Whilst the world spills by, seemingly oblivious
They’re tearing down Debenhams.
Up in the clouds a workman sits
Chewing on a Mars Bar and perusing a paper
Like he’s just sat down in the park.
Once it was a flagship store
Seen from outside of town
Defiantly standing tall
The centre of the Centre.
Crippled by concrete cancer
It’s torn apart brick by brick
Each slab a teardrop.
My greatest memory:
Thursday tea in the café.
My mother chatted away
Seeing to my sister
As I wondered how it would feel to hurl myself through the great glass windows,
Flying like Superman or hurtling lifelessly to the ground.
I wonder if the workman reminisces like me,
Or just checks his watch count down to five?
Piece of a puzzle in my pocket,
Dark blue nothing, the ocean.
People talk, I hear muted buzzing
Read expressions like pulp novellas.
Nod in the right places,
I’m okay, you’re okay.
A midnight stroll
Warmed by the city’s neon embrace,
A stranger in a strange land.
Doughnut sugar rush
Watch the taxi drivers reading Doestoevsky
Waiting for the perfect fare that never comes.
Home to Death Of A Ladies Man,
Drift into sleep as the needle clicks,
Vinyl now keeping its secrets.
Up at six
Strong coffee and Fox News.
More tragedies in unimportant places,
Concentrate on the dropped butter on my shirt.
Grab some juice from the fridge
And out to Central Park to stroll and think
And watch the ducks,
Always the ducks.
Piece of a puzzle in my pocket,
I look again – it’s not the ocean,
It’s the sky emblazoned with light:
The piece missing so long.
So when you wake up you could be dreaming
You never really know.
Soon They are through the door.
Tiny plastic cup – ‘DRINK ME’/’EAT ME’.
Shower is a godsend
Or whatever you call it when god has forsaken you.
Watch a squirrel chase his tail for thirty seven minutes.
The best of the day is then over.
Fifteen minute suicide watch
They drift in slowly
Scrawling on a notebook to confirm you’re alive.
It’s creepier at night
Searchlight through the barred window
Sleep broken, empty dreams interrupted.
Then it’s morning again,
Drink me/Eat me.
Run a rusted razorblade across my snow white throat,
A suicide attempt that wins a Turner.
Even a pissed on urinal is art if placed in the appropriate gallery.
Partially sung lullaby clicks on the tape from a disappeared juvenile,
Song sheets given out make you the voice – the victim?
Endless cries of ‘No’ as you depress the ‘yes’ option,
Machine led torture for twenty pence a play.
Another ten for the antiseptic,
Don’t want you getting ill on opening night.
A skull marked with signatures,
Every dictator dragged down through history.
Noms de plume in pink lipstick,
Hitler’s kiss puts the price at seven figures.
Brady’s suit sewn by naked sweat shop children,
‘The Exploitation Of The Common Man’.
Badges name those under the moor,
Add your own for twenty thousand!
Myra’s cut goes to rebuild the Barbican
More Shakespeare for the upper classes.
In the corner
The Florida electric chair,
With a bloodied print of Mr Bundy
Attached to a comedy plug
Which forces the light to flick
And Ted’s own final soprano performance to air.
Please sir, keep your kids away from ‘The Abortion Cabinet’,
Don’t touch ‘The Razor’s Edge’.
Don’t sit on ‘The Mercy Seat’.
Out into the cold fresh air,
Smugly celebrating another year of controversial art.
Boris Johnson sliced down the middle,
Open like a giant sardine,
Brings loud and appreciative applause.
The kids ask for postcards,
Sticking their tongues out at the plastic fish swimming in formaldehyde.
The whole world’s a stage.
The public are the exhibits.
The show never ends.
Buy the catalogue.
Her moniker was Cherry Lemonade
And everyone circled her orbit.
She entered a room and it was instantly animated
The women her sisters,
The men, her mannequins.
She used them like chess pieces
Setting up the game how she wished to play it
A sultry scenario of sins
That only Johnny-Too-Good could shy away from,
Walking from the shadows, feeling oh too bad.
Years later the paper held a photo
A sepia reminder of halcyon days
– Cherry Lemonade in all her finery.
Seems she met her end in a darkened alleyway,
The negative of her Hollywood scene.
She staggered, they say,
A single line of crimson gracing her slender neck,
A cherry blossom tree, felled.
I wept for her as I would for my youth.
I’m calling to you from under the ground.
A flat bed, a flat bed.
No rest in this hollow though
No chance to be at peace.
I remember screaming hard
No one ever heard me.
They made me lay down
I didn’t want to but what could I do?
She taped it while he did me
I yelled and he smiled.
She pressed PLAY and RECORD
It was all a sickening dream.
I awoke naked and ashamed
They gave me tea and sympathy.
It all felt different
They apologised for earlier embarrassments
Said it was all just an act.
Then he fucked me and I quit caring.
I was already a corpse
But they wanted to nail me
Not to a cross, not to a cross.
I’m gone now,
There’s a bull at the next table drinking tequila.
He belches loudly as he unbuttons his shirt and does a little Elvis twist.
Four women he is constantly flattering
Laugh like a balloon quartet leaking helium.
The barman gives good scowl
Curses something under his breath
That he never says in front of his ole Ma.
Plinky-plonky frisky disco
The bull is up and spinning like a well oiled top.
The floor clears and he channels Travolta.
Polite applause from an old dame shot through with Sangria
Whilst rumblings of discontent echo around the dance floor.
He bellows for more
But the lights are on
The music is off
And everyone’s shifting towards the morning light.
Twenty minutes it takes him to find the door
After tripping and his heavy horn cracking a mirror.
The barman shakes his head and spits
“You stop the barbarity and this is the result!”