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October 10, 2020

an insolent walk
in the last spits of a downpour
turns to detour
past a blackandwhite
as the air is thick
with smot
and there is little enough beauty
on sodden afternoons like this

around another turn
and a young man
wears a t-shirt saying
don’t let your friends and family
get lonely
keep bothering them

learning to read again

October 7, 2020

learning to read again
a merry dance to be sure
the turn of the eye
the flashes of recognition

set pieces with
improvised dialogue
and handful gestures
floating just above language
where meanings are explored
like watching soap bubbles
lightly and tenderly aware
that too much focus
will linger only into a withering

the unexpected
arrivals of small round
grapeshaped and
fingershaped fascinations
coaxing a merry dance

not taking it personally

October 1, 2020

in the time of rielisation
I am surrounded by the
sweet and sour dreams
of one hundred years ago
no doubt the change
another hundred years will bring
will have them shaking their heads
at us
their ancestors

we still do not understand the rain
and where it falls
and do we take it

the floors and the walls
look different now
with the hope that
it can push some
internal improvements

the downward stampede
to the next new number
has begun;
today I talked of
new year’s eve plans
to my surprise 

what’s in a number
but what a strange season
we have been donkey riding
bumping crashing
slipping sliding

when you can see the flecks of gold

September 28, 2020

you can take a crowded room
and hold it in your hand
and raise it to your eyes
and see it pure and small

above the clamour and the yabber
the laughter and the song
and the hearts and the embraces

when you can see the flecks of gold
flicker in the cracks
of the lines that stretch from each one
to another and another

when you see the gold that is collected
through the dusting
that is time

our marble and our clay

September 17, 2020

a peace
too dear for my possessing
yet lingers on the periphery
in certain hours

when my ghost
floats through the space
brushing surfaces and
rhapsodising the room

the lessons of living chip away
at our marble and our clay
we hope that we are approaching slowly
a truer self, a place we’d like to stay

looking for camouflage, spotlights,
exits, nooks, trees, ambrosias,
running water, dancing moons

and softness
always softness

better in the rain

September 5, 2020

the elegant turns of the street corners
frame progress through the
untidy streets

the gods have their candy
the rats have their holes
the cats have their kittens
the nights have their perfume
of street food and petrol fumes
and bright, bright lights

in our public caves
the beer tastes better in the rain
and we are going nowhere for now

contemplating the quiet joy
of a clean floor
and all that that references
as this daylight hastens
to broaden

new sheets for new jottings

for the friend on the occasion of his common or garden birthday

September 5, 2020

came to play
and stayed
through what we thought was trauma
but was only growing pains

the pain long gone but
the love now well worn

nights long with song
and wine and mystification
mountaineers together we still climb

to the good times, brother,
we raise our glasses
to the good times
long may they run


August 26, 2020

hmm, so a new hat

perhaps hats are like tarot decks:
for greatest efficacy they should
be gifted to you

my cells have now
been replaced after
seven years of the battered hat
that was
to be fair
pretty battered when it was
gifted to me
one night on stage at Slur Bar

it was a real hat replacing
a long, long run of
tourist hats that
never seemed to want to stay

a change
and the world did not
collapse in shock
perhaps the world
has other issues at present

the silhouette remains
only slightly altered
so I will not go unnoticed
for better or worse

the size is definitely an improvement
the battered hat was always
just a little too tight
and the new one
has ventilation
intended rather than through wear

the battered hat
has survived
France and Hong Kong
and worst of all
it has been squashed
left in tuk tuks
been blown off while on
the back of motos
it has earned
its retirement

so yes
a new hat
under which
the brain will cook
for some more years to come
for better or worse


Siem Reap, August 2020

August 14, 2020

walking in the old town
that I first knew
wishing that I could afford all the
massages and tuk tuk rides I am being offered
though they need the money more than I:
they ain’t selling too many elephant pants these days

the less the throng
the more the space,
and once the sprawl had stretched
the bounds of containment
but now there’s too much of nothing

shutters/house for rent/gone

I wander behind my nose
guided by disjointed memory:
13 years now of
when was I at this place,
with which beer
or which coffee
or which margarita afternoon
and with who?
my past Siem Reap tour companions,
I wish you well
so far down the line

the surface is like a lined,
lived-in face;
outward signs of
an inward struggle

folk still mill around the food vendors
sprinkle through the mobile coffee stalls
but deep in the market it’s cold and still

Cambodia, it appears,
continues to take its beatings
with a shrug and a shy smile,
consoled by family
and endless snacking
for those with a couple of thousand riel in hand

but surely I project –
I really know so little of how it all works,
with my dozen phrases and
ability to count as far as 20
as I continue to hope to find
the half of one percents
that might contribute
day by day
to my chosen Cambodian families

so it’s another day of staring into the future
with hopeful heart despite,
remembering that one day
this day will be
one of the memories
that I will recall

with beginner mind

July 29, 2020

to arrive at the start
with beginner mind
with kitten eyes
and puppy paws

at the water’s edge
feet bare in wet sand
and smooth waves testing
and retesting their mark

misplaced time now recovered
and laid open for view
see how it sparkles
on the water

step by step
with beginner mind
carried like reading glasses
to be used where appropriate
to avoid freezing and cramps