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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21 August 2015




                                  i wear no jewellery
                                     rings on my fingers
                                bells on my toes
                 (though i do have music wherever i go)

                                       have no piercings
                                 titillating ornamentation
  (though i sometimes find such things appealing on others)

                                        all i have is a mojo

                    many many long ago and faraway years from here
                                               a friend was making a 3D collage
                        (even now i remember that
                           as he worked
                    we were listening
               to slim harpo’s king bee)
       he was using a lot of square plastic pieces
                               of many colours

                                           rejects or samples
                                              (i never knew)
                                                a local factory
                    perhaps they were rebels or refugees
   fleeing the production line to find a haven in his art

                             these inch and a quarter squares
                                each had a hole in one corner
                                  just waiting to be strung up
                                      (ain’t we all)

                                 colin i said
    strange how writing his name brings back his face
                             that room
               that sunny teenage afternoon
     though i lost touch with him forty years ag0
                                 colin i said
                     you spare me one of these man

                            sure man help yourself
  (we said man a lot in those days  -  truth is i still do)

                      i picked a square
     a delicate jade green piece of synthetic geometry
    he gave me an old leather bootlace
     so i could hang it ‘round my neck

            maybe it was instinctive
 maybe we’d moved on to muddy waters*
 from that high bright distant day on
                      it was my mojo

                   always wore it
(under my clothing  -  nothing ostentatious here)
              i knew it was there
 it was frowned at by a couple of radiologists
                   en passant
  by more intimate acquaintances
           but it was always there

             still is in a sense

         as in the old adage
something of a napoleon’s broom

              the square
            was replaced
  by an intricate wooden trinket
                      by a carved head
                       at the request
                            of a friend

 this head hung between our hearts for years
       though it lost its chin in the process
    perhaps in the passion of a sudden caress
 (what matter  -  i will soon have chins enough for all)

              the truth is
     it stays the same mojo
 a small part of me which remains important
       (just like my mojo
cries the music-hall comedian in my soul)

                         is it totem
                  mere long-service medal

                i make no claims
               wear it for myself

                  another amulet
       a charm on memory’s necklace


*Muddy Waters' number, should you wish to see/hear it:




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13 August 2015

03 August 2015

the end of the road 



                            aphonia later

     throughout my life i’ve used a lot of words
              they’ve not been thrown away
                   i’ve valued them
           from the first halting infantile utterances
                to insults shouted at passing drivers
                       from debate to desire
                          i’ve needed them
            rolled their syllables around my tongue
                       like sybaritic jelly beans

                 i’ve wallowed in my overflowing vocabulary
  as the lathery lexicon splashed onto the floor
                          i’ve revelled in words
                             high-minded words
                                low-life words

                        go for your thesaurus you varmint
                  this town/village/city/conurbation 
                      ain’t big enough for both of us

                                       i’ve spoken
                        loaded both barrels 
           with every type of adverbial buckshot
                          (or should that read bullshit)
                                     i’ve whispered


                                     i’ve played with words
                      their sound    their order   their meaning
                           i’ve kicked arse with a trochaic foot
                    words made me so hot 
                        that i thought i might
                         spondee-neously combust

                                   i’ve put words together with music
                                      let them split their differences
                                          and share the proceeds

                     so gradually
           that i thought it an illusion
                   my voice took a hike
                  my stentorian tones
                   became inconsistent

                                i could no longer sing
                               i became the old jokes
                never need to buy a pony   -   
                  my voice is a little hoarse
                           or a sled dog   -   little husky
                            (you get the idea i’m sure)

                                       my larynx
                                 was malfunctioning
                       you should see the hospital video
                      vocal chords are strangely vaginal
                             (yes i am aware
            that there is a joke waiting to be made)

                          i tell you this not to seek sympathy
                                       milton led the way
                           i considered how his light was spent
                                         then followed
                                      enjoying the irony
          of using words to bemoan my loss of them

                                     like so many little things
                                          my voice passed

                               i cannot remember my last shout
                                    or my last truly expressive
                                              verbal caress
            they were wasted because i knew i had more
                now i remain silent (or mime in noisy pubs)
                           while the world sings the chorus
                              i conduct my affairs
                           in an intimate monotone


                  yet still i hold words dear
                       to lose one voice 
      may be regarded as a misfortune
                    to lose ….  (…..  lautrec)

                      this has not been a lament
                             rather a celebration

                      if i have held your interest
                       my voice is as loud as ever
                                    if you have been  …
                                  thank you for listening


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