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                                          1959 –– MANHATTAN –– 2012

                                straight out from school to Heathrow on the M25
                                a network of lonely roads going nowhere, then;
                                waiting, studying coffee highlights in the green
                                lobby with blue spotlights and pillared space for

                                phones to pace up and down and talk it still is,
                                loudly; at the next hotel we wait with more spot-
                                lights in our eyes no matter where we sit; furniture
                                deco-curved and just off right-angle, held together,

                                material to wood, for decades with check-
                                pattern and slight stain; there is a locked-in-
                                ness in our world on all sides which only our
                                future eyes – that never look directly – betray

                                in their gaze; early flight tomorrow; in the
                                morning-effect light shifting, the mist hanging
                                around the base of the sky, land spread with
                                low buildings always on the horizon, flat and

                                matt, before the sun flanks their edges into 3D,
                                radar-spinning, floodlights turn off, arms of
                                cranes hold their reach, and … the control
                                tower; 3567 miles and I didn’t bring enough

                                books (you can never bring enough books);
                                I travelled for lifetimes to arrive in New York,
                                still the same person: roads scraped and pock-
                                marked, trees still reach and lean in front of the

                                sky, people still live city life breathing in and
                                out the power of my money, lights still go on
                                in the evening and in between traffic shoals
                                the sparrows bicker in the trees; in room 506

                                over Central Park, already I am familiar with
                                the lore of the branch, the places-to-go apricot
                                street lights, the white path lights, the traffic
                                lights and the ‘cheeps’ bounced off building wall

                                between the lmmmdmda-lmmmdmda – laersssh
                                through the rain-dusty windows, under grey-sky
                                steel-clouds and the slowly shifting charcoal; but
                                then there is always the next day, the ever-waiting

                                gulp-open and blue-chip sorry of impressionistic
                                sidewalk, the walnut marble frontages walking
                                south up into downtown in cold air between
                                buildings and didn’t bring enough clothes (I never

                                know what clothes to bring) – by Radio City ‘with a
                                transistor and a large sum of money to spend’;
                                everything created for living beyond subsistence
                                everything produced at cost through labour

                                everything earned through labour if you can get it
                                everything obtained at price and compromise
                                everything experienced at cost through trademark
                                everything Had, but no one left to have it …

                                everything that is uneasy in the modern day
                                was manufactured behind the half-closed blinds
                                of America – home of the Potential and Slave –
                                and yet … it is so sad-beautiful: the space sculpted

                                by façades of apartment blocks giant arm-widths
                                apart, communities of single window – italicised
                                nibscratches – stepped upwards and backwards
                                the Avenues of Uprise reaching higher and

                                lower again and again and again; America has
                                so much condensed history since it braved the
                                conceit and responsibility, of choice: cleansed
                                by ethnically assimilating, pledged by conforming

                                allegiance; Someone had to make a stand against
                                all this equivocation and by God Almighty We
                                Made   that   Stand; `made continental infrastructure
                                out of it, far bigger far more reaching even than

                                law and democracy … … but there is such
                                width in your sadness – lilac blossom before
                                marble façade; such height in your sadness –
                                giddy out on the balconies looking eight floors more

                                above; such blank in your sadness – when you
                                skip my English joke and call ‘you’re welcome’
                                from the till; such sadness when you ask for
                                change outside Starbucks; even the trees through

                                the hotel window, even the wide sidewalk cleaned
                                for strolling and not curbing, even the smiling
                                doorman in brown suit … all Had; all kept
                                in place by gigantitude, everything kept in place

                                by gigantitude, (when I was young an image
                                of a building so many floors high pinnacling to a
                                turret roof on the pink cover on the blue cover
                                of the insurance policies that my Mum kept;

                                my mother is now dead the policies came to
                                nothing); 99: “for all the freedom and choice to
                                be Had, life is hard when you pay with your work
                                and no time left and no money to choose

                                leaves you tired with no sense of humour”;
                                1: “for all the freedom and choice to be Had
                                life is anxiety where you pay for with your
                                history and obligation, never stopped still-

                                enough to choose, leaves you always with
                                dyed hair; look, only on the fifth floor of the
                                Eldorado, a man at the window canary short-
                                sleeve shirt turns back into the room, traffic light

                                booms out on a long arm swinging slightly taxis
                                u-turn as the sun comes up from behind; women’s
                                magazines, waiting for Mum at the hairdresser’s
                                in the mid-sixties, illustrations, young tree avenues,

                                blossoming handbags, little dogs on leash, promise
                                of love, promise of life, promise of man’s jaw in
                                boardroom where cologne cinches the deal, slight
                                smile signs the papers: maybe later some chinos

                                and open collar on the terrace; there was a calendar
                                brought home from work (“not needed … we work
                                in London”) – buildings of Manhattan, can decorate
                                my room, make my world, all the stepped down

                                walls of windows up which b-e-y-o-n-d myself
                                giddy and beautiful, I cannot look up or down but
                                keep them high on the wall; going out in the
                                evening Daddy ‘have to’ ‘to do with work’ ‘can’t be

                                helped’ white shirt bow-tie, clean-cut neck cologne
                                ‘good for contacts’ ‘if I can, just’ ‘business’; there
                                was a new white Mini, a new white Anglia parked
                                outside on the hill over London, Matchbox models

                                to match for the boys, going into ‘business’ ‘make
                                a go’ Dennis & Dennis, home, evening drinks, meet
                                the family, the boys play Dennis G and Dennis P
                                for years after; ‘… Daddy is leaving, he will not be

                                coming back’; I had thought it was all pastel-blue-
                                and-grey beautiful but the glamour got to him first
                                and now I dream of falling off balconies and ledges,
                                (do I fall up or down); evening: ghouls from the

                                subway gaining and pushing but the top trees-only
                                gently leaning, hybrids swashing yellow down the
                                tarmac in schools while the thunder of a plane
                                descends; morning: eyebrows raise like coving, the

                                reggae lingers      then kicks in; a neat rhombus of
                                sunlight unconcerned across her cheek, a blind rolls
                                down, ‘I’ll just read a chapter’-fixed lashes, the
                                rhombus travelling now across collar bones between

                                her white collars; Carol reads far better than me,
                                she reads history as it happens, she is the ‘captain-
                                speaking’, she knows what time it is      in other
                                countries, she knows there is no airport in Glasgow

                                (she also bullshits when cornered); now I miss all of
                                this, I see only peoples’ posture contrary to their
                                eyes, and little else; I came to Manhattan and saw
                                your avenues of strange displacement your streets

                                of darkness and morning-side; I found I was there
                                a lifetime ago, but you left me and I have moved on
                                now and I shall not be back, there is no need;
                                I shall celebrate your strange beauty from afar;

                                Newark Airport: everybody here / is talking all
                                the time to / someone somewhere else; the control
                                room sits            overhanging on the concrete stem,
                                fingers of cloud float nonchalantly by, with no delays

                                today, two girls study magazines, swap articles,
                                a third texts constantly with fixed smirk; but you,
                                you are so beautiful with hennaed hair braided
                                neatly back because you are in uniform, you are

                                taking a break, ID and equipment around your
                                neck, clear dark skin, grey shirt and St. John’s
                                badge eating a bag     of crisps with eyebrows sharp
                                and eyes so white looking, not talking     looking

 

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

abandonment & streetlight wormhole: dawn
air wormhole: just
anxiety & Carol & crane & Have & lifetimes & London & love & pink & sky & train & travelling & white & work wormhole: new year’s eve 2014; train up to London to / walk the bridges across the Thames, and / listen to the voices say it is, and was, like, / but get back home before the fireworks / obliterate it all in the emptying twilight
apricot wormhole: only
beauty wormhole: smiling
bedroom wormhole: sunny morning
blossom & branches & waiting wormhole: I could step / more open
blue & grey & mist & trees & walking wormhole: right to be
books wormhole: a light rosé
breathing & life & speech wormhole: living mystery / murder theatre
buildings & identity & society & space & windows wormhole: where the real action // always is
childhood & dream & Eglinton Hill & ghosts & green & looking & morning & time wormhole: tag cloud poem VIII – growth
clouds & light & posture wormhole: Buddha Amitabha
coffee wormhole: poised patiently for / hours
coffee shop wormhole: yet another sprain / of ‘Jingle Bells’ straining / to propagate yet another / tired Christmas spirit – … / ‘sanner clawsis coming t’ taunn – yeah’ in a / coffee shop with condensation / running off the snowflake transfers / and the iphone at the next table / talking how 50 means 900 a month – not worth / the drive (left his scarf behind – / collateral) … about my age
compromise wormhole: Dr Strange V – all the words of all the times of all the worlds speak
Dad & traffic lights & yellow wormhole: ‘“Never,” said the Sandman; / he blinked …’
dog wormhole: silence
evening wormhole: lobby
eyes wormhole: great underbelly to the rooftops
haiku(esque) & hair & Manhattan & people & roads wormhole: Kirby’s landscapes
history wormhole: 20th century / schzoid man
horizon wormhole: Dr Strange I – the trashcan tilted the better to see now the street
hotel wormhole: the Last Day of Morecambe Illuminations
lilac wormhole: Herbert Road diptych
living & sitting & sound & sun wormhole: crumpled / notebooks / at the end of a gentle retreat
money wormhole: The Future of Teaching: performance or capability (‘oh, not ‘teaching’ then?’)
Mum wormhole: letters to Mum V – carrying on in duty and love
music & reading wormhole: sometimes
obligation wormhole: scattered
smile wormhole: the silent night of the Batman
sparrows wormhole: zazen in everyday life
spotlights wormhole: ‘the dining room …’
talking wormhole: – sigh! –
walls wormhole: Plumstead – Woolwich 121114
wind wormhole: Christmas