In memory of Patrick Sweeney


A ruined sheet of notes on a bench, loose wood cuttings, the bruised black chips of a heavy defeat, the swing of a love song

a wing or a bone in mercury, a thread of red and silver threading through the red and silver sky

I assume there would have been silence at the end, a bruised cheek wearing a death mask for when the glitter fell and the curtains closed

'that's it folks', no more laughter now, lips sewn together in a sick half smile, yellowing skin pressed into a box, the that's your friend there, you know

I know

memory echo, polka dot of moon, the thick hand of a wave writing words on water, I have a badge and a bucket, pressed apple juice and a green fountain pen, a notebook for my memories of the sea

today the tarot cards all read murder, but anyway I don't read tarot

when you cry in your sleep all I see is an ocean in the eye of a needle

that wave, the one towering above us, that is the wave I want to ride, in the neon sun daydreaming of the eternity that spills through my hands onto a dandelion speckled field, pie bald donkeys, horses crunching polo mints

all day at play in wild diamond waves, dear Pat, the coins of your body have been spent on toothpicks and violet reeds, there are pink children playing hopscotch in the graveyard, laughing at clouds

dear pat: come back some time for a taste of fruit and a sip of Chinese tea

come back sometime to stare into a mirror that is ever receding, to stare at pictures of yourself, young, old, adult, we are all the same years you know since your years have melted

come back some time and throw cutlery on the ceiling, you were born with jazz hands and a wide grin, dancing a jig in salute of an Irish relative, crazier than a lettuce leaf, what was that song you were always whistling? Whistle it.

come back to wrap a banana in cellophane, roll it down a river, down a stream, merrily, merrily

come back to a kitchen invaded by jam jar lids and where is all the jam?

come back and hold a cup of cinnamon and a cup of melting pearl, mix them together

at least, Pat, come back sometime


I'm not sure of the angel I hold in my head as I type, toothless and crinkled like bruised velvet, in the same way I am not sure of my feelings, I'm so scared to type the next word in case it is the wrong word, I am sure it is the wrong word

I haven't spoken to you in how many years Š though I hold your memory fondly

the same way a golfer might remember a complete fluke, a dazzling stroke of luck, the ball bouncing in off a rainbow

every word a blur on the ink stained wind, this is what you were: mercurial, a boy of lampposts and wonder, the world is sad for your departure, happy to see your sadness dissipate into the odious smoke and horror of London

occasionally the world will lift you blue balloon's and white paper aeroplanes, it would be a good idea to catch them

parrots might throw up their wings and chirp, the ones that are uncaged, blood on their beaks, free from the prison of the aviary

I don't think I will see you again, but I am not a hypnotist, I do not have snake's eyes, or sport a stirrup and a bow tie, I am not an alchemist, I am not attracted to iron fillings

I hold one leg in cancer and one leg in capricorn, balanced on an oval, the equator is my belt, I feel quite unwell, ready to feint into the daisies, I pray I never follow you, though many times I've wanted to

death star, mortal coil, you are paving a path of light for the acacias to tremble in, orange leaves loose in autumn burn to a fine soft gold, but I will not follow you, I have work to do

I havenÕt finished saying what I've started to say or

or smearing lipstick over my lips, in a way that is completely ridiculous

and understood by no one but myself


perhaps you have gone to sew nectarine in the sunset

perhaps you have gone to stitch a silver lining to the storm clouds

when you cut your long hair into a quiff you told us 'the ladies are loving it'

when you knocked over a cocktail then knocked over a whole tray of cocktails by way of apology

when you walked through the doors of ruby tuesday's looked around in disgust and went straight back home

when you zipped writer's beginning with Z to your bibliography, for the sake of the alphabet, jazz on your pizza and Zanzibar in your dreamz

you tell me hell is a cold limousine circling Gibraltar, stopping at every traffic light under the metallic sky. The lead clouds are sinking, they are the clouds in which we will one day suffocate

you tell me it's considerate to write a poem, I wrote a poem about you before, but let's forget our fight about the washing powder, the mess in the kitchen, the money we owed to the debt collectors of glasgow

all that's left is to celebrate, after the storms or the threat of rain I look up and see the weather has changed, the sun has brought a sense of calm to our bones

Patrick Sweeney I salute you, here are two coins for your eyes for the underworld ride, have a good trip old friend, arriva derci, bon voyage!


notes towards a definition of death

death is an ulcer on the sun

death is a vampire butterfly, the black one, the one that eats moths with little dagger like teeth

death is a lingering taste of mould in a mouth, rotten and caved in surrounded by an explosion of ill sunflowers

death is charles pierre baudelaire sitting in a grey garden in the evening sipping rose water as edouard manet talks about the colour of his toes, headless, telling him that the colour is indescribable

death is a clock with seven slight hands all pointing at each other

death is a tin cup kicked to the gutter by a generation (rhyme abandoned for abstract metaphor) tell me where is the tin can?

death is the petal of flesh cut for the eighth wound, the flesh twists upwards as it hits the floor, an emblem of a soul in torment

death is an ever growing cancer in a pretty heart, ripping at the walls and knocking out vessels, ugly, frigid and spineless

death is the final salute of the trumpet, babies washed in blue and ready for a long journey into the unknown, apple star, moss covered cow, come gather your tears and throw them to the waves

death is none of these things, death is all of these things, each word in stone laid in a place to conquer, lost clowns, heavy eyelids and now my ruined sheet of notes has vanished from the bench.

     © Charlie Baylis 2016