Robert Wyatt


Benge / Wyatt - arr. Eno

I realised my fists were clenched,
I stretched my fingers to relax.
Still not sleeping
I tried counting sheep.
One by one,
they leapt across the fence
constructed for them.
Right to left,
across the fence I had constructed
Having jumped,
they refused further direction.

Each sheep, where it landed,
refusing to exit, remained
(Creating a vast writhing heap
growing fast on the left).
Try as I might,
I could not stop them entering
once again.
Try as they might,
not one could leave the stage.
I realised my fists were clenched.
I stretched my fingers.

Each sheep where it landed,
refusing to exit, remained.
(Creating a vast writhing heap
growing quickly on one side).
Try as they might,
not one could leave the stage,
Try as I might,
I could not stop them entering,
once again.
No longer daring to close my eyes,
still not sleeping.

I realised my goose was cooked
I wandered shipshaped on the shore.


Oh my wife is tall and short,
she won't do what she ought.
She never lies, but then again,
she lies down all day long

my wife is fat and thin,
she's generous and mean,
she's..............., and
her secret's safe with me.

my wife is old and young,
so sweet with her poison tongue,
on her evenings off she blackmails toffs,
but her secret's safe with me.

my wife is tall and short,
she hangs out down the port,
says "Hello sailor, how's your dad?''
But lher secret's safe with me.

my wife is sour and sweet,
she dit dit dit delete,
she's lalala ladida, butter
secret's safe with me.

Illustration : Alfreda Benge

Wyatt / Catherine

Over an ocean away
like salmon
turning back for Nayram
to the delta
with the rivulets tumbling down
glide over sand
around the rocks
back through the wavering weeds
and the turds
in the way
on the route
along away
the weirs of the tributaries
against the icy waterflow
to Mary

Wyatt / Hopper

Funny kind of greeting, not exactly hostile,
not exactly facing, not exactly turning away,
not exactly frowning, not exactly smiling.
Lurking by the door
without a sign of wanting to move.
Though hardly friendly, not an angry gesture
did it make. Just quite unnerving.
It's been a long time.

I almost forgot where we buried the hatchet.
"Bin a long time no see", (pidgin English
native to none). After several silences
a cautious head nod. This could take forever.
Did it want to come for a dig? It did
not answer. I was feeling restless at the door,
ashamed o fmy fears.Where WAS the hatchet?

Suddenly was gone. I woke up
feeling stupid. No-one else awake
though dawn was only minutes away.
Quietly I rose to fill the morning pee pot.
What a silfy dream,
not like what really would have occurred
Old wounds are healing.
Faded scars are painless - just an itch.
We are forgiven.
It's been a long time.


Wyatt / Kramer

Given free will but within certain limitations,
I cannot will myself to limitless mutations,
I cannot know what I would bey I were not me,
1 can only guess me.

So when 1 say that I know me, bow can I know that?
What kind of spider understands aracbnophobia?
I have my senses and my sense of having senses.
Do I guide them? Or they me?

The weight of dust exceeds the weight of settled objects.
What can it mean, such gravity without a centre?
Is there freedom to un-be?
Is there freedom from will-to-be?

Sheer momentum makes as act this way or that way.
We Just invent or just assume a motivation.
I would disperse, be disconnected. Is this possible?
What are soldiers without a foe?

Be in the air, but not be air, be in the no air.
Be on the loose, neither compacted nor suspended.
Neither bom nor left to die.

Had I been free, I could have chosen not to be me.
Demented forces push me madly round a treadmill.
Demented forces push me madly round a treadmill.
Let me off please, l am so tired.
Let me off please, I am so very tired.


Benge / Wyatt

When Woman wishing for wings,
(too large a lump to pass for bird),
hopes that by tvishing bard enough
she will cast off the ballast.
And the swallows
will politely accept her waving arms
as wings,
and she will join in with them,
and she will rise up with them,
and she will


Benge / Wyatt

I sleep on the wing
Above the rainclouds
Blown by the wind (no roots on earth)
No ground below (no ground below)
Just ruins (timeless)
Dandelion clocks (drifting)
Am I from Venus? (higher, higher)

No ocean bed, no west-wind drift
No desert sand, land or sea
No world below, blown by the wind (limbless) (homeless)
Not human
Lost in longing (lost in longing)
Never belonging (never belonging)
Am I from Venus? (higher, higher, higher)

No roots on earth (I sleep on the wing)
Nowhere I search (above the rainclouds)
No roots on earth (blown by the wind)
No ground below
Timeless (just ruins)
Drifting (dandelion clocks)
Higher, higher, higher, higher

Blown by the wind
Above the rainclouds (no roots on earth)
Evening starlight
The night's below (no lights below)
Just ruins (no ocean bed) (rootless)
Dandelion clocks (no west-wind drift) (drifting)
Am I from Venus? (higher, higher) (no desert sand)


Benge / Wyatt

A late sparrow fledgling
bathing in dust
beneath the gaping mouth
of the post box (hungry for letters home)

Illustration : Alfreda Benge


Benge / Wyatt

Pa arrives in the city of the closed doors,
greeted by miners from Asturias.
His limousine streaks past giant shiny moneyboxes,
huddled together for warmth.
He is deposited in his inner chamber.

Later, fix meets the bear, impersonates a tree
to confuse the hell's gates dogs' sense of smell,
and rests for chess with no-one.
Then (amongst the closed doors) he shrinks,
is dwarfed by rabbits, expands again
to invade the destiny of fourteen mysterious others,
strangely clad, captured by a camera,
carefully arranged, with a space for his image.
A plot hatched by fate.

Pa looks for diversion in the written word.
Meanwhile, the mundane world seeks solace in illusion.
An imprisoned rainbow gives shelter to the homeless.
A painted machine registers the weight of mystery,
and for background interest a kilometre of women
queue to kiss a wooden foot, patiently.
The Queen had been.
But no information, in the city of the closed doors,
on Christian Spain.
Elsewhere, bare buttocks wait their turn.
In vain. No guides available. All busy in the Prado,
followed by shuffling feet. Fascinated. Perhaps.

Outside again in the mundane world,
in the city of the closed doors,
living men impersonate sleeping saints,
on sundry raised surfaces, (tike benches).
Art objects sit headless (beneath coats).
Performance artists simulate poverty and beg.
A day's begging pays the entrance fee
to the Cinema of Terror. A golden gas mask
throws the torturers off the trail, amongst
the grazed walls of the city of the closed doors.

Pa escapes,
samples the delights of raw fish, good wine,
closes the door of his inner chamber,
closes the door of his inner chamber, and sleeps.



Roger's in the archive looking up Casement
Martha's in the government digging up the basement
rebel into representative for the voter
shadow backbencher couldn 't get a word in
turned up anyway   issues burning
all consuming   drinks in the cabinet
spent a lot of time just examining the building
drinks on the house? you must be joking
corridors of power cuts toy telephone bills
long time no see underneath the floorboard
looking for the roots of the family treetops
toe's in the water but you've only got ten

Fingers in the eel pie poke around tip top
tunnelling a wormhole Eartha Kitty catfish
meadow brown peacock   pupa-larva-caterpillar
hibernate in winter of our discotheque no
end in sight   more like a spiral coil
or curler   just unwinding   very slowly
revealing endless disappearing pipelines
genuflecting bowing deeply   it
don't take a weatbergirl to see where
the wind is blowing   what the wind is bending

Isobars are opening   sex to midnight
cabinet shuffling homeward bound   taking
a detour   rendezvous do   chapel in the valley
of the blown up doll   that's not Martha
shunting in a siding   she got homework
up to here
Roger's in the footnotes up to his elbones
verse and chapter disinterred
borrowing a bookcase don't come easy
the weight of the evidence in parenthesis
beggars tightly furled belief

Heads on blockabeater repetition on the line
Shell shock supertroopers   whirl banking oil palm
intercontinental drift   over the rainbow
over the sea to ska rocker skintone
hirsuit missed a link and that's not all
that he got missing inna thousand years of
orthotoxic waste disposal   god proposal
jealous sky   whatever is a girl to do
to break the service in its tried and tested
and found wanting state of oh! boy network

Little Johnny Aardvark never hurt
nobody Martha friend and Roger too
tone down a little   sotto voce   some tall order
given that four minutes seems eternity time
in the hushed up world of waspish Vsigns
A-sides sui-C-side salads of the bad young B-sides
what's the point of digging deeper just to lay
the ghost of Sala Hal-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub?

"Don't give up" the deadman cried
"there's more of us than there are of you
soon you'll all be on our side   forever more or
Lester Young died   'Fat Girl' also blowing all the blues
away side   dust ain't just dust   trust us like we
live forever   broken loose from greystone tether
keep on tiptoe through the archive   we are dead
but you are alive   Martha yes and Roger too
until you let the gringos grind you down"