Jean Cocteau

Alan Dixon

Scruffy cyclist in black track shorts
with shammy-leather internal arse patch
designed and executed by mother,
I once saw Jean Cocteau.

Something was going on in a bank, or a place like that
on the Riviera – I think it was Menton.
We were inquisitive and looked through a narrow opening,
and there he was, saying something to his muralist
about shapes on the ceiling. Were they winged horses?
Even at sixteen I knew his face.

My brother is dead, but he took a snap
of a man on scaffolding with an arm raised,
and one of me eating melon on a beach.
It must have been that same day
we discovered the acid triangles of Jacques Villon.