My favourite labels were definitely West End and Prelude early on | and I would look for those pink spines

The suburbs stretch out | It was Midwest in the cabinet with the verruca cream | Sundays like Ohio | I used to look at the airliners flying over, so high | my teens | and astronauts floating | and all that emptiness


Provincial town | being chased through the streets by skinheads | and they spat in my long hair | they were the tough doomed kids in Sta-Press and Ben Sherman | they didn’t hear it, but I heard it | the lap of the long | doldrums of our lives | the route laid out | the allotted | becalming

Singing down the phone | to find the name

By the freight yard | and the abattoir | through the cuts in the chain-link fences | I mean | these aren’t places you want to hang out | working the night shift in winter | manning the guillotines | the carve and crimp of sheet metal | not music | dropping out of school | waiting for the parachute | to open

We searched at certain temperatures | because access wasn’t easy | like stumbling on a violet | pigment in a cave of dripping grey | raw in the flashlight

we boiled

care in dirty pans | floated on the scent of dragons | we’d drive for hours | city kids couldn’t know | from New York, from L.A. and San Francisco | and they were pretty blasé about everything

Doge and doze

Dodge and maze

Taking years to trace | those tunes that drove you crazy | Was it the right sound? The best sound? The new, the true, the actual sound? | Who knows? | Isn’t it

too early to say?

These were like older hip kids from Venice Beach in California or somewhere

To find a spot | a knack | a passion for imports | for Rimbaud or Roland R-8s | kissing the ear | a way of being | alive | an optimist | adroit

Look quickly, though, if you miss | it | rain falls among the ivy | in the Centaur Bar or Pulse Detroit


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, May 2015)