It’s good to see you again.
We missed your damp blowing.
We need: your field-wide energy;
to breathe your lullaby,
before winter drops
its dark drape
and wraps us safe,
I wrote a play a long time ago called ‘Tossers’. Looking for a tag to describe what sort of play it was, I dubbed it ‘a surreal pointless play’. There’s no point me trying to describe it because it actually is a surreal pointless play. It was performed as part of the On the Edge series at Chapter Arts Centre around ten years ago and it went down well. You can read it by clicking here.
So, why doesn’t it matter in the end, or indeed at any other time? Well, the truth is that it doesn’t matter because whatever it is, it is so tiny and insignificant that it has no effect, so doesn’t matter. On the always present other hand, it, whatever it is, is all that matters. Trouble is it’s quite impossible for me to convey the meaning of what I’m trying to say by describing it in this way, so like many who are trying to describe the indescribable I turn to some form of art – in this case words, put together in the form of a stage play.
I wrote another play with a similar idea behind it called ‘it doesn’t matter’. That play has yet to be produced but you can read it by clicking here.
The point is that there is no point, but, that doesn’t matter either. And there’s no point me going on trying to explain it – what I’m saying might be, and probably is, a load of bollocks anyway.
Another way of thinking about it is that . . . . oh who am I kidding, I can’t describe it, so let’s just sit back, breathe deeply and enjoy the view.
And it carries on anyway, whether you’re in the game or not, whether it even is a game or not.
Do you think the universe is dissolving into a kind of smear? Maybe smear is too dirty a word – perhaps kaleidoscope is better? Except the word kaleidoscope implies patterns and all I can see is a randomness. something like the image below.
That’s one way of looking at it I suppose.
And with that, a week of writing a blog post every day comes to an end. It was an experiment. I don’t know if it will carry on.
Oh! Except here is a picture of a lovely door/gate – there’s something behind it!!!!
It’s all a bit random and it could have all come together in endless different ways, but this is the reality we have to deal with. According to the latest quantum thinking there are multiple versions of the universe and they all exist in parallel. I find this difficult to understand, or to get my head round, as they say. Maybe that’s because my head isn’t the right tool to do the job of understanding, maybe it’s too small – after all, even just in physical terms, my head takes the space of a small watermelon.
Comparatively, a melon-sized head is infinitely small in an infinite universe, even our dear Mother Earth is a tiny smudge in the night sky when viewed from Venus and in the context of the galaxy our precious planet is a grain of sand that’s slipped between the pebbles on Brighton beach – There are up to 400 billion stars in our little galaxy – The Milky Way; and and there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe – and that’s just the observable universe and that’s just one of countless parallel universes.
The numbers dissolve into mulch and become meaningless, but let’s just say that in the grand scheme of things a single person is beyond insignificance. But I know, yes, I know, that one single person is also the most significant thing there is or was or ever will be, because in the end, without that person, without that consciousness to experience it, those billions of galaxies and gadzillions of stars might as well not be there. They’d be unseeable and unknowable and unknown forever.
Doesn’t mean we’ll ever get our heads round it though. I mean, think about it. If we could understand the multiverse with something the size of a melon then there’d be something very wrong with it (them).
So, how does it all work then?
Maybe I’ll come back to that one.
In the meantime:
It’s only 9 am. As usual I have Radio 4 on in the background. I do sometimes listen to Radio Wales or Radio 6, and occasionally Radio 3, but more often than not Radio 4 is my companion during the day and has been for decades. I’m just wondering what that’s done and is still doing to my take on how it all works.
“You’ve got to fight for every little thing you want to achieve.” Words of wisdom from Rebecca Adlington, Olympic swimmer, who is the guest on this morning’s Desert Island Discs. But, is that true or is it just a part of the world view we’re expected to stick to and which is propagated on mainstream media such as BBC Radio 4. What does a lifetime of absorbing Jenny Murray’s drone and Melvyn Bragg’s whine do to your mind?
Who the fuck am I? What would I be like if I had donated my brain to Radio Hip-Hop instead? Would there be any difference anyway, since both types of media delivery are based on the idea that we must share a common vista. What if you didn’t engage in all that? One of my Facebook friends has just posted a link to a news story about a man who became a hermit for 27 years. The headline is: ‘What Happens to Your Identity When You Don’t Speak to Anyone for 27 Years?”
The hermit article goes on to say: ‘Anyone who reveals what he’s learned, Chris told me, is not by his definition a true hermit.’
Maybe I’ll come back to that too.
God, that Rebecca Adlington is full of herself isn’t she? You’re just a swimmer mate, you’re not going to bring world peace or anything. OK, she’s a success, I get it, she’s worked hard for what she’s achieved, she deserves it – yeah yeah OK. And she is quite young I suppose so perhaps her full-of-herself-ness is forgiveable.
Do I sound bitter? I’m not really, I understand that life and everyone, every creature even, who possesses it, is as complicated as the aforementioned multiverses, but that doesn’t mean I buy into the middle-class, middle-of-the-road, middle brow stew that the BBC and particularly Radio 4, has been pumping into my brain since I crawled from the swamp of adolescence.
I will not be brainwashed.
Resist . . .
Resist . . .
Resist . . . . . .
This is a poem I wrote about 15 years ago. It is a formal sonnet. As far as I remember I spent a lot of time composing this, unlike most of the poetry I write, where I tend to be a bit sloppy and go with what is virtually the first draft.
Every punctuation mark, every syllable, every word, every sentence, every verse, the relationships between each line with every other line, and with its own beginning and ending, as well as all the bits in between, were crafted meticulously.
It’s about – well, everything really, but if I had to narrow it down, it’s about apples.
Wooden seed contains the tree of life’s
Essential fruit ensuring certain death.
The bite that unsheathed time’s sharp-bladed knife,
Cut off humanity, left us bereft.
To Cox’s, Braeburns, Bramley apple pies,
Genuflecting to scientists’ whims
Alar, phosphates and insect-killing sighs,
Genetic changes, false gods, crazy things.
The end of all we know’s in sight again,
Where, when and then and now and all is past,
When love and death and life come to an end.
There you and I will be as one at last.
– But while we strive to bear the stench of bliss,
– My breath is coruscated by your kiss.
An audio recording made 3 years ago of a poem I wrote 15 years ago, there’s a transcript below the picture that was taken 1 year ago. The picture is of a man-made meadow near Llandaff Fields in Pontcanna and it’s just there because people apparently like pictures to illustrate mere words.
I wrote the poem in the canteen/refectory at Trinity College, Carmarthen after arriving early for a session of the MA Creative Writing course I was studying at the time.
I had driven through the wonderful Carmarthenshire countryside with its green green grass and rolling hills and become pissed off at how the beautiful and mystical nature of Wales and its inhabitants have come to be defined by stereotypes involving sheep farming, rugby, chapel and industrial abuse.
Where is Your Song?
What is there to sing about
in the dirty valleys of Wales?
The land of my fathers’ follies,
the land of Mam’s poison cake.
Where sheep flood the green hills
like maggots, munching
to certain slaughter,
and pass their moronic character
to the people, through their plates.
The rivers run cold and collect
the toxic discharge that the Lords left.
The stone-walled slate-roofed mausoleums
of mediocrity, house the bigots
and the hypocrites of fear.
Why allow these demons
to inhabit our beautiful land?
Where is the sleeping Prince
who promised to return?
Wales is not a place of blood and tears.
Wales is not a deposit of dirty rain.
The evil of our history has skewered
our hearts to a red jersey,
the only paltry pride we have left.
Oh Wales, where is your song of joy?
I saw him chew a frog with glee
his yellow eyes assessing me
I saw him die, his kidneys gone
An obligate carnivore done.
Until it falls, burnt out and dead,
it must persist to weave its thread
It’s flimsy body seeks the light,
that’s always somewhere in the night
Behind those eyes a simple soul
Obliged to eat and piss and growl
It needed recognition too
To leave its mark on every shoe.
“Made in Roath festival brings artists and the local community in which they live together in a wide array of exciting and thought-provoking ways.”
That’s what they say on the Made in Roath website.
There’s also a significant literary element to the festival organised by the creative and talented writer Christina Thatcher.
As part of the literary bit I will be holding a workshop on Self-Publishing at Cathays Library from 2:30pm to 4:30pm on Saturday, October 18th.
This a FREE event.
More details soon in the Made in Roath brochure and on their website.
I have been self-publishing for a decade in one way or another and have set up my own publishing company, Opening Chapter, to publish my own work along with selected work from other authors.
I’ll be basing the workshop on my very current experience publishing my latest book For the Time Being on Createspace, and possibly Kindle, if time allows.
more soon . . . .
It was 1998, 27 years after my only other visit to the Glastonbury Festival. I’d always wanted to go back to see if it was the magical mystical place that had stayed with me and influenced my life so much.
I wrote this poem the night before I went back with my family in 1998.
It’s not finished yet, this journey
that began when the first eyes
opened, to a universe unknown.
When the composition
was a mystery.
When colours melded
into one space-less blur.
Before the images resolved,
and a birth shook the world.
I’m a little monnn-key
sitting on a biig-tree
This is what I see
This is what I see Continue reading
Go on – Try it.
a large brown dog
a large brown dog on a lead
but it doesn’t care
try putting a wolf on a lead
and taking it nowhere
try it. Continue reading
These poems were typed in from an old book dated 1970 – 71 on December 26, 1993 and re-edited a little bit for blatant typos only during June 2014. They are still a bit raw but I’ve kept them like this because it’s a link back to when I was a teenager and it would be a bit of an imposition to edit them from the perspective of a 62 year old man.
Notes: I used the pen name Del Brennan at that time. From Del – a shortened form of Derek and Brennan – my mother’s maiden name. Continue reading
From The Words in Me
Finding a Voice.
They say find your voice,
these esteemed poets.
So I tried.
I looked on top of the linepost
and there it was,
so I thought.
I crawled under the shed
and the worms cried
so I heard.
I wandered into the kitchen,
turned the tap on,
so I drank.
I looked in the attic, the bedroom, the garden
and the outside loo.
I looked in my shoe.
Then I looked in the mirror
and opened my mouth,
and there it was,
I’d swallowed it.
Tossers is a surreal pointless play first presented by Michael Kelligan as part of the On the Edge series of script held performances at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. The play includes three poems one of which is included in the extract below. Continue reading
There go by the engines
The engines there go by
But they can’t put mine out
So they needn’t try
There they go again now
Racing from the hill
They’ve put out that fire
But mine is burning still
The memory was sparked off by the smell of a grass fire alongside the motorway. I saw the smoke first, smudging the spring-blue sky above the road ahead, I thought it might be mist or fog, but it was too dry and too late in the day for that. Then the sweet-acrid smell of a grass fire seeped into the car through the sun-roof – tilted open to compensate for the non-functioning electric windows. I love the car, it’s an environmental baddie, an old Rover Vitesse Turbo; it drives like a confident oil-baron and swallows a hundred miles of motorway without taking a breath, but it’s done nearly 200,000 miles and it’s disintegrating. Continue reading
Should one worm,
stop me eating peaches,
for the rest of my life?
It all started years ago
There is a picture
There is me
and my family
on a summer
The peach was lush
The days are different. Each day is different than any other day that has gone before – significantly different. Certain things are the same on many days but even those things are different when you zoom in on them. What does this mean? OK – elaborate. You can go into your (or any other) garden, or a park or a field, or I suppose, go and look at a roadside hedge. Choose a leaf. Study it. Go back the next day, at the same time if you like, and it will be different. It will have grown, or decomposed, or become wetter, or drier, or droopier, or perkier – and that’s just one leaf – even a rock – even a diamond will be different from one moment to the next. Some things will require a higher zoom, some things will be obvious, some things will cease to exist between one day and the next, and some things will come into existence. What does that mean? Time is the path through the tangled mess that is the universe – inner and outer (what a fucking cliché – sorry). Life is awareness, life is best when it is simply lived. Age comes to us, we move towards it – we are actually time travellers – we think we can only go in one direction – forward – but how do we know that? Answer – because we remember what has happened before and we can’t see what will happen in the future. But maybe that’s only because of the direction we’re looking in.
Rolling around – being blown – blowing – blown. I am blown through the universe – buffering – buffeting, being buffeted, blown and buffeted – through a universe of song and colour – everything – all of it, a glimpse, a snap, a snip a flash of breath, a spark, a one of them, too many clichés and the meaning is lost – too many words the same – There is, this is – a Time Space cubicle – it is in this cubicle and in the cube or is it a sphere – a ball, a world – a planet, and there under a blade of grass a chiv of life, light, feeling, and the light, the light the right, it’s all there here round and down and up and spherically shaped – – – – – – there is nothing to wait for to look for to hope for – it is here – now – the time space bubble bauble – inside and everywhere and then and now and then of course it is of course and you know it – you have to – no – should – should will – in the end discover – unearth find it always gleaming dreaming and worlds and planets and galaxies and universes and inside, deep inside – the light – the truth + time to learn and time to be and it is a start to finish / in between. So there so there it is it is there – Look.