Google+ A Tangled Rope: 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Growing Together


If this is to happen, it will happen slowly, unfolding like a season before us. We will walk, noticing only small, slight, changes as we go down these pathways, and stop at places we have stopped at before.

Each day we’ll see signs that our spring is turning into a summer for us. Each day brings that moment closer when we will burst into bloom together. Each day we’ll be eager to examine every new bud of our love that grows alongside these pathways we take.

Every drop of rain that falls upon us we’ll see, not as a dampening, but as nourishment for our verdant times, every cloud as protection for each delicate shoot from the harsh heat of too much sun. 

Monday Poem: Eternal



Down here, we let the dust
run through our fingers
as we wait for rain to fall.
We hear voices on the wind
and see stern faces
in the beards of the clouds.

We search for reasons
and find them hidden, encoded
in the world’s secret signs.
The stars tell us stories
as we wait, nervous, for the dawn
to shine meanings on our dreams.

Poised, ready for motion
we begin at the point
where the world ends
around us. We start
where all else ceases.
At the heart of the silence.

The end of eternal torment
torments us.
The end of the horror
of eternal bliss
brings comfort to us.

We wait in empty space
nothing above us
to raise us up.
Nothing below us
to drag us down.
We wait only
for an end to waiting.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Poem: Bird Watching


Bird Watching

Down by the stilled green water
that offers no clue to depth,
except that there is enough
for some heartless bastard
to drown six puppies in a sack,
I wait, as I hear a dragonfly
throbbing like a motorbike
in amongst the high reeds
where a sodden half-shoe
lies like a capsized boat.

Then there is the sudden flash.
A blue and orange streak
over the water.

I would like to give it a name,
but I don't know the names of birds,
- Except the obvious ones -
like robins on Christmas cards.
Oh, and the black and white magpie.
But that only because of Susan Stranks
and an urgent early teenage desire.

If they had made a TV show
with some nubile young woman
who fed boys' over-eager fantasies
and had called it Kingfisher,
perhaps then, I could - with confidence -
name, or not name, that sudden bright
blue and orange flame across water
and then turn to go about my day.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Separated by Silence


Here at the edge of our lives, we stand to watch the days go by, waiting for that time when it all seems to fall into place around us, but there are times when it all seems to be too far away to touch, times when none of it matters.

Those hard words remain between us, still, solid as unmoveable as stones set hard in this landscape by lost forces from an ice age ago. We cannot shift these stones, and you lean back against one to feel the last of the sun’s fading heat on your face.

Out here, there are not many words. Silence is what grows here, around us.

Look out across this landscape spread out before us. There is nothing. These hillsides are bare and you can see far off into the distance to the point where seeing is lost.

Eventually, we turn and walk away, separated by this silence that has grown up between us, and turned us to face away from each other as we walk.

I have been here before, and I know how slowly the darkness can fall, so slowly, so subtly that it seems hardly to change at all and you are surprised not by the suddenness of it, but by how it grew so dark around you without you ever really noticing. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Marching Song


All these days are processions as they file past my window. I watch them all and see how you are always marching inside them. You have a face composed of belonging and certainty, and your step seems so sure that you are marching in time.

Each day, I sit, apart, alone, creating new worlds inside this small room, while you march on confidently towards the end of your vision.

I see all I need from this window, but sometimes my breath fogs it up, or the pressure of my fingertips obscures each day marching by outside.

Some days I wish I had the nerve to pass through this glass and fall like light into the street outside, ready to compose my mask of belonging and join in your marching songs.

Instead, I dream of a tomorrow when the procession marches on while you remain, standing still, then turn to stare back through my open window and I take your outstretched hand to pull you in. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Hand Encloses Empty Air


This becomes a distance that holds us apart, as though we are on the opposite banks of a raging river: unable to cross, unable to meet, unable to touch. We talk only of distances and the spaces between as though the words themselves can no longer cross these gaps.

Distance becomes like the distance between stars, unimaginably far and empty of everything, where all is silence and the words do not even escape our lips.

I talk of times long gone now, as though the past becomes more real the further away it gets. There was a time when I thought of what the future would bring, but now I think only of what was lost in the past.

Here and now seems no more real than it ever has. Just a passing moment that is gone before the hand can close around it. The hand encloses only empty air; the moment is gone and lost.

I remember you walking away. You will not remember me. I was there just a shadow, up against the wall. I was there as a part of the world you just walked through on the way to the rest of your life. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

In The Dark

[The Nightmare - Henry Fuseli]

Everywhere is a place darkness changes. Midnight’s dark hides more than we dare see. Outside there are ghosts speaking in whispers, trees alter shape and grow bony fingers. The ground becomes a slow undulating sea with waves to grab and drag you down to drown, while something growls as innocence dies screaming.

Around here, the clocks sneer, with slow heavy ticks. Furniture stalks us, strange sharp-clawed creatures scuttle through pipes, and - under floorboards - hobgoblins clutch at your ankles.

A bed is a warm safe refuge for us. Protected by the power of these thin sheets we sleep safe, wrapped tight around each other in a way no fear could ever untangle.

Then this becomes the time of dawning day, when grey light reveals the benign monsters crowded cowering under the dead weight of our discarded clothes draped over chairs and half-open wardrobe doors lead nowhere except to the dull routine of ordinary lives and the clothing for just another ordinary day. 

Monday Poem: Dawn Chorus


Dawn Chorus

I too could rise up hopeful, like the dawning sun.
I too could start here at the day's beginning hour.
I too could burn away the shadows, hiding mists,
and beaded tears of dew from all the blades of grass.

I too could set the whole bright chorus singing clear,
to fill your darker dreams with light that falls on down
through half-closed curtains, banishing the chill of night
that lies so heavy on your naked shoulders now.

I could do it, but only if I could believe
I have the power to disperse your darkest clouds,
and give you all the bluest skies you still deserve.

I could then feel myself begin to rise up strong
and ready for another dawn, another day
despite my knowing how the darkness chases me
and knowing that the darkness chases all of us.

I know one day it will catch me, make my own sun
forever dark; extinguished. Then I will have lost
my final chance to burn so bright and shine for you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Morning On Your Tongue


There are times when it all seems to be held within the stillness of a moment. Times when it seems the whole world can be taken into one hand and held. Here we are at the edge of the rest of our lives, waiting for some sort of sign, some sort of direction, we wait, here.

It can be a moment; it can be less than the tick of a slow clock. It could take forever for your hand to move, for your fingers to close around the moment you hold in your hand. We are here; we wait, here.

Now, the sky opens up into the morning, leaving the darkness of the night behind on your pillow. You step out barefoot onto dew-damp grass to taste the morning on your tongue. It tastes fresh and new, as if a whole life could grow up and out from this one single new morning.

Here is the day and here we are together again. We stand side by side as always, looking at the world through the same eyes and from the same angle. We have always been here, and this moment will last forever.

The day will begin when you are ready. 

Friday Poem: A Moment Of Balance


A Moment Of Balance

Poised on the sheer edge,
purposeful and tense, as though
this one act could be the significant
moment of a lifetime.
A point of perfect balance on the fulcrum
of the pure moment of concentration.

It's almost as though
all the ordinary events
which define the days of ordinary life:
birth, marriage, children, death,
have no more significance than the passing
of a cloud across the face of a day.

Maybe we should all
stand solemn, silent and still
like a diver, poised on the highest board
before we step forward
over the empty space of the future, for
those chances we take with our daily lives.

Give each potential
life-changing moment a pause,
before diving into the deep unknown
of a possible future.
Giving it all a greater significance
and some deep sense of graceful dignity.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Autumn’s Tangled Undergrowth


It was the fading summer of this girlfriend. She sat in my armchair, naked except for a pale blue t-shirt. She had one leg thrown carelessly over the threadbare arm of the chair as she lay back in it. She was a tall girl, but she could almost lie flat in that chair with her bum resting on the very edge of it.

I was sitting on the floor between her open legs, watching her as her long languid fingers eased their way through her golden brown pubic hair like undulating snakes sliding through autumn’s tangled undergrowth.

I watched in silence, as her fingers moved, hypnotised by the sheer beauty of the moment and he way her labia opened like a flower coming into bloom, and how - inside the dew-moistened petals - the nectar was waiting.

Eyes closed, she was lost deep inside her own world, biting her lip as the intensity grew and the snakes chased their prey down into the dark and lost themselves inside the cave; then becoming more purposeful, diving deep beyond themselves to take her there.

Then, when she surfaced up again from the depths of her own underground seas, she smiled at me and held out those fingers for me to kiss.

I was so eager to kiss, so eager to taste, but I waited unmoving, still, because then I thought I knew that such summers are endless. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Every Word Has A Story

[Young Girl Reading - Jean-Honore Fragonard]

Here is the place to begin. We tip these words out across the page, hoping they will land where we can make shapes of meaning from them, from where they heap and fall. We have given names to all the things that make the world around us; and now we must tell the stories each one of them holds within itself. Everything has a word to name it, and every word has a story to tell about itself. We are here to listen to the stories this world tells about itself. We, too, have names and those names each have their own stories too.

The more we learn, the more we understand, can all help make each story truer. Those tales of monsters, of demons, devils and gods belong to another age now. We have stepped out, beyond those stories, to find what is true; and now we see the real shapes of things without the dark shadows of superstition, fear and misunderstanding around them.

We have stepped out into the light.

There are voices though, begging us, calling us, beseeching us to step back into the shadows cast by the monsters of those imaginings from a long ago time. They feel safe huddled together against the dark shadows that close in against them, feel safe in the flickering light cast by their fires of superstition.

We call back telling them about the world we have found, full of light, full of promise, full of freedom, and far from the haunted shadows that surround them. But still they do not come. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take Your Time

[Dali - Metamorphosis of Narcissus]

Now take your time and hold it in your hand. How can you forget, walk away, when it stares back at you with those as deep as forever eyes? When you long to pick it up and feel its tremulous heartbeat next to yours, the pulse of all its moments.

Keep it safe, don't let it escape and run away from you. You will never to get it back. It will run and it will hide. You could spend your whole life just searching for that one moment again. But you will never find it. It will not come back to you, no matter how hard you call, no matter how much you plead. Once it has gone, it is gone. You should have never let it go, no matter how much it struggled to be free.

But you know you have to part with it, because you know too, that time dies in captivity. You cannot hold it still. No matter how elaborate a cage you construct, it will slip through the bars, or die trying. Or it will pine away to nothing, leaving only the smallest stain on the memory floor to remind you of what once had been. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

The End Of Summer


Even under such a heavy sky as this, I can recall another time, another day, when you walked along these beaches beside me, days when you saw these places in the same way as I saw them. Now our eyes see different times when I step forward to point.

You no longer need the lucent shells, and hard bright pebbles I used to drop into your eager open palm, for you to hold up to the light of a warming sun. You do not want to hear my call for you to come and see; instead, you stare out to sea and complain how the salt winds redden your eyes. Your eyes constantly search the sea, merging into the distant horizon, looking for some other, far-off, place where you feel you’d rather be.

We did not expect our walks to end, not like this, here and now at the end of our long slow summer days. These days we walk, each wrapped inside our own coats.

Instead of my arm wrapped around you and your hand in the back pocket of my jeans, we walk heads down and apart watching our routine footsteps tracing a worn out route back to where we began.

Then, when we get back home, you sit dreaming by a dancing fire drinking instant soup from a chipped mug, while I – finally – have something to write. 

Monday Poem: Distant lands


Distant lands

I knew you then,
you had secrets and such dark hair
that kept you hidden
like some eastern veiled bride-to-be
floating though our more ordinary days
with the scent of exotic unguents
and mysterious, languid perfumes
floating all around you
like loose diaphanous robes.

You were distant, untouchable;
a land too far
out of reach of my prosaic hands.
You needed a hero,
an adventurer, to conquer you.

And, these days,
I no longer know you
as you sit in a rusty tired car
outside the school gates
waiting for your children,
all with your dark eyes
that could, so easily
be sailing out on journeys
across distant mysterious seas.


[First published in BORDERLINES 37 (Winter 2005) Anglo-Welsh Poetry Society]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sleep Upon The Moon


Now, look into the distances you hold cupped in your hands. Look into the world you can wave into being with a mere gesture of impatience with the imperfection that surrounds you.

It is a world you can walk through, a world you can touch, a world you can hold against your beating heart. A world that turn slowly, much slower than this one, so each moment stretches out as far as a hand wants to reach.

It is a world that you shape to fit your mood. A whim creates a sunset with more colours than can exist, for you to walk along a beach of the softest sand to meet that lover you always wanted. The night will stay warm against your skin and the insects will murmur only, far away and faint, never even brushing your bare skin with the lightest of wings.

Then all you have to do is reach out towards whichever star takes your fancy to be up flying towards it. Taking it into your open palm you see it pulse there with a gentle distant warmth, before you drop it back into its place in the sky while you and your perfect lover fly off together to sleep upon the moon. 

Winter Of Forgetfulness


Can we find a place we can call home, now, after all that has fallen around us? Autumn leaves of lives lost and left on the ground, forgotten and buried under the heaping snow of our long winter of forgetfulness.

How can we hold and turn these shapes to find that one sparking moment of crystal knowing, when the world turns its own shadows upon themselves and they disappear into cold clarity of understanding?

I only have these questions, heaping like small change in the palm of my open hand, ready for you to take one and spend it wisely in the bustling markets of knowing.

You are a daughter of this world I never really got to know. You can speak its languages while I just shrug in bewilderment, never knowing the answer or how the question can be shaped into something tangible. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Weight Of The Day


There are times, early in the morning, when the weight of the day seems almost too heavy to bear. Times when it seems better to roll over, pull the covers up tight and hope the day gives up and goes away. There are times when the insistent morning nudges and prods you until you can stand it no more and the only thing to do I to get out of that warm safe bed and see what the day thinks is so important that it needs you there to see it all unfold.

The day always wants you to be there; as though mornings are some clever trick they have perfected just to beguile you. Each day has its morning there waiting behind your curtains ready to step out onto the stage of your day. It doesn’t seem to matter how many mornings you have seen before, each day believes that its morning will be the one that will have you leaping around ecstatically as though you life has just become one great big breakfast cereal advert.

Mostly though you just drag the curtains open and see the day is there, waiting for you. With no more than a brief glance and a cursory nod at its carefully prepared morning you turn away and head off towards the rest of your life. 

What Religion Ought To Be

(for @oleuanna)
[Nude in the Sunlight - Pierre Auguste Renoir]

I saw you naked on a Sunday morning standing alone in a green field. I knew then what religion ought to be and why I should fall to my knees there on the grass in front of you. All I know is all I know and I understand so little, except the way to touch you and the feeling of the warmth of skin.

The miracle of the heartbeat should be enough for anyone to understand this world and everything living thing upon it. We don’t need to worship anything of our own creation or imagining when there is world enough within reach of any outreaching hand that yearns to feel the warmth of this world and the fresh breath of the breeze upon their naked skin. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things That Are Named


I have seen the names given to this world by those others, and the names they give themselves. It gives a solidity to the world, knowing that it is named and given a place within a scheme of things. The others, they seem real too, named and categorised, and yet, here am I amorphous and indistinct with soft edges that blur into each other and into the world. I’m never really that sure where I end, and the world begins around me. We grow to fit each other’s shapes and I learn all about its sharp sudden corners, but still there seems times when I merge into the background like some well-camouflaged lizard that becomes just another green shadow amongst all the shadowed leaves.

Or, it is that I grow here, rooted, out of the ground around me, moving as the breezes move me, turning slowly, imperceptibly, to follow the sun’s arc through my skies whilst everyone else is moving freely through this world they have named and tamed, as if they know where they are going, and how to get there.

I have wandered those streets too, looking for a place I could go to, and found nothing but more streets, each leading away from me, curving off into distances beyond everything. I have walked them, seeking that one place where all seeking can stop, the place where the name seems real enough to touch, to hold and to hold me, secure in its own identity. I have never found it though, so I came back here to think about what all those others see when they call my name. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Day Drags Out Into The Distance

[Marc Chagall - Time is a River Without Banks]

Sometimes it grows heavy and the day seems too hard to move. The hours sit on the clock unwilling to make way for each other. The minutes refuse to budge as the seconds pile up behind them. The day drags out into the distance, out over the horizon and too far away for the hand to reach. The day lies beyond the outstretch hand, too far to touch, too far to take hold and pull it closer.

The day becomes something beyond, out of reach, happening in the distance at the limit of what the eye can see. It happens almost beyond the distance of rumour. It happens out there, to other people whose lives unfold beyond the horizon.

We sit here, constrained by the bindings of our own lives, while time unfurls itself around us, but out of reach. We cannot reach out to take the day and shape it around ourselves. We are too far away. The day lies too far out of reach for us. We can only see it pass, out there in the distance, along those dusty roads that lead only ever away from us.

Then the night comes to wrap us in its blankets and turn us away from what we can see in the distance, the roads where the days unfurl themselves to move on. We remain only here, wrapped up in the blankets waiting for another dawn to rise up, still too far away to touch. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Garden We Have Made


What will grow from this? What will grow from the seeds we plant out here in this small garden we have made for ourselves? Out there is the dark wood, where things grow from shadows and damp places to entangle the paths we take out from here to reach the wider world.

Here, we fight back against the chaos that could overwhelm this small piece of land. Here, we hold out against the world creeping in towards us.

We know, however, that eventually, some years down the line, we will no longer have the strength to hold back the world as it creeps towards us, scattering its seeds of discord, its tendrils choking the life out of what we hold dear.

But, until then, tending this small garden is all we have. 

Monday Poem: Something about Flowers


Something about Flowers

Down there in the dawning light
she stands like a frozen gesture:
a shadow frozen on the ground until
she recalls the necessary motion
and turns towards the morning.
The light grows like a flower blooming
into readiness for such a pollination.

Thinking we know the steps
we step forward for the dance.

I do not know your name, or the designs
your fingers could carve
turning this bare formless stone
into headstones for flower-strewn graves
or stone shapes we can name and touch.
I will not turn back again.
I remember all their names.
I recall how their skin
felt like the petals of flowers.

Walk back down that hillside
back into the valley where
the stream stumbles over rocks.
Stone worn smooth, carefree
bearing no trace of history
just worn smooth by water.

The river of time rubs lines
into our smooth faces,
puts creases into our skin.
The weight of memory distorts our bones.
We learn how to shuffle
bent under the weight of the past.
Sometimes memory collapses
when there is too much to recall.

All those faces lost to time.
A procession files past us
as we sit with blank eyes
staring inward at what was
and regret for what could have been.

I take the responsibility of keeping
all that has passed from my shoulders.
I do not want to bear
the weight of all those times
and what I ought to have done.
Memories fade like flowers.

Bring back some flowers from that valley,
I remember the wooded hillsides
full of bluebells, occasional snowdrops,
sometimes a sudden bright primrose.
It felt somehow wrong.

I don't like to pick flowers.
Those frightened faces on the trains
not knowing, herded into bunches
by guards who did not notice
each face was a flower, just like them
or parents, wives, lovers and children.
In camps withered, or mercifully dead.

The flowers in the vase, leaves
crumple into brown, the petals fall,
bare skeletal stalks like dry
dead bones left in ashy chambers.
Human cruelty is so easy, a matter
of forgetfulness, a refusal to feel
the pulse of every living thing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Heavy Summer Oppresses Us

The heavy summer oppresses us, holding us down, making us sweat. Even the simplest act becomes a chore, more effort than it is worth. Each act becomes an ordeal.

We are not the people of the heavy hot summers. We are people of cool rain and green lands, of lush deep forests and verdant plains. People who huddle together against the cold and the mists and the darkness that always lies outside the reach of our flickering camp fires.

We have seen those darker shadows that lie beyond the reach of the dancing fingers of flame; we know what hides there, waiting for us. We do not go out into that darkness. We wait here, huddled close, for the dawn.


These hot days though, they make the night too hot for sleeping and the hours crawl and snarl like those dark shadow beasts, waiting; waiting for us to step beyond the fire’s protection. For even in these heavy hot days when the nights come we have to have the fire, even though the warmth of the day has not been chased away by the darkness, even though the night’s thick blankets lie heavy on us, still we need the protection of the fire to keep the night at bay. Still we huddle against what those shadows hold, knowing how easily they can reach out those dark claws and pluck us away, one by one until we are no more. 

Under The Turning Stars


Something turns under these turning stars that turns then into here and now and then turns here and now into then and gone, while we stand looking up at stars we cannot touch, at moments long before we could reach out, flickering forever beyond us. It is easy to feel small against such a large sky that moves around us and still feel at the centre of something. Once we created gods to turn the skies around us because it seemed the stars were put there for us.

Now we know better, but still something pulls for the hand of a father on the shoulder as we look up, to explain what we see in the language of civilisation’s childhoods.

Now, though, we are alone and grown beyond the false comfort of the gods we created. They cannot help us now, only hold us back, like that parent who will not let go of the child’s hand, even though the child has grown beyond such things.

Sometimes, it seems we should mourn the passing of the gods, but they were never really our true parents, merely a way of interpreting a world that seemed far too big for us to hold onto without someone there to guide us. We should have let them go a long time ago and never bothered to look back to see if we could catch a glimpse of their shadows in the light cast from those far too distant stars. 



“It was not that long ago now. Not that long ago at all.” Angie sighed and turned to stare out of the window as though she could see the past passing by out there. “But we were younger; so bloody young. I mean - look at kids these days. They are doing all the stuff that we used to. You just wish there were some way that you could show your kids, make them listen. Show them how you went through exactly the same sort of thing when you were their age.”

Jenny nodded, even though Angie was still looking away, out through the window. “The thing is, though, that it is at precisely this age when they begin to move away from their parents. It is the time when they begin to test their adult wings, displaying their brand-new adult plumage and getting ready to leave the nest. Just at the point when adult experience would be most useful, they stop listening. So they have to go out and make all the same mistakes that we made.”

“People only really learn by experience - and not always then.” Angie turned back as Jenny caught the hint of some regret in her sister’s voice. “Personal experience is what matters,” Angie continued. “Being told about it will not really help that much - not deep down where it matters.” 

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Just One More Celebrity Scandal

The celebrity world was scandalised – yet again – this morning.

‘Apparently…,’ said the editor of Tepid magazine, ‘the celebrities have all got together and decided they just can’t be arsed any more. They’ve all had enough of the constant competing to get into the gossip websites and mags, and the constant struggle to make the front page headlines in the tabloid papers.’

‘Actually, like. I just got tired of falling out of my dress for the paparazzi all the time,’ said Bolton Grand-Hotel, the infamous tit-girl and heiress to the Grand Hotel chain.

Pumpkin Dropincentre, the world’s biggest-grossing film star, said in a recent interview:

These celebrity parties are all so dull. All the celebs just want everyone else to tell them how great they are. So at a celebrity party no-one speaks to anyone else, we all stand around looking at ourselves in the mirrors, while our agents arrange amongst themselves who will leave with who and whose turn it is to thump the paparazzi this time. I’d much rather sit at home in a tatty cardigan and my slippers, drinking cocoa and watching the telly.

Gravelly Chinstubble, the leading male film star in Hollywood echoed these sentiments:

Look, I’ve got divorced and remarried three times in the last nine months just to keep my name in the papers. Now, I just want to actually spend some time with my new wife… er… hang on… I’m sure I wrote her name down somewhere… er… with my new wife. Who knows we may actually like each other if we get the chance to get to know each other before the divorce gets scheduled for our next publicity boost. Anyway, all my previous wives have already sold their stories of my weird personal habits, my sexual kinks and my infamous temper tantrums to every gossip column in the world. There is nothing left about me the world doesn’t already know.

However, it is not just the inane and empty-headed habitués of the celebrity circus who are getting tired of the whole tedious charade. Bonio, the lead mouth in yet another tedious bunch of superannuated guitar-botherers long past their sell-by date, waded into the debate in his usually po-faced way:

Listen, even I know I’m talking bollocks most of the time. All this pontificating about Africa, the poor and the environment that I do, I know I’m talking out of my arse most of the time, but what can I do? I know I could just as easily talk about puppy dogs, curtains and my enormous collection of shoes for all the good it does. But I have a market, a demographic, that pretend to care about these ‘issues’ as much as I pretend to care about them, they expect me to spout all this well-meaning bollocks. Frankly, I’d rather spend the time with my accountant minimising my tax payments, but I suppose I’m stuck with this ‘caring’ reputation now.

Various representatives of the media expressed serious concern that the lack of celebrity fluff and trivia would mean a significant loss of revenue for themselves. However, one media mogul, speaking from the deck on his topless model-festooned yacht, dismissed such concerns, ‘It doesn’t matter what the celebrities say or do about this,’ he said, ‘the brain-dead proles we spoon-feed this garbage to don’t seem to actually realise most of it is made up. Either that, or they just don’t care, as long as it prevents them having to face the trauma of thinking for themselves for once, which might make them realise they are leading such pointless and dreary lives‘.

‘In a way,’ he added ‘it is a kind of public service. I am proud of that. In fact, it is why I bribed the government into giving me a peerage. Now, piss off it is time for these lovelies to give me my afternoon massage.’

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

After The Summer Of Love

Of course, with the inevitability of a turbo-charged stoat winning the Norwegian Small Furry Animal Grand Prix the Summer Of Love soon gave way to the Autumn of Custard.


We can all remember how flower power wilted and faded with the dying days of the summer as autumn crept upon those young, innocent and excessively hairy, teenage blooms of that summer of ’69. Soon, though, the tins of custard powder began to replace the beads and flowers and the streets of height-Asbury were soon filled with strung-out custard addicts begging, lying and stealing for their next hit of warm milk.

Even in the comparatively staid UK, certain quiet corners of city streets shadowed beneath the brooding the tower blocks, a cursory search would discover the heaps of discarded custard powder tines, their lids bent into the crude shapes necessary for warming up a ‘hit’ of warm milk. One the milk was warm enough then it would be mixed with that strangely exotic white yellow powder to make the custard.

Of course, no-one ever started out wanting to become addicted. At first the teenagers, or, at least those daring enough, would experiment with having a small hit of custard on their apple pie, or rhubarb crumble, perhaps at a party or some similar teenage gathering. The media, politicians and others in authority were warning parents about the dangers of allowing their sons and daughters to attend parties where there might be deserts present, but, then - as now – the parents had little idea of what their children really got up to.

There were lurid tales in the sensationalist media, of course, about the sordid custard orgies of the then hip young rock and pop stars, tales of all night steam pudding and custard Bacchanalian excess were common in the tabloids of the time. It even made the front page of The News Of The World, one Sunday when two members of the Rolling stones and their girlfriends were alleged to have been indulging in a naked desert and custard party when raided by the police who had been tipped off by that very same newspaper. There was talk even, later denied by all present, that one of the girls at the party was discovered by the police, naked in a custard filled bath whilst the other party-goers gathered round desert spoons at the ready.

Soon though, that autumn too was over and the world of these young hipsters descended even further into the murky sordid world of hot cocoa and woolly cardigans, but that is a tale for a different day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Here is the time and here is the place. What else can we do here except stand and wait? Here, there is no sound, except the sounds of the morning and a stillness that holds us here. We say only the things that cannot be left unsaid, as we wait for the day to begin so we can begin too.


The shape of the day is held in your hand, and the shapes of our lives will form around it. The shape of things becomes the shape of us as we form and flow around the shapes of this world.

There are angles out there in the shape of this world that are too hard, too sharp, for the delicacy of bodies and the frailty of life to flow around. The world has dangerous edges and we know only too well that no-one ever really can escape, otherwise there would be no legends, no tales, of immortality. 

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Poem: A Possibility of Holding


A Possibility of Holding

Out where there are dreams of distances
and silences I dare to reach towards
your nakedness with hands that can only
do so little. I never learnt to make things

grow from wood or stone or paper. I never
knew the secrets of planting for the future
preparing to tend for the delicacy of shoots.
All I ever had were these hands,
futile gestures for forms of regret.

I never learnt the delicacy of holding
or the secret of the gentle touch.
It was always too far and I always too late.
My hands fall through empty air to only
reassure the memory of where you sat and cried.

I do not own much and dream of owning less.
I do not desire to hold the cold brick
or shaped metal of property. I only want
endless sky and the greenest of grasses.
Except when rain falls and I want to form
a shelter, build a fire and have someone to hold.