Friday, 20 April 2018

FULL VOLUME, FULL EXPRESSION

A couple of poems I wrote in Australia while sitting on trams. 
I am an habitual people watcher and the discipline of writing what you see can lead to some interesting results. I tend to use reality as a starting point and let the words take me where they will.

Two Tram Poems

1.
Surrounded by the familiar,
dashboard, rear view mirror,
a steering wheel to add percussion,
she waits to turn left in her little silver car.

She sings along to the sound system,
full volume,
full expression,
and with hand movements.

I’m on the tram, watching,
sat next to a man with a beard.
We are as far apart
as the limited space permits.

There is little chance we shall follow her example
and burst forth in two part harmony.

2.
In a grip like a hydraulic car crusher
she breaks the book’s spine.
I can almost hear the words plead for mercy,
then count the seconds between
her hand slapping the pages over,
each devoured in seconds.
Does she speed read?
Is this how she approaches life
as a thing to be subdued?
She dog ears the page,
exits the tram,
to take her place in the arena.
I don't have much to say about either poem. They are flights of fancy whilst sitting on the tram. 
Since my return I have been working on a number of ideas that I jotted down when away. Watch this space.
Here's some more Anna Ternheim.
And here's Holding On. The video is notable for the gawking, laughing people in the background.
Until next time.

Friday, 13 April 2018

THE INFINITE YO-YOING OF MATTER

I  have been travelling for the past month in Australia. More on that in later posts. Here is a poem about cosmology and dysfunctional people. 

Split seconds after that Big Bang,
it all flew apart,
glad to be free from the nose to toe compression,
in that constricting cosmic egg of everything,
pushing the envelope ever outwards,
Red Shift in its wake.

This my radio tells me, explaining the science of creation
so that even the likes of me can grasp the magnitude of the event.

Then we are on to possible parallel universes.
Either the infinite yo-yoing of matter,
that creates one universe after another,
or fast/slow bubbles,
each a meta-galaxy replete with its own physical laws.

Some people live their whole lives in such places.
I know this for a fact as I was once a tourist,
spent four years in such a reality.
It was easy enough to cross over,
even though there were no guide books.
I had more difficulty getting back
but managed it in the end.

In my ear the cosmologists
continue to debate,
who’s right and why,
it doesn’t matter to you,
burdened, as you are,
by things you can never let go of.
I only discovered on my return that Tom Rapp had died. Tom who? You might not know the name but for me in the middle to late 70's he was a life saver. 
I have talked before about Pearls Before Swine and their 60's masterpiece Balaclava, but there was more to Tom Rapp than this lp. 
Tom had founded PBS back in 1966 and made 2 lps for the ESP label. He received no financial remuneration for either record. He went on to produce a further 4 for Reprise. Among these gems was The Use of Ashes, one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear. The City of Gold lp was a revelation to me, so beautiful, fragile and offering another worldly view of life. Needless to say I acquired my copies of these lps from bargain bins in the mid 70's. 
The first music I heard by Tom was from his first solo album Stardancer, I think it is still one of my favourite lps. 
I do not want to recite the facts of his life, you can read those anywhere, all of the links in this blog will take you to better written articles than this.
I however want to thank Tom Rapp for his songs and recordings. He brought illumination into my life and I give thanks for that.
This is Another Time, a song about reincarnation.
This is The Jeweller.
For The Dead In Space.
Prayers of Action. OK, this might be a tad over produced but it's still an amazing song.
Oh children don't you weep if the road is long, all of us are prayers of action, on our way to God...

Friday, 6 April 2018

REGIME CHANGE

I've been pondering this poem for time. It's part of a long work I have yet to write, hence my shilly-shallying about posting it. To be honest i have only a vague idea of how it ends.
It arose from a line about Fredrick Street, a real street in Widnes- if you care to look it up on Google. The line originally was about rain falling in Fredrick Street and it grew into this:

Regime Change

Just after it's always the same
the false calm of people attempting to be normal
to the soundtrack of glass being swept up,

Then the round up began.
Door to door down Fredrick Street.
Silent, sullen men,
wrists locked in plastic ties,
like so much messy cabling,
pushed onto the road,
pulled aboard lorries.


She was released on a Monday morning
cell opened and told to go.
She'd been picked up at a checkpoint.
Red flagged - the conclusion
of a sequence of random questions,
turned out she had previous.

Contained, she had waited badly,
paced the dimensions of the cage.
In that she was not alone
Mixed up in the first harvest of suspects.
Some stood a chance,
other hadn't a hope in hell.
But she was released
and to begin with she couldn't leave the cell.
I'd be interested in what you make of it. I suppose it's watch this space for updates.
Here is a track of the upcoming album from the wondrous Ryley Walker. Please support this unique artist by buying his records and going to see him live.
You can download a concert from 2015 here for free.
Until the next time.

Friday, 30 March 2018

UNWRAPPING THE MUMMY

I have come across a number of references to Egyptian mummies being unwrapped recently. Apparently there was a craze for doing so in Napoleonic  France. There was not much scientific rationale for do so, but when has that ever stopped people.
I felt that this activity was fertile ground for the poet.


The Unwrapping Party

When I lay there,
having my brain extracted through my nose,
while my guts were pulled out by the handful
and dumped into the jars at my feet,
I did not foresee that my sleep would be disturbed
by anyone less than a God.

I could even put up with the French interrupting my twilight,
but to be labelled a minor figure,
in the political structure of the Lower Kingdom,
while accurate, could have been said with more respect.
This social event makes no pretence at science,
which has come to replace religion for these people,
I am merely a sideshow to titillate the matrons of Paris.

The professor talks his audience through the process,
removes each wrapping, holding it aloft for their scrutiny.
His commentary revealing more of his time than mine.

Then I will lie under glass, naked,
having seen too much,
and my second cycle of waiting will be ignored by the passers-by,
who hurry to see the real treasures of the museum.
This is definitely a work in progress. Watch this space.
Alela Diane has just released a new album.  It's well worth a listen.
Until next time.

Friday, 16 March 2018

OPEN EYED WONDER

Here is a poem about people who cannot leave what they know. 
It was written quite quickly a little while ago and I am not sure it is ready yet.


He has never left his garden,
or walked beyond its boundary
to gaze with open eyed wonder
at what can thrive outside.
It is is true he tends his fields,
diligently kneels in the soil,
skin cut by sharp leaves
of plants he barely knows beyond
the names they give themselves.
Each holds its own promise:
protection, profit, status.
Everything comes at a cost,
in blood, in sweat, in time,
so he has never left his garden.
There could be so much more.
I'd be interested to know what you make of it.
Here is Bill Evans from 1965.
Until next time.

Friday, 9 March 2018

SEVEN REASONS WHY

 
A couple of small poems this post.
The first describes a specific day.

SEVEN REASONS WHY THIS IS NOT AN ORDINARY FRIDAY

The chain of red lights on the ceaseless line of lorries.

Such a sun rise.

The quality of light in the trees.

The corona around the clouds.

The colour of the spring grass.

I coast on fumes to Plymouth because I did not check the fuel gauge.

I meet the magpie in the quad for the third time this week, and think I have discovered her m.o.


She watches me as I walk back to my car.
The second is a brief prose poem.

Later he would claim her husband had hired a detective. This conceit made him feel better, invested the tawdry with a mystique it did not deserve. As if it was not all there to see, all you had to do was bring your eyes.
Here is Fireworks. it's off Ruins the new lp by First Aid Kit.
Until next time.

Friday, 2 March 2018

A FLANNEL SHIRT INFINITY

Here is a poem I've been struggling with for some time. 
It's about Alan Turing, the genius who broke the nazi's enigma code and is credited with being the creator of computing.

FOR ALAN TURING

His was a flannel shirt infinity,
built on tweed jacket equations
that formed in his head, on the cycle rides,
across the soot streaked snow
that gentled the outlines of the bomb sites.
He had served with passion,
when numbers on a chalk board
were the only things not rationed.
Blind eyes had been turned to his difference,
as he strove to break the unbreakable ciphers,
back when he had a value.

The world had contracted since then,
become straight laced with no place
for brief encounters in public lavatories,
and they meant to shame him.
Their heterosexual hegemony locking difference out.

He could see an off/on future
of zero to one and back again,
but the apple is in his hand.
He knows he will bite into
its shiny, poisoned skin
and that will be that.
His death was a huge loss to humanity. 
I still do not think this poem is in it's final form.
I leave you with a sad song: Bauhaus Chair by The Nits.
Until next time.