lady lay      in primary colours
                                                             for Cecil Helman

detente      an entomological alphabet
happier times      the wrong number      you would
go and die      j'accuse     
if anything than the first
                                                 a book's fate
is the reading public      
as an abattoir swinging fireworks
through the decades
if you were there you have forgotten      'mad woman'
the little marks that make everything alright
like faking communism
                                                a tribute perhaps
but I wish I'd never read
and could have understood      instead
stopping what might have happened to smell the roses      birds and beats
sick      but not that sick      I didn't know      'mark the above'
or thought I knew I hoped      I hoped      differently      help you
help      yourself      the marmalade my friend is all on me

central location

every time you wake up
the drift of anchors      turning music
'when you said we'd meet for coffee what did you expect?'
pills of gulls tuning in the mouth of the gallery
a year goes by
                              as bells slum it in American terminals
spinning records for the deaf      when you thought
it was profound what were you thinking
the bottle-bank tanked with yesterday's conversation
'I remember you well'      your face
still as a monkey's at the glass      'too much green tea'

I prescribe a walk by the harbour to imagine
trains pulling into Venice full as peaches
with miniature artworks
                                                 the bus every time
you travel      'I could paint you here
but you'd already be gone'      style in one eye
green in the other      parks open      we could be anywhere

a few clods of water

germ or atomic warfare      nostalgia
it is at once      relevant      in book form
there in 1966
                                        mending fences
in the way dissidence is stylised

we meet beside the churchyard exchanging gifts
of rosemary flowers and third person narratives
'I could hear him talking quietly'

it is not made clear at this stage
crackling in the next room      another army
has just lost a war      in this case geography
the combination written along parallel lines
on page 7 of the Warsaw Concerto
an elision of complexities      'would you like a rose?'
'I would'      worn nonchalantly on your lapel
that I was there too
                                        I'm coming to the end of the page
the young man in picture one
ciphered by curious vocalisation      'nothing
to hear here'      locating the site
in the mouth of the observer      psychotropical lilies

slight return

the island beyond the table
you are gone      and you      job done
no one is
                      the moon feeding distance
beyond the lake      a country where
the currency is matchsticks      here
radio waves (modernised) tell you what you want
a house      a bar      the career on TV
selling chocolate crimes
                                                a man is outside
your negotiable threshold making signs with
prosthetic limbs      get out      still moving
how did you know      did you cause
the problem      emblem of cat suits
eating economy burgers      is this thinking?

my mind is on ice      a circus trick
storing memories for the future
what's the use
      all stares are blank
spaces between galaxies      don't taunt me
tomorrow I may have an extra hour for lunch
but what did I pay for today      'your gift for narrative
is astonishing'      will you buy me      will you
move me      punching my painting in the ribs

I feel so tired that I'm      floating out
yesterday was so      yesterday      it is
absent      the message you didn't leave      ink drying
try harder please      June is confusing      the drums don't work
oh auntie your night      '96/'09      (hyperbole again)
have an ice-cream      it could be agony

it's like London

but still      I like it here
the pretty days      'get your baggage
and when you've got your baggage I'll meet you'

we'll just lay around Sunday
I'll take Monday off      the murder mystery can wait
until evening
                             are you a professional?
there are so many people who ought not to be here
(if I blow up my work place tomorrow please remember
this is fiction      out of context)

all of which is building up to say something
involving a desert island in snow      you're right
I'm not sure
                           the perfect pleasure of enlightenment
is always somewhere over there
a picture cleaned up for future generations
full stop absent      a method of sorts

                                             for Rupert Loydell

     Nathan Thompson 2009