Evening on the bluestone quay
in Frangipanied harbour air
where palm trees bend to sip the sea
askew with dubious gravity.
A cooling layer of gentle breeze
consumes the day’s dull torrid heat
and coconuts freed randomly
beat earth’s arrhythmic pulse.
Leashed along the timeworn cleats
fast thoroughbreds of classic sail
mahogany and brass and braid
all burnished bow to stern;
laughs and shrieks ambiguous
clinked crystal rings and guitar strings
accompany glad ambience
along the wave-lapped wall.
And me contented just to breathe
the balm of Frangipani

See Naples and Die

Naples Final3

In a damp Naples lane
a young Dutchman grown old
keeps his eyes to the ground
for the day’s glinting prize
of a bright orphaned coin;
his bottle is brimful
of love’s hurt and loss
stirred to venom within
as he lies down and squints
at a void dark and vague
that resembles the graves
of his catacombed heart;
and the billboard above says
‘See Naples and die’ Continue reading

42nd Street Flashback

Grand Central Station

It squats at its grand central beckoning place
Now dwarfed but still a monument to awe,
Stone columns zooming urgently erect
To amiably support vast marble hall;
Façade ascends – the structure’s bones enfleshed,
Toward glazed iconic Tiffany telling time,
Reminding of life’s rigid schedules yet
Or moments missed through haste or slothful pace.
Madly rushing minions freeze-blurred
To anonymity in stolen focus,
Anima/Persona’s seized élan
All turned to stone, glazed faced, awaiting terminus.

An overdue letter.

Dear Vincent,

As we are unacquainted it is somewhat presumptuous of me to write this unsolicited letter. I felt compelled to do so following my visit to the Museé d’Orsay this afternoon, where I had the pleasure of viewing the gallery dedicated to you.

Like many of my generation, you were humanised for me in Don McLean’s 1971 tribute composition ‘Vincent’. The song described you, your tragic life and a number of your works, in particular ‘The Starry Night’ 1889 which has since become the most representational of your works worldwide.

Currently on display at d’Orsay is ‘Starry Night’ 1888, Continue reading

Vacant vacation

As she settled into the Autobús Argentinias coach at Mendoza’s prosaically named Terminal del Sol for the 7 hour journey across the Andes to Chile, Britney mentally reviewed how she would pass the time. First she had oodles of photos to upload to Facebook, then her tweets and finally an update to Britney’s Backpacking Blog.

Having enjoyed the climb into the foothills, she switched on her iPhone, congratulating her forethought on fully charging its battery. The signal metre was at…what!  Minimum and fading? Britney stared incredulously. How could this be happening on a high-altitude public highway? Then the signal died. Fuck! Continue reading


It was still called the “new bridge” though it had now become the oldest of the city’s many such spans. Its medieval arches supported the preferred thoroughfare for tourists visiting the huge Cathedral dominating the small island that lay between the famous and infamous halves of the great city. The greying man in the bespoke check-patterned winter suit removed his hat as he entered the Cathedral. The action held vague memory of etiquette and he briefly pondered whether the gesture conveyed respect or supplication.

A thousand tourists busily collected digital images using the required flash-suppression protocol. The advertised cantors were performing a psalmodic chant, providing appropriate ambiance to the venue as the whalesong does at the aquarium. The souvenir shop was already doing active trade as the PA system signalled Mass “Au nom du Père, du Fils et du Saint-Esprit”. The man was disappointed to feel little veneration in this venerated place so he – like the others – focused with awe on the architecture. Continue reading