The Rules of the Kitchen

Vol III: Rules of the Kitchen

Your actions are my dreams

The Winter's Tale



Rodorigo, after Henry (abridged): 4

…you shall understand what hath befall’n –
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter
Found in the pocket of the slain Rodorigo…
Othello (5:2 346-55)


Balustrading, porticoed in a glee
of blue on an edge of night
she faces.
–Friend Purse, eyes veranded: despise me
if her giggle is not all appetite.
–O, only pride

(her father’s) & a more general lack of vine
stops my Absaloming up to her,
“All days are knights to sea till I see thee,
& nights bright days when dreams do show you me,
Fair Warrior!”

–You learn dat soft phrase, Purse?
Dat sound like fick-lip lust.
–Rigo lets the day
blacken, unromanced: le’s do a hoedown, boss;
let’s go incontinently drown ourselves in sack:
I’ll pay!



Ben Lowsey


It opens with a magic trick: touch of a scroll
down and predictive and is second choice cod,
suddenly, and we’re friends because his walnut
beard opens clear as his silver skin and twice
the length. Albert-like, but his name is Ben
and this is the Sailors’ Reading Room after all.
“Renowned local character,” he explains, and we
read the lists: “West. Flag. Lowestoft,” I begin.

Despite lining our stomachs with bacon and milk,
Ben Lowsey and I don’t make it past our second.
“Your reputation precedes you,” says the man,
wiping ginglass from the white ball (is he as old
as Ben Lowsey?) We see out the night brewing
toddies and adding to the Dick Book. “Whittington,”
he explains, sketching a bag, stick and London.

I show him Ketamine and the Tube. He prefers
the latter because the blackglass doors and his legs
begin and end with feet, while Ketamine merely
drags them away. “Always look out for the Way
Out sign as you come into a station,” he learns.
“Then you’ll exit the train in the right direction.”

We spend the Coldest Winter On Record talking
skirt. “Ugly chicks,” I say, “tend to remind me
of the waterlogged masonry one sees in Holland.
Veiny alabaster mouldings, black Tournai stone
brackets, goblins and so etc. Then they’re okay.”

“I think I understand why we’re friends.” “Best
friends.” “You like me because I’m no longer
alive, I like you because you notice the captions.
But both of us are fast running out of imagination.”





Torn wide like sight, all the water left
to us was soft as pale pink (and Southwold

water isn’t soft at all: cold white wine cut
from a chalk cup. The brewery imports its water.

So this is saying something.) To the stop
of clifftop one way, the ship-line the other.

We sidestepped a smashed children’s party
and a puppy tripped away from my hand.

(It looked orange and weird in the light.
Dogs rarely like me. You looked orange

and pink in the light.) All the types of cloud
were there. Walking was easier. The air

was lighter, in blue as well as sprung touch.
Everything pointed to altitude. At sea level.

If the sky touched my willy, I probably
wouldn’t be able to stop it. Say no.

Mate, I’d probably join in. A half-step
and a beach-hut and a corner of yellow grass

and all we could look was straight up,
or over sea. And all the light was periphery.





The Rules of the Kitchen


are written in plain language: two
and a half adjectives and fewer
commas than The Road. A baker’s dozen,
although the thirteenth is quite long,
the longest, so possibly that should read
A baker got his measurements wrong.

And a fat font. Clearer read than rain
-white roadsigns. We circle the spray
of a sink – squinting dry, with a guest
or two who won’t laugh – and speak
them in a round, like The Holly
and the Ivy(exactly like The Holly

and the Ivy in fact: The Rules
of the Kitchen are methodic, cumul
-ative, they build. Without, indeed, the glue
of one popular melody, let alone two.)

But I won’t repeat them here – less out
of an out-ear sense that some things ought
not be repeated (Voldemort, I say,
often; Cunt, I say, often) than safe
with the catch that other things go
without saying, and should remain that way.

Rather, hedge-gaps and scenarios will
break you all the nearer – better still
a trapdoor……up six paces in, you’ll miss
the broken slice of splash (for wetness
is a product of plain English,
never the route – like repetition then).

The first: Should I wash another’s cup
whilst there is still some hot water?
Second: Do I use irregular punctuation?
Third: Might I touch you yet, or later?



Rodorigo, after Henry (abridged): 26

…And here another…
Othello (5:2 346-55)


I was adored once.
–What happened then, Sir Purse? Now I see
there’s mettle in thee.
–Rigo, thin         faced Rigo (donkey-punched
from birth, remember, by Fortune’s dearest spite)
attempted, like

a decrepit father, o’ de lusty coon,
to engraft himself against the lady’s softnesses
under a new         moon.
In short, I came on too strong.
–What den, Ram Purse? You sound dis’resst.
–Then came song,

rhyme, break & line which though outstrippt
by every pencil, was Rigo’s pride
in a life
extremely         cudgelled, clasp-crippled.
–And then, Purse?
–I had a most marvellous piece of luck. I died.



To an iPod


-To an iPod: you’re no better than a (large) shell.

You’re worse than a large shell. A shell is cleaner,

Whatever chipped or dark – no sideward cut, wheel.

Flat on plastic bone, ear, Shell wins! Ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. HEADPHONES?! Ha ha ha ha.

-A defence: Parachutes (Funeral Song) Play Count

4 Last Played 24/12/2008 17:03. Yes, a happy print.

Two hours before pints with the village, I count.

Six and a half before Mass. And not once since…

-Remember: if your laptop clacks into knee, pieces:

More room for books in a small bag. More spaces.





We, Mudlarks!


Official – yes, and paid: not in traded
fruit and meat, or pickled loot, or even
on commission. An actual, annual wage!
Stapled to signed, certificated permission

from the County Council.

Next time the cold comes – the watermouth
yawns frost upstream, cackle-casing
the bargebed in unspadeable peaks of lace
and glass – I mean to found a Union:

Of Archdeacons, Locksmiths & Blacksmiths.
Of Harbourmasters, Haberdashers &, ideally
speaking, Cobblers (although I fear the Ronnie
Barker, smells-like-a-hardware-store appeal

of * SHOE REPAIRS * signs

has clubbed that most edible of shopfront
words into a thickly Ronsealed strongand
-silence). Of working-men of Title – only
we won’t use Union; we’ll prefer Guild.

And Aldermen of all of this, we shall stand,
framed permits hung between our hands:
we, Murdlarks! Stained from groin to toe
with silt and water, frog and treasure.

We, Mudlarks! Less Phil from Time Teams
of the riverbank then Boba fucking Fetts. We,
Mudlarks! Merchants of the pale stuff that has
eccentricity bubble into downright deceptive.

For birds we are not.


The Birds


Nonsense, he said. I’ll stand by
flock. Flock shall be sufficient.

And a fleck of nightingale shivered
behind a (deliberate) snap of wood;
and hen warmed hen warmed hen;
and swallows neither landed nor took
off, while hawks played the honest
lapwing; and even the owls open-eyed
at one another, backed by chattering
bracken, as he drank his sugared tea.

Excuse me, I said, slow-shaking
my head like a turtledove. Try to see:

The starlings are vibrating again,
unhooking woodpecker and catching
a down of broken bark; the storks
are about to do something – I know
this because a magpie told me; herons
have sprung their beaks like trebuchets,
and the sparrows have been camp-bed
charged to shelter the herons’ womenfolk.

His chin curled with a raven’s feather.
I pinched my nose and one last push:

A peep of chickens?
A walk of snipe?
A spring of teal?

A congregation of plovers?
An ostentation of peacocks?
An exaltation of larks?

Not a chirrup. I had the crows murder him.




Rodorigo, after Henry (abridged): 67

…Now here’s another discontented paper
Found in his pocket too…
Othello (5:2 346-55)


I don’t operate often. When I do, they
don’t take note: ‘I have charged thee not
to haunt about
my doors, thou silly gentleman!’ persons shout.
I’m tried & tried to disappear for days
on days, and yet

meknows I have astronomy. –Mr Purse, eyesight
that now; we will have more of this
tomorrow, adieu...
–Stay! There is a further difficulty with the light:
when in disgrace with Fortune & men’s eyes
& I all alone rue,

beweep my outcast state, then, then
my poor rude papers file fresh fire,
quit totterin. Friend,
take money if you can my heart deceasèd keep.
–Purse, I warn: this could be to my advantage.
–Friend, I already
                           dead. Asleep.