Trapped between the inside out, as vulnerable as a child’s nerve
And the outside in, as trustworthy as a spy’s fear.
Love glimmers like an orange sun on a self-destructive world
Where everyone accuses the next man of betraying God.
The gradient of love fades from one hour to another
From darkness within it fades into the darkness without
To the light – without the love, within is wrong;
To the light – within the love, without is hated.
I cannot win, no love of any kind is good;
No love is blessed and loneliness is king
And if I love what I love, I am wrong
And if I do not love what I love, I am right.
Yet despite the fiery curses in which I wither
Love grows for who love grows, great or small, and that is the nature of love.
She wanted the latest gorilla on a flag of blood that engulfed the moon in flame
He decided to be at the centre of the popes wheel of disguises just so that the talk would centre around his draw full of poisonous spiders.
She destroyed the roll of wallpaper that craved to be first on the bus driven by a kangaroo in a white hat that sought nirvana in the January sales.
He couldn’t stop drinking the hydrochloric acid of alien space ships between his sandwiches in which his football team played for tickets to see the next sea of boiling blood that filled his telescope.
She put herself first in the bag of crisps that exploded and scattered eyeless teddy bears amongst the gravestones whose grey hands pulled down the cherry trees before they set like stone in her washing machine.
He liked to shout the loudest when the solar system hit his head as he walked down the High Street leading a horse that blew its nose on the university campus where students sat on the grass with sowing machines that loved the sound of money.
She put on her long cut flypaper knickers filled with toy train sets whose eyes recorded her shopping list for the “Evening Star“ tom hate like a cactus that outgrew a mediaeval castle.
He took his brothers hi-fi system and had it tattooed with all the names of the saints who play in kimonos on his football field whose goals were two portcullis through which his dragons stick their heads and breath out flames of encouragement.
She fought her way to the top of the class to claim the free night out with a film star who appeared to the nun in a dream and asked for the latest sports car to drive up and down the corridors of the houses of parliament that turned into goldfish in plastic bags filled with grunting hyenas who would eat her store card and spit out the bones.
He shut the drawers in her face whenever she went skating through the modern art gallery where money sat on reception looking holes in the moon through which broadband radio played the 10 commandments of the DJ
She ran all the way to the wedding cake on the head of a policeman in the city centre who directed herds of Gnus into the underground station whose eggs grew into giant pigeons made of wood covered in leaves that held magnets that were containers and taken across the doctrine of the flat earth into the hall of the mountain goat.
When he got the agreement he’d always wanted his mouth became a mountain cave where horns scraped the roof and sparks fell on his videos that gave birth to all the girls he wanted for himself but they turned into all the gadgets that he ever wanted and left him feeling angry.
Hanging like a drunken chandelier from a theatre ceiling
Summer slides its hands between your thighs like a sharp omelette.
There’s a camels hump in a jam jar that will not talk to me about anything.
The look of surprise on the face of the arching black cat as it was hung for crimes it did not commit.
Thanks to the discovery of a grain of builders grit in a dark hollow of an inner amplifier Darwin has me put to death.
I follow an attractive idea out through my navel down a long road into a promise where the future conceals a new body.
Upon the sound of human voices I change colour and merge into my surroundings.
A half eaten celery plant spreads its wings and calls out an alarm that bounces heavily around the dungeon
As long as the drums keep playing, I won’t get you out of my mind.
Her unknowable heart
Lit by many candles
Her expectations linked
Like flickering lights from a mountainside.
Her unknowable heart
Where endless illusions live
Her standards stacked like cards
In a game that never ends.
Her unknowable heart
Her intelligent beauty excites us
She watches like a bird of heaven
Higher than the stars.
30 Jan 1997
What can you do about climate change?
Take a handful of air and try and push it back into place
Redirect the sun with mirrors
Rehouse the clouds in another sky
Not even the biggest government can do this
They’re like flies sheltering from the wind
If you see the avalanche coming, you should get out of its way
If you see the tsunami on the horizon you should run to higher ground
Do you expect the government to fly a plane?
Over the affected area and spray it with chemicals?
Can you blow out a forest fire with your breath?
Can you stand before a flooding river and redirect it like a car?
What you have to do is move out of its way
And let it change.
It would be nice to hear what you think about this poem and about, so please feel free to leave a comment.
Over a hundred years ago, there was an orchestra, a standard one for the time, whose music sounded adequately beautiful; an orchestra with some of the greatest unknown musicians in Europe. Work was scarce and underpaid and each one lived a life of poverty, practicing in their hotel rooms and boardinghouses. The members of the orchestra confided in each other their secrets, their secret desires, their secret pasts. If they had nothing else as a group they had this, talking to each other as if in confessional, yet in fear of their conductor, a wealthy, cruel man who ruled with a fierce discipline over their lives.
Nearly all players were exotic, strange, lonely living in a strange city, touring the continent playing in the small venues in great cities. When tours were over they dispersed and went and lived as best they could, sometimes towards the end of their rest period they even become homeless and playing in the streets and bars for whatever they could get or else giving lessons for reasonable fees.
There were many from a poor catholic background. One was Buddhist, several were atheist, (they were Italians, Russians, French, Bavarian and Slavic. They moved to Paris to find fame and fortune but found only slavery. Detached from the general hubbub of normal life they were seen as outsiders, as aliens or as being above the general population, to be condescending to be among them. However, they lived stricken lives, crippled by a harsh moral code, part religious moral high society. Except that they never lived in the higher society, they had little money to take advantage of their service and they had little knowledge of any other life except as work-a-day musicians.
The world was confusing and life was fearful. They played because they were trained from childhood; one of them could hardly read a book. They were from a background of medievalism, of gothic institutions and the world of artistic slavery. As children they were made to practice for six hours a day then they sat by their windows to watch the world go by. This was the life of the musically talented, a life so Spartan that their hearts broke over and over again. They had no other schooling or contact with other children except their own families who saw them as precious protégées who ultimately disappointed because of how little, as parts of an orchestra, they were paid.
If you met one of them and struck up a conversation, you would be alarmed at how backward they were, at how repressed in their feelings they seemed to be and you would wonder why.
Their leader, the first violinist was a man of upright character in a moral straightjacket. Responsible for keeping them pure and innocent, believing that this gained favour with some of their more wealthy listeners and sadly and indeed it did. Little did they know about the individual musician or their names, or their claustrophobic lives.
Sometimes there were affairs between them, affairs that were doomed to failure. Swamped in ignorance and fear, destroyed by poverty, a successful suicide was more normal than a successful romance, for while high society was able to move forward with the times, the orchestra was tied up in the girdle of an almost militaristic honour. Still each one of them had their human side, by accident they would learn from lessons outside of their positions, or they would learn from each other.
At school I was Eleanor Rigby,
A lonely schoolboy in the dark.
Then with some kind of will
I dragged myself from the well
To become the fool on the hill.
I suffered the pain of those people;
I felt the same kind of hurt inside.
Whenever I heard those melodies
I just wanted to run and hide.
For the sixties sent me spinning
With promises the decade never kept.
For free-love was as fast as the bulletproof glass
Of the rich limousines of those stone-day-steps.
No ideology could save me;
No promises could ever be true;
I was father Mackenzie’s ghost
And the alienation of it just grew.
I found ways to hide the feelings inside
With drink and with many a disguise:
But you could know the real man I was
By looking in my unshaded eyes.
Pop music moved and changed me:
It also opened the wound
That lonely children feel, vulnerable and real
Under the tread of a relentless wheel.
I changed, but in vain I was altered,
To sit on that windy hill,
Helpless and hopeless with vertigo
And I carry that sadness still.
I cut myself off from my feelings
I was found by spirits in the night.
I dreamed the non-dream that lives in the heart
That you only imagine in blind sight.
Hope was my quest in years of loneliness
Hope grew from a flicker to a flame
Hope kept alive the good things inside
That the world nearly sent to the grave.
1995 Nov 10th