Monday, May 11, 2009


What a cusp world
The brink, each moment
That laps
That you, yes, you
Will step out
Knarled, shining, mundanity
Of traffic and flies
And planes
Will you see this city?
Will you see the sweat
Soaked vest I ges
Of the Cuban heel?
Will you slice calamari
And dab ink
On your face
And curl a grin in the mirror
Will you see bits of me?
Will the earth still hold you?
Or roughen?Or close in?
It will pain you
So feel the bark
And know that though growth
Be set
Nurture unnoticed
And strive for light
Raise your chin you
Raise your chin
And know that onceI thought of you
nowI throw you up
And blink
So I’ve caught you
In time
And will catch You
and fill this
For you

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Very Small Story of Ali B38

Let me tell you the very small story of Ali B38. I’m in Place de L’independence looking for a cashpoint. I think I know which corner there is one. We stopped there last night on the way to see Corrine. Ben bought melons on the corner, he paid too much, unhappy.
A man passes me – coal, his teeth even, the white tips fighting the mange. Late forties? Fifties? Who can tell – I have not lived his life and made his face. He is clean, shirt and slacks.
He turns and speaks – francaise –
je parle anglaise, I say.
Ah, he says, I know you from the hotel lobby, you know me? It is Ali, you come, where you go? Where you from? The lobby.
Ah bien, I say. Never seen him before – the blag – I know this one. I smile, Londres, I leave today, I go visa, ca va, ca va. He holds out his hand to shake – I do – he does not let go. I walk, he walks, holding my hand with small talk. He says he shows me visa. I smile and go with him.
He is right, he shows me visa, we saunter across Le Place. At the bank door, I say merci bien, au revoir, merci, relieved as he does not follow me through into the lobby.
I withdraw CFA 30,000, enough for today, I need presents, the airport and in reserve. I leave the bank. He is sitting on a bollard outside waiting. Oh well. We shake hands again.
Bon, he says, you married man?
Non, I say and with a small grin, girlfriend, j’habite….I bring my hands together. He reaches into his pocket and takes out a shell on a cord of thin ratty leather.
For her, he says. Merci bien, I say dipping my head, and again, thank you, and I pat his shoulder, bien, merci.
I am married, he says, have childs, my child one year, today, l’anniversaire, we have goat, he draws his hand across his throat, the blood, we give then name, baptisme? Oui we have blood and goat for name.
Bien, I say, magnifique.
I wonder where this is leading and wonder whether to give him money for the shell, I begin calculating in my head, I only have big notes, how much have I got, how much do I need? The 5 Euro note left over from buying Drum in Brussels? Will he leave me be?
For your girlfriend, he says, and digs into his pocket again and gives me a string of black lead-like beads. You know? Obsidian, is good.
Merci, I say. He looks around.
Put in your pocket, he says and pats my leg. For you, he motions to the shell, for your girlfriend, he says folding my hands over the beads, for her, put in your pocket.
This is getting out of hand, I think. He pulls out a handful of pink paper wraps.
Gold from the mines, he says, for your girlfriend. He opens up a wrap, two gold coloured earrings.
Put in your pockets, he says. I do. What do I do now? Give him money? I put my hand in my front pocket, cupping my wallet. What do I do now? We are beginning to attract company. A man holding a tray of perfumes and scent, grinning and nodding. I recognise Kouros and remember as a teenager how desirable it was. Now Ali, we stand grinning at each other. I pat his shoulder again, wondering how we are going to do this.
He says, you help, the goat, we cut blood for the childs, you help with the goat, to buy goat?
Ah oui, I say, of course.
The man with the Kouros grins at me and offers up his tray.
Non merci, no monsieur, I say smiling.
I open my wallet. I think, I have my stock of CFA for today. I pull out my last pounds, a ten pound note. I fold it into his hand patting his shoulder.
British pounds, I say, for the goat. He has the note.
Francs, but francs, he says and shakes his head, I need to buy goat for the blood, baptisme today, I need to buy today, not pounds, francs, I give you my number, stylo, you have stylo.
I say, you have pounds ok, ca va, ok. I pat his shoulder. He shifts.
Francs, he says, I need to buy goat, francs today. I am standing with my wallet open.
Ok ok.
I pull out 10,000 francs. He takes it quick.
The pounds? I say. He holds the francs, down, away. The ten pound note is gone.
I have pounds back, I say, give me the pounds. He keeps smiling. I motion to the francs.
I give you francs, you give me the pounds.
Ah, he says smiling, oui, le francs merci, non pounds, francs for goat.
Oui, I say, the pounds? I hold out my hand. He shakes it.
We begin to laugh together holding hands. We know that I will not get the pounds. We know the deal has been done, We know he has by far the best of it, of this that is, I have given him much.
Ok, I say grinning, ok ca va. We grin.
He insists on giving me his number, I give him a pen even though we are done. Why? For pride? To restore my pride? To keep his? To say you have pride, here is my number.
I am Ali, you see.

526 . 711 40

He gives me back the pen. His number scratched weakly on a scrap of paper in his palm.
Au revoir, bien, bien, Ali, bien.
I turn back and go into the cashpoint. I will need more money now. He is not there when I come out. In my pocket, the shell on a string, the beads, the earrings wrapped in pink paper. I have his number. And I have this very small story from Ali B38.

Dakar, Feb 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Little Children, Little Hands

To the first, barefoot, beside me
No words, just the little hand,
The local coin, put in his palm, I feel his fingers close
It is all his hand can hold, so small, his hand.

The second, my English change
A little silver, coppers, a few pennies
In his little hand.

That’s it, no more, no more
Non, non,
The pocket, the wallet, the notes
The lie
Non, no more.

Dakar Feb 07

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Man From Togo

I don’t want money,
I come for work,
From Togo,
I am here months,
Don’t give me money,
Here is my insulin, my prescription, my syringe,
I show you,
Don’t give me money, no,
Come to the pharmacy,
Please, please, I show you,
Insulin, I inject in front of you,
I will wait, outside, you get money, from hotel,
I don’t want money,
Here is my prescription I show you,
Just this, please, no, just this,
I am diabetic coma see,
I have this, see sugar,
I don’t want your money,
No money, please, I wait outside,
You go, come back, I show you needle,
In front of you,
Please, no, please,
I will die, I die,
No money,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Vengeful History of Gulliver Foyle

The following exert was discovered in a red book that seemed to have been purchased for the purpose. These are the words found in it. It was accompanied by a till receipt for 'A Pilgrims Song' by Dearmer, G upon the back of which was scrawled the following epithet:

'The purpose and dedication of a man's life can make itself clear when faced with the prospect of marriage.'

This is a depressing thought

That I will not be quietened till I discover the meaning of life......
The magnitude of the soul
To understand and accept destiny
to believe in destiny; fate; faith all spring

from fundamental believe

my disquietitude is of this

my fundamental belief

I ask myself what is true
but I only question the truth
- in the end

I am fundamentally unsure
that the meaning of life is in the surety

I have been convinced by academic argument
I am convinced everytime
those I refine and use again - forsaking old stances
mutating in vogue
till I am reconvinced

Only pain is real; elation is the misery of the sweet chord
the primordial elusive riff
it fails in repetition and pales in imitation

Dope exemplifies
my droop eyes
fear of a direct gaze


A disgrace to my consciousness
unable to actually THINK about anything
not Ostrich way

try - say consider this
I blank - I fraid

see this artifice

a 1/2 inch between beasts
forget the psychotic killer; the inconsequential godhead
the ripper pales
it is the mob that murders

I am brimming
but brine;
liquidless - my conscious mind
I am not conscious of
my tongue

not confused, not......

just numb

with an increase of visual acuity




Friday, January 19, 2007

A Moon Cut Like A Sickle

Freud and the Officious Fool

As a clown, I offered her a bowl of cherries,
not flat (like a mirror) or a painted smile portrayed.
She put on her glasses and perused what I’d given her.

What a laugh she gave - incisor, not inside her,
It would never be inside her.
The bowl’s glazed age, hard hairline and fractured,
made such a withered vessel, a rotten bough, petaless - but the fruit, ah!

She ate them all, all, sweet tempting Eve
as I watched salivating, keen and dog-eyed.

She ate them all, all and licked her lips,
savouring the saviour, and the juice on her fingertips.

She ate them all, all and sucked the flesh from the bones,then chewed the marrow and spat out the stones -they cracked at the bowl, bare and wet.

She ate them all, all, as I watched her
and hungered, a half handsome xylophone me.

She returned the bowl a skeletal wreck,
With a painted satiate smile,
Then dismissed me, clowned me, that Marie Celeste.
A jape, a jaded sweating mask am I,
She a liquid fairy, who cuts the grease-paint squeak:
And washed her hands of me.

No Fides she , the all,
Drunk from the grail so empty.

I will pass my hand through her,
And taste the space of her form,
the very atom of her being.
My hand for eons in her ions,
and grasp her frigid nucleus,
take the jolt, the essence of her Gaia,
and tear it out.
Leave her a negative, a nothing,
electric and dead;
Like a dog, this sentience I possess, is nothing.

Where is he going?

Where is he going
To die
To meet his destiny
His Armageddon
His image
His medusa
His valhala
His golden moment
His virility
His last stand
His final wish
The epitome of his reading
His holy place
His nobility
His fulfillness
His satori
The product of enlightenment
The knowing crust
The X, the christening
The moment of self love
Peace and confidence
Rest in mind
But filled with such afloatness
That all is just a sucked in expansion

It is the meaning of the spirit
And its moment
Its one action, rebellion or noblesse
A transendation
That carves a mark
A graffiti
In its brightness to know life.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cauldron Born

a potters field
bought by the blisters toil
in mana egg
we of the bloodied hands
lie furrowed fallow
and hung from trees imperial crows
ahunched and dim in ash and grey

in the old reams
adrift in warmest time and tide
by the side of a kurgan river
we crouch
dilated under
our wollen mats
and regally

Exhaiku 4

Rely not on nails
the fingering of wounds

Exhaiku 3

in the presence of charlotte
you will retreat and humbly
throw yourself at her feet

Exhaiku 2

A lone duck skates
treacherously late
my bag is empty

Exhaiku 1

do you feel the cold?
my bottles empty
sweat on a girl’s neck

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


What drove her drover
Pines at the ghosts of dogs
And won't eat meat because of it

The future just a miniscus away
past caught foot drift
and spin of a fallen skater

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mutton Food

Lounging on the grassy mound
Dung-bespattered blankly gazing
turns a ponderous profile
nonchalantly dismissed
and crops the daffodils from the vase
such a grave desecration
to scrape it’s moldering flanks
against the stone
relieving the itch of life

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Sun Goes Down On Dal Lake

A carved boat, fading majestically
Warps into the water
With wooden steps an usher to the depths
The cold richness of Kashmir
A machine gun in a rug

The call to prayers
Falls tinnily on more sonerous

Laps lapse
And the furze of the mountains
Sets spots of dying sun
Against the clouds
A throwing up of light from the
Desperate earth
The sun goes down on Dal Lake

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brick Lane Market

a boy-child sits on the curb
in the rain
tearing the gutters with soggy
books breaking spines smiling
and his knees

hug me tight
give me a hand to hold
softly scold at quietness
fickle political
smoked up in pool of draining mind
do I think her fat?
no - squeeze
do you want me to go?
don’t start flat heart
peach she

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Slough

The itching returns
no inner ear wasp scuttle
no sudden moistness - a colony of mites
shifting to parascopic the rythmns
of the wind in the door
no flush of wringing spider legs
digging little claws
the scrub of sand on tender groin
the tangled pubic husbands
in the corner of the floor
the clonking broom
can't net them all

Who can happily decompose
the small nicities of existance
the cluster form of scruf strands
bristled clinging back wards drift
and form into a settled niche
digging deeper into skirts
and the cracks in the continuance

the sharpened marrow
whistles, wings
him down
rings catching
wrenches his breath away
plunging with his thumb
until the top-soil muds
up his draining
being - without her
is often not as bad
as with her

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The weed humped rasta naps along the tide
the dreaded turk who watches from the shore
shredding the tapes
Stakes - no photographs - perched lazily out
on the gate-iron
a dusty snow-drop with a gun
not even kicking boots
peering out from under his metal bowl
in the shade

pattering at the sugar
keeping sweet
boiled bored
under his metal bowl

Past so much unseen (of hills)
this, this little piece of turf

Where is god
nodding leaves loves doves
paired on the wire
strung from sky to

sky a split mounting dome
the sun‘s bed
a burning rash - the gummed tooth
ditdah across the earth, the verse
the burning smoke
that none can smell but
the smoker

He sits spitting; salty grit from a
frecked face
tanine free melonin pip
stretch stiff back kidney stoned

Smudged out
fingerbrushed orange
like a setting manicure
the soft flurry of dusk
approaches all afluster
the chitons
rasp their own peculiarity
and usher the stars slowly
over joy

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Last Mango in Multan

It's that May that’s stretched out
at the core of the mango
like an orgasm
on the roof, small storms of instant dust
eddies of life's mutter,
(and you know only ed stands between
cool and fool)
you sucking the mango
the sun sucking you
the feral kitten sucking at the cat
mouth all gummed up with sweet leaf
and lassi
trying on hat after hat
until your ears stick out
there is no rose, for it is to hot
so there are no thorns, no worm in crimson joy
the only blood on the sheets.
For in Multan, there is only we - are - family
no I, no me
the guest a blessing from god.
Lahore Lahore is
the boys in greasy Mo's
eating meat from the feet
with hand and nan
five men and a boy, jammed in a car
sweating until it pours from the leather
Imran with tears on his cheeks
head bowed
down on his chin and lip
his heavy lids droop
and flutter
as if they bow to pray at Mecca
Big Ali in the front, always
and who could say without shame
its my turn?
Zaeem, zoom, hand on horn
effusive and cock-sure-ly-not
"Simpson, Simpson, this is the road to India."
"Hanji, Amritsar?"
"Hanji, get your gun!"
Mehboob laughing high, like a child
grasping the head rest with both hands
and you, red faced, waiting
to get out,
but knowing no amount of wishing would do it.
six - was it not six?
No, No I
For in Multan there is no I
only the tragedy of the bent nail
not for Mahsoud - no - a tyre can be reflated
but for the horse that threw it!
For in Multan there is no want
who knows the lost consequence of a puncture
you curled in the back seat
a rest in pain
head on lap pillow kameez
wishing you ease,
but knowing it does no good
shielding your eyes from the light,
the light
teekha, teekha, just go with it
curled like smoke around a tuk tuk
every breath a life
every life closer, come closer
until I eat cake, while you eat the dirt of your grave
Sleep comes only
to the lullaby of a beating heart
another's otherness
like that moment you look at a friend
and see them new again
and see that you know them not -
but a little more - just -
a little more.
ah, the mango ripens
sealed in boxes
not opened for weeks
not seen
not tasted
until green becomes a flaming orange
and the juice drips
like hospital fluid
straight to the vein, and to the heart
ease at last
comes only when you let go
teekha, teekha
you are in control
when you are not in control.
We know that always always
every stuff of life
and unlife,
and built again
oh, bit to feel it!
all as whole
compressed and black
crushed until it can crush no more
crushed by its own expansion
because it cannot go on forever
can it?
Sweat will dry, and salt remain
to know is not enough!
You must have faith!
When you let go of what you know
of reality, of rock
solid atomic nature
Remember that
the best lives are lived beyond us
the best lives are lived around us
the best lives are lived between us
the best lives are living in us
with you - and she
For in Multan there is no me
is the last mango in Multan
she with thee
thee with she