Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The 5 dollar stakes

There's an old curious brown port
in the corner of the junkyard shop
that I've had my eye on
for several days.

It's got a T.A.A. sticker
and some travelling scars
and a glass minaret
for a lock.

Legend has it ... and legend it is...
when the lock is broken
to see what's inside ....
a sticky blue gas
wraps you up like a boa.
Turns your eyelids to stone.
Leaves your heart black as peat.

A menacing thought
but I pay my 5 bucks
to the grey smiling woman
and take the port home
lay it down on the table.
It feels like there's papers
and readable stuff
maybe some photos
maybe black and white.

I'll tap it with a hammer
the glass minaret
the legend I'll push it
to the back of my mind
and tense my hand round the small wooden handle
closing my eyes
counting to three
taking a shortened breath.......

When the most amazing thing happened.
..... my firealarm went off
right there and then
almost above my head.
I must have jumped
four feet in the air.
Hammer hit the ground with a thud.

I stood back and glanced
at the old brown port
my red heart beating
like a fat bass drum.

Next day I take it ...
without much sleep
up to the junkyard shop
unopened and get my 5 bucks back.

The grey lady grabs it
throws back her shawl
places it down near the huge mirrorball
and for a moment she seems so ferociously tall
as she waves me a witchy goodbye.

Friday, 14 September 2007

this and that

my ear was pricked by a breath this morning
and when I turned
was no one there

the seat of idris called my name
again I turned
was all alone

so a thousand goblins dance beneath
this ether at my nose
drinking honey mead and fig
and other spells
slipping in the splittest of seconds
you see.......
they can't be touched by hands that flow
with blood and warmth

and a small latte takeaway
no sugar thanks mate

and then it's back
as quick as that

this overwhelming
blanket tucked in
righteous .... kind of
non relenting
loudly spoken
fact reminding
oft pretending
market driven
shackle breaking
must admit I ain't complaining
piano playing day!

Monday, 3 September 2007

cyclone stanley and all that jazz

Stan whisks up to the fountain.
Around him Kings Cross has a distinct spring in its step.
A bee bop kind of swing.

He wears grey creased trousers
and his hair is short with a hint of a quiff.
His white shirt is unbuttoned and relaxed.
Stanley must be close to 80.

I say something innocuous about the day
and he eyes me off with a lion like glint...
part curious, part predatory.
It doesn't last long though.

He smiles a bit ......Do you like jazz?
Sure, I say. I like the way it's improvised.
He snorts half an approval
making a sound like a giant purr.

I used to play jazz in this park he continues.
1957. After the war and before the beatles.
Music ..... and he stares at me with that jazz players intensity ....
was no better than then m'boy.

Now I would never dismiss the good gents appraisal
but I just had to counter that one ....
when he got all enthusiastic on me

Saturday nights. Couldn't beat em ...
you woulda loved it.
He points toward the fruit shop and
paints me a picture ........

We used to set up over there.
They'd put a stage up for us and the other groups.
Alex was playing the upright piano.
Bill played the flute and the sax.
Max his double bass.
I was on the drums. A silver ludwig.
I've still got the snare

We would make it all up .....
well at least until some standard
came floating in,
then we'd run with that for a while.
Then maybe I'd hit the shuffle pedal
.... and off we'd go again.

The beatnik crew wore black suits
and crazy thin ties.
Kerouac beards and all....
always talking jazz nonsense.

Stan had a flush in his cheeks ....
stared at something in his past,
pointed and continued ....

An old speaker hung from that tree,
so the singers could be heard
way up here near the fountain ...
and to announce the next group

mmm and the sharpies would hang at the front.
Dark glasses all of em.
Right through the night.
The girls had brazen scarves
tied around their heads ....
all of em had matching thin cardies.
Everyone smoked.

Then back to Roosavelts
or maybe the Amsterdam cafe
dependin on how I felt,
with the others ... you know

Amazingly he pauses
long enough for me to
maybe say something,
..... say anything when
his friend arrives
calling his name...

Snapped back to now ...
he continues
Ok gotta go ... nice talkin

yeah .... ok... seeya I say.

What a whirlwind!

I watch him as he taps his fingers
against his thighs
scuttling the pigeons that dance now
where beatnikers would swing
and Stan used to play jazz
50 years ago
this Saturday night.