drinking song

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Eyes unfocus on familiarity,
where voices slur like passing trains,
here simple words are apt to stray
and John Barleycorn still reigns. Continue reading “drinking song”

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Delhi, early morning

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Another night in an airport, coffee fuelled, insomniac, my head restless upon rucksack, awaiting the first metro. The hours crawl upon the functional sterility of the concourse; all night coffee shops offering comfortable chairs for the price of a cup, and, beyond, the gun guarded exits. A dystopian doorway, an airlock between worlds, (the organic city and this artificial place upon its edge); another step upon the way back to Varanasi. Here, under the passing gazes and occasional smiles of security, the slow night passes. Outside, winter hangs upon the concrete, forms mists upon the rising breath of each temporary congregation, waiting, as taxis shuffle between the airport and the city. Continue reading “Delhi, early morning”

Kanyakumari

This morning the sun rose upon the three waters. Expectation, a woven memory of solitude and calm, I walked through the remnants of the place I’d known, towards the ghats. Stumbling through the first stirrings of stallkeepers around the market, only half aware of them as past and present become a fluid thing; a plasma mixing and merging the senses until there was no difference to be felt. Unless it be on the periphery.

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Down to the harbour, through the bleary halflight of the alleys. Down to the harbour, through the temple. Fifteen years ago I made the same journey: another self, drifting uncharted between the tidepools of some hippy dream. Continue reading “Kanyakumari”

Wien, December 5.

Stefansdom. 0045. Pretty much any year.

The cathedral doors are closing now, the orchestra disbanded, audience spreading across Stefansplatz, gathering in small groups or walking homeward. Figures emerge from shadows, dissipate again beyond the pools of sprinkled streetlight. Passing, turning into Schulerstrasse,  past the Mozarthaus and through these quietening hours, we walk with ghosts. The stones around Stefansdom still seem to reflect the last notes of the Requiem, unheeding of our passage, as we drift by, brief shadows in the life of the city.

In the warmth of the Alt Wien we sit, in an alcove, and order wine. Here, under old photographs and posters, stained by age and nicotine, cloaked in the perfumes of beer and smoke, the night moves beyond windows brightened with mortality.

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We offer a toast, “Freundschaft!” Sipping in this moment, we recall the concert, the living history of this place. Our voices combine with others, build the indefinable symphony of an early morning bar. And the clock moves, glasses empty, fill and in the ebbing blood of the last glass a moments silence, and, a call for schnapps for the road. Warmed we return to the street, less steady, louder, we wind our strand into the fabric of Wien’s night, setting off for Bane’s. Continue reading “Wien, December 5.”