The direct influence of poets

1

All around me was the sound
Of water going down a hole
Up in the sky was an angel with a key
Can you stop that dreadful noise I said?
He put the key into my mind and twisted it
The sound of water was gone

2.

My emotions are the gravel
With hundreds of horses galloping across it
If I close my inner eyes, I can see them
Their manes are women’s hair

3.

There is a grave that will save you
And there is a grave that will not
The grave that will save you
Is like a glass case in a museum
And people will come to see you
And they will say nice things
In the grave that will not save you
You’ll lie there in the darkness
Wondering when night will come

  1. When I lived in the hills, the contours became like strange human forms.
    I expected them to get to their feet and run after me.
    In some places, there was no streetlights and there my fear grew like spines all over my body.
    In time I realised the contours did not move and that perhaps they were asleep dreaming of the world to come.
    There was one hill that I conquered all alone and I stood on top in a shirt of bells.
    The evening sky was a glass of spilled wine and I experienced the sadness of the unknown conqueror.

5.

Once I dreamed I was a celebrity covered in a coat of anecdotes all speaking at once like talking wood beetles.
I said stop your noise and go back to your places in the skirting board.

6.

Once I saw a grand black limousine in the night. It had driven over a bridge and hurried towards
The palace.
Mum and dad are home said the swans, the ducks and the Canadian geese that lived so well upon the serpentine.

7.

The courier delivered a bucket of tiredness into which I put my head.
It felt like hot pins in water.
In my room, the air shrank to the size of a feral cat that I fought with all day long.
A woman shaped like a gold flying saucer rigged up the ropes for a puppet show.
The dark winter night, not wearing shoes, fell like a giant purple balloon that squashed everything.
The ladybird flew away

8.

In the supermarket, the rodent ice skaters twitched their whiskers.
A house build walked out of the automatic doors made from millions of flying ants.
The security man was replaced by a teenage girl with smiley face in a sou’wester.
The pandemic was represented by a surgical mask that was a trillionaire superbug shield.
Breathy whispers came from a vegetable stall.
Her eyes were like two frozen peas in a sword fight and children were led out into the flute wind and into the hungry canal as the coots looked on.
Suddenly grappling hooks shot out of everyone’s eye that stood on the bridge and anchored them into the paving stones. No one moved as the world licked its paws.
A giant octopus flew overhead squirting eight pesticide cans into the immobile crowd.

9.

A real surrealist looks like a fish on a bicycle.
He opens a can of worms with a sharp gun.
He visits the Ganges every new moon with a garden rake.
And he turns oil into crepe paper with a wave of his hat.
But, according to Freud, this is only possible in the comics or a Harry Potter book.

10.

I went outside into the garden with the cat. We went together to listen to the voice of the garden. It stood there in a black spectral overcoat within this there was a fountain that had no feet. Its head was an octopus under a hood. This is particularly effective in the twilight. A rope was hanging from the roof. It sounded like a dragon had landed there and was roaring in anger. The cat did not like it. It stared upwards with a face like a flat fish and ran back indoors and I quickly followed it.
11.

I was overwhelmed by section X
The judge, in a paratrooper’s helmet, had made the preparations.
It was a nightmare of sexual sludge throwing that she tried to share with her chauffer
Suspended beneath a cloud I was dragged through the arena.
A few hyenas came to watch but the whole thing descended the steps like a bouncing nightmare.


  1. Sparkplugs and other plastic roses like to eat book titles.
    Spanners do well in a teapot.

13.

If you do not try to find out who you are, how will you know who you are?
You will dream that you are Napoleon but when someone else with the same dream comes along you will get annoyed.
It’s best to put on your braces and try and perform in front of others wo you are.
This is the valve of playacting and it is best done when you are a child.
A child who playacts has the best chance of finding out who they it really is.

14.

The new heart wants to go for a ride. It will consider anywhere.
The new heart is a pool within a pool but it has life’s will to expand within it.
I have never seen a travel brochure for the heart that doesn’t involve the mind as well, the two are inseparable.
In times of pandemic, the new heart is also pandemic with desires to travel and to keep travelling.
But how can it be that with heart surgery the new heart forgets its past life.

15.

Now for the case of the lost compass dividers. I can find them clearly in my mind but these ones I cannot use. But the real ones by coincidence are lost.
Did they just walk away? Have they gone to bed? Why are they not still where I put them.
Of all the things you can lose compass dividers are not one of them because they stick into the fabric, they grip the side of crevices in the furnished room. They reflect the torch light from beneath the sofa. They straddle the edges of things like stick insects riding a carrot.
Perhaps my mind has eaten them up! I feared it might happen they have disappeared into my head like 99.9 percent of all the things I have ever seen in the world including the bazaar in Istanbul. Perhaps they are there now, walking down the labyrinthine market passing the coffee pots and the silk carpets looking for the way home. I will become a lighthouse and cast out beams of light to guide them back home and then they might reappear standing on the back of one of the chairs like a polar explorer

16.

A god was watching the whole population yet a girl accused him of watching her.
His eye was so big that you could fit all of the darkness into it.
The girl I suppose was one speck of light that never expanded into a galaxy.
This girl paid the price for her arrogance by being turned into a swan.

17.

A man built a castle to keep all the evil in the world. He had enough materials for the whole structure except for missing one brick.
The town planners came along and seeing that it was missing one brick said that it did not meet with regulations and it was to be dismantled.
As they began to dismantle the castle all the evil in the world was release back into the world.
When one of the town planners met with an unfortunate death, the remaining ones found the missing brick to the castle in his new house. The good people of the village used it as the cornerstone of the new prison and locked the town planners up inside it

18.

The government’s version of democracy is lie waves in a sack.
Votes are paper hearts.
True democracy was born in a bar with the six jolly ploughmen on a Friday night.

19.

I held a conversation on the phone in the kitchen with the volume knob of my ears turned down.
One hour later the same conversation took place 10 meters above and six meters to the side as a reflection in someone’s window.
Later on, I saw a dog outside dragging my conversation out of a bin. It now resembled a joint of meat made of rubber and it made a noise like feedback from an electric violin.

20.

Dreams from a life story are seldom eaten with soup
I still continue to write as the steamroller goes over me

Some voices still make demands on me to sink the titanic
So I long to live in the land of the turtle dove and freedom

21.

Dressed in a rain mac
With a howitzer on my back
As the tornado rips apart my spine
Alone in outer space
Separated from the human race
And losing track of time
But she comes up to me and says
It’s time to go
Sorry for your death
And welcome home

22.

Only one person lives in that skyscraper
Each morning he climbs to the top and prays
Each afternoon a bolt of lightning knocks him
Off of the top and he falls to the ground
Somewhere in the sunset a group
Of bad spirits are throwing the dice and laughing

23.

My thoughts are like a torrent
I must wait a day for the rain to stop
My eyesight receives a projection of the world
In a full colour isometric plan – My heart
I do not reprove it for being crushed by reality

24.

If instead of getting baptized every newborn baby
is given the ingredients of poetry
Then at the nursery, you might be surprised
To hear babies reciting verse and getting drunk
Bravo you would say. Excellent

25.

The marble lady
was also a butterfly
that comes in and out
of the window
The siege machine
set fire to the kings throne
The marble lady
only spoke once
and then become a butterfly
The siege machine
was dragged to the place
where her voice was misidentified
as a fallen leaf that never existed
Later on the museum
closed down and all these items
were put in storage

26.

The famous actor was asked
What are you rebelling against?
His famous reply was
What have you got?

A pen

27.

I looked up at the sky
Very high up in the clouds
Were the branches of a tree
And they come from across the ocean

28.

We walk in avenues of candles
We walk through a guard of honour
There are many side paths that re dug up
And there are many guards with shovels
And there are many dead men along the avenues of candles
And there are many widows under our overcoats
That do not remember us

29.

The excitement is a solid
I can make things with it

It is not exclusive like a fiery meteorite
It is a memory that has returned from the earth

I have crossed out these lines so heavily that I must move on
Or erase the ink in my tears, night is here, sleep now

The rose scar

The rose scar
on her hand

the claw
was returned
to the paw

the blood flow
like a bed of roses
has opened up a door

the elderly mother has moved
to the seaside town
blue of dreams

but the daughter girds her loins
and rises like a seagull in the wind

she has two brothers
who were like werewolves

but they had long ago
left their vocation

but still she would wake up at night
to see claw marks on the wall

she said that her home-town was empty
its lights at night were like silent glowing birds

that there was no fairground anymore
of her childhood memories

it was sad to see her so sad
and at how we all can feel so exiled

A plein-air for a comic strip

The thinker of comic strip poetry
Has left them on his dusty mental mantelpiece

There is too much pain in the sky
Searching for a ball of string

Before he realises it the comics are laughing
And he is in the back of a car being taken to prison

This plain air in his mind
Is waiting for a train to pass through

Then he can go back to his litter tray
And lay with his alphabet

Do they realise that this plain air
Is in a bucket buried in the sand?

Finally, he realises that the pigeon is not coming home
Is he now afraid to create comic strips?

His comic strip thoughts frighten him a little
The tip of the iceberg is connected down below to the ocean

He is like a wooden monkey on a stick
He scrapes the sky with his fingernails

What is he expecting from his newfound plain air of mind
He is spread out along the edge of the farmer’s field

Should he abandon his space capsule?
And swim to the moon?

This is all to do with the neglect in his face
And the way that the carpet disintegrates over time

The welcome mat smells of the dust of time
The astronaut sees a golden being trapped between two worlds

He can no longer delay his new comic strips
A little white mouse calls out to him through time

Instead of real people, he offers you comic characters
Instead of real feelings he gives you mime

Love Falls Silent

Love falls silent
Like an autumn leaf
The two oak trees
Drain the skies
Bruised with light

Purples and ochre’s
Drown the earth
Writhing in agony
The cobwebbed spirit
In the thin broken wine glass
Tasting the autumn wind

Love, inside out
Nothing to say
The dew of the morning
Whitening the grass
The fallen, fading acorns
Form the substance of words

That cries out, that cry out
Against the doors of death
Where autumn leaves sweep through
Dragging the pain in the heart
Into the dark hall of night

A loser’s love vanishes now
An unspoken word perishes
A word fought for endlessly
The glowing embers of winter fires
The ashes of the night
Sleeping by the window
The splatter of rain unheard
The howl of the wind
Cold against the indifferent skin

Wake up, wake up, its morning
Go down into the cold rooms
Draw the curtains
Still, the stars shine out there
Where the old shed decays
Unable to endure any more

A Company of starlings appear
Manoeuvring across the lawn
Pecking at the little things, the worms
Take them – take them all
As a few yolk-yellow flowers
Lie broken on the borders

1999

Armistice Day poems

Now you talk about
A special relationship
Now you talk about
A trade deal

The little god
Talks to the big god
Across their offices
Wit transatlantic zeal

Don’t trade me off
Like I’m a statistic

Well I see the poor
On both sides of the pond
Are you gods
Can you wave your magic wands?

You do the pushing
And someone else pushes back

That’s what it amounts to
On a human level

And what does it lead to
Another level of hell

2

My heart
The dark Teutonic forest
When it’s dark
The wild shadows
Take over
In dreams

While the quiet little creatures
Huddle under fallen leaves
Waiting for the sun
To brush away the tree tops
And scoop them up
With a friendly smile

It must be in the cosmology these days
This darkness
That lasts like an arctic winter
And saying that it takes months
To remove the boulder
From the Troll’s tomb
This could be the perfect
Epoch for it

3

It is one of those days
That everyone seems cut off from each other

As if a great being
Was re-cutting the cloth
Wiping the chalkboard

A complaint arises
Its universal
Who will stop the rain

One lady
Who considers herself a gossip
Stops gossiping as if
She were locked in a cell
Another
A man
A very garrulous man
Finds himself lost
As if blindfolded

Graffiti appears
Upon every wall in the city
Who will stop the rain

It does no good to be friendly
It does no good to be the partygoer
You will feel like the mice
Chased by a hatchet

The universe itself
Is being wielded like a discus
By an angry hand
And we can all feel it

And we spend a moment or two
Staring at the sky and wondering
Who can stop the rain

4

The shadow of foreboding
Falls first
Then there’s complete darkness
As the leash is detached
And the two dogs start fighting

Even though the sun is shining
The commands are dark
There’s no thought of life
Love is put away with the excuse
They must protect their homes
And then they start
To destroy them

The light is not sunlight
It’s what was the human spirit
In times of calamity
It forgets to keep the light shining

The movement

The movement
Of little men
In a presidential election
Across the great surface of the earth

Is out of proportion
To the Tsunami of their noise
That travels around the globe

As ants go about their work
Does it not give them a collective headache

And no one would want
To upset the ants
Who are a great army

As for the locusts
Who fly against the direction of the noise
Might not they follow it all the way
And descend
In their millions
Upon the noisemakers

Sounds, as thick as weather

Sounds, as thick as weather
As dense as pigments

Green thunder
Blue lightning
Grey wind
Red heat
Black storm-clouds

As soon as the phone rings
I am struck by blue lightning
As soon as the door is knocked upon
I am engulfed in black storm-clouds

A catfight
Hits me with a grey hurricane wind
A car-horn outside
Warms me up with red heat

The wrong program on TV
Pummels my head with green thunder

Ringo

Why’d you make Ringo
Unhappy
Why’d you make Ringo
Sad

Why’d you leave him
For another
Why’d you treat him
So bad

Without him dear
Where would you be?
Without him
You’d be lost at sea

Ringo played his cards
And he came up trumps
Ringo did housekeeping
When you were
In the dumps

Without him dear
You’d still be wearing pumps
Without him
Where would you be?

Flying in a plane
Without wings
Flying like a bird
Across the sea

Nobody again

I found a skull on my mother’s old plank wood table
What year was this?
It was 1959

The skull that I saw through my aviators goggles was white
An old blues song emanated from the cranium, a little muffled
It was Mae West in a long red ballroom dress
She was dancing with a man in an old French suit and bow tie
It was Max Jacob the poet

As for the crystal ball I was holding, I quickly swallow it

I heard seagulls in chorus above me
Halleluiah they sang

Mr. Aztec came riding by on a ragamuffin donkey selling cheap watches

“Who are you today?” asked one of the seagulls
I am Balaam on his way to the cathedral in Rome
“Stop that man,” said one of the Keystone cops
“Yesterday he was Napoleon”

Max on the other hand started handing out prose poems from beyond the grave
Here is an imitation of one on cheap paper.
When you press the button it vanishes just like in real life

I moved about as a bundle of fur
Her long white hands reached out and grabbed me
Will this end here I asked the axe
It disappeared down the road in a blue taxi

Here is the blues, the whole blues
And nothing but the blues said Mae shooing away the seagulls

Then she said that she was really Luciano Pavarotti and began to sing Nesam Dorma
Her beard slipped down her face to reveal a Bob Ross painting of the Canadian Rockies
Then the whole world began to join in on a fiddle tune
And I felt like I was a nobody again

Time moves on like a lawn mower
Only the established survive

The red rubber ball

The red rubber ball came bouncing down the stairs
I picked it up which you’re not supposed to do
I spoke and said to me
There’s no love in my world

The little girl in a red dress came skipping into view
I asked for her name which you’re not supposed to do
She spoke and said to me
There’s no love in my world

The carrion crow landed on the windowsill
I asked it why it came here which you’re not supposed to do
It spoke and said to me
There’s no love in my world