To Ali and Lien

Jug of orange juice
Paintbrushes – immediate things
Saturday morning

Tea towel
Next-door neighbours
Politics

Who needs manners?
Who needs these ceremonies?
Wants doors and manners
People making their grand entrances
Just feel free Lien
Your behaviour is just fine

Rembrandt and Van Gogh
Millet and Cezanne
Took a manner
Put a frame around it
Suzanne, The bathers, Sunflowers
The field workers
Auvers, Riemy, St Etienne
And Cezanne’s mountain

Clogs of cheese
Potato dust
Wellies, scarves and shawls
Vermeer over by the window

Who wants a crazy love?
I want to be calm like a painting
I want to be quiet
For the way you affect me
Is calm and quiet
Crazy love
And a jug of orange juice

The painting on the wall
Rembrandts’ daughter
Waterfall

Towel over the wardrobe door
Neighbours resting around a map of the world
Continents of furniture
Lots of peace
Slowly leaving the minds
It’s morning you see
Peace leaves the mind
Around dinnertime

The map of the world
Soon ceases to be a picture
With neighbours resting around it
It becomes a midday game
Peace of mind now
Crazy love after
I have trust in neighbours
I have love for them
I feel secure
Alone with neighbours
Calm or cool
Not a word seems wrong this morning
Leisure and a map of the world

Rainwater in my baseball shoes
Wind and Sunlight in the trees
Sparrows singing
And a towel over the wardrobe door

The painting on the wall
Rembrandts’ daughter
Waterfall

1977

EINSTEINS BRAIN

What good is Einstein’s brain without Einstein?
The thoughts are dead – he’s gone to his grave

Einstein’s brain
Kept by Dr Jekell in formaldehyde
Tested for his intelligence by Dr Frankenstein

His genes preserved in a glass case
For the benefit of a master race.

As if his brain will sprout with his theories of space and time
As if a tree of knowledge will grow up from his brain watered by formaldehyde

Oh, Einstein, they’ve placed your brain like a house plant on a windowsill

THE FULL MOON EFFECT

Did the full moon flow
Like a silver tide in your anima?
Did the shadow of your ego
Dance the wolf dance?
As the scent of blood,
The want of love
In the hypothalamus of your dreams
Lead you to the hilltop of your vocation?

Did the civilisation of your thoughts
Build aluminium bridges to the stars?
Across the river of the full moon
That filled your eyes like canyon?
Was the dullness of your heart?
Inspired by the love drug of the lunar night?
That orbited through our spirit
Enraging your fascination with your dark soul?

Does the framework of your social conditioning
Protect you against the might of desire, of a heavenly pulling power?

I warned you of the predictions reported that day
I told you about the scientific theories of the night
And I wanted to be there to comfort you
When the full moon effect took hold with its light

Stockholm

Stock, stock, stock, stock, Stockholm
The trolls are lost and drowned
Please don’t break, let’s isolate
The dolphin from the clown

It happened in the summer
When the snowmen had retired
She came to talk of firebirds
And of how she was inspired

It was in those days when Jesus saves
And the preacher’s warm embrace
Before the door of freedom law
Had melted din disgrace

We talked on the balcony
As the ships sailed by
Her love of God and spare the rod
Really made me cry

I thought of the time I’d wasted
Running from the past
She said you’d better laugh for once
And let the trouble pass

I walked back on the railway track
I saw mountains capped with snow
I wondered why my alibi
Was laughing like a crow

If I continue with this life
I’ll never see again
The birds that are migrating
Or become her loyal swain

The Ukelele Player

Heather McCelland of the Sugar Sisters
The Ukulele Player

This is from a photo of Heather McCelland playing her Ukulele at her songwriting class at the Mary Ward Centre. The title refers to a song I wrote in her evening class. The oil painting is 95 x 125 centimetres.  There are other posts that also refer to the song and the beginning of the painting somewhere, a search the categories will probably reveal them, thankyou.

A Criticism of the Suit

The wearing of a suit usually means you are not allowed to express yourself. You are part of a group managed by a higher authority. You are given your orders and expected to follow them. What do I mean by self-expression? I think it means being able to discuss all things, argue all things and question all things that have put you into a suit. The drawbacks of wearing a suit are that those who require it have put themselves above you and are able to control you. The school uniform means that all children are there to obey the rules, so to the office suit, the military uniform etc. If you discover something new, of benefit to others or a mistake in the thinking of those over you will you be listened to? Will they engage with you in smoothing out and trying to understand your insight your question, your point of view? Sometimes it can seem that only if you wear a suit will you be listened to, so it seems to be the opposite of the uniform thinking, and yet this will isolate outsiders, even to the point of causing harm.
The history of the suit – it seems to have begun with Victorian fashion with a mind to make people fit in with a certain class way of thinking. If you wanted to mix with a certain kind of people you have to dress like them. The Sunday best of the poor people who went to church was more of a way of fitting in than the worship of God. There was a time with ancient Greeks for instance when fashion was limited to how you folded your gown around you, with new folding techniques sweeping across society, while modern clothing is very varied and self-expressive so why are authorities still mildly afraid or critical of people who do now dress like them? Presenters on TV in their suits all the time, come what may. Still, the Sunday best suit prevails in religious communities. Still the uniform, the toe the line and be in order. It makes things easy for those who want to be in command, good or bad, to turn their staff, pupils, etc. into a papier-mache society.
If a person cannot express themselves to those in charge of them what do you end up with? Everything goes flat and a kind of lifelessness enters our existence and w cannot live our lives with any meaning except that which is imposed upon us.

In The Department Of Social Security

In the department of Social Security
With my form for the funeral fund
Filled in using the pen and ink of death

In this department, the air is made of stale crystals
They fit each applicant like a suit of misfortune

The trunk road of alcoholism ends here
The graffiti of an angry society roughens up its theatre

The last stop on the way to the morgue
The eyes of Death are present here

The last line of help before the cruelties of winter take you
Before you become a social outcast living in the street

A department scourged to a minimum parsity
By the bones of the depressed and the lonely

A huddled woman sits here submerged in a sea of worry
An alcoholic pisses against the wall outside

The receptionists are barricaded in for their own safety
Behind the walls with the glass windows

We all hate to set foot in here
This government department border crossing for unconverted pagans

It’s here you must convert or end up alone
Fighting against depression and the elements of your wrecked psyche

This is a shrine to the sins of Adam and Eve
Here the sacred snakes can be heard hissing

There is not the enigma of comforting scripture
There are only lifeboats of paper money under the decaying flesh

When the days begin to seem like years
And the years turn into the days of eternity

Can’t this be left behind?
Like a station left behind on a journey

The Unmarried Couple

pastel
Carolyn Merrion who after the death of her husband became homeless

The unmarried couple
Stayed together for many a green year
And then in their old age
One has died

And is to be cremated
Where the birds sing, on the bark of trees
Like the song on hard wrinkled faces
As ageing rages

As birdsong, like the air in our breath
Fills our hearts and dies in us
And the air we breathe becomes the sky
Remembering

The unmarried couple
That lived together out of love
Not out of paper or out of God
Forsaking

All of societies ways for personal commitment
For true love is true, this will endure
And thus your future endures on
And remembers the song

That in the skies is remembered
Where the breath of true love lingers
Long after all of us were gone

And if you do not believe in God
What god do you not believe in?
The God who created life or the god
Who causes death?

If you believe in the God of Love
And if you hate the god of death
You are in good company for God too
Hates death

And if you tolerate death
Because you cannot live your life
For as long as your love endures in you
Then trust in God

On Leaving the Chinese Festival

Chinese social club

As I left the Chinese Arts Festival that night
The Dragons followed my soul in flight
Back through the years to old Chinatown that
Whispered Chinese promises with hardly a sound

As I heard under the quiet Pennyfields stars
As Chinamen from the ocean who sailed so far
From old Camay and the revolution and wars
They came in and went through Chinatowns secret doors

I saw the Shanghai men, ashore from sailing ships
Seeking Old Friends in Chinese Restaurants whose lips
And hands were hard and calloused from their months at sea
Working as cheap labour in the ship’s laundry

The groups of Chinese shopkeepers discussing sales
Whose English wives were at the Chandlers sowing sails
While the more disreputable of these Chinese men
Were living in a secret dark opium den

The romance of the Orient enchanted the young
Who flocked to play the Puk-a-Poo game with Chang Chung
While music hall actresses looking for distraction
Came to old Chinatown to sample the action

Then the Chinese outgrew the busy docklands town
And when the sailing ships no longer came around
then they moved inland and their dragons moved as well
Away from the sea and the sound of the ships bell

1999