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weekly dinner menu of a most unholy cannibal

grilled jehovah's witness
moon pie

pressed presbyterian
in anglican aspic

orthodox stroganoff

roast papal bull
with latter day sauce

loaves and fishes
(this is diet day)

evangelical stew
and damnation dumplings

a la king

tuesday ghosts

today i saw
the ghost of my father
saw the blue eyes
turn red with bitterness
and knowledge of failure

heard his coughing
that terrible coughing
that continued
day and night
until he choked
to death

(pay no attention
it was a ghost
a figment
of the imagination)

today i saw
the ghost of my mother
hip under hand
loose brown curl
tacked across
her gleaming face
heating pasties
in the oven

as i came home
from the shortcut
across the football pitch
or maybe bloodied
from one more encounter
with the big kids

thought of all the things
time never gave us
the chance to admit

(pay no attention
ghosts cannot harm you
they live in a province
of words left unsaid)

today i saw
the ghost of my childhood
the ghost of my adolescence
ghosts of hope
ghosts of fear
ghosts of emotions
i no longer comprehend

(pay no attention
tuesday is my day
for seeing ghosts)

and in the fruit market
and the teahouse
and the gipsy quarter
that lies behind main street
the boys with gelled hair
and the girls with short skirts
and jailbait legs
and the women
with their sad shopping bags
and the moustached loungers
with nowhere to go
and nothing to do there
and even the old man
on the corner
with his chair in the sun
and his pyjamas
and his glass eye
and his newspaper

were less vivid to me
than my ghosts

i paid them
no attention


perfect is
the lone rock
that sings
in the desert

the song of the harper

the song of the harper
is low and plaintive

music comes, a gentle breeze
brushing the fallen autumn leaves

the song of the harper
cannot stir the dead where they lie

only the leaves are left to rustle,
semblance of movement lacking volition

the song of the harper
sings the glory of the dead

the leaves understand, their glory
too is fading to mulch

the song of the harper
is your song and my song

the song of the dead
and the soon to be dead


chas the cat
extends from the pinball machine
groining dangerously close
to a tilt
and the man
calls time

ratfink rex
is dark in the corner
snogging sue the shoe
four hands moving
north and south
and the man
calls time

down in the basement
maxie buster
sells dreams to kids
who know no better
and may never learn
and the man
calls time

back upstairs
delicious dolores -
she of the beautiful night
and the lifetime disease -
takes our her .38
with the custom
raspberry grip

and guns down
the man
who calls

woman at twilight

the walking wounded
of her days
limp along behind her

she trails a scent
of flowers pressed and dried
like ancient love

towards the lake
her brittle footsteps form
a shadow of remembered dance

and stooping stiff
to pluck a daisy, she holds it
to her girlish heart


let us assume
a vacuum

let us further assume
the impossible

that we could hear ourselves
singing in the vacuum

would the vacuum then
be changed by our song?

i think not
though still i hear you

singing in the vacuum
of my heart


picture this, the place
where the clifftop crumbles
like ancient memory
yards from the end of the path

picture this, the bike
in gear, the gathering of speed
along the path
that one huge urgent rush

picture this, the flight
the last arcing flight
the final orgasmic release
from earthbound nightmare

picture this, the fall
distant sunlight
racing through the mind
the sea, the rocks

rambling to myself

they never tell you
home is
where the past is

they never tell you
summer means
the smell of mown grass,
the slow percussion
of leather and willow

or that love,
that tarnished bauble,
like a christmas tree
is never the same
the second time around

they do not, they cannot
tell you
that a fish on land
flops and gasps

as you flop and gasp
for memory

they do not tell you
that the future is
an ever-narrowing
haunted tunnel

you are not told
these things, mick,
but yet you know them

in that darkened harbour
of the soul
which all the pretty boats
have left long ago

breaking eggs

red of tomato
green of pepper
soft fawn
of mushroom

fleshly pink
of ham
yellow of cheese

many colours
on the tongue
the palette
of omelettes

all made
from broken eggs