(If this was the last sheet of paper in the world,

what would I write on it? Your name.

Lie it flat

in my drawer, which I lock.)



I’m high on lemonade, playing games

as the men drink & become

more tolerant. Long days:


at night, the warm fuzz, of ale,

urinal piss: the gardens

of Belsize Park, Maida Vale.



in the flat I score

my arm: what I know or feel,

spill across the wide


page. In a room

next door, bodies

nailed against the wall.


1st time: home

from the theatre, I lay

in the wild dark,

aflame, beating time,

a pulse between

my ears; remembering:


the bodies, lithe

like African

figurines; long,

serpentine. Men

built like horses;


I lay

half-crazed, eyes shut

tight on the top bunk,

which shook at the knees.


My cousin,

her summer sheet astir,

lay beneath.




I grew my hair. Then,

repulsed at what I was,

cut it short, wore suits, good shoes.


I make for myself a myth.

It’s not the whole truth but ought,

is if you dig

long enough.


Who wants to look like shit?:

be someone who is

nothing, does nothing but

suck air;


wear slippers

wander the aisles of supermarkets;

ponder the merits

of liquid detergents?

Spend a dollar more

on more absorbent paper?


At the playcentre,

this kid sat on the bog

with the door open,

showed me the smear

of his shit on the hard

toilet paper, & smiled.




The boy woke in his bed

at midnight. He saw the window

held up by a stick.

He doesn’t remember if a wind

tugged the curtain,

or if the moon looked in;

if the trees said Hello

in a voice so low no-one

heard (it) – a sigh

or nothing, a stranger

holding his breath,

the bare movement

of a gloved hand…

What happened next?




He stuffed her on the steep bank

of the river for a week one summer

(’86); held tight her hair, butt,

hips, loose rocks – to stop

from falling, and after that

sat & smoked cigarettes,

listening to the trees & water.



By the time he was 30, he had a mortgage.


At 31, I’m on the road again.

Not really, but loose,

like the chickens on my lawn.


I went to London, hung there

a while, bored myself;

went home, married again.




The tables are empty.


I remember the hall. Blue smoke

fingered the air, wound the chandeliers,

curled your hair: you smile

but I can’t hear & I forget

the music which fills with longing.

I’m in the garden, w-ndering,

in love but happy.


it’s a dream

or a Fellini film,

but true.


4 Responsesso far.

  1. Mark Prisco Mark Prisco says:

    thanks Peter. glad to have brought it all back to you!

  2. peterlebaige peterlebaige says:

    What a poet-pilgrim’s progress, and told as bold as that open door in the bog! Think John says it more nicely. A bloody good use of these experiences bared. Love that bunk ‘shaking at the knees’. Brings it all back!!

  3. Mark Prisco Mark Prisco says:

    thanks for reading John, much appreciated

  4. john keast john keast says:

    A tour through life, and a majestic journey tinged with mystery. Ahh

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