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jumping in/to stillness

May 28, 2023

the hot heat
enforces stillness
still mad dogs and englishmen
do their thing
each mouthful of beer
rejoices that it is not water

surfaces shift
twisting vistas this way and that
is it an ocean is it a hat
is it a verb is it smooth
barely understood

which self did I wake up with this morning?
poet-entially (obey the typo) all of them
they are good naturedly squabbling and jostling
for air
air time
space time

irregular shapes with irregular motives
dancing without waiting for the music
singing without waiting for the song

pull down the awnings and cut them into
sock and
pepper and

imagine tools and deploy them
in pursuit of last night’s dream
turqoise labyrinth beckons
banging away on a left handed trumpet
looking for the next rhyming couplet
certainly Noel Coward would not be pleased

lampshapes and coconuts have their place
sometimes flap sometimes better
flip flop fly I don’t care
if the news is impaired
or if pigs can Wing
or if the moon is made of cheese
green or otherwise

I do not search for
grim ashen faces
but there must be something on the menu
perhaps it’s beer
ah, the first mouthful
water had the morning


May 16, 2023

we can be innocent in the morning
concerned in the afternoon
numb and unbreathing in the evening
wake up to a wave of noise
and a blank slate stretching in wait
before the hour of deliverance

and by the next noon
we can find our baseline of gratitude
to be raised just a little higher

recalling the view from old windows

May 6, 2023

the first view that I remember has
a twisted driveway and trees and loganberries
water in the distance

looking out on what passed for the physical world
when I was grasping all the ignorance and naivety
I could muster
learning some of the lessons that would shape me

the 1970s I lived in didn’t look like it does now
with all those moustaches and discos
and blurry TV shows

it was a simpler time of summercricket
and winterfootball and reading sci-fi

the sources of this or that pecadillo
preference or prejudice
now buried too deep to stumble across
in these elder times they must appear
by chance
in the crook of a sentence
in the grooves of a dream
in the twirl of a melody
(this melody appears to be playing
on a late 1970s synthesiser line)

the view from old windows
when I was becoming –
is it only a self-concious illusion
that i seem to recognise myself at 12
through the memory haze
seeing clearly that i was daft as a brush
and at the time knew myself not at all

but then i guess i knew myself better then
than at 30
or 40

I tried out many things
my share of dead-ends
gazed longingly out of many windows
querying my fare and that of the world around me
mulling over destiny and destinations
dealing out yet another hand of solitaire
as if to read my life by the cards
looking for faces in the moon and symbols in the stars
seeking myself
as a figure in the landscape
in a view in an old window


May 6, 2023

the turn of the spiral resembles
the closing of a circle
a certain sweet resolution
that which was ripped asunder
finds itself by catching its own tail

years collapsed into days, minutes
the forwards movement of clockwise
keeps passing the same o’clocks of significance
cycle of o
circle of zero
the infinity of zen

Mr Pink ruminates and reverberates

April 29, 2023

once upon a time
as many a story starts
I had a pink suit

specifically, I had a copy made
of the suit I had made
to wear in court
(that’s another story)

my sister took me to Psar Olympic
to buy suitable fabric in a particular shade
thence to a tailor in Psar Tuol Tom Pong
and so thus: a stage costume

for a project that did not last

little did I know
a whole new Project
was dangling on the horizon

and in the new Project
I began to wear the pink suit
and quickly became Mr Pink
although the joke was lost on me
as I hadn’t seen the movie

and then unfolded several glittering years
or perhaps that is better expressed as
several years of glittering moments of taking to
sometimes hastily ill-prepared improvised corners
sometimes broad, vividly-equipped stages
in pink jacket
(the pants were jettisoned early)

ragtag making-do concerts and strung-together tours
constantly battling to lift the voice above the din
in places that became more than words on maps  
as they were fashioned into anecdotes
snapshot memories
filtered with a bias towards the upside

travelling with the universally beloved
made the road smell sweeter than otherwise
whether the show that night was full or empty
(whenever there was a crowd it was enthusiastic)

accidentally spending his twenties in his forties
Mr Pink grew in unexpected ways
gathering friends and travel tales
dusks and dawns
in borrowed beds and on spare couches
through highway miles and passing squabbles
turning the heads and tweaking the ears of the diaspora
bewildering the barang who were quickly charmed
by the universal beloved

eventually this expensive hobby
gave way to other ways of life
and Mr Pink hung up the jacket
and it did actually hang on a wall
listening to the bands play
for a couple of years
until it was exported to New Zealand
(that’s another story)

pinkness was refashioned into a waistcoat and boots
and Mr Pink splintered in new directions
letting the water and the wine flow
from spigots newly minted

so Mr Pink raises a glass to the roadmates
wherever they are now
and we all toast the universally beloved
because she was
and tonight is another night
in this city of eternal ephemerals and delights
even if we don’t all
live happily ever after

– for Troy, and for the universally beloved

comparing self to western european kings, vol I

April 25, 2023

idle thoughts come to an idle man
what made Ethelred unready?
what made Louis pious and Alfred great?

actually the smart folk have got it figured out
unready was a pun
on his name
which means noble counsel
saying he had none
and so it’s better translated as ill-advised

I am far from pious
and won’t be achieving greatness
oftimes I’m unready
and certainly ill-advised from time to time
so it’s to Ethelred that I pledge my allegiance

Ethelred the ill-advised
a relatable role model
although Charles the Fat and Charles the Bald
are also worth a mention

rinsing the memories of scars and communiques from stars and a cool slice of watermelon

April 22, 2023

the vanished afternoons that leave no traces
a little rinsing of scars
or at least the memory of them

dusk hovers, feinting,
preparing to plunge the knife into the day
the day bleeds out darkness
and then it’s clear
that death is not the end
only the transforming of sun into starlight

or the local electric version
that competes with the dying suns
sending out desperate communiques
~ here is the last of our light
carry on and use it ~
we turn on the streetlights
for our expansion of light
and the message is deflected past us

our nightly enlightenment has a different cast
we dance to the music of our own spheres
also trapezoids, cones and watermelons
here – enjoy a slice in the
steamy afternoon that anticipates
its own wilting demise

bulletin from the present

April 7, 2023

the april heat
has melted time
and all beings are
lying prone in between
exhausting bouts of activity

except the geckos who move
lightning fast in response to
their suddenly hot blood

this quiet stillness
anticipates the emptying of the city
at least until the night falls
when the outdoor parties sprout
as natural and prolific as weeds

as with a downpour
expectations wilt
as the clock ticks slower
they too abandon haste

today it is easier to imagine
what life was like
before the coming
of electric light
and the internal combustion engine


March 27, 2023

the sweet art of doing nothing at all
the meditation like a pot preparing to make steam

listening as the hum of thoughts slows
to quiet
momentum relinquished to calm

everybody is going somewhere right now
except me
I’ve got a wonderful feeling
everything’s going away

exposed on a busy corner
yet safe out here
in the rugged world of slings and arrows

nowhere to be but here
waiting for a haircut
and hush
there it is:  the sound of boiling water

after haha

March 5, 2023

and so after haha, then what?
still plenty to do and
plenty of time to do it in

may cold days be seldom
may cold beers be sufficient
may bureaucrats be kept at bay

there are still languages to be wrestled with
not least English

and songs as yet unwritten
now that search has been abandoned as a mode of operation
one has learned to wait
intermittently alive to a chance encounter
with the perfect contour that begs to be kissed
that one begs to kiss
a song upon the lips