shots of light

mesmerizing the surface of the pool


his LA exile

looking like bad photography


surfaces bisected

by light and shade and colour

a flat pack world


not as you might imagine

unlimited blue water

reflecting the vast sky


a static take

on that vibrant splash


his real interest

the intersection of that boy

with this water

the way the white bottom bobs




the barbarians are still needed

a century on

Xenophobia justifying itself


his quest began

looking into the eyes of old men

and ended with the splendidly oiled body

of that remembered youth

a journey without end

as if that were the meaning

Alexandria a way point

to exile   Ithaka an ideal


loss and longing


(his Fourteen Poems illustrated with

line drawings by Hockney)


water like glass placed over white sand


scores of hermit crabs move at your feet

in borrowed shells    soon outgrown

smaller crabs grateful of the hand me down

the way of ideas


on the shore   shells flattened and uninhabitable

slowly disintegrating    replenishing this beach

you wander for hours

looking at dross    the dregs

and detritus the sea spits out

avoid the lumps of congealed oil

volatile under your prodding stick

avoid the gaze of mutton bird carcasses

bloated on the high tide mark

avoid their anguished beaks


in the haze the beach becomes a concept

you struggle to make sense of how

water and sky intersect    and where

the distance like some unknown future

tapering to an unseen point

sun disorders your senses

that smell of sex and ozone

the way you wish this time would extend

like the best of intimacies


footprints in the sand

steps like a crazy dance

to your ambiguous future