1971 – 72

symbols on paper

here are my poems

symbols on paper

ambiguous words

in ambivalent lines

perception portrayed

in stanza and rhyme

feeling and thought

suspended in time

here my poems

mere symbols on paper

giving them to you

I give you me


yes I’ll come to Dover

to be with you three

to walk along the shore

once again carefree

as winter lets loose its store

of wind to break up the sea and

sting our eyes and fragile skin

while seagulls cry and

we listen to the roar

like children again

hair askew and

don’t give a damn

for the world anymore

just you and me in Dover

Senor Valdez (for John Altimirez)

Senor Valdez

in your brightly coloured hat

and your brightly embroidered pants

come visit me

Senor Valdez

with your laughing eyes

and your warm smile

come visit me

share my company awhile

Senor Valdez

I value your friendship so preciously

how can I convey it in words?

Senor Valdez don’t forget

come visit me

traveling south

Turkey, traveling south

in the middle of the plains we stopped

James needed some rest

I embroidered my new

white pants while he slept

passing truck drivers hollared

and banged on their horns

strange for them to see a blonde girl

in this part of the world

strange too, for me, the blonde

in that vast yellow land

of shimmering wheat

and relentless sun

though I’d traveled far

in my eighteen years

the journey had barely begun

ahead, mountains in a purple haze

beyond them the great unknown

yet somehow in my heart I knew

the road would lead me home


Santana was Latin America

New York City

railway stations

a lake in Germany

many rapturous reunions

too many sad goodbyes

long distance conversations

letters read a hundred times

a boy whose eyes warmed my heart

a man, potently proved

close though we were worlds apart

someone I once loved

do you remember?

do you remember Frankie

do you remember the lake

that very first night

swimming through warm waters

with only stars to light our way

you calling my name

when I swam out of sight

like a mirage melting away?


then in the silence of the morning

enhanced by bird calls

and silver fishes plop, plopping

as they drifted in shoals

we re-entered the enchanted waters

no hindering garments to hold us

just skin touching skin

floating apart for the joy

of coming together again

in those beautiful, yet futile

attempts at love-making

how ridiculous could we get?


in those magical

moments at dawn

we had to let go and

flow with our emotions

while the whole world slept

we were alive, in love

that lake, that dawn

existing only for us

last post

well Frankie, we’ve been through this trip before

and now I find myself once more

alone and uncertain

it’s all a question of time, we have none

no time to be free, to feel

no time for this relationship to be real

I’m sick of ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’

the next day or ‘I’m home again but

can only stay so many hours’

fuck your weekend leave

and your four day pass

fuck the numbered minutes

that never last long enough

what king of love is ours?


when there’s so many

scenes in between

so many bad

mad acts interrupting

what seems to me

more like a dream

with each empty day

but for what it’s worth

I want to say that

I do love you Frankie

though doubt our love can last

for whenever I need you most

you’re never there

fuck your Uncle Sam!

the choosing

it was only an egg

torn away and smashed

by strange hands

at my command


not for the lack of love

nor with a dearth of sorrow

did I take this stand

but for many reasons

too complex to explain


lack of confidence

an uncertain future

the ocean between us

your race

my culture

public prejudice

and private fears

of poverty and pain


given a similar

choice tomorrow

I’d do the same again

for Mary and Carol

I found an open window

in a friendship

that was stifling me

and I flew out

if I return for

crumbs of your love

will you chase me away?

the possibility that you may

makes me sad

for I still love you


it is you, Mary

I am most afraid for

Carol, intermediary, translator

help us understand one another

I remember wanting to visit

the Young Socialist camp

and you two were angry

I didn’t go just to please you


but this time

I looked through the pane

and saw a beautiful world

I’d long yearned to roam

so I left the comfortable

pretty, gilded cage

you built around my heart

and cannot now return to stay


yet, with your permission

I will visit often

to drink the water

and eat the seeds

that I hope you will

offer with love


though  birds of a feather

we are coloured differently

let me fly free

in my domain

I would give my life for you

but my soul must remain unfettered

London 1

Victoria Bus Station

you looking for me, me looking for you

at the start of our great adventure

two fifteen year olds in London Town

for the September Weekend

told lies to our parents, fibs to our friends

a basement flat took most of our money

but we didn’t care, until Sunday

when it wasn’t so funny having to share

one chocolate bar between two

that day we had our first real row

and walked away from each other

in London Town, but not for long

too big a city for

a fifteen year old on her own

Marble Arch

and me taking reel after reel of film

while you ran away, hid your face

told me to… STOP!

got you from behind a lampost

got you winding your watch

forever in my picture

London 2

one night

sharing a single bed

in the Willesden Green flat

in semi-conscious drowsiness

forgetting where I was at

I kissed your soft white shoulder

so smooth and pleasant to caress

my head cleared  yet I was confused

for it seemed you had responded

then you moved leaving me more bemused

so I lay in the darkness and waited

for some sign, I hardly breathed

where you awake?

I really believed that  you were

but after an hour

I took a blanket

and dossed on the couch

afraid to sleep there

lest in my sleep I might

touch you and

cause you anger

how sad I was

to be so afraid

of loving you

London 3

the tube

squeezed against the sides

forced out in one big rush

the crush of human bodies

like molecules stuck together

fighting for space

the race: human

the rules:  inhumanity

the goal: not to be last

a mass of clockwork minds

Baker Street, twenty to

King’s Cross, quarter to

Victoria, nine

like ants, always rushing

unlike ants, only fending

for themselves

in this giant anthill of a town

offering no help

if you fall you stay down


I’m glad I managed

to get up again

to Glasgow

are you?

Black Jimmy

there was one night with Jimmy

spent without shame

we shared no inhibitions

took life as it came

and all was pleasure

no trace of pain


in the morning

we walked out together

that I might board the bus alone

talking of the weather

how the sun shone

reflecting upon

the night just gone

we were very happy


two ships passing

in the night

on a dark and lonely

ocean called Life

each glad to see

the other’s light

we stopped awhile

then parted

no sorrow

no strife


out of the East he came

on a blue steed

which had Pullman seats

and bore his name

an Arabian knight

educated in Manchester



no, Fouad!

Fou and who?

you…  me?

well why not?

so he carried me off

in the night

and we were three

for little Johnny

came along too

though he wasn’t

much of a friend

close but never

quite close enough

we discarded him

in the end


still the knight

was so cool

doing his compere

between acts

and though his jokes

were so much trash

he was entertaining

never brash

and was really

quite sexy


let’s all go on a picnic

this wild and wonderful day

we’ll take Mary’s bakes

throw in some hashish cakes

and soon be on our way

lying low in a field

of mellow grass

whilst the sunshine

flows through our veins

what a lazy, crazy day we’ll have

if only it doesn’t rain

yet even that might be fun

if, with upturned faces

we let the loving water drum

peaceful thoughts

on our weary brains

Striven Garden Sequence


tonight wemust write

though I don’t know why

we write tonight

because Billy says it’s right

but Billy talks a lot of shite


if you could only see what I can see

though I can’t tell you what that is

as I’m not too sure myself

we might find a meeting place

perhaps at the clock on the shelf

is it two? it may be four

it’s a time that has no name

let’s dribble down the mantlepiece

and meet someplace again


last night, while you were talking

I closed my eyes and entered

a world of my own

I sparkled down a violet spiral

and melted into the fire-white rain

in green trickles I seeped

through yellow gauze to flow

bluely down a star-studded lane

stepping lightly between

crystalized hexagons

I tried to call your name

it Carol… Caroll… Carolled

in lightwave explosions

of orange and crimson flame

I tried to disentangle my linear blues

from circular greens but all in vain

by the time I’d waded through

the buttercup mud

in a rainbow somersault

you had passed my window pane


do you remember just before

the last slice of yellow moon

was eaten by the clouds purple lips?

it was before the bells in the church tower

that dominates the cobbled hill

tolled the blue-breaking hour

when winter night

into summer dawn slips

the coloured street lamps shone

through make-believe trees

whilst the stars above them glowed

the tiled roofs of this

once-upon-a-time town merged

and amongst clouds into the distance flowed


does the butter vibrate

through your toast to drum

summer-daisy, sun-yellow

taste on your tongue?

sweet repose from the harsh smoke

curdling the microscopic fibres

making brittle the

once soft lining of my lungs

reminds me of last night

when I slaked my

tobacco-parched throat

on the juice of a fresh cut grapefruit

the last leaf

you are the last leaf

on this autumn tree

about to fall


are you clinging to me?

am I clutching at you

like a straw?


stripped of summer clothing

I stand naked, my feelings

exposed to all


only you appear to be blind

what is it that keeps you

lingering behind?


it’s time to go, drift away

I will stay and bear

the winter alone


I will await

the coming spring

and new leaves

epistle to my parents

they say we look alike

and there

the resemblance ends


I’m sorry I am

not the daughter

you want me to be

I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you

but I must go, I must hurry

and though I know it’s futile

ask you not to worry

and stop awhile

before closing the door

glad to be leaving

for different scenes

sad that you’re grieving

the death of a dream

dream me no more


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