19 Jun 2015

A very grown up thing to do

At lunchtime, at certain times of the year
At the job
I walk over to the main building and
Stand by the side doors of the great hall
Stealing minutes of the day like
Stealing silver pennies

Inside there
Sit many young people
Younger than me
Rehearsing orchestral pieces
The cello and viola sing and the
Brass plays and
The baritone
Blasts out some Strauss
Or some such

I peer through the glass
Hidden from them
Observing their herculean efforts
And I recall my college days
Working my ass off for
Not much reward

These kids here
Have a focus
And a calm way about them
And seem quite grown up
In comparison to those days
   more than 20 years ago now

I close my eyes as
The cello and viola sing and the
Brass plays
Delicate and strong 
And the sounds they make
Balance out my world
If only for those few

21 May 2015

Golden Age Syndrome

We would talk about the 60’s
And agreed we’d fit pretty well there
Real bullshit
Hanging with Hendrix and all that

But the other option
Our own rooms
Own homes
Any place
Any time was better than where we were

Floating through the lives of others
Gravel and glass under foot
Always someone scratching at the door
Trying to squirm and claw their way
Never an end in sight

And so we adapted
Any way we could
When a person is pushed enough
They go out to extremes
Or become introvert

So we each chose one
And the rift it formed
Created a distance both mental
And physical

And afterwards
We never connected the same way
That time together was gone
Speaking only here and there
Visiting even less

But I stayed the same
And you stayed the same
For better or worse

And eventually I realised
There had never been anywhere safe
For you to be

No corner of the world existed
Where you could hide from what you
Had inside
What they’d tucked away in there

Nor would any past decade welcome you
You didn’t even fit here
With me

You could have stayed and fought
But then
There’s always the other option

So you took it
Made the choice
Leaped without looking
And to hell with the rest of us

I can honestly say
That I don’t blame you one bit

They got to you brother
Clawed their way in
And even I couldn’t stop them

And still the world
Is hard
And bright and amoral
And loud
Without mercy

I do not envy you
I have still too much to do here…
But say hello to Jimi for me.

15 May 2015


I can’t wait to get so old
That all this anger just subsides
Washed away like it’s nothing
Wisdom and grace taking over

I can’t wait for the day to come
When I awake and just feel the day I’m in
Taste the coffee in my mouth and
The touch of the people I love
Without this weight on my back

I sense it now and again
Like summer coming
The hairs on your arms stand up
And balance overcomes you

There is no poetry in carrying a burden
That never breaks you
It’s like an inside joke

So you channel it
Funnel it into the real poem
Or dam it up
Long enough to see what havoc you can cause
If you let it out all at

A hundred ways to go fuck yourself

A hundred
Million ways
A million gold coins in the bank
Stuffed into their clean-as-shit mattress

Stockpiled riches but hey
They worked hard for it
Up at dawn and a 10 hour
6 day week
hey man
Stop being so bitter

A hundred thousand
Million ways for them to spend it
And where does it all go
Into the walls
The floors
Wardrobes and fixings
A diamond fucking shoe rack for all I know
It’s not my area of expertise

And the Polish builders grind
And crack and saw and bang
And bang
And god
What else
For months on end

With not a fucking word of hello
From the upper class pirates
Too busy guarding their booty

Though we’ve had glimpses here
And there now
And then
White bread
Plain as balls
Nothing to them at all

A hundred
Million ways to live their life…
Sometimes you just look at someone
And think
Man, at least smoke a fucking joint.

23 Apr 2015

King Kong

I always see him at the beginning
Not hanging
From the Empire State Building
Faye in his hand
Half struggling
Half waiting for it

I think of him first, in the jungle
Before they force him onto the crowd
Before the capture

Just doing his thing
Terrorising the locals
Even killing one or two
Out of necessity

Beauty did not kill the beast, motherfucker
In the end, he just didn’t fit into their
View of what the world is

And well - goddamn…

12 Apr 2015

New England

For some reason I have, in my mind
Lived there for so many years now

Amongst all the postcard clich├ęs
And mirror image fields
Birds and rivers
Small churches within towns
Others would only ever
Drive through

But to write it down
To record this second life
That would expose the falsehood
Remove the curtain to show me
Sitting at this screen
Looking out onto the growing garden of my
Real home
The blue sky so bright
Flat and unwelcoming
Keeping my heart indoors

The same New England sun
Shining on the white painted houses
Across the street here

Not too different
Maybe the details only
The birds
The sorrow of the people

And no one makes postcards of
Where I actually

16 Feb 2015


Empty as I am I reach for alcohol
And find only water
I reach for tobacco and fire and earth and ash
But find only water

And my heart is a rock
Granite and storm winds
A cold cave

And electricity within the cloud
Is blocked
Something in the way

Disconnected and torn and
Far above it all I am

And I reach for dark red or
Clear spirit
And find only water
I reach out for pain or anger or solace
But find only water

And it quenches nothing
And is unsatisfying
And men pray to small gods
And kill for small gods
Deluded as to their time here

the words begin to falter
Trapped within lightning
And I resent the world you
Chose to leave behind.