I have not yet committed to Italian beauty,
I am simply a tourist to her sandstone buildings –
Cattle skulls adorning great, pale archways.
Maria bows, weeping, over every boulevard,
The honesty and ubiquity of graffiti
That has been sealed into the skin of the concrete,
The countenance of her olive pastel veneers,
Silent, unchanging, the unspoken history
Of her alignments, once reale, then fascita.
The demigods still scowl from their mounts,
Though the men who had created them
Were banished by the righteous wind,
Their fiercely pretty idols still slumber,
Undisturbed, in the shopping district,
High towers, superior and unashamed,
Watch over boutiques and rooftop bars.
In the presence of these marble monarchs,
And of the very city herself, I am not unwanted
But I am not welcome.
New Pitsligo, 2016
Up north past Ironfield, the Blackdog Rifle Range,
Trump’s pompous golf course for unhappy millionaires
and the unassuming limbo of Old Deer,
there’s an hexagonal diner with a view;
solid green blocks the windows on 5 sides,
the place is a tree-house lodged in the canopy.
The patrons seem to know each other,
red and blue lights hang from black pipes,
a middle aged hippie woman sits next to me,
crosses one leg over another,
welcomes us and takes our order.
She works here, apparently.
A wind-up gramophone and an electric organ
sit patiently in separate corners of the room.
‘Spirit in the sky‘ plays in the sound system,
sound running parallel to laughter
and the rattling of toy train wheels
against toy train tracks.
A red LED sign repeating:
How on earth will I find you
when all my searching is done
… out of this world, you remind me,
there are more worlds where this one came from.
A cuckoo clock chimes.
I feel I am inside the mind of Ivor Cutler
or in the waiting room of some pleasant dream.
A man courts me
with a torrent of French
as I queue for a toilet
in a Parisian restaurant.
He doesn’t show any sings
of stopping or slowing down
long enough for me to explain
that I don’t understand a word of it.
He wears a clown’s shirt,
neon yellow paisley tie,
and on his lapel,
a wilting daffodil.
His shoe brush eyebrows
dance as he speaks.
It is Halloween.
He is not in costume.
Preserving the old world,
Yet accepting its scion —
Two impossible acts
For the animal
Beasts of humble beginnings,
But not for these sepia giants,
Sleeping soundly in death,
With babies on their breasts,
Chained up in Leipzig,
Wandering in the afterlife.
Monuments of war,
Masks set in sorrow,
Immortal within walls,
Enslaved behind ticket booths,
Tourist children clamber
Over their naked feet.