Friday 24 April 2015


A revised poem. You can read the last draft here.
I must thank the Secret Poets and Juncture 25 for their valuable insights and constructive feedback. 

Another Poem For Christine

Last night you found your way home,
despite the intervening twenty years,
and the fact I've moved more than once.

Of course it was a dream,
the corridors conspired and turned in to walls
and kept us apart, though I walked for miles,
until I awoke with this poem in my head.

Then there was a choice,
stay in bed or write it down.
I chose, in the grey dawn,
to sit in this comfortable room
and write you another poem.
There are a number of changes, most noticeably the line breaks. Layout can really affect a poem and it is always worthwhile playing about with how it looks on the page. 
As you can see from this work in progress layout changes how the reader approaches the poem.

the thick, warm night reverberates with the echo of the music, I carry an amp to their car, they have a hundred and fifty mile return journey, the house concert is now a party, fat, splat raindrops impact on the road as we walk back to your home, bringing the promise of a cooler night

Not sure it is half way there yet. I feel the it is a poem of two halves that may never meet. Watch this space.
Here is some music from a long time ago, back when videos were thought to be cool.

Friday 17 April 2015


Three brief poems about birds.
I was watching a talk by Andrew Hass in which he outlined how he uses his journal to gather material for poems. He suggested that listeners went for a walk and wrote down six observations. The next step was to juxtapose these notes and to see what evolved from doing so.
Needles to say I could not manage all the directions. But I did produce three poems.

Plucked from a rubbish bag,
a white bread with mould playing card.
With practised skill and one watching eye,
the beak cuts the over soft centre.
The card spins,
middle gobbled.
Wings press on air,
then the seagull is half a street away.
These poems are literally what I observed on three short walks last Wednesday.

six lampposts
six seagulls
one perched on each
they all look to the south
there's a turf war happening here
that's beyond this mammal's comprehension

I like the idea that this world holds other stories than those told by and about humans. In this human created environment, birds are living out their own myths and legends.
I hope the story is evident from the way I have written this one.

A Good Score

The protein rich prize
tips over the edge.


Hits the road.

Spills life.

Between the relentless cars,
two Magpies feast on another's child.
Sad attempt to add a bird image, even if it is from a different continent
The wondrous Annabelle Chvostek is touring next month. This is a song off her new cd. Personally I can't wait to see her live again.

Friday 10 April 2015


I think there must be an election on here in the UK. I answered a knock at the door yesterday and was asked by a canvasser if the conservative party could rely on my vote. I impressed by her optimism. You would have to be be an optimist to think that a man wearing a Marcus Garvey t-shirt would ever be considered a supporter of a party that has seen the number of food banks soar under its misgovernment of this country. No Marcus was for justice, equality and liberation for all, not just rich people. 
I was discussing poetry with the mighty Oscar Sparrow recently and we were describing our respective creative processes. I was impressed by the metaphor he used of interviewing words for their suitability. My own method seems to be linking different concepts and seeing where it takes me.
This next poem came from a song title that mention a tightrope walker. Once I had the basic idea down all I had to do was research the physics.

A tightrope walk is an open secret.
Physics explains her graceful stroll:
tight leather shoes to maximise friction;
a taut wire, secured at each end;
a bent pole held in her spread arms
to lower her centre of mass
-which at all times must be over the rope;
plus a head for heights is all.
So she places one foot after another,
and may or may not look down.
We walk a changing line,
bereft of the security fixed points grant,
few see us when we fall,
or sense the small triumph of a day gone well.
Truthfully we are the stars of the show,
but the spotlights are on her
and we applaud the steady, slow procession.
Now an older poem that I have been revising:

Selfie in Black and White

The Magpie told me,
the purpose of this life was to choose.
I want to tell her I'm in it for the poems,
but she knows that already.
So I look at some old photograph,
black and white me,
and decide it's the percentages that count.

Still a work in progress I think.
Here's Burning Spear singing Marcus Garvey.
And here's the whole classic album.

Friday 3 April 2015


The following poem unfurled as I wrote it and headed in a different direction to what I expected, not an uncommon occurrence. The germ of the poem had been an image of discovery. The idea of, by chance, seeing a person in a totally unexpected setting and the conclusions that we draw from this sighting. The end came unexpected as I wrote the first draft.
The difficulty was to get the language of the observer just right. The person talking to the narrator had to be speaking colloquially, there is something about that relaxed speech pattern which type casts the person. I wanted to imply that they were untrustworthy, omitting as many facts as they were saying the narrator.
As usual the title is to follow, when I can think of one.
He tells me that I have to understand the circumstances.
It was the quickest route to get from his new flat
to the cheap plumbers merchants, the one by the railway,
the most obvious, the logical way, economical.
He was not spying on his estranged wife,
I am asked if he looks like a stalker?
Anyway, there he was, driving down her street, slow like,
because of the traffic, and it's near a 20 zone,
when he clocks that bloke from the garage, Wayne,
walking down his wife's side of the street,
two doors away as if he's just left her.
Wayne must have at least recognised the car,
he's serviced that for the last three years,
but he was blanked, and Wayne kept on walking.
Mind you he confides,
Wayne's face told the story, guilt written all over it.
I am asked if I know what this means.
I nod, dry mouthed,
grateful he had not cruised by a minute before
and seen me putting my key into her front door.
Does it work? I am not sure. I do not want to give the impression that Wayne has been to see the estranged wife. How he happens to be on the street at that particular time is a mystery. It doesn't matter. I want the ex-husband to miss the point. 
Anyway here is a brief poem.

Dubai Blues

this is a city in need of sleep
you can see it in the eyes of the service people
who are forced to feed the furnace of the machine
all their waking hours

you can walk the glittery malls
buy stuff for weeks
and miss this simple truth
The photographs continue to bear no relation to the text.
Here's a track from the new Sufjan Stevens lp. I've only heard it once but it sounded up to his usual excellent standard.