We have all travelled far to get here to
this place of straight routes and regimented trees,
this place where you greeted us by
vainly trying to tame our twisting path
with your solid stones placed around and over us.
We laugh at this futility as we flow forward,
while our many mouths froth
chewing on muddy banks
tearing down plants
root by branch by twig.
Our chatter attracts inquisitive beaks
seeking what’s hidden in our silt,
muddying our clear surface
releasing flotsam from its sediment prison
that bobs and clogs as we push it along
that impedes and interferes as we try to wash it aside,
but nothing can stop us,
not even the teasing chill of
winter’s freezing breath.
So we must push on
thank you for listening to
our story, we are sorry
we cannot stop
and listen to yours.
Today words are slowly
drifting from my pen like
dead leaves quietly spiralling
to the ground, where
they add to the discarded
carpet of poetry at my feet.
Ideas are crumbling like
ash dripping from the
end of a neglected cigarette.
I watch the ashtray fill
with spent verse that
waits to be lost to the breeze.
Inspiration should come
but nothing stirs except
inquisitive wasps keen
to sample the dregs
in my beer bottles.
I feel I should put down roots here,
join the brotherhood of trees in
their silent contemplation.
But I know if I was to stay here
for a hundred years,
I would never capture the
beauty of this place.
Descending like a pair of dark angels
the vanguard of the cortege
settle around the deceased.
Always clothed in black
though not here to mourn as
white camera eyes swivel
scrutinising their fellow all splayed out.
As thoughts finish the scolding starts
attracting the rest of the cortege to the vigil.
They join in screeching their remembrance,
wailing a warning until
silence falls, wings flap
the funeral is over.
Written after a visit to Carnac Stones
I wanted this poem to be an act of rebellion,
I wanted to speak not as an old fart but a young hellion.
This should be a rant against the straitjacket of language school put me in
Or a rail against the ill-fitting skin I clothed myself in.
But my words have turned into pretension
highlighting failed aspirations
and I’m not rebelling
I’m just a madman yelling
while my brain is telling me.
“Why did you write this poem, it’s shit.
No audience will want to hear it
there is no heart or wit,
your words don’t fit
quit you stupid bastard just quit.”
And I wonder is there an actual solution
to this internal pollution
any possible resolution?
Why can’t I just push a USB stick into my head
to try to get this unlimited supply of bullshit downloaded
and finally get some peace from all my brain said.
And then I thought brain you say I’m no good at anything
but I built this poem.
me whose English teacher wrote on his report,
Richard struggles with poetry.
Actually with the benefit of hindsight that’s probably right, but
on these rickety foundations I began to build and I built well..
I built this poem from scraps of leather and brick
forged it in the white hot heat of love and relationships
I wrote these words while in the park or down by the cut
Inspiration flowing like the smoke from my cigarette butt.
These are words that came to me on the bus or in my flat
I wrote them down late at night on the wrapper of my kebab
I took words from literature and scrawl from toilet walls
I took everything I loved and etched it deeply on to my soul
So it’s my brain
and it will do what I say,
or I’ll take its meds away.
Because to be honest my brain does piss me off,
just like me it’s got a big gob
and me and my brain will probably argue until the day I drop,
I’ll win sometimes and also lose but I won’t stop.
And I’ll continue under the guise of poetry
to publicly wash my dirty laundry
this moth-eaten well patched thing I call my story.
Why? Because I’m a poet, this is my therapy.
So I never was rebelling
I was just a madman yelling
that if you have any doubts telling you
that you can’t do what you love to do,
you know what to say to those doubts. Screw you.
This is the title poem form a new collection I’m working on with the talented Paul B Morris, hopefully out at Christmas