Not Moving On — Part I (mainly painly)

(verses around the subject of devotion)
musings on and around love, loss and relationships based on observations as well as my own experience and meditations ~
beware not to assume everything is directly related to me or any particular person — though obviously a few will be!

(to Gades)

(finished off 6/12/15)

Haiku Test
Tending the Seed Beds
Slight Variation I (apologies to the Reid Twins)
Dichotomy I & II
every cake you bake
soul weevils
Personal Column (3 pomes)
Invisible elephants
To Absent Friends
Last Rights
Slight Variation II (sorry Smokey)
Paradox in Sonata Form
Suicidal Sonnet
What is this thing we (now) call love?
Silly song: You Broke my Heart in so many Places
Five Years On: Anniverses
wot if
short thorts
Quoth the Raven
Residual Dipolar Coupling (I Fucking Hate Xmas, Me & Love Letters)
I Don't Remember
On Hampstead Heath (after Hardy)
Love Leaks
and we all have our rituals
passages of time
She needs more songs
Dusty Springfield Syndrome
Unusual suspects
Unwanted Anniversary
The Wrong Side of Paradise
Site Specific Sonnet
Do You Still Have My Key?
His ex-mistress's retort
Café Society
Rozu Haiku
Simplistic Questions
I will not kill myself at Christmastide (x2)
Look at it this way …
Sonnet 28
Dear Diary …
Wake-up Call
Picture of You Haiku
Hindsight Sonnet
First Date
Contrast and Compare
A Birthday Rhapsody
Curriculum Vitae
Not Moving On

Haiku Test

For me, to move on
from the top of the mountain
is to go downhill



Consider the guy she leaves you for, or the chap
she takes up with later: what if he seems crap
at everything that she once praised in you, yet now
she sings those selfsame praises louder over him? How
can this be? Were he quite unlike you, you'd say, "it's shit,
but something in her wants a change, or maybe it
is simply true that I am not the type she really needs;
at least, not now"; and, though your heart still bleeds,
and every thought insists it's her mistake, at least
your ego's only slightly bruised. But feast
your eyes on this buffoon's appearance, hear the weak
attempts at wit or intellectual utterance this freak
so entertains her with. OK, Gertrude's poor husband died,
yet even he was pained beyond the grave. It's not just pride
that's hurt, but that it leaves one nagging thought: were you as fake
and posturing a nincompoop as he? Is her mistake
a rerun of the one she made before? Or can you cling
to that self-confidence she made you feel when she would sing
your praises to the very skies? Is it just, on your part,
jealousy? Or is she so easily impressed, her heart
can override her common sense? Can you find excuses,
reasons even, for new delusions in old abuses,
that do not cast a shadow over you, but let you flatter
yourself that you are Hyperion, he the satyr?



I threw my dolly out the pram;
it hit the neighbours' cat,
which ran straight back to old Siam —
I wasn't proud of that.

The older kids all called me names
on my first day at school.
I burned the gym down during games —
I felt a proper fool

One day my boss came down on me
about some misplaced fraction;
so I blew up the factory —
a slight over-reaction?

I got quite ratty playing chess,
each time I lost a game;
I left my foes a bloody mess,
to my eternal shame.

If years spent with this stupid man
have made your life so tough,
I don't know how I ever can
apologise enough



Leaving someone who
truly loves you
is never a single
of a sharp and
slender knife

   (no threat to life)

It's a stroke repeated
every single day
till you return;
the point is jaggéd,
barbed, and each blow
leaves another gash

    (see how they thrash)

Most learn to live
with it, of course;
for some the
pain recedes,
and even comes to
seem a valued stage

   (another page)

along the way
to better things.
But always scars
remain on both
sides. And only by
ending the attack

   (and going back)

can the wounds
be truly closed —
and the callouses
healed on
the hand that
wields the blade.


Tending the Seed Beds

The packets come without instructions
but you assume some variant of 'plant' and 'water'.
A certain type of soil might be preferred,
but on the whole you work with what's at hand,
trusting the soil and sunlight to provide;
trusting your instincts as to depth and space;
trusting above all in nature's mystery —
"the force that through the green fuse drives the flower".
Would that we all had greener fingers than we do.


Slight Variation I
(from Bollocks in Bruntsfield by The Disclaimers)

When I wake up
Then I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the guy that wakes up by himself
And if I haver,
Then I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the guy that's talking to himself
If I go out
Then I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna shit myself I might bump into you
And if I get drunk
Then I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the guy that gets drunk over you

And I would walk about two miles
And I'd walk two miles back again
Just to be the guy that went back home
Cause you pretended you weren't in



miguel said and at first it sounds quite clever
if all our lives amount to is but dust
the onus is on each of us forever
to live to show that fate to be unjust

the nihilist in me finds this amusing
the old familiar existential fudge
staring at the emptiness but choosing
some arbitrary base from which to judge

and yet perhaps it has an application
within the limits of our mortal span
a way of looking at our situation
when lives look like they're going down the pan

and so i am determined please believe me
on living out my life to make it plain
that you were bloody daft back then to leave me
and dafter still to not come back again


ref. Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (1864–1936)

Dichotomy I (haiku)

I don't go out much
sad knowing you won't be there
scared that you might be


Dichotomy II

To be honest, I'd rather be dead
than go on existing like this
but it isn't the hope
(for there is no more hope)
of a joyful reunion that keeps
me clinging to this poor excuse
for a life. No; odd as it seems,
it's love.

And not only love that demands,
for the sake of the one I adore,
a permanent stand-by, lest she
should ever want anything from me
(she will never want anything more)
but a love that in some obscure way
informs my existence and gladdens
my heart.

I have learned that even a broken heart
can be filled with devotion and joy; though
not a joy that brings much happiness
(there can be no more true happiness)
but a warmth which will carry me through
for as long as it takes to arrive at
( oh, how badly I want to arrive at)
the end.


every cake you bake

The stalker does the lover no favours;
while devotion once was praised in poetry,
it now looks dangerously like psychosis.
We condemn (mostly) men for their fear,
their shying away from commitment,
and deprecate their callous selfishness;

and yet (and not without reason) we decry
nutters who will not let a lover go,
whose desperate 'love' drives them to violence.
But love is now an inward-turning thing,
with its frustrations found in lack of payback,
and not in lack of gain for the beloved.

Being there for someone doesn't mean
lurking about their home or myspace page
or hanging round the places they might go.
It may mean keeping such a perfect distance
that (painful as it is) one never knows
a single thing that happens in their life:

a kind of 'anti-stalking' if you like;
them living on but in your thoughts alone
and in sweet memories of times you shared.
They won't, ideally, know that you still care;
given that their view of this may be so
jaundiced, thanks to all those crazy fuckers

But maybe one day you'll meet up again,
and then the love that you've been keeping warm
will blossom as a simple consequence
of that which drew you close initially,
and in which you at least have kept true faith.
And if it doesn't, still you're there for them.

True devotion is content with friendship
true devotion doesn't even need that;
if the loved one fears nuisance or pity
the true lover withdraws with a sigh
However it appears, it isn't a matter
of waiting. Do mountains 'wait' for climbers?


soul weevils

the trouble is
they burrow deep —
you think it's all
behind you —
but they keep breeding
while you sleep —
and waiting
to remind you



i think i should explain

my subject is love
and the joys of love

but to speak of the joys
is not to ignore
(i must not ignore)
the pain and the loneliness
the dangers
(to all concerned)
the heartaches
(on both sides)
the illusions
(that seem so real)
and thus the risks

at times there may
be no happiness

at times it may
seem pointless

(too hard to
carry on too
easy to reach for
that bare bodkin)

so think not
that i'm being
too negative
think not that
this is just a
catalogue of woe

don't ask oh
where is this joy
of which you speak

i'm coming to that …


Personal Column

1. St Peter's Syndrome

And when, finally, the cock crows,
you know what it will say:
"You had no need to hide it —
they all knew it anyway."

Then you'll think of all the things you've missed
or sacrificed to pride.
It's not just some cheap betrayal —
it's yourself that you've denied.


2. Slipping beauty

Tonight is Aurora's party
but with all the rôles reversed ~
the good spirit is uninvited,
the Princess by herself is cursed


3. the irreperable irreparable

hiatus — that's a lovely word
as nice as any I have heard
it holds a tad more hope in store
than (quoth the lover), 'nevermore!'


Invisible elephants

Are there any in the room
right now?
Is there something
something whereof you
feel you cannot
cannot speak to me?
Do you perhaps
feel there is something
something of which
I am not speaking?

I know of nothing
nothing after all
this time and yet
I feel the presence
when we speak
or write
(or I write and you
do not respond)
of something large
and grey
and heavy


in the sticky
air between us.


To Absent Friends
(fantasy ~ sadly? ~ for a fellow sufferer)

We make love on a rug by a roaring fire
   on a country cottage floor,
where ~ briefly ~ time is forgotten
   and sorrow dismissed as a bore.
And though in your body I revel,
   as we reach our voluptuous peak,
it isn't my name that you tenderly moan;
   it isn't your love that I seek.

 And somewhere Johnny
 and somewhere Jill ~
  loving and laughing and partying still ~
   are living their lives, to which we're incidental,
    as into the night we go, raging but gentle

 If you still can't be with the one that you love
  try to love, then, the one that you're with.
Do as the fancy might take you
   and hope that the years may forgive
the follies that we are all prey to
  in this crazy pursuit of delight;
the desperate tricks that we turn to,
   to fill in one more empty night.

And somewhere Johnny
 and somewhere Jill ~
   while we make the most of each fugitive thrill ~
   are perhaps each alone in a cold city bed,
    and it seems not so bad to have you here instead.

So if living our lives in the moment
   is sufficient enough for the day,
then our long, patient wait for our dreams to come true
  can perhaps stand a bit more delay.
While there's pleasure in poignant distraction,
  and some joy mingled in with our sighs,
give a berth to this poor, storm-tossed seaman ~
  let me shipwreck once more in your thighs!

And somewhere Johnny
  and somewhere Jill
   can do whatever the hell they will ~
   away from our licking and fucking and kissing ~
    the poor sods don't know what they're bloody well missing!


Last Rights

Knowing I will die alone
is sad enough
(maybe by my own hand too ~
no worries there)
but, lacking a faith, there is
some slight envy
for those who can call on priests
to mark their end;
some final rite of passage,
knowing someone's
there. I know this cannot be
but how I wish
I could be holding your hand
now, and dying
peacefully, putting an end
to all the pain;
and in the joy of undiminished
love, letting me
face death, not as something sad.

We share a smile
and, looking into your eyes,
I slip away


Slight Variation II

Now if there's a smile on my face
it's just a rictus grin of anguish
but if it makes folks think I'm fine
I say in no uncertain language

Don't let my clownish actions
disguise my hidden passions
Cos I'm a twit
oh, a stupid old twit
doesn't mean that I don't feel like shit
like a fool I pretend I'm still fit …

There’s no point in trying to swim
When I feel like I could drown.
Tears of a clown
   when there’s no one around



Love doesn't hurt.

I get around suggestions that it does
by redefining things that cause us pain
as something other.
                                     No one dies of AIDS
but rather of diseases H.I.V.
can make us far more likely to contract.

Love makes us more susceptible to things
which cause us pain and suffering, perhaps.
It's not a great analogy, agreed:
auto immune deficiencies aren't known
to bring too many benefits.
                                                So say:
what is it that makes life unbearable
in the absence of a loved one, or else at
the receiving end of their indifference
or even hatred?
                             That's our own desire
for happiness or comfort or cheap thrills.
What's that to do with love? Except perhaps
that love says ——get it here and only here,
——accept no substitute, ——this is 'the one'
Desire alone says ——get it where you can
——if they won't come up with the goods
——blame and deride and kick out at them.

To me love just says ——make this person happy
as best you can, and if you can't, withdraw——
I won't deny it brings some friends along
who shout out quite unhelpful comments, like
——Get in there, my son! Give 'er one for me!


Paradox in Sonata Form

Some women like a fellow who’s prepared to show emotion —
Who’s sensitive and has a caring side.
A few are quite impressed by my continuing devotion
(Though others think it’s something to deride).
While most are quite content to make a sympathetic noise
(And some no doubt decide that I’m a prat),
A good few start comparing me with all their other boys
And think, ‘I wouldn’t mind a man like that’.
So a word to all the ladies who think they’re in with a shout
(‘It’s a change to meet a guy that’s so romantic’)
It’s almost with a heavy heart I have to point out
(And even though I hate to be pedantic)
That it wouldn’t say a lot for my unwavering affection
If it’s possible for you to turn it in a new direction!

March 2011

Suicidal Sonnet (Sonnet XXXI)

There's little doubt that I will end it all
One day, when all this torment proves too great,
And finding mood and place and wherewithal
Conspire to tell me I'm a fool to wait.
My greatest fear is failing in the deed:
To wake with nurses fussing round my bed,
Who'll say, "he never wanted to succeed";
Attention-seeking ploy, the words I dread.

But thoughts of leaving you most stay my hand,
Not that you'd give a monkey's either way.
You'll never need my love — I understand —
And yet my love insists that I must stay.
How could I call myself your one true friend,
Abandoning you, just to speed my end?


What is this thing we (now) call love?

What is this thing we now call love
in this modern age of ours?
It has little relation to what I feel:
less a storm than scattered showers


Silly song: You broke my heart in so many places

You broke my heart oh so often
It started back when we were kids in school
It seemed I never learned my lesson
I kept coming back for more just like a fool

You broke my heart in many pieces
Don't think I'll ever put it back again
There is no glue available to fix it
No sticky tape can take that kind of strain

       But you can't make an omelette
       If you're scared of breaking eggs
       You broke my heart so easily
       But not my arms or legs

You broke my heart in many places
And finally it gets to be a bore
You broke my heart in so many places
I just don't go to those places any more



These things are the same:
Exchange & Mart, ice-cream,
a nest of tables
Great expeditions, moles,
affairs of state

These things are different:
Perpignan, Colette,
the perfect sky
Expulsion, celandine,
and the warmth of shale

But neither here nor there:
the broken heart, the song of birds,
the death of hope
A pennant unexpected,
fluttering in the still air


Five Years On: Anniverses

If I had a bone to pick with Billy Shakespeare
It would centre on his play A Winter’s Tale,
Where jealous and possessive paranoia
Drives poor Leontes to an epic fail.

Then for sixteen years he lives with guilt and sorrow
Believing his Hermione died of woe
And the kid he’d thought born of his mate’s betrayal
Was put to death — but little does he know …

So he’s lost a son, he thought he’d killed a daughter —
As king he can’t have been a great success.
A decade and a half of bleak depression
Can leave the finest mind a sorry mess.

And I always felt, on reaching the dénouement,
When wifey is revealed, alive, at last,
That even if I was both pleased and humbled —
I’d want to massacre the whole damn cast!

‘Cause, however bloody ‘noble’ their intentions,
They’ve stolen times that will not come again;
Deprived the guy of comforts, not to mention
Some sixteen years of shagging down the drain.

Yes, I know it’s just a play, I know it’s different;
I know the whole damn thing’s a metaphor;
I know that you’re alive and just don’t love me,
But that all makes our lost time a bigger bore.

Well, a mere five years of loneliness I’ve suffered
Of missing out on all those things we’d planned
But maybe I just haven’t learned my lesson —
In ten more years perhaps I’ll understand


wot if

 if the love of your life
 never really loved you
(cos they never
 really knew you)
 and then one day
 they suddenly did
(know you)
 would they then?


short thorts


for every
  just move on
another says
  hang in there
    love never
    really dies


even when
is impossible
is variable.


I hate ann widdecombe but …

¿what if ann widdecombe
wanted me badly
as I miss you
cried herself to sleep
each and every?

¿what difference
she never met me
let alone lived with?
irrational pain is
nonetheless pain

¿if I rejected
would that make me
a bad person
would any blame
for it at all?

of course they wouldn’t
¿why then should
anyone blame you?
all the same
I’m that bloody soft …

I'll be right there, ann …


staying in love
  with love
  is falling for ever
staying devoted
  to someone
  is not done by choice
like Luther
  I can do no other
  here I stand —
  or rather
  here I lie


Quoth the Raven

Statistics bear me out:
more single people —
independence, sure;
not taking crap, ok;
but far more loneliness
reported, claimed;
far more regrets
and wonderings —
should I have stayed with
number one
(or number six)?
Leaving for variety,
or from boredom
or at some glitch;
running from problems
(rather than fixing)
to other problems
(same old same old) —
because it's just
the done thing now.
So many left asking
that same question
that I hope
you never will.

And yet for us two
this cannot apply —
if it be true
we only want
that which we cannot have —
only regret a loss
when lost for ever,
then you’re quite safe.
My love for you
is guaranteed
as long as
I draw breath.
To comprehend both fact
and magnitude
of soulmate loss
can crush a lonely heart;
but thanks
(we must give thanks)
to that perversity
that lurks within
the human soul
we can be sure
(or pretty sure)
you never will


Residual Dipolar Coupling

1. I Fucking Hate Christmas, Me (to Zoe)

You wi' your sorning Mither
And me with me moanin' owd Dad;
Kin we don't choose, but can hardly refuse —
It's enough to drive anyone mad

Though you're in the heart o' Auld Reekie
And I'm stuck in Nott'n'm town,
Whether near or apart, I've no place in your heart —
Either way I'd be feeling well down.

'Tis a popular season for ending it all
For all men who find no peace on earth
And Hogmanay Eve is a fine time to grieve —
Blues seem deeper surrounded by mirth.

I'd rather be under my duvet
Than counting down time in this bar —
I'd rather be dead with a spike through my head
If I can't be wherever you are.


2. Love Letters (to everyone)

Your soulmate’s gone and left you all alone
And smashed to smithereens your heart of glass;
Your love lies bleeding on a slab of stone
You snap at those who tell you, “This will pass.”
You’re in no mood to mind your Ps and Qs:
Why bother, when you’ve nothing left to lose?

Before you start to turn your pain to hate
Or nurse dark thoughts involving pills or rope,
If you ever really loved your erstwhile mate
May I point out a gleaming ray of hope?
My message is as plain as A B C,
So dry your tears and listen now to me.

Love is important only ‘cause you give it:
What can’t survive rejection can’t be true.
Love is life, so go and bloody live it,
And show in everything you say and do
To every street in every A to Z
Love grows in strength, the further it gets spread.

So just hang in there, all you love-lorn swains;
Let goodwill quench the fiercest flames of hell.
The fire of loss is swamped by True Love’s gains,
So join your voices with me while we tell
Of how they brought the news from X to Y
That Love is fine and never has to die.


I Don't Remember

We must have walked together, you and I,
By streams with flowers clustered on their banks;
Made love on bluebell carpets on the Downs
Or dined at village inns on steak and chips.

Perhaps we travelled far by aeroplane,
Explored exotic cities, ate strange foods,
Shared rare adventures, mixed with crazy folk;
Returning, tired but happy to our bed.

But if we did it's gone, and all that's left
Is wild surmise, assumptions, vague ideas
Of what companions do when they're in love
For, with that love, true recollection dies.


On Hampstead Heath (after Hardy at Castle Boterel)

As I walk up the hill from the ponds for boating
  And the drizzle bedampens my threadbare shirt
I look back down through the twilight’s gloating
  And see on its slope, now mired with dirt
      Through eyes that hurt

Myself and a girlish form together
  On a drier day. We climb the lane
And reach a bench. We sit, though whether
  For love or easing of footsore pain
      I can’t explain.

What we said as we climbed or what we were thinking
  Matters not much, nor the sex in the trees;
And whether ‘twas coffee or wine we’d been drinking
  Outside Café Mozart is lost on the breeze.
      Like my mud-stained knees,

It’s been scrubbed clean by time and love’s forgetting,
  And all that remains is the thought it was nice
And should never have ended. But no point in fretting
  Or letting the value be marred by the price.
      Take the wise man’s advice,

And try not to weep that the good times are ended
  But smile at the knowledge that great times were had.
They might have gone sour had their days been extended:
  Just tell yourself this, and try to be glad,
      And not to go mad.

Now to me, though my love has grown bigger,
  Her heart is turned cold as a stone;
So the sun sets now on a solit’ry figure
  Who gazes, sad, at his unringing phone,
      And stands there alone.

“Hampstead Heath”, as it tells us on Wikipedia,
  “Rests on a deep band of London Clay,
“Is rambling and hilly;” but none of the media
  Refers whatsoever to that long-lost day
      When we two passed that way.

But I look and see us there, fading, fading.
  I look back at it through the rain,
Not minding if folks find my tears degrading
  For I shall never be halfway sane
      Ever again.


Love Leaks

love leaks out of a broken heart
but rebounds to the sufferer's credit
if instead of letting it trickle away
you collect it and grow it and spread it


and we all have our rituals

Each night, and just
before I go to bed,
I check not only
that the door is locked
but also that the key
has been removed.

It’s just in case
you still have yours,
and (though I don’t believe
you ever will) one night
you feel an overwhelming
need to creep back in,
just like you did back then
when love was young
and oh so tentative


passages of time

you have now been gone
six years

you have now been gone
twice as long as you were with me

you have now been gone
for just one night

you have now been gone
for ever



The sign says:
'Insufficient Funds'. My day
is never quite as long as yours
is fake. Without a set
of clear instructions, you
are blocked at every turn, while I
cling to a few cold certainties
called Love.


She needs more songs

She needs more songs. I know
that now. Special people should
be hymned incessantly.

So let us celebrate
a life, not deprecate
a loss, nor whinge about
what should have been.

Cos every little thing I do,
however disguised, is no more
nor less than a song of love.


Dusty Springfield Syndrome

After she left, she moved in with some guys
students of films and movie-making;
but none of them knew anything not made
in Hollywood, not in full colour, not made before
the Seventies. Big screen blockbusters only. Tarentino,
but not what Tarantino referenced. And I’d introduced her
to Bergmann, Welles and Kurosawa. Filmhouse and Cameo
continued our joint education, broadened horizons still
further. Our Charulata dvd remains unwatched. Now
going to the movies
only makes me sad.


Unusual suspects

I have told a number of stories.
Most of them, at least in part
are true. A good many straight
from the heart. But cannot say
how many were for you.

All identities, existing or imagined,
they merge and shift in writing
as in fact. Uncertainty itself
is quite exciting. And love is all
the better for being inexact.


Unwanted Anniversary

"Hope you realise I'm glad to have
"you in my life. You mean a lot
to me." Then five days later no more
texts, no mails, no coffee meetings;
no apparent, much less stated, reason
for the sudden silence. Erased my birthday
facebook greeting (another ex's 'liked');
pre-emptively repulsed, with steely glare
of noli me alloque, by Armchair Books;
then nothing more. Now one whole year
has passed in silence, but for one brief
condolatory text on Father's death.

Perhaps I understand. New friends, new
job – perhaps, new lover; wanting no
embarrassment or awkwardness from some
old git she'd rather not have loved
and flusters to excuse. I only hope
it's helped her find her happiness.
That means a lot to me.

April 25 2013

The Wrong Side of Paradise

When Scott was after Zelda —
the one that nearly got away —
getting published seemed to do

the trick. We glittered too —
albeit on a slightly less
grand scale — and could yet be

the toast of gay Paree, if only
I could likewise lure you back
with literary chevisance.

Like Gatsby I would build
a mansion up on Viewforth
just to see your place across

the street. Like Zelda maybe
you'd go crazy too. I'd write
my wish-fulfilling sequel, set

in Spain, where true love is
restored, and the green light
shines forever in La Viña.

May 24 2013

Site Specific Sonnet

I don't suppose she comes here anymore:
Logs in to look for verse or pictures new.
Well, if she's set my status to 'ignore',
It would be quite a silly thing to do.
I hope she's cleared her soul of discontent
By dragging me to life's recycle bin:
Suppressed old hurt and new embarrassment
Or paid me back for some imagined sin.

If schism, though, has failed to make amends,
Install new hopes, delete fragmented links,
Perhaps old loves could yet make new best friends —
A reconnect less scary than she thinks.
But if this cruelty is, for her, most kind,
She's better out of site, than out of mind.

June 30 2013


while I slept and you attended
some semiformal conference I think
I invited you at last to contribute
break the monotony of my addresses

you read some William Carlos Williams
you read it brilliantly and suddenly
it all made perfect sense and I began
to understand to get this poetry lark

now I'm awake eyes cleared of sleep
and tears and though the words you read
are gone and never were that poet's work
some form of understanding yet remains

June 30 2013


We came the by-way over the hill of Corstorphine; and when we got near to the place called Rest-and-be-Thankful,
and looked down on Corstorphine bogs and over to the city and the castle on the hill, we both stopped,
for we both knew without a word said that we had come to where our ways parted.
[R L Stevenson: Kidnapped]

black dog keeps me company on yuleday walk —
bench where you sometime sat with me —
views of volcanic hills beyond the links —
in book of photos see again your smiles
on asian river, western sea-loch
on hampstead pergola, in transport house

headcocked a robin regards me from a wall —
behind me lions in unattended zoo
split frosty air with canyon-throated roars —
festive families walk by, exchanging salutations —
inhibit me from blowing plangent harp

on nearby fairway pair of magpies
chatter and fight like separating lovers,
casting doubt on adage-promised joy.

December 25 2013

Do You Still Have My Key?

Do you still have my key?
Or have you chucked it somewhere
(safe, I hope) to rule out cruel
temptation crawling back
at times of weakness, or from
sheer revulsion at the very thought
of ever setting foot in here again?

Either way
in memory of long-lost London night,
when, sitting lonely and in pensive mood,
I heard a faint sound from the hallway,
and rose to see you there, unable to maintain
that absence that you'd said was for the best.

All these years later
it's plain you see that night as a mistake —
should have had courage of conviction;
it's plain you've long since shaken off
all doubt, and good friends think they help,
reminding me she's never coming back.

All this I know
and yet the solemn, nightly ritual observe,
locking the door, but taking out the key,
against the time, when some small voice
deep in your soul insists that you should call;
a surety that I could never shut you out.

Oh yes, it's clear
that night is never going to come, not now.
It isn't hope, it isn't even keeping faith;
not even never never giving up.
It's just that, somehow, failing to ensure
that you can always do, whene'er you wish,
that thing which you will never want to do,
would feel like a betrayal of a sort, if only
of the memory of one romantic night.

December 29 2013

From his ex-Mistress

Yes, I still have
your key. I hold it
safe against the day
when I no longer can
resist the need to call on
you at home to rip off
both your balls and stuff
them up your arse to stop
you talking shite.

Jan 2014

Café Society

Last time I went to see the Penguins play
I sat in vitreous detachment, unwanted
flashing lights around my eyes, a tender
bruise around my battered cheek. A fall,

a slipping from a pavement on the way.
And you beside me, solicitous for my
well-being, but in a cold detachment
of your own. Staying friends seemed

not so easy; it seems there lingered still
embarrassment at being seen with one
you once adored. And now they come
to play in town once more. This time I'll pass.

(Penguin Café at the Queen's Hall)

Rozu Haiku

Out buying roses,
Encounter long-lost lover —
Ritually blanked

[I must be fair and state myopia was to blame, and not disdain]


Come, sweet Dementia, set me free
From all this joy tormenting me;
Creeping Oblivion sweep away
Those visions of a better day.

The last cut was the deepest, yet I know
The last will be the first of all to go.
Most recent love, most mourned goodbye —
First memories to fade and die

Roll on the day when, looking through
Our photos, I'm left asking, "Who?
"She looks as if she knows me, yet
"I don't believe we ever met."

Eradicate these wounds accrued
Through all my years of solitude
And with the pictures, take the pain,
That I need never weep again.

Unload the cargo in Love's hold;
Chuck out the heart, now turned so cold,
And, with it all, throw overboard
The thought that I too was adored.

[LIFO is a computing term for a Last In, First Out stacking system]


ocho años de soledad
tres mil noches de lagrimas
eternidad de desesperanza

      pero también

recuerdos sin tacha
profundidad insondable de alegría
once años de amor inmortal


Simplistic Questions

The people who care for
the husk of a partner
whose body is broken,
whose mind has departed,
sat patient by bedside
in tearful devotion:

Consider the love of …

The partners of victims
of terrible tragedies,
mothers of kids who
will never come home;
appearing on telly or
magazine article,
marking ten years since
some famous disaster:

Do we just say, 'move on',
'give up and forget it;
you've nothing to gain, so
you're wasting your time'?

What is it so different
in romantic relations?
Should love be so feeble
it dies with rejection?
What value a love that
can't outlive betrayal?

And what possible meaning —
the next claimed "I love you"?

The poor sods who languish
in prison for crimes that
they didn't commit; and
the partners who fight
to clear their good names
(even after they die):


I will not kill myself at Christmastide (1)

I will not kill myself at Christmastide.
Much as I disapprove of difference
for difference sake, I'm loath to be just one
among so many … a solitude statistic.

It seems in some way lacking in respect
for you. Neither at Hogmanay, driven by
the hollow ring of bells and well-wishing
embraces. Happy New Year that won't be,

auld lang syne that pains. My love for you
is not so damned mundane … too gauche,
too obvious it is to go out with a crowd.
And thus I drag myself into another year.

I will not kill myself at Christmastide (2)

I will not kill myself at Christmastide
Rather will I wait until the Spring,
when green shoots and warmer air
bring false hopes bursting from the soil;
when you are happy in a love that cannot fail,
your future health and happiness assured;
when I can know, without the slightest doubt,
that I can never be of use to you again,
whatever comes, however long we live.

Rock solid certainty required, no more
than that. Till then, the cruelty of doubt
is just enough to keep me from my rest.


Look at it this way …

My life is now well over …
Which is great.
No fear of physical demise
spins cowardice from conscience' silk.

Happiness, for me, is not an option …
Which is great.
No selfish greed, resenting energy
expended spreading happiness around.

My heart is smashed beyond repair …
Which is great.
No risk of losing it again, elsewhere,
in case you ever need the pieces back.

All hope has been abandoned …
Which is great.
For hope is cruel, and, leaving, leaves
more room for love, if not for faith.

My love has left me, never to return …
Which is sad.



So what will happen if, among your friends,
Some day you find a pair with mis-matched years?
Will their love grate, as you think ours offends,
Embarrassing, as our tale now appears?
Or will you reappraise your time with me?
Will their example make you realise
That folks who count think less judgementally,
And our love looked sublime to many eyes?
Perhaps the mind takes all this in its stride:
Blanks out such dissonances cognitive;
But dare I hope that, though you now deride,
You'll come to understand (while I yet live),
That love makes mock of all imagined 'rules',
And those who fear to let it are but fools?


Dear Diary …

I know he only
wants to settle
down, a quiet
life, a rural
idyll. Not me.
For now, at least,
I need experience,
adventures, fun.

I never knew why
she would write this
in her diary. Was it
intended as a piece
of fiction, playing
with ideas? Did she
believe it ever
to be true? I know
for sure I never once
expressed desires
like that, so far from
what I really wished
for us (or even
for myself alone).

Trips together through
South America;
separate exotic
expeditions, far-
flung (and less
so), reporting
back and sharing
memories and pics;
fuel and inspiration
for future projects, all
discussed with great
excitement. What talk
of 'settling down'
did she imagine
or recall from some
strange dream?

And has that entry,
ink-inscribed, sufficed
to make that narrative
accepted truth, killed
any real and lingered
memory stone dead?

I sometimes wonder
if we ever met


Wake-Up Call

No bugger knocked on the door o' me flat
This mornin', at seven-fifteen;
From me sleep I could hear that nervous rat-tat,
Which woke me up, mumblin', who the fuck's that?
And I knew it weren't yo comin' round for a chat,
Except from the brim o' me dream.

It didn't annoy me; I quite understand,
You dream lovers 'ave to roam free;
It's not like me repose is ever that grand,
It's fitful at best, not supplyin' demand;
And gives way to your needs, pre-booked or unplanned,
'Cos nothin' else matters to me.

If yer do want to see me, feel free to drop by,
Yer don't 'ave ter tiptoe or creep;
No need ter be tentative, nervous or shy,
Or sit all alone, if yer need a good cry;
But if none o' them factors should ever apply —
Fer pity's sake, leave me to sleep!


Picture of You Haiku (Social Approval)

I love it so much
But I know that you'd hate me
To like it at all


Hindsight Sonnet (XXIX)

Some nights, she'd slip off silently to bed,
Not telling me she'd finished in the loo;
So I'd sit up, in indecisive dread,
Wary of hassling her by going too.
Was she avoiding sexual advance
Or seeking some much-needed solitude?
And why was I so scared to take the chance
That confrontation might be seen as rude?
Done tactfully, it can't have hurt to ask,
Instead of sitting, fretting, far too late,
For fear she'd think me 'taking her to task';
Could I not simply go to bed and wait?
To spot (too late to stop) that downward trend —
Look back to the beginning of the end.


First date

Coming up for air,
I said —I love you.
—Please don't say that,
she said, thinking it
glib and shallow,
first sex flummery,
insincere expression

—Nay, not so, I should
have said —I mean it;
surprised as much as you
to hear it said out loud,
a thought long-known
but long-supressed
burst free; the nature
of a revelation


The Big Three-Oh

1 Contrast and Compare


I restrict my movements to a few streets and venues;
Duck down alleyways and into shops, on the odd
Occasions when I see you coming, or think I do

This week

I will walk the streets, clutching your present;
In the hope of casual encounter, but maybe
Too scared to follow through, should you appear.


2 A Birthday Rhapsody

From the start
   I was always looking forward to
   the thirty-year-old you, as well as
   filling in those scintillating
   years, 'twixt then and now.

Time was
   I knew a man, who often used to say
   how he looked forward, with his wife,
   to growing old together. Sweet
   though that was, my dream with you
   was always to stay young. Not letting
   time domesticate, but rather
   show new ways to be creative,
   loving, maybe even change the world
   of course, he left her, and the kids,
   to run off with a somewhat younger lass:
   I guess old age lost its appeal at last.

Back then,
   when people said, "she's very young"
   I always answered, "Time —
   "Time has a way of curing us of youth,
   "Unless we're very lucky"

And now
   as solitude finds consolation
   in Time's inevitable mercy, and
   as I raise my lonely glass of wine
   to toast an arbitrary date, loaned
   significance by blind mathematics,
   there is joy in imagining — hoping
   at least — that you will mark
   the day with special friends, good
   company and great excess of mirth.
   (unless it also brings you joy)
   think not of me.


Curriculum Vitae

Please find enclosed today
my application,
with this brief resumé
for your consideration:—

 • Pizza repair man
 • Bouncer at Mothercare
 • Artichoke fitter
 • Cleaning the Shard

 • Swearing in German
 • Road-testing underwear
 • Pope's baby sitter
 • Paddling pool guard

But am I defined
by the jobs that I do
or condemned by my failure
to hold on to you?


Not Moving On

Move on, they said to Shah Jahan;
Don't beat yourself up with grieving or guilt.
So, forgetting his Mumtaz, he rode off to war —
And the Taj Mahal never got built.

Forget her, his friends said to Dante;
With young Beatrice it's daft to be smitten!
So he settled for Gemma and worked as a chemist —
And Paradise never got written.

Don't waste all your time on Kamila:
She's not into you, wed — and too young!

So old Janáček just retired quietly —
Left his Vixen, un-cunning, unsung.

With the Great and the Good, and with everyday folk,
What matters in love is the giving;
And, bereft or rejected, great things are achieved —
With that passion informing their living.

Though the guilt and the heartache lend fire to my pen,
And 'Time heals all wounds' is a con,
I will make my stand here, with my undying love —
And I'm bloody well not 'moving on'!!!


end of Part I