Coffee on a field of fablon sunflowers,
your acrobatic daughters disentangle their limbs,
a tug-of-love, they play a tambourine and kazoo.
Your jaws wired after your ex got handy,
that low-cut back, that impregnable look;
the loneliest applicant for computer dating,
apart from me. So this is the rendezvous.
Do I look like a ladykiller, an innocent?
The tranquillised voice at the other end of the line
suggested a fairytale future;
or was it a lie detector? Your cigarette trembles.
Stubbing it out, stubbing it out, your cauterize
the saucer, a wobbling contact.
Do our personalities match our profiles,
the Instamatics we swapped by post?
Why did I mention I was an expert in 'pillowtalk'?
Your son's cut off in the white noice of his headset
and hasn't looked at me since I came in.
The questionnaire suggests stereotyping
for the discussion of like minds. Do I prefer
Coronation Street to opera, doesn't come into it.
Was the term 'marriage' or 'occasional excitement'?
Did I really say, 'I'm looking for dynamite'?
With my feet under the table you ask me what's my poison.
That's beautiful. The Xmas pudding tea-pot.
Yes, it was a wedding present.
Hoisted from the baymouth,
hair like pulleys, mackerelled by the light;
face a photo-fit, hempen ropes,
a salt-streaked sunset.
Factory-fisherman with block-and-tackle
stand by a weightless wraith;
'Resquiescats for her soul'.
Paxmax of narwhal spreads brainfolds
on the surface like napthalene.
Engines pump water, bubbles pop her lungs
smuggled full of air,
a traffic in smoke, she's flotsam
in plastic shrouds a tiny chain about one ankle,
her body on the skids.
A naked shoulder-blade tattooed with a butterfly,
a net of hair resurfaces her neck like a Nike.
MARS IN SCORPIO
Held over in a Mexican jail
for carrying Acapulco
his freckled smile in close-up
like a missing person's
He explained his fate away
as Mars in Scorpio.
A mattress sleeping it off on the floor
and an axe, his acoustic
His polaroid eyes from the jail,
a sty in the corner;
ampoules and capsules
strewn across the rattan.
A switchbacked scorpion
squirmed at the sill -
the black kind, not lethal?
big as a lobster.
We cut a tarot pack.
He asked me for my time of birth.
The mechanism of the scorpion reverberates
its silencer; moves off by remote conrol.
You confess to being Mata Hari.
Not me but my soul before.
OK Staale, it's possible,
with you everything is possible.
Who's paying for this meal?
So LA was coke and a
meeting of parrots,
the only wildlife to survive.
You turn up the book and rent the Life.
You realise she was no spy,
this Lucretzia Borgia of spies.
But you know the inside story.
Did they increase your
dosage at this time?
What dosage, I was clean.
Everybody I'm meeting is coming across with jokes
teaching me more about my former self.
I was a dancer in Berlin.
My things are confiscated.
The only way I can escape is if I agree
to do sex and spy for the German High Command.
I do nothing, only leave,
back to Paris.
I marry and travel to Asia.
That's where I truly learn to dance.
Since I was a young boy
I can do this with my stomach muscles.
For this you need training.
My parents would ask me to do it.
It's my party piece.
Before my father's bankruptcy,
we would have people;
an eminent neurosurgeon.
In view of strangers,
I danced the midnight sun away.
I was born to belly dance and
Mata Hari had a beautiful
I was listening to the Pet Shop Boys, you know,
their lyric, 'I must have been in uniform'?
Smoking, I'd never taken it in before.
I'm dreaming in a pickelhaube, in a trench.
Above me, I see my lover pointing a revolver.
He's shooting me, shooting.
But how does this figure
after all you are Mata Hari in this timeframe,
or does she cross dress?
Leaving for the front, I find a read rose on my pillow,
one tear-stained word written in lipstick,
Hold your horses. This scenario stinks.
Do you expect the company
to swallow this?
What would Mata do?
I go straight to the photographs in 'the Life'
and there's the clue, the judges faces.
They smile the way you all smile,
my tormentors, drawn to me naturally
by your karma.
See this saddle-ring,
Mata would tip a love-philtre into your glass,
some truth-drug, in vino veritas.
Hey hold on. The boys snatch a caterpillar
from Staale's arm
throw it into the sand and stomp it.
He goes on talking regardless.
Staale, that would have been a butterfly.
En brittisk pamflettpoet