31/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting sketchbook sketch at the bandstand

sketch at the bandstand

the blossom has gone like an old song
leaving only fragments in the borders
around the bandstand - passing clouds
wind across the sky - as the band
strikes up 'singing in the rain' - on this
last day of may - feet tap in time -
as what remains of the pink blossom
is lifted by the gusting swirling breeze
and almost too soon the gutsy tuba winds down -
pages turn and those gathered on benches
patter applause for the breaking blue sky


The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting sticking it to the white man

sticking it to the white man
                                                
                                               I hate blacks
that's why I eat at macdonalds
and vote for blatter
   drink coke
and cheer every bangladeshi
   that dies in qatar

any who defy me
I condemn as colonialists
ridicule them
   as anglo - or white -
it doesn't really matter
the kick backs the same

                                wait - wait -
    kia want a mention
for their low price cars
   as do budweiser
      for who in a bar
doesn't want women
   in skimpy shorts
   dead eyed and available

and it's quite obviously racist
    that lorreta lynn
        should be after us
            what does a coal miner's daughter
             know about tv deals

(yeah I know it's not the same person
but when you are a racist criminal
it helps to spread the guilt around)

bloody nigger
    (and yes I know she is not a nigger
but if you have your hand in the till
and a black woman comes calling -
and your premise of power is based on shifting sand -
without foundation -
it's best to blow a dog whistle
to bring the idiots on board)
    how dare she hold us to account

come on fifa
come on fifa
let's go offshore


The Blue Book

30/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting #witc15 provisional list

don't mind me - I'm just making a provision schedule for the reading at waterstones in bradford on June 6th - 11am - 11.30am

....

1) longshore drift

A white plastic detergent container;
one litre, German writing, Polish ship.
Driftwood, unknown origin.
Green and blistered, thin lichenlike,
and black rubberised seaweed.
Countless stones.
Stratified sandstone cliffs.
Poorly dressed bird watchers in khaki,
turquoise sun tops from catalogues,
small yappy dogs and hostile
Peugeot drivers. All of these you
expect to find at the beach.

Grinning, congealing, waiting for the gulls;
rolled half-over on the highest shelf.
A tangle of red, fatty yellow and black.
The last bark swallowed by the waves.
A dead seal was an unexpected sight.


...

 2)  Dusk
out beyond the samphire beds
    muddied shoes muddied legs
hang expectant over bridge’s edge
    dangling for crabs

saltmarsh ditch with water lapping
    seagulls hang with wings unflapping
sunset pink with all the trappings
    frame this gilded scene

beneath serene North Sea sky
    big brother emits triumphant cry
for mother with her net to try
    coordinate the catch

whilst over off a little way
    dad and little brother play
amid the mud and oozing clay
    throwing sticks and stones

the bucket fills at quite a pace
    as gentle sport becomes a race
with other families neatly spaced
    along the bridges' span

dad calls out in ballyhoo
    little brother’s lost his shoe
his foot is stuck in stinking goo
    right up to his knee

the can of tuna almost gone
    shadows match the sinking sun
its time to get our jim-jams on
    and into sleeping bags

from the tilted bucket pours
    two dozen crabs maybe more
scamper sidewards ‘cross the shore
    into the pitch dark dike

salt air breath conveys the talk
    of crabs and wormcasts as they walk
with tiredness not conceived or thought
    for custard creams and cocoa


....


3) Rabbit God


The sun sits high past the noontime,
the flat land, new mown,
ambles away to the river.
And, in the last field before the railway lines
I lean against the stake of the barbed wire fence
and watch rabbits.

The year before the roadsides had been littered
with the blinded debris of mixi.

He is two months younger than I;
taller, more willing to fight,
though maybe my equal in strength.
We have just had a wheelie competition,
in the dust of the abandoned road,
which runs arrow straight over the crossing.
Our brown-berry legs,
in short trousers,
carry the scars of play,
in these dying days of the summer holiday.

He tells me to wait outside,
I kick stones:
he re-appears with the gun.
I am nervous.
He tells me it is fine,
that his parents won't mind.
And, anyway, they are both at work.
The gun is nearly as tall as me.
And as he pulls the trigger,
it nearly knocks him backwards:
though he says it is only a 4/10,
and he's fired bigger.

The rabbit looks shocked.
One moment it was chasing it's friend's tail
the next it is moving sideways,
then backwards
then looping into the air.
The field which moments earlier
had been dotted with grey dancing,
lies fallow and still
a sea of watching eyes.

It is larger than I imagine.
'A female,' he tells me, laughing,
squeezing the guts,
gushing out a yellow stream.
I tell him to stop,
sensing desecration,
but he says you have to do it.
He breaks the gun, and casually carries it on the hip
holding the now cleaned doe
by the ears.

The last time I was in this garden,
we used a catapult
to test the parachute of his Action Man.
And, I think of this
as he slits the rabbit from pelvis to neck.
The torn flesh and purple innards
force me to retreat to the corner of the house.
When I peer around the wall,
in response to his urging,
I see his fingers enter the cut,
hook the skin,
pull the hind legs back:
with a deft cracking of bones.
It comes off in one piece:
the skin from the meat,
like the sound of a wet sandcastle being turned out.


...

 4)  To Tenby

that moment at the end of bleary chivvying
summer special on my lap sweets already half eaten
in that moment when with a thunk
unclunked or clicked we were sealed into our holiday

brown vinyl burning legs below my snake belted shorts
father's cigarettes virginian sweet ashen flicked midges
caught on the wind sucked back through the window
sugaring minnie the minx or ginger and numbskulls

all the while mother asking 'are you feeling sick'
brown paper bag ready in the footwell
with the tupperworn buttered ham sandwiches

into an A-road world of trees and hedgerows
square council housing jig-saw cottages new build bungalow
portico piles down long yellow driveways
and tractors and caravans bicyclists and muttered
white knuckling grip cursing lost time

through country towns with one set of lights
church clocks and women wandered markets
wearing chemically printed polyester

                        i spy sky road car 'can I see it'
and groans for the unguessed three cows drinking
five miles behind
                          
as we ingested the size of the journey
and digested olympic breakfast pancakes fizzy orange
tartrazine brightness free lollipop
the afternoon sibling squabbling
the threats to sit still and put your feet down
then songs would begin

how young my mother was
as she slipped a fox's glacier 
                          into my fathers mouth

...

5)  widow

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

....

6)  spirits

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

....


7) Remembrance

the doctor says, 'your baby is not alive'
yeah I know
but it's the missus I'm worried about now

the Simpsons play on the TV in the side room
but you don't laugh
instead the missus lets out a wail
that no actress can reproduce
no cliche ridden bullshit will let you hear
no poetic crap about darkness
or pretendy metaphor nonsense

the fact is
that it's not what you think
losing a child

yeah you hang onto each other
and
yeah there's anger
but there's more fear

fear that 
not being kicked by that ball of hope
when you spoon in bed
will cut the thread
the umbilical of kindness
that makes cups tea
shares jokes
holds hands in the street

And no
you are not the same
when later you lay in bed
hand on her belly
wishing that fart
was a moving finger
a flickering eye
a thought

and you do despise the sympathy
the well meaning advice
the imposition of grief
the morons who say 'oh how dreadful'
'I can't imagine'
'you have to keep talking'

fffff - go away

and then there's the coffin
in the chapel of rest
and the instruction not to open it
because the veins are too small
for the formaldehyde
and you won't like to remember
what you see

which will not be that child
who was born dead
and lay in perfect stillness
on the blanket your missus crocheted
with the rattle you bought
in an idle moment of expectation

it will not be the child
with pink fingers
the scratch mark under the eye
that you imagine was done
when waking from sleep in the womb
and not when dying
those bowed rose lips
thinning and darkening
from which no sound ever came
in the few hours you spend together

that child who you dressed
in a white Sunday dress
with white tights
and white shoes
and tended
with all respect
and all duty
in death
because you couldn't in life

so you do what you are told
the coffin stays shut
and you kiss it
and embrace the sharp edges

and then a day or so later
tears rolling down your face
you lift it from
the hearse
it don't even cover the spare wheel
and carry it into the chapel
in front of your family and friends
and cry
and cry
and hold onto each other

and then the little white box
slides through the curtain
and you get ashes in a plastic pot

....

8)  Musing In Ilkley Cemetery 

No more on the hill the Middleton clan,
     now resting apart in municipal plot.
He to the left with the Romans and Catholics,
     she to the right among Protestant stock.

He passes his time amongst sisters and Irish,
     she spends her days with the cream of the mill.
And were they to rise, and meet on the pathway,
     they could look through the Ash to the pile on the hill.

Walking once more, hands crossed behind me,
     the A plots, the B plots and C's tucked behind,
reading the stones, somber and solid,
     eaten by moss and losing their shine.

Now here's a baby resting with mother,
     daffodils, and brambles over their head.
Laying untended, their family departed,
     'gone safe to the Lord', the legend there says.

A squirrel picks crisps from littered green packet,
      vinegar, bites and claws at its tongue.
Skirting the line of war fallen heroes
      into conformists I gladly move on.

Past teachers and doctors, inventors and shepherds,
     he was a pal of George Bernard Shaw,
her flag she raised with Garibaldi,
     his soul he saved building homes for the poor.

At last, I complete my ambling circuit,
     back once again beside Middleton sun.
Surely despite religious contention,
     husband and wife might lay here as one.

...

9)  spitting in the street

let's go on a march for the mentally ill
up at the front are those of good will
and them with a badge and minor symptoms- but still -
waving their banners and demanding of pills

while back in the tenements behind the sofas
are the frightened neurotics the papers call loafers
'pity them pity them' the crowd call in slur
reinforcing the stigma - that is for sure

we're winning the war for community care
starving them out - and any who dare
challenge compassion will be made well aware
to keep their mouth shut and not cause a stir

the acceptable faces reveal their symptoms
reeling them off like flippant old hymn tunes
- melt well meaning hearts - making them swoon -
then secretly bolt their doors twice at full moon

yes we're off on a march for the mentally ill
those union jobs reliant on pills
need protecting by the people who will
perpetually - pity - the mentally ill

..

10) this sort of be the one

 He tucks me in, my dear old dad,
he might not mean to, but he do,
he squeezes out the breath I have
and stops my circulation too.

But he was tucked in just the same
by a father in sea captains hat,
and felt the blankets crush his frame,
pulled hard and tight beneath the mat....... tress

Man passes inhumanity onto man
like this bit of bedtime bliss.
Children: wriggle free while you can.
Mother's: buy duvets for your kids.


...

11) 
may

the rain so light is
so light it hardly noticed be
tickles the ransom
   and the bluebell
to fill this world of wood
   budding leaf pale green
with all the powers of the earth

no birds sing today
clustering within themself
taking shelter where they may

and in this silence footsteps
   against this thickening
   wall of summer
coming drown from the hills
    in the drying draining streams
of unreflected luminescent sky
the water may be of itself
   clean and clear as tears we cry

...

12)

 and today I shall be happy -
wear carnations for buttons
and say how-do to the robin
on the fencepost


....


peace:)

The Blue Book

28/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting gas chamber

gas chamber

question authority we used to say
when we could be killed on any day
by missiles sent from far away

how strange it is to see the youth
parrot on message words so couth
making thinkers weep like ruth

'oh no' they say it's religion's fault
then quote lutheran attacks with salt
not tasted or understood in assault

or fear the sun and fear the earth
for climate change will be our death
while sending microwaves with their breath

but never dare to try to question
any their empathetic assertion
for they are filled with such compassion
and wish your simple annihilation


The Blue Book

27/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting gospel

gospel

all evening I have been googling google
for some proof that today happened
but I find no mention of our discussion of god
surely some passerby recorded the incident
- recalled the passion - caught the brilliance -
but no - nothing - nil -
pictures or it never happened -
the local paper has the seasonal picture
   of fun at the lido
   someone complaining about something
   a drunk driver fined
but nothing about us
it doesn't even mention my dream last night
or what I had for breakfast
or you
or any validation of existence
beyond my faith in this poem


The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting #ilkley writers group

a couple of things based on the prompt weddings - and something found in my notebook -

.....

 on the first evening when my shadow
is longer than the night
three people hustle past complaining
in accents custom built for complaint

instead of drunks drinking on pavements
they want an ornate square
neat tables - wicker backed chairs -
and a little pernod and water

I would listen - if only to laugh -
but the tulips have been weeded
from the flower beds and tubs
- summer is officially here

.....

as the youngest of nineteen cousins
I was always wearing velvet bow ties
and checked flared trousers - creased for shaving -
occsaionally I would carry a train - to supplement
my diet of cake and sneaked whiskey -
I would marvel at edna rolling fags one-handed -
sat with my clan - within the clique
fenced in by past wrongs -
of which I had no understanding -
for to me aunt so-and-so was the one who made me smash
I didn't care about the elephant's foot umbrella stand -
but duty is duty
so I smiled politely - played my role -
and drank beer from the back of an uncle's hand

....

she was married up the registry
away from prying eyes
and only invited those she liked
which did not deter the spies
who hung around the flower beds
to gossip throughout the pictures
about the bulging wedding dress
let out by fifteen stitches

....

peace:)


The Blue Book

26/05/2015

25/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting school field

school field

in a world of false opposites
where very little has meaning
I pick at the word angst

first in the german
- then in translation
and back to the root cause

the necrotic neurons of neurosis
and dally in denial
at the prettiness of daisy chains

bitten lipped slit and threaded
and threaded by girls in summer dresses
cross legged
   they show the V of their knickers


The Blue Book

24/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting fun

fun

it's just another of those nights
when you've dodged around the fights
and carried jostled beer
to a dark corner of the pub

it's just another of those nights
when your mate has copped off
and you have the hostile company
of her mate that hates you on principle
but you smile
and half try to chat her up

it's just another of those nights
when your budget for the week
gets swallowed up
by the unfunny josh in accounts
who takes advantage of your round

it's just another of those nights
when you fall asleep on the night bus
and wake up in the bus garage
to slope unseen
past the canteen
and the drivers eating breakfast

it's just another of those nights
when you wished you'd stayed in
with a pot noodle
or at least had a life
that didn't drive you out
in search of 'fun'

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting hurray for gays

hurray for gays

oh dear - I knew this would happen -
the irish have gone gay -
and now the papers are lecturing us
about irish progressives
and english backwardness -
but then the papers are always lecturing us
about english backwardness -
it's amazing the english have the wit to read it -
which they don't -
preferring to bide their time
and stick up two fingers when voting -
which is in effect what the irish have done -
but having acting like englishmen
- to the diktats of the church -
it is of the utmost import to state
the hibernian nature of the revolution -
that each declan and connor
sinead and philomena
are as true to history - as wb yeats -
oh - and in true irish fashion -
if you don't agree with the vote
you can leave the country -
and everyone must rejoice

The Blue Book

22/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting meeting a nazi

meeting a nazi

he was like any other nasty old man
- smug - his waistline at his breasts -
a wife skittering at his pleasure

but there was something nastier -
a certain glint in his eye - an arrogance -
glistening like the whiskers briskly shaven

'they made me build roads' he laments -
chewing on a kaiser roll - tongue lapping-
moist bread churning on his gums

'ten years they worked me like a slave -
murderers get less' - the wife interrupts him
with attempted good humour

'oh don't mind him' she says
   - offering me a glass of cola -
'leave the boy alone - it's not his fault'

the half chewed bread slides down his dry throat -
before the adam's-apple has come to rest
the other half of the soup dipped roll goes into his mouth

'they were different times' continues his wife
prizing the lid from a decorated biscuit tin -
- I take gingerbread - lay it on my knee

'do you have grandparents' he asks
I sip my drink and nod at the absurd question
   - how else would I be here -

for some reason this pleases him

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #awriting birth of a nation

birth of a nation

I always did what charlie said
never played in disused fridges
always looked both ways because tufty told me
and ate birds-eye burgers to be like ben

- yes I was a good boy
who believed the cavalry would save the day -

so it was a shock
- when dipping half a fish-finger
in the residue of bean juice -
to learn from john craven
   that saigon had fallen
   and america had lost

there was something very wrong
about those tank riders waving red flags
- yes I know it was their country
I knew it even then
but all those sunday afternoon war films
   surely they couldn't be wrong

my father was rather less anxious
   - at this sudden change of events -
and did what he always did
when dealing with the yanks
he mimed picking his nose
mimed running the bogey down the seam of his trousers
and pointed at the ceiling
   'the stars and stripes' he said

The Blue Book

21/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting #witc15 provisional list

don't mind me - I'm just making a provision schedule for the reading at waterstones in bradford on June 6th - 11am - 11.30am

....

1)  Trombone Voluntary

On blue days, when the sun breaks the clouds,
I like to take my lunch by the courthouse.
You might call it a fetish. I crunch crisps
and criminally profile the coming and going.

What really draws me though, is the statue
at the centre of the square to Delius.
Every time I promise to listen to his music
and every time I never do. Instead, having eaten,

I circle the bronze leaves, with the green
and amber glass, and marvel at the beauty
of art; of art in a city without much -
even Sir Henry Irving died to get out.

I'm never sure if you are allowed to touch
civic displays. There's no red rope. I want to -
I want to - to contrast the heat and light,
find imprints of the sculptors fingers,

embrace the shadows of the stained glass
on the shit strewn slabs. But - I don't -
instead I jab it gently, so that if a court official
challenges me, I will say, "just seeing if it is bronze".

Today I am disturbed. At the mouth sized stage
of my second sandwich, a girl sits down,
on my bench; next to me. I at one end,
hand in crisp bag, sandwich hovering.

She takes the guitar from it's case, and
for no reason that I can see, begins to play
the Adagio, Concierto de Aranjuez No 2,
I know this because it was on an advert

and I liked it so much I bought the CD.
Not being the rude sort, I set my lunch aside,
and listen. All the while admiring,
and appreciating, Amber Hiscott anew.

She played the whole thing perfectly.
I thanked her, and said she should try busking.
"fffff...nuts to Leeds", she said.

...

2)  Musing In Ilkley Cemetery
No more on the hill the Middleton clan,
     now resting apart in municipal plot.
He to the left with the Romans and Catholics,
     she to the right among Protestant stock.

He passes his time amongst sisters and Irish,
     she spends her days with the cream of the mill.
And were they to rise, and meet on the pathway,
     they could look through the Ash to the pile on the hill.

Walking once more, hands crossed behind me,
     the A plots, the B plots and C's tucked behind,
reading the stones, somber and solid,
     eaten by moss and losing their shine.

Now here's a baby resting with mother,
     daffodils, and brambles over their head.
Laying untended, their family departed,
     'gone safe to the Lord', the legend there says.

A squirrel picks crisps from littered green packet,
      vinegar, bites and claws at its tongue.
Skirting the line of war fallen heroes
      into conformists I gladly move on.

Past teachers and doctors, inventors and shepherds,
     he was a pal of George Bernard Shaw,
her flag she raised with Garibaldi,
     his soul he saved building homes for the poor.

At last, I complete my ambling circuit,
     back once again beside Middleton sun.
Surely despite religious contention,
     husband and wife might lay here as one.

...

3) Mary Berry - not the cook

Mary Berry, pulled in tight,
knees together, face alight
to the tablet in her hand. Gears
grind, commuting daily, she fears
the woman to her right
demurely dressed, may catch sight
of the word Can Upset Nursing Team.

Robin Buffchest, alpha male,
sets his points to grease the rail,
enter through the female arts
of parts, unconnected to the heart;
which pulse, quail, and never fail
to excite, when coaxed under the assail
of manicured fingers.

Mary Berry, alights the train,
collects coffee, joins the trail
of business minded folk.
Finds her chair, hangs her coat,
assigns post its to the bin. Jane
relates another tale, this time the drains
overflowed and blocked.

Numbers come, and numbers go, feet
walk miles, round, beneath the seat
shoes on, shoes off, page after page.
Daydreams snap from looks exchanged
familiar faces, backs of heads. Meet
mid morning through the glass, cheek
held up by helpful fist.

Sushi time, crisps; orange juice without the bits,
Jane's behind, a book or more, Robin's tricks
she wants to know, when uninvited down sits
Damian from claims. Buttons checked. He insists
to know, the way to go, on Donovan and Hicks
and have they heard the cooler talk, about Peter Briggs?
Six months they say.

The afternoon slips away, toilet break
telephone calls, wriggled toes, time to make
solid supper plans. Visualize what's in the fridge;
bagged salad, pork chops, half a cabbage,
celery sticks. Decisions still to make, in the wake
of the numbers on the screen. At last it's time to take
her coat and leave.

Mary Berry, rejects the call, to join them all,
in the pub for Paul's birthday. Spoiled
for choice, she window shops, as she walks,
lost in thought, to catch the train. The seat she sought
by the window is free. Tucked in small
knees together, tablet out, she allows herself to fall
once more into the little game.

...

4) may

the rain so light is
so light it hardly noticed be
tickles the ransom
   and the bluebell
to fill this world of wood
   budding leaf pale green
with all the powers of the earth

no birds sing today
clustering within themself
taking shelter where they may

and in this silence footsteps
   against this thickening
   wall of summer
coming drown from the hills
    in the drying draining streams
of unreflected luminescent sky
the water may be of itself
   clean and clear as tears we cry

...

5)  Dusk
out beyond the samphire beds
    muddied shoes muddied legs
hang expectant over bridge’s edge
    dangling for crabs

saltmarsh ditch with water lapping
    seagulls hang with wings unflapping
sunset pink with all the trappings
    frame this gilded scene

beneath serene North Sea sky
    big brother emits triumphant cry
for mother with her net to try
    coordinate the catch

whilst over off a little way
    dad and little brother play
amid the mud and oozing clay
    throwing sticks and stones

the bucket fills at quite a pace
    as gentle sport becomes a race
with other families neatly spaced
    along the bridges' span

dad calls out in ballyhoo
    little brother’s lost his shoe
his foot is stuck in stinking goo
    right up to his knee

the can of tuna almost gone
    shadows match the sinking sun
its time to get our jim-jams on
    and into sleeping bags

from the tilted bucket pours
    two dozen crabs maybe more
scamper sidewards ‘cross the shore
    into the pitch dark dike

salt air breath conveys the talk
    of crabs and wormcasts as they walk
with tiredness not conceived or thought
    for custard creams and cocoa

....

6)  To Tenby

that moment at the end of bleary chivvying
summer special on my lap sweets already half eaten
in that moment when with a thunk
unclunked or clicked we were sealed into our holiday

brown vinyl burning legs below my snake belted shorts
father's cigarettes virginian sweet ashen flicked midges
caught on the wind sucked back through the window
sugaring minnie the minx or ginger and numbskulls

all the while mother asking 'are you feeling sick'
brown paper bag ready in the footwell
with the tupperworn buttered ham sandwiches

into an A-road world of trees and hedgerows
square council housing jig-saw cottages new build bungalow
portico piles down long yellow driveways
and tractors and caravans bicyclists and muttered
white knuckling grip cursing lost time

through country towns with one set of lights
church clocks and women wandered markets
wearing chemically printed polyester

                        i spy sky road car 'can I see it'
and groans for the unguessed three cows drinking
five miles behind
                          
as we ingested the size of the journey
and digested olympic breakfast pancakes fizzy orange
tartrazine brightness free lollipop
the afternoon sibling squabbling
the threats to sit still and put your feet down
then songs would begin

how young my mother was
as she slipped a fox's glacier 
                          into my fathers mouth
....

7) widow

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

...

8)   Remembrance
the doctor says, 'your baby is not alive'
yeah I know
but it's the missus I'm worried about now

the Simpsons play on the TV in the side room
but you don't laugh
instead the missus lets out a wail
that no actress can reproduce
no cliche ridden bullshit will let you hear
no poetic crap about darkness
or pretendy metaphor nonsense

the fact is
that it's not what you think
losing a child

yeah you hang onto each other
and
yeah there's anger
but there's more fear

fear that 
not being kicked by that ball of hope
when you spoon in bed
will cut the thread
the umbilical of kindness
that makes cups tea
shares jokes
holds hands in the street

And no
you are not the same
when later you lay in bed
hand on her belly
wishing that fart
was a moving finger
a flickering eye
a thought

and you do despise the sympathy
the well meaning advice
the imposition of grief
the morons who say 'oh how dreadful'
'I can't imagine'
'you have to keep talking'

fffff - go away

and then there's the coffin
in the chapel of rest
and the instruction not to open it
because the veins are too small
for the formaldehyde
and you won't like to remember
what you see

which will not be that child
who was born dead
and lay in perfect stillness
on the blanket your missus crocheted
with the rattle you bought
in an idle moment of expectation

it will not be the child
with pink fingers
the scratch mark under the eye
that you imagine was done
when waking from sleep in the womb
and not when dying
those bowed rose lips
thinning and darkening
from which no sound ever came
in the few hours you spend together

that child who you dressed
in a white Sunday dress
with white tights
and white shoes
and tended
with all respect
and all duty
in death
because you couldn't in life

so you do what you are told
the coffin stays shut
and you kiss it
and embrace the sharp edges

and then a day or so later
tears rolling down your face
you lift it from
the hearse
it don't even cover the spare wheel
and carry it into the chapel
in front of your family and friends
and cry
and cry
and hold onto each other

and then the little white box
slides through the curtain
and you get ashes in a plastic pot

....

 9) for a dead child

where shall I take these ashes
   my urge is to the sea
   to the wide norfolk sands
   and trudge across the flatness
      on a receding tide
   so that I might have excuse
   to keep you

I will keep you close
   to my beating heart
      lay down on the wetness
      of drying sand
push my head
   backwards onto mussel shells
      so that I might have excuse
      to keep you

and when the tide turns
   chasing me to the land
I will find excuse
   why I never take you
   to the sea

                for I am you
and you are me

                and one day
                we shall be

....

10)  dawdling

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

....

11)  spirits

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

...

12)  and today I shall be happy -
wear carnations for buttons
and say how-do to the robin
on the fencepost

...

peace:)


The Blue Book

#poem 'poetry #amwriting alive

alive

I'm not looking at the bloody business end
just talking for the sake of hope
and holding the squeezing hand
all emotion pushed deep down
                         or I'll drown

the spring light is bright upon the pimpled wall
as I slide light-headed to the floor
noting the dust on the skirting board
all emotion is pushed deep down
                        as I gasp the air or be drowned

between the sucking squeezing sigh
that terrible silence that draws the eye
from this feinting self obsession to the red baby
dangling downwards - cry - oh cry -
                        please make a sound

and it comes - unreal in that morning in sobs
the burst'd lungs to breach the damn
as the pent up feelings of failure flow
                       gut freed in laughing grief

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting dogma

dogma of the holocaust

and as I speak I feel the guilt
not for what I have to say
but for stating it in this way
that contradicts all gone before
to place the human within war
with all it's grimy soil and silt
lapsed greatness of the will
idealised in the urge to kill
and purify some ancient myth
of faux science merged with
liberal ideals of the perfect man
the polite state in which we can

discuss the higher things
on which our spirit on gilded wings
soars above the banal of wit
the kitsch reality of our shit


The Blue Book

20/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting #ilkley writers group

a couple of poems based on the prompt - of memoir

...

I'm not looking at the bloody business end
just talking for the sake of hope
and holding the squeezing hand
all emotion pushed deep down
                         or I'm drowned

the spring light is bright upon the pimpled wall
as I slide light-headed to the floor
noting the dust on the skirting board
all emotion is pushed deep down
as I gasp for the air or be drowned

between the sucking squeezing sigh
that terrible silence that draws the eye
from this feinting self obsession to the red baby
dangling downwards - cry - oh cry -
                        please make a sound

and it comes - unreal in that morning in sobs
the burst'd lungs to breach the damn
as the pent up feelings of failure flow
                 gut freed in laughing grief

....

'what's up with him' says the midwife
poiting at the weeping laughing man
'I've seen it all now'

....

the business end lies hidden
we talk and bark in hope and pain
the squeezing hand grips one last time
as into a silence I slide
crumpling like folding paper
gasping at the cooler air of the floor

....

peace:)


The Blue Book

19/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting cinders

cinders

I'm all bustle - all action and I get goals -
box to box through mud and rain - filling holes
on the break away

the local paper loves me for my commitment
to the cause - for the last ditch tackle
that won the game

for my always staying late to train -
of course they don't report the whiskey bottles
now containing urine

that huddle round the x-box
beside the single chair - all the bitch
left me -inject

me again - don't remind me of my knee
I don't feel the pain - much - set me free
in midfield

to float - and use my positional sense
to over-ride the real life I lead - unknown
to the cheering crowds

The Blue Book

#photography visions of hell

visions of hell
peace:)

prints of my pictures available - here



The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting #micropoetry

I've been scribbling again...

Poems in 140 characters or less...

...

I rarely look up - for the sky is blue or it isn't
 - it rains - hails - snows - clouds skit
but it doesn't do much beyond being sky

....

peace:)


The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting sonnet of the separated dad

sonnet of the separated dad

you knew I was taking charlie fishing
so it's your fault I spent the night drinking
- sixteen lagers since you ask -
not that you care for me or the kids
I could drink myself to death for all you care
- the way you treat them is a farce -
call yourself a mother - we'd be better off rid
of you - god knows how I let you snare
me - oh don't worry charlie we just talking -
go play with your sister - that's my lad -
that boys a bag of nerves - that's your doing -
he needs a man's touch -you've made him soft -
you never were much use - too bad
you took it out on them - right I'll be off

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting writer's block

writer's block

writing about writing is commonplace
   a heron flying past becomes a symbol
   for the pen that will not move

these are the words I fear the most
   'this is a poem about writing a poem'
usually followed by
   'something I am sure we all recognise'

                      and what follows goes like this
blank paper -
some petty angst (usually about love)
- heron - 
heron fills blank paper
(heron is incidental) -
heron becomes metaphor for  the petty angst
(partly because nature poems are verboten) -
aren't I emotionally subtle -
round of applause -
onto the next slim poem in the slim volume -
this one is also about the problem of writing poetry
(instead of a heron - now it is mother's shoes)

.....

whereas I suspect the poem
    most writers recognise
is the one lying unread and unloved
    in a forgotten drawer

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #awmriting lost

lost

socks are the principle culprit
wear them once - never a pair again -
they're always somewhere else

perhaps it's a lifestyle 'thing'
- most things are these days -
use it once - throw it away

there's always another
                   or another
there's always somewhere else

The Blue Book

18/05/2015

#photography flowing water

flowing water
peace:)

prints of my pictures available - here

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting #beehive #bradford beehivepoets digest compilation

Don't mind me...

 I'm just putting some poems together for my trip to the Beehive tonight....

...

 you have to be fair

you forget - in those stories in which you were the hero -
how much of childhood is spent following and not leading -
how often it was you standing by the drinking fountain
watching others run laughing - in a time out

or the wasted time spent trying to be friends
with your friends - and the compromises -
that as an adult are unacceptable - because -
well just because you've got better things to do

than worry about the opinions of people who don't matter -
and you want to say - because it's the reality -
it doesn't matter - you did 127 sums on friday
and nobody has ever done more - and I'm so proud of you

but you see the sadness - and try and cuddle it out -
and remember those times when socially awkward
you ran in the perfect direction that would win the game
but tasted the unfairness of those who would not be tigged

...


father forgive me

it's in that bedtime kiss
we miss out - at our peril -
that our worth as a parent lies

or listening when we cannot
   to the whirl of chatter -
and from it picking strands
of past conduct to chastise

and finding words beyond
the three simple words of love
to express that deep - deep -
expression of our hope

but none of this makes any sense
to our children grinning in our face -
waiting for the closing door
and the monsters beneath the bed

time has to pass -
for them to understand
why it is we fear the road
- hold tightly to their hand


....


reticence

asked to write a memoir -
a thing that at present
- for reasons of accused introspection
I wish not to address

rather like the red celandine
   drying in the envelope
which one day I will send
   by way of apology

...

 thirty years

I am reminded of why I take pictures of flowers
with each intrusive click of the camera

the sky has a hungry air - ribbed white clouds -
above an unusual stillness in centenary square

there are professionals circling
looking for the money shot of a woman crying

and one man consciously edges out of my pictures
despite my consciously not edging him in

what looks exchange are thin as the upper atmosphere
equilibrium rushing to fill a vacuum

...

 england

so let us start with an invocation of the hills
and green to stand stark contrast to yon mills
and towns or the springtime pull of daffodils

for no matter where one chooses to begin
some disagreeable type will toss their tuppence in
for england is a not a place - but a sin

pull the bunting down - break the window pane
stamp on the flowers and stone the train
england must be cursed - for sanctimonious gain

....

 56

one hears stories of the day the fifty six died
whispered tales over a whiskey at closing
the words coming more from the eyes than the lips

....

peace:)


The Blue Book

#photography seascapes in dead wood

seascapes in dead wood
pace:)

prints of my pictures available - here


The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting you have to be fair

you have to be fair

you forget - in those stories in which you were the hero -
how much of childhood is spent following and not leading -
how often it was you standing by the drinking fountain
watching others run laughing - in a time out

or the wasted time spent trying to be friends
with your friends - and the compromises -
that as an adult are unacceptable - because -
well just because you've got better things to do

than worry about the opinions of people who don't matter -
and you want to say - because it's the reality -
it doesn't matter - you did 127 sums on friday
and nobody has ever done more - and I'm so proud of you

but you see the sadness - and try and cuddle it out -
and remember those times when socially awkward
you ran in the perfect direction that would win the game
but tasted the unfairness of those who would not be tigged


The Blue Book

17/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting sketchbook

some scribblings while my hurrying son was at a party in the woods

...

by becoming at one
with the stone on which you sit
and the breeze in the treetops
so becoming that one
unfurls with the fern
in a lullabied rocking
so calm that one does nothing
but move

...

the unfurling sun
brown whiskered fern
the ancient wheel
a creaking ox cart

...

three oak leaves succumb to the stiffening wind
fall spinning to rest in the bluebelled grass
as up the path - in the clearing
the birthday party whoops and cheers
to the clash of stick fights and string bows
bum they cry laughing and bum again
and nappyhead echoes through the trees
with all the stillness of a sparrow
rush these children in their element

...

party food eaten - candles blown -
from clearing to hill the children run
leader changing as regularly as the sun
on cumulus days of spring

with a skip the gallop begins again
as inward they turn in the unmarked frame
of parental gaze - but all the same
they turn and flock like starlings

...

peace:)


The Blue Book

16/05/2015

#poem #poetry #amwriting with the natives

with the natives

I'm terrible with names but good with auras -
the ambassador is clearly yellow -
for all his dry greyness he is a cheerful soul
and he positively glows when relating his adventures
in the sun-blessed regions of the world

he eats in expectation of the port -
when the ladies have retired -
his manners are impeccably expected
laughing politely at witty comments
contributing anecdotes to keep the conversation light

and as we sip port and smoke exotic roll ups -
he unbuttons his pearl cuff studs
folding the hand-sewn silk cuffs around his jacket sleeve -
'now' he declares - with the panache of a surgeon -
it's time for magic tricks

one by one around the table he follows the joint and the port -
correctly recalling each persons name -
but getting every aura wrong -
and too confused to care or notice we ripple our applause
for the cunning woman of dahomey

The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #awmriting posh girls

posh girls

joanne's kitchen smells of the drying lilac
hanging in sheaves from the low hanging rafters
between the colander and frying pans

a curled tabby cat on a chair at the head of the table
yawns as we enter - a single curling claw extends and contracts

everything from the gypsy roses hand-painted on the units
to the gently distressed oak table has her mark -
a studiously balletic grace of respectful age and art

   and the tinge on inheritance
   that the lilacs cannot disguise



The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting #micropoetry

I've been scribbling again...

Poems in 140 characters or less...

...

I'm terrified of this pencil
the vast expanse of this paper
and the stuffed bird

....

there was once bump
   then a baby
and no sooner do you get used to them
than you are buying a hat

...

peace:)

prints of my pictures available - here


The Blue Book

#poem #poetry #amwriting internationale

internationale

when I was young - well I'm still young -
but what's in a name -
a rose would smell as sweet
and wash twice as a often -
but when I was young in years
I was quite the iconoclast -
I'd take my hammer and chisel
to michaelangelo's david
if I thought his penis was bigger than mine -

I was always smashing things up
and having opinions -
most of which were bollocks - smaller than mine -
since
I'd never been to rome - except on a postcard -
or sailed down the niger river
or listened to whatever long faded band
supposedly defined us - in that moment -
                  when it seemed so important

but then when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up
I always said train driver -
and there hasn't been steam engines for years

it's twiddling the knobs you see -
letting of steam -
whetting your whistle -
and being chuffed with your shiny boiler
as you soot up the towns
and dirty the faces of the workers
for whom you supposedly have opinions
                                 when you are young


The Blue Book