Poetry

I have written poems as far back as I can remember and received a lot of encouragement from various teachers at Primary School. My Uncle Bill also encouraged me - I only found out in my late teens that he wrote poetry. He taught me a lot about structure and nuances.

I was a member of a performance poetry trio called "The Three Disgraces" for a while in the 1990s and we performed around Devon and the South at literary festivals.

I like to explore sensuality, sexuality and to play with themes, ideas and words. Some poems are very personal, some a flight of fancy, but in the end that doesn't matter to the reader - it's how the poem connects with you that's important.

In recent years my creative energies have mainly gone into lyrics for Not for Pussies, but I still doodle away at the poetry, so felt it was worthwhile having a dedicated page. I hope you enjoy it!

 

First "grown up" poem:

Reflection on a Winter's Eve

The air
is a fine crystal glass,
which no on e dares break.

The earth
is held for tonight
in a fine silken net.
Statues of trees
stand
in fields
bathed in dying sunlight.
And all is quiet around me
all is quiet.

The Sheep - Published in "Respect for Animals", 1996, (ISBN 1 86188 441 9)

We passed them on the motorway.
Us - in our cosy car, music on.
Them - squashed, cold, confused,
half trampled to death,
shitting themselves with fear.
Last gasps at the evening air
on their last day alive.
Do they have any idea where they're going
- what fate awaits?
I think so. Weak and defenceless
but not as dumb as you think

 

One moment alive, the next
a fine choice of chops, mutton, rump.
How can you do it?
Think of their pain, fear and bloody end:
Still-warm bodies ripped apart,
neatly product packaged
just for you.
How can you eat it?
Might as well slit my throat now
and select your prime cut.

 

Cafe Life
I love
the diversity of the human body.
My eyes eagerly follow
long-limbed
adolescents
with flyaway hair;
sun-punished tramps
asleep
on the hard baked grass of the cathedral square;
wiry neds with their Pit-Bulls
- pent up,
aggressive,
in yer face stare,
as they go by;
two guys
happily hand-in -hand at the next table,
Versace belts and sideburns,
lashes
like Bambi.

My Roots

I come from a family
of weak men
and warring women

Boadiceas in beehives
ruled our lives
brandishing fags in
verbal duels
fuelled by cheap whisky

The menfolk lay low
under cover of the Sunday Post
or Titbits (if they wre lucky)
Their battles played out
in Saturday afternoon
wrestling matches on telly
They knew not to cross swords
with their wives
Heads would roll
besides
they knew which side
their bread was buttered on

 

Deliver us from evil

Driving out of Glasgow that day
I was shocked
by the strength of my reaction.
Stopped by the policeman
to let them march by.
Ridiculously pompous in their
orange sashes.
Popping eyes and red necks
as they piped
and beat their drums.
My accelerator foot
twitched,
just one small step
to scatter them to oblivion.
They paraded by,
oblivious of my inner struggle.
My personal police
out in force
to avert just one more
act
of sectarian violence

 

Pricks

come in many shapes and guises,
some more at home in the boardroom than bedroom.
This was a BMW 325i
(red of course) intent
hell bent on giving my (female)
Golf CL a good shafting.

2.5 litres of impotence
out for a sex drive.
Sad little fuck.

 

Aberdeen

So what is it now?
Flood? Leaves on the track?
Bloody typical!
The very day I need to get to Aberdeen
for half past ten
the train's delayed
till God knows when.
The seasoned suits around me
whip out mobile phones
and grumble, moan,
reschedule meetings,
take no notice of the tannoy
droning on through lists of trains and times
until it comes to mine...

Then everything is tele-lensed out of the frame
except the words - sharper than life itself -
"due to a fatality on the line."

 

Transience

Withering
from vivid purple to black,
the summer buddlea
on its way out.
Butterflies
with nowhere to go
flap
through my house,
shedding wing cells
like petals
from forgotten vases.

Transience.

The word hangs in my head
defies its very definition.

It lodged there eleven years ago.
My german tutor,
hooked upon the transience of life,
sought examples everywhere
(mostly in Goethe's work).
He even wrote a book
about his dog
whose lifespan
was a fraction of his own
and ever true
to transience,
in the end he stepped
pyjama-clad
in front of a train.

 

Drunk in Berlin

I always hated the blues
but tonight they sound real good.
2am, Berliner Bar,
drinking Margaritas,
feeling incredibly good.
Brian, Donna and Mark discussing
relationships.
Me, I'm busy watching the
barmaid,
feeling incredibly rude.

I love the way she shakes the
cocktails
half dance, half pose.
I want another Margarita
just to watch her move.
Our eyes meet.
What is she thinking?
I smile.
Languidly,
she goes back to her crossword.

 

Drunk in Devon

and you're 500 miles away,
caught up in life to come
when all I want to do
is come
with you, right here, right now.

I cracked the bottle
- might as well -
one less to carry,
let it spill amongst the old,
say "Cheers" to all that's past,
as I'm the one with life on hold,
when all I want to do
is hold
you right there, right now.

 

Modern vs Classical

I've just been to see
an aluminium tool shed,
a plastic yeti and
a bag of shit.
Have been told I should work hard
to understand this art.
Shed. Yeti. Shit.

Now as I sit and look
at the Three Graces,
surrounded by unappetising
portraits of bug-eyed aristocrats,
I marvel at these sisters.
Not their pudgy fingers
nor fussy hair,
it's their arses I can't take my eyes off,
want to get my hands on
and connect with some art.

 

Lucy

Watching you sleep
- which is what you mostly do these days -
I know you're ready for the big one.
It's just that I'm not ...

Vice-locked in this limbo,
swollen and hot with selfish tears,
I cup my hands to hold the moments
we connect,
when you have strength enough
to cradle me
in those soft brown eyes.

It's only then you help me be
just be - for you.

And breathing in your rainbow coat
I slip your lead
and watch you wake
to speed along the path of light ...

 

Check out girl

The kind of hair you
just can't tame
Corkscrew
blonde
Italian mane

I'm blown away in
Tesco's queue
Dazed
senses homing in
on you

Eyes dilated
drinking in
red sweatpants
t-shirt
slim brown hands

They sign your name
I gasp
and play the only part of you
I can
upon my tongue
Paula Ferrari ... Paula Ferrari ... Paula Ferrari ...

Society

Take it
between the eyes
the thighs
whatever
but take it
like a man
bitches too:
Tight-lipped
church-goers
voracious guzzlers
of tabloid crap.
Unmask this
odious moral
majority
silently shafting
rent boys
and street girls.
It's been going on
forever.
Why deny it
now?

 

Charles

Your hands trace
the contours
of my feet,
track the miles I cover
in meditation,
mapping the distance
we've travelled.

Light years.

Half a planet's circumference,
another circadian rhythm.
Living time
ahead of mine,
your touch at night
brushes my day,
bridges the distance
- one long haul flight
earth's burning heart
between us.

 

Good enough mothers?

9 months inside you
I spent.
The closest we ever were
in 32 years.
The rhubarb-patch kid
- that's me.
Believing the tale of my origin
with all my heart.
It's true!

9 months inside her
you spent.
The 5th of 10 children.
So did she love you?
Did she even
remember your name?

 

Becoming real

I sold the moon and stars
to buy your love
but never could
raise quite enough collateral
to clear the debt
for being born
for being your blessing
and your curse

I threw the towel in andleft
bad debts, bad feelings
only time could heal

Now we barter day to day
in goods that we both can afford
in daily bread
not constellations
keeping expectations real

 

Heredity

At the age you are now
your mother had lost her teeth,
wrecked her lungs
and her white cells were
planning a long, debilitating war
on every joint in her body.

Small wonder then
you find yourself rejecting fags,
sweating daily,
pounding streets and treadmills,
pumping iron,
freaking at all the additives
in your food,
watchful of every suspect ache.

One generation on and
who's the crazy bitch then?

 

Till Death ...

White-knuckled
brittle
her acid bath eyes
spit venom
No warning
and no quarter given

He sighs
digs in deeper
Lost in the trenches
of one-sided warfare
Shell-shocked
and mole-blind
after 30-odd years
of
"Anything for a quiet life"

 

Recipe for Love (written in response to a meat marketing board's advert for steak on Valentine's Day!)

Take one mild-mannered herbivore,
bundle it into an overcrowded truck.
Drive
a few hundred miles too many.
No food or water (who gives a fuck?)
then,
at the killing place
stun-gun it half to death,
strip it systematically
of dignity,
skin, bone, innards -
joke with your mates as you hose down the walls,
separate spinal cord, brain
all those risky bits (got to watch out these days)
carefully carve out a heart shape
of muscle
and rustle a rare one up
for the one you love.

 

Realisation

The face I see in the mirror
noting changes every day.
The physical deterioration
a forerunner of decay.

I was aware of growing up
but not of growing old.

 

Homecoming

Bruised sky
purple-yellow glower.
Driving through torrents.
Heavy sheet metal
chopping the glens
in a slow motion strobe.

This is what I came home for.
Weather
bleak as my mood.

 

What biological clock?

They gaze in lovingly
at "Mamas & Papas"
Travel cots
and teething rings
Winnie the Pooh
swings
clutching balloons
Teddy bear potty chairs
Patchwork clowns
Babywear
frilly dresses
romper suits
"All your baby's needs in one"
in multicolour alphabet

Foreign's not the word
I'm on another planet

 

Mole

I wrapped dark felt around my naked body
leaving exposed
just fingers, toes and snuffling nose
dug deep and deeper
into crumbling fruit loaf earth
in search of worms

 

Snow Geese

The silence comforts me in your absence.
I'm longing to be wtih you,
though it's only days since
I kissed you goodbye,
said "I love you."

Watching the geese outside as the snow falls
and you on the notorway.
The blizzard muffles their calls.
I pray that you're safe
and can reach me.

 

Ach Du

We sang Stille Nacht
together
at the Christkindlesmarkt
Clear voices
trying to hide the hurt
First Christmas
far from home

Back at your room
gemuetlich
Gluhwein warming on the stove
Rachmaninov's vespers
healed our hearts
"Oh girl! " you said
"Ach Du!"
Your cinnamon-speckled face
in golden candlelight
You smelt of mandarin
and sandalwood

We wet and wove the straw
created stars
and Christmas never was
the same again

 

 

Twelfth Night

The smell of pine intensified
made me look up from my heap
of dusty tinsel
to witness your ritual
mutilation of the Christmas tree.
Dried out branches falling
at your feet
"This'll make good kindling"
you said, reaching for the saw
when all that was left
was a sad, bald stump.

This feels right.
The tree is still with us,
firing the stove,
smelling sharp as its crackling,
ending naturally in dust
as we all will.

What bloody good is a plastic tree?
Dragged out year after year,
forcing its grin of static youth.
If I had my way I'd torch it,
melt it down to a glob
of carbon.
Give the fake a chance
at a real life cycle.
If only for my own peace of mind,
it has to be done.

 

My Father's Hands

My father's hands
look large and lost
Out of context with
his bony, shrinking frame

They scooped me up once
these kind but calloused
shovels
Held me safe
in solemn tenderness
These hands that
worked machines
and dug the soil
brought in the coal
and tended fires
but tended to me too
Told bathtime tales
scrubbed my back
and roughly toweled me down
till rosy, laughing, breathless
tucked me into bed
and hands together, softly so,
we said our prayers

These hands
they nursed my mother
pushed her chair
and when she pushed away
withdrew
I saw them
knotted in despair

But now they're lost
redundant
No one needs looked after
cuddled
cared for
Nothing there

He stands, unsteady
and they hang
too big, too useless now
to save him
even when he falls