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odd times of the night

January 25, 2023

the personality preferences that once provided structure for
earlier seasons
earlier ages
accumulate in uninvestigated corners
as useless as abandoned telephone numbers
or indeed abandoned telephones
once existed as the architecture of our character
whether we needed them or only thought we did
now just jumbles of doovas and thingummies
thick with dust
a rummage in the suitcase or storage box
finds many of them useless now
but with a veneerish glow
reminding how important we once thought they were
strange to think that a hill
we once would have fought to the death for
can become so lost
its ghostly absence only lingering
in remembrances
at odd times of the night

cats and dogs

January 24, 2023

we have our cages
and an awareness that can be wrenched
from our safety at any moment

maybe that’s why we can be cruel
when it’s called for

the tumult and catastrophe
swirl around us and we are
unable to control it

we bare our teeth
and exercise our claws
and settle into a panicky kind of coping

upon release we give thanks
and clench our jaws against
the impending return of the cage

that is what we gain for being
smart and unowned
cats not dogs


January 18, 2023

a smear is as good as a painting
a pile is as good as a sculpture
a tapping is as good as a rhythm
on the days when you are as happy as happy birthday

a miss is as good as a catch
a smile is as good as a hug
a trip is as good as a dance
on the days when you are as happy as happy birthday

a dawn is as bright as a noon
a dusk is a bluesy tune
a streetlight is as romantic as the moon
on the days when you are as happy as happy birthday

dusk/twisting turning everlasting tune
on the days when you are as happy as happy birthday

we don’t choose what we remember but we choose which stories to tell

January 15, 2023

in my callow youth
a boss of mine once sent me to the hardware store
to buy self-tapping screws
as if I knew what they were
so did I go listening for a soft shoe shuffle in aisle seven?
I can’t recall

so you see these days I am living that business of
remembering 40 year old comments in detail
and forgetting to do things I said I would do yesterday
a stranger and yet more understandable malaise
than the ones before

we get older alone
but in proximity
each finding deep connections to the trivial
that make about as much sense as
Easter eggs in January

wisdom is not come of
sending a fool on a fool’s errand
furthermore, never eat oysters in a month with no R
and beware of people wearing suits in general

as I slip into my whitebeard years
it is still a comfort to know that there are people out there
who know all about screws
self-tapping or otherwise
and that therefore keep civilisation running

still life with post office

January 15, 2023

a city where the mail is generally irrelevant
the wedding cake post office sits
sombre and impassive
well lit to pick out the
architectural features
mustard yellow and white bread white

like a guard dog in masonry
looking out over passing humans
wrapped in tins
balancing on gasoline ponies

with everything else cropped out
it stands noble and without affect
until the morning
but that is hours away

Going placidly

January 10, 2023

and so I went placidly

by a different and unfamiliar but resoundingly absorbed name

navigating through the subtle language of games

and momentary choices and inventions of delight

a chaotic clarity of intersecting souls

a revolving dance of

shouts and hollers and whispers and giggles

where rituals are made fresh and smiles made wide

talk of many things with a heavy dollop of nonsense

where time slips rather than drags

spins rather than sits

what are you trying to show me

and tell me

there is more to absorb

where names are displaced by love

Venn diagram overlay at a certain level

then we are transfigured into fun with sticks and balls

and that persistent mirror





up high and beyond

new stratagems are concocted

and futures begin to be at least conceptually constructed

butterflies and magick and stories of hope

this is where we live; awake; rejoice


January 2, 2023

she called him, among other things,
the bald one
he’s been creeping around this year
the end of times for loving companions
against our will

where wills will often fail
the cycle revives and spins free
under its own will
a new day reopens

we stumble clear of the last year
managing not to trip
on the doorstep of 23
and now we hover between
the international hangover and
the reappearance of the rabbit

taking our pain
and making it into something else
as ever
as banal as it sounds it still works

measure a yard of day-to-day
cut the cloth
add a button and a bow
wear that garment
and it is worn until it is worn out
and the time comes for pieces new

under its own will
a new day reopens

12.37 pm, 31 December

December 31, 2022

midday breaking of fast
and a couple of cold glasses
the radio quietly counts
and it’s a beautiful day
and cue the sentimentality
that will most likely run through until tomorrow

the rush of relief, relife, reset
after weeks of strain
and of course it’s not over yet
but here comes 24 hours of
something else

may contain traces of beer

a plan?

November 24, 2022

I cannot offer an opinion as to whether
things are going according to plan
(if there is a plan I know nothing of it)

if I was in charge of the plan
it may go about as well as
when I’ve been in charge of a plant
where my failure rate is almost perfect

any analogue for green fingers is limited to
experiments in word gardening
tending to poetic arrangements
nurturing sentences
that sort of thing

neither would the prognosis be good
if I was in charge of a flan or a can
a Jan or a Stan
or anything to do with a van
such matters elude my ken

(I just hope that 
if there is a plan
someone else is taking care of it)

from the low to the high night

November 22, 2022

when the local streets are repaved and repainted
I can point to certain spots and say: I was there

when the tongues are combined
and the accents entwined
there is peace in the street

when fast walking tourists breeze past
it must be still early

when the late nights are no longer rainy
but what we call balmy
the air hangs loose

teenagers sent on errands make it a game
then return to hang out and flirt and brag
draped across motorcycles

when you have your choice of weirdos
well, choose your weirdos
there’s no shortage, your correspondent included

when the three sisters talk low in the high night
matters are afoot