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VAGABONDAGE

poems by

David Rickerby
 
POETRY


santoka

santoka's shadow


poems of the month

fish

vagabondage

measuring my face

ostracism

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit: poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of
wolves ?

the rubaiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard

imagepoem

 

TRANSLATIONS



BETWEEN POETRY AND PROSE

good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400
revolutionary maxims

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper

disgusting

art, truth and bafflement

 

SHORT STORIES

godpieces

the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story

 

ESSAYS & MEMOIRS

a curious and peculiar
kind of queer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars

happiness

londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian

genocide

a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

diogenes: the dog from sinope

shoplifting

this sorry scheme of things

a holy dog and a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

prelude

 

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

french megaliths

a small town in france


 

'western values'

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can't ever get lost
when you don't want to get back.

 

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE ?

They ask me,
Where do you live?
I point,
in a casual
random
direction,
'over there',
I tell them,
'near to the park.'
It's a big park,
covering many hectares.
It could be anywhere.
If they wish to visit,
I tell them I have no space for guests,
problematic neighbours...
and I'm very busy right now.
The truth is,
that it's just a hut,
a shelter from the storm
on loan from someone
who would be happy to see me leave.

The journey to it
isn't long,
measured in time
and distance.
Yet
I went a long way,
for a long time
to get
to where
I am
now.

 

 

URBAN VAGABOND

I'm picking up bottles,
an urban vagabond
3 more bottles buy me dinner.

I live on what others
throw away.
Just trash to which you pay
no mind.

I stuff poems into my shirt
to keep warm,
rest my head on my arms,
and cover myself with
the night -
free from harm.

 

 

URBAN HERMITAGE

My Hermitage is open to all-comers,
both human and natural, with
easy access for animals and rain.

Located close to town,
conveniently situated close to shops and library.
(Bread and books I don't need any more.)

I have to be careful not to be noticed,
But I come and go when it's quiet
and no-one can see me.

 

 

BLUES ON STRØGET (Main Street)

It's a winter night.
O
ld man
whines a blues.
Streets have been swept clean
of people
by
wind and rain.

The few coins
in his guitar case,
enough
for a beer in the bar
and a bed in the hostel.

His voice
the product of
years and miles,
fills the empty streets
with a sadness
that would
shatter the glass of the shopfronts
were it not
shot through
with a pitiful
unseasonable
unreasonable hope.

 

 

ACCEPTANCE

Acceptance is rare enough,
Approval unheard of,
Understanding is too
much to expect.

I'm with the philosopher
Antisthenes.
"Everyone thinks highly of you Antisthenes,"
he was told.
"Why? what have I done wrong?"

 

 

INTIMATE STRANGERS

Intimate strangers
share trash can smokes,
and bullshit tales
of ancient
glories
over coffee.

The city
lies outside
but
it can wait.
The doors of the shelter
will close on us
soon enough.
We
both know
the paths we must take,
what lies on them, beside them
what lies at the end of them.

Both accept the inevitable.
But,
there's no need to rush.

It's a long journey...
straight road...
no chance of a detour...
no hope for them...
no desire.

 

 

YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN

It's lonely at the shelters
now.
I was here a couple of years
ago,
there's no-one left
that I knew...
they've all gone.

Last winter claimed
a couple.
Prison took my
backgammon partner.
Overdose ?
More than any remember.

A few have made it out
alive,
but,
they have no memories of
those days.
I don't blame them,
I have too many
and no-one to
share them with.

Still,
the coffee is only 2 kroner
and the bread and jam are free.
There's an excellent library in this town.
I think I'll go.
It's about to open
- and I don't like the way
that guy's looking at me.

 

 

IN THE ASPIRATIONAL SOCIETY

I aspire to be a
Yurodivy.
A holy fool,
a comic angel
in human form

Melancholic
mad poet
reciting haikai
to the birds
through fogs

dancing and
bathing in fountains,
avoided by all
- except children
of all ages
and (of course) dogs.

 

 

WALKING ON

Soles are wearing thin
yet still
I walk on

Few coins,
yet still
I stand in the queue.

Alone.
Quite still.

 

 

AFTER THE RAIN

Red
Blue
Yellow
Rainbow high
as orange sun
pierces a misty sky.

 

 

TWO BARS LEFT

My battery and life
are both low
Need re-charging.

They're both years out of date
and have only the most basic functions
but I don't need
more than the most basic functions
and they don't get much use.

If it wasn't that an
alarm clock
can wake me up before I'm discovered,
I'd never have taken it
out of the trash.

 

 

MY PUBLIC

People laugh when they see me.
Sometimes they point.
The brave ones ask
'what are you doing ?'
But generally,
they refuse to see me.

Sometimes,
a car drives past
and a young guy
(it's always a young guy)
leans out
and shouts.
I can never hear the words,
but it has to be encouragement.

 

 

PERFECT RELATIONSHIP

I don't know the names of my friends.
They give me coffee at 7-11,
cigarettes at the Kiosk,
books at the library,
money for my bottles,
when I shop at
NettoFaktaREma1000AldiKIWI.

We never speak,
though they all know me,
know all about me.

These are my friends.
I pay what is demanded,
they give me what I need.
I call this an excellent
relationship.

 

 

NIGHT LIGHT

The moon is good.
It's friendly.
It shows what I need
and lights the way.

You can look at it,
it doesn't make you
turn away,
like the sun.

It isn't aggressive.
It comes
in more than one size.

Sometimes just a sliver.

On special nights an eclipse.

 

 

PASSING THROUGH

A sort of shadow,
briefly lit
by street lamps
and car headlights.
A traveller
A stranger
a ragged anomaly
in the pristine village.
Brief glimpses
of their lives
as he walks on.
Silent scenes of
domestic bliss,
lit by:
candle
TV
PH lamps,
seen out of the corner of his eye.
He doesn't stop to watch
and they don't see him in the dark.
Only the occasional dog walker
passes by.
Sometimes a passenger
waiting for the bus.
Maybe a customer
waiting for a pizza.
A few voices from the nearby bar, and
then a sign
with a village name.

From there,
the dark road,
which may be lit by
stars,
oncoming traffic
or a distant house.

Under the last street lamp,
I check my map,
check my strength -
and smoke the last cigarette.

My bed will be in a lay-by
only three kilometres on.

 

 

WHAT DO I WANT ?

What do I want?
Not much,
a place big enough
to lie my head,

but
with space for a guest -
and no lock.

Perhaps even a gate -
without bars...

 

 

YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST

Hot tears
wash blood
from legs
spread apart
on white sheets.

"Yeah man,"
says her lover
to his friend, (to her weeping brother ?)
"She had her knickers off so fast,
I couldn't tell what colour they were."

 

 

I WONDER WHAT I WAS DOING

when I missed the lesson ?

You know the one
(or was it several ?)
where they teach you
how life is,
how things work;
how to get on.

Maybe
I was in the forest,
the library,
or down by the river.

I asked my friends,
"what did I miss ?"

I couldn't understand their answers,
I think they left something out.
They told me the how,
but not the why.

Why is that how life is ?
Why does the 'world' work like that ?
What is 'getting on' ?

"That's just the way it is,"
is not a good enough answer.

 

 

SERIOUS

people
involve themselves seriously
in serious matters

because,
(and because of serious people)
the world is in
and life is
a serious condition.

Fewer and fewer minds
are destroyed by what they used to call
insanity,
but more and more
are broken by
serious normality.

 

 

CAT AND DOG

One sits on the TV set
his tail in front of the screen
glaring at us.
The other keeps on hoping
that she pleases us,
despite everything we do.

We'll move away from here
and give them both away.

 

 

CHICKEN

is eaten before it's born
and after it's dead.
Which
did we eat first:
chickens or eggs ?

 

 

HOW TO WRITE A BLUE SONG

So you want to know how to write a blues...
well listen up & hear how this poet blows.

Guitar or Harmonica riff

First your bluesman's gotta be a retard
like Blind Willie Johnson or Peg-Leg Lou. (twice)
he's gotta sing the blues 'cause its all that he can
profitably do.

Riff

Your bluesman gotta be a hobo, every bluesman rides the rails. (twice)
There's many stops along the line
and they're all County Jails.

Riff

Your bluesman gotta go to prison, every bluesman done some time. (twice)
The critter's even better if he ain't gone done no crime.

Riff

Give that man some whisky and a sweet young thing. (twice)
Then you'll get to hear that bluesman sweetly sing.

Riff

But his woman gotta leave him, yeah his baby has done gone. (twice)
Left him early in the morning, never put the coffee on.

Riff

That's how to write a blues song, you know just how it goes. (twice)
Rhyme can be a problem - but just follow your nose
and think of Berlioz....

Riff


Click the image to see an 18-minute programme
about Dave made for East Jutland TV.
In English with Danish subtitles.


zen santoka haikai haiku zen santoka haikai haiku zen santoka haikai haiku

 
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