Searchlight

It was your birthday
Twenty years or so ago;
We descended into a city
Of ghost re-rendered
Restaurateurs
Mostly only known to us.
Strange how
None of this exists right now,
Except perhaps
Within my pillow-bounded head.
(Can dreams be transferred
From my subconscious mind
Through or even then from yours?
Do you also walk these dead
Pedestrianised streets
Of the deeply-raised interred?
)
It is with a distinct sense of dread
That I am always falling asleep,
From fear of these cities
And people who are
No longer the same,
For they all emerged without me,
A subliminal sequence
Of years long ago.

You hadn’t changed,
Still good-humoured,
Still talkative,
You walked into an establishment
Named the Ho-Ho for
Whatever unknown reason,
And you told a silent joke
To a new waitress and her
Two dumbfounded customers.
And so it was your birthday,
And that Chinese eatery
We searched for
Where your coterie
Of twentysomething
Student
Aficionados
Had slipped, shifted
Away from its mooring
Adjacent to l’office du tourisme
Located by the river
Where eleven vessels
Ride the rip
In the seams of my dreams.
I am denim to a somnambulant
Nocturnal god’s demesne.

Inexplicably, my role
Suddenly evolves to carry your
Curry-coloured shoes,
And then also later a
Stuffed blue bear, a child’s toy,
(Still holding your shoes),
An armful of regalia
And vintage paraphernalia.
I held the door for your peers
But was not invited
To the benches where
The glitterati sipped
On bamboo juice
And green tea hips.

Your German teacher made a tarte,
The Chinese menu à la carte;
I wonder when my heart
Restarts.

I have had this awful
Gnawing sense my whole
Long life that I was born
For arduous tasks,
While with something inside me brewed,
Malformed to fail,
How the audience laughed
And now, half-formed,
I replay it all each night,
A searchlight from my
Buzzard soul above
A pre-dawn gorse,
Hovering over those very fields,
Hedgerows, lanes, old roads still,
For the fugitive source.

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.