Song: She’s just the Girl in the Adverts

Once again I’m asked – who’s that by your side?
Who is that girl I saw you with? Are they being paranoid?
She’s is just a friend of mine we’re sharing the same hurt
I’m the boy from the looking glass crowd, and she’s the girl in the advert

Look and you will see her on posters everywhere
don’t ask me who she is now, you must surely know
She’s the lonely girl in the adverts at every port of call
The lonely girl in the adverts who looks from every wall

They wonder whom I’m seeing, they must not use their eyes
I’m the boy in the looking glass, She’s the girl on wall
She’s the girl in the adverts who’s walking by my side
She’s the girl from the adverts So don’t be paranoid

She’s the girl in the adverts Selling the thing you like to eat
Please don’t be so paranoid When you see her walking with me
She’s the girl in the adverts the girl in the camera lens
She’s the girl in the adverts and we’re just very good friends

She’s just from the advert There’s nothing going on
She’s just the girl from the adverts She’s just the girl in my song
You see her on the billboards at every port of call
You see her in the bus stop she’s posted on the wall

She’s just the girl in the advert Please just use your eyes
She’s just the girl in the adverts So don’t be paranoid
She’s in the ice cream advert The chocolate bar one too
She’s just the girl in the adverts Those advertise to you

Chocolate bars and ice cream in a tropical paradise
She’s just the girl in the advert The one who always looks nice
Surely you have seen her Why don’t you use your eyes?
She’s just the girl in the adverts So don’t be paranoid

And if you see her out with me don’t be so surprised
She’s just the girl in the adverts So don’t be paranoid
Surely you must know her By now she’s everywhere
She’s just the girl in the adverts The one with the long straight hair

She’s the girl in the adverts who never speaks aloud
She’s just the girl in the adverts And I’m the boy from the looking glass crowd
She’s the girl in the adverts She doesn’t want to offend
She’s just the girl in the adverts And she’s really  my friend

You don’t know who she is This girl who’s by my side
Now you think what you want to think and you being paranoid
She’s just the girl in the advert Why don’t you use your eyes?
She’s just the girl in the advert that here by my side

She’s advertising ice cream and of chocolate too
She’s the girl with the long straight hair Who advertises to you
She’s the girl in the advert there’s no beginning, there’s no end
She’s just the girl in the advert And she really is my friend

2002

© Michael Aitken 2019

the girl in the adverts

Please click to see a PDF of the music

 

 

From the unloved country I came to you

From the unloved country I came to you
From the land of the crushed chrysalis
Where the deformed butterflies cry
At their images in the cool water
Who never could fly and fill the deserts
Crawling from one edge to the other and back again

This unloved country where all of mankind’s hate goes
Where it rains hate from around the world continually
Upon the butterfly people crushed
Like lovers caught in a holocaust
Blackened they emerge like surrealist sculptures
Hollow of anger, hollow of hate

Having had the love sucked out of their bones
I come to you on their behalf just to tell you this

My father’s time

My father’s time
Was tyrannosaurus Rex
That terrorized his earth
Was the empty eye sockets
Of a skull
That he alone saw into

It was an ultra precious
Mercurial metal locked into a box that he alone owned the key to
It was a very special venerated god
That he would never talk about

Time in his eyes
Was a hard thing to own
And a hard thing to give
It was hoarded like Inca gold
In a blood soaked room beneath the altar

His eyes, the eyes of one who was a rebel
A fighters eyes
He fought against time all his life
In a ring surrounded by death clapping and cheering him on

He never won a fight against it
He saved what was not won
As if it were the inanimate object
That broke all the bones in his body
He saved it like the memory of a precious enemy he wanted to conquer
He saved it as if it were arrows and fountain pens standing in the pools of his blood

His eyes, his eyes said
His eyes said of time
His eyes, his ferocious eyes said to me of time
Beware of it and treat it with respect
It is the unconquered enemy
It is nothing

It’s as if his own farther
Were time itself
As if it were the fists of his own father
Beating up on him

It’s as if time itself has replaced love
And was coming for him
From a long distance away
To fight another round with him

But out of all that conflict
Out of the scraps of it left behind
He fashioned a timepiece
Hammered and tooled by experts
And he gave it to me as the only gift

And some days it eludes me
For days on end time eludes me
But, occasionally, I can grab it by the tail
And I will work it like a mule

There is a River to Life

There is a river to life
With many streams.
You should look out for them
Keep their paths clear.

When I open a south facing door
Onto my sunny buzzing garden
I must open a north facing window
Under a shaded balcony.

If there is no through way
The insects get trapped inside the room
They bombard the north facing windows
Like angry suicide pilots.

The direction all things travel in
The flow of the stream
And of how all the rivers of life
Will flow down to a sea.

In the morning

The morning
Seems to be the best time
To throw out your net.

You pull it back in
With one or two
Bloggers trapped inside
Who like you.

The Priests Woman

Love, you hold out your hand to me
Suddenly the world is blanketed in snow
Icicles hang from your fingertips and I feel cold

Love, you hold out your lips to me
Suddenly everywhere is cold and blue
Your long white dress clinks like ice
The wood of your bones creaks in the wind

Love, you look at me with your eyes
Ice frozen cages that capture the past
Eyes as hard as memorial stones
Bright as the blinding sun upon the snowfield

My heart like a tulip bulb aching to flower
Wrapped in the chains of your winter

Love, your body like a pillow of snow and ice
Love, why do you look back into the blizzard

Will you lead the world to the edge of darkness?
With words as bright as torches
When your foot steps into the night
It’s the earth the fire wind scorches

Your face shines like a crusader’s shield
And you think you stand on Mt Sinai
As your chiefs prepare the battle fields
Where eagles circle in the smoky sky

As you drive your knife into madness itself
And you shoot your gun at insanity
Like a shadow it moves with bodiless stealth
A bloodless thing you can’t see

When love is covered in blood and tears
Wrapped up in the shawls of revenge
How will you calm your animal fears?
Or stop its sacrifice at this Stonehenge

I want yesterday

I want yesterday
To happen again
laid out like cling film
across the earth

I know yesterday
where it sleeps
how to tuck it in
how to dream it

I can see its performance
its field of sweat
its goal posts
its overcoats of blood

I can slip my hands into its pockets
I can use its shoes
I know where to find my home there
Between the ruins

Tomorrow I do not know
If history has any say there
If knowledge will be of any help
(Between the wreck of the Belgrano and the ruins of Bagdad)

Tomorrow may be changed beyond recognition
Between the tank tracks and the Euro economy
Between the vandals and the terrorists
Between the rich people and the new technology

Bring back the yesterday
let me stand on its hill of garbage
in contrast to which
I seem to shine like a star

Bullying did not bring curses

Bullying did not bring curses from my lips
I fought to be loved by you
I fought to break through your harness

I did not succeed
I knew I could never fight again for the love I needed from you
It was as black and white as that

Truthfully, even wanting to be loved became a shameful feeling
A pain that hurt
And I cherish that hurt as all I have from you

And when other loves beat me
I feel as mute as the speechless ones

I could not speak to save myself
To free myself
The poison I drank in my youth is still in my system

Nothing could excuse me from the ordeal
Not my health or my age mattered

And I have never believed in the reason
Why one man can treat another with contempt

Memorials to murders

Memorials to murders
Stand like bus stops in our land
Wreaths on every corner
It’s hard to understand

Babies and teenagers
Old ladies and old men
Blood stained city corners
Where’s it going to end

You can walk across a pavement
You can walk by a door
Where someone fell dieing
And won’t be seen no more

Killers are growing numerous
There’s a handful in every street
And justice ties its shoelaces
And is tripping over its feet

Where’s the heart in the system?
Where’s the heart in this land?
They try to play fair like in cricket
And let evil gain the upper hand

ALLEGORY

On the riverside the cameras eye hovered around the talking bench, panned across the river and back again to the talking bench.

“I lived in the room above where my father is now. I came down and people should listen to me.”

I leaned on the railing and watched the ships go by, the pleasure boats, and the outgoing tide.

The camera eye went to the floating dock, it was empty, it filmed the pleasure boat docked there, the ebb and flow of the waves.

“I have a message for mankind, that they should all listen to me”.

And there in the small room was the red water.

I was entranced by the floating dock, the unusual perspective of corridors, of gangplanks that formed architectural webs of metal post and roof all around me. The little office, the feeling of the floating dock bobbing up and down on the waves.

The camera moved on back up he gangplank to the riverside walk and along to the stairs and down to the beach cove.  The camera eye filmed the jetsam and flotsam washed up on shore, panning along the distant warehouses opposite, filming the river meandering around the horseshoe bends.

I went to look at the wall covered in seaweed and moss, its green slippery texture, the waterlogged wood, the great blocks of broken concrete on the shore, left from another era, the dancing midges.

“No one knows me, I have lived before, I came from the world above, the room above”.

The grey blue river had silver speckles over it from the afternoon sun, I watched it flow upstream, people walked or jogged along.

The camera now stopped at an inlet enclosed by old warehouses. The camera filmed a white duck that preened its feathers and then snuggled down into the sand, the litter, garbage, dumped stuff.

I watched the small streamlet that ran down the wet beach from higher small pools; water that seemed to flow from inexhaustible supply right at the top of the inlet. I looked at the ladders built into the walls that would transfer men from boats into warehouse doors. I put my face against the railing and I felt trapped on the outside.

The camera now began following the main road.

There is a garden in the sky where a girl with red boots is playing. Her father has gone back down to earth and left her on her own. An ogre sometimes comes and stares over the wall at her. Before he left, her father planted a small posy of flowers in the ground for her.

The camera resumes the Thames walk, stops to film the riverbank. A woman is out walking her two small dogs, one is a small fragile whippet, thin as a skeleton, the other ambles over decking over the river that is out of bounds to people due to its instability.

The girl with red boots is playing in the garden in the sky. She will come back to earth with a message for mankind and no one will listen.

The river has filled a small boat dock with water and receded, in the water I watch a swarm of fish dart and glide in circles through the shadows, beneath the swarms larger fish cruise lazily.

In the riverside park the camera films the flowers. Two teenagers immediately stop and ask the camera to film them. They strike a pose by the tennis court and talk about their leisure activities.

I watch the tennis players as they bat the tennis ball back and forth. In my hand is a bright yellow flower that I picked from a tree which I leave behind on the ground behind a little wall.

The girl in the red boots must come down to the earth now. She’s been left alone for ages without her mother or father in the garden in the sky and they never went back for her, not even the ogre who looked over the wall was interested in her.

The camera is filming an old brick bus shelter decorated by children’s painting of a river scene with boats and birds.

I head down Three Crane’s Walk back to the riverside again, the camera stops to film the dark alleyway between the tall buildings.

The camera starts filming the bank and the outgoing tide. A tall red sailed fishing boat motors by going down stream.

In Wapping High Street the girl with red boots and a camera is filming the outside of Turners Star, she goes inside, beads of sweat cover her brow, she films the pictures on the wall and banters with the men propped up against the bar.

The camera seems momentarily disorientated, it walks to the north filming, to the East filming, to the West filming anything in sight. I try to steer it back on course and head it back to the river walk.

“I am from the world above, I have come with a message, everyone must know and listen, I am from the room above, I can foresee events that will happen, people must listen”.

Then follows a pier that goes out into the river, that goes down to the pleasure boats moored in a floating dock at the end of the pier. In the distance two men are skimming stones across the waves. A cook runs from boat to boat; from the Captain Kidd pub people in the beer garden stare down at the river.

My time is running out, my time has run out, I’ve missed my appointment, I get irritated by the camera that goes by without seeing me.

I settle down on a bench in front of an old barge that has attracted the bird life, a Coot is building a nest; a young grey gull waddles down the beach pecking at things between the stones. The river police-boats are moored outside.

The camera waits to finish filming now, the second battery is running low. It comes to a clock tower and films it for a few seconds. A tower above the rooftops somewhere in Wapping.

2002

There’s a cherry tree by the surgery

There’s a cherry tree by the surgery
Its crushed cherries on the pavement floor
A sweet cherry-red smashed on the street
A red massacre of dark balloon juice
Mashed and crushed beneath our feet.

There’s a cherry red anger outside the surgery,
A bleeding on the bone of paving stone
A dry stained sludge of red cherry juice
Poor people tread them down with disdain
Into the concrete with worsening pain.

There’s a cherry tree growing outside the surgery
Where clusters of cherries queue for cures,
Hunched over, scurrying; scowling and worrying
Indifferent to anyone’s pain but their own
A sluice of red juice by the surgery door.

ALBATROSS

Like a ship attracted to burning ports
Where no authorities can ask you questions
You stared into my fires and felt safe

Maybe the fires were rosy and warm
Maybe the nights weren’t so lonely
Maybe the dreams became friendlier
Maybe you saw amongst the ruins a place to rest

You settle into port like a dove on the water
You built up a relationship amongst the smoldering docks
But the country began to grow
And people began to question you

Then a little breeze blew and you were gone
Back to the ocean, older and more alone
Recoiling from the pinpricks on your skin
Back into the storms at sea like an albatross

2002

The Concentration Camp of Poetry

The concentration camp of poetry
Sits in a clearing in the woods
No need for guns; they are only words
And those that escape will starve in a foreign land

The present moment

The present moment is nothing
My relationship with the day is broken
A cracked mirror of the sea with no reflection

I run through the pages of time
Looking for the granite of love
A morsel from the masters table
A drip from the ketchup bottle

London wearies to the marrow
I think blessed are they who live
Far away from here, this city
Is a honey pot covered in flies

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