UNDERNEATH

A snippet from some work-in-progress on my autobiographical-novel This is it

***

slade-poster-res‘It. Is. Art.’

‘No. It’s. Not.’

‘Hah!’ Samantha stood up. ‘Gotta go,’ she said, leaning down and puckering her heavily-lipsticked lips.

Benedict tilted his head upwards and reciprocated with the puckered lips.

Their puckered lips met.

‘Mwah,’ they said in unison. Continue reading

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Reporters in Time

time

from The Words in Me

Reporters in Time

It’s the beginning of the universe
and I’m here – live
It’s difficult to see
through the cosmic smog
I haven’t yet caught
a glimpse of God

What I can tell you, is
it’s not what you think
un-describable emptiness
dumb-blind nothingness
not very interesting really
back to the studio

Well, we’ll return there
to the beginning of time
where space emerges
after we visit
our man at the end
where even light bends Continue reading

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Hello Spring

daff2Hello Spring
it’s no good pretending, lurking,
I can see you coming.
You can’t help it, can you?
It’s something you have to do,
whether you like it or not,
so stop hiding,
come out from under your shield of last year’s leaves,
reveal yourself,
you are wanted,
needed.
Hah! With your cheeky yellow wink,
of course you know,
you were just teasing.
Well, you are –
here again.
Hello Spring.

Say Hello to Autumn too

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A selection of poems

a selection of poems from The Words in Me

Dogs and Lambs

My sister-in-law talks about dogs as if
they were people
and eats lambs.
The s is important
it sneaks up softly
unlike cows
which jars.
The animals have it
every time.
They depend on us humans
and we love them to death.

On Walls

On walls
low brick walls
boys sit
and think
boys spit
and cover the tarmac
with white globules

In their rooms
they keep grime
proddable stuff
dark places
to hide futures

Ninetyfivefive

you know the score
in a movie
or a tv show
the flaws
small flaws
idiosyncratic flaws
twelve flaws
or just one
we’re allowed to be flawed
it’s ok as long as in the end
we’re fucking good at our job
in my real life i’m an artex ceiling of cracks and fissures
with some small redemption

it’s kind of arse-backwards ain’t it?

You’re Fab

There are those that wake with still closed eyes
And grunt and hide and live in lies
They swallow anything that comes
And lay to rest with nothing done.

Then there are the ones that see
That live their own humanity
They show their beauty in the night
And when they leave they leave a light.

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Early Spring Haikus

mossy-brick moss covering brick
last year’s leaves decomposing
green appearing

~

magnolia-budFebruary dawn
magnolia buds open
pink blossoms emerge

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The Words in Me

On the cool May water patient ducks do their duckly duty and chilled out swans lurch in almost imperceptible leaps. One, a big one by the sound of its wings, flies berserkly, its feet still in the water behind the bushes, where I lay with a girl in the long rushes. A hard-nailed dog, paws stiff as death chews a fluorescent tennis ball and vaguely obeys the small man, whose narrow dark eyes acknowledge, but only out of duty. The pond is not warm now. Was it ever? Even when the old works of undulating metal disgorged its useless vigour. This place is a place where times collide and all roads cross. My fathers, survivors though they were, naturally, thought they were here to stay, thought they could walk on the water. That pond, that cool May pond, that clean green pond, that home to dutiful ducks and chilled out swans, started with their sweat and with their water. The cross-ponds bridge, the tidy tarmac, the grass, the dog shit, the drunken piss. See – even now the waters come – even now but with less pain. An angry crow, helpless, or it could be a rook, anyway, it has a big yellow beak and it craws loud and angry at the new road and the thick-wheeled cycles and the motorised wheelchair, and most of all most of all, it shouts at the patient ducks. ii A dying pylon collapses, its corpse disintegrates. The three parts of its giant insect body, decomposing prey to the acetylene burners and the maggot men with their big yellow jaws. iii A slow pad over the arc of the Pont d’Agen to the tarmacked path, where the long rushes were and a nervous coot, scoots, home to its dying mother. iv Like a lost turtle, out of place, the ghost of my future is barely seen by the thick meat frame and quick cold eyes of men, protecting their brood, with their stares. I am alone, more akin to my dead father, less at home than I was as a child, even though then, I stole and lied and cheated at cards, when I could get away with it. Without a dog, or a bike, or a young child, or even a girlfriend, I walk on purpose even though I’m not going anywhere, just crossing and looping and thinking of then and thinking of now and thinking of then again, as I avoid the cold sharp stares. v Polly the dog makes a nuisance of itself. The little girl craws its name like an angry black crow. Her mother tugs, it’s time, time, it’s always time to go. vi This is a moderate place it hovers between then and now between here and there existing only because of a random coming together of the right sort of stuff but it still hurts. vii Under the arc of the Pont d’Agen cars flow; the scintillating heat of their breath settles on the new black road, and she sighs, and she hides her secret methods. But she knows, and she will recover. viii It’s time, and time again, time to let the dreams vaporise and settle and hide in the black tarmac, and wait for a new reality.

WORDS

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Happy New You

Something I wrote ten years ago on January 3rd 2006 – nothing changes?

January Tree

January Tree

I’ve just realised it happens every year. Usually it gets overwhelmed by Christmas, or it’s just forgotten, smothered by January frost and burnt away by the low winter sun and the urgent need to get on with it.

But this year the restart was delayed by illness and crushing indecision.

Lost in the dark again. A couple more days lolling around in dressing gowns, still too much left over food in the cupboards to merit a serious expedition to the large world of other people out there.

There’s a decline that begins the day the clocks go back – late October. The world gets more claustrophobic every day, the darkness comes and it stays.

At first I think I can beat it – keep busy, have a book launch, start worrying about Christmas, the essential festival of light and unfettered stuffing; like a willing goose, turn yourself into pate. Swill it down with ferments of fruit and grain, buy presents. Can’t afford it? What the hell, max the plastic.

Then – the day – the darkest day and the day filled with the most light and the most abandon – no buses to catch or cars to drive, no limits, no mercy to your lives.

Loved ones come and go, bins overflow. ‘Thank God it’s all over.’

All over.
All over.

Crisp New Year
except it’s not
it’s wet and not cold enough
and the places you’ve been
stay with you
and make you cough and moan

Get a grip on yourself
Get a grip

So you do
and you notice
the nights lightening
the days’ cool sun returning
– reviving.

And you return
You are you again
but you are a different you
an evolved through pain
and darkness you

A new you

A happy new you

But then again

Everything changes
it’s always the same,
it all rearranges
no-one’s to blame

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The pomegranate seed

I cut open a pomegranate and popped its seeds into a white bowl. They were vibrant and red, they glistened and said: look at us, look at us; we’re beautiful. Look at how we sit together,  blush together,  live together,  give together. I had to agree; they were what they said they were.

pomegranate-white-seed

What about me? a little one said. Look at me, am I not beautiful too? Am I not vibrant? Do I not glisten? The red seeds smiled, and embraced. I laughed, and ate the bloody lot of them.

pomegranate-white-seed-closeup

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After the Storm

A poem from about 10 years ago

After the storm
There is a puddle in my garden.
In the puddle
There is next door’s trousers
They are dark and grey
and meant for chapel
or officiating
at funerals
The legs
they normally contain
are old now
but still roadworthy
just about

After the storm
he is smiling
even though
he has to re-wash
his trousers
There’s at least
half a dozen
ceremonies
left
in them
And maybe
more in him
but he’s not so sure
so he won’t buy
a new pair
just
yet

He doesn’t want to rob his grandchild.

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Autumn Leaves and Autumn Trees

A couple of off the cuff verses inspired by two photos I took yesterday on a walk through Llandaff Fields to the allotments.

autumn-leaves

Autumn Leaves

How many trees are on the Earth
How many leaves
How many stars are in the sky
How many moons
How many days are in a life
How many breaths
Enough
Just enough!

autumn-treesAutumn Trees

The tree knows where to grow
The stream knows where to flow
The breeze knows when to sigh
The leaf knows when to die

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Poetry sucks!

I was just reading through an old notebook-journal type thing and came across the following ramble about poetry. I scribbled it down over ten years ago and promptly forgot about it. I do this all the time and have dozens, if not hundreds, of such books lurking in damp cupboards and up the attic.

It’s a bit of a rant and probably only serves to display my ignorance and may actually get me excommunicated from the edges of the literary establishment where I sometimes lurk in the shadows, but, what the hell – it’s as much a question as an opinion, and I would be ecstatic if someone would enlighten me since I am genuinely puzzled about poetry.

Here’s the original piece, written on March 1st 2005 at 11.30 pm (ish) according to my notebook. Bear in mind that’s it’s a bit roughly written, but I’d like to think, raw and real.

It is titled: Continue reading

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If we were rich

If we were rich, would we still have a table like this?
A table covered in the most recently used bits of shit?
Like scissors and glasses and ashtrays and tips.
Like candles and radios and needles and sticks.

There’s last Thursday’s mailshots and yesterday’s news.
There’s this week’s TV guide and half a pair of shoes.
A table that’s creaking and sagging with clues.
Yes, we’d still have a table like this – it’s the truth.

(This is a poem I just found lurking deep in the entrails of a hard disk – I don’t think it’s been published anywhere (but I may be wrong) – so here it is)

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Autumn’s breath

Autumn-res
Hello autumn.
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,
asleep,
until
it’s spring.

While you’re here, say hi to Spring too

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Waiting Haiku

Sitting outside the New Conway, a pub in a leafy street in Cardiff, on a Saturday night at the beginning of September, sipping a pint of cider while waiting for some friends to turn up.

I had a blank piece of A4 paper and a pen in my pocket. I’d folded the paper before leaving home; it was meant as a stand-in notebook, since I couldn’t find one with any empty pages.

haiku-paperI decided to write some haikus to pass the time. The paper had been folded three times giving eight rectangles of pure white space on each side – each rectangle the perfect size to accommodate a handwritten haiku. I thought, if, by the time I’d written sixteen haikus, our friends hadn’t turned up, we’d go home,

I managed to write six – here they are, straight from the paper – unedited. Turns out they are a bit of a haiku sequence.

haikus, things to do
when you're bored outside a pub
and friends don't turn up
autumn is delayed
by a burst of summer sun
birds take advantage
near summer's end
yellowing leaves start their trip
to the brown gutter
like a dance they swirl
on the pavements, in the road
then they separate
noisy crows in trees
saying goodbye to the sun
when it's gone, they stop
on the bark of trees
forests of green moss congeal
it's complicated

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Coruscation

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.

 

Coruscation

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.

apple

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Where is your song?

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.

 

meadow

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?

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Three short poems about animals

Black_catBlack Cat
I saw him chew a frog with glee
his yellow eyes assessing me
I saw him die, his kidneys gone
An obligate carnivore done.

 

mothMoth
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

 

Little_dogLittle Dog
Behind those eyes a simple soul
Obliged to eat and piss and growl
It needed recognition too
To leave its mark on every shoe.

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Glastonbury 1998

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.
 
(There is an account of my experiences at Glastonbury 1971 – here)
 
I wrote this poem the night before I went back with my family in 1998.

Continue reading

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About the Journey

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.

Continue reading

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Passing a Day

Dum-tee-dum-tee-dummm-tee
I’m a little monnn-key
sitting on a biig-tree
Dum-tee-dum-tee-dummm-tee

This is what I see
This is what I see Continue reading

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