Saturday, 8 July 2017

Instagram: The Saddest Word I Know

People, put your phones down.
Get out there. 
Live, love, make mistakes, and try again. 
Tomorrow we try again.
People, put your phones down.
Watch the gig.
Dance wild, wreckless and fearless.
Live it with every fibre.
People, put your phones down.
Look into the eyes of the one whose talking to you.
And hear them, not what you gleaned between glimpses.
Know them as yourself.
People, put your phones down.
Look out, look in, examine how what is in you is also out there.
Be brave enough to see things as they are, not as you wish.
It's kinder in the long run, but you must be watching.
People, put your phones down.
Stop with the lipstick touch-ups, the filter touch-ups.
The likes and comments racket.
You are loved as you are.
People, put your phones down.
The world doesn't need another two finger peace sign and a pout.
Stop commercialising peace but create it
In your community, in your relationships, in yourself.
People, put your phones down.
We only get a quick shot at it, don't live life through a lens.
We are brief. Be bold. Be ever awake
To the world.
People, put your phones down.
Stop numbing out and pretending.
Life wasn't meant to be gift-wrapped. It's hard, and beautiful, and everything in-between.
But live a life that in the end, you wouldn't have any other way.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

London

Here's a wee poem I wrote about our beautiful city, London awhile back. It seemed fitting to share now, given the sad news of attacks in London



I walk through another leased-up street,
And see in every face I meet*
The glimmer of today borrowed from tomorrow.

From the Oligarch owned,
Where the tanned and toned
Step out of flash cars
Into luxury homes.
To the council estates
Where the tangled fates
Of youthful faces’
Misconstrued paces
Strike me down to the bone.

Colourful maps of tube lines exploding,
In Parliaments walls; parties imploding.
We absorb their smoke and mirror chat,
While chewing up the morning fat.
Then ‘Tag it up on Fry-Up Police’,
‘They’ll coat us off, they’re a score a piece!’
Next, we’ll head down to London Fields,
‘They’re all hipsters there, rock your Ray Ban shields’
‘Ya know what, we dress pretty much the same.’
‘N’ah mate, I’m not ‘aving that, what is your game?’

And there’s always a mate playing a gig,
‘I’ll stick you on the guestlist, it’s gonna be big.’
‘But it’s down in Brixton, that’s a mission from here.’
‘Hop in an uber, I’ll get you a beer.’
In Hyde Park, listening out for the birds,
Somedays it’s like they’re singing the wrong words.
Or down in Finsbury Park’s backstreets,
Where even the old, tired concrete
Claims chemistry with the stars,
Old boys sat in dodgy bars.
It could be the Greenwich Observatory,
They all have the same meaning to me.
From the try-hard, lived-hard, loved-hard faces,
To the beer stained, hard-rained, work-strained graces,
And the cream-tea, tai-chi, yoga places.

These streets where we fell in love for the first time,
These streets where we claimed injustice was crime.
These streets where our hearts were vacuum packed,
These streets where we made Utopian pacts.
These streets were our playground and love-nest,
These streets where we felt our dream-fueled zest
Slip out of yesterday's bloom,
All those tomorrows and infinite room
To grow into.

Here I stand, panda-eyed and neon loved-up,
Here I wonder at times I’ve almost given up,
And questioned if this place was meant for me.
When our hearts are the beat of this city.



*’I walk through another leased-up street, And see in every face I meet’ is a modern interpretation of Lines 1 and 3 of Verse 1 of London by William Blake.  ‘I wander thro' each charter'd street’ and ‘And mark in every face I meet’

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Trumped

Here's a poem (while we're reeling) about Donald Trump winning the elections today


I don’t have the answers but I’m sure they lie in division,
A drip-fed, hyped-up climate creates easy blame decisions.
Bare arms and build a wall, because those sidelined for years
Are now segregated further, labelled cause of all possible fears.

"And you know we'll keep them out, 'cause we take care of our own",
Just ask the lads at the welfare line chewed down to the bone
In a boarded-up window neighbourhood,
But "things have never been so good."
They'll cut the corporation tax and call us free,
In that failed, fiat, trickle-down, greedy economy.

Each state left to its own devices,
When a system is so divisive,
I'm inclined to think that there's a cause-and-effect.
When we're caught up in a schism,
Phony talk and every ism,
And suddenly, the problem's being "politically correct".
It makes you start to wonder
Just how far we're going under
When we actively choose abuse through the person we elect.
Or when we're going to realise
Believing these unfounded lies
Leads to innocent bloodshed, what else did we expect?
And while we’re busy, blinded, lost, and eaten up by fear,
“Go back to sleep America, there’s nothing to see here.”
Distracted and oppressed, it’s each other they want us to to blame,
And by turning on each other, play our part in this crooked game.



Thursday, 3 November 2016

No Orgreave Inquiry

This poem is about the recent news that Home Secretary Amber Rudd has decided there will be no inquiry into the confrontation between police and miners in Orgreave in 1984. This decision is said to be based on the fact that there were no deaths. I can only hope this is reconsidered soon.



That day, there were no fatal wounds,
No fading pulses.
No final calls for mothers,
No "Quick, we're losing him."
In the weeks that followed, no funeral processions,
No wreaths and no mourning.
No widows and no wills.
But there was death alright.

The Grim Reaper stood in empty doorways,
Sought retreat in boarded-up windows.
Gathered in men's eyes and remained,
Chipped away at families until they were torn apart.
Hope was dust and to dust it returned. 
Ashes ripped through old work shirts strewn over bedroom chairs.
Make no mistake, there was death alright.

Death to an ideology,
Death to a hometown,
Death with no inquest.



Thursday, 27 October 2016

Called To Answer

"Do you know what it is you seek?"
"I don't sir, I'm afraid.
The concrete slabs of parted pathways,
Spilled garbage in dark lanes
Strike me somehow as I dream and
I'm stabbed with plastic forks.
The mirror tells a different story,
The make-up brush quick strokes"

"Do you know what you were sent here for?"
"Apologies Sir, I don't.
I knew it at another time,
I'd look into a stranger's eye
And find a kindred spirit,
Piece by piece be drawn within it.
I tell myself a different story now,
That I must make not seek meaning."

"Do you feel your decisions thus far have led to your situation?'
"Although I sometimes ponder that, it strikes me as a combination 
Of decisions made and a path laid by fate,
I'm playing the hand that's dealt me."
"We're all playing that same game, child.
What matters is how freely."

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Demolishing the Jungle

As a stark morning sun rears its head on a forgotten world,
We live in the flicker and hope it lasts long enough
For the earth to keep turning.
Darkness was here many days before.*

Kids’ bare toes trace lines in dust,
We tell them to feel the earth beneath them,
Because we know we’re groundless.
Home is a sirened, detritus, debris.

Strangled images quiver mind’s eye like a flick book,
The lonesome coldness of bone on bone.
She clings to tarpaulin as if life itself,
I tell her fetch her few belongings, we’re moving on again.

When roofs have been ripped from over your head,
It’s the same skies you’re under.









*references ‘We live in the flicker - may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday’ p.8 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; seen in many ways as the first 20th Century novel, based on Conrad’s experiences in the Congo in 1890 and the basis of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War Movie ‘Apocalypse Now’

Thursday, 22 September 2016

No One Is Coming To Save You

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you.
That perfect lover in the movies is a dream you were sold.
That time when you can get out of debt and live happily within your means is far-off yet.
That dream job will take up every waking minute.
That new outfit you've ordered will soon be another old rag on the hanger you look at in the wardrobe while saying "I have nothing to wear."

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you.
There is no golden era you've lived through where everything was perfect. 
That's the illusion of memory and rose-tint.
There is no time you were completely content with how you looked or behaved.
There is no time where you had it all nailed, there was always something nagging.
There was never a time you were completely accomplished,
Because you're still here, still alive, still growing.

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.
No one is coming to save you. 
What there is, is you.
What there is, is now.
And within that, if you stop hiding from yourself
Seeking distraction and newness,
Is constant newness.
An infinity of newness.
What there is, is potential.
What there is, is acceptance. 
What there is, is looking outside of yourself to other things and people
without any need to grasp, clutch, own or conquer. 
What there is, is life; the life you were missing while dreaming.
What there is, is all you need.

There is no perfect time ahead coming for you.

No one is coming to save you
Because if they know you, they know you don't need saving.
What there is, is you.
What there is, is now.
That's all there ever was.
That's all there ever will be.
That's all you need.