Friday, 25 July 2014

I don't write songs but I wrote this one

I write poems, lots of poems, and occasionally short stories. Songs, really not. But, information coming out of Palestine about what seem to be unquestionably Israeli war crimes (I'm not planning to discuss the issues here - go have a look beyond the mainstream Western media if you're not sure what I'm talking about, and visit the Palestine Solidarity Campaign), upsets me in a way that very little does. Angry, yes. Energised, yes. Rantsome, definitely. But proper, tears-welling-up, frustrated-at-the-sheer-brutality-and-injustice upset? Not often, but this does it. So I've written a song - it's a bit of a work-in-progress, but is easy to put chords to, and I hope you like it.

Free Palestine

The wall must fall, send the settlers home,
close the checkpoints, regrow the olive-groves,
doves over Gaza, not drones and jets,
missiles-v-fireworks is not self-defence,
Palestine’s unarmed, it has no armed forces,
like charging down tanks on cavalry horses.

Free free Palestine,
you can’t get to Zion by genocide,
Free free Palestine,
bombs on the beach,
dead kids on the strandline.

Netanyahu, like Sharon before,
stop your war crimes, close the door
on billions of dollars of military aid,
killing civilians with every raid,
tying children to the front of jeeps,
I hope it haunts you when you try to sleep.

Israel tear down the giant screens
broadcasting atrocities for all to see,
feeding your populace fear and hate,
dehumanised by a terror-state,
destroying hospitals, schools and homes,
is the devil’s work, built on bones.

Repeat chorus

So we boycott, march and protest
for human rights in a land once blessed
with sun, sea, milk and honey,
now blown away by guns and money
and the prejudice of politicians
who think extermination’s their God-given mission.

But on the streets of Tel Aviv,
ordinary people just want peace,
shootings and torture not done in their name,
warmongers and media steeped in shame,
refuse their propaganda, resist the lies,
show solidarity, and organise.

Repeat chorus to fade

Monday, 7 July 2014

BNP, then EDL, now this...

After the BNP and EDL, now we lucky denizens of Britland have Britain First (whose loathesome webpage I'll not grace with a hyperlink) pretending to defend us. Just the latest far-right bunch of fruit-loops ranting about brown people and Muslamic Rayguns, they differ only by wearing bin-liners and flat caps instead of the usual Nazi memorabilia, piss-soaked sportswear and tinfoil hats. Here they are mocked appropriately in verse. I await the usual incoherent rage and impotent inbox abuse.

Blithering Fringe

BNP fragments
begin faulty
binary fission,
breeding fools
bleating formulaic
belligerence, forming
Britain First,
bottom feeders
belching forth
bulldog faeces,
barking fiercely
‘ban falafel’
but finding
burqas frightening,
‘bloody fatwas’.
Being fervent
Belsen fans,
bullyboys foster
brownshirt fetishes,
bugle falsehoods
blindly from
behind flags,
broken Furbies
becoming furtive
beacons for
bitter failures,
bunglecunting fucknuggets
breathing fallacies,
believing fearmongers’
brittle figments
because fables
bolster fragile
bigots’ feuds
by feeding
bad feelings,
blaming foreigners,
blackening friendships
between faiths.
Bastards. Further,
boasting fake
bonhomie for
‘brave fallen’ –
big fail;
berks forget
battling forefathers
beat fascism
back – flaunting
bullshit finds
barely flinching
Brits feisty,
bringing fisticuffs.
Benevolence foremost,
better find
bloodless finale
before fights,
boots, futile
beatings, faces
bruised, fatalities.
Benevolence foremost,
brew fruity
beverages for
bozo foes?
Bake fairycakes?
Build friendly
Bollywood festivals,
blending families
by familiarity
bridging fear,
blinkers flung
beyond far.

Britain First’s
brown-trousered force?
Brief farce,
best forgotten.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Cogtastic shenanigans

It's possible I've been listening to too much Professor Elemental (should that be possible)... here's something recently performed at the ever-lovely Art House - enjoy the warm steampunk goodness!

World Exposition Cog Jamboree

Crinolines and bustles, toppers and tweed
snake across the lawns of Turnham Green,
Olympic-standard queueing, an English scene
to see mechanical contrivances driven by steam,
captured lightning, electrical streams
streak between terminals as whistles scream,
tea pavilions, scones, jam and cream –
it’s the World Exposition Cog Jamboree.

A great glass hall, wrought-iron beams,
cathedral to inventiveness, mind’s-eye gleams,
keen teens weaned on cunning schemes
by artisan teams weaving clockwork dreams,
difference engines sew numerical seams
in between dimensions past the usual three
where esoteric airships soar high above trees
borne aloft by formulae with strange phonemes

sung by thaumic mathematicians on bended knees
while crowds cheer to see the springs and keys
of modern technomancy, vast brass machines
from automaton insects to submarines
and odd extremes like talking monotremes,
platypus enhanced by neurochemical means
deemed unseemly, what next, walking anchovies
or chickens laying eggs full of French centimes?

So let’s relax at Old Hakim’s
Coffee House, styled like a hareem,
with rugs, hot beverages and fine ice creams,
praline, tangerine and mangosteen
served on voluminous cushions of velveteen
by metallic waitrons Tesla 1.3
instead of odalisques in diaphanous sheen,
then a tot of green fairy keeps your palate clean

before a zoetrope film of the Sistine ceiling,
3D screen backlit with fluorine
lamps through lenses of tourmaline,
a show heart-stopping as atropine
watching seraphim dancing on trampolines
sipping poteen from gold tureens,
afterwards a visit to the Black Museum,
secrets gleaned from reams of long unseen

tomes illustrated with obscene themes,
unredeemed, lean in, hear tales of esteemed
adventurers visiting warrior-queens,
selling London Bridge for magic beans
pursuing idols thought lost for sixteen
centuries in deep Polynesian seas
presented to delight in huge marquees
at the World Exposition Cog Jamboree.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Prompty goodness

Yesterday was spent at a 'first thoughts' workshop based around Allen Ginsberg's idea that 'the first thought is the best one'. So, numerous writing prompts and example poems were provided as inspiration to write pieces within short periods of time (6 to 14 minutes depending on the prompt/proximity to lunchtime) after which there were opportunnity to read and critique. This is what came out of the 'beach' prompt and is about a place very near my home.

The beach

Bishy Beach, roadside gravelled arc,
a magnet for shirtless, baggy-shorted teens
to splash, sunlit, where gypsy girls on ponies waded
while mallards, hunting bread-chunks,
dodge the swimming dogs.

Downstream, an angler,
hook-capped in waders and multipocket waistcoat,
grumbles about the frightened state of trout.

By night, a lone pubgoer
eats tinfoiled meat madras
with a plastic fork
as bats take mayflies from fishes’ mouths.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

When tiny dinosaurs attack!

Flippancy reigns supreme today on the topic of some friends' maybe-friendly-maybe-evil-depending-on-mood African Grey birdy...


Pinprick-pupilled beady eye
tempts fingers closer with a tweet
and a look that’s reptile-sly
come friendly digits, you shall meet
a living pair of peanut-pliers
as beak and brain plot and conspire

to peck and pry at the unwary
whether foe or tickling friend,
wings to fly but no fey fairy,
mandibles to tear and rend
flesh, this herbivore’s vampiric
but her parrot-victory’s Pyrrhic

for now she’s on the naughty perch
with fewer chums for strokes and kisses,
gruel for tea and name besmirched,
known as wicked, biting Missy,
yellow card, last-chance saloon,
play nicely or play on your own!