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Your Lethal Life and Further Versified Fragments
by Carl Halling
10/17/12
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First (Versified) Fragments

Wicked Cahoots
 
When he made
his first personal appearance
in the dirty alley
on someone else's rusty bike,
screaming along
in a cloud of dust
it rendered us all
speechless and motionless.
But I was amazed
that despite his grey-faced surliness,
he was very affable with us...
the bully with a naive
and sentimental heart.
He was so happy
to hear that I liked his dad
or that my mum liked him
and he was welcome
to come to tea
with us at five twenty five...
Our adventures were spectacular:
chasing after other bikesters,
screaming at the top
of our lungs
into blocks of flats
and then running
as our echoed waves of terror
blended with incoherent threats...
"I'll call the Police, I'll..."
Wicked cahoots.

The Woodville Hall Soul Boys
 
Soon after I'd paid
My sixty
Or seventy pence,
I found myself
In what I thought
Was a miniature London.
I saw girls
In chandelier earrings,
In stiletto heels,
Wearing evening
Dresses,
Which contrasted with
The bizarre
Hair colours
They favoured:
Jet black
Or bleach blonde,
With flashes of
Red, Purple
Or green.
Some wore large
Bow ties,
Others unceremoniously
Hanged
Their school ties
Round their
Necks.
Eye make-up
Was exaggerated.
The boys all had
Short hair,
Wore mohair sweaters,
Thin ties,
Baggy,
Peg-top trousers
And winklepicker shoes.
A band playing
Raw street rock
At a frantic speed
Came to a sudden,
Violent climax...
Melodic, rhythmic,
Highly danceable
Soul music
Was now beginning
To fill the hall,
With another group
Of short-haired youths...
Smoother, more elegant,
Less menacing
Than the previous ones.
These well-dressed
Street boys
Wore well-pressed pegs
Of red or blue...
They pirouetted
And posed...
Pirouetted and posed.

Some Perverse Will
 
I'm a restless man
I am never
Still
I'm always spurred on
By some perverse
Will
The grass is never
Green
No peace here
To find
Some demon
Of motion's
At work within my
Mind
No bed is too soft
That I won't
Abandon
Its sweet calm
And comfort
For a softer
One
I'm a restless man
I am never
Still
I'm always spurred on
By some perverse will.
 
Tales of a Paris Flaneur

Early days as a flaneur;
I recall the couple
On the Metro
When I was still innocent
Of its labyrinthine complexities;
Slim pretty white girl,
Clad head to toe
In new blue denim,
Wistfully smiling
While her muscular black beau
Stared straight through me
With fathomless, fulgorous orbs;
And one of them spoke
(Almost in a whisper):
"Qu'est-ce que t'en pense?"
Then it dawned on me...
The slender young Parisienne
With the distant desirous eyes
Was no less male than I.

Being screamed at in Pigalle,
And then howled at again
By some kind of wild-eyed
Drifter who told me to go
To the Bois de Boulogne to seek
What he clearly saw as my destiny;
Getting soused in Les Halles
With Sara
Who'd just seen Dillon as
Rusty James,
And was walking around in a daze;
Sara again with Jade
At the Caveau de la Huchette.
 
Cash squandered
On a cheap gold-plated toothbrush,
Portrait sketched at the Place de Tertre,
Paperback books
By Symbolist poets,
Second hand volumes
By Trakl and Deleve,
And a leather jacket from
The flea market
At the Porte de Clignancourt.
 
Metro taken to Montparnasse,
Where I slowly sipped
A demi-blonde
In one of those brasseries
(Perhaps)
Immortalised by Brassai;
Bewhiskered old man
In a naval officer's cap,
His table bestrewn
With empty wine bottles
And cigarette butts,
Repeatedly screeched the name
"Phillippe!" until a bartender
With patent leather hair,
Filled his wineglass to the brim,
With a mock-obsequious:
"Voila, mon Captaine!"
 
I cut into the Rue de Bac,
Traversed the Pont Royal,
Briefly beheld
Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois,
With its gothic tower,
Constructed only latterly,
In order that
The 6th Century church
Might complement
The style of the remainder
Of the 1er Arrondissement
Before steering for the
Place du Chatelet,
And onwards...Les Halles!
 
Spark of Youth Long Gone
 
Two days ago, I decided
To realise
Some cherished memories
Of my beloved little pueblo;
So I drank about five glasses
Of Monteviejo
In preparation for
The rediscovery of
The town of my heart.
Firstly, I sat in the bar
Where I used to meet
All my friends,
And was assaulted
By the prices of the drinks
And the volume of the music.
I searched the place
With my eyes
For the innocence and laughter
Of yesteryear, but in vain
The young people are forced
Into tight little groups
So atmosphere
Is ponderous and alienating.
Where is the fun?
The wild and foolish socialising?
The comic local music?
All gone. I could cry.
Oh, these nerves, this living death.
I am so full of fear,
Lethargy and fury
I can hardly function.
There's a lack of innocence
Of simplicity
And is this change
From deep within me?
The freedom,
The spark of youth
Is gone
Or have I merely lost it?
Sophistication spoils
The city ravages
Senses refined
By knowledge and wine.
 
London as the Lieu
 
Until recently, I had the impression
Of decaying
Along with the moral standards
Of contemporary Europe
With London as the lieu
To which all Autoroutes lead.
 
In my room, I was surrounded
By debris
Of my existence,
Lacking the will even to clear
The carpet, whose colour,
Incidentally I came to forget.
 
I ceaselessly tampered with my hair,
Growing it long,
Having it cropped, hennaing it red,
Dyeing it blue-black, bleaching it near-white;
It fell out in bunches,
Dessicated and exhausted.
 
My face grew sallow and haggard,
With bloodshot, inflamed,
Glazed, blue-ringed orbs
And bitten, bloated, ravaged lips.
My body lost its athletic aspect,
And became shapeless and emaciated.
 
Lone Birthday Boy Dancing

Yesterday for my birthday,
I started off
with a bottle of wine...
I took the train
into town...
I had half a bitter
at the Cafe de Piaf
in Waterloo...
I went to work
for a couple of hours or so;
I had a pint after work;
I went for an audition;
after the audition,
I had another pint
and a half;
I had another half,
before meeting my mates,
for my b'day celebrations;
we had a pint together;
we went into
the night club,
where we had champagne
(I had three glasses);
I had a further
glass of vino,
by which time,
I was so gone
that I drew an audience
of about thirty
by performing a solo
dancing spot
in the middle
of the disco floor...
We all piled off to the pub
after that,
where I had another drink
(I can't remember
what it was)...
I then made my way home,
took the bus from Surbiton,
but ended up
in the wilds of Surrey;
I took another bus home,
and watched some telly
and had something to eat
before crashing out...
I really, really enjoyed
the eve, but today,
I've been walking around
I've had only one drink today,
an early morning
restorative effort;
I spent the day working,
then I went to a bookshop,
where, like a monk,
I go for a day's
drying out session...
Drying out is really awful;
you jump at every shadow;
you feel dizzy,
you notice everything;
very often,
I don't follow through.

More (Lyrical) Fragments

Stevie B and Me
 
Stevie, we were free,
Stevie, you and me,
On that golden day
Was it 68?
The decade's last few days,
The whole wild world was crazed,
But where we were was peace
For you and me at least.
 
If I stop for a moment,
I dream groves and country paths,
Green's Albatross is playing
In this our past,
Whole empires were falling,
The old ways were fading fast,
Things never last,
But you and I
Found pleasant peace at last.
 
We weren't friends for long,
These things aren't too strong,
We were far from home,
Together less alone,
We drifted far apart,
Hardened up our hearts,
We had so far to fall,
Four years took their toll.
 
We walked and talked
For many hours
Safe under Blue Berkshire Skies.
 
Stevie, we were free,
Like we'd never been,
On that halcyon day,
Stevie B and me.
The decade's last few days,
The whole wild world was crazed,
But where we were was peace
For you and me at least.

The Ones We Love
 
Though we fight every day
I can say Honey
I do love you
With a love
A burning love
A tender love
A kind of love
That's forever true
 
It seems that it's the truth
Between man
And woman
And age and youth
It's true that we do
Hurt most the one we love
 
So many times I've let you down
I've messed you 'round
And I still do
I know it's weird
It seems absurd,
But I never ever wanted to
 
You know it's often said
And I've seen it
Many times
In all the books I've read
It's true that we do
Hurt most the ones we love
 
You've got to forgive me, babe
Sometimes it's hard
To control the things
I do and say
I'm just a weak and sinful man
Yes I am
Trying to do the best I can
 
It seems that it's the truth
Between man
And woman
And age and youth
It's true that we do
Hurt most the one we love.
 
It Wasn't So Long Ago
 
I shaped a heart outside her door
With the matches I'd procured
We had our season in the sun
Our romance when we were young
 
It wasn't so long ago
A new time may have grown
And so many tears have flown
But it wasn't so long ago
 
A melody plays from time gone by
All the years between them fly
I'm back in her tender arms once again
Embracing in the summer rain
 
It wasn't so long ago
A new time may have grown
And so many tears have flown
But it wasn't so long ago
 
Time rushes by like a hurricane
And leaves so much chaos in its wake
Run to the one you love tonight
Say something tender
Find it in your heart
Don't wait too long
 
Two lovers kissed on a summer morn
And a lifetime love was born
A love that makes a man a king
And a maid's heart start to sing
 
It wasn't so long ago
A new time may have grown
And so many tears have flown
But it wasn't so long ago.

Time Travel
 
Time Travel's set me free
And sunk its
Sharpest hooks in me
 
In disguise as a young man
In the city
But the bright young lights
No longer belong to me
I'm not a London man
I'm just a carbon copy
Doing some travelling
 
Time Travel's set me free
And sunk its
Sharpest hooks in me
 
Seeing faces that I knew in '77
When I was young
And in love with London town
But please don't ask me
Where those thirty years
Have flown to
They've just gone travelling.
 
Time Travel's set me free
And sunk its
Sharpest hooks in me
 
Lady, though your sweetness
Is such a blessing
Tender angel
Please don't lose your heart to me
For I'm a visitor
From a distant generation
Doing some travelling
 
Time Travel's set me free
And sunk its
Sharpest hooks in me.
 
All Through the Ages
 
All through the ages
I have faithfully waited
Now I'm ready
For you
To make this dream come true
All through the ages
I have faithfully prayed
You'd come and rescue me
You've been
So far away
All through the ages
I have faithfully kept
Myself so pure for you
Except a crush or two...
All through the ages
I have faithfully waited
Now I'm ready
For you
To make this dream come true.
 
Toilers of the Sea
 
Come away with me
To toil upon the sea,
Come away and see
How sweet sea life can be,
I'll sing Bonnie Dundee
Off the coast of Old Guernsey,
You and me
Are toilers of the sea, toilers of the sea.
 
Help me put that wrecked
Romance away from me,
Help me understand
How it was lost at sea,
It wasn't destined to be,
She belonged to another not me,
So I let them be,
Whatever will be will be
For the salty old likes of me,
For toilers of the sea, for toilers of the sea.
 
I can stand it if you're
There with me,
For the solitary life at sea
Is enough to make you sea crazy,
With the whales and gulls for company.
 
We can ponder on
The ocean's mysteries,
I'll unveil a few of
My old sea stories,
You'll see how kind a tar can be,
I promise you'll be safe with me,
When we're out at sea
As toilers of the sea, as toilers of the sea.
 
Under Summer's Sun
 
Faith, where's your smile,
Don't be a melancholy child,
Can't you see
That the summer's come?
 
Stuck in your room
With your winter curtains drawn,
While the suburbs
Are all bathed in sun.
 
No more winter time lows,
Only joy now because
We can shake off the blues,
Faith, there's no time to lose.
 
We can go for a cruise
Down the Thames
Or down the Ouse,
Or just snooze under summer's sun,
 
Find a village green,
Watch some cricket,
Take some tea, as you please,
Summer's made for fun.
 
Get some sweet summer air,
Feel the breeze in your hair,
Forget that sad old affair,
He's not worth all the tears.
 
Cast you cares on me,
I can set you free,
Don't let me wait too long,
Summer will soon be gone.
 
No more winter time lows,
Only joy now because,
We can shake off the blues,
Faith, there's no time to lose.
 
We can go for a cruise
Down the Thames
Or down the Ouse,
Or just snooze under summer's sun.
 
Like all the Moonstruck Do
 
If I fell in love with you
I would like to
Make my dreams come true
You could fulfil all yours too
So come on angel
Just one look will do
I'll lose my heart to you
Like all the moonstruck do
 
We could go all round the world
Just like other
Moonstruck girls and boys
So come on angel
Don't be scared
We are only young once
Say the word
I'll lose my heart to you
Like all the moonstruck do
 
Bali Frisco Rio or wherever
You may choose
The world's our oyster, angel,
There'll be no more bad news
We could escape tomorrow
I tell you we can't lose
We will soon be
Saying bye bye to those blues
 
If I fell in love with you
I would like to
Make my dreams come true
You could fulfil all yours too
So come on angel
Just one look will do
I'll lose my heart to you
Like all the moonstruck do.
 
I Let You Go
 
What was I thinking
I let you go
I wasn't drinking still
I let you go
Where was my head at to
Let you go
I can't accept that I just
Let you go
 
I wish I could make
Amends
So we could at least
Be friends
I have no real
Reason why
I let you say goodbye
 
Did I confuse you when
I let you go
Such a fool to have
Let you go
You were so precious still
I let you go
Worth more than jewels still
I let you go
 
I wish we could start again
I'd be quite a different man
I've learned quite a lot
Since then
I know how to keep a friend
 
We could meet up in the
Centre of town
And I'd explain my motivations
About how I came
To let you down
And all those other
Explications and complications
 
I'm not asking for
Romance
Just give me half
A chance
Cos I got a real
Good heart
So how 'bout
A brand new start
 
What was I thinking
I let you go
I wasn't drinking still
I let you go
Where was my head at
To let you go
I can't accept
That I just let you go.
 
Time Was I Was (A Wand'rin' Star)
 
Time was I was a wandering star
With a restless quenchless soul
Time was I had an unquiet heart
And from dream to dream I'd roam
 
Well I thought I was a free bird
And I didn't have a worldly care
Till I found myself abandoned and
Alone I cried but you weren't there
 
Now all I really want is you is you is you
 
Time was I played the gadabout
Thought I did not need a home
Time was I thought I was so smart
I could do it all alone
 
Till it dawned on me that there would
Come a time when you would say: OK
If that's the way you want it, babe,
I'll leave you to go on your way
 
Now all I really want is you is you is you.

(Your Beautiful) Lethal Life
 
Shooting star
With a quicksilver mind
You deserve to go so far
Cant someone stop you
Before you ruin your soul
With irreversible harm?
 
Drinking all day
Every single day
Out of your head on booze
Is this the life
Is this the way
A gifted child should choose?
 
Your beautiful lethal life
My friend
Has sent you around the bend
Your foolish defiant
Dionysian dance
Could soon be at an end
 
But you don't care
Do you shooting star
As you drift in your blissful dream.


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