Kitten curious, or roaring down drinks
in Soho sumps, small hours tour buses,
satellite station green rooms, or conked
out in the bathtubs of motorway hotels,
there you were, with muckabout kisses,
sharking for the snappers, before hell
opened up for you and the weepy sores
of after-fame appeared, the haphazar dry
and dwindling after three limelit years,
recognised with catcalls, wads of spit,
a nightclub fist, the scant camaraderie
melts fast, like your flat on Air Street,
the lhasa apso pups, the wraps and lines
of chang, the poster pull-outs, spray tan
smiles. It's paunch and palimony time
on Lucifer's leash. But for a madcap few
who cling, thin soup, one pillow Britain
is simmering with hatred, just for you.
-previously published at Poetry Daily
Where the brook runs to rust
and the torched charabancs lord the wheat
my shadow lengthens
And in the lanes and pits
of the parched city in the night's mid-night
my mood will quicken
And though not lost
my tongue will sicken for wine and wit
so long since tasted
The songs and slurs of cats
will jinx the air as I walk the limit
my third wish wasted
-previously published at The Sampler Poetry
The usual entertainments. The brazen tune
of sticks along a fence. The silt of hunger.
Ablution's waltzes; the neat bolt well-oiled
on the door-back. A collie pup moping
on the smell of onion gravy. The bell-pulll
urching as we dip into the corner shop
for cheddar cheese or toffees or green soap.
Solid stuff. Our pith and quintessence.
The saga of our neighbour's leaning shed.
A tinfoil square on the grill. Adrift, a pool
of coppers in an ashet. Us. A red rosette
on a jelly jar. Milk snuffling in a pan.
The wooden rule suspended on a nail.
The sewing tin. Tinned salmon. Those who can.
It's not enough to say a briny air
coasts off the gorge, that my downstairs neighbour
is basting a crisp-coated broiler,
that garlic and cardamom ghost on my hands
from the weekend's wondrous korma —
at times the craving is narrowed down,
shaved to a pill, hunted across fields to a den
where it surrenders and reveals itself
as chicken in soy sauce from that take
awaylong since demolished; the unlikely delicacy
of tinned risotto bubbled in its can;
sweet deep-fried sausages from a chip shop
on the back roads of Fife circa '71.
My eyes are gloomed with lust, my mouth is rife,
the belly keening. Some of us mourn the loss
of such salt tongue blessings, part savour
and part pity, which we will not taste again:
musky pakora sauce sublimating on my wrists
as I drifted home across The Meadows;
a lentil soup so true I knelt and wept.
Letter From An Admirer
Dear Mr Lumsden, your mention in a poem
of loveless marriage sang out to me, but instead
shall I mention how a hooded crow
makes both dining chair and dinner of a lamb's head,
that fat house spiders will gestate in a schoolboy's ear,
how the frogfish awaits its prey, nine hours, stone-still,
that the red-eyed hyena, padding dust on a trail,
has a conscience that swings between zero and nil.
-all three previously published at Limelight