Richmond High Street, 1986
He wrote a tune called Albatross in 1968. It made him famous, lots of money, most of which he tipped from hotel windows. Now he waddles, plump and bald, along the High Street, rummaging through litter bins on lamp posts, pausing now and then to stroke the beard that corkscrews to his navel, ponder briefly what strange pods are hatching out in cellars, what dark forces pulverised the kaftan, peasant skirt, the bead, clouded skies where Lucy danced, rained on fields supposed to last forever: steroid-pumping Alpha males with silverbackgorilla eyes who pound the High Street pavement shouting money matters into phones — Arnold-Schwarzenegger tanks with gleaming bull bars bolted to their noses, heading not for desert wars but supermarket car parks — women, lips like boxing gloves, orange skin stretched taut as kites on surgically reconstructed faces, who toss from eyes of lasered steel with black metallic lashes glances of faint pity, loud disgust — He shrugs, resumes his scavenging. He wrote a tune called Albatross in 1968. Once he heard it playing through the window of a passing silver jeep.
On the Street
Here you are, a feast of breast, offered the lady with ginger hair. All autumn the burning auburn of the street painted her into every awkward corner. Ornamental. Hips on the hedgegrows triggered 3-D pictures and dragging longing. I did what I could to resemble a Japanese maple, matronly and dragon-tongued and pert as heaven. Ready to seize. Caesar, she called me. I made eye-contact. Chrysanthemums’ scuttled petals like gold fivers perching in both gutters. There, there, she said. Gives, gives.
Geraldine Clarkson the poems 29