#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....



 I know this place
I know those flowers and these fields
and the stinging whip of goose grass
on naked legs

I know this sky
so clear and boundless
or so it seems
skulking beneath the infinity of blackness

but this place is not now
it is but a memory
that comes on like kerb
on a bike with no brakes
lever pulled back to the rubber grip
eyes on stalks for the impact

I lie before and after
in this place I know better than your face

and for ten minutes
I stare
or perhaps it is ten lifetimes
or perhaps I stare not all
for the things I see
are like the novels unwritten
in the blind fury of a dice roll
they rattle
so vivid at each turning
but cone out
purely by chance

come to the road
come to the road
come to the lane
and follow the path

see the sun shining
so blinding white


 it's beautiful when the music stops
when you hear in your soul the conversation

without the cross-fed weeding lines
of idiots
 in contemplation

'do you love me'
'do you think I'm cool'
'I'll drink this to excess'
'I'm a total moron'
'oh think me cool'



'hell is other people'
satre said

and I've been stoned so long
to know that he was right -
- and deeply
- deeply -
deeply deeply incorrect

for the hell they bring
is not the punishment of demons
or the torment of hope
but the callous disregard
of unconformed conformity
in a world of liars

and so I lie here
in that place that place
- that ever was known to me -
beyond the carping voices
beyond the lovers
and the snide remarks of the fool
to watch the sky the sky
interlinking in it's passing
ever changing
ever moving
never defined
by rules of  conduct
or the minimum wage of propriety

for here

for here

for there if we try it
is the freedom
of rejection

that path we know but never take
in which we all are kings
and queens

- for let us not forget the petty worries of women -

and there

for there
is that whiteness of the sun
beyond the road
beyond the lane

in that second of staring too brightly
in which we grasp blindly
like a sea-sick sailor
on a first voyage
forgetting that the ignorance lies in our youth
and in the fear of courage

and wisdom is that balance
of infallible falling beneath our dreams
when our throat has stretched beyond words



 back eye

today my youngest son climbed a tree
using all his might balance and strength
standing amid the highest boughs
he reached out his arms
               crying 'look at me'

a girl in his class told him to 'stop showing off'
for he had climbed higher than she

and I thought of pentheus
- that most stupid of men -
who failed to see
that aside from tampons
and wiping their arse backwards
   there is no mystery

misogyny misogny
they've all got misogny
for we can't climb the tree
let us cut him down

and old dionysus
that poor old pentheus
had never seen his sister in the bath
and learned that pipes that pass piss
are little more than a whores kiss

assuming the whore will kiss at all
for her body may well be on call
but her soul is somewhere else

had he never seen a hen party
dressed as nuns or naughty nurses
tottering on heals too high
handbags clutched against the thigh

leery as any idiot man
clutching a lager can
on the first train of the morning

so I called my son down
from that tree
to teach myself the lesson
that men might climb
from time to time
but they must never question


  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


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


 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


two more nights

I recognize the stars by their familiar position
but not the flowers in the neat border
I'm sure they have names and at a stab
   I could hazard guesses
   in overly accented english

while walking in the market square
we passed an estate agent's window
   and as one does
we idled over pictures and imagined

   not the reality of moving
but ideas of wafting sheets on a summer breeze
or the comforting low thrum
   of a slowly turning ceiling fan

the oil of our meal is stained with saffron
   we sip our wine
and watch the three legged mongrel
   unconsciously mimic the fishing boat
   drawing closer to the quay



twice nightly
   - three time at weekends -
   they die
in pealing laughter
   - bow to the paltry applause -
in seaside cabaret

it doesn't help
that the false bottom of the cage
   gets stuck
so he never knows if the dove is gone
   when he pulls the cape

nor that wanda
   - real name beryl -
has got ideas of spring in rhyl
and fallen in love with a bouncer
called errol
who doesn't like the cut of her cloth

it really isn't right
for a magicians assistant not to show a bit of leg
but errol will not have it
and stopped her getting sawn in half
    which mainly leaves the cards

they'll not get booked again
the manager has told them so
   but twice nightly
   thrice at weekends
they play the trooper in a seaside magic show


just in passing

women always have tales
                 of lost children
not the normal of the monthly
but of specific

which of course
                 are terrific
in their everyday

how much laughter
                 the world has lost
for little cost or care
   just a few cells
   and a snatch of blood

never there


mocking the sane

I was following auden down through the washshed
he with the eye of a hawk
to visit the infirm
and wheel around death
when out of the blue
nine thirty seven arrives
and he kicks me in the groin
and laughs
and cries
'hallelujah I free'
to say what want
and rhyme when I want
and not when I want

it all rather reminded me of when I had tea
with socrates
and he put down the boy
- or rather pushed him away -
and said
'my dear do take cream
for today I am free from the restraints of the mad'

of course down at the sauna
where the righteous stew
                 in whine and bitter juices
this freedom was condemned

they pulled on their black shorts
marched up and down
tying their knicker samples to a flagpole of liberty
gussets flapping
the aspidistra must fly


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


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


The Blue Book