Friday, 18 August 2017


A  poem about endings. Not sure I can explain exactly where it comes from. 
It is danger for any writer is to rely their usual tropes. To write from the default position, so to speak. Each poem needs to be unique, bespoke to the requirements of the concept.

Love Gone Sour

She informed me I'm like that song.
That I know the one,
that I've heard it on the radio.

She expects me to provide her
with the exact analogy
she can use to criticise me, again.

It was one of those points in life
that makes you add up the scores.
The kind that makes you question love.

A brief crystallisation of an awareness
that your life doesn't have to be like this.
Another push towards the door.

You know you will walk.
I am off to see Ryley Walker [again] next weekend. Here he is with the band.

Friday, 11 August 2017


I  was working on the allotment the other day, watering in the polytunnel, and that old blues song about never missing your water until the well runs dry came into my head. Over the rest of the after noon this poem wrote itself.

Something Else

He carried water to the well.
The yoke was heavy,
the water angry enough to slop.
That none had asked him to,
was for him, beside the point.
He may have claimed
it was for the general good,
or Phariseed his pious intention.
There was an unquenched fury
in his every step.

Some people live their whole lives like that.
I think as it formed that I was trying to capture the essence of passive aggression
I tend to write more in my head these days. To get the poem into some shape before I write anything down. I don't think it's a better way of working just different.
Here is Peter Tosh with his version.

Friday, 4 August 2017


I was just reminded of a Little Feat song, Two Trains, which must have subconsciously influenced this post's poem.
Things like this happen all the time. We draw inspiration from all that is around us.

Early on our temporary parallel path
she gifted the key to understanding.

It was nothing special,
a pressured, bad decision
with domino consequences falling.

She had hers.
I had mine.

Two trains travelling in opposite lines,
alternate endings wait in the wings.

The difference was this:
I kept my own counsel. 
She saw nothing remarkable in me.

I sped away onwards towards today.
I have to confess I had to look up, just now, if it was onwards or onward- Paul and Jinny I need your grammar skills now!
Here is Little Feat with said song.
And here they are in all their live glory.
Superb stuff.

Monday, 31 July 2017


Two weekends ago I was invited to the Tropical Pressure Festival to run a poetry workshop. What a lovely little festival it was!
Firstly thanks to Nikki, Marcel, Mike, Alison, Luke, Mark, Sarah and Mike for attending said workshop and putting so much effort into the exercises. 
Here's the poem [in a rough draft] that I wrote in the workshop.


Miles Davis on his t-shirt,
he's got his mojo back,
is coolness in human form
and now the world is music.

Christine makes the yeast rise.
He holds her in the night,
warm, safe, unaware
of how little time they have left.

The situation is fluid,
but Bernard is married to his bricks and their mortar,
he will sink in the flood that is to come.
His son mirrors his certitude,
fights a rear guard action.

On a beach I will return to in my mind,
I can still see you.
It is still too oblique to really work on a universal level yet, but it is worth persevering with.
Here's a video of me reading London Conversation. Thanks to Alison for the video. You can read the poem here.
I leave you this post with Judee Sill.
Here's a documentary about her. It's well worth a listen.

Friday, 14 July 2017


This poem arose from the notion that a person from the past that we conjure into existence inside our heads could have conscious thought. That they could narrate the scene/memory from a different perspective to the individual thinking them.

inside the head of the man who sold us all down the river

Here I am, however briefly, in his thoughts,
ordered by a steward to stand on this spot,
given appropriate clothing
[nothing I would have chosen for myself],
and told exactly what to say,
some badly written supporting dialogue,
[not the words I spoke at the time,
or even a rough approximation].

I have been thought into existence before,
not very often, usually when he needs
to illustrate his marvellous achievements,
and the nobility of his actions to some new acquaintance.

I step forward to speak my lines,
words of gratitude,
how I could only ever have respect for the man.
I stand in his consciousness,
one of many phantoms,
who bow and scrape and thank him
[the opposite of what happened in real life].

As I said this sort of event doesn't happen often,
usually the likes of me never enter his head,
not even for a second.
I was reading at 2000 Trees Festival last weekend and had an excellent time.
It is my third year there and it keeps getting better. Thanks to Rob for the invite.
Here's a video from Will Varley who was a highlight for me.
Until next time.

Saturday, 10 June 2017


I recently was in Lisbon and I visited the statue of Christ on the opposite bank of the river. I have to confess I have no head for heights and I waited at the bottom while my friends went up to take in the views.
While I was waiting I wrote this.

I'm standing at the feet of Christ
who towers a hundred metres above me,
his arms outstretched to love the world,
but this is not the second coming,
this is not even Rio.
This concrete white man
is a celebration of Portugal's
divine neutrality in World War Two,
and I don't want to ride the lift
up to the views and the gift shop at the top.
I'm stood here at the bottom in the scrub land,
thinking about Jesus.
I leave you with a Ryley Walker live. Stunning stuff.

Friday, 26 May 2017


A revised poem, now with a different title.
Thanks to the Secrets for their constructive assessment.
Supermodel with Cat

Even the ripped upholstery is displayed with taste.
Artful entropy, tres shabby chic.
Take in the blond waterfall of her perfect hair.
She sprawls at ease,
mirrors the cat on her lap.

The first Saturday of the next month,
separated as we are by the Pennines,
we will both glance at the magazine's cover,
then you will read the letters page,
while I file away the gardening tips.
Less is almost always more. 
Here is Natalie Merchant with Motherland.
Until next time.