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An Autobiographical Narrative and Various Versified Memories
by Carl Halling
For Sale
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An Autobiographical Narrative

‘Born on the Goldhawk Road’
Provides a fitting preface
To a long autobiographical piece
Consisting almost entirely
Of versified prose, and linear in nature,
Which is to say,
Beginning with my birth
And leading all the way to the present day.
Whilst dealing with my earliest years,
It was fashioned only recently,
Having been based on a variety
Of prose pieces already published
On the world wide web.
Although ‘An Autobiographical Narrative”
Has been composed not solely of
Stray pieces of prose
That failed to make the first team,
But versified fragments,
Such as refugees from the memoir,
‘Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child”,
Which has itself been all but shelved.

Born on the Goldhawk Road

I was born at the tail end of the Goldhawk Road
Which runs through Shepherds Bush
Like an artery, and in the mid 1960s
Served as one of the great centres
Of the London Mod movement,
But I was raised in relative gentility
In a ward of nearby South Acton
Whose vast council estate
Is surely the most formidable
Of the whole of West London
Although my little suburb has become
One of its most exclusive neighbourhoods.

Aged four I became a pupil at the Lycée
In the fabulously opulent suburb
Of South Kensington,
Where I was to become bilingual
By the age of about four years old.
My first two closest pals were Esther,
The darksome scion
Of a successful Norwegian actor
And a beautiful Israeli dancer,
And Craig, an English kid like myself
Who became a lifelong friend.
For a time, we formed an unlikely trio:
“Hi kiddy”, was Esther’s sacred greeting
To her blood brother, who’d respond in kind.

At some stage, I became a problem child
A disruptive influence in the class,
And a trouble-maker in the streets,
An eccentric loon full of madcap fun
And half-deranged imaginativeness
Whose unusual physical appearance
Was enhanced by a striking thinness
And enormous long-lashed blue eyes.
Less charmingly, I was also the kind of
Deliberately malicious little hooligan
Who'd remove a paper from a neighbour's
Letter-box, and then mutilate it before reposting.

The sixties' famed social and sexual revolution
Was well under way, and yet for all that,
Seminal Pop groups such as the Searchers
And the Dave Clark Five, even the Beatles,
Were quaintly wholesome figures who fitted in well
In an England of Norman Wisdom pictures;
The posh presenters of the BBC Home Service,
Of coppers and tanners and ten bob notes;
And jolly butchers and bakers, and window cleaners.

An Autobiographical Narrative

'For all the Beatniks of SF' consists of
Edited and versified extracts
From one of my earliest
Existent pieces of fictional writing.
Dating at an estimate from about 1970,
It reflects the spirit of the times,
Even though it’s been sanitised
For online publication.
In the years immediately following
The revolutionary events of ‘68
I was deeply in sympathy
With the West’s prevailing
Adversary culture
Or alternative Society
Which is very much not the case today.
And my attitude is dictated
Not by increasing maturity,
But by my Christian beliefs,
Without which I might
Be an aging hipster by now,
Blithely festooned
With ostentatious symbols of revolt.

For all the Beatniks of San Francisco

Shirley Brown was a very beautiful girl
And her brunette hair
Hung down her back
And as the wind blew thru the window,
It waved around. It waved around.
She was making sandwiches
And was packing them with fruit
And two massive bars of fruit
And nut chocolate.
She lit a cigarette, picked up the basket
And with a nod of her head,
Waved her hair backwards
And walked out the back door
Into the alley where,
Propped up against a fence
Was a blue mini-moped.
She mounted the bike
And with a little trouble, started it.
And the rider made a sudden jump
As a horn blew behind her
And a leather jacketed youth
Sped by on a butterfly motor-cycle.

It waved around. It waved around.
They were going in the same direction
And the young man on the big bike
Turned into a park
And made his way to a lawn.
The blue moped drove down a narrow path
And it too stopped at the Great Green
Where the radio was blaring
And many motor-cycles were lying about.
People turned away
And the music blared on
And the youths talked on.
Then, a park keeper came
But the youths took no notice.
“What are you kids doing,
The keeper shouted,
I’ve had complaints from all over,
Clear off, wilya,
This is a park
Not a meeting place
For all the Beatniks in San Francisco.

John Hemmings started dancing:
“Cool it, grandpa, get on,
Get going, don’t bug me!”
The kids had gone too far
And they knew it.
Some of them turned away,
As the radio blared even louder,
Litter was scattered everywhere.
“I ain’t chicken of dying,
John Hemmings then said,
We’ve got to go on,
ALL RIGHT! Who are the crumbs
Who want to chicken out at this point,
Just take your bikes and go.
We’re free people now.
Nothing can stop us,
We’ll rule the streets,
The young people will triumph.”
He was perspiring wildly
And his black hair
Hung down his back.
It waved around. It waved around.

An Autobiographical Narrative

This jackadandy’s original title was
“An Essay Written by a Guy
Who Was Too Lazy to Finish It”
And it dates from
My college days, ca. 1971,
At a time I was yet enamoured
With the hedonistic
Hippie way of life.
It’s been reproduced more or less
Verbatim, notwithstanding
Some minor editing,
And versification.
And I don’t think it’s necessary
To add there is no such cologne
As Monsieur de Gauviché.
As the first title implies,
It was never finished,
But I’ve taken the liberty
Of belatedly turning the protagonist
Into a dandified danger man
Somewhat in the mould
Of Peter Wyngarde’s
Stylishly overdressed secret agent
From the classic television series,
“Department S” and “Jason King”.

Englishman, Jackadandy, Spy

He made no move at all
As the alarm clock went off.
But ten minutes later,
It was obvious he was awake.
He lifted himself out of bed
And went towards the bathroom.
He shaved himself
With a Gillette Techmatic
After having sploshed himself
With a double handful
Of icy cold water.
He washed again, dried his face,
Put on some Monsieur de Gauviché
And got dressed.
He wore a Brutus shirt,
A Tonik suit and a pair of
Shiny brown boots.
He was six foot two
And he smoked sixty Players
Medium Navy Cut cigarettes
A day and he lit each one
With a Ronson lighter.
His name was Titus Hardin,
And he had the biggest
Wardrobe in London.

He was a fair-haired man
And very good-looking.
He was thirty two years old
And a bachelor,
And lived near Richmond, Surrey.
He was immaculate,
Wore long sideboards
And a long moustache,
And his hair was shortish
And well-combed.
His shirt was light blue
And he wore a dark blue tie.
He wore two rings on each hand.
He washed himself
After his usual breakfast
Of toast, black coffee and health pills.
He cleaned his teeth thoroughly,
Put some more cologne on
And then went to do
His isometrics.
His name was Titus Hardin,
And he had the biggest
Wardrobe in London.

He was born in London in 1940.
He went to Eton and Oxford,
Had taught at Oxford for eight years
But was sacked.
He had been an Oxford Rowing Blue
And got a degree in English, Art and History.
His father was Lord Alfred Hardin, M.P.
Titus loved teaching
And not many people know the reason
For his dismissal at the age of thirty one.
He was nearly expelled from Eton
For smoking, drinking,
And being head of a secret society
With secret oaths, but he was
Too promising a sportsman
And all the boys respected him
As a prefect.
He was a fair-haired man
And very good-looking.
He was thirty two years old
And a bachelor,
And lived near Richmond, Surrey.
His flat was beautifully furnished.
His name was Titus Hardin,
And he had the biggest wardrobe in London.

An Autobiographical Narrative

‘The Athlete, the Poet and the Reprobate”
Has been reproduced
More or less word for word,
Despite having been recently edited
And subject to basic versification,
Based on writings created possibly
As early as 1976, in their original form,
They constituted some kind of
Unfinished fantastical novel
Centered on the titular
Athlete, poet and reprobate,
Who was an absurdly idealized,
Nay deeply narcissistic version of myself.

The Athlete, the Poet and the Reprobate

‘I can’t decide, she said,
Whether you’re an aesthete
Or an athlete
A poet or a reprobate.”

‘Even when I’m a lout,
I’m an aesthete, he answered,
I lure, rather than seek.’

‘So why do you
Need to dress up?’

‘Like Ronald Firbank,
I suffer from a need
To give an outward show
Of my significance.

His lifestyle is an uncanny
To my own young manhood

I alienated people
Through a crippling shyness
Which I disguised
With my violently idiosyncratic

Behaviour, wore cosmetics
And wrote novels
That reflected the luxurious
Lifestyle of a bygone age.

The sensation
Of never quite belonging
Lingered about me always
That’s why
I became an actor.

Through heavy experiences
I have built up
A stoned wall
Against arrogance and aloofness

I am a sophisticated cynic
With a kind heart
And a tendency towards regret.’

An Autobiographical Narrative

The origins of ‘An Actor Arrives’
Lie in the barest elements
Of a story started but never finished
In early 1980,
While I was working at the Bristol Old Vic
Playing the minute part
Of Mustardseed the Fairy
In Richard Cottrells’ much praised production
Of Shakespeare’s celebrated
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

An Actor Arrives (at the Bristol Old Vic)

I remember the grey slithers of rain,
The jocular driver
As I boarded the bus
At Temple Meads,
And the friendly lady who told me
When we had arrived at the city centre.

I remember the little pub on King Street,
With its quiet maritime atmosphere.
I remember tramping
Along Park Street,
Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill,
My arms and hands aching from my bags,
To the little cottage where I had decided to stay
And relax between rehearsals,
Reading, writing, listening to music.
I remember my landlady, tall, timid and beautiful.

The Destructive Disease of the Soul

No amount of thought
Could negate
Suffering in the mind
Of Francis Phoenix.

That much he had always believed,
That humanity is a sad, lost
And suffering race.
Sometimes he felt it so strongly
That the worship of a Saviour seemed
To be the only sane act on earth,
And then it passed…

It was not increasing callousness,
But an increase in the number of moments
He felt quite intoxicated with compassion
That had soured Frank’s outlook.

During those moments, he wept
For all those he’d ever been cruel to.
He could be so hard on people,
So terribly hard.
To whom could he ask forgiveness?

It was his sensitivity
That bred those moments of Christlike love,
When he cared so little for himself,
For his body, even for his soul…
When it was the soul of his father,
The soul of his mother,
The souls of his friends and relatives
And everyone he’d ever known
That he cared about.

That was truth, that was reality,
That was the purpose of all human life,
That love, that benevolence,
That absolute forgiveness.
Otherworldly love is painful,
But it is the only true freedom known to Man.
Too much thought eventually produces the conviction
That nothing is worth doing.
Thought is a destructive disease of the soul.

The Compensatory Man Par Excellence

I seldom indulge in letter writing
Because I consider it
To be a cold and illusory
Means of communication.
I will only send someone a letter
If I’m certain it’s going to serve
A definite functional purpose,
Such as that which I’m
Scrupulously concocting at present
Indisputably does.
It’s not that I incline
Towards excessive premeditation;
It’s rather that I have to subject
My thoughts and emotions
To quasi-military discipline,
As pandemonium is the sole alternative.
I’m the compensatory man par excellence

Deliberation, in my case,
Is a means to an end,
But scarcely by any means,
An end in itself.
This letter possesses not one,
But two, designs.
On one hand, its aim is edification.
Besides that, I plan to include it
In the literary project upon which
I’m presently engaged,
With your permission of course.
Contrary to what you have suspected
In the past,
I never intend to trivialise intimacy
By distilling it into art.
On the contrary, I seek
To apotheosise the same.

You see…I lack the necessary
Emotional vitality to do justice
To people and events
That are precious to me;
I am forced, therefore,
To at a later date call
On emotive reserves
Contained within my unconscious
In order to transform
The aforesaid into literary monuments.
You once said that my feelings
Had been interred under six feet
Of lifeless abstractions;
As true as this might be,
The abstractions in question
Come from without
Rather than within me:

My youthful spontaneity
Many mistrustfully identified
With self-satisfied inconsiderateness
(A standard case of fallacious reasoning),
And I was consequently
The frequent victim
Of somewhat draconic cerebrations.
I tremble now
In the face of hyperconsciousness.
I’ve manufactured a mentality,
Riddled with deliberation,
Cankerous with irony;
Still, in its fragility,
Not to say, artificiality,
It can, with supreme facility,
Be wrenched aside to expose
The touch-paper tenderness within.

With characteristic extremism,
I’ve taken ratiocination
To its very limits,
But I’ve acquainted myself with,
Nay, embraced my antagonist
Only in order to more effectively throttle him.
Being a survivor of the protracted passage
Through the morass of nihilism,
Found deep within
“The hell of the inner being”,
I am more than qualified to say this:
“There is no way out or round or through”
The prison of ceaseless sophistry.
There many things I have left to say,
But I shall only have begun to exist in earnest
When these are far behind me,
In fact, so far as to be all but imperceptible.

I long for the time
When I shall have compensated to my satisfaction.
I never desired intellectuality; it was thrust upon me.
Everything I ever dreaded being, I’ve become…
Everything I ever desired to be, I’ve become.
I’m the sum total of a lifetime’s
Fears and fantasies,
Both wish-fulfilment
And dread-consummation incarnate.
I long for the time
When I shall have compensated to my satisfaction.
I never desired intellectuality; it was thrust upon me.
I’m the sum total of a lifetime’s
Fears and fantasies,
Both wish-fulfilment
And dread-consummation incarnate.
I’m the compensatory man par excellence.

An Autobiographical Narrative 5

‘On Constant’s Adolphe
And the Romantic Mal du Siècle’
Is based on an essay I wrote
Around 1983
For my former mentor at university,
Dr Margaret Mein,
Who sadly died in 2008,
And who features
As Dr Elizabeth Lang
In various autobiographical
Writings of mine, such as
‘Where the Halling Valley River Lies’.

It concerns the protagonist
Of French writer Benjamin Constant’s
Famous 1816 novel “Adolphe”,
Which is in the classic tradition
Of Goethe’s “Werther”
And Chateaubriand’s “René”,
In so far as the protagonist
Is a sufferer from what has been termed
Mal du Siècle, a condition producing
Melancholy, fragility
And a desire for self-annihilation
Among other nihilistic qualities.

It was a condition that was to find
Special favour
Among the Romantics,
And one of its foremost antecedents
Was the aforesaid “Werther”,
Which, emerging from the
Avant-garde known as Sturm und Drang,
Itself an offshoot
Of Weimar Classicism.
Exerted an almost immeasurable influence
On the evolution of the Western Mind.
Although it was far from alone in this respect.

As a development, it was hardly novel,
For after all, does the Word of God not state
That there is nothing new under the sun?
But it was possibly unprecedented
In terms of pervasiveness and intensity.
And I’d have no hesitation
In labelling it tragic as a result.
In terms of my own pre-Christian self,
It was almost overwhelmingly powerful,
And so believer that I am, I feel compelled
To expose it as not just erroneous but potentially lethal.

Adolphe and Ellénore, Star-Cross’d Lovers

Adolphe is an egotist
In that he is preoccupied
With himself,
His thoughts and his feelings
In the classic manner
Of the contemplative, melancholy,
Faintly yearning, hypersensitive,
Isolated, perceptive and confused
Romantic hero,
But he is by no means selfish
Or arrogant, as so many egotists are.

Perhaps he is more of an egoist,
That is, somebody who believes
That self-interest is the foundation
Of all morality, but then,
He denies this when he announces:
“While I was only interested in myself,
I was but feebly interested for all that.”
Plausibly, egotism is only
A weak driving force in Adolphe’s life
And by the time of his love for Ellénore,
It has all but faded.

There is much genuine goodness
In Adolphe,
But much of it is subconscious,
Surfacing only at the sight of obvious grief.
The cause of this inability
To feel or think spontaneously
Is very probably the result
Of the complex interaction
Between a hypersensitive nature
And a brilliant if indecisive mind.

By reflecting on his surroundings
To an exaggerated degree,
Adolphe feels a sort of numbness,
A premature world-weariness…
Lucid thoughts and intense emotions
Irrevocably confused.
One of Adolphe’s weaknesses,
Masquerading as a virtue,
Is his misguided and in many respects
Ruthless tendency
Towards self-sacrifice.

By being consistently swayed
By the superficial manifestations of grief,
He steels himself to other, quieter,
But no less desperate plights.
Ellénore, in her Karenina-like behaviour
towards her protector and children,
Is no less guilty of preternatural selfishness
Than her lover, but the final burden of guilt
Must rest with Adolphe
For an act which he admittedly spends
A good many years atoning for.

Ellénore initially resists
Adolphe’s advances
But after a great deal of persuasion,
Agrees to see him on a regular basis,
And soon falls in love.
Her excessively romantic nature
Is her principal failing.
Adolphe’s are more serious:
He convinces himself
Of his love for Ellénore
Without envisaging the consequences.

He deceives himself into believing
That to remain with Ellénore
Can atone for his destruction of her
Without realising the harm caused
By a morose, taciturn and
Patently loveless presence.
Adolphe shows hardly any need
To conform socially,
Whereas Ellénore
Is conservative in feeling,
And unconventional in action.

We know little of the physical appearance
Of Adolphe, but in all probability
He possesses the youthfully seductive charm
Of Romantic heroes,
Werther, René and Julien Sorel.
Adolphe is a weak but attractive character
Who despite having been created
A hundred and fifty years ago
Is as real to today’s restless
Fin de Siècle youth as to countless heroes
Of the Nineteenth Century.

An Autobiographical Narrative

‘An Aphoristic Self-Portrait’
Was expeditiously versified
In September 2011,
Using a series of teeming
Informal diary entries
Made in various
Receptacles in the late 1980s.
And as such may provide
Some kind of indication
As to my psychological
And spiritual condition
Some half a dozen
Or so years prior to my
Damascene conversion.

An Autobiographical Narrative

Words of Wisdom - Inspired by eponymous words spoken to me by my former mentor at university in London in around 1982 or ‘83, which then ended up as informal diary notes on a piece of scrap paper, consisting of both the words themselves, and my own (partly fantastical?) reflections on them.

Some Sad Dark Secret

‘Temper your enthusiasm,
She said,
The extremes of your reactions;
You should have
A more conventional frame
On which to hang
Your unconventionality.’
‘Don’t push people,
She said,
You make yourself vulnerable’.

She told me not to rhapsodise,
That it would be difficult,
Impossible, perhaps,
For me to harness my dynamism.
The tone of my work,
She said,
Is often a little dubious.
She said
She thought
That there was something wrong.

That I’m hiding
Some sad
Dark secret from the world.
‘Temper your enthusiasm,
She said,
The extremes of your reactions;
You should have
A more conventional frame
On which to hang
Your unconventionality.’

I Spoke of the Spells of Calm

My soul was in knots
I couldn’t speak
I felt like the nice guy
On the sidelines
Gentle but strong
I spoke of the spells of calm
And the hysterical reactions
Psychic exhaustion
Then anxious elation

Gill said, ‘your eyes
are sparkling
You must be happy’,
Sara said: ‘I’m afraid
You’re inscrutable
You’re not just
Blasé, Are you?’
I spoke of the spells of calm
And the hysterical reactions
Psychic exhaustion
Then anxious elation

An Aphoristic Self-Portrait


As a writer, people are my vocation.
As for humanity, men, women
And other abstractions,
Their interests constitute little more
Than my hobby; I can only deal in people.
As soon as I start dealing in sects
And sections, I am either an insider
Or an outsider, and I feel lost as either…
And as soon as I feel lost,
I make no attempt to find myself,
But simply retrace my steps
And return to the people.
You can call me detached if you like,
But you see, the only way
I can remain sane as a person
With such an all-consuming instinct
For attachment, is to be detached…
The world of subjectivity
Holds no sway over me,
Because it is paradoxically impersonal,
Being affiliated to partisanship,
Sentimental causes and other such abstractions.
I couldn’t possibly belong
To a school of orthodox thought
That accepted me as a member.
I don’t believe in myself
Other than as a crystal clear container
For the freshest cream of human individualism.
When I was younger,
I ached to be famous for the sake of it,
But now it occurs to me
That anyone can be famous
Provided they are sufficiently audacious
And thick-skinned, and I desire fame
Not so much for the vain satisfaction
Of being seen and known and heard,
But in order to guide others
Towards a happier way of being,
The only precept for celebrity,
Indeed for being in general, as far as I can see.
Adversity seems to be my fate,
As well as fortune.
The meek ones gravitate to me.
I’m the prince of the hurt ones,
The damaged ones.
I resent all success and authority.
I’m so affectionate one moment,
So icy and evasive the next.
I’m in love with many people at present.
I over accentuate my individuality,
Because sometimes I look at myself
In the mirror and I say:
‘Who’s that pathetic wreck?’
The more complex you are,
The less you like yourself,
Because you frighten yourself.
The more I find myself liking someone,
The more I doubt us both.
Liking someone negates them for me.


I hate those long, long spaces
Between meals and drinks
Specifically the afternoon
And after midnight
I hate mornings too
Until I can smell the bacon
And coffee.
I cheer up towards the end
Of the afternoon,
But my euphoria stops short
Of my final cup of tea.
I sink into another state of gloom
Until dinner time,
My second favourite time
Of the day.
My favourite is that of my
First drink and cigarette.

An Autobiographical Narrative

“The Bitter-Sweet Fruits of Andre Gide” was based on an essay, probably written in my final year at Westfield College, University of London, where I studied the works of Andre Gide with the aforementioned Dr Mein. It was photocopied so badly I was barely able to decipher what I’d originally typed, its original having vanished; yet, as is my wont, I’ve made minor grammatical adjustments and heavily edited it, a necessary process given the darkness of the work involved, the ecstatic prose poem, “Les Nourritures Terrestres”, or “The Fruits of the Earth”.
While dating from 1896, at the height of the Franco-British literary decadence, it was evidently rediscovered in the 1920s, an era very similar to the Yellow Nineties in so many respects, and to some extent also, the Swinging Sixties.
It’s clear from the tone of the essay, although not so much from the sanitised version it has to be said, that I at least partly approved of the work’s subversion of traditional Judaeo-Christian morality, while the same could by no means be said of Gide, the product of a deeply pious Huguenot Protestant upbringing.
And the “Fruits” stood in marked contrast to his first published work, “The Notebooks of André Walter”, for both the latter and the later “Straight is the Gate” are anatomisations of Christian self-abnegation, specifically with respect to his troubled love for his devout Christian cousin Madeleine, who went on to become his wife, and perhaps the one and only true love of his life.
The character of Ménalque, who acts as a mentor to the protagonist Nathanael in “The Fruits” was allegedly based on Oscar Wilde, whom Gide first met, in the company of his companion the poet Lord Alfred Douglas, in Paris in 1891. And while he is relatively sympathetic in the earlier work, when he reappears in “The Immoralist” in 1902, he is infinitely less so. This is significant given that the latter was written by Gide as a warning against the excesses extolled in “The Fruits”.
“The World of Subjectivity” consists of a series of unconnected fragment salvaged from a teeming nightmare of “diary entries” I made in a school notebook throughout 1986. While more or less verbatim, some very minor corrections may have been made.

The Bitter-Sweet Fruits of Andre Gide

The keynote to Andre Gide’s “The Fruits of the Earth” is the unfettered cultivation of the ego, related to the Nietzschian doctrine of the Will to Power, in contradistinction to the self-abnegation of his Protestant upbringing.
This gospel of pagan energy has always contained within it a distinctly sadistic element, conscious in Ménalque, unconscious in the Gidean protagonist who carried it to its disastrous extreme, Michel in “The Immoralist”, specifically written in order to warn against the dangers of excessive “disponibilité”.
However, there is no direct evidence of such criticism in “The Fruits”, which makes it all the more intriguing to the reader, who can interpret the work according to his own nature.
With the inspired ecstasy of a fasting prophet, he embarked upon a work of such sensuous intensity that the very pages suggest the North African villages, parched by the blinding sun. Evil lurks in every corner of every page, where no noble, lasting values are left intact and one after the other, selfishness, infidelity, duplicity and fornication are extolled. By the end of the volume, the narrator’s senses have been worn to the bone. For his final message, he stresses the importance of other people. The reason for this is ambiguous, and it is up to the reader to interpret this altruism as he chooses.

An Autobiographical Narrative

Thanks to the large quantity
Of notes I committed
To paper while at Leftfield,
My beloved college can live again
Through writings
Painstakingly forged out of them,
Such as the poetic piece below,
Based on several conversations
I had with my good friend Jez,
A tough but tender Scouser
With slicked back rockabilly hair,
Who’d played guitar in a band
At Liverpool’s legendary Eric’s
Back in the early eighties,
When Liverpool post-Punk
Was enjoying a golden age.
These took place at Scorpio’s,
A Greek restaurant situated in
North West London
Following a performance at college
Of Lorca’s “Blood Wedding”
In which I’d played the bridegroom.

One of the Greats Who Never Was

‘I think you should be
One of the greats,
But you've given up
And that's sad.

You drink too much,
You think, ____ it
And you go out and get _____,
When I'm 27 I'd be happy
To be like you.

In your writing,
Make sure you've got
Something really
Then say...'Here, you _______!'

You've got the spark of genius
At sixteen, you knew
You were a genius,
At nineteen, you thought
What’s a genius anyway?’

An Autobiographical Narrative

‘A Cambridge Lamentation’
Centres on my brief stay at Homerton,
A teaching training college
Contained within the University of Cambridge,
With its campus at Hills Road
Just outside the city centre.
A fusion of previously published pieces,
It was primarily adapted
From an unfinished and unsent letter
Penned just before Christmas 1986,
And conveys some of the fatal restlessness
Which ultimately resulted
In my quitting Homerton early in 1987.
In its initial form, it had been forged
By extracting selected sentences
From the original script,
And then melding them together
In a newly edited and versified state,
Before publishing them at the Blogster weblog
On the 10th of June 2006.

A Cambridge Lamentation

This place is always a little lonely
At the weekends…No noise and life,
I like solitude,
But not in places
Where's there's recently been
A lot of people.

Reclusiveness protects you
From nostalgia,
And you can be as nostalgic
In relation to what happened
Half an hour ago
As half a century ago, in fact more so.

I went to the Xmas party.
I danced,
And generally lived it up.
I went to bed sad though.
Discos exacerbate
my sense of solitude.

My capacity for social warmth,
Excessive social dependance
And romantic zeal
Can be practically deranging;
It's no wonder I feel the need
To escape…

Escape from my own
Drastic social emotivity…
A devastating capacity
For loneliness.
I feel trapped here,
There's no
Outlet for my talents.

In such a state as this…
I could fall in love with anyone.
The night before last
I went to the ball
Couples filing out
I wanted to be half of ev'ry one…

But I didn't want to lose her.
I’ll get over how I feel now,
And very soon.
Gradually I’ll freeze again,
Even assuming an extra layer of snow.
I have to get out of here.

Strange Coldness Perplexing

the catholic nurse
all sensitive
caring noticing
what can she think
of my hot/cold torment

always near blowing it
living in the fast lane
so friendly kind
the girls
dewy eyed
wanda abandoned me
bolton is in my hands

and yet my coldness
the more emotional
they stay
trying to find a reason
for my ice-like suspicion
fish eyes
coldly indifferent eyes
suspect everything that moves

socialising just to be loud
compensate for cold
lack of essential trust
i love them
despite myself
my desire to love
is unconscious and gigantesque

i never know
when i'm going to miss someone
strange coldness perplexing
i've got to work to get devotion
but once i get it
i really get people on my side
there are carl people
who can survive
my shark-like coldness
and there are those
who want something
more personal
i can be very devoted to those
who can stay the course

my soul is aching
for an impartial love of people
i'm at war with myself…

Confessions from a Letter Unsent

Dear, I haven't been in touch
for a long time.
The last time I saw you
Was in St. Christopher's Place.
It was a lovely evening...
when I knocked that chair over.
I am sorry.
Since then,
I've had not a few accidents
Of that kind.

Just three days ago,
I slipped out in a garden
At a friend's house...
And keeled over, not once,
Not twice, but three times,
Like a log...clonking my nut
So violently that people heard me
In the sitting room.
What's more,
I can't remember a single sentence
spoken all evening. The problem is...

Such a Short Space of Time

I love not just those
I knew back then
But those who were young
Back then,
But who’ve since
Come to grief, who,
Having soared so high,
Found the consequent descent
Too dreadful to bear.

With my past itself,
Which was only yesterday,
No, even less time,
A moment ago,
And when I play
Records from 1975, Soul records,
Glam records, Progressive records,
Twenty years melt away
Into nothingness.

What is a twenty-year period?
Little more than
A blink of an eye.
How could
Such a short space of time
Cause such devastation?
I love not just those
I knew back then
But those who were young back then.

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