Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Past the terminus

He'd come home late at night,
bleary-eyed and crumpled,
saying he'd ridden past the terminus.

My mother would snort
he didn't know where to get off with his lying,
but I believed him because

I watched them most schoolday afternoons,
working men, nodding-off behind newspapers
as they swayed with the motion of the bus.

As we approached journey's end
everyone, apart from them,
would get up and get off.

Behind glass they slept on,
lost to the hydraulic hiss of the closing door.
The journey beginning for them once more.

I get it from him,
this tendency to make unnecessary journeys,
of staying too long - to the point of pointlessness,

the art of missing the alighting point,
riding beyond the terminus.

Beautiful Creep?(To Leonard Cohen)

Clay-footed god of things earthly,
your addictions to visceral romanticism
and cracking up,
soothe the loser in me.

At four in the morning,
the universe having failed to succumb to my command
after each bar room farce,
or one-too-many faux-pas
my hand slides the volume up a notch,
trailing itself still, through that river deep,
where a tearstained note called you "beautiful creep".

Captain Mandrax,
Field Commander Cohen,
on mornings I find myself inhabitant unknown,
searching for remedies in ripped-out pages,
plotting the points between now and then
every coordinate poses the question,
where is The Future or Marianne?

Yet, your growing old gracefully
brings me hope I can clean up my act,
as I swab wine stains from dusty album sleeves,
sweet messiah of bedsit-ridden artefacts.
I kiss my husband, tend my kids, and cross off the days
while you reap the fruits of commercial success,
date younger women, and sexualise grey.

Miss Understanding

He scripts postcards over coffee in the pavement cafe,
drums fingers over tabletop,
exaggerates the pause for thought,
fancies himself a Sartre of
the latter-day
(minus axiomatic observations on life and the human
or any understanding of the principles of

He too, he confides to his woman friend,
is unhappy with the state of the planet
-would change his life, if he could only get a handle
on it,
discard black clothes and prevailing trend
if someone who could see beyond his looks,
might rescue him from the company of his books,
(his only real bed mates recently.)

And she, thick-lashed and long-faced,
no Simone De Beavoir herself,
finding unfulfilled longings once more propel
her headlong into the bottomless lakeof human understanding,
manages just the slightest twitch as he reels her in
and up,
and even a smile towards the sparkling shallows of her