Poetry Blog by Rick

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Rick on Chet drops by the jazz cafe Alto (14 days ago)

Rick on I only have eyes for you (Thu, 14 May 2020 07:17 pm)

poemagraphic on I only have eyes for you (Thu, 14 May 2020 06:40 pm)

Rick on a path well trod (sequel to Venus in a red dress) (Sun, 10 May 2020 06:30 am)

Martin Elder on a path well trod (sequel to Venus in a red dress) (Sat, 9 May 2020 10:41 pm)

Rick on on considering a photo of an old friend (Mon, 4 May 2020 02:14 pm)

M.C. Newberry on on considering a photo of an old friend (Mon, 4 May 2020 02:04 pm)

Rick on and in bright morning (Sat, 2 May 2020 07:00 pm)

Abdul Ahmad on and in bright morning (Sat, 2 May 2020 05:50 pm)

Don Matthews on and in bright morning (Sat, 2 May 2020 11:52 am)

tea with a friend

come visit soon

we will drink green tea

from translucent china

no need to talk much

 

we’ll show photos

of our children’s children

you’ll take mine across

to your wedding day

demob suit husband

for his approval

 

I’ll smile at yours

 

‘two cubes or one?’

‘one, I’m sweet enough’

‘yes, you are’

 

‘let’s sit in the garden

get the last of the su...

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torch song

when winter comes and living stutters

light a guiding lamp and I will find my way

age or the grave cannot prevent us –

together we shall rise

 

maybe we will sing of willow riverbanks beside

fields of meadow flowers rejoicing

at the refreshingment of gentle rain

wave-soaked barnacle rocks and gulls

sea shores, sea shells,

 

maybe we will love like youthful yesterda...

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Chet drops by the jazz cafe Alto

blue gingham tables loaded with Amstel and Grolsch

pincer the stage. ashtrays overflow with roaches

 

my shirt is peppered with pin-prick scorches

 

‘is this seat taken?’ I shrug - she sits

she’s okay to look at - we don’t talk

 

a pianist knuckles Art Tatum on yellowed ivories

he’s worth more than a trickle of polite applause

 

dusty blackout curtains open  - a gi...

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I only have eyes for you

a corner bar smoky drink

reminding me of ‘Gaslight’

hard-liquor evenings catching

Dave Van Ronk, Richie Havens,

but this ain’t Greenwich Village

it ain’t nineteen seventy

 

a classy five-piece ripping

a re-cooked Coltrane classic

from 'My Favorite Things' the

soloist is pretty good

 

the bar guy is watching me

I mouth, ‘a double... no ice’

he nods – he pou...

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for Juliette

the love I felt for you

waned as my lust waned

 

looking at you standing naked

at the sunlight window

throwing baguette crumbs

to feed the pigeons

(sometimes that squirrel)

 

I want to tell you

it's all gone stale

but you are singing

a soft song from

your home in the Auvergne

 

walking to the bed

coquettish like Delilah

offering your self for love

...

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thoughts of Joanna

thoughts of Joanna

 

Joanna her name,

she did not like diminutives

so naturally

I called her Jo

to wind her up

 

we were never lovers

in the sense of it

we were in too deep for that

 

meeting in the park

as she walked her dog named Davis

after Miles or maybe Bette

drinking tea at the duck pond cafe

shredding reputations -

laughing sharing mutual l...

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coming of age in Oxford

February gives way to March 

slinking off with stale memories

of childhood fun,

schoolboy ambitions,

hope-fuelled dreams

 

adulthood lurks at the door,

poised to engulf me,

I am destitute

of place and property.

 

Nobel Prize winners,

future presidents,

will relieve themselves

easing their bowels,

underground in St Giles’

where I curl, foetal-balled,

...

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hip hooray for lockdown

our days are now nameless days

our days are now aimless days

 

we have been gifted to share

the timeless life enjoyed by

sucklings, ferals and fishes

 

tuning our minds to receive

erased transcendental truths

 

we are not human ciphers

born to dance to chimes of bells

workplace hooters, clocks, whistles,

calendars’ conformities

 

we are gardeners, lover...

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a path well trod (sequel to Venus in a red dress)

the broken cello

sprawled on a pile

of flea market debris

caught Angela’s eye

as she rummaged

for carrots and cabbage for soup

 

its neck was snapped

she soon fixed that with

Christmas wrapping sellotape

 

and sat on her sunset balcony

miming - it had no strings –

to a Brahms quartet

on the wireless set

 

money was short, the rent unpaid

one room ...

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a life frozen by a moment of time

walking an empty pathway

blocking out pregnant silences

by burbling nervous nonsense

until in a pool of darkness

between two lampposts’ yellow light

Rebekah put a finger to my lips

held my face between warm palms

kissed me. said she loved me -

but she would never be free.

 

she wiped tears from her face

and wiped tears from mine.

 

at home I pulled my curtain...

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on considering a photo of an old friend

your picture in my album is you

but the image is not you

not the you I knew so well

the smiling esprit sardonique

whose rapier thrusts and ripostes

flew above the heads of dullest ears

who laughed without knowing

smiled without understanding

saw you without seeing.

and thought they knew you

 

some wanted to own you

they dared not say so.

 

the photo  - a h...

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(a) broken home

broken home

 

each night repeats the one before;

the pub and back to an empty home,

to sleep on a sheet-less single mattress

 

the dirty washing heaps smell sour -

maybe the launderette... tomorrow.

 

I had a cat – what’s happened to her?

 

the sink is stacked with a greasy pile

of chipped enamel mugs and plates

and black-bottomed pots and pans

 

I’ll w...

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and in bright morning

and in bright morning

 

Jenny’s alarm clock stabs my attic

it’s 6:30 on a frost-fern window

Saturday morning

in coal-house January 73

 

I’m jerked awake cold, bleary
 

my teeth are crumbling.

the bandage on a septic sore

is leaking pus from a red line

from armpit to fingertip
 

others spread feet to groin

                                                    ...

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Chuck

Chuck

 

after midnight

and too much tequila

booted from

the Bar Tropicana

my nose feels broke

 

taxis ain’t running

means a long stagger back

down siling rain-swept alleyways

 

I kicked the door open

the clock crashed from the wall

to the kitchen floor

 

I propped it half-cock against

the ‘World’s Best Dad’ cup

I stole for the kids to award to ...

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Venus in a red dress

a tedious Baggot Street 

nineteen fifty three

gathering of ‘the literati’

not my choice of company

until a red-haired

red dress vision

sent my imagination winging

to Venus - as per Botticelli.

 

if she noticed me,

my bohemian dishevelry,

air of rive gauche poverty,

might have turned her off,

or turned her on…

conceivably.

 

my eyes riveted to hers,

...

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'invisible woman'

‘invisible woman’
 

at a Driffield cafe window table

looking out at nothing much to see
 

on dreary Middle Street,

a grey woman, plastic bonneted

mac buttoned to beat the dreich,

pressed against the wind into Tindall’s

for her regular half dozen eggs

two slices of ham, translucent,

and chicken breasts for her poodle,

named after her husband,

long in his grave but...

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après le deluge

come and sit beside me

draw near the fire glow

I’ll put my arm on your shoulder

you’ll rest your head on mine

 

maybe we will whisper of hopes

maybe of fears

those things we might have done

but left it too long

 

and those dear souls we buried

the dear souls we miss

and the songs they sang

and the tales they told

and the laughter we shared

 

try not ...

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'ce qu'on aime est toujours beau'

I wish I could see what you see

as you meander willow lanes

stopping, kneeling,

to trace veins in violet blooms

tasting around you

a beauty that eludes me

 

I watched your encouraging

applause of weak poetry

before, lacking your patience,

I stalked to the bar

and stared at my glass

of moody whiskey

 

I’ve seen you lost in music’s magic

eyes closed, enra...

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For Edith

For Edith


 

oh you were popular

easy to see why

you had a vulnerability

a weakness

weak men feasted upon

 

they swarmed to hug you

to feel the swell of your breasts

tight up to them
 

the swell of a woman

the swell of that weakness

the softness

the 'weakness of woman’
 

in the hug

you tight up to them

they ‘knew’ you

they owned you
 

on...

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'las de ce monde'

as my curtains draw back

the room is rainbowed

by a swinging window-crystal

the ceiling, the walls, the carpet, dance

dance as the light stretches to them

settles upon them and clings to them

 

this austere room revives

 

I return to my bed -

an antique cloister

of brass and iron

a bed that has seen births

and has seen deaths

has heard and cherished

pra...

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not déjà vu again

'not déjà vu again'

 

once more at a kerbside waving goodbye

seems I’m always waving at

drivers of departing cars

wondering if I’ll see them again

some with delicate hopefulness

some with dread
 

I watch their tail-lights

hot glowing cigarette ends

fading in the rain-night rain

blinking amber indicators

signalling right at the junction

then gone

 

she ...

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'when this lousy war is over'

we who have met, but briefly,

and are kept apart

will meet


we who dare not speak of love -

love forged in

timeless late night calls

will love
 

we who have never wept

will happily

shed tears
 

we who have never embraced

may crumble

in the other’s arms

 

and then will know

the truth

of what we know.

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la chambre haute

she lived above me
every morning she sang
wistful Billie Holiday
sometimes Edith Piaf
at her window

I glimpsed her often
holding a palm of seed
for birds to feed
I never saw her face
just the outstretched hand

she had a pulley line
fixed to a towering elm
to hang her washing
the pulley squeaked
I oiled it surreptitiously

I imagined her smiling
always smiling
chiding her ging...

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'Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?' [Psalm 22:1]

from long neglected cathedra

across empty barren holy squares

scrawny men in giants’ robes

pronounce tumbleweed words

of everlasting hope

through microphones

to statues, icons,

pecking scavengers alone

 

at Beachy Head

 

flocks of hopeless

cast off their cares on trampolines

and calling out, ‘Geronimo!’

back-drop half-twist

to the rocks below.

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a promise, I guess

we will sit in my garden

fish-gazing in the neglected

silted pond

maybe a little wine, olives.

you will make a cigarette

or roll a joint

I’ll watch the smoke curling

seeing in the downy clouds

the faces of old friends passed

who sat here noon to night

remembering them with smiles

and those late night debates

angry at times but always loving

fuelled by long ki...

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the little grey lady of the sea

Martha’s Vineyard is running fat

with high-end Bermudas

Melissa Odabash beachwear -

well-heeled bohemia

 

let’s escape

take a boat trip

to Nantucket

 

we loved that spring 

at the cedar-shingle hotel

with the creaking rusting sign

and the little grey creaking

maîtresse de maison

who brushing the stoep

with a besom broom

sang Huguenot villanelles

e...

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musing in the shine

I thought to set mesen a challenge to write an extemporaneous piece in lines of 5 syllables- inspired by isolation. here it is:

"musing in the shine"

if I look out my

ground floor flat window

the walls of the block

reach well past the sky

 

it’s twenty four floors

to the flat roof top

where I’ve stowed a chair

 

I like to sit there

where no one sees me

and re...

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Thursday early in my kitchen

a soughing silence.

a ticking clock. no birdsong.

a pregnant waiting.

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corona haiku

about that virus,

death? it ain’t a hill of beans...

dying? serious.

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ἀποθανεῖν θέλω

ah you laughing flittering wraiths

who grace my memory

with smiles and beckoning

and dance ahead

I see you

 

I long for you

but cannot catch

and dance with you

until that fateful joyful day

all burdens slip away.

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fillings

here are two I may use to fill white spaces in my next book:

 

'JUST ONE CARD'

one card on my mantelpiece
signified a birthday... I forgot

the legend read, ‘You’re Ace’.
she signed it ‘LOVE’. three kisses. smiley.

did she grab it off some shelf,
or did she choose it carefully?

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'WISHING AND HOPING'

it’s the longing that keeps us going
the glow o...

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the initial is random

chit chat

on a late night road trip,

 

‘do anything? go anywhere?

Machu Pichu? Agra? Venice?

what is on your bucket list?’

 

‘... I want to wake

with K beside me

and hear her say,

‘I love you.’’

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my birthday

This little do dah is not to be seen as indicative of my state of mind - it is merely a first draft that amused me to write - and it ain't me birthday :)

MY BIRTHDAY

 

I never thought I’d live this long

but shuffle off thoughts

of death by slow dying

 

for today

it’s my birthday

it’s party time.

 

my black dog

faithful companion

has left me.

casting sly lo...

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waiting in Coventry

"waiting in Coventry"

 

(remembering Liz Taylor)

 

as a striking ‘still-a-man’ but ‘would-be-woman,’

tall, elegant, straight-backed, slim,

hair corbelled with roller bun and pony-tailed

Japanese style

serves diners in a Coventry eaterie

‘their’ Cleopatra breasts brush the trays ‘they’ carry.

 

envious,

I steal surreptitious glances

as ‘she’, as ‘they’ are wai...

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lunchtime Oxford-logic

in a Covered Market sushi bar

I sat next to a guy

who, sipping green tea,

said he was a blogger.

 

‘hmm interesting. money good?’

‘pays the mortgage.’

‘what do you write about?’

‘the kindness of strangers.’

‘thin on the ground these days.’

‘who cares? I make it all up anyway.’

‘conning people okay by you?’

 

he stroked his donnish beard,

 

‘strictly spe...

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Oxford snapshots

Oxford is not what it was

if that is, it ever was

 

it was ‘town and gown’ in 64

when I slept rough

in shop doors and bus shelters

nicking breakfast biscuits

from ramshackle stalls

to dunk in 6d a cup sour tea

at the Covered Market 

all-night cafe

 

the Market is now ethnic boutiquerie

antique emporia and wifi cafes

 

and the city?

‘town, gown, selfi...

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in a Leamington Spa pub

she sat alone

alone with some bloke

loading the table

and her

with shorts

 

he’ll recoup that investment later

 

wearing badly fitting jeans

bloke slouched to the pissoir

 

she glanced at me

as she downed a glass

 

being a sociable guy

cursed with empathy

I asked her quickly,

 

‘tell me, are you really happy?’

 

bloke swaggered back,

a...

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happy-hour confab

happy-hour confab

 

uglied by age and profanity

wasted by infirmities

laughing loud at half-heard

‘booze talk’ wisecracks

as if they found them funny

a pride of spent grey ‘stallions’

sits braying of days

when they roared like the lions

they wanted to be

 

they were hunters of maidens -

maidens enjoyed

maidens discarded -

love warriors with rubbers

(...

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last sitting

threadbare-carpet hotel breakfast

 

‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘is there marmalade?’

‘I fetch you mermelada’

‘and a spoon for my muesli’

‘I fetch you, cuchara, madam’

‘no, ‘spoon’, I said’

 

porridge is ladled

and admired

 

‘the Scots make it with water’

‘I didn’t know that’

‘I have five prunes in mine every morning’

‘I think I will too’

‘prunes are goo...

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Tiresias takes the bus

Tiresias takes the bus

 

I am Tiresias,

deaf by design

sightless by choice

my blind-man cane

ensures a space 

when I take the town bus.

 

I shudder  

as from all sides

sparks from the pale fires

of others’ despairs

pepper me.

 

I dull my ears against

the quiet chorusing

of impotent rage

at poverty, sickness,

ageing and dying.

 

someone...

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Tiresias takes the bus

I am Tiresias,

deaf by design

sightless by choice

my white stick makes space

as I ride the town bus.

 

I sit chilled as

from all sides

the pale fires

of frustration

lick at me.

 

I block my ears

against the silent clamours

of depression, anger,

fears for the future.

 

a wailing child

implacable

resists his mother’s

soothing pleading

 

...

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