Saturday, 15 August 2015

Origins are not the only fruit

Here's the first-ish version of a poem that came out of Apples & Snakes/Adam Kammerling's fine Origins poetry workshop as part of Fareham Arts Festival. It'll probably get edited n times before I'm happy with it, or maybe not - who knows - and may even end up as part of the long 'Stingboy' piece I'm (still) writing - but it came from an exercise looking at listing places we've lived, things we've said, music that was formative and so on, with the aim of incorporating them into a poem. Hope you like it.


I was born into a house of golliwogs,
spike-eyed toys,
soaps and sitcoms,
of throwaway laughs at 'Pakis', 'Micks' and 'nig-nogs',
of being dangled by one bony wrist,
a skinny meat piƱata
hearing the repeated line
“if you won’t respect me,
at least you’ll fear me”,
a self-fulfilling prophecy,
all an inadequate man could offer me
bar processed pap
and welder’s-callus slaps,
driving home the message that
I wouldn’t like that foreign crap,
those raucous songs,
and anything beyond the grey-and-beige
is wrong, looks like trouble,
but doubled-up one school night,
snuck out to taste the flavour
of Iron Maiden,
so much sweeter than copper on the tongue,
a lonely lad’s first gig
well worth the late-back round of Dodgefist.

Fast-forwarding from ruddy rage,
riffling halfway through biro movies,
I’m in Nai’posha, the Maasai’s cattle waterhole,
named for rough waters, ‘that which ebbs and flows’,
sun-drained then quenched
with rains and silty seasoning,
and it’s my inauguration by means
of shield and spear and knobkerrie,
quaffing nailang'a,
blood-and-milk straight from the gourd,
now I am a tribal brother,
witness to the intimate cutting of others.

In the latest scene,
I say “I do”.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

A fatal illness

I was recently interviewed for ASLI (Art Saves Lives International) which is an organisation aiming to tackle mental health issues and stigma through creative expression. The interview about depression and childhood physical abuse is published here and includes my poem 'Stingboy'.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Polyamory - of a sort

From a seed sown on facebook...

The Prince

“How often do you fall in love?”
“Very”, I reply.
“How much is ‘very’? Tell the truth.”
“Every day”, I sigh,
with a book, a scene, a character,
a passing patch of sky,
a pleasing string of numbers
or artistic use of line,
with accidental patterns
that grab and hold my eye,
in marble-veins or water,
or window-frosting rime,
with songs of depth and solitude
whose singers make me cry,
a glance from someone beautiful,
and more so if they smile,
with the sway of wind-blown trees,
moments out of time,
and sometimes just with strangers
who might otherwise pass by.
“So, should you fall in love less?”
“I suppose that I could try”.
“But would you really want to?”
“No, my love is fine”.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The tarnishing of our jewel-in-space

I recently heard the phrase 'blue shit' meaning the foul activity of the Tories. Here I explore what 'blue' should be and what they have done to it.

Blue Shit

Blue should be the colour of clear skies,
of water-scattered light,
but you pollute it,
plunder and abuse it,
floating factories stripping the seas
of life, dirtying the aquamarine
with greed and the last gasps
of those tossed aside,
world overboard,
ignore the cries,
focus on your dividend size.

Blue should be the colour
of a tropical lagoon,
a pure mountain tarn,
or ancient ice,
but you put a price on it,
asset-strip-mine it
for a fragment of hedge-fund,
an extra week of winter sun,
or to treat your aspirations
to a reupholstered urban-tractor 4X4
where you primly sit when you drive off
to get your arsehole bleached,
singing "me-me-me"
from your perfect peach.

Blue should be the colour of depth,
profundity and wonder,
but your arbeit macht frei,
vision of the world
pulls it under, turns everything into
plastic landfill's methane hiss
and the fake nappy-ad piss
drunk en masse
by WKD lads' shagging-shirt hordes,
tears condensing on the chilled steel
of empty wards
where the poor ones kneel,
no hope, so beg for the rope,
for you refuse to feel
the ripped-away smiles
and cold dead lips
of your ideology's vampire kiss.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Trying, and failing, not to say 'shit'

He's an unpleasant, self-interested, mean-spirited person who should be nowhere near the reins of power and influence. Being unable to vote him out, I decided to attack him swearily, doggerel-style instead...


I’ve got Irritable Duncan Syndrome,
that nasty little shit
takes pleasure from the harm he does
while getting paid for it.

He’s like Chucky’s dirty uncle,
with tiny nipping teeth,
biting monetary morsels
from those who have the least,

and every time the corporates
pass laws of gain and greed,
he laughs and pumps his evil fist,
sowing devil-sprouting seeds.

His claws, they grasp at benefits,
the Welfare State’s his wallet,
he steals from old and young alike
to line his greasy pockets,

he failed at everything he did,
got everything for free,
now paints the poor as lazy oiks,
spits on their hopes with glee,

so if the touch of I.D.S.
gives you anguish of the bowels,
flush him with the other turds,
and feed him to your flowers.