Dear Old England its rain its
proposed drunk tanks dangerous
say police chiefs streets of coats
on coastlines all buttoned up against
random stabbing woman arrested
dales and vales we'll feel the air
step down to streams mountains
so old they're almost rubbed out
in quiet lanes of murdered vicar
man arrested held in picturesque
coastal views of supercheap alcohol
watercolour castles rivers flow to
muddy estuaries not over beautiful
seaside towns drowning in gangs
cocklepickingdawndrizzle binge
drinking motorway services and
William Raoul Wordsworth Moat
fuel poverty daffodils snowdrop
coldest February since red top
page 3 landscape town and gown
records began remorseless rise
in mintcake unemployment figures
millstone grit back to backs and lots
of rain around jobs and the recovery
north/south divide press privacy
you couldn't make it up a field of
folk island of dubstep and grime
in coffee culture tea and weather
looking good for less in Primark
copycat row of high street stately
closures queer old dean and Half
Price Broadband metal thieving birds


This is where she keeps her objet d'art
glass cabinet at the back of her head

         nowhere to display them

I'm a front room, Christmas, 50s, 60s
maybe into the 70s and I ask
what was the front room for?
English clipped tones and a mother not
unlike my own through china eyes of an owl
bought as a Christmas present
         cut glass sherry glass silver bells
tinkle: who has front rooms nowadays

         nowhere display them

I live in a flat. Not completing
sentences: you live in a house
do you have a front room?
                           Or have you
knocked through the history of
the English language is the struggle
between freedom and prescription. Do
neighbours stare through windows
at the speechless furniture? We weren't
allowed in the front room sent
to the auction house and prepositions
not for ending a sentence with

          nowhere to display

happened to back parlours front rooms
the Middle English Vowel Shift
they're not for living in
                           Never ask the way
of someone who knows the glottal stop
has gradually entered Standard English
from the dialect one day we took the walls
down around the front room. Leave the
coats in the bedroom would anyone like
a drink you risk not getting lost

           nowhere display

                           however much
you dusted the Spode the Queen's English
never drove down your street but she
visited the front room 1953
                               your first TV
split infinitives a ghostly flicker
in the corner of the room


        before we got up
our own work-faring captain
plate-bread wiped in the sink

off to the tramp steamer permanently
berthed in the centre of town
who came home each night to
his arse burnished throne

facing TV Soviet Weekly draped
over the arm left open at a page
tractors in Irkutsk ballet in Minsk
on the settee where we guzzled

cornflakes and Radio One time
told of being on a troopship
to Cairo called up three weeks
after the war survived
had a machine for roll-ups
one for darning socks
a Skoda in bits in the garage and
annoyed me frequently

the bulk of him nevertheless
a slightly austere figure harbour
dialectical materialism and a plan
for a moneyless state under the sheer
black hair of his head Morning Star
and the three day week bacon
eggs fried bread in the air
tobacco ghosts upstairs sometimes
I catch myself answering his absence
back about God politics the USSR heavy
as his last word closing the door

behind him as he goes


Lights of the adult bookstores
illumine us as the night we go looking
for the phantom band of the Ramblas

         Think sofa think
don't just sit on nostalgia
covered in nacho's and winestains

A range of ambiguous forms
in the antique shop of the heart
I have lines I don't know what to do with

        do you cheat at pub quizzes
the important question of the day

        We spill out on the street
(the shiny might be a modern sublime)
trailing in the wake of wrecked marriages
when I was young I was very shy
until I discovered religion or it
discovered me. Basically the Word
in the beginning of John's Gospel was

         night prowls the streets
         of Prague in broad daylight

         I missed you so much
         spiritual function of art

Saxophone colossus in a Bar¨a subway
something lyric this way comes
don't keep losing the remote
down the back of your head

retro the new now       just look at the charts
switching channels in case you miss
something of Frank in your City Lights
pocket in Paris
                  I'm in Cafe Rouge Didsbury
avec un cafe au lait et jambon sandwich
ou croquette madame peut etre        oui

all smothered in quandriness

sitting in my bedroom writing this
I've always felt the hand of the artist
is overrated. Another day of feeling
remains at first glance   Too much time
to be without love: the smell of good coffee

surrounds us

    © Steven Waling 2012