Mayday! Mayday!
It’s Ceri May’s birthday
Send all you can immediately
Poems, presents, remedies
For life’s interior maladies
Something vintage from out of the past
Something modern to take us forth
Best of all, offer a drink, at the interval, meanwhile…

Listen to a ghost, that’s taken over its host
It’s like Derek Acorah’s in the room
Unnerving the quiet with its lines from beyond the grave
But thus is its ghastly contribution made

If you come late, wait
outside, nod and applaud
As if you heard
some nervous whisperer’s words
Squeeze in tight beside someone you might
ordinarily not want to sit tight to

Please give it up, with good grace, to a piece of cake
The birthday woman, the lonely girl
The mathematical formula that reduces the mean age of all
The compere without compare, well once a month,
every Tuesday, Ceri May


You’ve been reading
The book of the week
By a boring writer
Who’s boring into your soul with his malaise
Damaging, moving around the very life inside you

He writes in cliché and it feels false
Indeed you can’t remember what he has wrote
The monotony, the whole dry experience
Has left you feeling tired and wanting rest
So you close the book for now

The next day, when your energies have returned
You pick it up again
Heavy though it is
and try and get used to it
It’s a ‘must read’
They did say it was very good

Not fully awake, too busy for clear thinking
To a man dragging out a story for so long
That everyone’s life’s in danger
You’re not enjoying your reading like before
When you open your mouth
You’re caught by surprise
At the steady pace of your conversation
Appear before your eyes

Some point later down the road
The full effect
Mired in commonplace
And don’t know how so
No one will say
They’re trying to get away

Whatever you do
Don’t turn to writing

She sent me the briefest line

In reply to my dispatch
I appreciate the style
I took a look at my watch

She sent me the briefest line
I thought it was good writing
It didn’t waste her time

Emma the Jaileress

She passes the cells every evening
A man’s voice cries out: “Have mercy, free me!”
A half-curled smile appears on her young face
(Set of) keys dangling round a slender waist
‘Let them all learn that time will pass them by
I’m sick listening to their daily whines
I’ve my zines to write, and cakes to bake
A dress to start, and lists to make’
She sits down and begins a frugal meal
Ruminates in silence: the Jaileress
Sadist, secret sweetheart, and masochist
Complicated, sad, wilful, intense
Slightly stooped, nice beak, her large eyes just sit
An odd Owl: t’what, t’who, disturbed it?

She’s the sort of bird
That if Fritzl had her
He’d have been trying to escape

They hear the sound of her steel heel, move upwards
To her room, tower’s top; enter, turn the lock
She trying again to forget what love was
Try tell a timepiece to forget its tick-tock
She’s aware, hardly cares, that she dwells in gloom
The single bed, night-time book, the single room
And the scene lit up by a silvery moon
Which watches with care at her undress
The moon has always had a delicate eye for this
May one prisoner break out tonight and steal away
Her keys and habits, release her into day

An owl awake in the moonlight
The lune up above in the heavens
Another night about to begin


A very hot sunny day
My pale skin does not like its feel
My head is bothered, and clothes seem tight
I do not like the sunny side of life

But just to my right I see
Such a stately oak tree
Acorn brown hair on top
Long lean trunk with limbs beneath
And I just want to lie
Down beside her
And be calm in her shade

Content and now untroubled
I notice there is a gentle breeze
I hear the hum of the hot ground
And stretch out in pleasant inactivity
Here are nice people, all dressed in light clothing

I wonder what she looks like uncovered?
Should I ask?


The art student came
Into the hall
He started hustling
Behind his table stall

He’s “so excited”
Thinks he can deceive all
Together with his art
There was no worth

I didn’t meet his girlfriend
She sneered from afar
I picked up his work, then he smiled
at a skinny girl by the bar

He was intellectual
He offered his thoughts
It was not a surprise
I’d heard them before

The good-looking art student
Went to the RCA
“I’m doing my MA”
Said he was so lucky
That he’d such talented

I guess they were lucky too
I could hear the sound
of hands on backs
I sought an exit

“Mexico was amazing”
Where do they go that isn’t?
“Definitely”, doesn’t mean that
“It was soooo good”, means nothing
He wasn’t really there

Another one
Work’s a dead end
Maybe works a rear end
At the end of the night

I met so many the same
There was not much of him
He worked a rear end
At the end of the night


The Swimming Pool
Early morning, cycling there
Half-asleep reception staff
Passed on way to changing rooms
A busy scene, clothes removed
Scanning the room, buns in pairs

All the usual
Know them to see them
But I don’t talk
With undressing men
Or converse in showers
With soaping sorts
I keep a strict face, no laughs
A nod of acknowledgement at most

I see guys with army-like equipment
Special drinks, fabrics, lean measurements
Skin tight clothing and cycling helmets
Men with abs, shaved heads and speedo trunks
Men with products, flip-flops, hairless hunks

Out I stroll
Quite Out of shape
And assess the pool
Its inhabitants and their states

Intense faces in the fast lane
seeking an edge
The middle lane swimmers simply average
A few pensioners doing early morning constitutional
Slowly paddling in the pool
Cheerful cockneys with old tooth grins
and gleaming chains
Gay old men with little taches
Who are very thin
The campest one likes to talk to the big black man
Not really saying anything
of note that I can ascertain
All those big dark muscles shine
In the dewy wet they glisten
As he kindly answers, Tache all smiles
It’s very gentle and civilized
In the morning time

One clumsy guy, hairy back, full rug
Splashing backcrawl without grace
Unattractive, short haircutted lesbians
Who never have a friendly face
Brazilian boys hanging around
Seeking paid employment to go down
Disabled people working to stay fit
An odd good-looking person, parading
At the Pool end before they take their dip
Spyed behind steamed goggles as they get in
Up ahead slowly crawling
The angry faced anorexic woman
Won’t move out of the way for anyone
You feel angry as well as sorry too
We’ve all got problems luv, not just you

Climb out heavy limbed
Content you’ve done your bit
Relaxing in the shower, getting clean
Towel in front of the mirror
Pursing lips and turning round
Delude yourself you’re looking lean

I find it a somewhat tense affair
To share water
With near naked strangers
And one stranger than the next
But what I like, and what’s good and true
Is that you get a real slice of life
At the swimming pool


From Sweden’s shores
Unperturbed by storms
She has the sea becalmed
Da Da, Da Dum (name removed)

Light crystal eyes
Mouth shorn of words
Simply adorned
In second hand clothes

Cool & white, but not ice
Sentences parsed, no waste
Here is sophistication
Moving across the room with grace
Neither slow or rushed, reserved, self-possessed
A tall tribute to ease and elegance

Dark brown hair
A striking figure
Hair flows freely
To twilight music

More to her than meets the eye
A most two-sided face
I’ve never seen the like
At times a thing of beauty
Photogenic, handsome to be admired
Full of rich expressions
That border on sublime
Other times mundane, ordinary
Harsh, its looks being destroyed
Yet with the allure of the deep
That makes you want to peer beneath

To look in her mirror
Of Gothic beauty, sometimes horror
Is an ever-changing pleasure

One side, sweet, surprisingly warm
Full of fun, a lover of life
The old woman praised her, a good sign
Very kind, caring to her friends
Always does the right thing, understands
Knows the art of pleasing and enjoying time
Then a glimpse: vulnerability
There are many sides to this mystery

Like why she speaks in safe phrases?
The ones full of lies, what does she hide ?
I sense opportunism, deviousness
What occurs to the Big Swede’s mind?
Shifting eyes , quick thinking
Stepping in and out with the right phrase
Great timing
I sense cruelty, what roams inside?
It’s like there’s two of them, both in disguise

I desire
To take her throat
Its beautiful white skin
And rough that calmness up
Pull her head, by the hair, to one side, and say
“Though I have no authority
I want to soften the cruelty
Remove the traces of complacency
I think are there”
Ease her off dishonesty
Make her very rare
“Don’t cheapen yourself woman
You are perfect bare”

To disrupt that soothing calmness
That very sign that draws me in
Would be my unwanted gift
The one you’d rather not open
After giving her reasons to think
Pause, anything to make her feel unwhole
I’d tell her she is beautiful
How I can’t take my eyes from her
Her very presence sooths my soul

Why I have to carry on
And make such a noise
And not simply accept as is?
I never can
I’m barbarian
To want to both enjoy and destroy
That which I desire
I can do no else
Strange it is

I would willingly submit
Very unusual for me
To her gaze
And sit silent and unaggrieved
Is that someone who has a spiritual hold over you?
Most unusual

And those big bones
I’ve never had dealings before with…. living sculpture
Clothes show off on that frame
Am I in love with her skeleton?

I spy
She eats a bun pettily
She buys a beer simply
She rests her hand on her backside quite regularly
Part model, part free-spirit, part man
An original align
Always behooved in bikers’ boots
With big straps
A touch of the Nicos perhaps?

She’s no fool
She’s like a 300 year old soul
I must be careful here


Here’s Wishing
A Happy Christmas
To Shepherds and Wise Men
Innkeepers and their Stables
To Donkeys and Sheep
Angels and Shining Stars
Babies in Mangers
Small Towns in the Land
Dreams and Prophecies fulfilled
Warnings heeded, Handmaids, Servants
To Holy People and Holy Ghosts
And for Love Open your Treasures and Give them as Offerings

Here’s Wishing
A Happy Christmas


Aristocratic Manners 
The Blackest Of Hair 
Slicked Back 
From An Alabaster Mask 
Ahhh, The Horror It Brings
“Pull The String!”   

From Forgotten Europe
Such Masterful Ways 
Displaying Your Expressionist Fare 
Up On The Silver Screen
In Silence, In The Darkness They Sat
”Dance To That!”
Old World Style 
Moved Quickly To Passion 
Dark Valentino With Vengeful Nature
The Studios Won’t Touch Him 
They Say He’s Unreliable 
“Hunted, like an animal!”
Last Year’s Man, Forgotten, Bankrupt
Fast-Fading Alcoholic
And Drug Addict  
Isn’t He Dead?
No, He Always Comes Back To Life
“I’m the Sanest Man Alive”
Dark Person, Not Of The Day 
The Twisted Roles You Play 
Mad Scientist, Sly Hunchback, Torturer
But We Know You As Lordly Vampire
Oh Then!  We Listen Only To Your Take 
“The Children Of The Night, What Music They Make”


Out of bed hair
Little makeup
Urchin hands
Mixed up
Laughing eyes
Lit up
The danger that
She’ll burn up

Eyes alight
The effects of…
The songs come
…. of opium
The guitar uncared for
It seems without a home
Fraying at the edges
It won’t stay beautiful for long

I see a wolf at her side
Take care of it, he’s chosen you
For that’s what wolves are prone to do
Thinks it’s found safe haven
A protectress from all
Some bohemian wild spirit
Sensitive and alluringly sexual
He’s found his place, he wants to stay
But she’s mixed up, and she will stray
A pickpocket smile is her way
The wanderer thinks she knows his soul
Perhaps. But how does that help him at all?

Listens to the song she sings
On the steps of a doorway
At the side of a street
In a night of ‘got a light’
And ‘spare some change’
Roll-up between lips and teeth

Be good to him
Because one day
It’s on stranger kind
You’ll rely
To bring you in


My head
Has fallen off
It is looking at me
Chop Chop


She plays a very subtle game
Beyond the limits of most people’s awareness
Slipping between guise and guise
A very plausible rogue
What’s her name?
Who knows?

She smiles at all the guys
She laughs with all the girls
She brings to life everything she touches
But beneath the veneer
Is a game so selfish
That would shock the world

She laughs under the sun
When the day is up
And she plays with the moon
When he turns up
She loves to play, she’s so full of life
With charm to make you swoon

She is mesmeric, and
She plays every role like a great actress
Unrecognised by the reviews
Seen at first hand she is magnificent
She could play Hamlet, Macbeth
She is Geilgud, Richardson, Olivier

May she never lose that touch of genius
Which has been bestowed on her from above

It Was Raining
It Rained Against The Roof
And I Went Into The Pub
Into The Brightly Lit
Full Of Girls & Guys On The Town
I Couldn’t Care Less
I Preferred The Rain

The Roof Sounded Like Board Or Tin
Would The Rain Come Within?
Gushing Gutters, Gulps of Water
Down The Pipes, Journeying To The Drain
Seeking The Very Bottom Of The World
The Drips And The Drops
The Sweeps, The Gusts
Of Wind And Spray
Across the Buildings, Trees And Earth
It Rapped Against The Glass
Panes – I Looked
But I Could Not See Clearly

Down Came The Rain
It Continued Throughout The Evening
My Spirit’s At Home
Calmness Came Upon Me And Settled


“Where’s that big baby gone?”
You’ll hear me say, as I move around
London in my odd way                    
I still miss her sounds, a thousand times
I’ve wondered why she’s not around
I’m thinking of the time
When I would hear that soothing voice
That would bring a calm
To even the most troubled sort
She who’s ready to burst out
Just listen to her talk!
Her latest scheme, her latest plan
Her big idea
Like some man
With a grand design
Oh, she’s not the usual you know
For she’s Alexandra Levin

Take time to look, then you would see
A sensitive character, highly strung
Deeply disturbed, finely spun
From a tense thread loomed from Moscow to now
Full of fun and darkness, warmth and snow
A talented soul still uncertain of itself
Coloured by reddish hair, hazel eyes
Set in a bright white face
Trying to be tough, to deal with life
But nature decreed that’s not right
Her type become strong as the seasons go
Just let her grow

I used to meet the pale thing with the clipped plum voice
The dark humour, the budget clothes                           
Take her hand in mine, and show her something I think great   
And see if it excites her, then await     
One of those so smart remarks            
Or simply look upon that oft unhappy face
That’s simply longing to be told it’s good   
and exclaim a funny phrase                     

I thought she’d get back in touch, after a while 
Six months, a year (or the like)                       
The thought that she has really gone forever     
From my world anyhow                                  
And if there’s no hereafter
Tells me something’s askew at the heart of the universe 
Marks the passing of time’s course
I leave the stars in the sky          
They who see us sparkle and go out
Divine her choice                          
As they gather in the night             
For their heavenly discourse

Down here, the poem sits on my table, unhappy to be written
Then when I lay in bed, I fear it’ll remain unbidden
And will go away with nothing ever said
To the Russian girl, with the reddish-brown hair
And big clever forehead

But girls find new ‘friends’, the stars change state
I heard on the news Pluto’s lost his place
He’s no longer a planet, just a piece of icy rock that orbits
The furthest reaches of what our astronomers know about
Yet his face hasn’t changed, he still looks the same
Pluto, old star, someone’s taken your place

A girl is perfect, a girl is a girl
But you’re now a young woman, and for this new world
I give you a poem, fashioned like a ring
To add to your collection of beautifying things
I’ve tried to make it a perfect circle, to fit just right
Made to be true to itself, yet true to life


You’re full of goodwill, let’s spend some time together
But they’re glued to the T.V., “come and watch it”
Tension over the Christmas Dinner, criticism of the sprouts
Too hard, needed butter, not as good as last year
Selfish kids grasping for presents – lack of thank you
General disappointment in the day
People complaining: “I ate too much”, “I spent too much”, “There’s nothing on”
Unhappy people
Christmas in the Old People’s Home, “Who am I?”
People without families, lonely
The seriously ill, the dominated, those who aren’t free
Black people killing, raping, burning, looting
Congo, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan
Help the Homeless at Christmas
what about the rest of the year?
‘Feed the World’ sung by millionaires
Forced gaiety, pressure to have a good time
People saying they’re going to have a better time than you
The office party, bitterness and failure – anger
Drinking as much free booze as possible as for once the boss must pay
Helped out, carried out, stretchered out – how the hell DID you get out, and home
Alone, just that you feel it more this time of year
Feelings coming home, you ponder them at length, they just sit there
Listening to Atheists and other non-Christians do most of the talking
Pushing their angle, their grievance, their emptiness
You’re an unhappy soul anyway, so why are you so bothered?
Back to work Monday but “Sales start tomorrow”


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