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Holiday In Berlin: Republished


The slow times between afternoon traffic
Cold coffee on bungalow verandahs
May sometimes serve to remind
Silk rustle of passing clouds
How once in laughter jetting
Above frail flutes of the ocean’s smile
Wan Europe and far away

To gray freeway boulevards of Berlin
For afternoon walks ginger-soft as cats
With smiles ever less frequent
And for some reason more and more drinking
Dwarf fools in a sad circus
Creating the right spectacle for them
Lay readers of the lesson

Stumbling the important words
Unsure repeating such words each morning
Parodies spraycan the scent of daisies
Chinese whispers total loss of meaning
Carrying it between two
Nervous to the breaking point
Too fragile a vase to save

From arrows of sleet or rain
Through dagger edge adventures
Between avenues of trees whose tired leaves
Only appeared distantly
For to disappear again
Though a tree is dead fungus will survive
Sitting through the dusk of putrefaction

Mildewed walls of cafés and hotel rooms
Daily decomposing and composing
Faded brown and smudged copy
Needed for long past deadlines
Like reporters of the nineteen thirties
Recording one another
In desperate impatience

Dumbly fumbling a bedroom door handle
Until sad days of doom now really dawned
Forced empty slipstream Atlantic returns
Where vapor trails reel two times
Across tangled cotton clouds
Three days apart and strangers
And the wet runways of final descent

Do glisten whose tyremarks are like tears
Descending the handshake passengerway
In the drizzle scarcely shaken from sleep
Opening eyes to look up at the sky
Just as now from bungalows
The sky will never seem the same again
(And of course it never did)

~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~

This poem has a soundtrack! It was composed while listening to the track sequence ‘Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown > Aybe Sea’ (from Frank Zappa’s “Burnt Weeny Sandwich” album) set on ‘Repeat’. If you don’t own the album you can find the tracks on YouTube.

While listening, it’s not too hard to work out how the stanzas relate to each section of the music and vice versa.

Really it’s just your typical boy meets girl, boy loses girl scenario. Same old same old. (Or boy meets and loses boy, as there’s a nod or two to Christopher Isherwood.)

A verbal/musical movie for the mind (and heart). Enjoy.

Song Of An Old Man



Here I am
With a story
Without a beginning, without an end, without a story
But here I am
I came here
With my fine circus
With my elephants, my clowns, my highwire
And my fleas
No – now my memory fails me too
I never had fleas till I came here
With my circus in a bag on my back
In the country my circus was a rage
Everyone came
Everyone marvelled and took something home
But then I came to the city
Spying out the land
And all those people
Rushing back and forth
I don’t know
Frightened me somehow
With their beards and monocles
Their sweaters and nylon stockings
Frightened me somehow
And I clung on to my bag
To keep my circus quiet
Out of sight till the time came


How old was I when you gave me my circus?
Pleased at first as children are
Then awed, ecstatic, angry, indignant, blind with rage and screaming as I learned
All the time learning
I remember the accidents
Fire in the stables roasting horses like chickens
Young girls missing the net to explode like wine glasses
I couldn’t close my eyes
Saw every hurt
Felt blood flow
And all the time learning my trade
Until you should make me master of the ring
Good times too
Delivering foals at 3 a.m.
Lovers holding hands a hundred feet up
The clown risking his life when the lion got loose
All the stories the artistes had to tell
All the time learning
Learning my trade
For I was to announce them and their stories
In the city
And here
Here I was


I have been proud in my life
I have had to learn not to thank you for making me like this
Not to thank you I am not as other men
But now as a reward
Please please
Let me be like them
I was too prudent
I did not book a hall
I did not light lights
Hang up posters
Parade them through the town
I kept them quiet
Out of sight till the time came
I was too prudent
It was a wet November
The streets reflected the lights
And clung to my shoes
I huddled in cafés
Slept in alleys
I bought drinks for people I thought might like circuses
Made them my friends
I told them anecdotes
I spent years at it
I learned to speak
To make people laugh by keeping a straight face
And by crying to make them cry
But many didn’t understand me


And some – some I trusted
Thought ill of me
That my stories were lies
Were all mine
In some way “my opinion”
And cost me more years of learning
For only a fool is angry when no one listens
And no one listens to a fool
So now I am an old fool
But I heard – I saw those stories
They belong to me
To you
To the people who drank my drinks
And would not listen
I was too prudent
And too foolish
I have spent all my money
I have sold everything to buy people drinks
My elephants, my clowns, my highwire
All I have left are my fleas
I would ask you to book a hall for me
To light lights
Hang up posters
To buy back my animals and parade them through the town
But I am afraid
For you would refuse
I would ask you if my fleas are enough
But I am afraid
For you would say yes

The Legend Of The Moon’s Reflection (Republished)


Deep in the Northern mountains’ silence
Once long ago
Far from the lands of men there lived a Prince
Cold as snow
All day long he would wander
Like a man possessed
As he went he would ponder
His life’s helplessness

Why it was that what he loved the most grew old and died
Why he found no place of rest however hard he tried
And he threw himself upon the mountainside
And knew himself to be alone and bitterly began to cry

And in his misery he saw
As if in a dream
That where his tears fell to the ground
There sprang forth a stream
And the stream fed a river
That flowed glad and free
From the hills to the lowlands
And so reached the sea

River and seawater
Flowing down together
Though the river ends
The sea lives on forever

And by means of this vision
The Prince was set free
And in his dying moments
At last he could see

Why it is that what we love the most must disappear
Where that place of rest is that is always free from fear
And he flowed into the river with his tears
And knew himself to be the sea without a knower or a seer

And if you gaze far out to sea at night
So they say
Sometimes you’ ll see his face shine in the moon
Far away
And the river still flows
From the hills to the plain
And the sea feeds the river
With drops from the rain

River and seawater
Flowing down together
Though the river ends
The sea lives on forever …

I Told You There’s No One There (Republished)


Some folks on the road to heaven
Are tempted to go astray.
All knew Parson Brown was one of these,
And golf what he wanted to play.

For he was only human.
But his flock didn’t see it that way.
“A vicar succumbing while we’re around?
Say, that’ll be the day!”

So every time he drove past the course
He saw the windows wide
And knew well that his stern parishioners
Were watching from the other side.

His frustration raged within him
Till he woke one morning at five.
The weather was fine and they were all asleep
As he crept down to the drive.

He quickly made his way to the course
And headed out for the first green,
Chuckling at the thought of what he was doing
And all without being seen.

But he’d forgotten the Angel Michael,
Who roused God from his forty winks
And said, “Wake up, Sire, it’s Parson Brown
And he’s out there on’t links!”

“Then I must punish him,” said God.
“As you know, it’s my wont with men.
And I promise you one thing, Michael;
That he won’t do this again!”

The vicar meanwhile was teeing off
In the early morning sun
But what a surprise he got when he found
That he’d scored a hole in one.

“Lord have mercy,” he exclaimed,
“Mercy upon my soul.”
But he’d even stronger language
When it happened at the second hole.

He went on to complete his hat trick;
Such golfing must astound.
The only man in history
To achieve an eighteen stroke round.

Even Michael, who’d watched the whole thing,
Couldn’t quite take it all in.
“But … but … but …” he spluttered to God,
“Tell me, how will THAT punish his sin?”

A wicked smile traversed God’s face,
And he answered, “Extremely well.
You and I may know what happened
But who can Parson Brown tell?”

~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~

Note that both God and Michael have broad Yorkshire accents.

I Have Not Locked The Door (Republished)


A prophet without a name
A patriot without a country
Lost in a dying church
Lost in a black prison
Spanish prison
Small yard to walk round and round
Dry throats of guitars
(This is a short poem
For those who have someone to return to)

When you really need to be close to someone
You do not dare go away and admit you have failed
That is why people sometimes spend the night together
And stay together forever
Until even the touch of another’s hand is empty
And you share things individually

Take a last grand look down the fire escape
In case you ever need to run away fast


So … I decided, on reflection, to give a little background to this piece. Picture someone who is trapped in a relationship and is trying to give some advice to a good friend who is about to enter one. This is not written from a personal here-and-now perspective, but is not pure fantasy either. I simply wanted to capture some of the intimate, unspoken feelings from that point and moment in time. View it as a mental movie to enjoy (or otherwise, as desired); expand it to 90 minutes; make a movie; do it well enough and you could be talking Oscars. Selah.



Here one sees water
While here is ice and here steam
One seamless lesson

Flies (Reposted)


One fly
On either side of a pane of glass
Each one crawling
Concentratedly searching
For a way through this invisible
But so tangible barrier
To its freedom

Seems to notice the other
And so is not disheartened
Or amused
To see the vanity of it all
Still less consider what then
If the glass is but a mirror

So people too
At liberty within the boundaries of their minds
Yet feel themselves imprisoned
And long to escape
Into the freedom they have made
Of another’s prison
And this they call love

Wonderland (A Four By Six)


Alice’s tea party
Forever moving on
Infinity plus one
Defies mathematics

Happy Ending (A Sept)


Dear one
Dry those eyes
Ugly ducklings
Turn into

Poetry challenge #2: Swans

Maitre D’ (A Four By Six)


I spat into the soup
Unclear why this might be
Anger or derision?
While they partook of it

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