"today's the day I'm gonna grab my trombone & blow"

well       you might have known Thel    as Koi spice          the timid one
who wouldn't leave the sunken wreck to sway  into the light
flooding the wide roof of the ocean                 her eyes sometimes opened too wide
& she always kept her top on                          which murmured Mermaids Rock
but I think it was just her address                 she never sang to strangers
     or followed her imaginary ships up unfamiliar estuaries
                      she played it safe                       which perhaps is wisdom
                      but you can taste the desolation of her final days:
                      just buy a little jar in Castorama   –   Koi Spice   –
a bland beige dust that merges in with backgrounds
            tasting like wine made from finely-filtered mud
I think you'd prefer paprika lime & ginger pork with Grechetto
        followed by creosote digestivo that shivers & kisses your timbers
        meanwhile I put the same old Analfabetti Spaghetti   chilli flakes & lard
into my broth which resembles the canal where once I contemplated
starlight kissing bobbing pigs – waiting for them to flap their ears
patter the water with their tiny trotters & rise into the sky like swans
    Nicolette Larson on backing vocals drifted over the waters from some bar
        as I watched from the shadows of Viale Sforza
even the letters waited in vain for the mix to turn tidal & ease downstream
to cast lunar Adriatic spells on the last vestiges of winter
& wasn't it in Corsa Porta Venezia that Wolfcarrier
             designed that hall for stars
it all seems reassuringly familiar yet distant
                                  Orfeo heard about the death of the soul & it didn't feel true
                               so he went down the dark track of song
                            to look carefully under his hearing
                        the shadowed singing changed his surroundings
                     like radioactivity    heat   or   gravity
                  thus his soul was returned to his presence to take back to surfaces
            as long as he looked ahead & sang        but as always some thunder & bluster
          bothered the tunnel & ear canal where echoes off
      lifeless matter seemed to jar & sneer
& he turned to make sure his heart had actually been working –
 wasn't it Tolstoy who said that happiness was like water in a fishing net:
 lift it up in front of your eyes for inspection & it's empty –
                                                                 nurse it along behind you & it bulges?
I've popped a book by Peter Riley in the post
& two beet tops for Mrs Pina's goat
now I'm going to find out more about stone
walk on     walk on   with hope in your heart
don't forget the milk

Cambridge         March 2007