09 January 2016

30 November 2015


                         perhaps a sign of age
             i stumbled through boxes of the past
       searching for things to forget or throw away
                               an old zippo   
     trinkets past their “best before” display dates
                 letters to which i never replied
              amid all the other temporal detritus
                 i found papers left by my father
                              a poem or two
                birds forever still in a pencil sketch
            a simple drawing labelled “snowflake”
                    i don’t know when he did it
                               old man
  my skills with pencil or brush amount to zilch
                     it all looked good to me
                           but then i paused
            his snowflake had eight sides
                  the real thing has but six
                my dad taught me many things
            where and when the trout will rise
 man i thought he knew everything about everything
                         this hit me hard
            (aghast at a blast from the past)
           i remembered the artisan tradition
                        avoid perfection
           that deliberate errant stitch
         in the weaving of a Navajo rug
    the line which doesn’t reach around the pot
    the flaw which gives the soul the space to breathe
so it was with this reminder of a man long gone
                       not a fault
 a better way of seeing the whole picture


                                                November 2015

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26 October 2015

Glenbrittle Beach 26/10/15

18 October 2015

Old Dogs


                   was nothing much to look at
                            just a black dog
                bit of this and a bit of that
                     in his background
(not that he spent much time on genealogical research)

                         i guess he was special to me though
                                     we walked and ran
                           (mutt man and mooching)

                     he’d sit and hide his canine impatience
                               while i watched the water
                                    read a book
                        or played a plaintive tune

                                he’d wait outside the shop
                while i went in to buy him chocolate covered fudge
                         which he ate from my hand
                                 with elan and saliva
                            to the delight of passers by

                      he liked it if i let him run ahead
                             and take a turning
                   knowing full well i’d go the other way
     (and he could pull a cartoon face then run to find me)
                       sometimes he’d wait at junctions
                          swaying like a tennis pro
                           daring me to feint a path

                                  true to his kind
                     his favourite game was chasing rabbits
                       he went into this hyperbole of slo-mo
      running so’s his back legs seemed to come up past his head
                                then he’d come back
                         (empty-jawed and satisfied)
                    panting with pride and puzzlement

                                        one day
                                  on the coast path
                            high above a summer sea
             he set off after a baby bunny and went awol
               i found him a couple of hundred metres on
                                   he’d caught it
                        pinned it down with gentle grip
                                       and now
                                 he looked to me
                              for orders or advice

                       it was all too much for him
                            he wanted the chase
                                not the finish

                        i took the trembling furball from him
                           and we both watched it hop away
                  i gave that dog a look which tried to tell him
                           yeah i have the same problems

                      dunno if he took it in
                     he carried on for years
             chasing things he never caught

                  (having shared and learned)


                        through this life

               (which he left  -  june 2005)



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06 October 2015

Taken Near Dunvegan on The Isle Of Skye

25 September 2015

stye stygian style

   stye stygian style

      it should be a romantic pastime
             this composition
         a leaf-shuffling walk
 through memories and wishes
          or a lonely attic vigil
   fuelled by night-time and nescafe
   (sainsbury’s don’t stock laudanum)

                              alone with my pen
                        and my anglepoise lamp
                       lap well lit - face half hidden

     i was less than perfect that night
     being the owner of an infection
                     my left eye
               normally a glowing opal pool
               of love and introspection
           was swollen red and wrinkled
  like the asshole of a diseased baboon

                       i was marred

     even an ascetic seeker after truth
            wants to look good

   the result was that my mind wandered
         back to lessonlecture land
 my hands too took on an errant will
                 they doodled
                     damn it

                 there before me
    rather than a half-formed gem of poesy
         was a crude caricature
   with one foul red-felt-tipped eye
       i gave a fine elitist sneer
   flipped over to a virgin sheet

                    i calmed myself
              let tranquillity spread 
    through each capillary of my soul
        if truth would not come to me
            then i would seek it out

                     then i saw it

                       my eye
         in slightly fainter form
            had seeped through
            onto this page too

 at once my doodling fingers twitched
                      this new eye
 became the rear-light of my old triumph
          it was the work of moments
              to sketch-in the road
       leading away into the distance
             carrying my silhouette
              leaving behind my eye
                     my rearlight
                        my poem
     again i turned the page

       this time i saw at once
    the faint circle of redness
          which soon became
            a luscious cherry
  perched atop a tapered sundae

     a moment of near hysteria
            was washed away
   by a flood of sugared puns
               and i was left
                 with my eye
motorcycling down an ice-cream highway

  i looked again  at this small red outrage
    asked myself of its true nature

         it became many things
      inveigling itself into memory
         and the stuff of dreams

                and what of me

        i guess i rode for hours
      then climbed off the bike
 outside this dusty all-night verse

  i didn’t even look at the fruit machine
  i knew what the symbols would be

       perhaps i need my eyes testing
                      where do we go
                      who can we ask
                      who can we trust

  you don’t need to be charlie chan
              to have doubts
about opticians who can’t see straight



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31 August 2015

                              a usurer’s lament

                                      the internet is a vast store of info right
                                      doesn’t matter what you’re looking for
                                                   cross-stitch patterns
                                                  cary grant’s real name
                                                 it’s all gonna be there
                 (you could probably find a hard-core cross-stitch pattern
                                                 featuring said actor
                                would you want that on your wall)

                                    there is a downside to all this “research” ……
                    people get ill  -  they go online before they go see the doc
                                            see that boil on your butt
                      (in the literal sense this may require a mirror on a stick
                                   just google  -  i’m sure you’ll find one)

                                        meanwhile  -  back at the pustule
                                                       is it malignant
                                                          an STD
                            the result of being bitten by some evil life-form
                            man  -  by the time you finally get to see a medic
                              you’re damn near suppurating information

                                                   problem is this
                                                   you got a pc
                                              your gp has an md
               (all these initials are making me ill  - 
           hold on while i log on to see if that’s likely)
               they don’t like being second-guessed

                             which  -  finally  -  brings me to the point
                                          my job is kinda stressful
                                    i don’t get a lotta sympathy
                   moneylender huh  -  you deserve whatever gets thrown at you
                           well it can’t be boring  -  you’ll never lose interest
              (wish i had a pound for every time i’ve heard that one)
                            if i give clients a hard time  -   i’m a bastard
                                            if i go easy  -  i’m a mug
                                               i get wound up
                                         my heart rate is too high
                                                   i got a rash
                                               on top of it all
                                  i’m a little blocked down below
                                        (if you take my meaning)

                                                  i went online
                                     checked out my symptoms
                               possible links with my profession
                                             and only then
                           i made an appointment with the doc

  i spent twenty minutes reading copies of reader’s digest from 1991
                                        until i was called in
                      what seems to be the problem she said
                        so i filled her in on my job and lifestyle
                                      then cut to the chase
                      told her about my tough times in the toilet

    i’ve done some background reading on this i said proudly
         i believe it could be stress-related constipation
  exacerbated by immersion in constant moral dichotomy
  as seen in the case of gardener and keech  -  1972

                wow  i’ve never seen anyone so angry
    (subsequent surfing has revealed that she displayed
         “apoplectic aural vapour expulsion syndrome”)
               she just gave me this cold withering look

 truth is i was so scared that my bowel problem resolved itself
                    (albeit a little too suddenly for comfort)

                                  then she leaned back
                                     took a deep breath
                                               and said
                                  through gritted teeth
                            (“anger-induced bruxism”)
                                   with a voice so slow
                           it was like malevolent molasses

                                       no shit shylock

                            (anyone wanna buy a computer)




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