When the Land Was New

This was the first poem I ever wrote, looked back on and thought Holy shit! I wrote that. I was 14, and, given the nature of the poem, that’s kinda hilarious!

25 years later, I’ve pretty much grown into who I was afraid of…

When the land was new, and the mountains were made
out of patterns in sand with a bucket and spade;
when the trees were just sprouting, the beasts were just made,
and the new-born was suckling, the new eggs were laid.

When the river was winding its way through the hills,
And the fishes were swimming and flapping their gills;
When my sentence was past by a voice, high and shrill,
And the cooking was placed on a high windowsill.

When the clouds sailed by in a sky of deep blue,
And the new buds awoke with the birth of the dew,
When I could be me and you could be you,
That was when the old world was new.

***

Yet now I worry about paying the bills,
And mending the crumbling, new window sills;
I trudge off to work to the beat of the drill,
And then find out my daughter is taking the pill.


My life is a mess, I’m locked in a hold,
I fear all the time, I don’t want to be old.
My life now is lead, my life then was gold,
And my thin beard looks like old food growing mould.

Now the mountains are carved out of leaden skyscrapers,
The outside world is restricted to papers;
The trees are all gone, and our planet dying,
The fish have stopped swimming, the birds have stopped flying;
the rivers are clotted, the seas are all dead,
and all papers are signed and all words have been said;
and yet still the carnage holds us in dread
for ours being counted with those all but dead.

***

Old age is a veil that covers us slowly,
Those high or low, blasphemic or holy;
All men fear it; and as I remember
My fire of youth burnt out to an ember,
I find that my promise of not fearing death
Disappears like the fog of a cold days hot breath.

Yet deep, deep down the fire still smoulders,
As my face grows wrinkles and I slowly grow older;
though its glowing red flame makes me no bolder,
I just tell my wife things that I already told her.

Soon my flame will stop glowing and never again re-light,
Save your breath, my love, please stop blowing,
I shall rest in the endless night.
I shall kill my fear of death,
Learn to love the night.
Yet I shall savour my every breath.
I and pass through willingly into the light.

I was fourteen when I wrote that.

Fucking mental.

Should’a been locked up.

Going Back To School

This poem was written from someone who loves teaching, but can’t stand the desperate way we approach kids. We threaten them into learning instead of helping them to grow, and it often makes good teachers apologetic as opposed to assertive; scared as opposed to confident. As a result I often dread going back to school…

Monday comes creeping like some terrible slug;
All greasy and slimy and desperately
Trying to leave behind a trail that gleams.

We Live as Once We Did

This poem’s written in the voice of a teenage girl from a kind of post-apocalyptic tribe of Native-American type people – think like a hippy version of Mad Max…

We live as once we did,
Together amidst the trees.
A people protected by sheets of green,
with roots that reach deep and stay strong.

The rise of the moon brings the safety of night.
The chance to hide away,
Deep in the forests
Where our weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within,
And allow us not to drift
into waking-dreams of times long gone.

The Melancholia
is an illness that draws our gaze from the moment;
and the moment is what we cling to.

The weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within;
Not tales of strangers, who we never knew,
Or dreams of far of places that can never be;
This is not like the old days.
Here, we hear the stories that celebrate
those we know and love.
For they are who we stay for.

The weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within;
Our celebration is the life, the moment,
Not the dream.

—-

The night brings the familiar warmth of fire,
a chance to rest from travel.
We make camp,
Heal wounds,
And find peace
within the embers.
We talk amongst ourselves,
And we live amongst the trees.

—-

But I stay close to those who protect me.
For at night, fears shake my sleep.

Not fears of those beyond our realm,
Or of those with whom we share our home.
My nightmare is those who remain blinded to the truth;
Those who wander our world
hoarding and chasing
and seeking to own.

Those who learnt nothing from the fall.

They are who we hide from in the days.

They creep out from their concrete jungle
in stinking steel, and steal anyone they can find.
They try to restore what had fallen
and want thanks for bringing it back.
Their belief is a kind of zealotry,
Their faith is a form of oppression.

We have offered peace to them
but their hunger cannot be reasoned with.
They dream of the past,
And promise the future,
But never see what’s here.

And so, for now, we must hold our own:
Fight back when needs be,
Defend our space
And continue…

To live as once we did.
Together amidst the trees.
A people protected by sheets of green,
with roots that reach deep and stay strong.

Why I write…

Why I write…

To learn to write about myself
But not become a bore,
To learn to look into the heart of myself
But feel no shame for what I saw;
To create another’s biography
That’s honest and deep and aware,
But hide the preliminary autopsy,
The self-conscious autobiography,
And create another who’s self-unaware.

Strip back the layers of manners,
Pull down the Floydian wall,
Create a knowing self-consciousness
That’s not self-conscious at all.

To dive into the well of my mind
And wave and never drown,
To give to the world a piece of my mind
With a smile on my face and my feet on the ground;
To explore myself but not get lost
And create with the bounty I find,
To know myself and then use that knowing,
To create new worlds, new times;
To switch on a light in the long dark night of the soul that’s a vessel of growth,
To get lost in the underground caverns of mind, that are mine and lie hiding my truth;
To relax and be merry and allow all my dreams,
To be free in a guiltless mind,
To be happy and honest and decent and true
And to learn to use all that is mine.

In short, in truth, I continue to write
To grow and to learn how to be.
Sometimes it’s because I get worried,
And sometimes it’s because it’s just me.

So I guess it’s important to post this one at some point, it’s what I do after-all.

I don’t know what made me an addict of writing – I mean I’ve got a few theories – but this poem has a go at expressing what’s so addictive about it.

I don’t really “like” the first two lines, but I keep them because they’re the real first reason I got into writing – to learn to write about myself – though I’m slightly embarrassed about it now.

The truth is, I was fascinated by the experience of being. And not just being me –  though I was the only me I knew how to be, so it made sense to start there – but I was deeply attracted to just understanding of the sense of being and how that expressed itself through writing. 


Tonight I’m Gonna Go Running

Tonight I’m Gonna Go Running

Tonight I’m gonna go running
Feel the streets pass underneath me
stretching out before me
and next to me the sea will smash
a path
cause I’m not stopping

Tonight I’m gonna go running
my feet pounding like a heartbeat
heavy
rhythmic
drumming
but light cause they’re not stopping

At the end of the road is the end of my woes
a shame ‘cause the road don’t end
but somewhere along the way I’ll know
that the journey’s end
is not the goal
but it’s getting there
I’m getting there
I’m getting there
Please tell me that I’m get there
And not just growing old

So where is there?
Where am I going?
And maybe the secret I’m running for
is that there really is no there
the ‘there’ is just the getting
the going
the living
the loving
the losing
the bruises
the random acts
between us two
there’s no way back
from the things you do.

so what are you going to do?

Well …
Tonight I’m gonna go running
Feel the streets pass underneath me
stretching out before me
and next to me the sea will smash
a path
cause I’m not stopping

I’ve never dreamt of stopping
Though sometimes I don’t start,
I seem to spend half my days
Feeling for my heart
And wishing I could separate
the whole from all the parts.

The beat within
The fear of sin
The dream that at the end
I’ll find my friends
And we will bend
The steely rod that’s cold within.

The beat beneath my soles
The heat within my soul
The burning space that I can’t place
That leaves me off my role.

The beat beneath my soles
The heat within my soul
The burning space that I can’t place
That leaves me off my role.

I want to keep control
I wanna lose control
I want to feel that I can heal
the hole within the soul.

The orbit of thoughts
that ought to have brought
what’s sought but never sold;
The clearness of mind
that’s tried to unwind
the soul that’s lost control;
caverness dreams
that seem to believe
they’re gone but…

Let them go…

They’re gone now,
let them go…

They’re gone now,
let them go…

And tonight, you should really go running
Feel the streets pass underneath me
stretching out before me
and next to me the sea will smash
a path
cause I’m not stopping

The Classics are Rubbish

The Classics are Rubbish

Some people try to flower their verse
with metaphor, simile, rhyme,
or any other literary mediums available to them;
They use long words, or even worse
long dead tales, from a long dead time,
and expect us to do the homework.

That’s all very well, they say what they say
to the few who can translate,
but whatever happened to seizing the day
for the rest of us who have to wait
until the revision notes come out.

Miss You

Miss You

It’s worth saying, before I start all this, that this was from a particular period of my life, and I basically ripped it off of Elvis Costello (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY71zqHfHKI)

The man’s a legend. I stole. My bad.

And also, I never did any of these things…

I had you
And for a while the whole world loved to know
When we spent time
I knew you were the one,
I guess I’d always known

I don’t know,
I don’t know why you did it why you left the floor
I’m sorry
Or maybe it was nothing
I’d not done a long, long time before

But now I miss you
I know you’re out there somewhere
Are you thinking of me?
I miss you
Are you dreaming of my touch
Though when you wake it’s him you see

I miss you
I see your face laughing through
The window of my car
I miss you
Then you go inside together
And he just smiles and touches your arm

I miss you
I’d call you every day
But I want more.
I miss you
And when your phone just rings and rings
I know your clothes are on the floor

I miss you
I know you’ve moved on now
Your heart don’t break
I miss you
I know you’ve moved on now
And that’s for me to learn to take

But I miss you
I’ll keep on seeing you
Though each night takes you further away
I miss you
But maybe there’ll come a time for us
You smile and add, one day

And ‘cause I miss you
I’ll hang on in there, break myself with waiting
I miss you
Even though there’s nothing left in me but still you’re taking
I need you
I don’t know how to start to learn to live again
I miss you
I want you here though every thought of you just brings me pain
You’re killing me
I swear to you I’ll never love again
I beg you
Oh, please, just let me go just let me learn to live again

I love you
But if you’re through hurting me
Then maybe let me go
I’ll miss you
There’s no way left to save us now
No-way I know

I’ll miss you
I’d kiss each of your cheeks
If you’d let me close enough
Then I’d leave you
And say goodbye to you and say goodbye to us
I’ll miss you

I find it more of an interesting poem than a poem I particularly like. I don’t like it at all, really. It’s got some troublesome attitudes and behaviours, and although it reflects a kind of neurosis, it almost seems too possessed by its own neurosis to notice that it’s neurotic.

Also, it’s from a period of my life that I’m not particularly proud of, and I think the attitude of the poem reflects this. 

However, my remit with this blog is a kind of honesty, so I can’t take it down now, can I…?

International Men’s Day 2018: Four Men

International Men’s Day 2018: Four Men

I knew a man once whose wife left him.
She said he was boring and she wanted no more of him.
So she took his daughter to a commune in Wales,
And to see his child he drove four hundred miles.

For seven years his girl was raised
by a poet half his age;
A man who worshipped Ferlinghetti,
And spent his nights getting drunk and sweaty,
While he just prayed that she wouldn’t forget him.

The poet left them in the end,
Too young to be tied down, he said.
And the wife returned to town,
And nothing more was said.

The father and daughter still get along,
But she wonders why the bond’s not strong.

The second guy I met, had a face as white as milk,
‘cause he’d had a call from a former boss
– they’d had a Christmas fling –
And she phoned ‘cause she said
It was finally time to tell him
The truth:

“I’ve got a fucking kid! A baby. Holy shit!”
For a long time he just swayed and swore
Like a twenty-one-year-old confused
Who’s woken up on the morning after
And realised he’s just been used.

“She was thirty-fucking-five!” he spat,
meeting my eyes, with fear.
“… she was minted, she bought all the drinks …
… It was Christmas, I just didn’t think …
… I don’t even remember half the night …”

He didn’t even remember half the night.

He didn’t even remember half the night.

And so a little later
I started to wonder
whether calling it rape
just might be right.

The third was in his sixties,
Bald all over with alopecia,
He’d had a stroke some years ago
And had cheeks that were grey and sunk like stones.

“Sheeee… but sheeee… I don’t care!
He’s still my son!”
But he wasn’t really.
Oh no, not really.
Not when all was said and done.

The real father of the boy he’d called his son since birth
Was some guy his wife had known from work,
Who’d kept his picture by his computer
Along with all his other squirts.

“He’s still my son,” he said.
“I raised him!” Then he hung his head.
And I wondered if he had the strength
To live that lie until he was dead.

The final man is famous,
With a son who surpassed us all,
But he was written from the scriptures.
Eclipsed by the ghost who made us all.

He’d taught his son some handy-work,
Maybe how to build a dresser,
But he was nothing next to mother dear
The Virgin Mary, bless her.
And don’t talk about his real dad
He missed most family get-togethers.

But is that the perfect father?
A mythical creator;
An invisible provider;
Like a just supporting actor,
Or a car’s optional extra;
Who’ll come inside
Then step aside
To make way for the oppressed. Hah!

Being a dad’s like being a ghost.
So don’t tell me how it feels
to sit round a board room table and talk about the way we deal
with something so important,
but be dismissed with a smile.
I may be a man but I still understand how it feels to feel futile.

Now, misogyny is not for me
– I don’t blame a gender for their behaviour –
But let me make this plain:
If you really want equality,
Let’s talk about child custody
And we’ll change the world all over again.

Fragile Angel

Fragile Angel

She’s a fragile angel
standing at the crack of doom,
Shuffling herself around
to get a little room;
Before she takes the leap
into all to come,
And wakes up from her sleep
to the sound of art’s dark drum.

Her wings are airbrushed, ruffling,
in a breeze that’s quite divine,
Her eyes are focused on a truth
that she can’t quite define;
But she knows that she can’t stay here
without playing her roll:
Chasing all that’s physical
in the hope she’ll lose control.

The picture’s written on the walls
the words are on the page
The dreams of burying herself
are from another age;
‘cause experience is living
and learning how to seek,
And art’s a voice she can’t deny
it finds a way to speak.

Beneath the old iron bridges
there’s a brick build canopy,
Where she’ll lend a lens a friend
and see what it can see;
She’ll find a way to broker
an image of naked truth,
That was taken from the gutter
with the stars her only roof.

She’s a fragile angel
standing at the crack of doom,
Shuffling herself around
to get a little room;
Before she takes the leap
into all to come
And wakes up from her sleep
to the sound of art’s dark drum.