Ballad Of The Paradigm Bar

We thought it was over,
At last we had won,
When my friend on the left said
We forgot someone.
The first time’s defeating
Took only a sneeze,
When for so long we had strived
With barrels and pleas.
Answers revised
Aide memoires ease
More questions answered,
Future disease.

A band of fourteen,
Four in the quiz,
I changed my commission,
Ministerial mistresses
None of my business;
A bowlful of pears,
Furnished with access
To high state affairs –
A royal parade,
Burnishing stairs,
A wide walking hat,
A yukka bears witness,
At my chamber window
Tap tap taps,
Provoked by a gale,
The sheltered despair,
Sometimes you lose the ones
For whom you most care.

Empty church Sundays,
But today people flooded
The aisles and the pews,
Hypocrisy lives
In televised queues;
Panicking vicar
But a subaltern knew
Just what to do.
In a village park grounds,
In a VIP queue,
I held your hand lissom
And said under pink blossoms
Can I now stay with you.

Impossible questions
Know their own answers;
I am always the author
Of every disaster.
He landed with impact,
(Give devil his dues),
Clearly on schedule
Though the landlord was new.
He was maddenly-made
By air dissolute,
Absconded with Judy,
The air turning blue.
Inaccessible realms
He vanishes through,
Stalks with clawed pride
Or licks his were-wounds.
A chalkboard sign
At the paradigm bar
Promoted a prize
For a bet on a horse.

End of the world,
Girl and a boy,
He summoned me forward,
Determined with ploy
To settle the matter
Of whether the planet
Would be swallowed
Or not, (my love on the floor
In white lace collapsed)
He challenged me
(As if I was a saviour
And not, instead,
A man of small means
And compulsive behaviour),
To a game of
Shove ha’penny
By the bar’s exit door.

I always lose games,
What chance did I have?,
As I took hold of some silver
From his crumbling hand;
My coin landed flat
On that crucial puck,
At the opportune Time
I found my friend Luck,
What happens next –
Whosoever could tell,
I rose from my sleep
As if from a spell,
Kettle boiled yellow,
Ham on toast,
The yukka outside
Asked who is the Host.

We thought it was over,
That we had won,
Yet in any winning
Is the end of a song;
Enjoy every moment
Before it’s over
And gone.

The Runner

When it ended, the money,
You would go running
For as long as you could,
Up on the cliff tops
And through the deep woods.
For as far as we try, yes try
To remember feelings like dreams,
Where events taking place
Exclude us from scenes.

Did you ever stop running?
Just as I can’t stop cleaning.
We were so near, you and I,
To the life we were dreaming.
I found your sports cap,
They brought yellow tape;
Now I can’t sing of oceans
And I can’t forget lately
How fog drapes our map.

Karmic Roulette

Karmic Roulette,
Where will you take me next
For a spin within your wheels?
Sometimes far future,
Sometimes the past,
Sometimes in blue,
But it never lasts with you.
I am simply your small round
Metal ball-bearing
Sticking to its task –
Give me a place to land
And I will fill the part.

I landed, and entered a city
In the steppes of my heart,
The world outside was crumbling
But these tower blocks steadfastly
Clung to their history, with
Ornaments and crockery in orange,
Yellows and that thick green
I had not seen since 1973.
This room made do as lounge
And diner in one, square
Utilitarian, lighting dimmed
And of all this no more
Than the size of
The God of Moths’ thumbs.
Your mother kept your space
At a table where I now sat;
Surrounded by plastic, mica,
Nothing had changed
In the seven sharp years
Since you’d gone to the shops.

Though the case had gone cold
And closed many moons ago,
Your mother was seeking a groom;
She proselyted about you and I,
Showed me her photographs of you
While saying brown was all
She could afford for your attire
To survive in this bleak room.
She treated you like an exhibit
In a catalogue of stones.
I noticed your smile before
Anything else about your beauty,
Your smile illuminated your face
Like unending tapers in life’s
Chapel while I ate her dim sum.
Here you attended a service,
Here you turned towards the sun.
I assured your mother I would
Meet you on the steps outside
The limestone church, much like a
Place of worship I visited once
In Podgorica, with plain
Outer walls, but the inside
Shimmered in pure gold.

Before that could happen
The wheel turned with its own
Warping thaws of justice,
And away I would spin
Above the colours and
The numbers in red,
To God only knows where,
Destination’s only certainty
Will be you and me apart.

A Statistician’s Dream

I dreamt about you last night.
I made a joke to see you smile,
Because it is your smile
And a thousand other views of you
Which captivate, satisfy and beguile
Well-trained professorial thoughts.
I said, I am a statistical outlier,
I tend to sleep on the floor.

Then, I awoke on my own once more.
Why is it any surprise that all I loved Would someday abscond or die,
The daily abhorred, for I have a curse
In my arm or the knot of my knees
And I cannot drain the source.
So I dream of you instead,
And let life run its course.

Yellow Moon

The nightjar knows my window,
Brought to my attention
On a sandless sirocco.
A diaphanous cotton curtain,
Duck egg coloured, coveted
Under an oval rococo sky.

Yellow moon, rarified, rarer
Than blue, gravity carries
Waves of vibrant life on
This town’s fringe, car horns,
A far dog’s bark, moored yachts
With light bulb strings and

Distant bells. I lay dreaming
On my chaise longue beneath
Windows with symbols like
Love unattired, perspiring
Slightly on my lip, I sipped
Some milk in my sleep

And counted the many statues
With their harps and arrows
Until it slipped, transpiring
That you could not arrive in your
Current form, and nor could I
Leave, though love, how I tried,

How I tried and deceived
The seven symptoms of my distress,
Kept apart from the night-princess
With life’s strings I strived to
Contest, I awoke in a sweat,
Only to find I survived instead.

Origami Dream

Could I find you,
Hold you,
Behind you,
Behold you,
In a mirror

Of the second mirror
Where your ringed
Fingers unfold me
Like my origami
Dream within

An opulent dream
Of you denuded from
Your cheongsam,
New emeralds blues;
A star dropping down

Becomes dew on a fern’s
Frond; we travelled far,
Uncovering tattoos of
Kangaroos and atavistic
Disused digeridoos

In a gravitational cave
At the beating start
Of existence, where you
Excavated love, I found
The exquisiteness of you.