Friday, 29 June 2018

JIGSAW DAYS

I  do not want to write much about this post's poem, discretion is the best policy.

Poem for C

Given the economies
of supermarket squash
and the cheapest of vodkas,
it had always been
how much could he drink,
in the shortest amount of time,
to keep ahead of blacking out,
to avoid the grey dawns
when monochromatic
migraine imitating aftermaths
immobilised him in a space
where he could do nothing
but relive it all over again.

I met him in the fragile truce of sobriety
that he called his jigsaw days,
as he placed his pieces
into shapes that just might work,
into patterns that had eluded him on the drink.
Some events, he confided, never end,
so you have to find different ways of getting on with it.

I've been listening to a lot of Kathrine Williams this past week so here is Cuckoo.
And this is In a Broken Dream.
Until next time.

Friday, 22 June 2018

A HOLE IN THE SKY

When I was in Australia I wrote a number of poems. I think that the stimulation of travelling spurs the creative processes, gets the chops moving so to speak.

Fremantle 2018

He warns me that I will burn
easier here than in Europe.
Points to the night sky
and confides there is a hole.
With diplomatic cowardice
I refrain from admitting partial responsibility.

I helped to make it.

Forty years ago I was employed
in the negative alchemy
of turning brine into caustic, hydrogen
and chlorine [the basis of all CFCs],
the side effect of which,
half a world away,
is this hole in the sky.
There are better legacies.

This is autobiographical, you can read another poem about those days here.
The second poem relates again to Australia.

straight out of a horror film

the bird hit the window

it is dead

by the time I get there

eyes blank

cooling

as I bury it

the sound of flesh impacting on glass will not leave my head 

Love Forever Changes seems to have a near permanent place on my turntable at the moment, I can't seem to get enough of it. 
Here is The Red Telephone.
And some more Maria Gadu.

Until next time.

Friday, 15 June 2018

GHOST CHOREOGRAPGY

The two poems in this post appeared unheralded giving no indication as to how they were formed. This happens occasionally. Most of the time I have a good idea where the components of a poem have arrived from, though I am loath to dissemble them in public. 

ghosts come uninvited to activate the machinery
that projects forgotten memories

and he swims through the resultant images
to re-taste a thousand defeats

on awakening from a night of bitter lost chances
he wonders if he is not his ghost’s lab rat

but the day clamours for his attention
ghost choreography directing his every step
The second one seems to repeat the first but more optimistically.

No matter

We run in circles,
though at the zenith point we believe we have escaped,
our feet only know a set number of steps so eventually we return.
Possibly we give thanks like mariners sighting landfall.
Probably we do not, viewing the familiar through
a black and white lens that sepias our soul.

But for now all that is in the future,
the mist will burn off, the day promises sun
and the road to who knows where reels him in.
I quite like the idea that the lure of the road draws us on. 
There is a fatality to these poems that surprises me. I am usually more positive.
Brooke Sharkey is in the studio recording a new album-very excited. Watch this space for more news.
On spec I downloaded an album by Maria Gadu this week, I'd listened to a couple of snippets and thought it was worth a gamble and it was. It is really good music from Brazilian. Surprisingly she covers Jacques Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas, which featured in a tv show.
Here she is singing Bela Flor.
This is Veja Bem.
Until next time.

Friday, 8 June 2018

CAST A LONG SHADOW

I'm not sure this first poem is complete. I suspect it hurtles too quickly towards its conclusion and would benefit with another example in the middle. Things feel better in threes, however I don't have one at the moment. So you will have to file this one under work in progress.

They used to say
you can take the boy from Widnes
but you can’t take Widnes from the boy.
I have to agree,
my voice carries Widnes,
all those long vowels pin me to a place and time.
Widnes casts a long shadow,
it settled on my father’s lungs,
caused him to fight for every breath,
until it just wasn’t worth it anymore.
I could not locate a suitable photograph of Widnes so you will have to make do with a winter shot of Hestercombe Gardens.
I appear to be writing a series of interconnected poems, or one long one, it is too early to say, about a coup. You can read the first part here, it concerned a woman being arrested at the outbreak of the coup and subsequently released.
This second section concerns her return to her flat.

It was if he had never been there
and the obligatory search,
that now follows any arrest
has left your rooms in ruin.
The hurried, half hearted destruction
of bed, clothing and books
is matched by the ransacked kitchenette.
Sunlight shafts through torn blinds,
despair is a fast filling space inside
then you remember the cell, stop yourself.
It is too early for questions
they will come later.
I am not sure where I am going with this work. I am writing it in random sections. Watch this space.
Here is Laura Marling. Her last LP is proving to be a popular one in our house

Until next time.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

ROUGH MAGIC

Palooka 5 Somerset’s coolest band have done it again. They have just released an 8 track mini LP. Regular browsers of this blog will know that I have long been impressed by Palooka 5’s live shows. They are a tight five piece who play fuzzy organ surf psych with an Apocalypse Now twist, or at least that’s what the back of the record says! 


Live they are a powerhouse of good tunes, only rigor mortis could keep you from dancing. Although they subscribe to a psych surf aesthetic this does not mean they are merely copyists as their new album Rough Magic attests they can write a good, original song.
This could be one of the albums of the year for me. It has been on heavy rotation on my record deck.



The album kicks off with Cactus Blossom Heart and storms through the first side. I’ve been listening to it since Friday and I cannot decide which is my favourite song. Every time I play the album I am struck by the quality of the individual songs and the musicianship of the band.
The second side features three remixes from their first cd EP along with a stonking new tune Heavy Ju Ju.

 The band are touring all summer and I certainly intend to catch them live.
Here’sa link to their web site. You can download the album at all the usual places.
Here's a live set:



Until next time.

Friday, 1 June 2018

INVISIBLE WORKERS

Another poem inspired by my days in Abu Dahbi. It is self explanatory. 

such a vacant highway
six lanes of no traffic

my early morning flight
requires this pre-dawn drive

beyond a wire fence
on a service road

coach after square functional coach
head in the opposite direction

just the movement of invisible workers
towards a city that cannot run without them
I had some difficulty shaping the poem. At times I get lost in the frame, that part of the writing that leads you into the poem, the explanatory lines. While these are useful to the poet they add nothing to the poem. It took me some time to pare the words back to the essential.
I thought I'd leave you with I Am The Walrus. I first saw this on Boxing Day in 1967. It has lost none of its majesty.
Until next time.