19 September 2014

A Change in the Weather: three double haikus

Only the rain now,
After so many weekends
Wasted, just the rain.

And we have lain here
Dreaming of nothing more than
White flecks on the pane.


The walls are standing,
But the evening sunlight shows
Cracks in the plaster.

You tell a story,
And I'm listening, but the air
Is filled with static.


Senseless this slow walk
To the closed door, beyond which
May lie many more.

Better to turn away,
Despite your inclination,
And pocket the key.

26 February 2014

Street history

In our bit of Prague,
‘Black Sea’ and ‘Crimea’
lead straight to Moscow street,
while that dog-leg at the corner’s
named for Sebastopol.

Only ‘Ukrajinska’ doesn’t fit
into our psycho-geographical

According to the map,
it’s tucked away down in the valley,
separated from the rest
by the once-yearly flood
of the Botič.

15 November 2013

Prague legend


Blind as a bat
Milton smells his way to the
chicken shop, the one with
Fresh Meat
over the door,
to demand his usual
cut-off bits of scrag,
the voice that once
commanded cosmic phalanxes
shrunk to a beggar’s wheeze.
He throws a coin on the bar
and bags the bits
in a flimsy blue-and-white carrier.
Pink blood pools
in the polythene tit.
Then out into the cold whip of the wind
and hurtles headlong
down the broken tracks
of Vršovice
in minus four, an old grey shawl
tucked against his cavity of a chest.


Alighting from the number 22,
she steps ashore in
calf-length boots,
eyes fixed on nothing,
thighs bruised from too much
sex. She shakes
her hair, but no breath
fans it out; no sunlight glosses it.
Oh No Not Now.
And when she trips,
no white-jacketed pursar
steps smartly up - as once in Venice -
to retrieve her broken honour
from the floor.
And as she falls,
and as the dark descends,
above her sixteen rooms’
TVs flick off and on again.


At night they are
dimensionless: these flatfaced streets
where origami murderers
have learnt to fold
their shadows into
the wall’s black geometry.

By day they might
try to conceal themselves
in a door or crevice;
or behind a latticed balcony,
shielded from the light.

But now their faces
have become the dark itself,
their deep-creased features
no more than shadows
laid on shadows.

Nothing moves.
All dulled. No breath
in this damp suburb.

And the classic ricochet
that once might have
caused the heart or eye to give away
the hiding place
slows till it's too deep for human hearing.

08 June 2012

Schikaneder in Heligoland

Love-locked (her arm slipped into his protecting arm),
she in her customary red, he, black, they go
past the last mooring ring to where
the North Sea strikes the edge of the known world
and gannets shout their ne plus ultra.

Behind them towers Tall Anna’s rock, her backside
beaten red by spume. Compared to her
they might be porcelain dolls; but when
he takes his hat off and they kiss, her lips are salty.

Ahead of them the window’s lit against the dark.
He holds her hard against the rain - not knowing
when they’ll turn around - retracing in his mind
the pattern of the Prelude’s minor thirds.

Behind pressed lids he sees the dusty streets, the trams,
the known door on Rubešova, the sunlit limes,
and in one corner of their room, the loved harmonium.
And she thinks of the ghost of their lost child
who’ll never see his father paint, or hear him play.

Not long now until they meet again.