summer lovin'

summer lovin’


for two mad weeks

in Mablethorpe,

in Jen’s mind,

though not in mine,

we were nothing more

than passing strangers,

holiday romancers,

summer buddies

to flirt with over ices.


or people watch

sipping tall white wine

as plush upholstered hotel evenings

melted into night.

to spite the weather,

in sunny day beachwear,

we arm-in-armed the promenade

playing storm-chicken,

howling in silly voices

against angry waves

and a raging gale.


a street preacher

lurking dry in a doorway

echoed the empty street,


‘get right with God.’

rain cascaded our faces
as we listened and giggled -

good naturedly.


he issued a withering warning,


‘somewhere, someone, is dying

be glad it is not you...


not yet!’

Mablethorpe could not – did not last


but elsewhere someone was dying

and it was not us...

not us

not yet.

on an expectant drive to Oxford

for an autumn rekindling

of our summer passion

I bought cellophane roses

from a filling station.

a grey drizzle float

up the Cherwell

to Water Eaton.


a subdued lunch

at a pavement cafe

close by the Randolph Hotel;


sour coffee,

wilted kale,


and halloumi.

we said goodbye

at the War Memorial

on Woodstock Road.

a limp promise of friendship.

a handshake.

no kiss.


the scent of Texaco roses

hung about us –

a cloying benediction.


nunc dimittis.

a lingering gaze 

as Jen walked away.

she did not look round.

she did not wave.

somewhere, someone, was dying –

it felt like my turn,

but my turn was not yet...
not yet.



Jen married Arvo, a Baltic refugee,  

an orthodox Jewish artist - occasionally.


they are very much in love.


they live in a shoe-box studio

in Gospel Oak

sharing moth-eaten

paint-stained Picasso Bretons

reeking of oils and turpentine.


Jen paints canvasses;

intricate backgrounds,

sky, sea, or pastoral scenes,

which Arvo over-paints

with broad brush rage

obscuring her délicatesse -

but leaving traces.

critics applaud his work, lauding,

‘a significant post-holocaust synthesis.’


Jen’s 5 minute charcoal caricatures,

(tourist chiaroscuros - £15 a throw),

pay for their drinks.

he brawls in pubs regularly

with émigrés;  

mostly Russians

who pretend to be Latvian.

sometimes Irish -

he is not choosy,


and beats her up from time to time.


someone, somewhere, is dying.

I’m glad it isn’t me...

not yet.




◄ après le déluge

as mob rule swells (haiku stylee) ►


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