20 November 2016

                                   cold november day

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24 October 2016


Of all the flow’rs which nestle in the hedge
It is the rose that I hold closest to my heart;
That bloom so delicate and yet so strong
Has long contrived to hold my soul in thrall.
Once, fighting men emblematised the rose,
Condensed the world to simple red and white,
And always it has served the lover well  -
The closest thing to spilling his own blood.
I love them all, whate’er their hue and type:
The humble dog-rose reaching for the sun’s
A match for any cultivated bloom.
Even now, its subtle perfume takes me
To  “Tea Rose” which I found upon your skin.

And thus the thorn is hidden in this posy:
Absence  -  and the scent of distant roses.


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15 October 2016

                                peeling skin  (a pith take)

                                        what should i do

                              when manuscript is not enough


                                   the tapping of a keyboard
                                        trepans my skull

                                         i need a change

                                   more thinking less inking

                                i had the above conversation with myself
                         in the few grey hours between july dusk and dawn
                                                not a good move
                                   smacks of onanism or ventriloquism
                                             something like that
                               ‘cept i can’t sit on my own knee
                                        with my hand up my ass
                                 making one of my mouths say gottle o’ geer

                                            i sat there in the limbolight
                                        watching a re-run of karen sisco
                                (and you thought prometheus had it bad)

                                                      the idea hit
                                       so simple  -  so all encompassing

                                         i would continue to write
                                                     eschew paper
                                        ( no it’s not the same as tissue paper
                             pay attention will ya  -  i’m pouring my heart out here)

                                             i decide to write only on
                                                 fruit and vegetables
                                                   man what a gas
                                          i hadn’t been so excited since
                                                    that night when …..

                      hey  -  let’s just say i’ve not been that excited for a while ok

                                      i went out to the kitchen and found a lemon
                                        (leftover supplies from a g & t evening)
                                   dipped a cocktail stick in some colouring
                                                         i was away
                                                     a pointillist haiku

                                                          got the modelling knife
                                             etched an ode in the skin of a potato

                                                             beamed myself around the world
                                                                       lit a beach fire
                                                                heating up a metal rod
                                                       burned my words on a coconut shell

                                      travelled on

                               used my thumb nail
                                          to write
                                   i am what i am
                                      (on a yam)

                                                             sat in the hot sun
                                                               with the help of my specs
                                                             focused my mind
                                                   seared a sonnet on a satsuma

                                                         never been so happy

                                                         each one different

                                                      a lifetime to find ‘em all

              (sure there was a little melon cauli in there but let that stay silent)

                                                   a poem on a pomegranate
                                                         (so many seeds)

                                              a little lyric love  -  some sweet corn

                                     the plums the dates the firm courgettes
                                                       cucumbers bananas
                        (ok plantains if you’re reading-in autobiographical symbolism)

                                           how many vegetables are there
                                                  (leaving aside politicians)

                                              the world was full of juicy promise
                                                   ways to write upon it
                                                natural colours of course

                                  i stole a micro-laser from a mad scientist in alaska
                                                      used it to write an epic ballad
                                                               on a soybean

                                               sliced up a turnip
                                         fingerbrushed turmeric losslines
                                             across the damp pages
                           watched only by the silhouette of a bemused scarecrow

                                                              it went on for years
                                                      kick-starting hardtail hogs
                                     keeping ahead of my own dustcloud in tired pickups

                                                                scribing words
                                       everywhere from rain-forests to airport lounges

                                                             i was so high
                                                 i scratched my ass on everest
                                                       life would last forever


                                                               of course

                                                   the far-off barking of a dog
                                                     some intrusive sadness
                                                           brought me back
                                                            sorry twilight

                                                   i had made the journey

                                          just one more poem left to write

                                                     i took a rusty flooring nail
                                                 in the crisp and pungent flesh
                                                          a spanish onion
                                                     i carved my final work

                                                  read it and weep



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09 October 2016


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01 October 2016


              many years ago i found myself in new england
                                              go easy
                                 i don’t mean i found myself
                                 i mean i was a transatlantic visitor

                                       while there
                              i bought a levi’s shirt
          an unexpected treasure in an anonymous mall
        that shirt has stayed with me for over twenty years
                              a rumpled faded favourite

                                      lately though
                                the holes appeared
                             as holes are wont to do
                                      unlike me
                          it was thinner than it used to be

                                            i made a decision
                               ordered a cheap denim shirt online
                                      i knew what i had to do

                                i had the house to myself
                                      set the music to shuffle
                                            one by one
            cut the metal buttons from my old friend
                         in a world of songs and sewing
                                 fixed them on my new arrival

                          don’t misunderstand
                 i’m not some perfumed popinjay
                               out to impress

        this was me going back while staying still
                                 i tried it on
                   almost as good as the original
                             at that moment
          in a confluence of music and memory
james taylor told me he was going to carolina in his mind
                  i was back in new hampshire
              while also in scotland on a cold wet day

              later i took  scissors to the old guy
                               used him for rags
              to clean the soot off the stove glass

                            it seemed fitting
              helping me see the fire was still burning
                          bright as a button man

                                 bright as a button


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24 September 2016

                      glenbrittle morning  
                           (a snapshot)                

                     the forest is a vault of vapour and spectral trees


                                        behind it all
                            a crow coughs like a colicky dog
                              choking on its own isolation

                                       beside the track
                  young trees revel in diadems of liquid light
                        bow to the applause of nearby streams

                          like a passing well-remembered kiss
                                              the mist



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11 September 2016


                                                after many years
                                   i’ve just been re-reading 
                     richard brautigan’s  “trout fishing in america
                             it was a favourite backalong
                            made me smile on reacquaintance
                                     the first thing to say is
                              it’s not really about trout fishing
               it’s the musings of a wry and active imagination

                        when i was in my late teens or early twenties 
                                       my father came to stay
                                         this was before he died
                                       it’s important to note this
                           he has visited many time since his demise

                                                getting ready for bed
                                he scanned the bookshelves 
                                      this title caught his eye
                                    a fisherman all his life
                       he figured he’d caught a good one
                      i had to explain that it wasn’t what it seemed
                                         (like so many things)
                                          he took it anyway
                            away up the wooden hill…
                                      at breakfast
               he never told me if  the book had aided sleep
                helped him understand his wayward son
            just munched his cereal and started a new day

                        there you have it
         i set out to recapture  old words
                     cast out some ideas
                     landed my dad

        time to dust off more old lines
                      who else will rise
       kiss the surface and bid me well
                     leaving ripple
                      after ripple


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