I did everything he asked of me. Modest in all my dealings, I killed no-one slept with no man’s wife, spoke truth and thought on heaven. Then he said “Sell everything you have and give it to the poor.” A blow across the face could not have hurt me more. My life of cautious virtue sacrificed ? It would be self-murder. I turned my back on him. Years later, comfortless, my good deeds sour on my tongue, I sold up did as he had asked and went in search of him. I found nothing but a tomb and women weeping.
“I want to spend my time with you”
written in Tippex on a broken house tile stamped out on a blank sheet of snow drawn by a finger on some foggy window scribbled in the back of an exercise book whispered in the darkness of a flickering cinema turned into a song by Ed Sheeran printed on T shirts, birthday cards, pencil cases stolen by politicians The answer tapped out on an Iphone “My time’s my own”:
Down the dusty, data-blown back streets
of my computer’s hard drive lies
the dumping ground –
where failed poems go to die,
and fragments too, which make me feel
embarrassed or ashamed –
lines leading nowhere, overgrown
with lush, excessive, choking adjectives;
a rusting heap of mis-matched metaphors;
a rhyme scheme spray-canned on a pock marked wall.
And that’s not all
that festers here –
a ballad that would put a saint to sleep;
a cinquaine that’s correct, but deadly dull.
The place is full
Yet often when I’m stuck
I wander here
to browse the trash
(it’s happened many a time.)
I pick up some soiled phrase and rub it
on my sleeve
and sometimes – you won’t believe this –
I see a gleam of gold beneath the grime.
the dumping ground –
Buffalo shoulders and thighs like oak trees, head the size of a Halloween pumpkin - candle flame flickering behind his eyes - and teeth like a bandsaw. He spoke no tongue but Yorkshire, spat pity at anyone who lived south of the Potteries. “You have my condolences” he hissed. Shop steward at the hospital he fettled beds and fought the central heating, mended trolleys, door hinges, broken washers, until there was nothing left to fix and so he bought a boat a wireless, and a coastal chart. Led by Radio 4 he reached the North Sea rigs then back again to Scarborough. He sold the boat and went all academic learned Medieval Latin, grew himself a beard, could translate every tombstone in the Minster, shrugged when everybody thought him weird. He was bored again. A weekend stroll would put him straight - forty miles across the North York Moors - and back in time for Monday. Mountain Rescue never found the body, just his boots the laces neatly tied
In The Beginning there was GetGo
And God saw that it was good
and it was
except for a few glitches.
There were no problems
We rolled out The Garden of Eden –
a tough job but we went
at pace and scale –
all authentic, all blue-sky thinking,
and at the end, or rather “ The Beginning”
we were good to go.
God had a helicopter view
of the whole project.
My only regret was the ears –
We out-sourced them –
young angel, bad with deadlines.
In the end it was his Gran
who made the lot by hand.
No. That was not the issue.
It was Adam.
Got out of control, didn’t he ?
Went for the low-hanging fruit…
It wasn’t fair to put the blame on him, though –
It was all baked in at the start.
God was vexed – but still.
It is what it is and not
the end of the world.
and Beelzebub is offering a juicy contract
In the Outer Hades.
They fell out of the clouds like stones, smashing the sunflower fields, splitting, spilling on the hard summer roads. Their lives fell with them – letters, clothing, photographs, sunscreen, lipsticks, bags of sweets, passports to witness who they were and what they had become. They will not rise up, bones whole, flesh healed, brushing petals from their clothes. They will not wander this strange, sunlit land, looking for their children. There will be no kisses no reunions. Nothing more can happen.
When I was four I fell in love
the shape – a double decker cigar
the glossy cherry-and-cream paint job
the trapeze on top to catch
electricity from the wires.
how it could have two fronts and two backs
at the way it crashed and swayed
from side to side
the bow wave of sparks.
with his rack of tickets
and his rude stories
the driver like Ahab,
braced against the roll,
grasping the brass safety handle
like the butt of a harpoon.
the screech of grinding steel on steel
the rumbling electric growl
and climbing down the iron steps
back into the world.
I haven’t been on WordPress for a long time and I’ll tell you why.
To start with, I was ill. Every bone in my body ached and went on aching. And I was tired. I would go to bed at 6.30pm and wake up (after a bad night) at ten o’clock the following morning and …yes… I know what you’re thinking… It wasn’t Covid. I have the test result to prove it. I was like that for eight months, and then I started creeping back into the world.
I started to write again and discovered….that I couldn’t write. My mind was a complete blank. I sat there in front of a pad of paper, with a pen in my hand and I could think of ….nothing..zilch.. zero. After a while I managed to squeeze out a couple of possibilities…. And couldn’t start. I didn’t want to write.
I’ve been writing – poetry- stories- even a film script – since I was ten and now I’m 76. This blankness had never happened to me before. It was quite frightening.
There was something else. When I had a look round the internet I noticed that things had changed – everything was shouty, superficial and, to be honest, deeply boring. Much of the material I came across amounted to two bald men fighting over a comb.
I am feeling better now. I have written half a dozen poems – they are are not good poems but at least they are poems. Maybe I will come back some time in the future… I don’t know.
Thank you for reading
Sometimes my longlost girlfriends come to haunt me.
They steal into my dreams but never stay.
They just drop in to see if I’m still happy.
When I say “Yes” they smile and fade away.
Kitty- cheekbones, legs, moved like a racehorse,
county voice, a smouldering, sensual stare,
is now a granny doing an OU course
with dodgy hips and salt and pepper hair.
Maureen was more serious, more pedantic –
never missed a lecture, skimmed a book.
She married Clive whose voice was transatlantic,
brought up four kids and never learned to cook.
MaryLou, who failed her German Oral
now lives in Dusseldorf with pudgy Heinz.
Meg the singer joined the Vicars Choral
and Sue, who never drank, is pulling points.
I left romantic failure far behind me-
a broken hearted man with ego shrunk.
Refusing to allow lust to define me
I gave up sex, and then became a monk.
I would have got away with it
but for the noise –
claws scratching at the wood
those gentle, coughing sounds
“One moment, sir!”
I knew that I was done for.
” If you could come this way…”
In my skivvies, standing on one leg,
I watched him spring the secret trapdoor-
out the tumbled, all my little darlings,
skittering across the polished floor.
Tiny dinosaurs in Terminal Two.
It’s said they escaped into the drains
and flourished there.
One day they will return, Godzilla like,
crunching jets to junk
between their claws, reeking of jet juice
and a thousand airline meals