An Alabama Song


A fantasia on the song by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht, which is performed above by David Johansen.
Wishing you all a happy Halloween!

When we mistook a fern tree for a turn,
inwards past the branches
into the headlamp dark,
here we taste either luxury or magic,
harking angels
with every snap of branch and bone.

For preservation,
we’re supposed to leave some witches swimming
to fill unglamorous roles
as rotting archivists.

But never in Alabama – the opposite,
just because it’s not a night for imagining places,
leaving us homeless with an unhinged black door.

As a train of jackdaws across a new frontier shriek ludicrously,
inside there’s cushioned opulence and
seats, if a little… clawed to bits.

There’s magic or luxury
but we’re not in Alabama,
the distance
capable of dislocating arms from bodies
forever.

Harvest the dreams of our
unemployed with strength waning
like a red cape
hanging around
her chequered logger’s shirt.

Mr Robert Pattinson
is seated on the ground,
outside a closed alehouse
typewritten with a mind’s fatigue.

His eyes of palely fired skin
under ray-bans,
those thick eyebrows
in the dust of the vampiric street.

It is like you, me too,
to look down the trainroute
for strangleholds to the moon.

“Who wants whisky?
What, as much as we?
As cold as a carrot nose?
Join the queue
and make meals of someone in front.”

All of which is because
it would be a goodnight,
goodnight to let go.

We want power anthems of singular clarity,
with words to sing at the bottom of a screen,
as if it’s not too much to ask for company
on not the full ticket.

This passing old blur that inflates like a puffer fish
will always be with you
don’t ask why.

Leave certain questions to the drink,
for our whiskey slips dryly.

If you still have your wits
and a distinct taste for blood,
you will end up caked, finally,
in kisses and make-up.

Piano Sonata No. 14 – “Moonlight”

Tears screamed
from howls of steam.

Hot at the ear-folds,
a defeated towel
wrung to the last playlist
is thrown in.

The night moth busily eats
Polyfilla.
He is entirely his
black blinking wings,
and bigger shadow.

The caterpillar’s
fur, only just damp
like the towel,
will be dry in the cocoon
moonlight,

its thirst is already over
and out drips
the colour to poor life.
The carpet drips a deeper weave.

I stood in the living room
for a while.
I looked below to see
other spenders of time
in constellations
on the concrete courtyard below,
and decided,
– my bathroom bare-feet were grimy,
green on tiles -
to join stones
in our closest thing to a garden.

“Anyway”

I had the foresight to bring with me
a slice of Sylvia’s classically kind
Victoria sponge
golden in foggy Tupperware,
free-of-charge.

Artlessly, “help me” flatly escapes from the flats,
not my mouth; toneless,
“help me” with no effort or voice, and once more, too noteless,

A vending machine teenagers are jokily assaulting for Cola
has gone without repair
for as long
as everyone should remember.

The landlady disallows the sweetest animals.
This sweaty pride is what she has.
B.O under blazers.
They may have once cared for a pet,
but not this time, no-one.

weed burns
to grow.

They pile drive with feeble muscle,
arms drawing wide arches at mock belief in
their usefulness now
to dislodge coins,
and their strength to affect
gears, more complex than they can imagine

“Real”

Instead the cola machine’s
mechanical red pain shoots inside fingers of
a stupid one’s hand -
a 15 year old Dr. Frankenstein’s
experiment falls flat.

Eyes dart to each other,
beats are taken to time
careful turns
to top an
escalating joke.

A bit nippy in an overlong black coat,
but shaking more in strangeness
and exhaustion.

Two old ladies have been discussing someone else’s business
for some ill-informed nattering while,
and yet in repellent detail.

My arms hoover crumbs.
I stuff a mouth
to stuff theirs,
cake is too good for them and,
proving by night,
Sylvia’s kitchen
is the only place, ever.

Kindness rises
from her mouth,
not gossip
with no flat artless help from me,
her mixes rise keenly as cakes for sale.

People believe in pressing on.

In the early days, sloppily icing her small industry and
with time to think of
of others,

personalised esteem,
letter-writing paper.

People have closed their eyes to hope
before firing squads,
shared their last prayer,
shed shot bodies
to a red helpless wall,

blindfolded,
while black treacle
quietly
forms together,
with their spirits

in a moonlight,
invisible to a row of ordered soldiers,
is Sylvia.

Letter From The Green Smog

What was 2010? How long ago did it spin? And how did such a thing come to pass?

I demand as many explanations as anyone can reasonably offer!

My mind has rare occasion, occasionally, to return to this unpublished note of imperfection to wonder what it is. It is, by appearance, a letter written by The Hare, to the mysterious Doctor Zi, PXB. See if it holds any interest at all, before we all might return to the very now to accidentally drop our new i smartphones in unison.

The Cabinet of Dr. PXB

 

Announcements of Subjective Importance (x2)

Peter And The Hare on Lettrs.com

From: Earth
To: Earth
Subject: The World
CC: Christopher Columbus

lettr from earth

Peter And The Hare deliver notes to the world on a new website called Lettrs. Peter is finding it a good complimentary outlet for his more spontaneous attempts at whatever he’s attempting. The platform means that he can enjoy many different types of paper without harassing the stationer, and he has made friends there who are not all rabbits.

Bertuch-Vegetable-Lamb
“Bertuch-Vegetable-Lamb” by Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch (1747-1822) – File:Bertuch-fabelwesen.JPG. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bertuch-Vegetable-Lamb.png#mediaviewer/File:Bertuch-Vegetable-Lamb.png

“Better Late Than Lately Never!”

“Peter And The Hare’s Fireside Companion” E-book On Google Play Book Store

peter-and-the-hares-fireside-companion-book-cover-320en_generic_rgb_wo_60

An E-book Edition of my first illustrated collection of poems and stories, Peter And The Hare’s Fireside Companion, is now available to read on PC and any tablet or smartphone device that can access the Google Play store. It’s a sweetly-priced way of acquiring The Hare’s first conjuring trick. Click the link above  to read a generous sample of the book for free and marvel at how awesomely-quite-cool it could be to support a stranger’s strange art and poetry. Reviews are also welcome.

happy accordion player

Going Rick and Ilsa

“I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”

- Rick, Casablanca, 1942

See – I wear a raincoat to avoid my own drenching.
I’m not a good man
but there’s still
a feather for the candle’s licking flame,
a dabbing motion of acrylic,
loaded on the bough of a brush,
to give light to an eye.

But inside the mountain,
as cold as mythical igloos,
the scorched skin of hypothermia goes about
losing toes;
severed beans,
gone Arctic.

Our minds are now in Paris,
singing with ex-pats,
sharing gin,
going Rick and Ilsa,
somewhere

(What would Rick and Ilsa be
to a friendless Café-dwelling poet
trying too hard, spineless and rude,
who couldn’t mind his own damn business?)

Watch me try to amount to a hill of beans,
and while there is space left between the beats of pulses,
you and I are learning
every time the gardener’s song
trails off…

into a question…

“What would be kinder
for the sun to look upon,
in these times:
the quicksand of the mind,
the war, and wars ahead,
a runway,
or, perhaps, the Seine?”

Write your Answer:

 

Because we’ll
save this aimless feature
of landscape in a photograph;
carefully framed, because
each one has lungs, the same size as their bodies
and can’t hold their breaths for long
before boiling.

They are beans.

Watch me become a hill of beans,
it’s been a long time, I grant you.
But freight trains are exporting
confusing cargo,
bean by bean.

The mountain and the sky aloft
and the yellow-bellied peas,
the scream that extinguishes a stove
and miles below sea,
the gasping hill of beans,
that ask to be kept
prickly in your scarf,
elevated on a slice of toast,

warm and dry
for your kindness.

Alphabet soup spells trouble to a witch,
who had dreams, and woke with a pearl-string of her beads
around her neck, the imagination
she goes to bed with
only loose fitting clothing,
and shoes filled by a radiator leak.

Because she
sorts randomly canned letters
into prophecy.

On our camping-trip,
in our twenties,
we had the shadow of an elephant
amounting to
what we hoped would be a molehill.

Watch me hope for a hill of beans,
without which I’d be the proprietor of a bar,
I’d be in black,
in white,
seeing like a dog,
identifying each passing trope of Film Noir.

With a friendly tongue
but teeth in a jar,
in gin-smoked interiors
before you chanced into mine.

I sat against white walls,
poured liquor into breakfasts.
I knew you would
remember laughing at time slowed by
like a mosquito, a bar fly, does
before being swatted.

Since you’re here we could spend time counting
any beans left,
between the currency of kisses.

It’s something we hope everyone can afford,
even though we know that’s not true,

Hope, for a hill of beans.

Watch me give desperate hope to those who scratch for it, what remains
of a miserly measure,
which is at best a lens to watch
rocks beat against the tide,
for once,
for once, Ilsa,
but they, we, can’t.

And those who know it,
live on black-and-white film stock,
with street-smarts,
twin-prop airplanes
and the song Sam plays
for himself.

Dream-Confused Polar Bear In A University City (Second Draft)

This is what’s good about the rain.

Cars casting waves behind them
sell streets to me;
wheels drink in the wide showroom
with their
grooves, ribs and dimples.

Trees sit,
passing each river to the ground,
parting curtains,
into straight unbroken lines,
the shot glasses of a million great nights
measuring the
annual precipitation
above your shampooed and sodden hair.

Welcomed with that glassy, clean scent.

What’s good about the snow
is every shape made simple,
the cars blinded,
with hoods
of light ice,
heavy in landing together,
piled around a wide bend,
disappearing.

The weather
blocks sight,
to be with you,
and remember.

She found me,
it was time to,
but in a broken land of ice.

Each shape marks a bonus colour
triggering a memory and quickdraw smile
to the hearts which escape from instruments played
in an extreme weather
of happiness,
if you like.

And eyes can reach wider, and vine-like with curiosity;
eyes can be be insatiable, like climbing plants, but free.

In the room that spoke,
the polar bear
kept splashes of joyful paint
tufted in fur,
the emulsion for a canvas afterwards.

Waking up well is rare -
speak to an endangered bird.
It is good to wake up, in general,
with loud squawks trilling,
sun obscured by noise;

so feather a nest with
your own love,
and a Pandemonium
of family.

When it is the end
you will have to show
the stories that passed by the ear
of the smallest seashell that we sold,
the one too strange
for strangers,
the one that was priceless
at the discount of my
low-tide,
the actions that were spontaneous,

and all that remains,
is to say only something
of the truth that lived and went.

The sun rose over her house,
melting glass.

And this is what I learnt from her,
the ice-capped,
cold-toed
polar bear.

The polar bear is white
because she likes the snow,
because she likes to reflect
the aurora’s
many dreams.

But I saw her, lost,
like myself
and all out of the seas
we were asked to swim.

And I was happy floating
past the ocean
where a polar bear,
– where ice grew
at her feet -
walks the horizon,
looking for,
equally confused,
and diminished schools
of fish.

Because that’s what we’re given,
and that’s what we’re stuck with.

I want to be weird and in love
and go with you into the old city,
with our favoured strangeness
beset by the better spirits,
like candle flames
sheltered by cool stone,
our wise, satirical sense of
the truthful world and its lies,
leaving any anxieties and paranoias behind
spitting over their own skeletons
in attempts to cool,
arriving predictably in
the uncertain skins they shake in.

In boats
as we board others,
aflame and in the opposite direction,
vomit for old time’s sake,
under bridges
and pass through arches
of a fast food restaurant
in a historic city.

Old Octopus

Part of a Series of Poems about Films, and After the Film “Oldboy” (2003)

A mosaic of things to compose your halo,
an octopus on a plate
in parts,
under a sun
that is secretly Gaudí’s Greek cousin,
fashionably late to the celebration,
amid whispers of his maddening.

Bow-legged and troubled from recycling breath,
and television in the same box,
sleeping the entire room.

You wonder how the creator of this scheme
got away with it,
you wonder how it stays up,
about the lizards that the design can support.

In a frame of mind,
Gaudí, like Walt Disney, doesn’t belong,
and I can’t convince you of a different film;
I only have six arms and
two legs,
cut with a cared-for blade.

But the Sagrada Famílias are popping up like mushrooms
to dress the set,
the unfinished and sunny salad,
where tomatoes blaze alight.

The table,
first refracted by as much water
as wild hair that streams before your eyes
– that river is just the flow of days,
and you wake up in a different style,
sometimes enough for tears -
every morning

a fraction of that sea;
in your glass,
or glasses,

like the light,
that extends many running legs
on vivid grass,
and wide arms.

Old Boy,
of the movie,
I know
we can change the seas
in front of our world’s noses.

I know your angry
taste for octopus
is matched by your furious
memory of living,

and it’s not good to be an octopus sandwich
post-Moses,
a two parter.

I would like to
share a smile with a stranger,
more not knowing what to do when our overrated
paths cross
before this squid ink becomes
a leaking biro to stain a jean pocket.

And roll the squid
into contortions
of sushi,
in the House,
its heritage staircase,
when square topiaries are rooted outside by volunteer angels
and gardeners, behind us,
where we didn’t
miss each other.

All the inter-city passengers turned to comparisons with jelly,
watching things pass downwards
slowed inwards by fear.

The giant octopus,
could take the yellow bus for a petal,
wave it around a bit,
wonder what you are
as your body slides
from one traveller to another,
in the joy of being safe and alive,
passing through ghosts
collecting pocket change and
puzzle books
to the sound of my
trying-to-be-kind.

The problematical Enigma machine of sums
for the mathematician I’m not.
Adverse to cutting the wires of a bomb
though he must;
apparently the blue.

The machine
that in a spot of frustration,
the American Ensign says is “busted”,
under sea level,
with the last double bass player on a cruise ship
not to float.

Curl a cup around my suckers,
to drink the bitter saltwater,
and I just might be the spirit of an octopus,
and just as envious of a wash-cloth.

I can just imagine a chorus line of
us octopuses
high-kicking in a Studio System musical,
but useless in our hallway,
where we hang up our coats.

These are the notes, that the angels,
have me writing in margins
of a remake’s screenplay:

before I say something like “Rosebud”, or perhaps “donut”
there is never anything wrong with a donut,
as a reward
instead of an octopuses’ punishment for being alive,
instead of food that won’t go quietly.

Peter Reading The Poem, “Folk Song”

I have made a home recording of me reading the poem, “Folk Song”.

It should please fans of the resolutely lo-fi.

It is free to listen and download, or available to buy on a “pay-what-you-want” basis (!)

This is the first poetry reading I have recorded. On the bandcamp page, I have also provided an optional intro bit. Those with an eagle’s eye will note that I have also sneakily unveiled the working title of a new collection!

Please enjoy!

Folk Song

Atop a towered collection
of records, desert clouds.

The tower too audacious will topple you over
if you don’t
listen in good time -

don’t sing like the skyscraper, crumbling on the hungry.
It’s magic-dust is bread crust from a distance of the stars.
Be like the cracked green bowl for sharing
before you hit the wood of the door,
and go madly.

Taste the spoon that drips
the black message
on the morning
that breaks to complete our circle.

What have you got lightly, under your sleeves?
The disc of Winter daylight settling when it’s too cold to get the nerve,
finger pickin’ though freezin’,
callin’ on us to forgo dreams.

When a cannonball played the Free Trade Hall
and the American Library of Congress to a ladybug,
the people at back there huddled to see,
through heads,
a man standing
and his travelling guitar.

I’m running with horses of muscle an’ limber dogs
across fields,
with horses and dogs,
my legs newly weak.

Across the fields,
as England’s sky knits complaint,
but I’m going home,
where to America
he plays.

Over tea,
over the steam of a cup,
and the droplets on a kitchen window have a
blue Chinese scene,
and leaves swirl in a loose storm
to galvanise a worried brain,
for lips that have not seen another’s for some years,
but another cup poured to sit in silence
about such things.