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RASLO LAYTON - ROCK POET


 
 
 
 

PORTRAIT OF AN ATHEIST ON A VERY TALL BUILDING

See
can he stand
right on the edge
the very, very edge
and say “God’s a load of bollocks”

well he did
he stood
right on the edge
the very, very edge
and said - loudly -
“God’s a load of bollocks!”

Christ, I thought
that guy’s got faith.

BACK


BLEED ME DRY

I climbed out of my bed
on a beautiful sunny morning
I cut my losses shaving
I should have taken it as a warning
I was buried under strangers
and though I realised the dangers
I could not run, I could not fight,
and my helplessness was compounded
to encourage their new liberty
and anarchy abounded
Christ, even in my own damn home
I just could not be alone
and they laughed

bleed me dry, for I have no-one to rely on
bleed me dry, for I have no shoulder to cry on
they stripped away every wall and haven,
every fabric barrier to bleed me dry

Punishment hangs over me
but I don’t know what I done
perhaps the Lord resents it
that I find my life such fun
it’s only people
spoil the beauty
with their rules, laws, and duties
they’re a pain in the butt
and they’re generally quite gloomy
they introduced formality
and brought such sadness to me
I cannot fart in case they hear
they never smile they only sneer
and I see them

bleed me dry, for I have no-one to rely on
bleed me dry, for I have no shoulder to cry on
and I saw people change to politicians,
saw the kindness fade to lust and greed
and they still bleed me dry

As the rats all emerge
from their little house below me
they ooze with confidence
and they act like they all know me
and their faces are familiar
my friends faces are so similar
is it me going soft?
or is it something very clever?
I whack them with a stick
and then I forget them forever
but the fear has me shaking
and I figure that I'm taking myself

somewhere...
anywhere but here
hide in Ensenada, maybe
drink tequila in some cheesy hotel room
get my head down,
rest...
but then I hear them in my sleep
feel the tickle of their feet upon my skin
and dream they bleed me dry

I thought time this must end
for I find it all confusing
and though I don’t know the game
I feel sure I must be losing
so laugh at me girl if you must
but it won’t satisfy your lust
for I don’t care any more
if you succeed or if you fail
it is not my concern
if your life begins to pale
I would have given endlessly
but you spat right back at me
so carry on

bleed me dry, for I have no-one to rely on
bleed me dry, for I have no shoulder to cry on
and I marvel such small hands can take so much
and still have time to bleed me dry
for I have no-one to rely on
bleed me dry, for I have no shoulder to cry on
and without the game you lose, I choose to leave
and trash your memory
long before you
bleed me dry

[well I'm so tired
of the hatred
and my mind
so sick of the violence
that I'm laying
in a stupor...
...wishing UFO’s...
would take me...]

BACK


NIGHT IN THE DESERT

We ran from the city
fading fast like drunken thoughts
we fell off the edge of town
into the desert
and as the wide, cool desert calmness
blew the memories and the guilt
she said “they claim you done a thousand things”
I laughed
“they just don’t know me well”
the dust and heat of middle-day Amerika
made me thirsty
and her eyes upon me
made me hungry

and we journeyed
through the desert
through the dust
in search of something
knowing we would make love
when we found it
and at night,
wondering does she know me?

I looked at her
her eyes closed
her golden hair whipped by the wind
her young body
and her love for Brando as a child
wondering if her mind would change
and would she ever dream of me
would she?
but while I wait
I take the sex
and let her dream I’m famous
for that’s the only thing
that makes her loving fun

endless highway
through the desert
eating dust
anywhere but somewhere
meeting anyone but someone
and at night
it’s nice to know
she doesn’t know me

diners like the movies
screen doors banging
she said it's just morning she drinks coffee
as she pushes her hair
from off her face
turns to me
and in a loud voice
says “I really think you should be leaving”
- there's an old man in the corner
looks
his eyes are glazed with boredom
I said it’s far from Vegas
she said “you too are far
but not far enough away from me”

I walked out in the dust
through the desert
driving blindly
anywhere but somewhere
losing someone who was almost
precious
and at night she doesn’t know
how much I miss her

BACK


THIS FRAGILE FACE

I just want to step out
walk the streets
in the crowds
let anonymity hide me
so the blows don’t see me
time out, end of a round
cease-fire
anything
just a moments peace
to regain my strength
behind this fragile face
the churning turmoil
this disintegrating man
behind this fragile face
this fragile face

Today I could have used a conversation
even though
I don’t have much to say
but even that was denied me
and I ache,
and I’m always scared these days
it’s something terminal
I hear the clock
sometimes it’s all I hear
and it scares me
for the things it leaves my children
when it stops for me

So, come on
round two
or twenty-two
who’s next?
which friend, fiend or relative
wants to take a shot?
take me down?
or am I not yet so far
down enough
for you to tear my flesh?

I need to focus
but my brain
just won’t focus, baby
the troubles make my ears ring
sleep seems good
but it’s the middle of the day
and I'm crowded out by people
who just don’t know
all the churning turmoil
the crumbling values
devastating this
disintegrating man
behind this fragile face.

BACK


LETTER TO SHEYE

Will I ever get to see you
in Madrid?
will I ever get to see
the things you did,
the things you wrote
or get to hear
the songs you sing
will our lives be anything
but desperation down the wire?

I received Cohen’s raincoat
thanks a lot
when it’s raining in Uganda
it’s not a thing you can ignore
and the more you hide your head
the more it soaks you
on your feet
and isn’t that
like every speck of shit
that life has ever thrown
it’s every reason
you have ever known
for desperation down the wire

I was thinking of you, coming in
thinking how it’s easy when
we trade our worries,
mine for yours
and, see, they’re gone
a continent away
and in innocence discarded
hey, Sheye, what wounds need binding
with our humour?
what songs will chase the pain?
for when I cease to hear the choir
that’s when you'll hear
my desperation down the wire

<it’s eight in the morning
sometime in August
I’m writing you now to
remind you of Cohen>

or maybe to rekindle
the fire in my soul
it’s been raining quite a lot of late
and I’ve only my humour to shelter me
to hold the bitter pieces
and to help me laugh
like Sheye
laugh like Sheye
until you tire
then send your desperation down the wire

BACK


CONSIDER ME A FRIEND

Well it wasn’t me
who questioned your motivation
I wasn’t even present in the room
so when your family voted
I abstained, and had it noted
so won’t you
consider me
a friend

and I thought you
would recognise my contribution
to the moral preservation of your soul
and if not your soul
at least your reputation
so won’t you
consider me
a friend?

even comrades,
those who claim to be your allies
much prefer you in gossip than in truth
and whilst on occassion I have tittered
hell, I’m only human
so won’t you
consider me
a friend

so won't you extend to me
a common kind of courtesy
and not look at me like I just
shot your dog
for whilst I might have fooled a little
with your girl-friend
once or twice
I do believe you should
consider me
a friend.

let’s not dwell on fleeting moments
or on trivia
it’s churlish that you seek
to distribute more blame
and please forgive the things about me
I ain’t told you
just simply
consider me
a friend

BACK


THE SECOND TIME I MET DONN DEEDON

He talked about Jason,
of the cerebral palsy
Skateboard Jason, of the cerebral palsy
Choirboy Jason, of the cerebral palsy
he talked about Jason
as a celebration of life
as if to say
we all have some sad story
so there are no
sad stories to be told
only adventures
as we all set off for higher goals
be it to the top of the tree
or to the top of the stairs
we all have goals
he talked of Jason
as a celebration of life
as if to say
look at the things you can find
along the way to anywhere
if only you have the bright eyes
to see

it isn’t about
feeling sorry for those
less fortunate
there's always someone
less fortunate
it’s about doing the best
with the tools we’ve been given
and, most of all,
finding that light
the bright sparkle of laughter
that lives in everything around us

he talked about Jason
as a celebration of life
for when he told Jason
“Things aren’t always as you want them to be”
Jason replied
“well
they will be tomorrow”.

BACK


PIT OF FRIENDSHIP

Did he tell you
he’s an outside man?
and did he tell you
where his music comes from now?
and when he told you
love was over
did you tell him
it wasn’t over here?
deep in this pit of friendship
it isn’t over
(every time she touches me for sympathy
I want to scream “I love you”
but I don’t -
and as she walks on down the street
softened by the friendship
to the rhythm of my eyes
the flagstones crumble
behind her
between us)

we all pray for rain
to hide the tears
we all pray
for the sun...God...the telephone...
to shine, bless, ring
man, won’t you ring and say
I want you
more than just a friend

she’s a talking-in-the-dark-night loss
though she was never mine to lose
and she pushes me away
every time she touches me
she doesn't realise she pushes me away
it’s late, we’re close
I want to tell her
but there's that kindness in her eyes
so I don't
her kindness as an ocean
and I’m drowning
my arms are waving
she thinks waving “hi”
but I’m drowning
in such bitter seas
cast out lonely by her friendship
and my arms are waving me goodbye
goodbye

as I sink beneath the rain
it drowns the tears
we all pray
for the sun...God...the telephone...
to shine, bless, ring
man, won’t you ring and say
I want you
more than just a friend

His new love makes her cry
her old love makes me sad
and I can’t shake this pity
from my shoulder
wet with tears
wet tears, the remnant of her love
she looks around in desperation
looking for a way
she doesn’t see me
next to her, in front of her
my heart, like thunder in my ears
she hears nothing
she’s listening for the phone
like all of us
she feels safe beside me
and I feel so sick I feel like dying

and I'm praying for the rain
to hide my tears
I'm praying
for the sun...God...the telephone...
to shine, bless, ring
man, won’t you ring and say
I want you
more than just a friend
I want you
more...
than a friend

BACK


WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU SO BAD?

I never talked behind your back or
called you wrong before them all
I never hid the sun, or made you run
or ever took the blue from out your sky
I built an island, in an ocean,
for you alone and kept its wild waters free
and in return you gave me anger
and an eye so sad
what did I ever do to you so bad?

Life is never one for one, that’s a deal
and deals are not for friends
and after all these years, the children past
I wonder what your memory holds
We shared a goblet, wine the labour
that intoxicated both our fates and softened life
and never once a favour asked
never once a favour had
so what did I ever do to you so bad?

And tell me now you never had
that light inside your eye
no breathless thought, no moments dream
no question of the how it might evolve?
and then we tug at those we know
like wish-bones from a feast
we didn’t quite enjoy
and whisper secrets in the dark
that we once held and now gone bad
what did I ever do to you so bad?

Oh wicked witch, the ladies of the night
put you to shame
their lies are honest, entertainment,
bought and paid for in the dark
the time has gone, the passion faded
I don’t really think about you very much
just idle curiousity,
and ammunition for this song
I really don't care if it was wrong

BACK


WOMAN FROM NASHVILLE

On the steps of the blind poet’s door
sits a woman from Nashville
her suitcase, empty of dreams, at her side
she’s calm, but crazy, the street lights confuse her
the poet knows he shouldn’t let her in
but he fumbles the locks, and the bolts and the conventions
and bids her - implores her - to share his abode
for he sees in his darkness the freedom
from more than twenty years before

he sees sharing
he sees comrades
he sees the moment before violence took over
moments before the judgement came in
and the good dreams were slaughtered
before the woman from Nashville arrived

Her clothes drop to the floor, discarded,
as she stares at the shower
confused, the normality scares her
the blind poet fumbles, meaning to serve her
but his fingers only find her body, naked
she relaxes, insanity calms her,
and he thinks that he’s clutching the past
as the rock and roll smoke fills his brain

he hears the music
he hears the sharing
for a moment he is back in the field
moments before the judgement came down
and the good dreams were slaughtered
before the woman from Nashville could leave

She shivers, the thought of the water cold
she guides his hands
she’s safe inside sex, for sex never scared her
and in bed he is never blind, few men ever are
and a historic balance of peace is restored
the water forms pools,
cold, like the street
but for now, he is lost in the vision
and she, hiding from all that she sees

she hears the music
he felt the water go cold
and one of them rises, tries to leave
but the judgement has come down
the good dreams are slaughtered
but the woman from Nashville will not leave

BACK


DRIFTING

She was woken by his bragging
and his macho promises
promises to please himself
that this should therefore
pleasure her
“No more” she thought
and tried to fake her sleep
he tried to take her
make her
fake her pleasure
but she’d long forgotten why
and she had no idea why
and she marvelled at his stamina
at maintaining his belief
she once more tried to sleep
as the shower told her he was finished
she faked sleep as he left
then wearily she went
to make her coffee

and quiet, with a cigarette
she listed her possessions
quietly she packed
she sat inside the car
her thoughts floating, drifting
neither angry nor afraid
just drifting

she flicked the cigarette away
and climbed back up the stairs
back to the comfort of
the devil that she knew so well
and he found her sitting softly
in the corner, sitting quiet
and he didn’t stop to think
she might be leaving.
but she’d long forgotten why
and she had no idea why
and she marvelled at her stamina
and stared at her life in disbelief
He talked across her head
around her body
listening as his words bounced
off the walls
telling her the fortunes
she inherited in him

and quiet, with a cigarette
she drifted in her mind
his words a foreign language
she sat inside herself
her thoughts floating, drifting
neither angry nor afraid
just drifting

I know her
him
so many just as they
I read the novellettes
I see it culminate
upon the evening news

and quiet, with a cigarette
her life laid out like second-hand
possessions
she drifted in her mind
she sat inside herself
her thoughts floating, drifting
neither angry nor afraid
just drifting

BACK


SHE ASKED "WHO IS FRANZ KAFKA?"

She asked "Who is Franz Kafka?"
I told her
he’s a Greek-Argentinian
who runs a small deli and coffee place
down in Lan Kwai Fong
I thought she’d be much happier with that
than with the truth

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