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Early Music III

Fridayam's Blog

Musick for the Funerall Of Queen Mary (1695)

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

“A dead Queen is a terrible thing”,

Master Purcell said as I tugged at the

high starched collar tickling my neck,

“so I’ve written some terrible music to send her off!”

We all laughed and it helped:

we were but boys and that

glimpse we had of Her, shuffling past, was frightening

—fat and waxy and … dead.

He must have loved her to write so, I think.

I practiced hard not to catch my throat in “Suffer us not”

for it made me want to cry and it was anyway

excellent hard to sing.

Died in December, buried in March:

heaps of flowers helped, and the

Abbey was cold and

cold captures smells wondrously.

I’m old now, forty and counting, and I’m

tired of funerals, tired of death,

but one memory makes me shiver still:

Queen Mary’s corpse…

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Red Sex

Fridayam's Blog

There’s no need to blush when

we turn the mattress darling, for

how much blood has your body spent

in all our years together?

How many nights have you pressed your

aching belly against my back?

Truly live with a woman and

you will know blood,

that leak that bespeaks the fertility that twice

turned me inside out and right way up.

So don’t blush at a love which is

more than mattress-deep.

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That Girl, Fanny

You don’t turn up in an

online search as you

surely would if you hadn’t

died at –what -21, 22?

Forgive me, I’ve

forgotten your birthday, along with

so much else lost in the

long life you didn’t have, but

(and this would make your Roman nose

wrinkle with amusement)

you have never been forgotten in

all those long years that have been

empty of you.

Guilted Youth

Your third (golden) eye flashed

from somewhere near the back of the van,

amidst the jumbled bodies happily

jounced by bad roads.

We’d loved the new band we’d been to see

–Roxy Music, their first tour–

and the thrill of that unexpected sound

fizzed in us like champagne:

it must have gone to my head to remove

my timidity so, make me crawl

awkwardly across that crowded space,

the cast on my wrist spectral in streetlight.

That drunken post-pub football match

on floodlit New Brighton prom;

that outrageous tackle; sailing

slow-motion through the night sky;

my hand meeting summer-dry earth;

a clean snap and a denial

–I’m OK! I’ll go in goal!

Why did I go in goal?

Parrying shot after shot with a

rictus of pain and a swelling which,

after the long walk home,

even I couldn’t deny.

I dreaded you saying something,

I felt so gauche and full of disability but your

smile was as open as your arms:

“O Finn, you found me!”

The kiss we shared was troubled

neither by my cast nor my evident erection,

nor by your unbeautiful beauty,

nor by our pitiful youth.

The trouble was I wanted you too much and you

didn’t want to be wanted so

–not then, anyway: maybe later

when you’d lived a bit more.

But you didn’t live and I

didn’t learn.

O What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me

A pallid house, moon-engulfed,
corridors beget more corridors:
where are the lights? Stupid,
there are no lights
only the monstrous goboes of the
windows, latticed like prison bars
black on white, like the movies.
Which movie am I in?
Why am I running, sweating,
terrified? Because from a
gust, a creak, a rustle I made
the man who killed me.
His knife is sharp and I know
he is behind me as I run full tilt
into you, dead 30 years:
cropped hair, roman nose, eyes brimming.
“O Finn, you found me!”
And hot in my hands you kissed me
boundlessly, your tongue a
technicolour thing in my mouth,
aching to penetrate into my
monochrome life instead of
being stranded here,
a ghost in a dream.

One Last Cigarette

One last cigarette

outside under the

frozen stars

notebook closed

finished with poetry though

somehow poetry is never

finished with you

Extreme of Consciousness

I wonder what will o’the wisps will

grace my last extreme of consciousness?

My mother’s breast, or the

push against for a day

playing on a birchen hill?

A first kiss? But which one?

Whose? That virginal,

immediate, desperate one or

that which reconciled life?

The first fathomless stare of a

newborn? Or the sly complicit

smile of the grown child? That

first tentative touch? The satiation of

good sex? The hand grasped in

night’s desires and terrors? That last

damnable disagreement?

Will you mind if my

mind wanders back to my

first kiss or rolling down a

birchen hill or my

mother’s breast?

Kiss

Fridayam's Blog

I think I remember how it goes:

lips meet lips, right? and

brush against each other dryly, unless

one wears lipstick (or

lipgloss–I get confused),

like icebergs growling, until

one or other intrudes a tongue when

(as I recall) there is a

sudden liquefaction of the body

from hair-root to toe-nail.

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Eris/Eros

Fridayam's Blog

It’s my palette, you know—
night-wet streets, neon cycling
red, white, red, blood
black as cola—but rather spoilt by the
blue flashes of the rozzers,
sharper than usual, so I sigh,
slide off through the throng, the
thrill making my thong chafe.

It’s so easy setting strife in Soho,
just like Athens or Aulis,
Mycenae or Melos, but with
mobile phones, forever filming me as the
boys do the knife dance (my favourite),
the girls scream so charmingly and the
photographers find their frames
funnily empty where I should be.

I shimmy across Piccadilly Circus,
glancing at that grotesque statue:
Eros? His tedious brother, more like!
Unselfish Love? Boring Fuck. No,
Eros is elsewhere, down-river:
I can smell the burnt air from his
missiles and miss his
chubby insolence.

Haymarket is quiet, the theatres dark, but the
beacon on Parliament burns bright,
division bells are ringing in
pubs and restaurants:…

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Old Blue Notebook

Fridayam's Blog

Small, blue and battered—the size of an

unsent postcard, unstuffed from my pocket

whenever some cloud crossed my mind in a

cloudy year.

I have to dig carefully, my

trowel teasing meaning from dust:

what on Earth was I doing in

Battersea? Why did I list what

people drank ? Whose is that number? “Call

Myra”? Who was Myra? Was she the one who

whispered “Jeez, you’re not gay!” when I

touched her up in the crowded cab on that

wet New York night or was she the

one I slept with?

I was young, confused by women —the

red one I was rejected by; the blonde one for whom I was a

halfway-house to hope; those

New York girls who happily harboured a

hapless Englishman; a silent-movie,

silent movie-star; and, at first in the margins,

you, only coming into sharp focus as

sense returned from sensibility and the

reality…

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