All entries for October 2009

October 10, 2009

The Soldier

The Soldier

I watched a film.

Came back, sat down, thought about poetry and hatred.

Air had been pouring into the room like pints of milk.

The window had frosted because of February,

And a thin yard of light was rewinding on the floor.

I undressed and washed.

I redressed and slept.

The moon baked my hands.

Out of the nodding oil picks,

Infertile waste whipped up

With errant winds and wheel beats,

He arrived like Sheba,

Barely there.

The room collapsed

To the size of my pupils

He ignored what home there was

And we spoke.


I called her.

She came round.

We fucked like the world required us.

Clutching time.

Fading out,

With a pant for the morning light.

Boogie Chillen'

Boogie Chillen

Whiskey in the room

Tripping to quarter glasses.

The box train (we’re in the bridge bar)

Sinks to the city like drug-work.

Charles is rolling up G sharp,

Pounding down to bottom D,

Collapsing on a flutter

Rising on a fall.

He’s curling through arpeggios

Like eyelids go through light,

Then another train cleans the air

And tingle-shivers flutter.

Benny growling, Sam

Pouring the caramel tricks.



(After John Lee Hooker)

The clipper swings by the low wave trough

The men pitching, sing the horn slave song.

Blown by the trade winds, in the gullet drifting.

In their ears pitching, back to New Orleans.


Trapped in their churches, crammed in the holes.

Fed to the veins of the earth.

The death-sweat, the deep-dark trees

The lull of long relief.

But something is born. There is some mystery,

Some frothing in hush, and rock.

Absolutely of themselves, the Canaan-Caribbean

like a twisted blue caress.


Sax pricked with acacia,

Some double bass from jungle toads.

Shoeless, loveless, listing with



Give them no way out,

they said

Let them remember the hush

the rock.

The last line of Ghana,

the Ivory Beach.

Give them no way out.

For apology excuses,

apology forgets.

Drive them down to the sea,


Give them no way out.

Take the sea,

take the sky.

Let their children remember

This was you,

this was I.

October 2009

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