I’d put a little something at the start | just to throw you off the scent | And you’d wonder how it would relate | but it won’t | You’d think it was irrelevant | but it isn’t | Or a trick | But it isn’t | You’d think you’d go on reading | But you aren’t and you don’t | Just a little something | like everything | Just a little bigger | for a moment…

And I’ll walk through the lobby | in my dark blue suit | the Zegna | white shirt, no tie, collar open | and the ladies will raise their hands | before their beautiful mouths | the gentlemen | lift their programmes | and speak discreetly | behind the Chekhov | or the Ibsen | and they’ll say | Yes, that’s him | Yes, that’s Ayres | Looks amazing, despite his years | So elegant, so distinguished | The master | Shorter, than I imagined | His hair so white | Eyes of sea grey, still with a little | of the cold sea inside them | Will he speak, do you think? | Will he honour us with a few words?… 

In the ballroom, the fans will flash and flutter | like a colony of butterflies | the lips will be so red | the music grave and polished | in the club | the German DJ | will leaf through her vinyl | in the bay | the yacht | gaff cutter — gleaming, and sculpted like the most perfect | idea: perhaps the most perfect | idea there has ever been — will ride gently at anchor | and on her back | Francesca will rest | in her turquoise bathing suit | under the low rays of the afternoon sun | while stowed away | in the cabin | hung neatly | in the cabinet of cedar | will be her tutu | and her ballet slippers | in an old shoe box | Capezio | Her long legs | the left | stretched straight out | the right | crooked loosely into a ‘V’ | and her lovely feet | will point, the left to the prow | and the right, nearly to starboard | and her auburn hair | fanned across the deck | will echo the tumble | of bougainvillea on the shore | She will be dreaming of Hampshire | the apartment in Rome | perhaps | even of this poem | I have yet | to show her | in the trees | the paperbarks and scribbly gums | kookaburras and cockatoos | will fluster and stare | out over the waves | twisted to a tinsel glare | one moment | then flickering back | to hauling shades | of lead and pitch | in the grass | by the picnic table | a party of ants | will reconnoitre | the fallen rind | of a watermelon | at the window I will | set my headphones down around my neck | track still playing | Stones | live at Hampton, Virginia, the Coliseum | 1981 | look at the page | of my notebook | lay aside the pen | quite useless now | and settle back | in the creaking chair | feel sleep | that pocket | in nothing | lined with a stray whisper’s | black velvet | reach over | and turn off the amp | so Mick and the boys | are cut into silence | and history | close my eyes | put the bag | over my head | wait for the famous | footsteps to start | and my youth on the streets | to begin | running and running! — so fast | I sort of knew | those skinny legs | would bring me | eventually | to Kent and Francesca | and would release | my genius for love | in that most | humble | and heavenly | of kisses | the first | the one | that closed the gate | on the path | back to the garden | and sent me off | to the dusty days | living rough | with Karl and Hooper | under the concrete arches | of the flyover | long before Beethoven | and long before Rilke | and long, long after home | became a place only | to rob and leave…

I won’t speak | I won’t say a word | I’ll walk calmly | into the tremendous shell | of the auditorium | take my seat | wait for the show to start | and in those unspoken words | I’ll be composed | having made myself | ready for the grief to come


from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)
(this poem, October 2017)