the greenest car.
It is a low church,
without sober prayer,
rough years, sixty-plus,
blinded Sky-high stare:
upon sports, by God,
across the green sod.
They tip their flat pints,
on last sure-winners,
each sup a delay,
to home-cooked dinners:
Stood tall-table straight,
with concentric rings,
beer becomes central,
at last order’s rings.
Called, I entered
‘The Departure Lounge’
renamed, a rare-shared joke,
for that downstairs room;
here my father sobbed
with cancer’s slow burn.
Sat upright, explaining a dream,
for the first time in our lives,
then, no reader of such things),
with his simple review:
‘I saw my mother,’ he explained.
Nan had passed on ten years before.
‘She said.. everything is easy, there is no difficulty..’
In that moment, with his head-held,
Dad licensed me to cry before my kids,
to find comfort in dreams,
and to speak with the dead.
Look away, curtains wrenched
across Europe’s borders,
we are pulling,
those dark-patterned drapes.
We shut out the long view –
of shivering marauders,
to claim ring-fenced advantages
just for us to take.
The ‘bunch of migrants’
denial of freedoms,
Europe once claimed
Met, in ill-fitting suits,
Best man-made bad speeches;
‘It’s all about the bride’:
Slurs and white-dress-hitches.
across the first-danced floor;
Loose-tied, high-drunken, ensembles,
knocking back more, more, more!
Bitter-pill hangover honeymoon,
over seven-ish burnt days;
Their love sobers slowly
after the wedding’s farcical play.
Enough of this cough:
Tell it to cough-off.
my nephew’s child,
Dark-haired and browed,
Two family traits,
He holds her in love,
Our dear Saudi friends
are trashing Yemen:
The city of Sana’a
is crumbling again:
and blast of tremors:
‘The Saudis are
fighting Houthi rebels’,
in support of
we help blast them,
across schools, homes,
and pock-marked parks:
Only the UN cries out
at such Saudi-led-larks.
Sandhurst – England – training world leaders –
subsidised captains of overseas terror
We pay state taxes to crush insurgents –
brutal regimes are this year’s perfect
Military managers of political dissent –
drilled in line – the loyal-regiments
Excuses – Regional security assured –
ruling-by-war under Sandhurst swords
We British have sold Saudi Arabia
a billion pounds worth of megalomania –
July to September – only last year –
Now no hard arguments for kings to fear
Lowed head, herd-burrowed,
to subterranean trip:
Down, slowed escalator-drop,
to queued platform crypt.
Commuted life sentence,
branded as ‘Mind the gap’:
Squeezed rush-hour day’s flush,
shoved aboard, standing-trapped.
On coloured, stiff spaghetti,
Tube-mapped London, visited,
cheats on geography.
But, the Underground
still performs, as planned, as meant:
the funnelled requirement.
Living roughly, on Diamond Road,
Middle England, Middlesbrough,
Where slapped doors, painted red,
Mark you out, for the foul-demurrer.
Hateful stones, from the offended street,
Clatter, and threaten, your short time here:
Life seekers’ homes, being on their feet,
Families unfixed, always thrown to fear.
Fresh red paint, bought in a deal,
‘Happened’ to mark-out the transitory.
I think of painted doors, before the kill,
That being the daub, in old Germany.
Andy Dog has died.
Some Bizzare (sic)
has now passed.
in Windowsill Bay:
pens put away.
Greased up sky hooks:
I stood nervous, plan-wrought;
on hired-in winches:
Two ratcheted wires,
stretched hard, tremor-taut;
in scaff-rolled inches.
across two properties,
to a final sleeper-laid
place (as planned):
I thank all the friends
who moved to achieve,
that five-metered shift
where my shed now stands.
Tea drunk hot, our toast
with only minor complaints:
A few inflamed backs,
Thank you neighbours,
whom I upgrade to saints.
Another ninety year old’s birthday soon,
A decade short of a card from the Queen:
Mrs Windsor, in her state-aided room,
Mis-rules her memory, un-throned, unseen.
The square root of ninety, now her empire,
With common dominion, three floors below.
Her self-labelled walking-frame is required,
For any walkabout, on which she goes.
The children visit, briefly, in a blue moon,
With unsubtle, quick-wrist clock-watching:
Charlie Windsor’s the worst, her first heirloom,
All she’s to will him, her love of Elvis, her King.
Hear now my diurnal ritual,
freely posted to all:
Vibrated-hyphenated set words,
Each one’s telling,
moves me slow forward.
End-of-day’s reversed writ-shift,
and writing of it,
Wherever that place may be,
Now, inner stings
the last thing I feel:
Disconnects my illness,
by odd scan;
Each poke of thumb on screen, held in hand,
the re-tapping note:
I am what you read, a daily poet.
– the place you need find on earth,
in every breath,
from your fixed date of birth:
But what if you’re told
your fixed date of death?
For valid opinion?
Ask the blade-necked thief.
Should you be thinking,
as a condemned man?
You are kneeling
on the same shifting-sand.
How hard is it to live,
Engaged in your (own)
moment of making:
Satisfied with your time
– when you are truly seeing.
Thirty nine percent
of Tory MPs,
They’ll ‘sink estates’
sunken into the ground,
More voters to be
It is the thing we make our parents do,
Or do to them: mortal-shuffle-moves,
To sheltered, or ‘down-sized’ flats:
We clear out all the past they had:
Lined-times on shelves, in towered attic-stacks,
Life’s trophies-won, ‘just dust-magnets’.
We slow-pack our home, one we filled over time,
Finding the ‘stuff’, which is ‘yours’ or ‘mine’;
Quick black-bagged, high street dropped,
To the worthy-option of charity shops:
Except for an item, saved without words,
Donating that toy would really hurt.
In thirty years, our life-reduction planned,
When we are being down-size manned,
By our children, and their loved-ones too,
They will wring their hands, as we now do:
That plastic teapot they’ll find in the loft:
today’s poured memories of time we’d lost.
It’s a step up on his studio’s tread –
firm – unlike the loose stone path
No bend for the door – no struck head
into the workshop – here he starts
his eye-lined measure of Wealden –
He stands – readied – to catch the views
of creation which he and God repeat often –
He tools thousands of gouged lines –
His work of furrows – brow-knotted deets –
The tools – spitstickers, scorpers and stippling –
palm-packed stitching – he knocks into blocks –
In sketches of subjects – from inked towns to crossed hills –
he traces this capture over the close-grained face
where each sight is inverted – where each landscape re-milled
by hand – where he is bench-readied with an obliged trace
His art is aligned to true by the encompass of love –
which guides him straight with each wood-fuelled thought –
Fixed in boxwood’s grain with a scabrous shove –
This is the artist which my verse-lines have sought
The truth we believe is the truth we read:
Web-feeds, Facebook, Twitter, the Beeb.
Channelled-veracity, from Sky and Dave,
Immunity claimed for low-thought waves.
Drivelling truth soaks into our heads,
Performing gross acts as we sleep in our beds:
Sub-conscious toss of diatribes,
Demands unanswered, dream-thrown lies.
I can offer you trade of fists, or stats,
Neither will convince us, we have all the facts.
No, I am not ill,
I have a disease.
Give me time.
I am just
Have you breathed in today the low smog of lies,
hung above, blinding, The Sun-darkened isles?
We won’t whine ’bout foul weather fogging us in,
we maintain small insights with screen-swiping.
Tablet-tat is uploaded, and each hour we surf,
bad news is aborted for a fresh royal birth:
Young doctors, low-paid, the left, the long-ill,
re-treated by the barons with lethal press pills.
The Trade Union Bill has been finally read,
our forebear’s blood-ceded, will no more be bled.
We’ll give up clear skies, embrace fogged land-fall,
So now lifting our eyes we will seeing nothing at all.
I was stacking a truck –
of dance-floored audio –
me – twenty-something
at Shepperton Studios –
Martin ‘Philishaves’ –
those deep-throated bins –
and Midas-touched mixing desks
ramp-trundled in –
The Thin White Duke
crossed our case-crammed dock –
suit-booted for filming –
that beautiful God –
Even the toughest
of my fellow-fagged roadies
he halted truck-loading
Their prince was washed-up*
blue-dead on a shore
Our prince was dressed in
quilt-coat against frore
Each to inherit
a lop-sided crown
One with dominion
one laid out on ground
Parentage traced back
both to migrant shifts
One poor prince noble
one plush prince adrift
The meek shall ne’er
gain this boundaried land
The enthroned will rule
with their blue-washed hands
You will know you’re truly old
when all dear friends are dead
I am citing Clive James –
I will not be defined ‘old’
when my step forward is short
promenading with shuffles –
reduced stride –
You may presume I’m old
when my flat-repeat of words
are ‘politely’ ignored
Then I’m misheard – my verse
I will never be old –
re-define your count of time
I will breathe in youth’s warm air
and avoid stiffened rhyme
Plans made today, to move my shed:
turn, pull, place, via grease-sleeper sled.
Tirfors engaged, off discussed points:
Fears for the shed’s, and my stiff joints.
Stress on structures – bodies and boards
– distributed off two steel cords.
To then be towed, in slow-motion;
slow-drawn drags, on fag-backed notions.
Each inch of shifting-movement, slow,
a daunting five metres to tow.
All grinding, groaned slid hours we pull,
could conspire in my sledged-shed’s fall.
from wreckage re-found
in Lampedusa’s graveyard
of boats –
Francisco Tuccio – carpenter –
putting him up there
as a craftsman – tool-qualified –
and long-suffering – calloused –
like Christ’s forgotten step-dad
Taking the drift-timber remnants –
tide piles of northerly-aimed
hope boats –
finding with tools the ingrained sunk lives –
the salt-scour – gasoline foul –
sea stench – the drowning suffered
in holy relics
Muscat – We’re .. building a cemetery
(in).. our Mediterranean Sea:
the proud Maltese PM
tried to carve his own response
to migrant drownings –
This thing is broken…
needs to be fixed
Tuccio – unelected – mends hope –
crosses of suffering
for all drowned –
he offers wave-crucified –
ship timbers –
shaped to buoy the migrant survivors
My old voice – fragmenting – along with my teeth –
speech patterns are broken – immutably creased –
pouring decay out my thought-cavities –
spoken in youth – such mendacities
They arise again on bile’s chest-stab –
My speechless dictation a keyboard-gab
The therapist pointed – a turned beige chair –
his notes – table-placed – his hands held in prayer –
Deliver me patients, who’ll speak much more –
Or something like that – his held-silent lore –
Sheets ticked – penned by his half-deciphered scrawl –
The speech could be lost under PD’s draped pall
The heartburn – easy – just change everything –
but my speech will ne’er be that of a King –
I left with a list of life to elude –
Diluting a risk of slow-death through food –
Air-way – gullet – they won’t work so well –
my banqueting less and thus choke-risk quelled
Seven forty five, a mumbled ‘thought’,
the BBC re-tuned, for the overwrought:
Then ‘the weather’, to equate the accounts,
(we British bleed rain, in large amounts).
Headlines-recited, a modulation:
Slaughter of stock markets, our fascination.
Tea downed-cool as the BBC speaks,
this nation listens, to the half-scripted piques;
gone from the house, and our thoughts go astray,
these fears unsolved, by Thought for the Day.
I am, no more, Superman:
Still, ill-ease, grounded;
You, fill-eyed, douse me: land-locked.
Home, to a greeting child, wrist-wrapped, dog-bit:
Then travel (fast) to an M.I. unit.
The waiting room, a car-crash, filled stiff chairs,
In charge: the triage nurse’s contused stares.
I fill out, biro, an NHS form:
Photocopied boxes ticked, facts informed.
Overhead, thirty inches of TV :
Patients dosed-down with free reality:
‘Loose Women’ (giggling about men in sheds),
Here the nursing staff avoid blocking beds.
My child is soon repaired, by a gowned saint,
The punctures cleaned, with dabbed iodine paint.
Heading back home, child slung and bandaged-tight,
Proud of our small country doing us right:
Him: ‘In America that’ve cost lots!’,
Me: ‘In the UK it’ll soon be lost’.
Uckfield lines The Uck,
Gravied-seethe of farm run-off;
Not yet poo-pipe high.
(but, still, our move,
is a whole
shoved into one room:
all slid-in, piled-up,
of paper-piled histories,
reveals in unboxed
A bag of creased letters,
you looked again,
and left, briefly,
Our first frost this winter was late:
Stealing every colour,
long after Christmas:
but too tardily for the kids’
by unreadied gardeners,
as the mild-winter dipped
back into its old ways:
When The Thames was locked;
under a hard-beauty for weeks,
and even the huddled fires,
could not melt
If uttered once more,
By any MP,
Turning facts athwart,
Will ‘raise my hackles’
And ‘Jangle my nerves’:
This new cliche age,
Is what we deserve?
Our sober-worked state,
Knocked back by right-drunk,
Are left to be sunk.