jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!

10.2.11

LEAVING FRIENDS/FRIENDS LEAVING



















(in memory of Mick Standen)



I have lost my roaring boys and girls.

They are left behind,

fallen from Collegium stools;

the poignant moments in Lange Gasse dust.

Times and laughter shared,

dwindled to an Ammer trickle

in a bleak semester,

worn out days.


Friends are for leaving.

I’m afraid

I am too old to chase it.

These young Swabian mistresses

are too damned quick

for me to grab anymore

their lightning glances,

hints of a possible romance

boarding trains,

flickering

in frigid seminar rooms.


Tear yourself from me

as I stumble

through security.

I know I’ll miss

your touch.


Horst has gone from Hades bar,

Paddy from the Boulanger,

Gerd has flown

to China.

Now Mick has slipped away

and all those twinning hours.


Nothing is still.

Her eyelashes flicker,

new wounds open;

the light streams on Wilhelmstrasse,

darkness fills Hafengasse.


A special sunlight

sparkles in my beer,

shafts of it

dart on the counter.

A bird flaps

across my face,

shadow

of a former glory.


So that’s the story:

we lose it all,

we lose everything

and everyone.

It’s why I cling

to the night wind

beating against my cheeks,

to the whisper of the leaves

along this dull suburban street.


The old voices

of mates I made

howling

through the mediocrity

of lonely petrol stations,

soul-destroying car parks.


Puddles

of former joy

winking at the moon.




KEITH ARMSTRONG



FOR PAUL


I saw you

creeping

round Baudelaire’s grave.

You were on a pilgrimage from Blyth.

I saw your face in Montparnasse,

blending with a swarm of irises.

You needed to get away from the grime,

to bathe in flowers of evil,

to wash your pale white body

in the Paris crowds,

broaden your worried brow.

Your young poems already rot

in the cemetery of poets

and yet you still churn out the stuff

as if your little voice meant something.

There is no going back

to that fateful day

when our eyes met by chance,

neighbours brought together by France

and the great mind of Charles.

He lay there,

pecked at by the grip of time,

in agony,

drugged by a quickfire nib,

injected with the poison of love

and the wit of drunkenness;

and I saw you,

before I even met you,

and I knew that one day we would fly

to a liberated Prague together,

to taste the freedom of the streets

and the lightning lash of fate.




Keith Armstrong

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur