Ken Bolton

As Recalled


                for Wendy Griffith


New, hardly worn, surely sold
for 10% the price. Finally.

The new jacket looks good
looks better & better the more Cath
wears it.  Hangs just right
At last, it thinks—Someone who
understands me.  Finally.
Together we can do this.



Wendy’s Regimen

Out the door at 6.30, 7—
& walk to the coffee shop
across the suburbs in the cool
air.  Coffee.  Read the papers
check the phone—& back—amble
or walk or bus even, shopping
on the way—& arrive, home
a march stolen on the day




Moses—his long, & tender
tender reach to her shoulder
to importune food purring
an old cat hardly able to eat—
comforted to be remembered, a



Front Room

The carpet, a pale, slightly creamy
yellow—wisps of russet brown-red
upon it, irregular almost, & few—
like white coffee slightly stirred—
that enliven it, yes—& summon or
salute the brown in the room
of floor & desk



At the bottom of the yard

A photo Cath takes of Wendy gardening
‘Blue Dynamism of a Gardener’—
by Boccioni, Balla, Carra,
or Wyndham Lewis—but it is
Wendy Griffith spade in hand
wearing blue, green all around



Breakfast with Gordon

Wendy’s kitchen that all can use
that all do use.  (Her generosity.)
(Her ‘way’ too.)  Breakfasts, meals
we have there—the one with Sheena
just passing thru, & the next day
reprised, the leftovers augmented—
a feast again.  Cath, Ken, Wendy.



An Adventure

Around St Paul’s & to the river
& across it.  Past Tate Modern &
the champion fish-&-chips pub, past the
station—to the black, old-style Doggetts.
Lunch, a look at the Thames,
an oystery, lightly greenish-mud
clay colour, beautiful in the sunshine
(that is intermittent), a ‘Bonnard’
wait for Laurie in the bookshop,
read the magazines Art Forum
dreary; Flash Art dull & incredible
literally; Frieze—slightly better,
& better written: David Salle
reviewing someone.  Ring Laurie.
The plumber! so he can’t make it.
Catch the bus home.  No worries.



A trip to Brockley

to clock the haunts see how
they’ve changed: new Sainsbury’s,
new murals—cleaner, shinier
up market—Brown’s improved
                                               a little
Voices of two stylish young women
talking—(friendly)—delicious vowels,
a casual friendship between them.
One is tall with wide shoulders,
narrow waist, a Picasso nose—
the ‘Greek’ sort, antic? antique?

The park at the top of the hill:
green & blossom.  A man
doing terrific sit-ups radio
going quietly beside him so much better
gym music.  He rests.  Starts

A small dog Cath catches
in her photograph sets off:
the green the distant trees—admirably—
& the women walking it (well ahead)



Que Sangh

the Vietnamese restaurant we
go to—still pale green inside,
outside too.  It fills, the sound
gradually rises from the early quiet
to a happy bedlam.  Young woman beside us

a few spaces down, self-conscious at
being alone (I figure), buys a beer
affirmatively.  Drinks it.  Stretches.
Green hair, pale blue & white clothing
Her friend arrives & she calms & rejoices.
Another couple—a thin handsome Indian man
his maroon cardigan quietly fashionable
graceful anyway, is joined.  You’re late.

Tho he doesn’t sound it—she is worried,
too—tho she doesn’t sound it—& sits,
Japanese I think.  Probably both—
I think—thoroughly British



Bus views

From the bus:  Voodoo Ray’s
Dirty Dicks, the Blue Tit
Arlo & Moe’s  The Old China Hand
Gallipoli (Gallipoli 1, & Gallipoli 2)
people jaunty  spirited  amusingly sly
handsome & pretty, cutting a dash



Richard & Suzy

her small hands  delicacy & strength  her terrific face
& great, impassioned hair (a maenad)
the wonderful line of her lips—their wit
her eyes that flash & narrow  widen & narrow
Richard’s brain & appreciation
his voice




We meet Bron  on the way  at
Dubai airport & joke, that now we’ve
seen her  for just these few minutes
we’re bound to not get to see her again,
the pressure (to see her) will have lifted
been ‘lanced’ by this sighting.  She
has been in Adelaide, seeing her father
And true this is how it turns out. “Bron!”



The woman & her dog

She is very Alex Katz, Catherine Deneuve Call The Midwife
the cardigan, pale colours—cream, ice cube blue,
pink & white, greys
& the scarf (Deneuve, Katz, the 60s)
not Jaqueline Bisset, not vampy—’a touch of frost’
&—anti-stylish (or does it set it off?)—
her pug dog shitting in the park
where she walks it for that purpose &—
contra the style, the ‘hood, the class credentials—
must pick it up, & on—
to home? prepare dinner?



Seven, Eight Years Old?

The black kid in the park behind his
talking parents—he strolls behind
yawns, clearly ‘over it’.  Walking him
to school certainly.  Dad brief-cased
& suited, mother stylish.

The young girl: same age, black too,
with her mum.  The girl in fabulous
clothing—up for it.  Plaits, thin
black-socked legs, on her back her
school bag



On the Overland Train (The Courage Of Their Convictions)

girl doing her eye makeup with great attention
to detail—quite deliberate gestures
repeated again & again.  The mirror.
Finally, perfection.  The tired worker
slumped, head back (like Courbet’s
self-portrait—handsome, arrogant?
but he is sleeping, so ‘handsome’).  Also
like ‘art’—a young woman in blue
but tight overalls, great shoes, backpack—
slightly Spanish & ’19th century’, like
a Manet—the piper, the soldiers
shooting Maximillian.  The worried
‘clerk’—pronounced a la American
“clerk”—gormlesss, nervous, suited



On The Plane

The little sign that indicates (currently)
“see that your seatbelt remains fastened”—tho
in Italian as this is Alitalia—a few seats
over & a few up ahead, reads as two
shapes confronting each other.  One looks
like the head of an eagle or hawk, the head
mounted on a rod or stick of some sort.  Yellow.
A yellow eagle then—confronting
a Paddle Pop.  Between them a
small green spot.  Eagle & Paddle Pop
contesting a pea?

But looking closer, at the closer example
directly in front, I see it is the green
‘arrow-head’ shape, that indicates that the
two ‘buckles’ (the yellow eagle,
the banana Paddle Pop) should be joined.

Viewed at a distance they are interestingly





A loony tune, something of a zany, a yo-yo with money, Ken Bolton has been variously described.  In truth he is a curious figure—irascible, intemperate, vituperative, yet devoted, apparently, to an idea of ‘the Beautiful’… as somehow defined.  Lord David Cecil held him to be “the Hulk Hogan des nos jours” — and found in him “a veritable Norman Tebbit of the heart.” 



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