From many places, speaking truth
and making magic happen. Celebrating language.

 Poets' Pages | Title Page | Links


NIGEL BURWOOD - Page 3

Blameless Tipo 151.01 Fantomas
Venom of Fu Manchu Wittgenstein's Jukebox With dear friends...
Incident Diamond Geysers Divine Loafers
The Twist Lost Flowers of Romance
CEO 1 CEO 2
En Route
No Nothing Pere Lachaise
He Went
Page 1 . Page 2









Blameless


There was a time that has run away

When dread and fear woke me each day.


Streets leading down obliquely to ramparts

No longer confound,


Pools and great subterranean reservoirs

Cause no disquiet.


I am the master of fallen years

Beyond laughter, beyond tears.


Unmoved by failure or success,

Indifferent to indifference,

I lead a blameless life in Bournemouth.







Tipo 151.01


The Sebring, Mistral and the fabled Maserati Merak

naturally we pay them our obeisances

as classic high performance super cars


occasionally we prostrate ourselves

sometimes swooning at the thought of their naked power


but we can never forget the beauty of the 8CM

we will forever remember

the sacred 250F so madly fast

the sheer brutality of the Tipo 450S and

the ne plus ultra, summum bonum

the glory of the world, ein sof

the fastest the supreme car

Tipo 151.01







Where is Fantomas?


At that time Fantomas haunted

the places and passages of Paris,

always disguised, always a man

--sometimes two men.

The hack author Igor Larsen,

("Two Eggs on my Plate,")

or the poet assassin Lassenaire,

elegant criminal of the Seizieme.

Untraceable, unseizable-

sometimes a frail old man,

the pedantic antiquaire Loupart,

or Lord Mortimer-

a tweedy English bounder,

wiry, whiskered, springing from the dark.

Everywhere and nowhere,

untraceable, unseizable,

but never for an instant himself,

a feat beyond his incredible power.







Venom of Fu Manchu


There are creatures, there are drugs,

ordinarily innocuous

that can in certain hands

be made inimical to human life.

In the diverting of benign forces

into strange and dangerous channels,

in the distorting of nature

none could ever excel

Fu-Manchu.

He could turn a minute piece of fungus

into a powerful agent capable of killing men.

His knowledge of venomous insects

has never been paralleled in the history of the world.

In the sphere of pure toxicology he had no rival,

the Borgias were children by comparison.

Fu-Manchu was one poisonous dude.







Wittgenstein's Jukebox


I'm sitting in the House of Pies

Drinking muddy coffee

While Ludwig talks at me.

Always the foundations of reasoning

And the limitations of knowledge

To logic -- and only logic.


'Put another record on the juke box'

I shout after 2 hours (and no pie).

'But there is no juke box in

The House of Pies' cries Ludwig,

'Can you prove that?" I quip.

He laughs out loud (a rare thing).


'Nigel--I like your cheery face.

Let's go camping in Norway!'







With dear friends...

With dear friends or in utter solitude,

So much to distract as you near the line,

You will stay sane and wildly calm,

Mutter a mantra, breathe deep, its only time.

We have to do this every thousand years.







Incident


A peevish quarrel breaks out

On the sullen streets

Of Middle Europe.

Arms and ammunition

Move towards the point of tension.

Exotic weaponry, smart bombs

And dumb soldiers

Rolling through the outskirts.


Amongst the pock-marked high rises

They play the joyless killing games,

The hand that held the Game Boy

Now guides the missiles

Into the heart of the crowd.







Diamond Geysers


Gathered at the 'Red Light'

lounging, drinking, gambling,

the very elite

of the 'Prevailing Industry.'

Diamonds.


Leroy, dressed flash,

with an important diamond ring

speaks costerlike to the toff.

'Never thieve, get Kaffirs to do it-

when they spy a bright one,

they throws it fast to the earth

and comes back in the night.

I always buy those diamonds.'


Patrick, the parrot peer

(wrong side of the blanket)

garrulous, of the trembling hand

and glassy eye,

curses his earthbound riches,

singing quietly to Leroy-

'All we hope of mortal man

is to fleece him while we can.'


This was well before '81--the bubble year,

but the shadow of the broad arrow

already lay on their backs.

(Some got back to London,

holding folding.

never fear.)

Leroy calls for more fizz,

champagne corks go off like filing fire.







Divine Loafers


I am ecstatic about these new loafers
With their ginchy tassles.
I had thought they were a loser's shoe,
The domain of lesser men,
Gladhanders,
Inglorious posers
(And not mute ones)
Afternoon men,
Flanneled fools,
Trousered apes.
Just a mo,
The mot juste is
Naff.
Terminally naff.
And so I had thought
Until I wore them -
These enchanted tassled loafers.
But all is changed
Girls love them
Women too.
It could become a problem.
Children, dogs, cats, mice
Even fish adore them,
Their terrible beauty.
These magical, mystical
Divine loafers
Only $16.99 at Ross.







The Twist


Tess and Tryphena, my, my

At one time mine,

Tales of lost love,

Her hyacynthine beauty

And her unforgotten face.

I used to dance at their house.

The locomotion and the twist.


I saw Tryphena at the gymkhana,

Winning the sack race,

Too funny,

Tess was fourth in the egg and spoon.

Later looking from the terrace,

Tryphena twisting in the nymphaeum

Tess rolling down the ha ha,

I was giddy with choice

Between two shifting fires.


"Tears before bedtime,"

Said their mother on the lawn.

Unannounced, I flew at dawn.

Call it fear of success,

Rather my problem.

I couldn't care less.

Tess and Tryphena, a chant

The soothing of their names,

Such balm in later years.

I used to dance at their house,

The locomotion and the twist.







Lost


O'Rourke -- a superstar,

got lost in London's East End.

"It was a nightmare"

he told reporters

"no one knew my face,

no one knew my name."


This is how we walk,

into the shadows on dull streets,

one foot in front of another

moving forward

uncelebrated and unseen,

so at ease with indifference.







Flowers of Romance


A little too hip

Meester Mapplethorpe.

This shot in black and white

of an exquisite orchid

(pearly pink or nile green?)

limply leaning

from an ikebana vase.

$6000 signed in the mount.


I prefer the boys

and the titled girls

and Patti and Paul

and all the marginal saintly trash.


Robert, man, where I am

willow wrens are singing,

the leaves of the green man orchid are up,

buttercups and heartsease in the woods.

Bring colour stock

for the flowers of romance.







CEO 1


Sometimes hiking in obscure hills,

I caught sight of my linemen

And would climb up for a talk.

When I told them I was the president

Of Bell Telephone Company

They were, frankly, amazed.



Walking to the opera

Or just pacing the pavement

I would disappear down a manhole

To check my workers were all right,

And to show my appreciation.

Such acts have made me inordinately

wealthy.







CEO 2


A pentium chip is talking loudly
To a young laptop dancer
Munching on a popadum
In a dark Palo Alto Tandoori.
"I fool around
With a couple of Ferraris,
I drive the Bentley to work
But I take a Lexus to the city

- It attracts little envy."

There follows a litany
Of places, possessions and people,
As usual the deal with Spielberg,
And (mumbled) some key search words -
Netsuke, Faberge, Sulka, Cezanne,
Silicon, jade, gold and platinum
The sun, the oracle and the falling
apple.

One of the digerati, I suspect,
With a mansion in Atherton
And more money than God,
Oblivious to the rest
Dining in the shadows.

I think of Fitzgerald;
The rich are not different from us, Scott
They are indifferent to us.






En Route


En route to Milan

Some photographers told me

"Stay at the Julia

It's really cool.

Writers, artists, models

Hang out there."


I don't object to models

But I'll stay in uncool places

Like the Fenice

At the wrong end of Corso Buenos Aires,

Vast crumbly rooms

Slightly doomed air

(But so have I)

Cheaper than the Julia too.


These hip places

Overrate themselves

Act as if they are doing you a favour.

I discovered the Fenice

I deem it cool.

(I might have a drink at the Julia.)







No Nothing


They ordered a Perrier

"No ice, no lemon, no nothing."

Yes it's the no nothing people

In snow white sneakers

And pale designer clothes

Leading lives of devastating blandness.

I want to annihilate their low fat world

To lob a grenade into their laps

But I'll let it go -- this time.







Pere Lachaise


The heavens lure us up towards God

by their beauty

-- the spiritual sky.

Everything is as it is,

it rains on the bus queue,

it's dry in the Mercedes.

By Pere Lachaise

death is life.


Jim drowned in his bath.

I went to his grave in Paris, man

he lies in the shade of the cypresses

among crayoned urns,

the disgraceful rocker.

The dead Jim -- Jim

(--the music is your special friend)

was so dazzled by success

he never looked up to see

the light of the world.







He Went

All the teachings
Of the mothers
To the daughters
-The sacred inheritance
Told her there would be
Days like this
-"It's just like mummy said"
That men are the kicking kings
That love rarely outlives lust
But nothing prepared her
-She simply could not bear it
The day that Rupert left.




Top