Janice

Janice, it was told
Your lovesick boyfriend – became so bold
He could not live without you
He would love you forever

Janice, were you frightened?
Did you wish that he would go?
A little bit of detective work
Will tell you all you need to know

Perhaps he was a homeless man
Perhaps he was an orphan
Perhaps he lived in council care
Or worked as a shoreman

Never seeing any woman
Never feeling love before
Perhaps it came down all at once
And made him hit the floor

Janice did he fight you
Did your father make him leave?
Janice did you hear from him
And did your heart feel grief

I don’t know if you married
Elder cousin of mine
Maybe you lived a lonely life
Without a track on time

Dreaming of his bruises
Dreaming of his cries
The man who truly loved you
Until the end of time

Salesman

Your father was a salesman
He’s leaving home for ages
You’ll think of him a stranger
That sends home his wages

Now he’s on the road again
Looking for a village
But every door he knocks on
Already has been pillaged

Meanwhile you play hopscotch
Across the pavement days
You also admire the wristwatch
Of any man who stays

Your mother chases vagrants
She never gives them money
She calls them by your father’s name
But you like them cause they’re funny

The years pass by so empty
In your lonely chamber
You pray for his homecoming
But his love is like some danger

Your mother marries someone else
She sends you to your room
And sitting at your window
Like the darkened moon

Like a room – in a box of concrete
Like a ship – at the bottom of the sea
You go in search of the salesman
Who left you-to-be free
Who left you-to-be free

Oh, baby can you talk

Oh, baby can you talk
Spirit to spirit
Across the rooftops of the forest

Oh, babe can you talk
Spirit to spirit
Without your bowels hurting

Hey babe can you zoom
Spirit to spirit
Like the Holy Ghost

The graveyard is empty
Even the birds have gone
It’s winter now already
The squirrels have insomnia

The film moves faster across the screen
The politician forgets his argument
There are broken high heel shoes all over the pavements
Hey babe, let’s talk

Thornbird

A thorn bird came into my life
With wings made of stinging nettles

Where did you get
Your thorns from? I asked
Why are your wings
Made from stinging nettles?

She could not remember how
She could not remember
Her blue, blue wings
Or her golden crest
Or her long, long black tail

But she stays here until the full moon turns red
Talking of conflict and misunderstandings
sleeping where the cat slept
rolling up in the cold blanket of the night

her plumage is spotted with the blood of kisses
beneath her is a lake of tears
a crown of thorns was her greatest gift
and love has been her endless quest

She wanted to come in

She wanted to come in, I know
But she brings with her
Mountains of rock
Valleys of snow

While I stumble inside
On a pebbly beach
On ankles like rubber
And sand bag feet

She wanted to come in, I’m sure
She did, as she stuck to the door
A speech of what more
And where else and when

She wanted to come in with her
Old iron plough that cuts out corners
From the walls and the windows
And leaves tea stains on the carpet

I simply just had to cut a tunnel through the ocean
Cast a magic potion and dance the night away in Goshen
With the Israelite slaves and the Egyptian boatmen

She would topple my totem pole and rob my tomb
She’d recline like a phoenix in smoky gloom

While rivers roll and the stairs are lost in time
She simply wanted to come in
But it was just at the wrong time

When she speaks the truth

When she speaks the truth
She shines like a lamp

She is restored like an old master
And you see the person you love

The perspective of a new road
Is shared with you giving you hope

At the apex of the perspective
A stone boulder becomes like clay

You woke up today about to set off
But she’s not there

She is frozen in the mirror-glass
Another past has caught up with her again

She came to me

She came to me with her shoulder ripped
With blood pouring out into life’s last flight

Rising near to the sun like a shield of courage
Like one who had lost her wing of wisdom

Who had worked all day in the factory of hardship
Whose transfusion of love rocked her like a mountain

She came to me like a shadow movement
Waiting for night to leave the chains of history

She felt the earthquakes that come out of her heart
She stood on her line ready for the highway

I know that you grow

I know that you grow in my soil
I know that you spread your leaves
I know that you inhibit other growth
This is how a weed can turn into a bird
This is how love produces her work
This is how words find strength in the earth

I know that you grow in my soil
And that the garden begins to die in your shadow
That as you fly away you leave him weakened
Competing for food with his white throat
Exposed suddenly to the great sunlight of love

I’m the mistress of the stranger

I’m the mistress of the stranger
In the room above the river
My hair flows like a current
In dark and twisting water

I live six flights up
On a cold forgotten landing
I look across the city
Like Britannia standing

With the bed and chair and table
With a black cat curling
The walls have flaking paint
The floorboards always creaking

The stranger comes on strange days
He comes with many strange ways
There’s nothing to identify
There’s nothing to get in touch with

I’m the mistress of the stranger
Like the moon across the river
I watch the bridge for danger
My eyes begin to quiver

The stranger went away one day
And death came to the door
I heard the stair were creaking
I heard the scrape of claws

Speaking like a father
Sounding very savage
I heard a peel of bells
I wondered who got married

A silence then engulfed me
I’d lost all sense of time the time
The stranger is returning
For the night, the dark, the wine

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