empire of Marmite


lacking, as has so

often been impressed

on me


the salt of the earth

I languish here

at the end of Xmas


resembling one of

those final men

who will exist


after everything

the no-clue men

in no-men’s land


listening so hard

as if the self was merely

a filter for it


to Shostakovich’s

rare 8th Symphony

– the anti-Stalinist timpani –


after folding two slices

of Sainsbury’s wholemeal

into halves like


a butterfly print

to supplement the salt

I require as


an unravelling

wanderer in

confusing temporality


the Russian project

after its Modernist

phase gathering


the dense

entropy – retreating-

due to


the usual


territorial over-stretch


just like Ur, old

Babylon (a stellar place

to be on a Friday night)


or America itself

too thinly spread

those imperial forces

West Street


In the Brighton

West Street Odeon

Costas franchise


the three-piece

family to my left

– a mother and two kids –


quite calm before

some animated

candy-floss maybe


and the sea the

colour of blue

jade on a Chinese


Emperor’s ceremonial

armour, visible

shifting its surface at the


plate-glass window

past the counter,

while I read R.S. Thomas


– and he takes a

pretty bleak view of

our human prospects –


between his poems

emphasising the

extreme brevity,


checking the

Grindr App for

no-strings meets or


possibly more,

the selection of men

apparently endless.

Coastal Puppets

2. anthropocene

Walking across

the corroded

car-park concrete


between the

Worthing Station

and the road


I come to the

peaked block

of low-rise flats

on the corner


which that pub

since demolished

once occupied


and remember

working there

employed by the dealer

in Es, speed and acid

who used to

manage the bar


and we were

having a lot

of sex, running around


the deserted

hotel corridors

above the pub

laughing and tripping

and playing games


and now

I’ve passed

there, walking

along a

row of shops

with lorries

to my left

grinding seriously



and in one of

the shop windows

a group

of marionettes

is set up, their



limbs lank

from strings

wide awake eyes

mouths grinning

as I pass

like the memory

of acid.