As I came
from the Embankment
underground station
towards Charing Cross


I saw Julie standing
looking in
a shop window
she looked thin


in the jeans
and yellow tee-shirt
her hair was drawn back
in a ponytail


she saw me
and walked towards me
thought I’d meet you here
she said


got bored waiting
in Trafalgar Square
I said


good that you're here
we kissed and walked
hand in hand
up to Charing Cross


how are you?
I asked
she said


the doctors
have been on my case
all week
and the nurses


have been
breathing down my neck
into everything I do
can't even go


to the bog
without them
standing outside the door
in case I’m shooting up


and are you?
I asked
course not
where am I


going to get anything
to shoot up?  
we came to the road
and crossed


at the lights
and into Charing Cross Road
I missed you
she said


missed you too
I said
wish I had
a photo of you


to put by my bed
can't get one
she said
the parents won't bring


a thing from home
unless you have a camera?
no I don't
have a camera


I said
she said
I’m going


to a jazz concert
next week
I said
jazz? yuk


she said
I’d rather
have an enema
who are you seeing?


Charles Lloyd
jazz sax guy
but I can see you
in the day time


it's in the evening
she looked at me
we could try book
into that crazy hotel again


for a few hours
she said
get that same room
and bed


I asked
no next week
she said


I said
I’ll ring through tonight
she smiled


give me something
to look forward to
all week
get me through


the nonsense
with the docs and nurses
we went into
Leicester Square


and into a café
for two coffees
and a slice
of chocolate cake each


and I studied
her face
and small breasts
just out of reach.

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1967 VISIT.

Sunny day
that hospital
visiting day
she outside


in a chair
smoking a cigarette
I sat  in a chair
next to her


let me out
she said
wanted to meet you


in London
but the docs
put their spoke
in the wheel


and the parents
are none too happy
about it


they have
to visit me
rather than I
go to them


I said nothing
let her speak on
get it out
of her system


she had this
dressing gown on
her hair tied back
in an untidy bun


bright red slippers
on her feet
if I didn't have
these cigarettes


I’d go completely
over the wall
with the other
fruit cakes in here


she said
they said
you were here
at the hall


I said
I went there first
Warwick said
you were here


bought you these
and I gave her
a pack of smokes
and a small box


of chocolates
she took the gifts
with her free hand
and placed them


beside her
on the grass
God you are good
to me


if we were in the City
I’d repay you
she said
no need


I said
given out of love
not lust
she smiled


guess so

she said
they keep
that small cupboard


locked now
she said
after that time
we had it off


in there
she said
I looked back


the hospital ward
a few yards away
too small anyway
I said


she inhaled slow
on the cigarette
her eyes half closing
due to the smoke


do you really get
that church
banging thing?


she asked
the essence yes
I said
not necessarily


the trappings
she stared at me
her free hand
in her lap


the other holding
the cigarette
to one side
I suppose people


need to believe
in this darn circus
of a world


she said
guess so
I said
she looked down


towards the road
some fifty yards away
where traffic
moved slowly by


and as she moved
she crossed her legs
a glimpse of thigh
caught my weary eye.

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It was the summer of love,
at least that's what they said.
There were guys with long
hair and beards and beads,


with wide trousers, and loud
shirts, and girls with long
hair, and dresses like nuns,
or short skirts, showing off


their not so good legs or thighs.
There was Hendricks, Beatles
and Stones and playing, music
loud, live. Julie was out for


the day; the hospital quacks,
giving her a day pass, no
shooting up, no pill popping.
She met Ben in Trafalgar


Square, tight skirt and top,
hair held in a ponytail, bright
eyed, big smile. He was
by the fountains having a


smoke, eyeing the girls,
listening to some long
haired guy strum a guitar,
his skinny girlfriend doing


a dance, her bony legs
looking breakable, tits
non existent. Been here
long? Julie said. No, just


a few moments, he lied,
not wanting to give her
reasons to moan or row.
She wanted to go for a beer.


So he took her to the bar
off Charing Cross Road
and ordered two cold beers
and lit up some smokes.


She spoke of some nurse
who almost lost her her pass,
all about some fuck up, over  
drugs, she’d forgotten to take.


She said the quacks were ok
with it, the tall one is hot,
she said, shouldn’t mind him
poking around in my parlour.


He told her about the Charles
Lloyd jazz album he'd bought,
how he'd met him outside Dobell's,
got a sign copy of the new L.P.


She drained her drink and he
ordered another two, she took
one of  his smokes and lit up
and sat back, crossing her legs,


her black short skirt riding her
thighs, sucking in his eyes.
No place for sex, she said,
unless you know of a bed


and room going cheap for
an hour or so?  No luck,
he said, wishing he did,
remembering the fast shaft,


the quickie in the hospital
broom room, amidst brooms
and brushes and buckets
or boxes and all. She said


her parents rang, and they
argued, and she slammed
down the phone. They said
it was the summer of love,


but where they sat, boozing
and smoking, it fell pretty flat.

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I wanted to meet you
outside the National
Gallery, Julie says, but
the doctors weren't keen,


said I fucked up my drug
medication, and not let
me out for days. She
was a drug dependent,


on the cure, or so she said.
And waiting you went
to Dobells's record shop,
listened to few jazz LPs,


had a beer, sat and smoked,
thought about sex, the having
and not so. Then she shows,
her dark hair neat, pony-tailed,


her tight figure in the clothes
she wears, tits almost touchable.
Let's skip the old stuff, she says,
let's keep to the modern shit,


save time, energy, then after
a drink and chat. So you go
in the Gallery, take in all those
moderns, the stuff she likes,


the portraits, the brush skills
involved, who painted whom,
buy a few postcards, look
at books. Then off for a coffee


and chat, you go to some place
in Leicester Square, sit at a table,
take out the cigarettes, wait
for the order, take in her features


as she speaks, her eyes, her lips,
the way her hair is brushed
and kept, her tight top, those
pressing out of tits. I liked


the Picasso, she says, his stuff
really gets to me, makes other
works boring as last year's fucks.
You notice how she holds her


cigarette, the fingers not yet
browny yellow, hold it just so,
not tight or loose, but gently,
like it was some baby kid instead


of tobacco filled paper deadly drug.
The coffees come, neat small cups,
tiny handles, froth and such. I feel
the need, she says,all the time that


need to hit the veins or tongue. You
hear her words, out there, fragile things,
taking flight, like doomed black birds.


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