top of page
ace logo

 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014

...Perky little number from Irving Caesar’s No, No, Nanette

Always gets her pinkies tapping on the slippery parket

Now smudged in muddy shoeprints of patent leather tread;

But it’s O, No, Violet once she spots the Dutch cap by her bed

Still unused, upturned in its pack like a rubber shola topee

Suitcased for the tropics! Has she been violated? Swift panic

Before that thought’s aborted with the rest of the seedy

Little episode, as she puffs up the pillows, straightens out

The telling duvet creases with clenched fists, and then forgets

(Something she does so easily these days) a desultory

Squirt of DEVON VIOLET dissipates the hircine scent

Of desperate sex, cheap aftershave and masculine sweat

From her compromised divan, and lifts his taint from her

Crumpled camisole –sweet nasal anticeptic of DEVON

VIOLET, recherché scent for the violet hour’s evening

Vigils flirting with thoughts of suicide or some other such quixotic

Recourse to action, a self-pitying fling –anything to fill

The emptiness that tips in after the end to desiring

With the softening of the body’s mattress-springs after

Unsatisfactory sating, as the last ash-stump of the bedside

Cigarette left burning in the singed ceramic ashtray, alongside

Cotton-wool-topped bottles of pills and placebos (apocryphal

Apothecary shop of the lamplit table-top), crinkled tissues

And tear-smudged notes in sedated handwriting –all composed

As if posing for a penultimate snapshot, a reunion

Of decades-crutching relics self-prescribed to keep

The disbelieving mind semi-convinced that somehow,

Out of all the heartache, angst and hardship, some ultimate

Reassuring and heart-warming purpose will surface from

Life’s long protracted postponement of catharsis –these

Artefacts of mortal disasstisfaction gathered for

A group photograph in the tyrannical antumbra of an alarm-clock

Always scratching its rattly head; all these objects and things

Clustered round the soft tomb of the bed to whose

Gravitational pull all human efforts of uphill-rolled

Boulders orbit by the ebb of day, back to the prefabricated

Grave that must be remade every morning, and the sepulchral

Quilt that is lifted again every night for Sysiphus’ strained

Limbs to slip under and be soothed by cool sheets, and

Those pillows which must be punched back into stone-firm

Shape from the mould of his previous night’s sleeping profile

(O that camel hump Camus sought to throw off was surely

A pillow, and, as such, easily removable by a flick of the hand

Or an absent-minded moment of philosophical suicide?) –

Death-rehearsing routine, a metronome for the toing and froing

Rhythm of factory or office days with never any significant

Change in tempo or content, lifetimes of never-spent employment

In futile duties too quotidian for myth, all just to continue...

...To afford to exist for the sake of enduring this daily abusrd,

This sempiternal exploitation, satisfied at least that nothing is

Of his volition in the end –This is how it is, and how it will be

Every single morning, noon and evening of his life until

Such time as he opts out from the roster and spontaneously

Clocks-off from fear and trembling regimen in a final

Assertion of defiance and enlightenment, the soul’s

Voluntary redundancy in lieu of involuntary retirement,

A fait accompli of flight before serving out one’s frightful notice…





And after all this, what’s left but the Tantalus-hint of an after-

Existence, whether to be employed again in a zero hour

Contract of apportioned punishment for the infinite hours

Of eternity, or to re-enter the void of unemployment where,

At least, Thought has room to stretch its legs, arms to form

Question-marks as to the absence of any schedule, akimbo

In limbo; there is a ghost left vaguely lingering in the pharoah’s

Tomb of human purgatory –the rented room, the studio,

The maisonette and the bedsit partitioned with kitchenette

And fold-out half-moon prayer-table mug-rinned with crop

Circles of spilt libations to bitter little giro-gods and

Coquettish corkscrew bed-springs –stains of times when

There were better tributes for toasting… Somehow, we never

Quite properly settle-in to our surroundings, some never even

Finish unpacking for always feeling as if about to uproot again,

Out-of-place in some sense, unsettled, weighed down with

Baggage while in transition, accumulating ever-greater

Quantities of inanimate things which cannot transmigrate with us,

Or, if transmigration is a myth, things which will outlast us –trails

Of footprints that disappear abruptly at cliff-edges… Our days

And memories to amount to so much dust of speculation

Gathering on the spoils of our forgetful belongings,

Every salvaged object, a colophon for our time-cropped

Personalities –our obituaries amounting to so many

Sentimental antiques collected throughout our dismantling…

Dutch Cap
DV pack
bottom of page