Kingdoms in a nutshell. Kingdoms in a glimpse.
Dripping greens of a fresh and odiferous nostalgia.
Country lanes that lead to the metallic rose
of sticklebacks in a day-long stream,
not to Opera, not to tails.
His decisions always ending in Oh, I don’t know.
His endless wars always end in endless failure,
and his pillowed brow is always troubled.
Somehow, though, he doesn’t really care – not really.
For he is the master of the get-out clause.
For he is the King of Bohemia.

Palaces in the heels of his shoes,
the antlers of noble deer gleam in the demesne
of the holes in the soles of those same shoes,
pace, pace, pace, get to tomorrow
if you only keep moving, no matter what the weather will do.
While they are sticklers for discipline,
he has a mind like an autumn cloud
the wind blows over the plains of his native country,
and clouds do not get caught on the pagodas of nettles,
or on mortgages or precedence or fame.
Nettles, nevertheless, sting, sting, sting.
But life’s lessons are simply not his thing.
For he is the lord of scuttle, duck and veer.
For he is the King of Bohemia.

Thistledown anchors and bows of spring snow,
who would put their trust in such trembling armadas?
While he can be bothered, yes, it’s true,
he conducts the orchestra of dawn,
one note, two notes, a few silver trills
on a spineless flute, whole cities fall
to a clatter of drum-sticks and a blaze of trombones,
and then he’s done.
Lysergic boats uneasy on a rainbow swell,
he keeps ghost cargoes in his eyes,
his hours are toy castles,
no sooner built than taken.
For he is notorious with no staying power.
For he is the King of Bohemia.

He is the one, has always been the one.
Cigarette butt jokes, and life in ashtray towns,
the skeleton of the street X rays in him,
he knows the contours of the skull and the grey curbstones,
head-down buffalo plodder through a blizzard regime,
what is wrong with them all, why won’t they kneel?
Can’t they recognise the rags of his legitimacy?
See his likeness in the portrait of life,
yet seemlier, more feckless, quicker to the draw,
ahead of the game, never to be tied back,
as loving magnets flipped turn aching poles apart
the cirrus horses of his blood
forever leaving the empty stables of his vagabond heart
the sound of the breeze for his last amour,
children he adored and abandoned,
abandoned and adored.
For he is the sovereign of all outcast whores.
For he is the King of Bohemia.

Leaving behind his forte, yet he bequeaths to his line
only the tenderest misfortune, the startling
gift of amnesia.
To get by forgetting, it’s the fate he chose,
a rule by illusion and by breaking laws.
He lives in self-exile, and can never return,
a deep sleeper but a shallow dreamer,
the dozing in the needles of half light hotels, the restless
flight before winter, and the broken-winged birds
watching the hedgerows thin, all nights alone.
The music of his wanderings pricks him with a bitter cold
to beauty and to the ceaseless taking of roads.
In envious circles, round and round he goes,
tramping the country of his own regret
and others’ disdain, his fine world recalled
only by a trail of the discarded shells
of cheap Egyptian pistachios.
Sometimes, he knows his only triumph as the freezing rain.
For he is the master of unsettled scores.
For he is the King of Bohemia.