Under a Blood Red Sky 2010

Work done for now, we go out
Motley friends and associates
We have a cheap meal
in a tacky restaurant
with the sports channel
on a huge screen above the table
Men, 22, 23, lithe and powerful,
risk their lives on bikes
We laugh about some bloke called Dave
who lived with his rickety mother
and loved a psychotic parrot
He called the parrot Chook
The parrot called him Mike
Water comes only in bottles

I say
What’s the plan? I say
I’d like to sit on sofas
and drink hot chocolate

But no-one lives near the city
There’s no-one’s house
we can go back to
and I don’t think
they want to

We scatter in ones and twos
Travel many kilometres, burn much fuel
to huddle behind separate walls

I bring in wood, light the fire,
put on pyjamas and ugg boots,
make hot chocolate,
sit in the chair nearest the warmth
watch a rock concert.
U2 in ‘83, on the cusp of fame
22, 23, lithe and powerful
They sing
‘I Will Follow’
‘Two Hearts Beat as One’
It’s splendid, surprising, vivid, surging, enthralling
It rocks
as always

And as always I imagine
you are with me

You’re on the sofa to my right
Your hair in a mess
Your shirt hanging loose
Not analysing, theorising, evaluating,
chuckling, sniggering or naming — just rockin’
Just rockin’
Later we can talk
about people and politics
propaganda and projects
Later maybe
we’ll fuck
Or maybe we don’t fuck
Maybe it’s not like that
I don’t know
I don’t know
that that matters
But I do know
that when the moment’s right
you’ll let me stroke your hands
and you’ll stroke mine

and that when we go out
to hear a hot new band
you’ll dance with me

But right now we’re just singin’ along,
head-bangin’, foot-tappin’,
drinkin’ hot chocolate
You might make me
a banana split
or I might make one
for you

The teenage fans dance in the rain
Three or four thousand, without cellphones
Their hair is a mess
Their jackets hang wetly
Their eyes are full of rain
They walked through the mountains, through the rain
‘Will ye dance with me?’ In his Dublin accent
Bono chooses a girl
with a perm and too much make-up
She is the audience
and the band
and the viewer
and the rain
He swings her up, whirls her around

The sun goes down
on Red Rocks
‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’
‘Do You Feel Loved?’
‘In A Little While’
haven’t been written yet
They sing ‘Twilight’
‘I Threw A Brick Through A Window’

as I imagine
you are with me

as I imagine you
are with me —

whoever you are

First published in my chapbook q finger (PressPress, March 2011).