Lowestoft Holler

There’s this little green town on the East coast
Where work all gets lost in the cloudy smoke
There’s a tan on the beach if you’re visiting
It still comes with cheap chips and ice cream

Every day the sun lifts the darkness
Breaking memories anchored in some trawling past
No crowds fill the streets, they’re in online
Gossiping or gaming over flat wine

Books banked in dust pad the library
While shops stocked in staple brands of jewellery
Alternate with smoking miscellany
As broad across as sacred is our greenery

When you pass by, and you will, don’t be afeared
The East coast is not the place it used to be
As calm and cool as any burg is wont to be
A little slower true, but aren’t we meant to be

 

Why we poppy

A red flower on your breast
Feeding thoughts of war
A century of life lost young
Defending freedom

In European mud the first seeds
Bloom among youths’ blood
Ensuring rights and laws upheld
Defending freedom

Yet wars and wars again
Beset our Earth, doom our kin
Piling dead poppies on the pain
Defending freedom

As a century of poppies passes
Blurring right’s, a little out of focus
Battles reign for Aurelian
Defending freedom

The great Suffolk train ride

A residual stink
That acrid jarring of smells
Grating receptors and flashing memories
Of narrow escapes
Close shaves
The clawing tendrils of inertia
Rancid in manner
I squeeze my eyes tight, grin
Embracing this funk of what
Might have been.

We pull through Manningtree
Wondering the ghosts haunting
It’s industrial might
Desolate journeying through
Time’s very decay
In this error of modernisation
Thirty years dilapidation
The dead in the Dedham Vale

How well your dark flocks of sheep
Crowd your secret
As far removed from clouds
As your dark wet brickwork alleyways
And menacing piping
Anyone claiming this outpost of progress
Will need time and
Wealth to mobilise your dunes
Of crumbling rubble
Scrape habitable
Your vast concrete footprints
Me and my passenger friends
Flee North, hammering the short stretch
Of track left ‘train-friendly’
This far East

I love speed
Trees wave furiously
Frozen in streaks
Passing this great machine
We tear past bikers and dog walkers
The fluorescent smear of joggers,
Of heath-jumpers, bowl by the window
As a bright feeble January sun
Sweeps through the innards of our carriage
Painting faces and seats
In chilling reds and oranges
Until the next clutch of housing or industrial estates
Breaks those marvellous red beams

Inevitably someone impresses the brake
A forest of pylons
So gantry’s encase this slow snake.

Thoughts Are Few

And inconsistent;
largely light, reticent.
Struggling through
some lonely night –
I try to think; so on I write!

Music plays me,
curling strayly,
lost in worlds I cannot own.
Mindless – flightless –
walking slowly…
Soft in brains puss brought to show!

Short and tragically
we peer contemptuously:
Laugh at sordid, life-lost lightly.
On my grounds
I’m sure my folly
when the night brings losers; jolly!

Parallel

In another room
An age away
Another us
Rips the night apart
We curl a tune
And drag
A line of thought
Limping like a broken dream
To drown, face down
In our puddles of beer and tea
Washed ashore in perpetuity
on our islands of cakes
In those valleys of skunks

Through a portent,
Unfathomable universes,
Diverse from ours, away,
Another us
Reaps the rewards of climbing the stars
Of sacrifices moody and unwholesome
Compromising breath of the soul itself,
Each in reward for renown
For compensation so vast and improbable that
merely reaching the heart of others,
Has immeasurably enhanced
The quality as well as status
Each of us – in this other world – enjoy.

Some blurred echo of those thoughts
Expressed above
Retain a tenuous grip in the
Blank planes of
My particular memories.
Forging bearable apology
For having squandered
Such time
And exhausted such energy.

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.

 

 

4:20

A return to attempting to find my poetic voice. We have come to the end of a string of Beck’ Beat Poetry events, which have been a series of fantastical occasions! Enabling me and others to meet and hear top-class poets from across south London (and Hackney)!

Here is the 420

 

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

Alison

My pretty dame.
I will meet you again
again.

Sometime
in distant time
refrain…

I love your eyes
your sweet smile, pretty,
and quietly close
I sing this ditty.

Off The Page

Rivers of rooftops flow
Drowning out windows
with clouds from below.
Down where the noise and malevolence grow!

Whilst daily you claw at your dreams:
taking apart
every thought you believe.

I keep seeing your face –
hearing your succulent tongue lick your breath –
as anonymous people take place.
Stealing a memory
of what your love left.

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.

 

Crazy Cat

You crazy puss
Where in our world did
You peruse yo’ Cat-Blues?
How does this noise you make
Grow to crescendo?
What pictures appear on those eyes
that so freak you?

Crazy cat
You mad feline
Give us a clue
that might quieten your mind…
Whistling winds that carry and blur
Darken the hell
of your crazy cat purr
So yell if you need to
you banshee of night
Though we don’t understand
we won’t still your disquiet!

*

This is not a nose-dive over the much coveted pussy-cat-cliff; that space on the web for all you freaking catpic sharers, all of you! (seriously, sometimes I try to use this internet and all it throws up are pussy, porn and preaching!). This is an ode to a greatly admired cat, who through some surreal way, was able to scare the living chips out of any who ever heard her. 

She died a long time ago and the recording below – testament to her howl – was made in 2002.

You feline fanatics online, might also enjoy Ode to Smokey #nomorepussy

#217

Memory dances teasingly out of reach.
Again my mind provides the butt
Of a joke – so elusive
That even humour loses its rasping
Chuckle, when confronted by this plight.
This cowering wreck.
Tortured –
Through a diet of sarcasm
Disrespect and the masochistic audacity
To try this absurd play out again and again and
more.
Until knackered –
Visibly shaken –
Memory leaves completely!
Flicking off
Every
Single
Light
On its swift way out!

 

[from 2011]

Skeletal Beach

dead trees

 

Image: Keith Evans, http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4669041. Words: Bujonswords.

106

Writers Block 1 by Drew Coffman

Image: Writer’s Block 1 by Drew Coffman, https://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/4815205632/in/photostream/. Words: Bujonswords

Looking… for More Life?

This time I’ve staid my time.
This time all the stars are fine.
A silver fortress holds my mind,
this time, not too unkindly.

Magic legs which fleet
from little poisons in the street
and latent legs, once gladly split
find no friend in these swift feet.

Where guilt is lost in meat and gore –
but maybe found in wanting more!
Light nerves once touched now sore
prove guilt hides even in awe.

Chewing it over

Bite chew swallow big bite long chew

A thousand made up half made thoughts
Invade my concave mind
I find
A hundred maybe less I grasp
And try to keep them to a side
Yet every day
More thoughts invade
I lose so much in time

Then somedays
Sometimes
Caught on curves
An idea comes to mind

Here in this brief fleet
I play
Tugging sharp and forced
Until that one kept idea lays
Prostrate
Ripped through
And worse

Alas the balance seldom wins
So few these great thoughts rain
Into another day
A thousand thoughts
Swirl in and out my brain
As watching them I bite and chew
Bite chew slow
And swallow

A Vocal Local Recalls (lost?) Love

And slow in my mind
All your actions collide
Each memory of moments is laid in place
This one-at-a-time
With no privilege or grace
That takes time to recall each sweet smile of your face

Oh how great
Even how sweet
The waves of time lap clear
How great
Oh how sweet that
In time my memory runs clear

So long ago you seem to be
Fogged in mists in history
Just with time
And a hint or tease
Every part of your lips returns to me

412

Sulking in old boots and smoking dry tobacco into ringlets of fug there is a beautiful untouchable riding my memory like slow waves. Free to ramble through all my day-to-day wonderings this wisp of a witch leaves hints of her passing arse and brushing breast but refuses to shed light on any corner or artifice?! She chooses instead to skulk around corners and tease from the dark hollows of her once incandescent beauty. I am weak and willing and glad of her smokey company. This mirage of memory kindles warmth in my cold dark thoughts. She is far removed from reality by time in my head and far more intimate with me now, even thru her clouds and footprints… evaporating each time I try to get close.

Veto Tiger

In my dark night you snarl
with your elephantine memory.
Like a fox you sneak into my last thoughts
and tear at my heart

Please let me be.
Please slip by in the night and don’t come knocking.
But like the ticking hands of time
you call on me most regularly

As the gulf of days widen
between me and what you say you are,
The skillful play of my beleaguered senses
blurs and scuffs your edges…

Until at last, I can believe – in time –
that you got lost: Unable to claw a way through.
And there I can sleep and lose myself to dreams.
Free from your growls and echoes of snarls,
free to love again.