Well like ragtag Belmondo and Seberg with scars of hip battle
No sentimentality and a bright stirring sun behind our heads
Into autumn nightlight, and then warm rain, we drank
Wines from italy and threw money back at someone loaded
Who didn’t seem to understand the gesture. We thieved
Garments of fine cottons and curves, smoked slowly time
And the hour, listened for a moment to some chanteuse
Before sweeping away into the running night and never promised
Any of them anything but our existence. Who said
We could be arrested? Who said they’d destroy us for what we were?
We’re savage in what we reject and what we need. There are no
Tight corners tighter, no reasons less reasoned, no hopes more hopeless
Than the speeding car, the glossy impact of daylight and memory
Swirled into alcohol and romance and a hidden gun
Riding forward in your eyes, your mercury lips and soulful hips
Reading poetry by poets not yet born even. Fields glow bright as ice
Spitfires dive overhead and there’s a world going on
Only lovers fight for, only those full tilt heading out for cracked eden.
Harry at the margins
Harry at the gas tower looks
Then bows into the shadow it casts over the dust road
Where white vans emerge out of overhooded turn-offs
Like insane thoughts in murderous passions.
Pete Walker might have walked down such a road in the 70’s
Made a film that dissolved such lives out of history into
A dark underland sky and darker underland spaces
Between lost walls full of crystal dry cut grass and grey squirrels.
What do you know when you walk in such anonymous places?
Who might you meet? There are highwaymen
Who left their muzzy ghosts here between the gas tower
And the railroad track. A rude yellowish travel case has been left behind.
You wonder why anyone would do that and there’s no reason
Beyond abandonment, someone dropping off everything
Previous and running. There’s the shell of a ghost runner
Entering a thin tunnel with the melted lights
Which you know smelled worse years ago, when he was alive
And you were little, still good as gold and praying to a less fierce god
Who knew loneliness and despair, even knew where you were back then
A ghost runner running an everlasting repeat, a cinematic study
Wild swans all dead by morning and their foxes smoking
Cheroots by the thin reeds. Softly runs the stream across
The frosty wastes and grassnakes’ slithering sound
Freezes on the breeze. My brother buried his rival
In a pot by his window-sill latch and watched the lily grow
And I gave encouragement and drowned his white cat
Once it was blind and deaf as hell below. There are some folks
Saying there’s a strangeness in my brother’s walk these days
Like there’s smoke and fire in his eyes and a haze in between
All his good teeth but I don’t heed anything they says.
Good days are when the fog clears and the white eyes
Of the snow peaked mountains squint on down
And let in air. I had a key once to the door in the wall
All covered over with bramble barb snares. If ever I was
To find that key again I’d try the lock just to see
And now the rain’s coming on I just walk out to the lake
To be where those swans were strangled dead
And the foxes smoked, all curious, all dread.
You can’t hold time still thus
The leaves drip autumn blood
The oil tears fall out the sky
There’s someone trying to press on.
Here’s someone trying hard to lay to rest
Some body in the iron ground
Denying rhyme and the ghost fog yellow dog morning
Who walks on wire legs with orange petals
And nothing else and recalls in grief
That dumb marriage to the wrong girl
You’ll never forget. Cursed by the lilies and the veils
Who came with tigers smoking in their mouths?
You heard the pearls jangling in their dead eyes
You know who they were you saw them
One last time like it was fatal
And where nothing starts to make sense
Birds peck at bones someone left behind
Trains run the other distance between the tree
Split by lightening and the track cut by silence
Like the throat of a badman dead whilst all these souls
Huddle in the pouring waters that just rise up
Out of nowhere out of the land out of the sky
Daffodils and a dead swan sprawl on the green river
Running by my window like my junk line
So the light floods the houses on the streets
You can read the secret mysterious messages on their walls
Listen tight and you can hear them mumbling prayers
You can guess the time of day the ceremonies
Of lilac and thyme, of knives sharpened in frost
And eyes black as shoes making out the distance
Between the dead at noon and the dead at midnight.
Bones dance to the light of the shivering moon.
Poets gather in a yard where all the dead cars are.
Cats walk free of their spines yowling shakesperean noise.
Someone is waking up. Someone is counting their gold.
Precious jewels hidden for centuries in the dark cellars
Of the drowning city are cast up onto the frothy bilge
Sewage and foul lemon yellow water slowly engorges
The steps of the post and the bank and the shops
Where the fine clothes bob downstream. A cold
Winter collapses out of the mountains in a sudden slap
First rain then sleet so everything fouls up in the mouth
People finally stay dumb. Out of the slippery grey
Above a bird falls off its wings stonefaced dead.
There are few enough noises just the drip drip drip
Of dull ditchwater heartbeats or something. At windows
Occasional faces stare out onto the wild damaged tracks
Like beasts thrown back into their lairs. Something in
The air is brutal, fucked. Hairs grow on the rocks
Of the mountains and muscular spasms shake them inwards.
Ever seen the beak of planets? They are flying near now
And the air is filled with their hushed caws. Open your eyes
They’ll peck them out. Hidden in bed under it
Harry is sewing up a bag of nightmares but knows the thread
Is too weak so the job’s melancholic and tardy.
In the hotel lobby in between backgammon and casino cards
The solitary waiter struggles through the torrent to remove
The bristling dead from tables overturned in the rush.
He’s dead too of course. Hospital porters sink under the mud
In the nearby hospice of some saint who never saw this coming.
A religion doesn’t know where to begin here, straws and grass float on
With hidden meanings too small in the darkness.
Every city will drown. Those who ran away did so
Out of lust for something other than home. Others
Couldn’t bear even the thought of that. Face down in the morning
Everyone’s weeping and wailing and doing that gnashing thing.
Even a president has a face that looks like he’s seen a spark of
Some huge destiny with all the wings and guff covered in a red dawn
Like wedding confetti. And there’s a moment when there’s just nothing.
Harry sounds out
The house seems bloated and fattened up with wrong food.
Magic returns itself to the spell and refuses to shimmer.
Hearts are struggling to ignite blood and oxygen.
Brains lose hold of their dream stems. So dreams are floating into
The high hemispheres and get lost up with the clouds.
Harry counts an extra rib grown in the night like a bulb.
She’s grown a new breast rooted like a tree. Every tomorrow
Brings up a new crisis. Lips drip blood and poison.
In the smallest palace narrow eyed cretins make designs to take over.
Plots and ploys carry with them cash and promises.
Somewhere else on a simmering sand bank a clear blue ocean
Clears the palate. It is a desert of too extravagant heat
And utter desolation. There are not even bones here.
Nor shadows. Nor eyes. Footprints are of long extinct monsters.
On the other side of the world, maybe America or Iceland
Maybe Timbuktu, Harry smokes a dark cigar
Watches as the blue foul smoke makes a thin pencil line
In the wall of the atmosphere and sketches out a profile
Of an Arabian princess. When he reaches out the smoke blathers
And he falls back like an old man will, fazed by his own wretched delusions.
This is the wild seraglio this is the condition of Persian contempt
Surrounded in the glittering palace by whispers and shadows
The shape of those he used to know, from picture books
And adventures as a pirate and then a musketeer half a century ago.
He’s nothing but a dribbling idiot. His eyes are shot with vanity
The trim purple of a royal delinquency. Dwarves laugh at him
From the vespers. Monks cover him with frankincense and myrrh
Hoping to render him finally invisible to save burial fees. Yet he keeps
Singing one song after the other and his voice is someone else’s in
Some other place. You know the kind of thing that happens,
You open up and get saved by nameless troubadours and what they leave us.
Your Halloween heart, between sundown and the next
Time we have to meet, must it always be so hard?
Is it sadness that drives you impossible, formidable?
Maybe the next time we should just write letters
Find slow words on junk vellum and ink, maybe
I should just tell you to tell me your thoughts
And let’s see if you can make it from one sentence through
To the end. I’ve tried finding the final sense myself and always
Seized by panic rush off funked by the thought of you
Elsewhere and with someone other than yourself
Your whole atmosphere a lie even if blessed and happy.
On doors messages are nailed, rouge lipped threats and curses and timetables that come off as
Deadlines, business deals for the soul. Flood water chokes
In doorways, raise up the dead, themselves wanting to see
Further than they could when alive. I guess it’s all too much.
Complications multiply inside the dry brains of leaders
And idiots. Skulls have the widest smiles. Is there
A rhyme to get sick in? Pluto-red blossoms curdle
On the skin of the lover who finally declines you
Her waked head tilted at the angle of a roman emperor
We both saw in marble in a doorway once in probably italy. She has
The serene look of the murderer who doesn’t care what
Happens next. Spells tilt the world backwards.
Whatever does come next isn’t waiting for the past to get finished first.
All anyone knows is not to stand still. These spells
In the mouths of poets and bankers mourn for you
And you and you all. There are nothing but tears worthy
Of any of this, tears that might start as laughter
But end like this, and this and this. What did you think
Was ended when you started talking and how many times
To come will there be just a mouth, empty of noise,
Closing fast on a chaste and agonied no?
There’s a lorry comes nearly most nights like an old
Coal lorry but its load in bags is darker than coal, it’s driver
Thinner paler neater than most drivers and
All these, driver, lorry and bags, get to be squashed under the
Beetroot moon. Each filthy bag is packed but out rise songs
Of the saddest loneliest voices wailing an unearthly beautiful sound from each
And the driver’s thin pale fingers creep like they’re dead
Over their dried up lips and try to fold down the necks against the noise.
There’s a one-eyed no-hearted look in his face that stops you from staring back
A look that makes you wish you’d never been anywhere at all.
The lorry takes its time on your street that keeps itself all hushed, discreet and scared.
There’s never a drunk or late night walker, no car to disturb the evil worker.
Everything is hard done and frozen under an unclocked time as the driver
Packs the livid bags, each one of them ripped from
The front patch of each house on each haunted street. I
Never once saw them being buried and never
Would have guessed they’d been there
Once they’d gone. Only the terrible songs, the terrible look,
Those terrible thin pale fingers creeping like they’re dead
At the necks of the bags return as nightmares
For the children who can hear that something isn’t right
Who count their sisters and brothers afterwards to make sure
From under their bed covers.
And yet the lorry goes away finally, always, each time,
Carrying off the saddest sounds like a murderer’s loot
To arrive, silently, at the next street, and then the next,
And all of this happening, each night, inexorably,
Under the beetroot moon.
The wicked sister
Your wicked sister what did I ever steal from her
That she would be so full of vengeance for what I had
What made her want to take you back at any cost?
She’s such a legion of hatred her whole head’s a battlefield
She wants me to be the one damned down in the ditch
Eyes filled with black water blood, covered with frost.
Early morning she took you by the hand like in an old days song
One where joyous youth gets corrupted by all covetous elders.
She weeps about her own misery and forces you to swallow it
Like its medicine not poison it’s poison though.
And you get hypnotised by her circling rage and fears you
Turn them into yours and start believing lines like
What was said in the rain one hard night
Was the gospel truth when nothing ever said in the rain
Is going to be that. Nothing ever said is the gospel so fast, not yesterday
And not today, not when there is wickedness and deceit
Inside the law needing to be exposed. And passing the
Pool room on the corner of your town and the glass drinking house
Lit up I was driving a little crazy with your sister’s hex
On every breathing moment, every disaster spoke inside my mind.
She’s never been able to love you without killing you
And now you’re dead who’s going to put the flowers
On your grave, who’s going to say a final good luck
And will there ever be anyone who loved you more kindly
Than this fool corrupted poet who held your sparrow hands blindly?
Listening o the wind
How the wind hollas out weak sounds weak knees buckling
The gate bursts the fence falls the trees touch their toes
And break and tomorrow is where I don’t want to be
And yesterday grabbed its shovel and buried itself
And there’s no prayer to save our souls no busted voice
To redeem all that’s crawling to Mecca Jerusalem o holyness
So who’s going to stop the natural laughter of the thief
And the killer and the pimp who’s it going to be
In the leopard heart who’s going to rise up such a story
There’s going to be just one last crack at forgiveness out all wreckages?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harry Fantastic is a new poet working with a couple of rules - 'never redraft' and 'never copy edit.' The stuff is fast and personal and is looking to say the truth at whatever cost, even if it gets bent about a bit. He reckons he has a long, long way to go.