I wrote this six years ago, when I was working in the Netherlands, but I’m rather fond of it and this seems as good a place as any to put it, so here goes.
Once more no train,
No boat, no plane,
No sense of in,
No friends or kin:
Just me, alone,
Many miles from home.
& this truth is mine:
I was born out of time;
The fight was over without any blows
& happiness is something I take up my nose.
I move like a ghost, unseen and unheard;
No-one speaks to me, I hear no words;
Here none would care if I lived or died –
Even my loneliness kept inside.
So my heart and my mind are icily cold
(Promises broken, lies never told)
My pulse is stopped and my blood’s been sold
& none of it, none of it’s real:
No emotion, no passion, no feel;
Just a vacuous letter with a perfumed seal:
That’s the deal.
& a pen and ink can’t make a man think,
For a line, for a line’s just a line.
This page is still blank though it’s covered in verse:
Be it lyrical, abstract or terse.
Sympathy, love, pity, joy, anger, hate or lust;
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
So I’m buying drinks just for the chance to speak
(& stave off the oblivion of sleep)
“En Amsterdamer, austublieft”
“Dank u wel”
& there’s no time bell,
Ain’t it swell?
(No, it’s a living hell)
& here’s something I don’t really understand:
This pen seems to have possessed my hand –
For what I write now is not of mind
& makes no sense that I can find;
But at least I no longer need to think
(Unless, god forbid, I run out of ink).
& none of this poem any longer seems sage:
It reads like a drink I’ve spilt on the page –
But at least its composing has made me smile
& kept my mind off life for a while,
With its fluctuating metre and illogical style.
Screaming into the dark silence of a formless void
No need for reason or rhyme
Peering into the abyss
Vantages of oblivion over time