Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
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. 

Friday, December 29, 2017
In David’s bookshop café in north Hertfordshire at year’s end

Daylight comes late, December ends dimly.
On the other side of the café window
Evening falls early in a flush of dull
Orange sodium and windblown Christmas 
Wrappings, and the bookshop manageress
Disassembles the tree amid the books
And coffee cups by the cafe counter.
Stray thin streamers of sparkling gold tinsel
Tell all there is left of what once glistened
Beside the door. We made it through, she says.
Two days left to go before we shall stream
Together through the opening widening eye
Of the tunnel that is the coming New Year,
And the coins in my hand for coffee look
Momentarily like the whitetipped leaves
Once swirled in a soothsayer’s cup. A blue
And silver sweet wrapper glitters among
The pounds and pennies in my palm as if
An omen is announced. Briefly the lights
Flicker and stutter and people look up
From their papers and books and hold their breath
And the brief silence is broken anew
By a voice, a conversation ending,
Asking, who among us today will be
Among us still at the next year’s turning?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Duskfall in the library at Letchworth Garden City

In this library
all the minds are calling out
the poetry of their years,
their struggles,
their sunsets and nights,
their notes on method.

On the other side of the window
the melting roof snow drips steadily
to a ledge out of sight,
like the passing moments
of someone’s life.
They meander to a puddle
and flow in concert
as a slow thin stream
to the road of passing cars,
to the rivers of the earth,
and back again, to these shelves
of books, these lively tombs.


Monday, October 09, 2017
excerpted from: Borges makes sense of Trump


excerpted from 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 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 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.


Friday, June 23, 2017
A bird, suddenly

The double glass reflects sky.
I expect you thought you'd fly
right through it, thinking to enter
the tunnel of the convex mirrored cloud
and blueness on the back wall.
When I describe you to myself,
to try to know that the world
hasn't yet sickened enough
to make all birds yearn to self destruct
through things that we've allowed,
I am describing you to myself
to try to soothe the sudden terror
in me. I say it became momentarily dark
and I thought a grey sack had been hurled
against the window with the force
of a spurned god. You were a sack of sorts,
a beautiful feathered case of expectations,
a cold bomb detonating against the glass.
Decentered and trembling, seeing
the glory of you with your stilled beauty
drained of all its motivation, broken
outside the window beneath the green canopy
of coreopsis, what could a coward do
but reach for the keyboard as a shield?
Saturday, June 10, 2017
diary (3)

And dadda’s sat there all through results night, tired in his chair,
and he says the sun went down and the sun came up and like in
that song the youth have bubbled up, just like a 7-up, and we
have brought dadda a red plant to put somewhere he can see it.
The posturing hag on the silenced screen is making noises.
Just noises. She is going to need new friends from the asylum
who understand noises they can’t hear. She can talk to them.
Dadda says he loves the red plant. It’s a plant I can be proud of,
he says. The first time for a long time. The posturing hag sent
someone to the door a few days ago with blue flowers for him
but dadda doesn’t care for cut flowers. He will only have plants
in the house, not cut flowers. He used to be a gardener and he
always says that in the end he couldn’t take the killing. He couldn’t
take the filling of orders for flowers. He didn’t like to watch them
cut and dying and rotting in vases of fetid water. Blue flowers in
such a vase are a perversion of aesthetics, says dadda, as if
suffocation and putrefaction might ever beautify a room. The job
made him think – he couldn’t say why – of Treblinka. Do you
, he says, when you were children, and we would go to the
woods, and we would go to the woods as friends of whatever was
. We remember. We didn’t kill flowers to take them home to
learn their names. We’d bring a small book and head for the silver
birches by the sandy river and dadda used to say if we find your
name here we shall know you by it and if we don’t we will still call
you something in our dreams until we know better
. And once when
we were old enough we debated what to call a red mushroom in a
language of our own.

Thursday, June 08, 2017
diary (2)

"citizen of the world, citizen of nowhere"

The subservient English troop off to wield the pencil in favour
of the thieves transferring the common wealth into their tax havens
and business schemes, muttering to their wives and husbands and
neighbours and to themselves the received infantile wisdoms that
they've gleaned from the broadsheets and tabloids of the billionaires.
The state broadcaster hides behind the thick black curtain and reports
what it can see from there. The grimacing hag dances on the blood
by the river. Children are herded into the crumbling classrooms of
their respective superstitions, giving the lie to the paean to shared values.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

"my pitch is very simple"

The rubber-faced hag slugs up to the microphone and on another screen
a cartoon buffoon, an oily functionary straight from a sinister cloud in
trousers, earnestly tells lies to the faces of the hopeful youth, and on the
streets everywhere disaffection runs amok in kind or solicitous or murderous
ways, and snake oil is poured into wounds, and a beautiful girl is piped home
to her rest, and on every bridge the estuary breeze chills the blood, and in
our hearts resigned sobs, and all we find to savour are the anxieties our
ambitions stir in their fuckpads in the tax havens in the warm dead seas of
their doomed and corrupted world.

Monday, May 15, 2017
The Standard
The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn
. - TS Eliot

Lucky them. My daughter’s madeleine
will be the smell of fine dust in the long tunnels,
and the perching seats in the bright carriages
where readers of newspapers stumble
like thrown sheep as the brakes are applied
in a flourish of stopping, and the train slows
into the thin tube of yellow platform light.

The doors slide and people tumble like bruised fruit
from burst boxes. Others take their places,
bewildered and dumb, done with duty, sleepwalking
to their stables and pens and batteries.
Cables are pulling us to pay-day,
to the early darkness of the suburbs,
to the dormitories above the paved over fields.


from Last Night's Dream Corrected
Monday, March 20, 2017
In Spring
Luciano has passed away – sign on the café door.

Don’t close your eyes in Spring, even for a second.
So much happens. Just for a day I missed
the ornamental cherry where the paths meet
and now the fat baubles of blossom are gone,
laying as petals at the crosspath like pink-tinged snow
on the long-trumpet daffodils.

In the café the gardeners have made a gift of primroses.
Every table has one. They are for Luciano.
At the Gaggia machine which makes too-strong coffee
Lydia sees primroses everywhere she looks.
Her sadness is unrelenting. The counter
is a barrier to holding her.
It makes me ashamed to be happy
in front of her and the primroses
when I remember that Luciano has gone.

At the table I am composing a letter
to Ali in Mosul. I am saying Yes. Spring.
The lesser celandine, now it’s everywhere,
the big-starred and the little-starred.
While I walked in the woods today
I sent thoughts to you of blackbirds and robins.
As they flitted from tree to tree I imagined
orange and yellow tracer fire across the path.
But it was quiet there, not like war at all, just as loud
as the fluttering wings of birds on branches.

I am writing at the café table. In my arms
is my sweet baby who took her first steps
when I was looking the other way. I missed them.
She has soft brown hair and the sweetest nature.
People looking at her almond eyes
ask if there is any Chinese in the family.
They crowd around us, cooing about life
in the shadow of Lydia’s grief. Oh Lydia,
keep your sweet faith. Don’t die inside.


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