Monday, 31 March 2014

"According to a recent poll of religious beliefs...."

I don't believe in Gallup.

Or that there's a Mori.

The theory that all life began
following a great brain-storm
and product placement plan:
"The Big Water Cooler Moment"
- and we all evolved, winding
through an endless torrent
of market research findings
and feedback analysis tools,
should never be taught in schools.

For science has proven
that long before advertising,
there was life.
True, it didn't always
know what it wanted
or how to look good,
or how to have ''allure'',
but it was there.
Prehysterical and pure.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Nightshades at The Church House Inn

Rain drips off the thatched porch
as we laugh and light up.
Or rather they do.
I'm standing here not for the nicotine
but the camaraderie.
The cupped hands, click of lighters,
the lighting off from one another
like a strange semi-kiss
of flame and glow.
I lower my pint and we talk about
the music, the crowd,
players we used to know.
Pete tells a story.
I slip
     into a curl
          of smoke
  winding off
          to dissipate
       in the drizzle.

I think of my parents.
            Take another sip.
The talk continues on
like a wreath of comfort.

I recall my grandpa's yellow fingers
stained from untipped Players
and then I wonder if that's
a useable name for a band..?

Smokes finished we go back in
to play the second set.
Pete keeps his finger picks
in a Golden Virginia tin.
My tortoiseshell plectrum
Is the colour of a smoker's nail.
I pick up my mandolin
- it's a warm brown shade:
'Cremona' if it was a fiddle.
'Tobacco' mandolinists say.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Star Conductor

The blindness isn't how you might expect....
My eyes are full of crippled stars,
little pricks of memory I guess
like fragmented light from broken glass.

Trapped here in this planetarium
pointing up at nebulae of hope,
waving a white stick from my podium,
chasing light like a heliotrope.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Loose change

Eric Money and his Loose Change
played blues in a bar, 
windslapped on the marshes.
Honkytonk piano, slide guitar
fretless bass, congas.
They were cool. I wasn't. 
But I was young
and you were with me
and held my hand 
when it was time to leave.

In the dark car park 
under a fruit machine sky
you kissed me
and cashed out 
the loose change 
in my heart,
left me jangled
and discharged,
a disarmed bandit 
lever pulled
and wrung apart.


To my alien friend

If we could fix our spins,
gaze up through our skies
and across the hole of space,
we might see eye to eye.
Then, we could fold the darkness,
reach our arms round heaven
and give the highest five
- or perhaps for you eleven...?

Sunday, 9 March 2014


I remember the guards
        on the bridge spanning
           the Oder river,
             one side Slubice,
               the other East Germany.
           They smiled at my mother
         and called to her
      to have a cigarette,
    pass a little time.
  She laughed and
          gently declined
             and we walked on
                  along the bank
                  to where the
                    wild daffodils grew.
                My mother let go of my hand
                 so she could pick,
                       I could run
                             and as I ran
                   I would touch
                          the swaying
                          daffodil blooms with
                          my small palms.
                        I never felt so free again,
                           as back on the bridge
                                      a guard whistled
                                        and beside us the slow,
                                       grey river carried away
                                        my mother's cares.
                                    Now every Spring
                                I come to England
                           to work in the fields
                              picking daffodils.
                              I wear gloves
                                 and mostly I don't recall
                                 how those bobbing
                                    yellow heads brushed
                                      my childish hands.
                            Mostly I just bend and pick,
                         determined and quick
               and move from row to row.
                   But sometimes I drink
                          and think then
                          of the border town,
                                       and the Oder, slow,
                                         grey, quietly unwinding,
                                            the whistling guard,
                                         the small daffodils of home
                                              and my mother

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Rifle Club

had avuncular members
who pulled on beer bottles
and talked about sassy women
who were up for it.
Blondes with peachy asses
and perfect tits.

They met in his basement.
They couldn't shoot there
but they could blue
their barrels
polish their stocks
check the sights
had not been knocked.

He used to have girly mags,
you know, just in case,
but in this age of the internet
they'd been tossed away.

When the evening ended
with manly ribaldry
and clinking empties,
he turned off the basement light,

and sat in the black room,
holding his pistol in the dark.
Upstairs the tv was still playing.
He thought about taking
a walk cross town to the park.

An Unexpected Change

What? You think God doesn't watch movies?
He's seen those old films,
maybe that's where he got the idea -

for today Nigel Farage
woke up black.
Which was a shock
to him and Kirsten
his wife (who's German).
"Well, this puts a different complexion on things"
he said over Jerk chicken that night.
Kirsten said nothing but had a slight
feeling Nigel might be better off
going back 'home'.
Wherever that was.

Later, while Nigel was
dusting off his vinyl
Marvin Gaye
(after putting Bob
Marley away)
Kirsten wondered what indeed
'was going on'
and remembered
a Wagnerian refrain...
She wondered if they'd
ever listen to it again.
Things now were
pretty embarrassing
and not much fun.
In the lounge Nigel was listening to
'A Change Is Gonna Come'

Thursday, 27 February 2014


Count five syllables.
Select another seven.
Beat until thickened.

Bake. After it's cooled
sprinkle lightly with five more.
Call it a hai -cake.

Invite your friends round
at four p.m. for hai-tea.
Serve with poetry.

Going to town to save the world

Went shopping today.
Helped the aged,
fed the poor,
saved two tigers
(maybe more)
rescued some cats,
built a women's
a nesting barn
for bats
and a retirement
home for injured
Oh, I also
helped cure cancer.

When I got home
I had a wicker
a big jacket,
some old slippers,
a tea casket,
a penguin novel,
a Russell Hobbs
a china teapot
and some little
round coasters
to put cups on
when they're hot.
Also other things
I didn't need.
I'd like to finish
by saying
I had a warm glow.
Yes. Indeed.
But still I have a feeling
that something's missing.
Something I can't recall...
Is that uncharitable?

Written in response to a prompt about 'High Streets'