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coming soon

May 5, 2022

Volume 13 in thesilverpepperofthestars series: notes from a corner seat

At the printers now – expecting copies mid-May.


April 29, 2022

and so this and that
and look at that
this is what it is
despite that
or because of it
the certain way that
this becomes that
ever the twain
of this and that
will meet and become
one thing or
another thing
whether or not
what this or that
really means
or wants
or thinks it wants
because after all
that is how this is
and this is how that is


April 22, 2022

a meditation on the lost things
tangible and otherwise
lost along the way
by the by
piece by piece

forgotten or only reminded
by oblique phrase or passing glance
a rip in the fabric or
a glimpse through a knot in the wood

meditative reflection to embrace it one last time
before it’s gone for good
for better or worse
for good luck or ill

except that as there’s
nothing new under the sun
it will return
with a different face
another shape
a new smell
and set the same old cycle
running on familiar rails
as we slowly recognise that
it is back

daydreams and nightsweats

April 19, 2022

which end to hold the candle
which way to make it blink
daydreams and nightsweats
moonshadows and sunstreams

what assertions are being made
in the subconscious this week?

everyday revelations give way to
the pondering of imagery chosen
curiosity as to the speed of delivery
and the veracity of the character

an attempt to wrestle the narrative
from one part of the brain to the other
proving again hopeless at complex tasks
and multiple layers of confusion 

not a day for control in the physical world
and yet nothing has broken for quite a while
except perhaps broken sleep broken speech
broken powers of expression 

sleep is a dark space illuminated by snatches of dreams
that seem to take place in daylight
or so I recall
I guess sometimes night falls
and me with it
into the day

water and powder

April 18, 2022

the quiet appeared with no fanfare
just suddenly there was no construction, no chickens
and only one dog
(occasional squeals of children playing)

first the mango lady was gone
then the laundry closed
(damn, why am I never prepared for that?)
finally the barber and the moto dops
deserted the corner

me and my cat lounge about,
the quietest Friday, it being
new year here and good elsewhere
digital feed slows to a delightfully patchy trickle

all around it’s happening somewhere else,
festivals and street parties and dancing
and water and powder

in the background sobering news from the roads;
that take care and be well are no charm against disaster

sometimes the days are punctuated
by one crowded hour of rainstorm
descending emphatically downwards

what is the word for
thinking it’s Sunday when it’s Saturday?
there’s a lot of it about
and is it a different word when one is
thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s already Wednesday?

the lands of the three new years have had no chance
to honour their own for two years
each time it fell within outbreaks of the plague
the other new years, international and lunar,
were comparatively unaffected
but of course that’s not the same
countdowns and burning hell money
are not nearly as much fun as water and powder

with so many guesthouse restaurants closed
old white barangs congeal on
outside tables, marinating in draught
nothing to do but pit their mansplaining against each other
expecting no rewards beyond
the murder of another morning and another afternoon

night after night exhuberant children out in numbers
on motos with squeals and cries
and water and powder

we’ve spent over two years
waiting to transition into a new normal
and how it might appear
now we are wondering anew what it is we are resuming
and whether the landscape has changed

come Sunday, holiday fatigue woven through the air,
we gather in small groups for song
and savouring the dwindled traffic

a late night coda, stopping for a late beer
and watching three ladies play a mysterious
high-paced low-stakes card game
plenty of analogue there

this morning the mango lady is back
and also the laundry
(just in time!)
I think I saw a motodop
I can wait another day or two for a haircut

and now we are a year older

Waldorf & Statlering: notes from a corner seat

April 11, 2022

is that Zizek who’s at the bar every night? 
even philosophers deserve a holiday in Cambodia

the walking smoking woman is back,
walking and smoking

sometimes a crowded room is too much
sometimes it’s the only thing

some songs need a rest
but the crowd cannot be relied upon
to make those sorts of judgements
still things could be a great deal worse

to get to the point where you can stop in a moment and say:
this is how my life ought to be lived!
in the midst of daily life
that’s something to strive for
once that ol’ hierarchy of needs
gets sorted out

as the jukebox from hell descends
the dancing space is thick with the two-step
and even Zizek is having a go

the faces of the returned
show a taste for life
a thirst somewhat tested
and then bested

as a swan-line round of shots rolls back necks
like a breaking surf
another punctuation on another night

sweet sip and sour tang
guitar-o sturm und drang
with a touch of the groove thang

late night scribbled bad rhyme:
excuse me
Zizek on the dance floor made me do it

a few soft words

March 21, 2022

a few soft words
a nod or two
some songs and some more

every day scratch the surface
and blink a little

we all have our ways

grief is like that
sorrow too

this sometimes wave

March 14, 2022

ah so it is here again
this sometimes wave that manifests itself
out of whatever mindscape is current

scan the horizon
focus in here and then there
pull a string through and cut another loose

such are the ways
that the individual points
are found to be indivisible from each other

presenting as opportunism or
passions, licking at the edges of reason
or occasionally cynicism 

strange practices
that resolve into
some kind of truth

because the cynical songs don’t last long
they dissolve into their own thinness
leaving only ghosts of melodies

Spontaneous bar poem #17,443 (with half-remembered fragments and some editing)

March 11, 2022

dwelling on entropy
and then its hidden opposite
– the conversations held in other rooms,
other human worlds created by other human souls

the air is full of memories, and the
cliches of popular song seep under the door
and through the cracks

wearily earning weariness
so it can be shelved next to tomorrow and next week

self sliced up
like pizza
is vulnerable to
a sentimental line
especially when
she shows up in
blips and squarks
leaving me
thirsting for rain
or wine

too much real world
makes the revelations run thin
a week like a cascade of marbles
rolling like dice through determinist thought experiments

where, I wonder,
is the Society for the Preservation of the Daydream? 
the office is closed,
the sign on the door says: back in the spring

to be the light
to ride the wave
to introduce Lorelei Lee
to Peter Falk
at a Scott Joplin recital
to make the unlikely happen
to escape the tedium of the likely

what if the tribe is never found?
a common story but one I’ve dodged
like it was said: finding my feet on different streets/
by letting them follow my nose
once seemed pretty unlikely, to be frank

I may not have been born on the Bayon
but I found my way here

all the children sing

January 1, 2022

writing new year words
in a freshly purchased new year notebook
the cover of which says
I want to go to see you and hug you
underneath a picture of a fish
next to pictures of large city buildings
a motorcycle
and a rocky coast

which tells a story in itself, no?

the first words I have written
are possibly a song
that popped into my head
as I wandered down from my room
to the stationary
to buy a new (year) notebook

having claimed my favourite breakfast seat
and ordered food
and scribbled
I will now
sit back and see
what the new year has to offer

and all the children sing

it’s the kind of day
that makes you want to say
what a beautiful day

after the kind of night
that makes you say
what a great night

in the kind of a place
that makes you say
what a wonderful place