Stopped in traffic

Stationary in traffic on the A1

I was trying not to smile as a mediator

Lost her rag over the way the mobile network kept

Dropping the call, and suddenly

The scent of my lover was around me in the car, a

Tangible reminder that I’d dressedand left her

Smiling the head on one side smile that speaks of

Summer days when the thunder has moved on.

I wondered where the scent had come from, and

Could only imagine it had sprung from within me

The way her shiver and smile can

Transform a touch on her hip as we gaze out across the

Limitless landscape as if her erotic charge is a

Power that lives within her until summoned.

Sitting there, in traffic, I remembered how the endless plateau

Had been our cathedral and her smile had been the

Daylight through windows.

In the traffic I let the angry mediator wash over me

And thought about my friend, who

Makes love like a woman,

Breaks like a little girl, and

Makes me feel whole.



No-one commented when the committee man selected

The horse racing channel, silencing the news

From far away that this politician had won,

That one had lost

And the race appeared in time for the favourite to lose by a neck

As I mused on the correct pronoun for a gelding.

No-one knew if the winer had any form, or if it

Was going to be one of those days when

Form had no useful function

Newspapers were consulted in the back to front order

That is de rigeur in the bar but no-one was any the wiser.

By the time you’ve worked your way backwards

To cartoons and TV the useful bits of the paper are done

So far as the gamblers are concerned.

Someone asked if the TV could be turned over to the

Greek channel showing the early Premier League match

As they had a bet on the time of the first goal.

I thought of all that news, all those political commentators

Talking with all the fluency and passion of the anonymous

Horse race caller describing how the five year old just got up

And might have a long career over fences when he moved up from hurdles.

I thought of the multiple screens around me, the men ordering pints

With a gesture as they wrote out their slips for the next race

And those political commentators, talking to each other despite

Viewing figures far lower than the horse racing, UK Gold

Or the QVC channel doing a nice deal on earrings.

In our corner we turned our backs, lowered our heads and

Replayed the bleaker moments of the last Exec meeting as we

Tried to garner the votes required to make a difference.

The screwed up voting slip of the first goal punter bounced

On the floor, before he mumbled an apology to the barmaid

Picked it up, drank off his pint and left.

Apparently his minute had passed and no-one had scored.


The hurdy gurdy man

Below the screen of his PC was a post it note

With the words of an Australian tank crewman

From World War One, when tanks were the future

Not an irrelevance in a world of assymetric warfare.

Ladled out death as you might vamp out indifferent music from a hurdy gurdy.

The words struck him forcibly, the indifference

The casual acceptance of cruelty as a process

Removed from the realm of morality by the

Remoteness of the deed.

He wrote another post it note

I am the hurdy gurdy man,

Then opened another electronic form, and began

Looking for a reason to sanction the claimant.