Friday 26 July 2019



A couple of little poems about Torquay, the place I live. Well, they are more specific than that, they are about the road I live on.

though I live by the crossroads
I can walk home at midnight
and not meet the devil
or have to hear false promises
whispered in my ear

I was thinking of the old Blues tale about Robert Johnson going to the crossroads at midnight to trade his soul for guitar virtuosity. 
The second poem came to me as I was doing Tai Chi one morning.

once in a while in a morning
sat at the breakfast table
watching the cars drive this way and that
I believe this house
is the calm centre of the storm
and I give thanks

The images are taken from an installation: The Cave Hunters and the Truth Machine by Sean Harris. It was part of a series of events organised in June in Torbay.
Anna Ternheim has a new song out and the new LP is released in September. She's playing London on 20 November.

Until next time.

Friday 19 July 2019


Last weekend I was at the Tropical Pressure Festival and what a fab festival it was!
I ran a poetry workshop on the Friday that was great fun. I'd like to thank the people who attended for their hard work and wonderful poems. I also read on the Sunday.
My workshop was on finding treasure and involves imaging clearing the house of a person who has hoarded everything for many years. Here is the poem I wrote. 

if this room could find its voice
hidden as it is amid this sea of boxes
would it bother to speak
to spill its secrets to strangers
when its story is written on every creased surface

It is a jewel of a festival and the variety and quality of the music is superb. 
LA-33 a salsa band from Columbia were amazing on the Friday evening and Tetes De Pois played two storming sets on Saturday. They were my band to watch from the festival.
I'd like to thank Antonia and all her team for their hard work in making the festival so enjoyable to both work at and attend. Thank you.
Here's Tetes De Pois so you can judge for yourself.

Until next time.

Friday 12 July 2019



This poem has long troubled me. The final line of the last version [which you can read here] was just wrong. It let the intensity of the poem evaporate into thin jargon. Thanks to the Secret Poets for the time spent analysing exactly why it didn't work.
This revised version I feel is better.

Sheila's Poem

We had hoped for death.
Crash landing
on this unexpected plateau,
where life continues mechanically
and the identical days merge.
Sometimes, across a great distance,
you speak,
words faint
ever more slippage.
There are no dials to turn,
or amplifiers to power up,
that just for once would
take us from this barren place
back to how it used to be.

It is a private poem and I have nothing to say about it.
I'm off to Tropical Pressure this weekend to run a poetry workshop and read.
On the 8th I heard that João Gilberto had died. As a child the Bossa Nova he helped to create along with Tom Jobim was part of the soundtrack to my childhood along with The Beatles and Psychedelia.
I was only listening to João's early albums last week. Superb music. Thank you João.
Here he is singing Triste.

And here is Insensative.
He will be missed.

Until next time.

Friday 5 July 2019


 Back in 2012 I wrote a poem about a friend of mine daydreaming on a bus, you can read the poem here. The bus route in question was the 256 in Wolverhampton. I recently had lunch with my friend and she told that the 256 had been discontinued, that she now travels to work on the number 16, adding that I should write a poem about that.
Here it is.

on first hearing that the 256 bus route has been discontinued

planned changes
trumpeted efficiencies
lead you to count progress in losses
means more people less buses

the 256 has run its course
so joins the other phantom routes
those ghost transport numbers
that fade when the last driver dies
and the final passenger forgets

the chill of looming winter
autumn comes to Wolverhampton

a concrete finger bus stop
Rachel has been here before

most week days
for thirty years or more

a stoic wait

buses are as regular
as politicians promises
of the harvests to come

but there is no poetry on the number sixteen
just smudged windows
through which to watch
the town contract
The sharp eyed and well travelled amongst you may realise that the photographs are of Manchester. They were taken back in November 2015 and I have been waiting for just the right post...
I think [hope] the poem speaks for itself. The previous poem was rather playful and light hearted but I think the times have got more serious. There is less to laugh at. 
Here are a couple of videos of Everything But The Girl. I was listening to some of their cds this week which prompted me to search out their videos.
I love this one because it must have cost about £2 to make.

Whereas this one, a couple of years later, would have cost a lot more...

Until next time-buses permitting.