun.

of false promise

In vast
open spaces
impossible simulations.

Doorways: voids
of escape which
may not exist

of sudden change.

I have been
a fly in the
tantalizing universe.

I have gone
between points.

I have been
a speck of life
in the worlds

A buzzing
in the vacant
house of time.

Moonrise as Metaphor


burn paper:

tongues from the future

Destroying the hearer
without the sound of water.

Difficult to translate,
simple to decipher

Compared to this
other language:

Moonrise in
the month of the peacock.

Black Driver


Adjusting, adjusting
big yellow mirrors
gold-ringed fingers
work with the past

Reading, reading
in perspex cabin
scanning thickset
dark information

Thoughts to revolve
as a red blood-cell
double-decker threads
hardened arteries

Maxillaries, sub-
clavians of London:
overhead scrolled
destination rotates.

The future spins
in the sky, written there;
now the last check
of a convex reflection:

Everything’s ready to go,
Africa is coming.

Castle Coot

coot royal

Over there
under willows
a black aquatic
in her castle
on the water
battlements of twigs
defending precious
Easter eggs
from terrible
possibilities of life
while husband-
as-gunship patrols.

Even Elizabeth
in magnificent
Windsor is not
so regally seated
as this mother-to-be
on Hampstead Ponds
gazing down a rampart
made from sprigs
woven flotsam
to where silver
ripples turn gold
when the royal sun
shows his face.

Towards the tiger-striped

t eyes 2

Towards the tiger-striped
slanting right-eye of the goddess,
gold and blue-green.

A game of hide-and-seek


Life is a game of hide-and-seek
in the valley, girls
running for trees.

Father Duane on Holiday

pool 1


Sits poolside with gin-and-tonic
piles of novels, parallel lives
heaped up at sandalled feet.

Six-thirty precisely as he reads
with first parched taste of fire
begins that nightlife of imagination

Hypothetical descent into desires
which are, he knows, only mimetic
all modulated by this neck-attire

Worn heroically among the bikinis
the Jesus-boots which openly proclaim:
‘I march broken between the hill-towns

Through sandstorms, spinnings of dust
along the edges of the world, alone
drinking sometimes from roadside wells.


fly eye


Blue-green gems
in a spiral
sitting neatly,
we’re eating
a snail

crushed debris,
we are winged

‘Jumpy, edgy
jokey, tense.’
Each applies to us
flies: all-seeing,
no focus.

Only filth’s
Brinks Mat
dirty money
just like that.

Fast as you can
buzzing: you
as armed robber.
Kriminal rules!

But him
in the sky
with strange eyeball,

We’re all
precious stones
stealing away
our own
good luck,
every day,

That’s all!