Six Twisted Loops


One: Smethwick

Past the Temple and the library,
Across the railway bridge and up towards
A future that seemed always foundry-shaped.
Hemmed in by cold grey streets,
It feels as if I’ve never quite escaped.

If you can’t discern a pattern
Then just impose a framework; it’s
Always seemed to do the trick for me.
Consider the impossible. You can’t
Stick plastic things together using
Glue – it’s obvious, it’s what we’ve always known.

 Two: Leicester

Locating the boundaries…

The standard work was carried out with
A three-percent-solution (Holmes might have
Something to say about that)
So we made up a range of primers, diluted
And diluted again and again – I rather like
The idea that an imaginary property exists
to the zero-concentration

 Three: Oxford

This place is dense with bold ideas
Like frost they cling to every open door
Eager to disturb and be discerned
But sometimes you can find a splendid one
Protruding like an icicle
Inviting the unwary to come along
And find themselves impaled.

Is this the day on which the year begins?
Young silver voices greet the rising sun, as
We shiver in the soft grey light of dawn.

 Four: Derby

Sunday morning, eight o’clock; I wake up
In a stranger’s bed, confused
By the curtains and the ceiling lamp. But
Since I do this forty times a year
It’s just become a comforting routine.

Above the broken factory
A plastic bag is flapping in the crumpled wind

 Five: Salford

Disturbing the activity…

And now let us contaminate
The primer blend with different types of powdered
Chalk, barytes, granite, slate or
Even pigs’ teeth milled in cyclohexanone.
We add these things and watch the drift
Of properties and promises from total
Joy to disappointment grim.

( Seven: Penryn
Saturday morning is calm; I make my way
Past the Seven Stars, down to the harbour
To watch the sunlight dancing on the waves)

Six: Leeds

Solid and dumb, these brutal concrete slabs
Erect a car park in a part of town
Where no-one can afford to drive. Grey
Shadows hold prosperity at bay
And though I try, the Chinese Playground
Carries on unfolding in my head.

The Town Hall’s frenzied stonework seemed
To tell me how
a one-man band performs
On ecstasy. We’ve got a rainbow bridge
Valhalla groans, the steam train wanders past
And silent golden owls
Believe once more that man can be redeemed.