Category Archives: Ottova Rima

The Grand Tour

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1
Tis the end of March & my rent is due,
But two life options lie open to me;
Break with a lover, lose friendship, split thro,’
Or chain myself to the servility
Of capitalism… A poet true
I yearn to be, so young, so sure, so free,
Romancin’ my mind with poetry’s flow,
So be it, with sure brave heart, I shall go.

2
I made love to my love the night before
I wrapp’d my guitar in a grey, baggy
Jumper I wore on cold nights down Turf Moor,
Raided the bank for all my rent money
& embark’d upon my third busker’s tour –
Her scent mull’d like wine, her tongue lull’d honey,
How we laugh’d as we revell’d, dear Rosie,
In kisses & love-songs & pure poesy!

3
I visit my dealer’s house in Hackney,
Score skunkweed to space out the pilgrimage;
From Waterloo I train-jump to the sea
Where stand I ‘neath the elemental rage
Of roaring tempest, common sense sends me
Seeking out a dry, dungeon’s hermitage
Neath Dover Castle, where my tour’s first night
Was spent writing by gothic candlelight.

4
I watch the white cliffs recede to a speck,
Then sing a fond farewell to old Blighty,
But like a wreck-head at a discotheque,
A certain chunderness docks to smite me,
I have to head down to the under-deck,
Feeling so sick I think I should whitey –
As one voyage ends, another embarks
At Ostend, there change Pounds to Francs & Marks.

5
Thro’ Belgium’s monotonous flat fields green
With mental-moustache-men I’ll share the train,
Finding Flemish floozies, barely fifteen,
Are singing the Spice Girls… no, not again!
We pass thro’ Bruges, whose spires of golden sheen
Glisten in the morning’s early-day rain,
Like beads of sweat on a wrestler’s muscles –
Half-an-hour later we land in Brussels.

6
I find a youth hostel that’s not too dear,
Skin up a joint & explore the city,
Sample the exquisite chocolate & beer,
Find the lifeless nightlife a bit shitty –
A distinct lack of any atmosphere.
So back at the hostel start a party
With some young Dutch – share my grass and guitar,
Then play these fellows Ian Brown’s ‘My Star.’

7
I fade trains south to Waterloo Station
To be filled with war-pride at the great sight
Of the Iron Lion of our nation
Pois’d above the field of terrible fight;
I walk with the ghosts of Napoleon,
Then bus it back to Brussels for the night;
See Catatonia play, blitzed on grass –
Boy oh boy that chicks got a real nice ass.

8
I cross the border into Germany,
There take a little stroll around Cologne,
Whose cathedral towers high above me,
The holiest skyscraper hewn from stone;
As the Youth Hostels are far too pricey
& Sol has not yet sat upon its throne,
I hop on a train & down the rail-line
Hit speed by the side of the mighty Rhine.

9
All thro’ Europa’s heart, in style, I go,
Most handsome citadels guarding the way,
Now darkening the river’s ancyent flow
Sol sets again, stars tinkling out in play;
Into old Nuremburg my train did slow
I’ve nearly crossed the Reich in one smart day.
Finding the Frankenhoff & its cheap bed,
I roll a joint up & then out I head.

10
I view the building where those Nazis heard
Their too kind fate; wyrd monsters like Herr Hess
Who’d murder at an evil tyrant’s word
& paste an entire planet with his mess;
I sample German beer – glass size absurd –
Then find an all-night café to play chess,
Back at the Frankenhoff I cannot sleep
Beneath my room some strip-joint’s bass booms deep.

11
Onto Vienna’s cultured legacy,
Whose cleanest streets are beautifully lined
With splendid architectural fancy,
As if some Danaan mind had here design’d
A capital of neatest majesty;
A host of impressionist paintings find,
What moment on an Opera House roof,
A poet perch’d on a pegasus hoof.

12
With Parsifal tromboning thro’ my skull
I roll up one last reefer, wash, get dressed,
& do one from Austria (far too dull)
On the world famous Orient Express;
With the rage of a matador-aimed bull
I supersoar, roarin’ t’wards Budapest,
Ambassadorial, a Sultan’s feast,
All set to feed, my first taste of the East,

13
A warm, friendly couple buy me coffee,
She is Norwegian, he is a Scotsman,
They are honeymooning in Hungary
From the Arctic fishinh port of Bergen;
He gives me a few fags & some money
Which I change when I get to the station,
Into Florins worth less than one-fifty –
The Scots are renowned for being thrifty!

14
“What the fuck am I doing in Hungary!?”
Think I as I search for somewhere to rest
In the dirty, bustling, car-choked, friendly
Bullet-hole-wall-lined streets of Budapest;
Architecture touched clearly by Turkey,
But laced with the consumeristic West;
I find the Mellow Mood Hostel – what luck!
For four pounds a night it’s as cheap as fuck.

15
The Turks may have come to murder Magyars,
But up to their angel-built baths Ill go,
To boil in the waters, cool in the spas,
Immers’d in reading Shelley’s dreamy flow,
Then a ‘Cisco lawyer goes for my arse
“What the fuck was that?!” – he offers to blow,
Blood muddies the waters, he gets the point –
I click! It’s a freakin’ gay pick-up joint.

16
I meet a lassie later, out we go,
The price of a nice evening meal to share,
“I’m from Richmond, where Edgar Allen Poe
Was born.” “I’m from Burnley, Lancashire.” “Where?”
The ghoulash was great with the wine, we flow
Out to the street, breathing in the sweet air,
Where, in a moment of drunken romance
I kiss’d her neck & seiz’d my shagging chance.

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17
I left the lassie dreaming in my bed;
Shit, shower, shave, pack, roll-up sleepin’ bag,
Greet the warm morning, buy freshly baked bread,
Cheap beer & cheap cigs from some gypsy hag,
Play chess in the street, get really wasted,
Swindle a swindler with a Kingside blag,
Then heading on west down the railway line
I get me kicked off by the border line.

18
I gaze on familiar boyhood star
While I walk a few K to the border,
Along the line I thumb down a police car,
They bundle me in, “Silence!” the order,
So as they check the passport my guitar
Rings out in bizarre tuning & coda,
Bemused they release me at the train station
“Gizza lift” “No!” my tour’s first frustration!

19
‘Neath the European night sky, thick starred,
I find myself in a desolate zone,
Tip-toein’ past the sleepin’ border guard,
Relics from the cold war the scene adorn,
Two young Austrians thought they were hard,
With angry clashing voices of slabstone,
I looked straight down the barrel of a gun,
“Who won the fuckin war!?” & pass’d right on.

20
I take the greatest train jump of my tour
From Vienna to Villach, on a sleek
Inter-City, as each Alp towers o’er
My little carriage, each volcanic peak
Thrust from the fertile, verdant valley floor
With breathtakin’ beauty – I could not speak,
Until dinnertime by a mountain stream…
Villach’s heap’d watchers echo to my scream.

21
How glad am I to enter Italy,
For the call of the muse grows ever strong,
Like some wild animal trapp’d inside me,
To find a form in my juvenile song;
Snowy mountains shrink into flat country,
Thro’ fields of lazy green we zoom along,
To Venice; as Italy greets my feet
I see a canal sparkling,’ where’s the street?

22
Three days I spend in ardour Venetian
Three nights in a disused railway carriage,
Gusting around this floating museum
On a perfect barge; there is a marriage
Between my soul & the elysian,
A poet’s dreams are pulsing from the page,
As here in this soft city I savor
My first Italian ice cream flavor!

23
Thro’ Venice I, the poetic rover,
Roam streets by night, guitar oer broad back slung,
Under a statue of Casanova,
Ditties composed near Chichester are sung,
Eldritch voice attracts coins for each number,
Those tuneful tayles melodiously wrung,
& after playing for an hour or so
Buzzy black bongo bangers join my flow.

24
Distant Riviera di Levante
My heart’s destination, mine art’s true call,
But first, the mausoleum of Dante,
To tap into a predecessor soul,
Overgrown with moss & creeping ivy,
My man, you were the wildest of us all!
Ravenna, this may be a swift sojurn,
But one day, with my wife, I shall return.

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25
How balmy is the Florentine evening,
Whose stylish sweetnes softened Dante’s tongue,
Outside Shelley’s old villa I’m busking,
To soon attract a most beautiful throng
Of German fraulines, who are visiting
This sultry city, entranced by my song,
Two of them follow me into a park
For passionate encounters in the dark.

26
We wake in arms, after cappuccinos,
We wander moped streets, a sacred city
Thro’ which argent-sheen’d Arno grandly flows;
I buy a book to fill with poetry,
On the title page Maya draws a rose,
Then buy fresh foods & climb a hill where we
Build a fire, cook dinner, watch the sunshine
Fade over Florence with a sweet red wine.

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27
‘How romantic it is to be abroad,
Free from the chains of a working mans day,’
Think I while walkin’ the main Pisan road
Passing a troupe of buskers on the way
With guitar, ink-pens & notebook my load
I’ve arrived, aye, all my dreams seem OK –
Then see the leaning tower – am I drunk?
On further inspection one side has sunk.

28
Back from the tower Fate bids me to meet
The busker’s troupe in musical mid-flow;
There’s an old black bluesman with dust-bare feet,
A dark, Chilean named Kapitano
& a saxman sultrifying the street;
They offer me wine, adding my oestro,
You’ve never heard a more raunchier noise
& just like that! I’m one of the bad boys.

29
I settle with this best of holidays;
Each one begins with pasta from a nun,
Then idle hours spent musing beneath rays
Of an English summer-like springtime sun;
When falls the warm evening I, then, amaze
The Pisan public with songs sweetly spun,
& blitzed on six bottles of Tuscan red
Outside a church we make our cardboard bed.

30
On borrowing a mountain bike I ride
Thro’ Tuscan plains all sensuous, sublime;
Leaving behind linear countryside
Up an ashen mountain my pedals climb,
Breaching the steep peak’s top, embracing wide
& fertile vista, immersing in rhyme,
With hang-gliders updrifting in the sky,
“Hello,” I shout & “Ciao” is the reply.

31
I jump a train to San Guilliano
To walk on Shelley’s mountains, but instead
I’ll sit in the street with old man Franco,
He ploughs me with red, risotto & bread,
Plus a whole sow’s leg – my stomach doth blow,
Tho’ we hardly understand a word said,
We converse about the war, England, life,
Italy, poetry & his dead wife.

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32
Pisa is like Oxbridge, old student town;
One day while composin’ I met a bunch
Of poser undergraduates, they’re down
With what I’m doing & cook a great lunch,
Converse in English & show me around
Their night-clubs, jazz cafes, & as the crunch
Doth come, with Latino chick well-endowed
With looks, I fuck her, do my country proud.

33
I wander up the coastline for to muse,
Setting up camp in a cliffside quarry,
Resplendent in luscious, blue, sea-side views,
By the chapel of Portovenere,
Tonight my life, my mind, mine art shall fuse
& awakening to my destiny,
Prepare for the sun to set ‘low the line,
By buildin’ fire, ent’rin town, stealin wine.

34
With topless bottle of red in my hand,
Up cliff-face I scamper with the surge-might
Of some fabl’d hero from Plato’s land,
& claiming the top, gulls in freedoms flight,
Silhouette the setting sun, a wide band
Of gold spread ‘cross azure seas, from this height
I muse on the rippling sea-meadows blue –
This evening gives birth to a poet true.

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35
I pause to reflect on the life I knew;
Nice house, nice job, nice girl, nice skunk, nice deal;
Compare these to these skies & seas of blue,
And this sense of sheer assurance I feel
At joinin’ the bravestars, we happy few –
No more a cog on the soul-grindin’ wheel,
Besides, England does my fuckin’ brain in
& I bet, as I’m writin,’ its rainin’.

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36
Dizzying to my heart’s epiphany,
The last sun-chink was slipping ‘low the line,
Her last shed ray sped ‘cross the darkling sea
To sparkle on an object, close, divine;
A Silver Rose, so lovely & so wee,
Had caught my eyes with its delightful shine –
Plucking my moment’s floral momento
I left for camp, led by its lamp-like glow.

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37
Southwards I go, to Viareggio,
Beneath the Apennines, whose lofty height
Towers o’er the lines of my third canto,
As shrouded by the drowsy, star-strewn night.
I build a fire beside the softsea flow,
Cook up a meal, by fading ember light
I shed a tear for some long ago year
When Shelley’s corpse was found & burnt – right here!

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38
I awoke to the skin-warm, golden glimmers
Of a glorious sun, whose burning rays
Ever stronger grow, over sand shimmers
A floaty, velvety, dream-curtain haze,
Watching speedboats dashing between swimmers
All thro’ the day my skin cooks more ablaze,
So much, when back in Pisa my new tan
Has cut so deep, folk think I’m a black man.

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39
Soon back am I in bohemian swing
Musing away; one long, mellow daydream;
By the side of the Arno sometimes sing,
Or bask in the sun with wine & ice-cream,
Or busk to the world as a poet-king,
Then party hard with Kapitano’s team;
For life is forever tender to me
Having tasted the breath of Italy.

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40
In the warm morning, after a party,
I sit with Kapitano round a fire;
He teaches me the bird-songs of Chile
& how to busk a day without a lyre;
Brimming with wisdom into the city
I drift, when in a shock of love desire
She’s sat on the grass banging wee bongos,
‘…To describe the way I feel,’ the song goes.

41
She seems to me the first fair star of Eve,
With ocean eyes & smile of teeth pearl white,
And perfect curves like you wouldn’t believe,
My heart melteth at the sensual sight
Of beauty’s first essence, this I receive
In raptures, as we, by the Arno’s flight
Converge as one ‘til comes the sad sundown –
“Meet me in Rome,” we kiss as she leaves town.

42
The night before my tour’s final movement
I play my farewell set, busk up a pill,
Slide down the Maccinera for groovement
With a slick Sicilian band, until
An onslaught of Dutch Techno bombardment
Releases built up pressures ‘til the chill –
Coming down leisurely, laid back, sublime,
Puffing out chillum smoke, passing smooth time.

43
Heading down south on the click-clack train track,
At two AM the conductor finds me
With a bag of books, the rags on my back
& in my hands a copy of Shelley;
Expecting some Hampshire inspector’s flak
The guy, instead, showers me with pity –
Six hours later, the twilight before dawn,
I walk the streets of Rome waiting for morn.

44
As o’er the Eternal City doth come
The mellow, yellow orb of Italy;
I stroll all around the Colosseum
Musing upon my growing poetry,
A race of chariots soon won – struck dumb
By Rome’s incredible decadency,
Yet senses of fallen grandeurs pervade
For glory lasts as long as summer shade.

45
These ruins seem to speak, they sing with pride,
Splendors far surpassing exhortation,
Bridges spanning the Tiber’s jadestone glide
Bare intricate statues, inspiration
Flows onto my page, cast & sanctified,
As in a nation within a nation,
With dead popes standing guard o’er Peters square,
I start my final stanzas – almost there!

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46
I hold the address of a place to stay –
The old fort at Prenestina – where I
Am welcomed most warmly, don’t have to pay
For my bed beside this Bengali guy,
Who stacks up his chillum… inhale… OK
I’m well wasted.. so go exploring, high,
Thro’ sun-trapp’d seclusion, my mad new home,
A sanctum for the artist youths of Rome.

47
I jump a tram this sunniest of days
Down into the tourist-laden city,
Upon the Spanish Steps I pause & laze
Then walk into a shrine of poetry;
‘Tis true that a true poet seldom pays,
Reciting a passage from my Shelley,
I get in for free, see hand at first hand,
Awaken’d to kinship – my fearless band!

48
I sharpen my features & dress to impress,
Entering a candlelit theatre
Find dark, Grecian drama in deep progress,
Aha! My marvelous Manuela,
My sexy, smiling,’ stage-struttin’ actress,
I knew right then that I had to have her,
“You look beautiful, like a Silver Rose!”
That night… her hotel bed… our teeth-torn clothes.

49
With my lady sleepin’, thro’ the city,
I roam, a sweet sun illumines the streets,
A tranquil Protestant cemetary,
& Shelley’s tower, where my muse completes
Her visitation; I feel tired, empty,
But wait! As I stood by the grave of Keats
I surge with strength to try the train-jump home
& did one from the glory that was Rome.

50
Cashing in my emergency tenner,
Join’d with cann’d beef I bought in Hungary,
I’ll busk up a little extra lira,
& hunger up the length of Italy
Upon my last evensongs at Pisa,
Already it all seem’d a memory,
For Kapitano had moved on to France
To work the World Cup with a beggar’s dance.

51
So, leaving gentle Arno to her flow,
Jumping trains to an uncertain future,
I once again view’d Viareggio,
Le Spezia, then pass’d thro’ Genoa;
Spent sunset in the streets of Torino,
Faded a sleeper to the French border –
But travelin’ don’t always go to plan,
My bloody train had landed in Milan!

52
I was now sev’ral hundred miles of course,
& how it happen’d did not understand,
But youth is driven by a hidden force,
Which made me take the train to Switzerland,
At whose harsh border found I smart resource –
For they had rejected me out of hand
(I look’d like a tramp) – after midnight, tense,
I found a rabbit-hole shewn from the fence.

53
I felt like I’d escaped Colditz Castle,
But as I pass’d thro’ chocolate Zurich,
I was toss’d into a world of hassle,
The Swiss care not for buskers & their reek,
After lots of shouting & a wrestle,
I was plung’d in a police cell for my cheek,
But come sundown eveything was sorted –
The next day I was to be deported!

54
They marched me on a fancy Swiss Air Jet,
Handcuff’d until the very last moment,
For I had slipped right thro’ their border net,
Back to my native island must be sent,
On fine French wine my flight was free from fret,
For thanks to a filthy rich government –
I carried massive bundles of Swiss Francs,
The dowry of their Nazi-lovin’ banks.

55
I thrill’d so much to drop into Heathrow,
Tho’ from the wine a little worse for wear,
To Rosie’s boudoir hopefully I’ll go –
At first she gives me such a startl’d stare,
But soon romancing reconvenes fair flow
I fed her verses on a velvet air,
Said she, “Why don’t we take a bath, my sweet…”
With that hot wash my Grand Tour was complete.

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The Honeymoon

THE PROPOSAL

Underneath this purple blossom,
The day on which we met was the greatest of my life,
Since then the better man I am,
So, too, one of those rare & lucky souls
Who realise the nature of true love.

Our lovemakings are symphonies,
Our conversations art,
Therefore, my only darling,
It would become my immortal honour
If you could consent to be my wife.

We are two white swans, you & I,
‘Gan gliding in the skyways,
Above this mortal lullaby,
‘Til Heaven ends our days.


 

1
“With elixirs of love’s resurrection
Dear Sally, let us live our love anew,
To dally in a clearer direction
Where deer-paths glisten in the crystal dew;
Deliver’d from the Halls of Correction
I sink my fallen destiny in you,
For thee my vassalage shall never err,
For thou art she who brings my life its myrrh.”

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2
Her form is as the morning’s blithesome sun,
Capp’d by a lustrous canopy of beams,
Her face a summer cloud the heat has won,
Round which the sweetness of the starlight gleams,
Her smile the cloud that drifts a little on
& bares the breadth of beauty by the streams,
Where whispers, still, this ceaseless love for she
Who reels my heart from solace, royally.

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3
“Song is existence!” Rilke said, & so
Upon these anvil verses I shall pour
Undertaken life-treks to the Arno
Via the Salish Sea, to hear the roar
Of heaving Pacific; beyond the Po
To Paris, also, perfumed pompadour –
A city fit to finally repose
The astral spindlings of this Silver Rose.

4
Thro’ all the Lothians by night we drive,
Parking at Cammo Hill; sparkling below,
In glittering Newyorkiness, alive,
An airport hums, as with an orange glow
The moon ascends, queen of the starry hive,
Distilling beams of silver, see them flow
Like warm mist over loch-face, as we slept
Dawn’s early glow-worms into spaces crept.

5
By sunrise we were up & soaring west,
When Sally goes off a little psycho,
Grabbing my palms she press’d them to her breast
& moist love-mound, whispering, ‘it’s my go!’
A minute later, rush’d, & half-undress’d,
We made the ‘Mile High Club’ over Sligo,
Then settl’d down, post-coital, with a beer,
In snoozy, huggy snugland, all cohere.

6
How fast our modern aircraft navigate
Sea-rivers where square-riggers heaving break
Oer intense ocean, as an old Ship’s Mate
Shanties sang, while the Captains pass round cake;
From Hudson Bay we hurtle state-on-state,
Below us, deep, the Angikuni Lake,
Excitement builds, with Sally on my lap,
We trace storm-speeds across th’electric map.

7
To travel foreign scenes, & there to write!
Truest exhilaration of the heart
Which drags its cavern-paws towards the light
& from the lizards sets its life apart;
Raineir rises to surprising height,
Lord of this fresh frontier post of mine art,
Like Ginsburg touring ‘Howl!’ in ‘fifty-five,
Our lives unhalted in these words survive.

8
Red sun sets in the navel of the sky
America, feet touch thy soil at last
Where Sally’s father waits with his wise eye
Intentions penetrating, holds me fast,
Him brought up upon whiskey, beefsteak, rye,
Me on John Smiths & Hotpot unsurpass’d,
Our hands interlock’d like docks take a ship,
‘Your daughter is my soul-mate,’ in the grip

9
Ye Cinnamons of tranquil Snoqualmie,
Thy lineage with famous blood entwines,
From Kirkcaldy’s Reverend Gillespie
To Colonel Daniel on the Rebel lines,
Whose daughter – Thankful – married happily
John William, then Cinnamon combines –
Unbroken branch of father’s sons, whose fate
In Sally’s father, here, dost culminate.

10
O Puget Sound! Our long haul’s patient prize
A Stillaguamish paradise, where on
Its silver strands, under changeable skies,
Warp-logs drift thro’ water-boiling salmon
& birds by the bazillion share cries
In evergreen communion; blue heron
Like pterodactyls, patter into place
Upon those pastel waters’ perfect lace.

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11
As mostly modern marriages divide
Sally’s mother is now a Waddington,
Into Snoqualmie’s river-vale we ride,
To read awhile in Duvall, Washington,
Thro’ North-West poets; Snyder by my side,
With Stafford, Markham, Kirzer & Skelton;
Then breaking, stroll the Valley of the Moon,
Where Sally’s folks once ruled the Silver Spoon.

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12
Three decades since, but still that beatnik den
Of laid-back men, with their better women,
Drive up to Lake Margaret’s Cherry Garden
For food & fun, & after for some jammin’
I join’d ‘em on bass for Robert Johnson,
With Sally & her ma’ in the cabin,
& by them, like a ghost, leant on a wall
Duvall’s most man beloved, Michael Ball.

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13
Out to Seattle, Sally, at first light,
Drove us thro’ wild, high woods where birds rehearse
Songs for the noon, whose captain’s launch a flight
Of plovers oer Si’ahl’s herbiverse
To land on stunn’d & stolid skyscrape kite
Which swoops & soars oer steep streets of commerce;
Beside them sea & mountains blend in sense,
One vision, unrestricted & immense.

14
As working hours with dayfade must sour dim
& drouthy tongues urge us paint the city
Deep Redhawk red… we call on Sal’s pal, Tim,
Who dwells in the house where Edo Valli
Adored his Queen Anne’s Hill, whose bedroom’s brim
Was once the main bar of some speakeasy;
Where, as we danced, among Seattleites,
My tipsy Sally trips & splits her tights!

15
That flash of thigh, her smile & she supine,
Made lust-pool boil, twas time to find the bed
I’d book’d back home… old Highway Ninety-Nine,
Deception Pass prohibitive ahead…
On checking in we hit the Gallic wine,
As somewhere west of Holmes Harbour we led
Enmesh’d in love, flesh-lock’d ‘til breaking day
Threshes stars high across Honeymoon Bay.

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16
‘Goodbye, my family, goodbye new friends,
Domani we two shall be in Roma,’
The first leg of our wed-adventure ends,
Sally & I sitting in Tacoma,
Watching the boys in Doyle’s Bar, as suspends
Our chronic distance, yon Oklahoma,
New York, Atlantic, Ireland & that sea
Where Ribble empties west of Bur-ne-lee!

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17
A meteoric bolt in me instils
A city’s jazz, its booze, its free-from-care,
Soaring above Seattle’s seven hills,
A ptarmigant unleaden in the air;
As little portals of an airplane fills
With blue-sky brilliance, Rainier rare,
Below us fronds of maidenhead uncoil,
Planting our stalk of love in native soil.

18
Fanning the clouds, fresh from our visiting,
I felt as trav’lers do between the ports,
With past & future days inspiriting,
From molten rock we eke a living quartz,
When just to breathe air in feels riveting,
& every soul but ours seems out of sorts,
O what thing it is to sing in rhymes
& be a poet in such vital times.

19
‘We chose to live, dear Sally, you & I,
From fateful choice did meet, & forg’d a tribe!’
She smil’d, across her glass-reflected eyes
Cloud-visions in the Heavens would enscribe
Deep memories of Venice, & a sigh,
By clinking glasses slowly she’d imbibe
Her glass of wine, & as it down-throat swirl’d,
She knew right then she’d have to tour the world!

20
A thundercrack when poets meet their Muse,
When art & heartscape held in protection
By those fair willing never to confuse
Dreamy abstraction for disconnection;
To share a bed, to vivisect the news,
To lead life truly, without objection,
Are sacred to poets, as they settle
Like butterflies, on the cherry petal.

21
Adventurous, voluptuous, my heart
Beats with excitement, a delightful burn,
Affections pulmonary of mine art
Exploding at Italia’s return,
Too long my vision from thee set apart,
For thee & all thy fruits I still yet yearn,
In darker days when in the northern climes
Pale mists & mood do ruminate my rhymes.

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22
We meet again, dear Roma, let us flow
Thro’ fair, imperfect streets, this time a gown
Of glories treading lightly in my tow;
I lead us to a pleasant part of town
Under the Piramide, place I know,
Temple of ancient death, there gaze us down
Upon the sod which bones & ash enclose
Of Keats & Shelley, in a sweet repose.

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23
We spend an hour in Rome among the vaults
Of Papal saints & secrets never told,
Said Sally, ‘let’s avoid this crypt of faults
& fallacies, when faith is made from gold;’
Together, as the evening star exalts,
We trip into the Termini, we hold
Each other’s hands, we step onto the train,
We find our seats, we tender-touch again.

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24
Tipsy from our happy grappa tipples,
Sliding up the rail-glide to Grosetto,
All at-a-once rain-drops burst in ripples,
Jagged arrow-storm; blazing inferno;
Chinks of blue; raincease; dear Sally’s nipples
Appear distinct, hair slick as water flow
Down canyon tract when crags drink deep the flood,
Enough to rouse the wild dogs in my blood!

25
Dawdling moments in that sphere of stradas
We sense Andrea’s ghost, whose consonance
Constructed linguistic apparatus,
Translating, with his Tuscan desinence
Moral treatises of Albertanus,
Inspiring Dante with his native sense,
Who gladly pluck’d that baton catalyst
To forge a tongue, a lyric alchemist.

26
Castellammare della Pescaia
Was where we saw our first Italic night
From the penthouse of the Casa Rosa,
Our veritable temple of delight,
Slicing salami sulla terrazza,
Watching the lip-gloss sun washing with light
The western skies, when under these the waves
A perfect path to paradise impaves.

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27
As pleasure is a pleasurable thing
& love between two lovers yon reproach,
As into evening crickets sit & sing,
Our lips are warm, two moths about the torch,
With passions flashing on a febrile wing,
Her blushes fiery flushes in the scorch,
She yields that look, tho’ words were never said,
‘My Love, let us get naked, & abed!’

28
From wondrous lust to slumbers would we ease,
Woke with the sun up-thrilling from the hill;
On hitting twenty-seven sweet degrees
We pedal townwards on fine bicycles,
Thick cappuccinos quaff by yachtsman’s breeze
While shuffling thro’ our daily facebook stills,
Then looking up these eyes of ours did meet
As joyous as when Zeus roam’d loose on Crete.

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29
The beach at last! When all my spuming thought
Besooth’d along paths old pilgrims send us,
Amazing scenes where swimmers beam afloat,
Unhassl’d by Rajasthani vendors,
We lay all day in luxury, & bought
Our wedding rings, like two young Eastenders
Shopping down Bow market for the marriage,
For cake kit-kats & taxis for a carriage.

30
Sundrunk & tipsy, sky beryl with lace,
Waves mulberry porcelain, with a twirl
Emerges Sally; body, legs & face
Dripping with sea-droplets, each a pearl;
Love forges as one, elsewhere from this place,
A breathless moment as I seize my girl
& squeeze her tight, & with one kiss demand,
We swap our silken bedsheets for this sand.

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31
Sally, fashionista of the Bon Ton,
Undresses like a Duchess by the sedge
Of some brook’s forest bank; ‘Until Heaven
Finds a better sky,’ say I, ‘my love’s pledge
Is yours,’ with sultanas’ wept devotion
She smiles, sits down upon the quilted edge,
Patting down level space for us to be
Flesh unified in breathless ecstasy.

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32
From morning bag-packings, very frantic,
We dash to catch the train up to Pisa,
Sitting in sweet relief while romantic
Scenes flash’d either side, spear-point chiasa
Thrust from hill-towns, sounds of Sally’s fan-click
Expanding conscious thought… O, how these are
Days of dreams, copses on a barren plain,
Full flourishing with fruit in summer rain.

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33
With married life one wins a daily fix
Of love’s drugrush; a fish in Sally’s net
Of rarefied deportment, what a mix
Of sex & sophistication, & yet
An alluring & lascivious threat
To restful mind; but when I get my kicks
No vision of a saint, nor angel’s wing,
Could out-shine Sally as she wore our ring.

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34
My Pisan streets, how I return to thee,
This time a wife fix’d sweetly by my side,
That like a muse comes merrily to me,
Or is she you, who gaylie deified
My youthful verse, turning to poetry,
Ye urged me on the world to wander wide,
From Tuscan marriage; Muse I sense ye still
About my mind, my woman & my will.

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35
As step-by-step thro’ memories we trace,
I talk a tour thro’ all these youthful scenes,
My lover round my neck like fresh-cut lace
We sent a train thro’ hills of Tuscan green,
Passing thro’ Lucca at a carriage pace,
Then into Pistoia drew serene,
Molding new memories from molten gold
To remind us, to recite, when we’ve grown old.

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36
Within a rolling ring of rising green
A city stands upright in sunlit plain,
Where once the conspirator Cataline
Did shake his spear at Rome’s eternal reign;
Into a weekend’s evening, with my queen,
I walk’d with gentle footsteps to obtain
Ambience, as Pushkin did thro’ Moscow,
Warm moments wash’d down with Casalbosco.

37
Thro’ shabby-chic, electric hub-hub wheel
Our feet to some fallen Contessa’s suite,
A casa with an antiquated feel,
With books & art & beds above the street;
This is the shrine where all past heartaches heal,
In all this blissful happiness & heat,
Where dressing well we hand-in-hand go out –
Pure love has bless’d us Sally, there’s no doubt.

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38
We dine in narrow streets where market cart
Goes clunking thro’ still tables’ laziness,
With tender hand-strokes rarely far apart
We savour flavours with a shared finesse,
‘Thou votary of Venus that thou art,’
Sing I, ‘let us commence our coziness…’
Sally’s eyes, with candour unremitting,
Agreed to leave the seats where we were sitting.

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39
With ribbons pink I hook’d her to the mesh
Of iron at the bedcrown; scarlet silk
Sheets aswathe naked skin, a Marakesh
Of tingling tongue-tips, spirits springing milk,
Her arching back, her tightenings of flesh,
The breeze of freedom; I, strong-antler’d elk
Above the glen her smooth, moist body made,
Where glisten sweatdrops in a faerie glade.

40
We slept tight-lock’d like gorse bush, limbs in limbs,
Then awoke in that contented glory
Which true love breeds; like cucumber with pimms,
‘We just work, dear Sally, mia amore;
Here in this land of artistry & hymns,
Where love & heart rhyme – heart is cuore –
& poet’s minds must focus on one thing…
His Muse who taught the Moon Goddess to sing!’

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41
With vocab well-rehearsed I testify
‘Mia moglie e imbarazzato,’
I noticed Giovanni’s narrowed eye,
‘L’ultima notte ha commenciato
Sua mestruazione,’ paused I
For effect, a timely ‘Inatesso,’
&, ‘Adesso c’e sonno macchia
Sulla lenzuale,’ all said without fear.

42
Love blessing our romantic banishment,
Thought putting into motion, hitching trains
Without a ticket, no admonishment
Upon us pour’d, Bologna in the rains,
A flash of time, to our astonishment
We saw fair Paris sprawling oer the plains:
But overshot to Beauvais, quite aware
That’s what one gets for flying Ryanair.

43
Footfall in France, its foreign legion flag
Did hover high & over as we queued,
‘That guy’s got style!’ ‘How classy is her bag!’
We whisper’d, so as not to come off rude;
The coach set off along the concrete drag
Twyx high-rise environs, with joy we view’d
The city; as it swallow’d us entire
Our pulses thump’d with thunderous desire.

44
Paris, we love you, we do already,
More kudos than any earthly city,
Intoxicating wafts, ever heady,
Of melted, ethnic electricity,
Creating a certain soft & steady
Rapture for living life’s felicity
Sense I, but not think nor feel, as we march
Under the Arc de Triumph’s varnish’d arch.

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45
Along the Champs-Elysees & then down
To a vibrant Tuileries, where strolls
Ms Baker, with a cheetah, into town
& Cath’rine de Medici look’d at scrolls
In which De L’Orme would consecrate her crown
Via this palace beautiful which sprawls
Beside the Seine, here Bouqinistes trade
Their antique trinkets tinkily array’d.

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46
This busted land of sweet Lutetian airs,
Of charming boulevards & barges trim,
Of cinemas & parks, where in green chairs,
Parisians thro’ poet’s pages skim,
Thy searing beauty caught us unawares,
Like infants hearing first a holy hymn,
When most of all we loved the way plann’d we
To spend a future holiday with thee.

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47
Somewhere in the Fifth Arrondissement
Our hotel stands, with one of Longchamps’ maps
Guiding our steps, we found the logement –
Hotel le Clos de Notre Dame – whose taps
Shone like seraphs; ‘neath timber beams, sat on
The windowsill we peer’d between the gaps
Of blinds & curtains – faces, fabric, feet –
Some champagne chandelier above the street.

48
That night, the best that I had ever had,
Turn’d operatic, but without a plot,
Wandering voyeuristic, golden, glad,
With Sally looking O! so fucking hot,
Where poet Antoine Houdart de la Motte
Once cast in French the early Iliad,
& Scotland’s Bonnie Prince did love to stroll,
In exile, with a mistress, in the Fall.

49
‘This is a place where people give a shit
About how looks their home, a fine antique
Which reeks of stories,’ ‘Sally let us sit
Awhile by Notre Dame,’ there cheek-to-cheek
We cuddl’d & kiss’d in a perfect fit,
Souls sensing, ‘c’est fluide et c’est complique,’
When every single second comes too soon,
The joys & sadness of one’s honeymoon.

50
Back in our chamber, touching skin, I find
Sally’s panties’ paradise, with a slant
I slip my hands between, a gentle grind,
‘Til thrusting finger pays the gold bezant
& lust delays no longer, in a bind
Of bodies, breaking silence with a pant,
Or she a squeak, or I the sunken gasp
Of climax, when we tight-as-magnets clasp.

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51
I woke head-trembling, from better to worse,
With Sally slightly snoring, unaware,
With glass of wine & euros from her purse,
I waltz’d thro’ a city of love affairs,
Whose streets were sluggish as the Bolton Hearse
That trundles from Grants Braes thro’ silent stares,
& I the ghost of brother Burns, it seems,
A poet lost in Paris & his dreams.

52
I am the Silver Rose this purple morn
That clambers over roofpeaks with set poise,
This Seine, this celebration, seems reborn
In me, a poet feeling first her joys,
But amplified to grandeur by the horn
Of mankind’s pearl’d advancement, what a noise!
Shaking tremendous force thro’ vaults below –
No! that clatter was in fact the metro.

53
I took a seat upon the Pont Neuf Bridge
& paus’d there like a panting cicerone –
Sat in a semi-circle hermitage,
Laying my Silver Rose upon the stone,
Hard summit of Parnassan pilgrimage,
Thro’ which profound philosophies have grown
Into this verbose effigy of me;
This whimsical, immortal nominee!

54
For future bards & artists who have felt,
Their passions with my poetry entwine,
Then find themselves in Paris; as I’ve knelt
By Shelley’s tomb, with music & with wine;
Into this seated moment let them melt
& place a pair of roses as a sign
To passing people, centuries apart –
A poet’s quill still feeds the hushless heart!

55
I lived before, but now I live real life,
She waits for me beyond this easy stroll,
She’s destiny, she’s perfect, she’s my wife,
The one thing that I can & can’t control,
Who seems, sometimes, sharp as a shark-tooth knife,
Sometimes as tender as a suckling foal,
With she, the need to roam the world withstood,
Her heart my home, her happiness my blood.

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