These poems “borrow” some words, lines, images and ideas from the poetry of Philip Larkin. Any resemblance between the characters depicted in this sequence and actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

I - " ...fulfilment's desolate attic."

From a high window in my attic space,
the night was framed like an Athena print:
the moon was glowing like a Silvermint,
the lonely cloud was small, did not efface
those spots that might be stars, or snow. Because
I could not sleep, because the room was cold,
I gorged myself on Playboy's centrefold
and moved beyond her come-on smile. It was

as if the bench of desolation were,
with wooden lathes adjusted, metal moved,
a bed-base and a mattress and a sheet
on which I lay, imagined what she wore
and tore it off while making vicious love
till satisfaction sighed. Then I felt shite.

II -  "...our almost-instinct almost true."

"What will survive of us is love," he said,
handing a bunch of wilting daffodils
to all the women who he took to bed.

Say it with flowers? Say it with words, instead,
engraved on a tomb a stone-mason fills.
"What will survive of us is love," it said.

Say it with promises which he, then, fled
in thrall to lust, to brief spasmodic thrills
with all the women who he took to bed.

Beyond all this there is the fearful dread
of catheters, of needles and of pills.
"What will survive of us is love," he said.

Before the ambulance arrives, he's led
to think of all the keepsakes that he wills
to all the women who he took to bed.

Is he consumed with existential dread
of nothingness, of death without God's frills?
"What will survive of us is love," he said
to all the women who he took to bed.

III - “…one of those old-type natural fouled-up guys.”

The university at Hull has sent
a senior member of its staff to speak
on Changing Trends in How Textbooks Are Lent
at a conference down south, mid-week,
held in a 4-star QHotel with rooms
for single delegates at special rates
and chocolate, fresh fruit and fragrant blooms
for all the conference associates.

And so, one Tuesday, on a Virgin train
he finds a seat inside the buffet car
and eats a bacon sandwich while the rain
clears from the windows and he sees the far
and distant prospect of the ancient hills
and valleys of an English countryside
that lay before the "dark satanic mills",
changed everything, left him dissatisfied.

The train slows, glides to the platform. It stops.
Then he returns and takes his numbered seat,
and sees, fronting the cafe and the shops,
the passengers and those who wait to meet
the  passengers: some students on a hike
(one girl he likes is wearing shorts and boots);
a tall man in a trench coat wheels his bike
past city traders in their pin-striped suits.

And soon the carriage fills with giggling  girls,
hen party drunks  with pink hair, pink lipstick,
and one  in a pink tutu  doing twirls,
waving a three foot willy, "Kiss Me Quick"
inscribed along its flesh-like shaft. She waves
the plastic phallus like a fencing sword
past his startled face.  While she misbehaves
he glares, and wonders should he pull the cord.

Then she slumps down beside him, sleeps and snores.
He turns aside and watches as they swing
past factory outlets, used-car lots, small stores,
past KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King,
past small allotments at the edge of town,
past wind-farms on the distant hills, and past
the sun-lit countryside. Then they slow down
and he has reached his terminus, at last.

He takes a taxi from the taxi rank
outside the station concourse. As they crawl
past high street shops, a pharmacy, a bank,
they talk about the weather, football, all
the banal intricacies of a life
that's neither awe-inspiring nor grotesque.
Then they arrive. He pays. He goes inside
and gets his room key from the Welcome Desk.

Up in his room he reads the hotel guide,
discovers there's a sauna, steam room, spa.
There is a hot tub, out of doors, beside
the summer terrace and the pool. He asks
himself if he would ever take the plunge.
He then checks out the bathroom where he lays
out neatly a leather shaving kit, sponge,
toothbrush and toothpaste for the coming days.

He watches cricket on the BBC.
Someone, in whites, is running in to bowl.
He takes his iMac from its case to key
the wi-fi code into where he can scroll
to find the strongest signal. Then he checks
the mini-bar to see the drinks within:
there's Heineken, Budweiser, Watney’s, Beck’s;
there's whiskey, brandy, vodka, rum, no gin.

Down in the bar he buys a G and T,
and sits where he can watch the guests arrive.
There is no one he knows that he can see.
He buys another gin. He feels alive
dreaming of hot-tub sex with naked babes.
The barmaid, serving bitters, turns away.
One look at her, he thinks, and passion fades
to be revitalised another day.

He wears a laminated id card:
name, photograph, and title are included.
He eats where he can dine without regard,
where his brief peace, he notes, is not intruded.
And, after dining, he returns upstairs
to watch TV and raid the mini-bar.
With beers and chasers as his nightly prayers,
he drifts asleep, listening to jazz guitar.

At ten past three he wakes to take a piss,
and watch the moon above the HOTEL sign
"drift with sad steps to where the grand abyss
awaits us all after our brief decline..."
He writes these lines, then he tears them to bits.
He gives up poetry and turns to porn.
He watches women have orgasmic fits,
puts down the laptop and he comes, forlorn.

All passion spent (and spilled) at last he sleeps.
His snores reverberate until the sun
seeps through the curtains and his iPhone beeps
its wake alarm. Before his day's begun,
after his shower and shave, he has resolved
to shake strange hands, contribute, be polite,
attend all meetings, speak out, be involved,
before returning home  on Thursday night.

IV- “…they link us to our losses…”

Where do poems come from?
If they arrive from God
knows where the boundaries
of loss and linkage merge,
they do so with a sense
of evanescent lives.

Ah but they dissipate
or disappear down lanes
or cycle tracks like
midges in the mist; or not.

Conor Kelly

If you have any comments on the poems ,  Conor Kelly would be pleased to hear from you.