Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Game

the game is an easy thing
to play, but sooner or later
it plays you.

itt's all in the mind,
it's all in the desire,
the want, the can't have,
the give, the no more!
the please! the now!

the game is an easy thing
to play, but sooner or later
it plays you. 

you're a tool,
part of it. 
a cog.
a nothing.

the game is easy -
it's the getting out
that's the hardest.

Written in the Stars

Some say love is written in the stars,
but stars can be unreliable guides.
Because rather than twinkling suns afar
I saw Mars and comets in your eyes.
Portents and omens of my own destruction
and symbols of violent fight;
as I look upon those bright points of combustion
I see flaming trails in your eyes tonight.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


When you love with half of you
the other half cries.
When you laugh with half of you,
the other half dies.
So don’t love unlovingly,
don’t love if not in full
and do not give half a smile, 
lest the grape
in bitterness 
should fall.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Kids

Imagine what Britain could do
with young minds bolstered in
steel, rivets of iron holding
back the tide; standing,
never kneel.

We could lead the way
in Europe,
start a revolution of ideas;
change the way for ever,
lay allay our fears.
Times call for toughness -
our minds need to adapt.
These old tired ways are
dead, the new needs to be

And for all you synics who say
that things will never change,
shut your mouths,
get out the way;
let the kids
take centre stage.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Give Love

Love is not a magic trick, not hidden up one's sleeve,
but it can be coughed down if your heart's not in it.
There is only one truth: give love, and love you shall receive;
but not if love's your gold: the coffer can never win it.

Whale Song

- for Les Murray, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Edwin Morgan

Whale, I’ll be gone with the whaling song,
carry my body back where I belong.
Take my blubber and leave my calf,
and if you must cut me please cut me in half.
Whale, I’ll be gone with the whaling song:
I’ll be gone by morning.

Whale, there’s no porpoise to life anymore,
I’m trapped in this ocean and can’t find the shore.
The school is thinning, these boats are winning,
I could blub myself silly how they prize my jaw.
Yes, I’m sure there’s no porpoise to this anymore,
and I can see a black tide yawning.

My heart was never big enough for you,
The size of a car and yet I’ll always be blue
to you, for I’m only the size of a whale
and for all you care I can go to hell.
Because all that I do can never be true,
and my last dawn is dawning.

So take your sonar, your batty schemes,
your technologies of death and your echo-location.
Whale, I’ll be seeing you in the blue beyond of my dreams
where there are no boats, and death’s merely vacation.
I would air to surface, but it just ain’t my scene:
I remember a time when my brothers were calling.

This is my citation, from this cetacean:
post it in the journal of The Whaling Nation.
I sing my song to nobody's ears:
let the humans broadcast this to the rest of my peers.
Let my heart burst with economic inflation.
Soon I'll be gone: I'll be gone by mourning.


It goes deep, deeper than you'll ever know.
Deep, deep, deeper in tow.
Water leviathan, god of the sea,
Poseidon gave his trident to thee
to curse my bones and still my song:
now I sing this elegy for everlong.

Rising to surface for one final breath;
life's only resolution shall be my death.
You see my fluke parting the waves
in the dark halls of the human mind's lonely cave,
flickering against the walls you see where lingers
the black outline of whale shaped by early man's fingers.

Now curse my bones,
hand me the spear:
spear my heart, remove this fear.
Deathly joy, make me seer.
Now hark, dark angels: I dive too long.
Mark this the hour of my final song.


where are youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu? 
snnnnnfffffffh! snnnnnfffffffh!   
ouuuuuuurraaaaau? arrrrrrroooothereeeeee? 

arrrrrrrroooooooooooo! arrrrrrooooooothereeeeee? whuuuuuuurrrrrallthaaaaaawhaaaaaaalesgooooone? 

brrrrrghrough! brrrrrghrough! 
bliiiipppp! bloooooiiipppp!
arrrrrrooooooothere? arrrrrrghrrrooooooooooothereeeeeeeeeghra?

hghhhhrooooooooom? hghhhrooooooooom? 
narwhaaaaaaaal! narwheereeeeee!
hoooooooolp! hoooooooooooooollllp!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Death, Come Not in Life

Death, come not in life:
offer not the knife, but the wife
and let this marriage be between me 
and truth
for all eternity.

But not the truths of others,
of objective science, of subjective
demagogues, of faith or revelation,
of economics or nation,
but my truth.

Because my life is my truth,
and my truth is ruthless:
it cuts through the grain
and throws the wheat onto the heap
the chaff into the fire:
my truth does not expire,
because my truth is my life.

Death, come not in life
but come in death, in death's first minute
and endless eternity:
when there is nothing left to be lived,
when there is nothing left to be said,
when I am without pain,
have learned to value pain, accept pain,
or at least shut it away 
in the vault of my heart,
then you may come.

Death, come not whilst the sun beams,
whilst the Earth swings, whilst children laugh,
whilst I've breath left in these lungs,
whilst I've love still to share,
people for whom to care,
people for whom caring is as air,
people who never swaddle
but in living so embrace, 
their smile a cuddle.

Because this is my truth,
and my truth is my life.
Do not invade my life with your night,
and do not creep up on me with dimming light,
because I will see you,
and I shall wrestle with you,
and in death I will have beaten you,
because death
can never take the brave.

I am Human, I am the Stars

Your body is a vessel with which
to capture the universe,
to trap experience:
never forget that.

Light has travelled for eight minutes
from the surface of the sun,
taking years to travel thorugh the tumult
of plasma, from centre to surface.
It beams through the atmosphere,
is ricocheted like a comic bullet,
its colour hitting the back of the eye,
rods and cones interpreting
this wavelength of nothingness.

The energy is translated into an image,
upside down and back to front
flipped over in the brain's acrobatics:
the universe goes from chaotic mess of waves
to solid outlines, like ghosts being captured on film,
and these ghosts haunt us with their beauty.
Light is reflected, off apples, green as garden snakes,
trees and buildings, the downy skin of your lover's nape,
all other wavelengths either scattered, or absorbed,
for the various chemical tricks of nature's high jinx.

And alongside images, sounds, the
slight movements of air, waves
sounding off against the ear drums like
dark, ignorant armies clashing by night,
alight, arriving in our heads like immigrants.
Sights and sounds become experience,
experience becomes learning, bolstering instinct,
and, somewhere, hidden like a child
mischievous behind a curtain,
this divination jumps into the skin of memory.

The human body is a vessel for the universe,
a way for creation to know itself.
The mind is the world in miniature,
a model of all that we'll ever know, all
that will ever be - right inside our heads.
It's almost too perfect. But don't be fooled:
from chaos comes pattern, from pattern comes system,
from system comes creation, and from creation
comes destiny. And so the stars that made us
are now looked upon by their long-lost children.

This stardust gazes up upon the heavens by night,
and a tear falls gently as the universe heaves with a knowing,
as the universe cries out silently
in amazement: I am human, I am the stars....

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Four Variations on the Value of Temperance


When you’re young, appearance is everything,
because surface image is all you can see.
But the most beautiful birds often can’t sing
and ugly appears the honey bee.


As you grow older you learn that the surface often ripples,
and underneath lies calmer water, fierce currents,
and the older body is stifled and crippled
but the spirit thrives on what vision can’t haunt.


When you’re old and your body’s broken like time’s spine
and your hands have searched the many planes of existence
you learn that sweet was everything, especially the rimes
of the many people you met, how they gave you subsistence.


Your eyes have seen without willing ugliness, beauty’s fruit,
and you learned not to judge on appearance, because appearance is mute.
And you learned that it’s human to ponder just what might have been
if your mind had been more open, if you’d not resisted the stream.

Sonnet to Myself

- for Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I have run breathess through the night
knowing love, anything but an empty force,
and I couldn't stop my feet, tearing up so bright
the night, where day is briefly divorced.

I have run myself under cold water
and forced myself through the cracks, the cracks
of this bleak web hanging, though never caught,
I have thinly escaped with the skin on my back.

I have tried so hard to pick my sight
because maggots thrive in dirty wounds, yet clean
them after all, though I could never again bite
so hard, down on despair, where I've so often been.

So many times I've nearly died, but always I rise
like a phoenix from my ashes, up towards heaven, back down into the fire.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

There You Are

Where were you?
Where have you been?
There you are.
It doesn't matter where you haven't gone,
what you haven't done,
but what you have done,
where you have been,
where you are going
and what you are going to do
when you get there.

The gods are watching,
smiling down upon you,
edging you on towards Valhalla.

There you are.
We've been looking for you
for a long, long time

and, for a minute there,
we thought we'd lost you.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Point

No one's like any other,
and that's the point:
in our own way, as we go,
God's hand annoints.

I choose solitude
to give my feelings fullest colour
and not be skewed out of kilter
by the feelings of another.

But sometimes I share 
in blissful revelry
because sometimes company
is godly, heavenly.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Writing Poetry in the Rain

Throw yourself
headfirst into life,
like a child
into deep water;
like an infant
from the tumultuous placenta
into a world of open air,

And maybe you'll end up
writing poetry in the rain, feeling
the doomed romantic pain.

Throw yourself into life,
deep below the flesh
with the happy knife,
each wound healing over
with laughter,
and you'll never be the same.

Love Song

I stole a kiss from your lips,
disappeared round and out into
a darkened corner,
left you a powder trail,
and though my lips had
spittled and come unstuck from yours
you still felt them
connected to your own,
threads, webs, the silky fibres
of two moist slugs.

Milk and honey -
is that what you want?
Or a dark shadow to cruise
across your mind
like a sweet fell wind?

I took you in the darkness,
in my grip,
floating on the wind,
your eye drawn to me
like a car crash
or a wounded beast.

But come lick them, please,
my wounds:
they're all yours,
my hound; hound,
come lie at the altar
of my Moon.

Come gather roses,
your lips the petals red
that bled at my thorns.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


You're very cute, she says,
I'd like to lay you out.
I'll play the tune you toot, I say,
and give back all you shall.

I'm very dangerous, she says,
sapphire's my favourite colour.
And once you're burned and cherry-red
you'll never love another.

But I knew more than her, you see,
because my heart's a coal:
I played her games, and, jealously,
she set her sights on me whole.

I wouldn't mess with me, she says -
I'm the belle of the town.
And if you give me less, she pledged,
I'll have to shoot you down.

Some call me a deathly rose, she says,
my hair a silken black;
blacker than all those, she says,
who say their souls so lack.

But she was white and pure, I knew,
I knew that; take my shame.
And on her candle flame I blew:
she'll never be the same.

Mr Black and Mr White (and Mr Grey)

Mr Black is as black as the night,
Mr White's as white as flour;
and Mr Grey? Well, he's just grey,
though he's not at all dour.

Now Mr Black thinks this,
and Mr White thinks that,
but Mr Grey sees neither
because he sees between the stacks.

To Mr Black all's bleakly black;
to Mr White all's deathly blank,
and each of them will swear down that
Mr Grey has broken rank:

'How can you not see?' they say.
'And what, oh what must you think?
To see the world in tones so grey -
it might as well be pink!'

'No, not pink,' he says,
'though rosy it often appears.
It's fine when you don't pledge
yourself, but hedge - and never fear.

One day Mr Black
struck Mr White so blunt
that Mr White attacked
with knife in hand: 'you dirty, silly c**t!'

And Mr Black returned
with a blow to Mr White's skull.
Now each cannot unlearn
what brought each one to null.

So Mr Grey stands there,
his shoulders raised in confusion.
He leaves the scene in fear
into the panicked night,
the chief suspect in this murderous collusion
between Mr Black and Mr White.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Cultural Mixing Pot

Some are the meat
and some are the spice
and some don't contribute anything nice,

because some are black
and some are white
(but most are actually mixed).

Because race is not something fixed,
not like a boxing match:
the sliding scale is never static,
our blood a contaminated batch.

Because some are the rice
and some are the peas
and some are the naan
and some are the spuds,

but most of us are the rub,
and some of us the salt -
a pinch, violence a cinch,
to sting fresh wounds without thought.

Because to all of us this is England:
no one's land, 'our land', embarrass land,
beauty land, dead land, life land, homeland,

up-for-grabs land, to-be-had land,
the have-nots' land, never-ageing land,
always changing land,  politician rhetorician land;

and we all sing our nation song,
this multi-coloured throne
a seat of many treasures:
an ever-inked manuscript, an unauthored tome.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Some Day

Most of the men she courts think they're it,
but most of them are full of shit.
But me? I'm empty: I like it that way.
I don't spout noise 'less I've something to say.

But arcane and heartfelt she does not want;
she does not need true love to haunt
her darkest heart, just arms to lend:
just lips to kiss, and ears pretend.

Her life is fancy-filled, waking dreams
play her mind, she don't need screams
to chill her peace or fright her dove:
her wings float on draughts of airless love.

She fills her nights with drugs and drink;
rum and Mandy tickle her pink.
His fingers run the nape of her neck,
but from her K-hole all means heck.

The ocean breeze is softly stirring,
the world is wistfully cycling, whirling,
and love is prey to love's decay;
yet I pray that she'll love me some day.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Love Changes Everything

Two querulous voices in love can sing,
two wintry hearts summer can bring
and thaw and tease the ice to wing,
because love changes everything.

And any two, no matter who,
are changed in love, in growing grew,
an education for a few;
because love gives changing its cue.

And no matter what relationship -
from ardour to something still in pip,
from family ties that never slip;
love gives unmouthed words their lips.

Two minds unmatched in knowledge cling
to each other like limpets, entangled string;
and never do they break the sling,
because love changes everything.