Friday 25 September 2020


Two rewrites this post. As usual thanks to the Secret Poets for their invaluable suggestions. You can read the previous versions here and here.
The sequencing of the poem has changed for the better and references to the other poem about tinnitus has been removed

Tinnitus 2

In the night, when I awake

the street lamp patterns

leaf shadows on the blinds,

ancient music in my ears.

This is growing old:

in my left ear three notes

played on a piano accordion,

stuck on repeat, plenty of sustain.

The right carries the sound of the sea.

The poem is tighter, more economical. 
A line has been removed in this poem and it reads better for it.

the water cycle

on his drawing the rain fell up

he did not give a fuck

for the teacher’s laboured explanation

or his laborious chalked illustration

he simply had a need to see

the world as a place where water could soar skywards

I know I ramble on about the importance of getting constructive feedback but it is really useful. Thank you Secrets.
Adam Beattie has a new album out in November.  Here is the single.

And this is my favourite song by Adam.

Until next time.

Friday 18 September 2020



This is another poem that turned up unexpected and wrote itself over the course of a couple of days.

I always find it interesting when that happens. This time I was lying in bed, Sunday morning, when the first line appeared. I got up and jotted it down as it arrived.


On wet days, before he truly went blind,

my father in half moon spectacles,

would get down his maps,

unfold them on the kitchen table,

his fat finger tracing familiar trails,

he would one day take,

over this mountain, across that moor.

He talked the big picture but noted the details,

as I lost myself in the creases,

in the crevasses of the folds

I dreamt my own dreams.

The end they said, was a cigarette,

of course I arrived too late,

after the fire, those all consuming flames

that ate my father and all his rooms.

The day after I raked through the ash,

not expecting to find anything

and I did not.

These days I use a phone screen,

content for an algorithm to dictate my route,

which takes no note of altitude or contour,

battle site henge or tumuli.

I am not sure I believe the relationship between the narrator and his father. Much, I think, is unsaid. I shall share it with the Secret Poets and see what they make of it.

When a poem wants to be written you have to write it even if you do not understand it. Hopefully that comes over time.

I have a soft spot for Catalan pop. Here's Sau from 1991. 

And here's Sau playing their other hit, El Tren de Mitjanit.

Until next time.

Friday 11 September 2020


I have been working on this post's poem for some time and I am still not sure it works. The basic premise is that a character in a story can live forever in the minds of those that read their tale. 

I had been thinking of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world's oldest recorded story. Of how the hero, Gilgamesh, lived first in the mouths of the story tellers then in the heads of those who read of his life.


After the sacking, the final fall,

abandoned in Nineveh's library

there had been a time of nothingness,

not quite pitch black, unfeeling for sure.

Stasis, he later learned while lodged in a head

rubbing shoulders with new concepts.

It was all so different from being on the lips,

in the thoughts, on the tongues of story tellers

his tale, his epic spoken of and retold

all across the then known world.

He had lived in their minds

each time his legend was told,

recreated in each consciousness

for the length of time they listened,

appreciated his dilemmas.

Then he had not realised those clay tablets,

patiently pressed cuneiform

would bestow the immorality he craved,

would convey him into the future

this everlasting now he lives in

each time someone reads his history.

I think I need to work on the poem some more. What do you think?

Yesterday a friend sent me a video of The Boxtops singing The Letter, splendid music

Until next time.

Friday 4 September 2020


I have been polishing the poem for this post all week. This is unusual. I tend to write them and leave them alone for a time. This one demanded attention. Possibly because the narrative thread needed to be very clear.

the hanging man

the wallpaper will not hang today

reprieved beauty unseen

as it has been these past two Saturdays

it is the hangman, the handyman

who can turn his hand to all the things I cannot

whose future dangles by a thread

his disbelieving wife

long his sternest critic

has finally had enough

he stands in what is now her hallway

stuffing thirty years of life

into black plastic bags

I think that the narrative is clear. The breakdown of a relationship, wallpaper that is not put on the wall, the handyman packing his life into bags. Your thoughts, as always, welcome.

Here are Palooka 5 being splendid.

Until next time.