How to Build Cathedrals.

After Cildo Meireles

To think, when the Cessna's
wheels bumped the makeshift

runway, women-folk walked
uncovered and the men knew

nothing of their godly duties.
I started them on The Gospels.

Marianne instilled the finer points
of feminine deportment. Before long

they knew the principal scriptures
by heart and could recite the Hail Mary

in the perfect broken English
our predecessors bequeathed them.

We've had a number of successes:
children wake afraid of God's wrath,

ladies wear brassieres and the gents
cease gambling on the Sabbath day.

In the last sermon before hurricane season
I say, tapping my breast, this is a church.


Poet does not require attendance.

Poet stands tall and speaks live wires till your heart
bleeds conscience, voice and mystery at the intimidation
of language upon thought and being while thinking.

He will tell you that his symbols come from a heaven
in his mind, and that like Da Vinci's measurements
and synchronous math, this too is a natural code that
bows to no moneyed master.

He will say that still in all this we experience the just
nature of context, cause and effect together, but that the
joy is at the beginning, with the egg and the I perception.
Poet will stamp his foot.

Shout the mystery is as it IS!
That the life of a poet is a life lived
then described in symbol-full sound.

His brow will furrow and run sad,
as he tells you that all you are
can never be captured in words,
that the joy of successive sunsets
cannot be captured in successive poems.

That all is once and that ONCE
has simply never been.

Poet will tell you he has called in sick today.
That time is a ritual based on habit not inspiration.
That he found freedom between nine and five.
He'll ask if you did too?

Poet will tell you that the holy words are a fiction
on a clouded sky, but one that if he is honest, he
pertains no small attachment to. Poet will chuckle,
at the spirit entering the mind.

Finally Poet will tell you that the trick of the truth
is in listening for the sound of a bell ring from
your soul.

Poet will promise you that this requires no
expense, no therapy or monthly subscription.

Poet does not require attendance.



billy is having the best night of his life. everyone will love him, and his girlfriend anna will change her mind and let him finger her for sure.

life feels fucking great, billy's usual self-conscious restraints falling onto the pavement with each step, with each empty miniature gordon's gin cast under hedges, thrown into bus stops, back gardens, shop doorways, post-boxes, schoolyards, shopping trolleys, playgrounds, graveyards.

YES! billy is more alive than he has ever been, colours and movement, sound and sense, everything is different, better, new and improved. by the time the staggering billy reaches the church hall doorway he has already decided that this is how he wants to stay: from this thirteen to forever. he smiles at the old lady who collects the entrance money, telling her how beautiful she looks.

love you, says billy with a nonchalant flick of the wrist, swinging back the dull thump-thump-thump doors to the sound of selector, that mod band that a headbanger like billy cannot dance to, cannot admit to liking amongst his headbanger friends, and yet, tonight, billy the incredible is crossing boundaries, squeezing the juice from the gonads of life, and jumping straight in amongst the trilby-headed, narrow-tied, two-tone knees-up of the bumboy mods.

YES! billy cries, pogoing dead-centre of the enemy, like a brick dropped into a bowl of milk, the ripple of astonishment stopping the running-on-the-spot suited dancers around the epicentre of billy.

WHAT THE FUCK YOU DOING? yells fat johnny into billy's ear as billy the wonderful lands from a deer-like spring through the air. billy fixes fat johnny with a bozz-eyed grin. YES! he shouts into fat johnny's face, but by now the modboys and beatgirls have all stopped their jag-kneed dancing to gawp. this will not do! but before they can decide on how to react to billy's crime of dance, the opening flourish of no more heroes by the stranglers causes a spiky tide of punks and punkettes to wash across the dancefloor, studs and white paint on leather, tartan and straps and green-laced doc marts send the mods scattering to their corner of the church hall, and the grinning billy does the only thing he can do to celebrate this life, this wondrous gift of existence, and that is to do the twist.

and this, is where things take a turn towards the ugly: the punk boys and girls doing what they have to do too, which is to hurt billy in the form of dance, by hurling their pogoing spit and boot into the twisting, laughing fool that has the audacity not to dance the dance that has to be, stubbing their fags out on billy's face, which now hails a call to billy's headbanger friends, who up to now have been watching goggle-eyed and gob-smacked from their corner of the church hall, and can hesitate no longer as one of their own is kicked and spat on and used as an ashtray.

the music stops

and the elderly ladies and gentlemen of the church committee attempt to quell the push and the shove as best they can, and as the yellow light of fluorescence fills the hall, the white-haired reverend leads billy by the wrist to the fire-exit, the bloody-lipped three-minute hero of the hour, grinning at the adoring crowd, knowing full well that he is now champion of the world, a new god, a name that will be passed from classmate to stranger, throughout the whole village to the town: billy, the boy who danced against the grain, the boy who everyone will want to be, want to be with, to fuck and to worship, the boy who started a revolution.

outside his bedroom window, the birds are singing to billy. billy wishes they'd shut up and leave him alone. he doesn't want to remember pissing his jeans at the top of the slide, standing open-armed and crucified like a pissy jesus, all the faces looking up and laughing as he tells everyone to piss themselves because it's the only way. he doesn't want to remember the broken chip-shop window, the cut hand, the same cut hand that smeared anna's face with a slap when she called him a stupid cunt. he doesn't want to remember his mum and dad when the police brought him home, the same mum and dad that are now sat downstairs waiting to talk to him, to cry and to shout, to tell him there is something wrong with him, to tell him that he's breaking their hearts and to ask in the name of good god all-bloody-chuffing-mighty: why?