from Falling Off


A port somewhere and a solitary traveller. His eyes on the hubbub and flags of convenience. This strange sunlight after six months inside.

Maybe in black and white but still there seems colour. A picture near sea carries freedom of light and escape.

Say the Black Sea, which Greeks entered in fear: barely saline, barbarous tribes, undrinkable wine.

The details don
't matter though.



From my childhood, it
colours which bring tears.

Their optimism, the orange and greens:
days of sunburn and rolling on grass.

High blues on the Gower in a Day-Glo bus,
flint-granite battlements then sand dunes.

The blue always receding,
even its depths promise light.


Men slowly tied with wire,
about to be shot on a beach.

One removes his shirt,
blinking at the camera.

Robin Denselow, sotto voce as the rifles fired -
'And some of them took a long time to die

It was Newsnight
, 1980, Liberia,
by the blue and beautiful Atlantic. 


Am I allowed to talk of how
I meet you now in dreams?
On holiday, you constantly checking
flights, times, the days remaining:
how many and what we have still to do.


Since your death, all my dreams have been insane.

Last night
's, a picaresque gangster romp,
starts in feverish alleys off the High Street.

'm recruited into the Camorra,
moving to half-sinister London -
Bayswater, Bloomsbury and U.C.H.

My mentor, displayed to me throat slashed wide,
bound in the back of a white transit van, still alive,
begs revenge - not old Hamlet, more Battling Kite.  

Various gashings, cut-throat escapades.
I drive the stolen van through the Brunel
bus station, Slough - imprisoned, hostaged,
dowager lunatics, a Paddington tenement.  

Sure to awake, whatever happens next.


Evicted from a car in east London,
the tube lines are all strange and water is
flowing down steps. Trains head east, I jump
on board - lose any faith, fight some way out.
Hurdling four barriers to get alley-chased
down a quiet slum street with open doors
into the sparse rooms of a Slavic terrorist,
adorned with charts, plans, death threats,
by a calendar with dates counting down
to three assassinations, as we three - his
estranged family - wait in a boiler room
with Islamic slogans. He returns and
no one recognizes him, not his family
nor the police, until we realize it's me. 


In a language without words;
plosive, guttural, screams from
mouths minus their teeth, patients
dragged along corridors, then 
the high dome of desert noon.

A place for farewell, swift as
a dagger
's cut, spilt phrases,
a face, bewildered at
this final leaving.  

No place to return here.
A long sun drops over
corvid fields - open to
unmapped woodland. 

   Paul Sutton 2014