Stride Magazine -


Suppose the three sisters enter a Tardis
and crash through the vicarage walls
in a lightning-bright flash and land in the arms of a serial killer.
Suppose they threw off their madness and torments,
the dull tick tock of the clock.

Suppose they fall into wonderland
where the grin and the cat exist eternally.
Suppose they step into the set of a soap like Corrie.
Suppose they fall into a fast food factory
or a vivisector’s laboratory.
Or find eternal bliss.

Suppose they crawl out of a worm hole in space;
will they scream we’re drear and lone and far away
or will they be repulsed by dark matter
drawing them back to the start?
Would time freeze on their tongues
or would they cut out their hearts in Ancient Mexico
if the time was ripe?

Suppose they hitch a ride on a bomber.
Suppose the atoms of each mortal cell scatter
so each is everywhere and everywhen.
Suppose they punch in a code and rendezvous with hell,
and then another and find a prodigal’s return:
exhibits in the Bronte Museum, Haworth, UK.


the upside-down tree,
offers its hanging grenades
for ice cream.
The vertical sun
bounces off the scorched ground.
Women bend in rice fields;
men laze in the shade.
A sudden-ness of sunbird;
emerald dart against
a blood-red gash
in a kapok tree.
Wau! Wau!
Jacanas walk on water;
a cut-throat finch
bleeds from branch to branch;
a sacred ibis bows at the mangrove altar.
I-am; the red-eyed dove,
I-am; the red-eyed dove:

the song of Badala Park!
Round the hotels, vultures circle,
swooping in on human carrion.
Hello, let me be your friend!

a barb in every smile.
(Hustlers round a money pot.)
Deh Det.
On the beach, juice boys
squeeze nectar into glasses:
spurt, drip, spurt!
Banana girls balance brunches
on their heads:
Nice man; you like to buy?

A tangerine sun
dives into the western sea.
The night sky switches on.
Orion lies horizontal!
But where is the plough?
A crescent moon sails in the east;
Betelgeuse inks;
meteors etch their brief lives across the dark retina.
Cicadas see-saw squeak
through the night;
mosquitoes zing;
moths stagger
into fluorescent beacons.
Power cuts plunge houses
into darkness.
Deh Det!
The beat of drums
stabs out a signal for the bewildered.
A sudden brightness
illuminates eclipsed lives.
Dancers stamp a flat-footed rhythm.
Wau, Deh Det, Wau!
Africa shouts!

An Englishman,
stranded between two worlds,
taps his fingers on a table:
Deh Det, Wau, Deh Det.

            * One of the many tribal languages of West Africa
Wua = yes
Deh det = no


you may find it impossible
to fathom
the rules of engagement
as you‚ you’re spoon fed
the in your face
feel good
feel bad
best of British
hard core
off your face
been there done that
back to basics
daily bread

you may find
as you watch
Westminster blaze
as you fumble with your lipstick
your charm offensive
slipping. . .

                        © Eric Nicholson 2003