She says different

This isn’t mixed messages
She only sends out one
It’s long and convoluted
And sits uneasy on the tongue
But
It’s just the same
It always is…
Her conciliatory song
That i love you
That I’m a little bit worried
That she’s not sure who’s right
Nor what is wrong
As I waste what we’ve been given
Charting courses, this stagnant race,
As we writhe in guilt
Or fake and wait,
consumed in lies through lost nights due embrace
Her voice as calm as stone
Embittered, pleading not be left alone
There is a light that glances us
In loves fine spirals
Leaving some sweet trace…

Your Music of Play

Hum you hum
As you break the bricks
Building your buildings
And cracking your tracks
I love listening
As you do what you do
Dreaming big dreams
And making amazing
The trains, the robots
The castles and cars
A world in our front room
Stories tall in stars

Lostening

We blink at each other
thru some fug of confusion
The slow eyeball roll
to a grasp for conclusion
I hear your noise distant
As when wisps of mists cloud
All the words that you say
And I blink in ascent

Some time some time ago
we sang the same lyrics
Your accented verbs
lit my mind with loves fire
Attuned to the vibrant chords
Lept from your full lips
I wondered the musical
majesty of breath

Yet here we sit side by side
Tone deaf and mystified
Straining to glean
just a semblance of sense
I hear you, don’t get me wrong,
My ears are not yet deaf
What i hear is not quite though what your tongue likely meant

Blackfriars Vocal

The monthly Open Mic poetry session, run at Blackfriars Settlement, is on again! 

This time we are sneaking two into June though!

Come join in the celebration of words in the soul of Southwark on Friday 2 June. Doors 6.30 – mic goes live at 7pm! The next one will be Friday 30 June, same times!

You are welcome to read your own, share your favourites or simply let the poems lift you with their unique take on our lives.

Find out more at facebook.

Get Ready

Let’s get ready to shine a light
Here in the dark of our internet night
Plotting a coup in anonymous spaces
Driving the ire of inhumane wastes

Let’s shine a light on the core of these themes
Muster battallions through click-friendly meme’s
Inform those who’s backgrounds are hiding bones
Ransack the media, hammer points home

There is a real fight on our hands right here
Yes, unsettling but evermore clear
Some old-guard blackguards are keeping mum
Derailing all threats from your education

Let’s get ready to light the fuse
Shine our minds bright on this crippling ruse
Alas there’s slim chance of your own Eldorado
P’raps excuse tho’ to ignite future-wise souls

Flammarion

By Anonymous – Camille Flammarion, L’Atmosphère: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), pp. 163, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=318054

From the mouths of babes

Plastic dolls

My daughter’s dolls have got no clothes
I’m trying not to freak
And when I ask her why
She smiles
and makes the wretches speak

I do not like the clothes I have
They really ain’t for me
OK I say to placate her (them?)
Yet she continues this ventriloquy

It’s all the pink and gold she pines
I don’t like it never have
It’s what they sell in the shops I share
Well they should sell more choice – she says – Daaaaad!

 

Love is the drug

heart-drugs

Love is the drug I hear them say
Can I get it in a tablet or a nasal spray?
Love is the drug and it’s messing with my brain
Your detox did today but I’ll backslide again

Let me get caned in your cuddles
Do a gram of wet-eye-stares?
Or maybe try some methalove;
Warm and close but not as scary?

Love is the drug, light afterglow
My shot in the arm, your ultimate dose
My sweet narcotic of nuzzling necks
A sure-fire hit for knock-out sex

Love is the drug
The balm
The pain
Our tearing loss
Our need to do it again

From the soaring highs of love’s hot fix
Where blood rushes blindly inciting my psychosis.
We lie it’s forever. I believe it’s what hurts.
An infinite comedown and it’s aching our hearts.

 

2017: January Pre-Mourning

The night before the work starts
Our streets echo with lone travellers
This night of cold clear dread
As the new year shakes free
Of it’s champagne and fireworks
A mighty muted still
Fills up the dark

And in the raging dreams
Of all these people in their beds
Uncertain and alone in today’s cold sleep
Questions of fragility
Feed our hunger for dread
Spoiling this last bedtime
With what tomorrow brings

Outside in some dark corner
Of a Southern London home
I ponder how few deaths make many mourn
The slaps of conflict beat
Fresh tears from more bored eyes
Yet each hour too much life
Is bled and crushed in horror

For one more year has come on us
And forseers contort with doom
Such angry rhetoric, such mounting gloom
Yet this new year is not foretold
And harbours chances new
There’s not time to conjure lies
Just time to start the world.

The end of the world news, Ankakay via Flickr

The end of the world news, Ankakay via Flickr

The Uprisen

Stańczyk by Jan Matejko (1862)

Stańczyk by Jan Matejko (1862)

I’m revolting in our kitchen
I will not wash another cup
Nary the bins are emptied
And I care not who’s turning up

In the toilet I’m revolting
You can guess the seat stays raised
A growing ring of gloomy grey
Entombs the tub in waves

The floor of our thru-diner
Is an irksome furry muck
For I’ve revolted against the oppressive regime
That bids I vacuum up

Window’s streak with weeks of grime
The laundry mountain hums
Shadows stretch from coves
– such as spiders hide –
Yet I’m sticking to my guns

Once in a while love stands the test
Resists worldly weights and… sails
Yet sometimes – oft noticed far too late –
Once in a while love fails

So leave me to my misery
Let this dirt I foster bloom
You Watch your ‘Bake Off’ finally
I’ll sulk, revolting,
in some dark room

Bedlam Museum of the Mind

A visit to Bethlem Hospital
Museum of the Mind this week.
Open Wednesday to Friday 10am-5pm
(unless you’re in a ‘group’).
I find myself struck by the times.

There is a wide range of art
as well as historical lunacies to enjoy
and the staff and ‘service users’
are impeccably informed and helpful.

Here are two of the few photo’s I took to remind me of the visit.

Harriet Jordan

Harriet Jordan

Harriet Jordan (after)

Harriet Jordan (after)

The Clear Out

She has bags of bags, filled with shoes, Christmas wrappings, old cards
And new ones.
Bags of overplayed records and unopened letters.

We keep clawing into the gloom and dust:
More bags, half open boxes, stuck to this sticky insect-shell-carpet,
Deep in the fabric of the long dead.

Box after box…
Some with bags in, some have letters, reams of aims,
Bags of dreams.

There are more shoes, a crimson coat of majestic massiveness.
Here is a box full of bags from the eighties filled with toys
– Battalions of soldiers in disarray eyeballing teams of alien muscle-men
Through the decades.

And last of all, wrenching the newspaper floor with it,
Dragged out from beyond,
A decomposing leather hold-all, filled with photographs.
Beaming childhood hopes, tiers of school pics, camping trips,
Instants of hurried-through birthdays and flashes of Christmases.

I clamber back. Kneel back, and, hands on knees, take a breath.

Our treasure-haul has piled up in the bedroom,
One trove stacked on a chair.
Inhaling the gasps of long ago,
The chatter of ages fills my nostrils,
Hits the back of my throat – the depths of memory
– And I gulp down more,
She shuts the bedroom window, Which abruptly suffocates us.

*** “Go get a bag then.”
Her hands already picking over the bones.

Another bag. This one heavy with dark implications
Heavy with its Black.
The crisp pliable plastic of sacks.

I bare my mind as I reach into the kitchen cupboard, downstairs.
Here dark, personal, thoughts swim.
So, again, upstairs ripping one finality after another off the roll
We empty years of what-ifs into these terrible cocoons.

We stay for days jogging back and forth
through shared and forgotten events.
All that’s dead is gone, all that’s dust is dead. In a bag in a box
In a hole. There’s a dream that once lit up her head.

 

 

Autumn 2016

Apparently it’s autumn in Otham
Though nobody’s told the sun
A parched carpet of crunchy leaves
Adding the “Shh” to our school run

Crunchy leaves

Silence

You, my blue lipped beauty
Stare glassily at this sky of fading fluorescence
Of panels and screw coverings
Sharing your long dead warmth with steeled neighbours

In my head your laugh is raucous
As I trip,
or burn another meal
Like how you snorted that day Paul fell off his new bike
Poor Paul
Or when Isobel helped us to decorate;
Daubing delicate pink prints on your mum’s new faux mink jacket
Hilarious

Noisy
Always
Laughing in my head

Not now
With that fine sheen to your fading makeup
So as you stare on
At your terrible cocoon
The silence left is closer

The noise in my head of you
Is loud
Ringing
Deafening
And eternal somehow even from your beautiful blue pout

Red Sunset

Damn that deep red sun sets hard

Drowning days light in the tide of the dark

Sending in pink blushes of clouds last breaths

Triumph eternal in hourly deaths

Pop

You know, he’s the most enormous person there is in the whole wide world.

Where is he?

The music is fading.
Truck’s stopped and everyone else is getting off, entwined in mums and dads,
so where is he?
You glance from big grinning face to big laughing head… Nowhere!

Try not to panic!
It feels empty now.
Gripping hold, tight, to the bar.
Afraid to stand, you fight back those early tears
and bite your bulging bottom lip.

Two huge hands reach in.
Click. You’re free; those hands, in your armpits, thrusting you skywards!
A reassuring bass voice
“Hello Twinkle! You enjoy that?”

“Dadeeeeee” you squeal,
beaming your best tooth-filled Beam back,
as he hoists you snuggly onto one arm and presses you against his wall of chest, for a carry!

Now that you’re three,
your arms easily encircle his tree-trunk neck
and you both sail along past other tempting stalls and flashing rides.
“Dinner soon” He harrumphs, close to your forehead
as you quietly de-panic and enjoy the comfort of the best ride in the show
– your best daddy in the whole wide world.

Party at Aunty Kayes 1932

Party at Aunty Kayes 1932

In Dreams I Am Healthy And Wealthy

The Nightmare, J Henry Fuseli (Wikipedia Source)

The Nightmare, J Henry Fuseli (Wikipedia Source)

So dreams come each night differently –
Last night there was a foreign tramp eating our swans
We fought – I couldn’t find my voice
In dreams I often don’t

One night I may be lost in an enormous house
Or fleeing an ominous villain
At night these thoughts invade my head
Escape my bed
Fill up the dead of sleep

Sometime ago I dreamt of flying
Skimming treetops down steep slopes
A quick paced spring and over again
A divine dream of falling down

This is the trick of these night flicks
Filling my brain with illusion
Each day I awake
Into a lovely right life
And take a tick to bring peace to confusion

But even these dreams
As glorious as stars
Never leave me wishing
They were how things are
Even though in my dreams I am healthy and wealthy
I’m richest with my Malika

Shadows

A dark knock loiters out my door
I can’t tell what it’s waiting for

Somedays I catch it catch it’s breath
Somedays I brood on where we met

One night it rested on the wood
That shadow scarred like no claw could

And in the warmth of this close home
Wrapped deep in folds of family down

My burning ears and itching hands
Breathe deep, fold down and make a stand

 

Hear that noise

Standard background sound radiation
perforating your life with hum
No screaming panic
Nor muted fear
Your lucky ears, in safe warm heads
Collecting your
Connected thoughts
Your fucking lucky ears

And in some world –
not far enough away from here –
Built of a soundscape you may not bear
Our brothers and mothers
Tune in daily
To that other mess
Cacophany
The daily execution
of sheer abhorrent sounds
A torrent of noise

Key words

I keep forgetting to keep doing this… but often remember the words…

bujonswords

Relax!
Kick back,
take stock,
unwind.
Accept where you’re at:
ease the fret
from your mind.
Take an open account
of your life
and of those
who make colour and add
to the light of our kind.

Be free
in your head.
Be steady
be true –
as open to change
as the clouds are to blue.
Stay focused,
directed,
keep rhythmic
and new.
During spiralling lies
sincerely be you.

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Cranky Old Man

Having been duped by a touching ‘story’ with a fantastic poem at it’s heart, I made further investigations and found, what I think is, the original source of that poem. It has captivated me so is my first pressing of someone else’s work.

The original version of the poem:

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see, nurses what do you see
Are you thinking when you are looking at me
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice –I do wish you’d try
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And for ever is losing a stocking or shoe,
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill
Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see,
Then open your eyes, nurses, you’re not looking at me.

816px-Elderly_Woman_,_B&W_image_by_Chalmers_Butterfield

Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I used at your bidding, as I eat at your will,
I am a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another,
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;
A bride at 20 – my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home;
A women of 30 my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last,
At 40 my young sons have grown and are gone;
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At 50, once more babies play around my knee.
Again we know children, my loved one me
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel
’tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where once was a heart
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells
And now and again my battered heart swells
I remember the joys I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few – gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses open and see
Not a crabbit old women look closer – see me.

Phyllis McCormack, 1966

*

Amazing right!

It has, apparently long been circulated online as some remnant of a forgotten life of presumed little value, found by nursing staff checking a checked-out patients belongings… However the true history and author are explained via http://www.hoax-slayer.com/cranky-old-man-poem.shtml.