Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Friday, June 22, 2018
Reading a poem near Kfar Ruppin

I remember the bus to Kfar Ruppin,
I remember fragments of scenes there,
a room, two guitars, the dining room,
a cold vanilla yogurt, a black dog.
I don’t recall arriving or sleeping
or leaving. It was all a long time ago.
I remember the startling heat in the open air.
I remember the coolness of the stone walls
inside an Ottoman café at a rest stop,
I remember the iced water, the hummus, the salad.
I no longer remember if it would have been
the bus station at Afikim or Afula
we stopped at. I remember the poem
but not the direction from which the melancholy
arrived. I remember looking up
from the page, convulsed inside,
seeing a road sign to a place we had left.
I remember translating the characters in my mind
to give myself respite from the resonance.
I remember how it was to be laid waste
by a poem, I remember knowing I must look pale.
I remember feeling the injustice of our burden,
of having just one lifetime for moments
like this, the perfect beauty of them.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

I’m arguing with Yevtushenko,
I’m justifying all my lies to my child,
I’m watching filthy black clouds floating
towards the beautiful full white moon,
I’m zipping my jacket against the cold,
I want to be poetic about the moon,
I'm saying there are light grey wisps
passing across its beautiful whiteness,
I'm saying it makes me think of a snow leopard
alone in the night. I’m afraid for my child
to know what Lorca knows.

You know how these things are,
you are a writer, a leaper from stone to stone,
a noticer of the grass blurring beneath you
as you sail through air, a noticer of the whiteness
of coffee cups, of the stream of loveliness
flowing through the coffeeshop doors
to meet their loves. You are here,
not meeting your love, you are there
on the hill, leaping from rocks, the same hill,
different rocks, different blades of grass blurring,
descending from the summit to the riverbed,
recalling the insistent wind, thinking
of our children and the truths
waiting for them that we cannot bear to mention.

Saturday, May 05, 2018
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Friday, April 20, 2018
That evening, late (First Gulf War fragment)

Towards the end of the war, trade in the evenings on Dizengoff picked up.
People came to sit again at the café tables, with their gas-mask boxes
and atropine injectors and tubes of grey powder for sprinkling onto nerve gas.
And that evening, late, the siren had remained silent; everyone was tense
with waiting, unrelieved. Men and women sat together, and alone. They must
have noticed the yellow of the lamps, the sound of the coffee machine’s escaping
steam, the chatter of a voice among other voices far away. Drinking their coffee
it must have seemed that they were absent from their bodies, existent only in tension,
floating; until they rose to walk, when the air was heavy on them.

This man sits, as he likes to do, at a corner table of the shallow terrace.
He likes to read from the poems in front of him and then to scan
the street for daydreams, such as a man’s face, and if maybe he has killed,
or a woman’s body, and if maybe she was kissed earlier, and the interaction
of students, and do they know anything, are they cutting through
the narrative, seeing their betrayal, how they are meat to be ground?

At the next table he hears a man ask another man if he thinks that
a thought could be an airborne virus, and that this is how ideas
spread. A drunk woman (her high heels clatter over the reply)
stumbles to his table, asks him if he would like something spicy.
In his walkman headphones the sound of hundreds of Cairenes
on their feet applauding the star. The orchestra restarts, a man
whistles, the crowd roars, a section of the crowd claps,
she begins to sing Beyid Annak. He wonders what this other woman
means by spicy. She is drugged, self-medicated, opiated. It is a lot
to think about. The smell of coffee, roasted pistachios. Raised voices.
The lit shop fronts. Laughter. Fragmented conversations. Women.
Men. The warmth. War. The smell of the sea. The hissing surf.
The music from Cairo, miles to the south.

Tel Aviv, Feb 1991
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
The Burial of the Dead
Monday, January 22, 2018
To town, via Mill Road, Cambridge

to love to love

Morning in the Oxfam charity shop,
Van Morrison, Madame George, brings weeping
close, moments of rapt grace that will not stop
when he ceases to soar, this man keeping
some kind of record
of how this life went;
a day starting, as it may, with beauty,
gifting us some small chance we may be sent
through unscathed to the close of day’s duty.
If the hours could pass kindly and sunset
find doorways emptied of the dispossessed
we could claim some small relief from our debt,
but this beauty cannot see us blessed
like that. It is a small moment, fleeting,
intense, just one’s heart and one’s soul meeting.

Monday, January 15, 2018
Reviews of Books We’ve Never Read ---- The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges

Borges makes sense of Trump

The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges /

reviewed unread by Kemoe Hopscotch

When the circus came to town when we were kids we wondered how they got
the posters advertising the circus onto the inside of the front windows and onto
the inside of the glass doors of the abandoned shops and the closed-down shops
and the repossessed shops and the bankrupt shops and every other empty shop
in our small town.

All the mail and the flyers that had been delivered to the shops since they’d failed
and closed was still littering the floor. No footsteps could be seen in the dust that
had accumulated on the floors since the closures, but someone had somehow
managed to get in and put these posters up on the other side of the glass. We had
a strange guy who used to hang around with us who even then at that age had
plenty of theories that he presented as fact. He said there was a circus man who
could float through keyholes. That, he was confident, was how it was done.
He said the guy was called The Wisp. Many years later I remembered, apropos
of nothing, in the midst of a day, that that kid’s home had three or four paintings
by Chagall on the walls of different rooms.

Another kid I knew, a kid who in later life became fond of repeating that all that
is solid melts into air, disagreed. He said that the explanation was simpler, the
explanation was that the circus could get in anywhere it damn well liked when
it came to town with its horses and horseshit, its cages of drugged animals, its
poisonous warmed-over interval snacks, its fat ladies and bearded ladies, its
clowns, its dwarfs, its colours and flags, its bully boys who stop you getting
in without a ticket, its man who tells big lies about the greatest show on earth
and its woman who tells big lies about the greatest show on earth. I wish I could
tell you that on the walls of his house there was some of Edward Hopper’s stuff.
I don’t know though. I think I would have remembered, even from then.

But how could they get the keys to these shops? That’s what interested the pragmatists
among us. It was a mystery even above the mysteries in that poem I’ve also never
read - that poem that some people you meet in life like to talk about, that poem by
that guy Prévert. People who’ve actually read the poem tell me that Prévert
numbers among the mysteries of the earth the river at Morlaix, the little canal at
Ourq, the masters of the world with their priests and their troops, the wonder
of people themselves, and finally the straw of misery rotting in the steel of cannons.
Somehow, even at this distance, it seems to me to be right not to have read that man’s
poem if among his litany of mysteries of the earth he has discounted this one, this of
the appearance of the circus posters in the abandoned premises of people whose
hopes or grandiose plans didn’t survive, whose dreams and schemes became piles
of letters with no one to read them, fronted by posters featuring a girl in a white
sequinned tutu, and a lovely face with a whitetooth smile, standing upright on the
back of a drugged horse, with one hand on her hips and the other arm crooked at the
elbow, and a flat hand with outstretched palm, as if asking permission (for what?)
of all who gazed at her.

And now here we still are in our small town, and now we are old, and the circus has
been and gone again and the mystery repeats itself still. It was cold again today
but the sun shone, and on the way to buy food to feed my family I noticed that the
red-bordered door of the bankrupt butcher’s shop still has a circus poster on the
other side of the glass. So does the toyshop that failed six months ago, and so
does the repossessed tanning shop, and so does the Thai restaurant whose owners
fled before arrest. And sometime in the coming months there will occur, I know,
the other mystery, the mystery of the removal of the circus posters, as if someone
in the future will be sent back from the far-receded circus to collect up those
posters, without disturbing the growing piles of mail and dust on the other side
of the plate glass doors. Among the many wonders of the world then, this, of
the display and the collection of circus posters from the windows of failed enterprises.
In my time I have never seen them being installed and I have never seen them being
removed. It has the air of a trick. It is worthy of a magic show. I have, as you
see, sometimes wondered how it’s done. I hope I never find out. Who knows where
the kid whose parents liked Chagall is these days, now that he too is old. Who knows
where the kid is who thought that a spectre is haunting Europe. Who knows what
mysteries have been resolved for them, or renewed, or receded. But I know what the
guy who haunts the second-hand bookshops in our small town thinks. He thinks
if I read Borges I will find out, and I don’t want to find out, I don’t want to know
how the magic is done, I don’t want to look at the back of the tapestry to see the
gathered threads.

I haven’t known the guy who haunts the second-hand bookshops of our small town
for long but already when I am out in the streets I am adopting a thousand yard stare
so I can avoid him if I see him in the distance. I am not being unsociable for the sake
of it. I asked him how he knew so much about Borges. He said quite correctly that
what I meant was why did he tell me about Borges. He said think of me as a deus ex
. In our small town that is not a usual response to either a question or an
observation. Even before he continued I knew that to deepen acquaintance with him
would be foolish but I would have to endure this one meeting until I could find a
moment to tap him on the arm and say yes yes and take my leave. Imagine, he
suggested, to walk through a small town like this, through the centre of a town
where all of us are visible, all known by sight at least, and imagine resting on a
bench, one of the benches that are situated at intervals all over this town, or to sit
at one of our café tables in sunlight, and to read, simply to read and to feel that
one may weep at a sentence of Borges, to weep at a short run of words which he has
fashioned into a mirror in front of which you are caught, and in front of which it
occurs to you to muse on what events have brought you to this moment. Or perhaps
it is a small run of words which deliver a memory of a love that was terminated by
the other, or a run of words that sees you placing Borges on the table, or beside you
on the bench, to recall the life of a parent or an animal that was terminated by whatever
process was allotted to that intersection between your life and theirs. And imagine you
look up from the book as you sit at the bench or the café table in sunlight and the world
has become other than it was when you first sat down, and no colour is the same, and
nothing is the same, and no one is the same.

This is why I haven’t read The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges and why I will
continue not to read it. I don’t want to know how magic is done. The mystery, I tell
myself, to hide behind an explanation, is poetry. Explanation is prose, and too often
it is couched in the genre of horror. Whether or not people think deeply about their
existence, and about what is in their own interests, is another mystery. Some say
yes, some say no, some say (having thought about it) that the act of thinking
and the conclusions drawn from thinking are in any case illusory. When I hear
these latter people I recoil inside and think to myself these people have read Borges.

Many people whose lives are lived in almost identical circumstances to those of other
people also think they think, but nevertheless they draw different conclusions from the
same shared experiences. These conclusions may, to the dissenting concluders in the
group, seem to cause them to act against their own interests. Some people think that
this must surely indicate a pathology. Some people think that it is safe to allow the
election of those who will make decisions on their behalf, if not necessarily in their
interests (as they broadly judge their interests to be). The goal of these elections is
in part at least to mollify all shades of people who do not agree with each other. So
periodically the circus comes to town and, oh my townspeople!, the mystery of the
posters reoccurs, followed within the month by the coming of the horses themselves,
and the horseshit, the cages of drugged animals, the poisonous warmed-over interval
snacks, the fat ladies and bearded ladies, the clowns, the dwarfs, the colours and flags,
the bully boys who stop you getting in without a ticket, the man who tells big lies
and the woman who tells big lies. They tell big lies in plain sight, from the centre of
the ring. In any other existence where the brains of people do not act as reducing
valves this would seem outrageous. Among us though, among the many mysteries
of the earth including the river at Morlaix, and the little canal at Ourq, and the masters
of the world with their priests and their troops, and the wonder of people themselves,
and finally the straw of misery rotting in the steel of cannons, this all passes for
normal. Few are shocked, few are surprised. Only those with damaged reducing valves
acknowledge much of a rise in blood pressure. “The world is as it is,” says the
bookshop haunter. “The world is exactly as it is.”

Maybe a reason for not reading The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges may be
compared to previous reading mistakes which, at circus time, come back to haunt
us. Let’s say, to choose one, Appelfeld’s Badenheim 1939 for instance, may be
considered one such mistake. In other words, what if it were a terrible failure of
judgement to pick up Borges as if his name were merely a noun meaning “one
who writes”, as if it was something to do to pass the time, as if it was a momentary
escape into solitude, a momentary escape into being with ourselves. And what if
the innocent picks him up and reads him and discovers there that this madness of the
circus is not just explicable but utterly normal. What if inside the pages he finds Borges
holding up a person in one hand and displaying a ballot paper in the other and he
proceeds to dash one against the other? What if unheeding madness is the default state,
coupled with an unnoticed incomprehension, and bewilderment? What if at the supposed
height of feeling, at a time of rapt attention to beauty, to Bach, to Chopin, to any number
of painters, to rooms reduced to weeping by a passage of sounds, what if the reducing
valve of our brains collectively acts up and urges culls? What if people start up again
about the necessity for hunting humans, what if the country has developed to the point
where the best it has to offer is a ludicrous binary, what if the man who lies and the
woman who lies are taken seriously by anyone, what if one of them wins the key to the
circus’s ticket office safe? What if that’s why Borges comments and doesn’t preach? What
if he tells a story that goes not only from end to end but also from side to side, and then
beyond those sides which he makes clear are, anyway, always moving away from us.
What if that is why his name isn’t to be found among the condemners of the generals?

I have seen myself in one of these alternate universes, if that is what they are, or parallel
universes, if that is what they are, or senseless realities, if that is what they are, and if I
continue not to read The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges I can hope that my
reducing valve will continue to work and irreality will remain hidden and I can imagine
reading some story of his that I will never read. Let’s say I will imagine reading
his last story, Shakespeare’s Memory, and in the reality where I am reading this story I
am one of the visible eccentrics in our small town, the kind that will read a book as he
walks along the street on the way to buy food to feed his family, the kind that will note
as he passes the bankrupt butcher’s old shop (inside which a slab of sunlight is framing
the piles of letters with no one to read them, on the other side of the glass door) and what
if I will be so enraptured that life can be like this, that a man can read the thoughts of
another man about possessing the memory of yet another man, that I am easy prey for
what happens next. And what happens next is that, by way of a simple short run of
words, a door opens.

Let’s say it is the door of that butcher’s shop we have already mentioned. And from that
door emerges a man. And it is cold today but the sun is shining and that huge slab of
light from the sun is cast across the floor of that abandoned butcher’s shop. The sunlight
has streamed unimpeded through the glass of the door and windows because today they
are clear of circus posters. And perched opened in my left hand, like a thick-winged
bird, is The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges opened at that last story that the blind
Borges ever dictated, and under the arm of a man emerging from the abandoned butcher’s
shop are the circus posters. And what if I look at the man’s face and it is identical to mine?
And my reducing valve fails to protect me, it registers that this matter – the matter of the
sun and the window and the posters and the man - has occurred. And what if I am unsettled,
and I continue to read as I walk along the street through our town, like one of the visible
eccentrics of our town, before I can avert my eyes from the page

And what if I too have caught sight of the mysteries of the world, I too have caught
sight of how Trump was elected, and of how Clinton was offered as a ludicrous
alternative to a ludicrous proposition. I have caught sight of how this happens and
how this will always happen. I have caught sight of our fate, from end to end and, worse,
from side to side. I have caught sight of chaos and foolishness and determinism, and because
I have only imagined reading Borges my reducing valve has saved me and the posters have
gone and I still believe in magic and I still haven’t bothered to try to track down the page
of that book, the bookshop haunter’s other obsession, which has Ruskin saying that it all
went wrong when the first man put a fence around a plot of earth. And that is why I can
be one of the visible eccentrics of our town, because I don’t know the truth, because on
my way to buy food for my family I don’t read from a book as I walk along, and I don’t
weep at the terrible truth laid out in a short run of words. And I haven’t noticed as I
lingered in sunlight
that the open book in the woman’s hand over there by the fountains
in the centre of our small town is The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, and as I
stand in that same sunlight I haven’t heard her reading aloud to the wheelchair-bound invalid,
and the scene hasn’t put me in mind of some scene from Russian literature or conjured a
recollection of voices at dusk on the terrace of the Winter Palace hotel in Luxor as the hills
of West Thebes turn purple in the dying light. And I haven’t, upon hearing her read a
sentence of what seems to me to be pure beauty, pure truth, immediately felt a sob rise in
my throat, and wondered if it is really a sob or if it isn’t a barely silent scream escaping or
an oh my god or the catching of myself in front of the mirror of that one sentence. And
I won’t be puzzled for days. I will take home the food I have bought to feed my family,
and someone will say who won and someone else will say how that makes them feel
and the world will be exactly as it is and what will happen tomorrow will be only what
can possibly happen.

And that is why I haven’t read The Collected Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges and why
you shouldn’t read it either.


Kemoe unreviewing Bolaño


Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Far into this government

… a thousand potions to make you smell better?
And people sleeping on the streets? – Howard Zinn

Coming to Cambridge on wet afternoons
In winter, far into this government,
Sees an old philosophy developed,
A comatose religion of careless
Photography, pictures taken, arm’s length,
Of their own composed and smiling faces
And old buildings; and unremarkable
Beside all the doorways, sodden humans,
Barely optimistic to ask for change.
It seems from across the street, surveying
The damp bedclothes of her day room, that love
Would be a close held hug, a slow stroking
Of her wet hair, a kiss of lips to brow,
Remembrance that the barely breathing girl
Is someone’s daughter in another life.
For whatever reason, early onset
Or sentimental romanticising,
Or wishing, or resiling from rescue,
The thin drizzle stops and she is beneath
An orchard tree, her now young face at ease,
And in someone’s voice calling her is love.

Saturday, December 30, 2017
Library (2)

Whilst reading Yeats by the Travel shelves
in the library at
Letchworth Garden City

In the library garden the wind circles
and wails beneath the gutters, like old men
together, old smokers struggling to breathe
their stories before the end of the storm.
Oh, one keens, I have loved and loved again,
and underneath the gutters other men
murmur lesser responses and one fool,
angry with his life, cannot hear them out
and slams the doors and windows with she left,
she left, and all my fault
, and then silence,
and a woman by the Travel shelves turns
to see the sudden rain the moans have brought,
and a sad crazed man comes close and shouts
about New Zealand. He was happy there.

Monday, February 29, 2016
The Song of Lunch
From The Song of Lunch - Christopher Reid

It’s an ordinary day
in a publishing house
of ill repute.
Another moronic manuscript
comes crashing down the chute
to be turned into art.
This morning it was Wayne Wanker’s
latest dog’s dinner
of sex, teenage philosophy
and writing-course prose.
Abracadabra, kick it up the arse –
and out it goes
to be Book of the Week
or some other bollocks.
What a fraud. What a farce.
And tomorrow: who knows
which of our geniuses
will escape from the zoo
and head straight for us
with a new masterpiece
lifeless in his jaws.

Friday, May 15, 2015
things to do when elected

Friday, February 21, 2014
kitchen window, early morning sun

through east facing kitchen window, early morning sun
Monday, March 18, 2013
booking hall, spalding
waiting room, spalding

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Sunday, May 06, 2012


Saturday, January 28, 2012

doorway, rye, east sussex

Monday, January 16, 2012

café, golders hill


Tuesday, December 27, 2011



Saturday, December 17, 2011
island christ

island christ
collage - mf delgado

Monday, December 05, 2011
sandy road, west heath

west heath


Sunday, August 07, 2011

at Ty Coch, Rhiwddolion - meadow flowers
mf delgado

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Monday, November 22, 2010
leaning trees and man

leaning trees and man, golders hill

Saturday, August 21, 2010

dungeness / August
Saturday, January 09, 2010
sledging at kenwood, saturday pm



Wednesday, January 06, 2010
sledging, golders hill, 3pm



Saturday, December 12, 2009
golders hill

Wednesday, December 02, 2009
malus (golden hornet?)



Thursday, November 12, 2009
sandy heath

to kenwood
Monday, November 09, 2009
the soft-dying day, golders hill

the soft-dying day


Tuesday, August 11, 2009
snowdon summit

snowdon summit, august

Saturday, July 11, 2009
fortnums, piccadilly

Thursday, May 28, 2009
lowsonford late afternoon

at lowsonford


Saturday, May 16, 2009
ashwell dairy

ashwell, herts

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
spring and all

spring and all

Friday, February 06, 2009
silver birches, mist and thaw

silver birches, mist and thaw
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Yr Wyddfa

snowdon summit
Saturday, September 27, 2008
skater and biker

skater and biker, south bank
Monday, September 22, 2008
running man on hampstead heath in misty morning light

running man, misty morning light, hampstead heath
Friday, May 30, 2008
bench, west meadow, kenwood

bench, west meadow, kenwood
Monday, April 14, 2008
mikey dread

jumping master
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
last ward




Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Monday, December 03, 2007



Tuesday, November 27, 2007


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Sunday, September 02, 2007

the earth yields tender grass


Sunday, August 12, 2007



Monday, July 30, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

draft and pen

Posted by Hello
Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pearls caressed from bamboo / Spring

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

dec 25 hyde park 3pm

last year

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

mostly birches, hampstead heath

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

near flatford mill

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