Sunday, 24 February 2013

Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted

An Ode to Brion Gysin, ( the book this poem is named after is well-worth checking out)  - The artist, and friend, collaborator of William Burroughs

And when you think it's all lined up and a surprise steps in the way,

And when you turn to the things you shouldn't to make it a brighter day.
Take the text and cut it up and form a new technique,
Experiment, create art forms resonating and unique.
And in back street bars and hotel rooms with souls drifting wild and free,
Perpetually creating not promoting, art need not come with a fee.
And coach-bound, on a long journey gazing through the window
As the city emerges in frantic splendour and the heart urges to go.
And the sun merges with the untravelled landscape
Staring in its potent light agape
Closing eyes to see colours sparking, retina transformed not dreary,
The visual passage takes flight to form and the mind from it's tired weary.
The Dream Machine captures its effect  through a template, vinyl  whirring,
And through closed eyes over the light, minds eye begins its stirring.
The naked bulb, much like the lunch
Free-wheeling, splendid spirits
The artists speak in bounding glory, but this art they may not exhibit,
For what is learnt through such a process is nothing is true, and everything is permitted.

Game Of Knocks

Well there was no poetic way of putting it, the arse had fallen out of lifestyle.
She had known this feeling swell and sway before, as various remnants of life had previously dismantled or become disordered, but this somehow felt more selfless. 

The words of Jack London  'Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well' echoed and reverberated. 

Well, lets face it, every trick had been played, every picture card pulled out, and the deck had little more to offer. And yet, in the moment of realisation, as opposed to it's former of anticipation and speculation, an interesting thing happened. For in premonitions and suppositions, she had presumed Panic would show up to befriend and lead the way through confusing path. Yet in actualisation, Panic faltered and surrendered to Calm, and Peace embraced amidst turmoil.

And then, Determination and Discipline soon showed up, cloaked and humble, a faint tap at the door, to help with proceedings. So as there were no poetic words, as the deck of cards hadn't given a winner, what did she do? Well, she did what we all do when it comes right down to it; each in our own way. She gathered Determination and Discipline and got back to her place at the table. There she found another round beginning, a new game commencing, a fresh hand of play, and though chips were thin on the ground, there were enough to get through this round, and that was good enough.

As the deck shuffled, she threw herself back in -
And for every knock in life, found there was a gamble in her, and indeed all, to knock it straight back. And each new round, whether won or not brought with it new lessons. 

Please Please Us

On seeing BBC 4's Please Please Me: Remaking A Classic - celebrating 50 years since the release of The Beatles debut album.

To capture a moment in time, 
To be true to aspirations, 
To produce art that stirs, grows, explodes. 
To be part of a process - 
Creative in the present; 
A historical document of the future.
To work at a craft,
And bring to it all the marks of your individuality.
To get out there and cause a stir. 
And each of us a commentator, critic and creator. 
And the moment in time we capture is ours -
Presently spreading with vitality to those to whom it relates, 
And a nostalgic, historical moment of transformation in the further future. 
And commentators, critics and creators arouse, 
And in a moment create many lifetimes.

Dress Well

Dress well.
On your finest day 
Dress well.
On your poorest day, it's even more vital, 
Dress well. 
For each day we live is a fine day. 
Dress well.
And days that reveal absurdity over fineness?
Well, they may as well have a costume attributed to them.
Dress well. 
When feeling good, reflect it in your dress.
Dress well.
When feeling down, dress up. 
Dress well.
For each day is worth celebrating.
Dress well.

Moth To A Flame

And pride speaks loudly and uncompromisingly to not open that door, and undo the neat stitching of time on wounds.
And rationale declares unreservedly it is not the greatest pursuit or effective channelling of energies.
And ego, nursing bruises, suggests sensibilities aren't aroused.
And memory provides argument, counter-argument, and general bewilderment.
And the heart deepens a little, weighing heavy, edged with soreness.
And the spirit's imagination soars and bounds, like a moth to a flame. 

And the voice remains silenced.
And the intentions pure.

Qualities Of A Fine Friendship

Eyes radiating compassion, ears not lured to judge, and a heart that is open, make for a beauty ten times more vivid than any physical attributes, and a hundred times finer a friendship.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Walking Meditation

I saw an incredible rainbow the other day, the whole scene looked really special so I immediately got my phone out and wrote this; the first piece I've attempted writing whilst walking rather than making a mental noteand writing about it later - It's either inspiration or indicative of how terrible my camera skills are on the phone.

The rainbow's vast spectrum of colours radiated in a form of concentrated beauty. 
Looking up , I couldn't see it's start point, there tucked within the cotton wool clouds.
Its origin unknown, its radiance undeniable. 
The birds swaying, forming, vanishing. 
The rays of winter sun warming the back and caressing cheek. 
The buzz of traffic becoming part of the symphony, as Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros lure through the headphone -
'Paradise has its hunter, call me wise, call me fool. i dont mind chasing thunder, I say reaching for heaven is what I'm on earth to do'. 
The line glowing, visceral and shining, as the brass band kicks in, 
And the skies envelop, and the road steepens, and the paving stones cracked, and the traffic glides, and the people pass, and the world glistens. 
And each walk a mini holiday, each journey a new beginning,
And in all the while, the awareness of the soles and the soul. 
Indeed i don't mind chasing thunder.

Peak In The Road

Walking up-hill, though almost unknowingly, until the wise hamstrings provide the stretching siren. 
Reaching the peek, and the road long, the tracks and white lines, the traffic lights.
And out beyond, the complex structure of housing, bridges, motorways, the electricity pylons standing proud, the sleepy sun in grey clouds weeping, touching the rooftops of the furthest buildings in site for a little tangible contact.

And as the road dips back down, and you're back on level ground, your mind gets to wandering where do you fit in the complex structure? An idle walker, daydreamer, soul searcher, a small spec on the road, which meets another road and another and many other specs along the great highways of visions, each a sleepy sun, attempting tangible contact in various forms- and all a complex system in themselves.

An Evening Spent With Children

There is nothing finer than an evening in the company of children. The stories to share, the laughter echoing through doorways and hallways. Suggestions for games always up the sleeve. A round of hide and seek, where the adult body finds itself contorted in awkward positions and all the memories of bedrooms and living rooms and kitchens they too played this game. Dancing competitions, where the skill and rhythm are not the focus but the heart. Singing contests where the pitch and flow are not the focus, but the silliness. And in that process we too become acquainted with freedom of our innocence. Where the past is not the focus, other than to relive laughter in the moment, where the future is the excitement for tomorrow's events, where a good telling off is given for smoking or any such behaviour. Where now is fun-filled, loving, mischievous and all there is. Stripped of all pretension, longing or concern, an evening spent with children brings many wonders


Let your eyes grow heavy,
Let daylight's consciousness dim.
Stretch out and release,
The heaviness within.
Don't worry of always doing, or always being seen.

Enjoy those moments of solitude,
And in them you'll be serene.
Uneasiness in your own skin,
And the need to constantly do,
Can withdraw from us the beauty,
Of moments of building you.
And whether single or in love,
The lesson we sometimes find,

To stay familiar with things that inspire us,
Ensure these dreams aren't left behind.
And to be people we're proud to be,
And to some faults, just let them be.

Hazy Face

Peering to etch a trace of that old familiar face.
Contorted, disproportionate, unfamiliar, merging, transforming.
Freckle under UV lights.
Withdraw, stagger, swagger.
A smile, a vacant smile splashed over face.
Eyes wider, peering harder.
Strip lights clashing.
People dashing.
Skin paler,
Lines softer.
Posture weaker,
Light slipping.
Daylight drifted.
The woman offers perfume, or hairspray, or some corrective measure.
Can't ... No change, tonight's on the card.
So no change, no change to anything else either.
Eyes wider,
Hands softening,
Water splashing,
Mind drifting,
Whose face was that?

Need A Job

I spent an afternoon with Allen Ginsberg the other day. Well, what I mean is I've been reading Carolyn Cassady's 'Off The Road', an incredible book by Neal Cassady's wife and was so enthralled by her description of 'Kaddish' I had to go back and re-read it. I then got a little engrossed with the rest of Ginsberg's pieces and when I next looked up, realised 3 hours had passed. Though there were several striking pieces among them, I really liked the rhythm of 'Hum Bom' (available here - and how it encouraged the reader to read it with a very distinct diction and rhythm. Simultaneously, there was a discussion on the radio on the continuing extent of the recession and a number of people calling in had experienced losing their careers and are currently unemployed or working in minimum wage jobs. The two elements combined, produced this piece which I scrawled quickly just after reading Hum Bom.

So you need a job?

I need a job
What kind of job?
Just any Job.
I need a job.
You need a job
I had a job
You had a job?
Where's the job?
I lost my job
You lost your job?
I lost my job
Can't find a job got a family to feed
Can't find a job got a family to feed
Can't find a job got a family to feed
You applied for jobs?
I'm applying for jobs
Lots applying for jobs
You need a job
I need a job
How about a career?
I had a career
You had a career?
I had a career
You liked your career?
I loved my career
Developed career?
Developed career.
Now just a job will do
Now any job will do
Now any job will do?
Now Any job will do.
So when you lost your job?
Yes I lost my job
But when you lost your job
When I lost my job
Did they give you a pay
No pay no pay no pay for me
No pay no pay for my family
No pay no pay no pay for you
No pay no pay for family too?
No package offered?
No package offered
Interview for a place
I lost my place
You lost your place
I'll lose my place without a job
You'll lose your place without a job
Can't lose my home got a family to feed
You'll lose your place in society
That too, lose my place, lose my place, lose my place in society
You'll lose your home your place your state in society
I'll lose my home my place my state in society
What about the children?
What about whose children?
What about my children?
What about your children?

In The Shadow Of A Tree

The skies swayed and sparkled overhead.
The complex shades of blues, winding and intertwining, and clear as the mind.
The sun drenched the landscape, and under the cool calm tree, sat a while and pondered the ebbs and flows.
The tides of consciousness bounded and earth and heaven, immorality and virtue, ignorance and enlightenment, brahman and atman, nirvana and samsara, collided into view. 
Mind wrapped around sentiments without judgement or preference, and senses understood the contemplation over intellect, though neither senses nor mind knew of a conclusion to the suggestions. 
Subjective and objective realities merging. 
Views that had echoed in dog-eared pages of old books from click click click, add to basket, confirm purchase, await delivery, Internet perusing purchases.
But confusion seeped and heart hit conflict or at least, non clarity, division, haziness. 
And above, the clouds drifted and formed, and danced across the skyline and obscured vision, and etched further and further, and blended and moulded, further and further, and daylight swept and drifted, further and further. 
And in that moment still, beyond the clouds turbulent play, above their rapid dancing the skies lay blue and pure and clear though temporarily distant

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sales Pitch

How strange it is, the constructs us human beings create. Appointing ourselves sales people regardless of our trade.CVs and job applications - Producing sales documents about our careers and ambitions, that others read and on that basis decide our fate. Social networking sites, the entire use of language around their use - building a 'profile', 'subscribing', 'following', 'checking-in' at destinations rather than simply enjoying them, synched to streaming to publicly share track by track the music we're listening to - volunteering our solitude away. Untranslatable dialogues in face to face interaction, and all of man made constructsOnline dating, making judgements based on photographs, a write- up, a self-constructed sales pitch. In turn, contributing a simplified presentation of self in attempting to attain admiration or acceptance, how strange that for human interaction on the most vital basis - Of relationships, careers and aspirations, friendships, we become sales men, vehemently pitching our product, which is ourselves. The promotion of image over self.

Old Pieces

I came across some pieces I'd written many years ago tonight,
And found embroiled in them was the same tale.
And though current expression differs, the sentiment remains.
And perhaps, a degree of ambiguity and diplomacy have replaced fervent honesty,

I came across some pieces I'd written many years ago tonight,
And wondered at the process of progress.
For we constantly feel busy, and that life is moving so fast, and that each week brings its own news.
Yet at the crux of it, is it a cyclical myriad of complexities?
For clearly those feelings that presently appear unique are borne of manifestations of similar experiences and glimpses of feelings rooted in something far deeper, far more historic.
And the means of expression differed but the story hadn't changed much, the story and the feelings.
For at times, though they seemed embarrassing and their phraseology inadequate, 
They were perhaps a little closer to the bone,
And the story hasn't changed much, the story and the feelings.

I couldn't sleep last night

I couldn't sleep last night, 
The thoughts were circling and twining.
The drift of the past and future,
And the shadows of nights blinding.
I couldn't sleep last night,
As reality ebbed away, 
And in the hazy twilight,
Conscious of the stillness in which I lay.
And as the shadows parted,
I knew something was on the brain.
Though it whispered and swiftly departed,
Though from sleep I did refrain.
And as the dawn etched the skyline,
And the first signs of light broke through,
I buried my head under covers,
Wondered of other awake dreamers too.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

To The Office Of Michael Gove

To whom it may concern, (perhaps in that case, this should be self addressed),

I recently read that your decision to cut the arts  from the curriculum was based on the rationale that the priority is knowledge not pedagogy and therefore, the arts are less crucial to the curriculum. I found this an interesting perspective, for my understanding of pedagogy is something along the following lines - to be engaged in pedagogy is to be involved in an education that ranges from skills acquisition to the development of a rounded human being.
Critical pedagogy, as illustrated by the educator Paulo Freire aims to create critical consciousness, to empower people from a perception of themselves as passive recipients of a systemic structure to active contributors of their  context. I am seeking clarification on the sentiment behind this statement and the impact of said cuts on our perception of empowerment, citizenship, critical consciousness, collective power and indeed political democracy itself?

I would like now to take the liberty of anatomising the meaning of political democracy, which may aid in explaining my confusion. 
Polis- has the dual meaning of city and citizenship
Demos- meaning the common people, the populace as a political unit
Kratia- meaning  power.
Cumulatively, polis demos kratia or political democracy therefore is citizens, the common people, and power. With this view, pedagogy seems a fitting structure.The great (dare I say) Theatre Practitioner Augusto Boal examined this and distilled the meaning of democracy to: 'The collective power of the powerless'. And he too, knew all too well the complexities of its implementation, designing a pedagogy-based theatre system that at one point had him extradited from his native Brazil and at another, appointed Verador, or city council man. That is to say, it was a theatre manifesto, 'Theatre of the Oppressed' that formed into Legislative Theatre, and appointed him into politics.

So then, the suggestion, that  in a democratic society of which we are proud,  the arts should be eradicated or at least fundamentally reduced on the grounds that they are pedagogy seems a contradiction.

Yours sincerely,
Ex-Drama Student

My Window On The World

My window on the world
Speaks softly in hushed tones
And beckons me to familiarity
And safety of the known
My window on the world
Leads me to unknowingly discriminate
To judge others by what I know
And my views to validate
My window on the world
Is informed by a vast array
Of encounters and experience
Formed in notions with which I sway
My window on the world
Is but a granule of broken glass
Distorted and reflective
And some views perhaps a farce
My window on the world
Is filled with romanticism
But sometimes met with another, finds itself in a complex schism.
My window on the world
Urges to expand
And craves unfamiliarity and longs to understand
What is your window on the world?
Is it as wide as you'd hope it be?
For all windows deserve their owners' earnest honesty


The clouds broke and the great rains came, and brought with it restless hearts.
As torrents merged in rivulet patterns down window panes they lay in bed, scratching at the pillow and with uneasiness rising, allowed minds eye to cast to warmer climes of faraway lands to ease the hazy etchings of discontent.
Not knowing that the one thing they were guaranteed to  bring with them on any journey was themselves.
Attempting to disconnect the imaginings of exploration from the aspiration of self reinvention.
For it had all merged and in this move therefore,  they too would be subject to alteration and become all they had dreamt
More vibrant, more motivated, less disillusioned, less regular.
But it's our own skin we're always in wherever we may be
Better to philosophise than exoticize.

To pack up and move to a beautiful place is indeed a fine thing but our inner fears are the heavier luggage. So then, a finer thing yet must surely be to possess a contented heart wherever the body dwells

So in happy flesh we can then roam, or love, or work, or simply be - for it is the name human being we are given. Then the beauty of places both far and near truly emerges in all it's glory
The clouds broke and the great rains came
And each drop appeared a silver thread.

Pretty Paper

On pretty paper emerged prettier words,
Of promises, dreams, lamentations and hopes.
On pretty paper appeared prettier words
Of songs to sing
And mind wove lyrics from poetry adding chorus lines to reiterate the sentiment, for it is all of the same fabric - Poetry first became lyrics when the lyre accompanied.
On pretty paper emerged prettier words
Creating external dialogue of the inner monologue
Just as acting grew when in Ancient Greece, Thespis emerged from the chorus line in individual recitation and in that moment created Thespians.
On pretty paper emerged prettier words,
And in the quiet moments their creator, or at least arranger, perhaps we'll call them author questioned why they were compelled to do so, for a blank sheet of pretty paper providing freedom, non-judgement, without supposition or ideals suddenly appeared to be the most beautiful of all.
And  who would look and who would relate to their self indulgence.
And yet, mere hours later the arranger of words would find themselves back there-
As the lyre, as Thespis
Compelled to entice the pretty paper with prettier words.