#poem #poetry #amwriting #napowrimo the complete 30 poems - compilation


it's a relief when closing the door the washing machine white noises the radio

as the kettle moves to steam she drops a tea bag in the mug dusts the rubber plant

detente failed she gathers socks from under teenage beds harrying wakefulness

it amuses her between cycles and steam to hear that women want a penis

the tea hits a biscuit shaped spot


it's always the same people
sewing tabards, plaiting hair
painting signs for the carnival

you see them on cake stalls
pouring teas, friendly smile
counting coins for the PTA

or lopping at brambles
in the churchyard, planting bulbs
clearing up the litter

always the same
always the same people
always the same

 art day

it's art day up on the ward
some are bored most are ignored
but look at the work of david lord
doesn't he capture it well

the way he tugs at emotion frayed
exposing the frailties of which we are made
of course it helps he trained at the slade
but doesn't he capture it well

never mind ahmed who drools in the paint
the pinhead so backward he thinks he's a saint
a jin to his family of which he's a taint
he doesn't capture it well

or poor old jim with his terrible life
a moral imbecilic who never took wife
who carves up his arms when he gets hold of a knife
he doesn't capture it well

but look at the work of david lord
the man is adored for daubing on board
yes yes salons cry as they stand to applaud
doesn't he capture it well

 behind the hedge

he lives in the house on the corner
                               behind the hedge
and something has happened
   of which nothing is said
and he sits in the verge
   and dangles his legs
   at the oncoming traffic
     making them swerve

at school he's in trouble
              detention again
he copies lab rules
   ignoring the pain
   of that thing left unsaid
which happened
   in the neat house
   on the corner
                - behind the hedge

of course they try talking
   to find what's unsaid
they prize and they pry
   inside his head
he has told them before
the cause of distress
but his simple home truths
                    fail to impress

he's up on the roof
   dangling legs - over the gutter -
he threatens to jump
and now he's excluded
   and sits in the verge
his legs in the road
   making cars swerve
with dancing cow parsley
   daisies and sedge
and the house on the corner
                behind the hedge


skint, I had enough money to get into see jules
and have a drink
I was yet to adopt the face
so when a whore accosted me, with a sob story,
out came a my change, looking for 20p,
and by the time she cackled into the night
I had enough money to get to see jules

I learned the face
and when she tried it again
I just said 'you've done me before'
and we had a laugh

or when I'd had enough of debt collectors
and ended up at linfield mount
I couldn't lie when asked how I felt
'fucking ace'
well you would on an overdose of anti-depressants

change your number
advised the police
and it was all over

but that's bradford i'n't it

it's a shithole
why lie

and the hills are hard work

but like that old woman
I used to see every morning
with a mouth which held too many fags
it's honest
you can't help loving it


the mid afternoon pimpling breeze
   chills to the bone
   as we break from the shelter of the trees
      to stand in the avenue of calvary
                             on the hill

we move from station to staion
until we reach the money shot of the nails

jesus - forcibly reclining -
held by a nail through the left hand -
carries an expression similar to I
   when rolling from bed
      or standing from a chair
   when the knees click in
take up balance and the weight

at first I find this amusing
   but on reflection perhaps
film has made us too accustomed
to violence and pain as grimaced

and maybe the mason is closer to the truth
   jesus is simply saying 'oh'
   held by one hand
   he awaits the auxillary working on his feet
and recognises that for all the theatre
   his ordeal is just beginning
and now he is really going to learn
the nature of human form

as we all must
when powerless

only later do I see - in the photograph -
that the nose and beard is missing
   what I took as a mouth
   is a peg hole

oddly apt
that on these greening stones
nature and time
have offered in simplicity
a view we should consider

 camp napowrimo

what? what? you can shut up... well...
they ride up in this weather.... do they lady?
she should know.... daffodils, daffodils
what? If it's my teeth, that's not my fault...
yes, yes, make something of that why don't you.
Oh she's sharp, sharp... daffodils.... what?
shut up.... well it's not nice... not here...
where was I? daffodils.... has he gone?
has he gone? come here come here,
not that close - you'll break my pen....
daffodils, daffodils, yellow trumpet.... yes, yes....
don't get ahead of yourself dear...
you'll get us closed down.... is he gone...
has he? you've got to keep an eye out...
oh look she's got a false one... her eyes... her eyes...
daffodils.... oh yes... you've got to keep an eye out
or he'll slip in round the back... filthy minds the lot of you.
      daffodils, daffodils, yellow trumpets
      swing spring with louis armstrong
      cheeks puffing pollen sweet
ah, ah. you didn't think I had it me did you?
 be honest.... oh I've had it in me...
what? what? you'll get us closed down
shut that door....


   the pink blossom cherry
does not ask permission
nor care for latin names
   - it simply knows
to shine before the leaves
and words appear

coppery lunch

over lunch - it was that kind of place -
she asked me which poets I admired

so I reeled off the names - but she shook her head -
apparently versifiers on t'internet don't count -

so I said blake - as he was the most likely
to pen an elegant poem in 140 characters

but then pope was also a genius at that sort of thing
- and he could be mucky - which is always a plus

with the reddit crowd - god knows
I've read reams of sylvia plath

on those coded websites with white text -
she stopped me - to point out -

- and having done so - smile wiped -
we ate some fashionable version

of old style peasant food -
nicely presented -


homeless and starlings gather for feeding time
- something spicey by the smell of it -
   and the language is to expected
'you're from fucking burnley
you're not even fucking homeless
if you didn't fucking inject what daddy sends you
you wouldn't fucking need this fucking food'
   and the people are just as bad

and you recognise the army sleeping roll
   bundled under arms
and remember the snugness of the hood
      that air of bored companionship
      the enforced silence
      for fear that friendship will con you

food doled out
   they disperse to the benches
      and eat with plastic spoons

knowing that the loneliness of charity
   will soon return

the braver ones will bed down
   or make one last effort for money at the bus station

while those with more dignity
will find a quiet corner
a floor
a hostel bed
and use whatever means


laying here - stroking your back - as you sprawl snoozing
it strikes me how much you have grown

though you are still small enough to ride mahout on my shoulders
and tug reluctant on my arm when shopping

your face when sleeping carries those babyish curves
   you pull the heart at the smallness of perfect

      but you are definitely growing

just as I get used to the slim child
   you grow chubby
   branch out and up
and a new slim child appears

   you tell me that one day you will be taller than the sky
   I can wait
   for I love the smell of your hair

 dead sheep in the grass

                       haunch polecat picked -
a butterfly suns it's wings
on a bed of off white fleece

                      - through the hole
                      green-fly guts

                      femur licked clean
bone mottled stage prop
invites profane inspection -

by the time I prepare the camera
    the butterfly has flown
without pathos
    only - pornography - lies


between day and night
   we dip our toes in clouds
pull the sun from hiding
    put it in a pocket
      warm our fingers
                                  for here
                above the normatives of time
                  above the rain
among the purple stirring heather
       where all light slumbers
                                  for here
we stretch out arms
                    in celebration


pink morning rises laced with tongues of birds
   calling 'eli eli why do you so awake me' -
as it is now - so shall it be and always it was
- the trees know this - and so I say love -

and so in ripe summer will I lick the flesh
   of the peach you offer - for love - for love
is that passive moment of first tasting
   when only now is and is always or ever will -

   and all is new and known - the daisy knows this -


this poem stands accused
of not being left wing - rhyming - trying to sing
being a thing - not rhyming - being to white
and too male - and not checking privilege
being beyond the pale - provoking thoughts
and feelings - challenging mores - standing
up for the poor - and not hating tories -
expressing a soul - filling a hole - not
conforming -

this poem stands accused
of speaking to the dead and up for the dying
for those who love jesus - and a world
that is crying - it condemns the warmongers
and those in the know - it reaps what it sows -
and loves stoney ground - it weeps - it swears -
profound is for dullness - the dull are the dreary
this poem stands up for the tired -

this poem stands accused
of making jokes - pricking the pompous
of not caring - being interesting -
that code word for shit - kitsch - genius -
now read mine - generic - hating - baiting -
stating - mating - feteing - gating - berating
and crap

this poem stands acussed
of being with the one per cent - paying rent -
wearing suspenders under a work suit -
eating organic - torturing frogs - hoisting a flag -
carrying bags - hypocrisy - not listening to morrisey
since he left the smiths

this poem stands accused


judas wants to go to tescos
    easter money burns his pocket
in drizzling rain
    we enter the garden
    slipping from the wash of traffic
into the silence
   of running water

'listen' I say
   as he tip toes away on exaggerated feet

from tree to tree
   they sing
      in sweetness marking territory

         a dog barks twice


an expanse of belly rises out from the grass
moving like a sundial in search of the sun
prostrate he lays awaiting the return of the rain
until then he'll take the opportunity
                                       to be himself again

and it's not just him - for everywhere skin is out
even at the expense of bra-strapped backs
and glistening white floppy cricket hats
to protect the bald of pate and head - zinc stripes
                          on noses to stop them going red

 only now

yes - we could do no other
and to those others against whom
our wrinkled brow increase - lines laughing -
or pulled sour as over-briny gammon -
there was only the word - or reflex

around our eyen - caught in thought -
a perplexity of wronged reply

for caged within the accidentalities of life
- with our frailties and falseness
those petty fears and fear of success -
we all know st peter - and
none can forgive but oneself


this morning
   as I walked into town
a pregnant woman

her face sepalated
rose petal perfect

I smiled back
   pupil to her iris


between the end of bits and bobs
   tanners and shillings
and the shaving of corners from lanes and roads

michael holding paces out his run up
   bare chested
          red shorts
              big arsed rolling shouldered gait
                   whiff of a brylcreem
                        brothel creeper bounce
                             a pint of beer in each hand
'look mum there's dad'


bow bell swings -
tri-banded sky in blackness

soft bank yielding cut
dawn in wide sea mouth

a single gull dives to catch
green fish
washed in pilot lights

 soft centre

the ward is surgically unthreatening
rubber soled squeak
high backed support chairs
hold the condemned erect
   amid the tea cups and grapes
   low voices hum with the light

through the window grey sky
lifts the sparse cheer of the crowd
looking down he sees a forward
stretch, miss, slide past the post

taking another untouched roses
he wonders whose blood is in the drip
is it draining her
                          it's boring

      worst christmas ever

a trolley comes round
                                visitors coo
   bandying cliches to lift the mood
'oh I shouldn't' 'it'll do you good' 'one won't hurt'

                       embarrassed he is caught
   holding sweet papers to the light
   seeing the world strawberry dream

the papers join the pile in his pocket

half time, the paint flaked main stand empty
   two seagulls strut the turnstile roof
a solitary groundsman sows sand in the centre circle

      worst christmas ever


and you ask why when everything is matter
and energy
do I still ask after the divine

god bothering you call it
though why
god would be bothered is not something you explain

but then for someone who denies god
you are
more anxious than I about his/her/it's existence

yes we can measure the average
draw parrellels
but it does not explain the relationship of the cloud to the tree


the dead will feel happy here
two tone walls canvas chairs
oh yes we nod but don't declare
the dead will feel at comfort here

he's world reknowned the posters said
he can channel maisy dick or fred
to catch his eye fills you with dread
of world reknown the poster said

I long to see the ectoplasm
snaking lights of any fashion
this mouse-like man convulsed with spasm
I'm desperate for some ectoplasm

when they come they come in threes
medium, contact, summer breeze
a red indian killed at wounded knee
holding hands they come in threes
does the name george mean anything
he says he knows where you lost the ring
and all about that man from Tring
does this man george mean anything

stuff/notes from the train

 my shadow must be ten feet long
as I walk to the train
and gaze up at the moor
longing to be there again
for being there among the clouds
where all is fresh and all is clear
full lunged you sing of the spring
without a care of who may hear


you ask why without asking
no answer comes from beyond
the window - for no bird
understands the concept of why
today green replaces voguish brown
it just is - just as today
black faced lambs go under the fence
in gangs to the woods
to a glade where bluebells grow -
at the snapping of a twig
they start like deer - for the hole -


across the valley rain hangs like ghosts
phantom shafted rainbow shimmered
they turn inwards entwining
sweep southwards on the wind


high clouds
low clouds
slide on oil
without grain
or grist
without need
or mist


what is that smell
of the green gloop
that I piss on
in the train
it is some kind of citrus
but with melon
and it stains me
- the smell not the piss

 the faintest of things

on a day of heartbreaking sunshine
you sip coffee on the terrace
     of the cafe by the lake

   her bell attracts you
as the bicycle wheels to a stop
and she leaps off giggling

her blue sailor dress
   of navy blue
her white ankle socks

she leans on the fence
arching like a birch
in a rainbow

looking backwards
to the path where her friends
   peddle closer

it is then you see
that look of disdainful

   as she looks down
   to the blue bicyle
   leant on a post

intrigued you
question within yourself
if she knows

the thinnest of clouds
casts the faintest of shadows
as the friends pass

and she cries out
and is gone

you sip your coffee
and watch children
fish for water-boatman
on the lake

 the real cost of inflation

the bore at the bar is talking
pinch-nosed words
of his concrete eyed view

and all the pub listens
for we have no choice

it's simple he says agree
                         with me
come see the world darkly
of which I see
                for I dream
that will set you free

and all the pub listens

his view is of the fashionable
there was no history before
                   nineteen eighty
when we escaped eden
and entered the sewers

and I want to say were you there
                          with nasal tones
                          and shaven hair
                              your manbag
hirsute chin neatly trimmed
                               in a quim

but of course he wasn't
which is why talks
of representation proportional
but forgets
we voted for that and rejected it

he drones as I leave
he's still droning still

 transmission 6

background words leach into the detail
smeared and slarring obscurity
and you shake you head
clumsy as a child's first skip

and we walk holding hands
passing eyes closed the man
who smells like my father

nothing stillness echo your heels
on whitewashed walls
splash in the dust of dead puddles

it blurs and it bleeds

it remains out of mind


he's more real than when he was there
those wisps of his scent in the chair
the cold bed

the things that didn't need to be said
in the unspoken mirror of feelings
half the peelings

half the portion and all the bed
in sickness and in health you said
his chair

now moved for the sake of change
and the ornaments rearranged
he's more real

when you shut the door and call
'I'm home' at that blank wall
within you

and without you as you face the world
the sense of strength and the aching ball
of grief

is more real now he has gone
as you escape to his side
of the bed

The Blue Book

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