China Bay Blues Tonight I can speak of the earth , the moon, and the stars as if they were all part of my own house rooms inside perfect trees bend against the streaming bats crickets chirp in the marsh while I write , lamp casting a pool of light onto the words that pour from my pen Tonight I am a child of endless dreams, Tonight I am the laughing Buddha Tonight I am the smiling vampire While my family sleeps I try on different masks casting them off with the delight of the courtesan, flirting with lies embracing deception seeking redemption while the mercury moon flies scudding amongst paleface clouds Tonight I can speak of the earth , the moon, and the stars as if they were mine and mine alone - 'Nightsong ' A boy walking in a tuxedo down the heat of the road against the jade green of paddy Forever the trees, shading the road An old woman who turns and grins madly , toothless A village saint in exile Forever the trees, shading the road The elephant , feet burning on the tar Walking, patiently, waiting For the day when it can sink into the waters of the river again Forever the trees, shading the road A funeral, white sheet unwinding endlessly, a carpet on which to ascend to heaven Forever the trees, shading the road Breaks in time, gates into the backbeyond these things will remain forever while I search for them elsewhere - 'Forever the Trees' Weeks go by , months pass I begin to believe my heart is made of glass love slips and slides away no anchor shall attach then you come into sight safecracker, tumble and twist you find the combination and suddenly you are within my defences in the fortress of my head will you let me down will we ever fight these are questions which do not arise sift through the sand there are no stones steal me away into the dark I shall be safe in your embrace only your eyes to guide me only your touch to taste I will not protest , into this gentle silence I will go Losing everything of myself and gaining so much more. - "Safecracker" I will sin for you the taste of sacrilege in my mouth Your laughing eyes goading me as I throw myself under the chariot It is all a stage act, magic for the dispossesed Eager to seize a goddess for the new day, an idol You can lie You can cheat You can promise the moon You can cut You can hurt No fight I have for your words Sin for you , I will Heaven will not ask for me, no dark rose you are fire/devil - "fire/devil" There's a place I go to a room in my head a palace of words and paper windows warmed by the sun I can sit and flip the pages in leisure Studying the phrases, measuring the measure No sharp tongues , trailing tangled words No eager mouths telling me what they have heard I will escape , run free in this jungle of leather and papyrii mask my human face, with the mirrors of other times , other winds Sit and wait, while the anxious world goes by muttering and shaking it's head I can be silent and carry dreams until it is time to return - "My Secret Room" I dream of you in rocking carriages, trains flying softly on rails of steel I dream of you in sleeping airplanes night light winks off five seats ahead I dream of you in river hotels sleeping while I lie awake I dream of you in churches and fields camera raised to your eye capturing the world I dream of you in the middle of the day a caf‚, a book, a glass of iced tea I dream of how you tastesmellfeel everything Your endless curiosity I dream of you in narrow streets in languages I have not learnt I dream of you in crowds and sun waiting for that perfect moment When it comes you know it A gift I do not have Treading water until the time comes Means that you sometimes miss it completely And then it is gone like sand disappearing in an hourglass A mistake I do not want to make anymore???. - "Perfect Moment" Someone asks me, casual dinner party jest as the crab claws are cleared away "So will you die for your country" Surprised, I counter "Surely it is better to live for it?" Flippant, my glib mouth fires back But later, the drive home I think of patriots, priests, and politicians Would I be the first to the front With my finger on the trigger Or would I move to another land and nurse the memory with my television dinner, the channels flickering while I think of the beaches and winds I left behind ? love is sacrifice but which comes first which comes fierce my country or me ? -"Patriot " I realise now that I have been looking for your face in crowds for the past three days my eyes not knowing what they were searching for the line of your neck the curve of your cheek the movement of your hair in sunlight it comes to me now as I stare at the hands of the clock in the small hours of the morning waiting for my day to start wishing you were dreaming next to me so I could watch you instead. - Untitled It's hot today, I will melt and only my clothes will remain a memory of the space I occupied I will evaporate , the flesh no longer real Replaced by a sigh that escapes steam too hot, too hot, what to do I can feel the weight of the sun if I step from the shade pressing on my head, trying to make me stand not so tall I will blister , I will peel the mouth of my roof dry however many glasses of water I shall drink the skinsweat trickles down my spine It goes faster than a meteor tracks to the sun - "Skinsweat" Will you walk these streets with me ? Take my hand and explore the hidden spaces ? At night will you lie in my arms and listen to the river sounds that rise like birds circling the heart of the city Cobbled streets are more than mere roadways each a labour of love, jigsaw of care, set under our soles We'll wander through the streets peering at restaurant menus until we find the perfect monkfish and scallops We'll sit in sunlit cafes and watch the people outside walk by, cocooned in their own lives Every night we move like spoons easily flipping back and forth me cradling you like you were always part of me anyway - 'Dublin' Under pressure the saxman starts to blow willing the notes from his mind to his fingers and then to the air Remembering the cocky changes the showmanship of scales, from the piano player, now beaming at him from the corner of the stage Your turn now , brother. Sing it now. Harder and harder, he blows a dizzying run up and down the length of the brass fingers squeezing, fluttering coaxing the sweet run of black hemidemisemiquavers, fifths of a blues scale racing around the world in eighty bars, over and over carnatic rhythm throwing the vibe into the smoke and noise of the room Like a bird beginning to fly first he imitates his predecessor And then , confidently, finding his space he flinches in pleasure as the stream turns into a flood Swinging like Mohammed Ali now sweet like a butterfly the sticks of the drummer brushing the crash, riding the ride The bass player, lean and tall watches his fingers carefully plucking the heartstrings of the double bass ripping the low notes from the wood blue note heaven, baby I'm gonna blow the roof off this sucker , now hold onto your hats fellers it's big bang time let there be light let there be sound The stage lights are hot, sweat making his fingers slip Time to call it a night Don't want to anger the jazzgods by flaunting their gift A final flourish, then back to the chorus A sprinkle of applause Don't care , amen, hallelujah Seen the blue note heaven , baby At least one time tonight I can sleep like a man "Charlie Parker Knows" May 1997 Stick on the old 45's And wind up the record player tonight we will dance in the moonlight to the sounds of the big band The kids will hunt for earthworms by the light of flickering candles And you, you fool, you will dance with me, like we did before we were old and thoughtful When the cornet player stands up to do his lazy solo we will swing by the light of the stars as if they were the chandeliers of the rich And the band will play Our secret song Over and over. - "Back Garden Boogie" I wear my tattoo , ink on skin memories of the woman I shared heat with for a few moments in someone's bed in cold Toronto Reading Anais Nin as she fed me chocolate and sips of coffee the sheet wrapped around her shoulders while the wind howled in the carpark Counting shadows on the ceiling as I wandered through the chapters of horses and virgins and men who took without asking perfect blue buildings in the magazines scattered on the floor azure horizons and tanned buildings of Morocco a hundred skies away On her shoulderblade , the memory of her beliefs, her ideas, what she wanted inscribed on her skin , perfect While on my thigh, fresh healed the sign of the sky, a symbol of my birth the claws curled around my leg downtown the artist packs away his tools switches off the light , closes up the doors , and rides home on the bus - 'Tattoo' When the party's over and we've said a dozen goodbyes you will sleep and I will drive looking at you out of the corner of my eye in the glow of the dashboard your sleeping face is gentle no more furrowed brow no more worried wrinkle these are the times when my heart is content these are the moments when all is well these are the times when I enjoy you deliciously the moment when trust is absolute when I am driving you home and you sleep in the passenger seat. "Passenger seat" Sometimes I hate this ash grey town crumbling around me yellow halogen lights sickly casting their glow on the street where I stand waiting for a bus to take me to my centrally heated hermits cell where I sit and look at the postcard tucked into the mirror above the sink where I brush my teeth every morning , looking at the buildings bathed in tropical sun, skies that reign a kingdom bounded only by horizons where I am someone, not a nobody where I am more than just another brown face breathing cold air , wreathing around my mouth this is not my home I cannot retreat to the heat cannot plunge into my Indian Ocean and float in it's embrace I will wake up to the sound of a bell and the light will be washed out and the red of the walls will remind me that I have changed islands and assumed my new secret identity my mouth twisting into different shapes as I feel for the light switch that will flicker this morning into being . "Secret Identity" At the top of the spiral staircase will be our secret room where we can hide from the world and watch the sky run free through the blue stained glass Venus she rises in the western clouds as the record player spins Satie vinyl notes round and round piannissimo, mezzo mezzo in our secret room , we share the pleasures of the heart, the head, the flesh sanctuary from the heat and the dust haze shimmering through the mesh and the wind whispers to the embracing trees outside ti amero per sempre (I will love you forever) ti amero per sempre.... - "Spiral staircase" Long distance love affair (sounds like an old Motown song) love down a line breathing in an envelope a scrawled postcard, with a stamp two weeks old thoughts stalled in jet lag , ideas turned cold feelings that jump at the ring of a phone the sight of new letters on the dining table nights with hurried conversations echoed across the seas seconds the delay but an eternity in the distance - 'Long Distance Love' today I saw a blind man kneeling in the street while around him a city walked by without missing a beat today I saw a child of six asking me for a coin tomorrow there will be two and then another, another will join today I saw in traffic a man with only one arm around his neck he clutched an amulet a failed good luck charm today I saw a mad woman a mirror in her hand sitting in the middle of rush hour trying to make us understand today I saw a messenger with a telegram of grief Could you have been that blind man make haste because life is brief..... - "Messengers" That devil dance smile is still in your eyes the autumn leaf of your skin teeth cat white against your lips I think I hated you with a passion that knew no words no memories, just the enemy I cannot remember the nights sleeping on the floor of your room while moonlit illuminated our intertwined forms The demons seem to have left you whole, unfettered now you do not seem burdened by the confusion of the time when I knew you But there is something about the way you wander over the grass that tells me you have not lost your travelling urge restless you pace by the waters edge What do I do, me who carried this wariness around for years and months? Do I throw it in the lake hear it splash splash What do I do , me Who finds myself laughing with the one who left me stranded ? the one who left me branded ? What do I do , me who finds himself remembering what hex, what voodoo, what spell you weaved over me ? Powerless yet this time sure I allow myself to be drawn back into your careless orbit carefully, but , carefully I get pulled by your forces carefully?.. -"Careless Orbit " My baby and me we play a game sometimes in the early hours of a winter morning We lie in bed and close our eyes and outside we dream up Arizona On the edge of a desert dawn sun rising iguanas scuttle between rocks seeking the retreating shade We are in a small hotel Fly-shutter doors and pay-per-view TV But the sheets are clean and the coffees good Outside we hear someone drag a trunk across the car park and the thunk of a closing lid Two doors down someone switches on a radio, old jazz comes floating through the paper thin walls A single sheet over our naked bodies lazy fan spinning overhead Soon we will rise Soon we will wake Soon our tumbleweed dreams will end But for now , we lie still in calm half-sleep Safe in the arms Safe in the heart of the desert - 'Dreaming Arizona' I discovered a new breeze today blowing through my room excited I pull open another window and another until the crosswinds stir easily I place a drum against a door Prop a book against another And feel the hairs on my head brush with the fingers of air >From Egypt , India and the east They come and gather to talk a melange , flirting invisibly in the four corners of my room It is the palace of winds it is the storytellers cradle the place where myths learn to fly where wings sprout on words where rumours scatter and die They congregate and whisper old ladies at a dance while below I sleep the sleep of the innocent , unknowing of what is being said in my ears, around my head And then, just as quickly they go vanishing out the window, across the sea to fill the waiting vacuums That wait for their return Leaving my room still again but for a moment?? "Crosswinds" Sometimes I see your lips twisted into a sullen pout as you stare insolently at those who cross your path Sometimes I see you wilful petulant and unwilling to bend to the dictates of the world around you But I like you most when you are laughing, running through the sun clean limbed and full of grace free from the burdens of your past, the weight of history off your shoulders so that you can be the one who dances naked in the moonlight in the hours before dawn so you can be the one who swims fearlessly through the dark waters not afraid of the shadows there will always be a tempest in your heart but for now I like you when you inhabit the eye of the storm and have learned what it means to be still. - 'Storm' I can no longer trust my body to do what my brain tells me to do it is treacherous, deceiving it lies to me out of the corner of my mouth it spins me in circles , telling me yes telling me no, but never telling me the proper way to go I try to concentrate , focus my eyes on the far corner of the room , willing it to stay in one place instead of moving in front of my mesmerised eyes But in the small animal part of my head I am thankful for the small mercies I would rather lose my vision for a few moments than lie throwing off the devil in my sleep as my mother watches anxiously dabbing the foam from my lips keeping her midnight vigil waiting for the demons to leave her son alone. - 'Grand Mal/Petit Mal' Straining at the leash, a thoroughbred that's what you are high and tense, long legs moving through the world unsure of what your place is in it that mischief in your eyes as you dance in front of me the line of your neck as you slip and slide your lips smoking a cigarette while you stare at the screen waiting for the words to appear walking into the room with you is like seeing the wind ripple through the forest heads turning, eyes watching as you do your graceful goddess thing if I turn and kiss you, will you kiss me back ? the ignorance is an arousing thing but you are still not someone I know Perhaps someone I will never know For now it is enough to watch and wonder how you will make your way through your life how strong and confident you will face it and how you will still make heads turn like leaves in the wind one day I will sweep you off your feet and build you castles in the air one day I will do things properly and the night we will share..... -'Thoroughbred' Two boys lying on fishing nets at noon one asleep, caught in the web of his dreams while the other forms a telescope with his fingers , looking at the sky outside the house One dreaming of the sea the other of defying gravity the end is the same escape water and air will be the accomplices to flight Away from reality into the mind's twilight when Prospero strides in nets draped around his aged shoulders, barefoot looking for his Ariel who will rise to the lure ? - "Prospero and Ariel" (After Kevin Clogstouns photographs) I wish I could take this velvet night and wrap it around you like a cloak I wish I could take these distant stars and place them like diamonds at the base of your throat I wish I could take the moon ripples in the sea and weave them into a dress that dazzles the sun But all I can do is sing silently to you in the hours before dawn when I lie propped on one arm watching you dream your ocean dreams. - 'Surf song' I will make the leap find the faith as I fly unsure of where I land sure of the reason why It takes a certain insanity to surrender to the unknown to get dragged by the tide to fall free like a stone It is not an easy thing , this hard to say what bone will break against the grain,I opt for pain I chose the loneliness, the ache At the end of the time no guarantee , nothing sure but perhaps a little wiser then perhaps a little more pure - "Leap of faith" It was the first time I had seen the moon in this fast flickering life of mine It fell out of the sky into the lake And sat there, reminding me of something I forgot A moment from my past when I was a boy, not so wrapped up in this drive for moneylovepower me me me when to live was to run free without thinking of tomorrow to think was to imagine and dream without the wrinkle of the brow When I saw the moon again something came loose inside of me and swung free in the wind it felt good to have it back - "It was the first time I had seen the moon" The cheating of the lips this, does it reveal a weakness of the head the hearts empty promise ? The concealing eyes, they evade the truth by shading, ducking diving do they not ? The silent mouth lies louder than if it was open A moment's madness now swells into a facade covering the skeleton of the truth inside; outside blankness. Sin is written all over the face. Embrace. Replace. Taste. - "The Silent mouth" Neruda dreamt of roses in the arbour temple flowers alight on the white verandah while elephants roamed the city at night while the geckoes hung from sweating ceiling while the chirp of crickets was a steady hum the machinery of the forest outside while bats soared through weeping trees Neruda dreamt Neruda dreams of palaces and poets, star people who travelled to distant lands in times the sands have forgotten Neruda dreams of the taste of cinnamon, passion deep and hot in the mouth He dreams of dark secrets inked on darker flesh waiting to be uncovered by the hand of a rhymer A caress.... ......no less. While Neruda dreams Strange lands come to life Stick figures with the faces of monkeys ride through the sky carrying half a mountain carefully.... ......so carefully When Neruda dreams the spirits flee the house of his sleep muttering about the sun staring at the retreating moon wandering if exile is the only option When Neruda dreams (quand il dort) the garden shall grow noiselessly lush in the tropical heat fertile brown earth clasping green shoots deep in it's heart When Neruda dreams the fish fly to the moon and sing "Claire de lune" in their best singing voices Neruda's dreams , contain mermaids, scholars, slaves, armies mountains, lakes, rivers , roses crossed in an instant of dreamtime When Neruda dreams words flow from the pen of his mind onto the blank page ending it's emptiness beginning the dance..... -"When Neruda Dreams" I remember a girl silhouetted against a field of fireflies eyes laughing in the darkness I remember a girl alone on a rock meditating in moonlight Amidst an ocean of green I remember a girl wishing she had wings so she could fly unafraid in clear blue skies I remember a girl wishing she had lungs of water so she could swim the fathomless depths with no fear saltwater kisses taste so sweet I remember a girl eyes filled with sleep nestled in my arms silent dawn, safe from harm Clinging to me like ivy around an old oak tree comfort in a storm curled catlike, breath sweet and warm A kiss , like a benediction in the early hours of light slow breath, grace at rest the sleep of the truly blessed All these memories holed up in my head memories for a winters day when the past is another country these dreams will stay with me forever. (he makes love in straight lines she makes love in curves) -'Straight Line/Curves' Sweet soulful song from shiny brass horn fingers moving like hydra as the notes sound high up to the heavens like butterflies hovering around the wings of a sail curved in the breeze pursed lips, brow furrowed in concentration , as cheeks puff in prayer air turns to gold and the wind sings along the memory of home the echo of jazz when Miles plays.... - "Miles Away" Crossing the line between black and white, day and night, into the land of your heart, Lost but for you I walk into your ocean, surrender to your waves, you are the queen of my castle, the keeper of the key, the one who knows the secrets of the boy inside, open wide, touch my lips in your eyes lie the future of my hands, stroking your face, as you and I become one, the same .....lit by moonlight , I am no longer an island. - "Crossing the line" There is great sadness in this July night the crash of sea surf the echo of the late train wisps of cumulus nimbus a Muslim moon in the east under the roofs of houses the innocent sleep tensely sweltering in the humid heat waiting for the dawn when another day comes when more hate is spawned then the fear shall spring then the hate will rise the light of intolerance comes to once smiling eyes then the mobs shall run then the fires will burn the innocent will stand helpless nowhere to turn I will look for my mother in a hustling crowd and she will call my name in a voice scared but firm I will be driven through the dry burning streets watching through the rear window while a policeman beats a looter , who writhes on his knees sick with the pain The sirens will wail long into the night while I listen to their sounds wide-eyed and awake watching the fan thrash overhead And neighbours will run under cover of dark to hide in friends houses clutching their lives in their hands faded photos in silver frames, passports and money children asleep in their arms too sleepy to understand The phones will ring flat voices will threaten and the children will sleep uneasy in their beds harsh voices in their ears flames in their heads Years later, I will remember these things on a hot July night hearing fragments of voices wondering when the spark will ignite again. - "1983" Desire Shall I tell you about desire? Desire is the tingling of the teeth when you look at the lips of the one you want to kiss Desire is the stroking of the hand flesh on warm flesh, the calm before the storm, when passion lies smouldering I'll tell you about desire Desire is when the walls are eggshell thin, paper barriers against the inferno Desire is dangerous and sweet a moments succumbing a lifetimes atonement Desire is cold and calculating bringing the spy of lust into your voyeur heart Desire is the moment when water touches fire and gives birth to steam I haven't finished Desire is when you want to lick your tongue down her spine slow Desire is when she will touch your chest to feel your heart pulsing slow quick quick slow Desire is when the mouth is dry the tongue like a desert snake waiting for the oasis sandstorm dreams Desire is when you want to kiss the neck, stroke the line of her back devour But you wait , while the animal grows restless , flickering impatience Desire is when you cannot see their eyes without seeing the flame inside deep slow soft sweet When you see the bruised lips , bee stung into swollen need, now , kiss , me that's desire when you want to delve to explore, velvet darkness the taste deep and hot that's desire when you want to dance the dance of sin and shame long and proud that's desire When you want to own to melt, to liberate, to conquer and be free that's desire (so bad you can taste it) - "Desire" Goddamn I love you and I'm gonna hit you like an avalanche , like a tonne of bricks, When I see you next , I will hold you tighter than my deepest secret and whirl and waltz you around the room Damn you're beautiful like a cool drink on a hot day like a snowflake in the month of May Don't want nights Don't want days Just want years where I can lock you away just for my self Not share you with the static Not give you up to the noise tune in loud and clear like an old radio on a summer night high and clear -"Radio Song" I hate funerals, the shovelled earth hitting the wooden lid bitter sky overcast with rain or fierce afternoon heat as the sweat clings to my one good shirt While pious men praise you to the skies with their honest lies As I gaze at the rest of your friends on this tired earth The cliches we murmur as we approach the ones you left behind the dry palms we shake as the hollow words we make Why can't we celebrate your life not your death ? Why can't we remember the way you smiled, you laughed the way you loved Faded flowers on fresh earth as the soil folds you in it's cold embrace It's not even a proper goodbye this one way street, things left unspoken, confidences unbroken In your grave , as the earthworms start their perpetual dance do you too mourn our loss ? -"Earthworm Tango" Bibadubop skiddle skidaddle whee whee whee badu badu zibabapumnnuanzair oobie oobie ooooooh eebie eebie eeeeeeehh a tisket a tiskat I've lost my little basket diduna didunda badu badu badu badu -"Ella"