Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Trumped

Here's a poem (while we're reeling) about Donald Trump winning the elections today


I don’t have the answers but I’m sure they lie in division,
A drip-fed, hyped-up climate creates easy blame decisions.
Bare arms and build a wall, because those sidelined for years
Are now segregated further, labelled cause of all possible fears.

"And you know we'll keep them out, 'cause we take care of our own",
Just ask the lads at the welfare line chewed down to the bone
In a boarded-up window neighbourhood,
But "things have never been so good."
They'll cut the corporation tax and call us free,
In that failed, fiat, trickle-down, greedy economy.

Each state left to its own devices,
When a system is so divisive,
I'm inclined to think that there's a cause-and-effect.
When we're caught up in a schism,
Phony talk and every ism,
And suddenly, the problem's being "politically correct".
It makes you start to wonder
Just how far we're going under
When we actively choose abuse through the person we elect.
Or when we're going to realise
Believing these unfounded lies
Leads to innocent bloodshed, what else did we expect?
And while we’re busy, blinded, lost, and eaten up by fear,
“Go back to sleep America, there’s nothing to see here.”
Distracted and oppressed, it’s each other they want us to to blame,
And by turning on each other, play our part in this crooked game.



Thursday, 3 November 2016

No Orgreave Inquiry

This poem is about the recent news that Home Secretary Amber Rudd has decided there will be no inquiry into the confrontation between police and miners in Orgreave in 1984. This decision is said to be based on the fact that there were no deaths. I can only hope this is reconsidered soon.



That day, there were no fatal wounds,
No fading pulses.
No final calls for mothers,
No "Quick, we're losing him."
In the weeks that followed, no funeral processions,
No wreaths and no mourning.
No widows and no wills.
But there was death alright.

The Grim Reaper stood in empty doorways,
Sought retreat in boarded-up windows.
Gathered in men's eyes and remained,
Chipped away at families until they were torn apart.
Hope was dust and to dust it returned. 
Ashes ripped through old work shirts strewn over bedroom chairs.
Make no mistake, there was death alright.

Death to an ideology,
Death to a hometown,
Death with no inquest.



Thursday, 27 October 2016

Called To Answer

"Do you know what it is you seek?"
"I don't sir, I'm afraid.
The concrete slabs of parted pathways,
Spilled garbage in dark lanes
Strike me somehow as I dream and
I'm stabbed with plastic forks.
The mirror tells a different story,
The make-up brush quick strokes"

"Do you know what you were sent here for?"
"Apologies Sir, I don't.
I knew it at another time,
I'd look into a stranger's eye
And find a kindred spirit,
Piece by piece be drawn within it.
I tell myself a different story now,
That I must make not seek meaning."

"Do you feel your decisions thus far have led to your situation?'
"Although I sometimes ponder that, it strikes me as a combination 
Of decisions made and a path laid by fate,
I'm playing the hand that's dealt me."
"We're all playing that same game, child.
What matters is how freely."

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Demolishing the Jungle

As a stark morning sun rears its head on a forgotten world,
We live in the flicker and hope it lasts long enough
For the earth to keep turning.
Darkness was here many days before.*

Kids’ bare toes trace lines in dust,
We tell them to feel the earth beneath them,
Because we know we’re groundless.
Home is a sirened, detritus, debris.

Strangled images quiver mind’s eye like a flick book,
The lonesome coldness of bone on bone.
She clings to tarpaulin as if life itself,
I tell her fetch her few belongings, we’re moving on again.

When roofs have been ripped from over your head,
It’s the same skies you’re under.









*references ‘We live in the flicker - may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday’ p.8 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; seen in many ways as the first 20th Century novel, based on Conrad’s experiences in the Congo in 1890 and the basis of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War Movie ‘Apocalypse Now’

Thursday, 22 September 2016

No One Is Coming To Save You

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you.
That perfect lover in the movies is a dream you were sold.
That time when you can get out of debt and live happily within your means is far-off yet.
That dream job will take up every waking minute.
That new outfit you've ordered will soon be another old rag on the hanger you look at in the wardrobe while saying "I have nothing to wear."

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you.
There is no golden era you've lived through where everything was perfect. 
That's the illusion of memory and rose-tint.
There is no time you were completely content with how you looked or behaved.
There is no time where you had it all nailed, there was always something nagging.
There was never a time you were completely accomplished,
Because you're still here, still alive, still growing.

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you. 
What there is, is you.
What there is, is now.
And within that, if you stop hiding from yourself
Seeking distraction and newness,
Is constant newness.
An infinity of newness.
What there is, is potential.
What there is, is acceptance. 
What there is, is looking outside of yourself to other things and people
without any need to grasp, clutch, own or conquer. 
What there is, is life; the life you were missing while dreaming.
What there is, is all you need.

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.

No one is coming to save you
Because if they know you, they know you don't need saving.
What there is, is you.
What there is, is now.
That's all there ever was.
That's all there ever will be.
That's all you need.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Car Crash Confusion

Ever feel that with the busyness of day-to-day living, back-to-back news of crisis, relationships, aspiration, socialising, social media, entertainment, and trying to keep up with EVERYTHING, things can be confusing?

... Maybe rather than pausing a moment, we might be knee-jerk decision-making our way headlong into catastrophe?
If yes to any of the above, this is a poem for you X



I've got a gut full of pills and a head full of dreams.
Sucking up a windpipe of what might have beens.
And the speed limit signs warn keep it slow,
But his foot is hot with itching at the pedal.

Turn the radio on, let's bang up the songs, keep playing.
Past the dubstep and old hip-hop and newsflashes saying
Aid workers were the last to get hit.
Yeah, peace was the subject, the real target.
We call a truce, only accidentally fire.
It's all stacking up in tobacco lung pliers
That grip you down to the bone.

We stumble through the ricochet.
Windscreen wipers making hay
In case that sun ever dares shine on.
On to soul tunes, then some new tunes,
I'm counting magpie silhouettes
"Keep singing" he says "we're not done yet."

But I can't seem to make out words,
All twisted echoes and haunted reverbs
Of bullet holes and smouldering, 
And dodgy pubs with cracked ceilings.
Children's faces silenced with shock,
Roadside camps and pillows of rock.
Laddered tights and belly laughs,
Curry stains, charts, graphs, fire shots.
Trendy beards chomp halloumi cheese,
Unarmed black men killed by police.
Inspirational quotes and jokey memes,
Amazon sticks and advertising.
New York blazes, Aleppo hazes,
Tanks that knocked out entire cities.
He turns his head and says "God, things aren't pretty."

We say goodbye to the things that mattered.
"Let's pull over" I say, "you must be shattered."
He clenches a cigarette in fraught teeth.
His squinted smoked eye seeks retreat
In headlights and in darkness,
In raindrops and vague chances.
"I'll put my foot down, we'll make a new sound.
Sleep won't come anytime soon."




Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Build A Wall

I've been reading the mighty Owen Jones this week and then heard the news today on the UK immigration minister planning to build a £1.9m wall at Calais - This happened...

"Let's build a wall and keep them out, call it migrant policy,
It will cost the bones of 2 million to build this demise of diplomacy.
So, you continue investment on neoliberal 1%,
The media have planted the seed so it's migrants they'll resent.
I'll hammer home the message of lack of resources and austerity,
It's worked to present absurd economics as the only reality."


"Mix up the concrete, make sure it sticks, they'll see nothing through seeping cracks,
Decorate it with flowers the other side to minimise eyesore impact.
The public are tired, defeated, distracted, they're not even angry this time,
So if we could muddy the waters a bit and mention some stuff on war crimes,
We're bound to blur the lines further between victim and perpetrator
And if we play it clever, the public will think they're decision-makers."

"Now, you should be aware that we've already had the call
Saying the issue won't be solved by building a great big wall.
The problem is on-call drivers having their vehicles hijacked,
Of course, the main issue of human trafficking isn't in this pact.
But if we clamp down on security, the message is loud and clear,
That Goodwill is in name only if they're actually trying to get in here."

And now my feeble words have fallen to a new page,
Will you join me in voicing that this is not the view of our age?
The events that are unfolding here will be testimony
Of how we are remembered when today lines history.
We can't say we didn't know, we can't say we didn't see,
Only our actions will say our view and change course of this legacy.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jagged Street

This poem is deeply indebted to multiple Nick Cave moments (That's right, his genius doesn't just write lyrics, it writes moments) X


Down on the corner, her smoky eyes
And parted lips measures up their size.
Shampoo fresh hair, dyed deep black,
All mystery blown, floats down her back.

'I'm not interested in things that have been,
More what memory selects and cracks in between.'
Her face comes to him from deep within depths,
All outward motion leads to stillness.

Presses his face to the glass a while,
Dreams of seeing her, that crooked smile.
Smile it for me one more time,
I'm aimless without you.

"Its been a while" he'd say.
"You've changed" she'd say.
"We're all changing" he'd say.
"Nothing changes" she'd say.

He stands at a dish-filled kitchen sink,
Soapy water thoughts take him to the brink
Of a stained white-flagged, bittersweet surrender.
"It was wrong, was it?" 
Nonetheless rendered
A widower of that sweet mystery,
Without a past, but with history.

Nostalgia




Today, I sit myself down to write,
Now with the benefit of hindsight.


This isn't about things, more things now missed,
Of a youth now traveled, you get the gist.

Utopian dreams and irresponsibility,
Binge-living and loving and a fragile sense of ease. 

A wonderlust kiss, lacklustre mornings,
Exhausted, inebriated awe-drenched evenings.

Seeking thunder while lightning chased,
Youth's ideals and an awkward grace.

The orbit of a soul lighting the room,
Smokes rolled out of existential vacuum.

Whiskey-soaked nights, euphoric days,
Preaching equality through hungover haze.


Opening up to politics where music is life,
Credit card lunch, arbitrary theft of the knife.

Dancing round the living room and spontaneity,
Thinking we were something, believing in possibility.

Today I sit myself down to write,
The tunnel I'm in is frantic with light.

Vinegar-soaked, chip paper memory melt,
Of dreams, revelations and the way we once felt.

How we saw ourselves and the world we're living in,
But this is nostalgia, it dances under the skin.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

From the bottom of my broken heart

Today, I couldn't help but write about the fact that Theresa May has cut the post of Minister for Syrian refugees and reinstated Detention Cenres for young people migrating. This seems to be widely under-reported, but it can be found on The Guardian

I didn't hear it on the news today,
So early in her tenure, Theresa May
Scrapped the staff members for refugees
And reinstated detention for children at sea.

I tried shouting out but my worn heart told me
People are tired of missionaries,
Armchair politicians and misery too,
So now I'll stay quiet while violence ensues.

Let's tape up our mouths and close our eyes,
An 'us' and 'them' mentality testifies
We should save our feelings while victims of war
Are told by our leaders to stand at closed doors.

So now, from the bottom of my broken heart,
I think of those souls and another false start.
Let my feeble words fall to a digital page,
They say this is a game, but it's not in my name.



Wednesday, 20 July 2016

New Micropoem: Love Hard & Live in the Light

We look back on sands of time
Love; a neon scaffold to climb 
Beams night skies beacon-bright 
Says climb up, love hard and live in the light.



For more micropoems, swing by here



Thursday, 7 July 2016

In memory of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and too many souls

A wee poem based on this heartbreaking news. When will this stop?







They got me mama, like you said they would.
Didn't know a busted tail-light could
End up in ending my life too.
Kept my head down and moved on through,
'cause life just ain't the same in my skin.
This life is just a game, and they'll  always win.


They got me mama, 'cause I was getting ID.
I pulled over, but that wasn't enough of me.
They had to see the blood outta me was red,
And now they have, the street my deathbed.

If only they'd just open their eyes and see
This life is just a game to them, but it wasn't to me.

They got me mama, they held me down
In the car park just outside town.
And when they knew they had me pinned,
He reached for his gun and claimed I'd sinned.
And didn't stop 'til I was hit,
This life is just a game, you live on your wits.

They got us family, like so many before.
To them, our deaths are a revolving door.
And they call it justice and they call us free,
And pretend they understand equality.
And we wish we could say we'll be the last ones,
This life is just a game, but it's a fixed one.



Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Chilcot Report: What we're looking for



The Chilcot report is finally out,
We place our bets, concern and doubt
On just what it was that was done in our name.
A semi-automatic, roulette game.
When thousands marched through London streets,
Between signs, petitions and cold concrete,
The message was received and understood,
But ignored, as they claimed the greater good
Was still to go to war,
This is what we're looking for.

In the 2002 Dossier,
The foreword written by Tony Blair
Claimed they'd established 'beyond doubt',
Chemical weapons were coming out
Of Saddam Hussein's war factory.
And therefore, people couldn't be free,
Unless we went to war.
This is what we're looking for.

It wasn't until 2004,
Lord Butler said justifications for war
Were based on doubtful evidence,
A war of conjecture and pestilence.
Today we find out the memo trail
Between Bush and Blair that will detail
A certain desire for war,
This is what we're looking for.

Mr. Campbell 'defends every single word',
Including that it had been heard
Weapons could be deployed within the hour.
But a BBC Report soon turned things sour,
When it claimed they knew this was untrue,
But it sexed up the case for us to
Head straight into that war,
This is what we're looking for.

The source; Dr. Kelly, in a matter of days,
After talking to MPs passed away,
And then the enquiry that ensued,
Claimed the Dossier wasn't imbued 

With unreliable evidence,
And what about the consequence?
Questions were raised on Jack Straw,
His evidence, and furthermore,
He recently said that though it seemed right,
Now, with the benefit of hindsight,
The whole basis for war turned out to be wrong,
The process of peace and its swan-song,
As they called us into war,
This is what we're looking for.

The soldiers who were under-equipped,
Suffered in ways they couldn't predict,
When resources started to run out.
And before long, they went without
The things that ensured they'd survive.
So further painful loss of lives
Were claimed by that very war,
This is what we're looking for.

Within Iraq, a war-zone vacuum
With no reconstruction, was consumed
By corruption and insurgency,
And lifetimes of fear and uncertainty.
This 'illegal' war, as Goldsmith had claimed,
That destructed, injured, killed and maimed
Will today be held up to scrutiny,
But what about the bereaved families?
This is what we're looking for,
Ever closer to the next war.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

In Support of the Teachers Strike



Today on the picket line,
Our Teachers tell us 'no, it's not fine.'
Children pushed through a factory line,
Manufactured down a certain line,
The Teachers tell us 'no, it's not fine.'

Uniformed and standing in queues,
Talked at for hours, no need for a muse
When every ounce of creativity

Is squeezed, because it's 'pedagogy'.
When there's no need for other culture's creations,
It's a hollow pursuit, this self-realisation.


And today in austerity,
There appears to be disparity
Between MPs claims on investments made,
And reality as resources fade.
Bound up in layers of red tape,
And a shifting, complex social landscape.
Yet, we're told the strike's 'unnecessary',
While equality becomes more fragmentary,
The fragments of our future.

Today on the picket line,
Teachers hold up handmade signs,
That tell us 'no, it's not fine'
That children aren't invested in.
And now, we need to sit up and listen.

When Things Fall Apart

A little poem on coming together in the current social climate X


When things fall apart we seek answers and quick.
We seek to take a stand, throw mud and make it stick.
We seek to simplify and ratify,
Agree only with those who comply
With our own views,
From skewed news,
And there's never enough loving.

When things fall apart we seek out the extremes.
We seek those who take our vision and promise it's not just dreams.
We seek to classify and rigidify,
Engage only with those who amplify
Our own voice,
From limited choice,
And there's never enough loving.

When things fall apart we seek out explanation.
We seek end points not journeys of exploration.
We seek to vilify and objectify,
Listen only to those who justify
What we want to hear,
Exiled in fear,
And there's never enough loving.

When things fall apart we need to seek inside.
We need to seek views including polarised.
We need to indemnify, qualify, beatify each other,
Because when it all comes down to it, we only have one another.
And within us, there's no shortage of loving.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Bombing in Baghdad

Written in tribute to the victims of  the Baghdad Bombing




It was hard to see terror in Baghdad 
From a rainy London rooftop.
Still reeling, feeling we'd been had
By politicians on the hop.

Between showers every hour,
Shuffles, resignations, fallouts,
On breaking news from BBC Towers,
Seemed something we could do nothing about.

Sometimes, overwhelmed we almost delete
Certain items from the newsreel.
Under pressure, turning up the heat,
And caught up in the latest spiel.

And explosions in the sky
Were a pretty idea as a child.
But explosions in the eyes,
How are they reconciled?

IS have officially claimed the attack,
They're still digging the rubble for loved ones remains.
It's the worst in almost a decade in Iraq,
Whole families killed and unimaginable pain.


We don't hear so much when we're not under threat,
But today I wonder at a mother's tears.
Is it a matter of time 'cause no one's free yet,
And today, I wonder how many years?

And explosions in the sky
Were a pretty idea as a child.
But explosions in the eyes,
How are they reconciled?

Friday, 1 July 2016

Immigrants 'ey

This poem was inspired by these sad times and the most powerful piece of comedy I've ever seen Stewart Lee on Paul Nuttall and the UKIPs - treat yourself and check it out! X




“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the Normans when the Huguenots arrived,
And with them, the silk weaving trade too arrived.
And their churches provided support for the poor,
“I mean, we were better off before.”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the Medievals in the anti-Flemish attacks
Of the Peasents Revolt, taking their Country back
Against those who developed their agriculture.
“I mean, they’re not the same, what about my culture?”

“I don’t like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the Tudors with the new fiscal category,
When the ‘aliens’ were counted by local men juries.
The ones who had progressed their craftsmanship,
“I mean, that's fine and well, what about citizenship?”


“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the English when the Irish first arrived,
But English were Germanic since Romans arrived
Before the Vikings when they guarded the Celts.
“I mean, enough now, we should tighten our belts.”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the wealthy owners who were buying slaves,
To maintain their houses and bankroll trade
That would ensure the industrial revolution.
“I mean, it's their fault, that’s the only conclusion.”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here.”
Said the mixed-heritage Brits when World War I was fought,
You know, the one that over a million Indian people fought,
They were on the frontline of the allied side.
“I mean, it's getting silly now, we'll have to turn this tide.”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the mixed-heritage Brits when the call-out was made
For a workforce to sustain collapsing labour trade
To Poland, West Indies and Italy,
“I mean, now they're really getting in, what about me?”

“I don’t like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the mixed-heritage Brits when Workers were recruited
To provide labour for industries that were best suited
To aid post World War II recovery.
“I mean, they’re all over here now, after our money!”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the mixed-heritage Brits when bankers arrived
To ensure our financial sector thrived
From Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“I mean, how much is this costing per capita?”

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Said the mixed-heritage Brits when clinicians arrived,
To ensure our treasured NHS survived.
And while they were busy saving lives,
“I mean, let’s take England back, we’ll survive.”'

“I don't like to say it but the bottom line here
Is the problem is all the immigrants we have here”
Is a line that I heard yesterday,
And I'm pretty much out of words to say.