Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Crowd

Do not seek consolation
in the crowd:
weak minds are drawn to strong
like a cloud
of electrons to a nucleus.

The crowd is destruction, pain,
loss of identity:
skirt the crowd,
laugh at it:
the crowd has brought us to our knees,
and yet you wish to save yourself
by the poor consolation
that comes from large numbers?

No, avoid the crowd:
too many minds make the totality numb,
mouths drown each other out.
Truth, objectivity, might make us lame
as chance brought mind from madness.
Use your lights:
shine brightly, lest you should be crowded out.
Carry on, seek solace, peace:
keep your mouth silent, your lifeforce loud.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Voice

The voice keeps me in check,
a little father in the back of my head.
A curled hard fist to the back of the neck.
The signalman out there watching ahead.

There's nothing wrong with it, you'll see:
we all need a little something to give us shape.
And if you're open I'm sure you'll agree
that life must be dealt with, and never escaped.

The voice is constant, and it makes one laugh
at oneself, at one's humour and spirit.
If it ever grabs hold by the collar or scarf
fight back with vigour and bloody well kill it.

There's nothing ill at work, 'tis nothing to be shamed:
whenever it's at work, listen and act.
For if you don't, you're only to blame,
and that's all there is to it. Matter of fact.

The voice can be heavy, it can draw blood.
It can cough up pure whiskey vomit, charred lung,
the rags of childhood, memories of earth and mud.
But let it show the light: let it be your sun.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Farm

A farm is the Earth
attached to an iron lung -
the industrial ones, anyway.

Agribusiness has it wrong
if it thinks this holds sway
in the proper scheme of things.

A co-operative venture, they say,
with independent shops, giving wings
to newer ways of living.

But things scroll, they don't cling;
it'd be a sincere misgiving 
to assume there's not a better way.

So come, live in realm of day.
Night is cold, the sun tires not of giving.
The Earth must breathe:
farms aren't natural - wouldn't you say?

When You Think About It

When you think about it,
the birds' flight is utterly pointless,
but we're not the ones to decide
what's what.

Once you've shot it down,
you'll see the work behind God's hands
and the sky will seem to peel away
revealing an emptiness you never saw before.

The Earth is but scabs and scars,
the trees bristle like hair,
oceans are eyes, simple in their
monochrome blue.

And when you think about it,
thought is just a barrier to action.
Look, think, see, feel.
Then comes a distraction.

The Machine

We are all plugged into
                         the machine
but the machine is now
                         the Earth.

Its furrows are now areas
                         of low bandwidth,
its rivers the confluences
                         of cables.

But all I want is to be
                          a voice for it,
become the beauty, the suffering
                          the variety.

This grey machine still thrums
                          with colour
if you adjust your eyes to the light
                          so very carefully.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


The television is a cardboard box of nightmares
dreaming loudly, and in three dimensions.
It screams its colours into our heads,
puts our own thoughts in suspension.

The telephone is a plastic bone
for human dogs to chew -
it rings at too high a pitch
to make sense to you.

Cars are metal ghosts, 
possessed by poltergeists,
their phantom electric circuits humming 
and brimming with unnatural life.

Craig Raine was a Martian,
his eyes frozen ochre rock
that freakish birds with massive wings
would idly perch atop.

Humans are sacks of cells
loosely held as one,
moving in terrifying patterns
(chemical reaction + chemical reaction = love).

Friday, 10 February 2012

Living is Dangerous

Living is dangerous,
and death is the price we pay for our lives.
Life-death is the worst:
it is not just the flesh that quivers its last -
so too can the mind.

Shuttered in in office blocks
and bars in cheap hotels,
with whores and tramps in crowded rooms,
the mind blooms like a night flower
into its poisonous bed.
Life can get put on the backburner,
death can go to your head.

Movement gives the illusion of movement -
you move whilst standing still.
And pills can make you healthy
if shell or shill's your thrill.
Weapons are burned and dismantled,
but your silence still flays and kills.
Words are breaths of wonder;
silence makes all nill.

Yes, living can be dangerous -
extending out, pressing in like a blade.
And round the bend you'll find, my friend,
the headlights have you staid.
Death, great redeemer, great equaliser, black sun,
come not whilst I'm living - 
dying's dangerous when your living's not done.


I like my metaphors to be violent,
as if I were punching a woman in the face.

I like them to defamiliarise,
to put things out of place.

I like them to be dead and clean,

an unsolvable murder case.

I like them to shuttle off

into linguistic outer space.

I like them multi-shaded,
like the naked human race.

I like them like my friends;
but I like a new, strange face.

And when I'm all metaphor'd out,
put a statue in my place.