The Lombardy Poplars

I’m reading about how this wet April month
Has inspired the bluebell to burst out in effusion.
I think about the woods on Winter Hill
And the view across the winding river.

This depression deepens like a newly dug mineshaft
How deep are they dug into the earth?
Before the crop of darkness overwhelms
And the coal board closes it down.

Now you must be making a Sunday dinner
For friends from far and wide to descend on
While it pours with rain on Richmond Hill
And Canary Wharf Tower hides in the clouds.

If I had the eye of a simple pigeon
Could I focus on the coming sunset?
Could I flap two wings and fly away?
With nothing in my heart but tranquility.

There is Carolyn with those Lombardy Poplars
Her little blue eyes looking you straight in the face
Standing by the seven stumps left by developers
Who do they think they are that they buy and uproot?

I am down amongst their agonised roots
Those roots are like a mother to me
A mother who can no longer smell nice
A mother who will grow no taller.

The sky draws me up and out
The last of my spirit dances there
Above the seven stumps of the Lombardy Poplars
That are left for dead in Viaduct Street.

While Carolyn walks to the Reference Library
And in her Pennsylvanian accent asks for her books
Alone she asks for council records
As her eyes dig down into the foundations of government.

And Sean standing at his very own doorstep
Where a battle had raged for years
Over the names on his tenancy agreement
Finally won the right to stand there.

And Sean on his very own doorstep
How he kept the front door wide open that day
As if phantoms were there as his doorman
Looking down on the graveyard outside.

With his floor strewn with photocopies
That he highlighted in yellow ink
How serious he has become about their policies
That nearly made him homeless.

Then there’s Nick in his new flat
He’s got so many friends in to see him
Talking about music and making his films
And about his brother who breaks things.

While I walked across Weavers Fields
Alone with just a crumb of truth in me
How I felt that I was inside an ocean
Or with an ocean on the inside of me.

Bethnal Green 2000

I can smell my mother’s perfume

I can smell my mother’s perfume
It’s a memory from long ago
Tears try to well up inside me
But the pain develops too slow.

A memory mixed with anger
For her hard life like a tomb.
I can remember her in her best dress
And I can smell my mothers perfume.

A working class woman from Marlow
Crippled by the poverty trap
Crippled by a lack of affection
By the bad luck that fell on her lap.

She died wanting to know who loved her
It was the last words I heard her say
Her words were like the smell of her perfume
That I remember down to this day.

I can remember my mother’s perfume
A two-shilling bottle of scent
That I brought for her on her birthday
With the pocket money I spent.

When I was only an eight-year-old
She kept it as a special keepsake.
Now I have that little bottle of scent
Only half used up to this date.

I remember it in her cabinet
By the wall of the old spare room
And I’m taken back to my childhood
By the memory of my mothers perfume.

perfume
my mothers perfume bottle

A reprimand from the absent guest at the A.G.M

You invited yourself along and all that you do came too. Carolyn’s shrub, wet with pain, you passed by as if you wore the night like a fairy tale. Now what have you done with the oyster of your mouth? Counting the steps of my vertebrae up to the moon that rattles in my brain amongst the deadwood of words; A white lie in the dream of corridors echoed through the old building like a rampant albino nettle. The piano played like a skeleton in the hunger of my heart; the music was a dark closeted room of loneliness; Despairing in the maze of rooms in my identity of ice and fire. A spoil of war put at your feet by the red ghost of love.

How often unfairness drags me through prison walls laughing
How often has unfairness blunted my own words in my own heart?

Tired alone and defeated by the stress of cats mewing in my brain
I left you to the spoils of war fashioned out of the ivories of my bones.

Now you have formed a mystery with me
Your inbred arrogance slips through the closed door like bath water.

I can hear the voices of the roses inside
But all I’m given are the pledges of distant voices.

My imagination is plastic and it is clay
It is formed into whatever you want it to from.

If I were a man made of glass windows
The world would see the fool inside in his red fur coat.

But it seemed like a normal day to Jehovah
And I seemed like a grain of sand in a fire.

 

2000

Life surrounds you, hems you in

Life surrounds you and hems you in
People like antibodies congeal on you
Drag you down to the ground
Pin you to the floor so you cannot travel

The place where you grew is far away
Those you grew up with are trapped
By life congealing around them

A force for life or a force for death
Loved ones are separated from you
the power of strangers crowds around them

And each man, woman and child
Is helpless in the sea of humanity
Is sown into the fabric of life
Absorbed into the quicksand of society

Freedom is a level 10 in the heart
So many of us barely reach a level 2
We sit into the tapestry of life around us
Like birds without homes flying forever

2002

In the Hobbits Room Tue Night March 22nd

Chris has got it taped; he fills the emptiness with selfish silence.
Chris, what do you keep to yourself? Sitting there like a budding Jean Paul Sartre.
The circle of smoky coincidence and a candlelit heaven in a wine bottle?
Maps on the wall obsess the intellect.
Every freedom you give means there‘s one you hide in.
I sit and I listen, I recall. I am impracticable, but you cope with me perfectly.
Leaving me alone, I look inwards, and then I become I.
I seek to remember when I have nothing to remember of nothing that grew out of importance.
I’m talking of love. I’m thinking of my private life.
I’m learning that a private life is and is not an exclusive thing.
Sometimes I pin mine on the wall like scientific studies of the behavior of white mice.
My experiments are made while I am in a deep sleep.
The intellect cannot free me from the curiosity of the unconscious
It cannot by-pass the lines that grow as I age.
Dreams shake the intellect.
Always an individual finds he does and he does not have what he needs.

Forgive this writing, as you sat there I found I needed someone to talk to.
Only to find myself with this observation – that you will frown at and ignore.
That talk is different from conversation, this writing is mere talk.
They’re wrong about conversation, non of it is intellect.
Intellect belongs to our silences and to us.
Conversation, music and arguments are the confusions we need.
Peace is the solitude of intellect and is easy to live with, but very vulnerable.
I talk of this because -you seem as vulnerable as the next man
And he is armed to the teeth with conversation, music, and argument.

1977 (from Kibbutz)

I was a volunteeer in Kibbutz Ziquim colony. I shared a hut with Chris from Manchester area. He didn’t talk much, I felt at times that it must be because he didn’t like me but I tried to take it all in my stride.

Song: My Love Walls

My love walls are flesh
My love walls are fire
My love walls are tall trees
Growing higher and higher
My love walls are phantoms
My love walls are veins
My love walls are visions
My love walls are brains

Oh – My Love Walls
Oh – My Love Walls

My love walls are emotions
My love walls are looks
My love walls are DNAs
Hanging upon hooks
My love walls tall
My love walls vapours
My love walls are dynamite
My love wall are nature

Oh – My Love Walls
Oh – My Love Walls

My love walls are shivering
My love walls are wars
My love walls are icebergs
And they have no doors
My love walls are gristle
My love walls are bones
My love walls encompass you
They swallow you alone

Oh – My Love Walls
Oh – My Love Walls

My love walls are mouths and ears
My love walls are eyes
My love walls are orders
Talking custard lies
My love walls are melting
They’re always falling down
My love walls are dying
Turning round and round

Oh – My Love Walls
Oh – My Love Walls

My love walls are insects legs
They are also ugly things
My love walls also are reflections
That fly on fearless wings
My love walls are tired
My love walls are bruised
My love walls are crying
Because they’ve been abused

Oh – My Love Walls
Oh – My Love Walls

my love walls

please click to see PDF of melody and chords

 

Song: Picassos old man painted pigeons

It’s another winter’s day and I’m sitting here alone
The night descends, the air gets cold and I’m a long, long way from home
The super heroes of my youth could be passing in the street
I hear the occasional trampling of their feet

It’s a day like any other
That brings you down to the ground
And makes you think of the ordinary things
Going round and round

And Picasso’s old man painted pigeons
He didn’t paint nothing more
He just liked to paint pigeons
That gathered around his door

There’s a stillness in the room I’m in and a quietly ticking clock
A few children’s voices playing run around the block
The roar of underground trains I can hear beneath my feet
A person rattling a paper bag as I write upon this sheet

And Picasso’s old man painted pigeons
He didn’t paint nothing more
Piccasso’s old man painted pigeons
That fluttered around his door

And I’ve got that waiting feeling like a statue in a square
That people all are passing by as if I wasn’t there
But in my world I’m not made of stone, I’m not waiting for anyone
I’m thinking about the everyday things that everyday people get done

And Picasso’s old man painted pigeons
He must have counted everyone
And Picasso’s old man loved his pigeons
And he watched them fly in the sun

Pigeons they are everywhere
Some are here, some are there
You can love them if you try
You can love them if you care

And Picasso’s old man painted pigeons
Maybe they’re not so well known to you
But Picasso’s old man painted pigeons
That’s all he really wanted to do

Spitalfields Music Festival 1996

TO CATHY, STUDENT OF THE CLARINET.

You have the same voice now
As when you were a girl
You are the same person now
As when you were a girl
Your new found beauty of form and face
Makes you want to search for love
With the urgency of a swelling ocean
As if that vast emptiness
Is the emptiness your heart has found

You see a reflection in the calm sea
You dance sweetly in high heels
Across the glassy waters surface
Joyful in your new maturity
Innocent as gentle snowflakes
Melting in the warm sea
Where armies of fish swim
To the lands of dreams
To war with the surging rivers

Then you fall in love
You grasp at shadows
That weave and fly
You dart like a sea bird
To capture those fish
But who is he
What does he think?
As he swims with armies
To the land of dreams
With young girls following

12 June

TO HONEY THE GUIDEDOG

LOCKED OUT OF HAWKSMOORS CHURCH

The evening was a lantern
Where a weak light let a thousand
Shadows dance, a bodiless dance
To the harpsichords silver tone.

Under the churches portico I sat
Caring for a blindman’s guide dog
Who’d gone through the door
Into the concert inside.

The setting was theatrical
Thistle light burnt through the darkness
The essence of music falling
Into the empty sanctuary.

The churches disrepair
As a million hungry memories
Of Dickens destitute and poor
Filled mahogany gallery

Thirsting for a spiritual drink
The strong smelling breath
Of fallen unrepentant men
Filled the soup rooms in the crypt

Turning their backs upon the scores
Of recital and of cantata
While the blind man’s guide dog whimpered
Waiting for his masters return

The guide-dogs loyal love
Hotter then Hawksmoor’s architecture
More dependable then the human spirit
That let these walls crumble

12 June

YELLOW UNDERWING

What if the moth
Never sees the moon?
It’s not your time
Born in the month of June.
Yellow Underwing
Dead upon the pavement
The moon is due soon
In the summer night sky.
Will it send you spiralling?
Soaked in silver light
Tongue curled like a dragons
Eyes like satellite eyes.
Yellow Underwing
To you the blackbirds sing.
Where did your spirit go?
Where did your spirit drift?
To leave those Yellow Underwings
To startle the street,
Made of tissue paper
Made of talcum powder.

Children much like you
Have been casualties too
Fallen under the scythe
Of rush-hour blindness.
Yellow Underwing
Where does your spirit drift?
Let me open my palm
Let me catch it upon my palm
Let me take it back home
Let it flutter there
Around the light-bulb
With wings all aquiver
Made of coloured silks
Dusted with scented talcum powder
A lover in the night
Sending signals to the moon
Restless for some tender care
Restless for delight.

Yellow Underwing
Pretty Underwing
To you the berry filled blackbird
Sings a song in passing
That saw you born;
That saw you fall
Clumsy from your sleep
Under the scythe
Of rush-hour blindness;
Smaller then a tiny flower
Your spirit circled and went away
To leave your painted body
To fade from natures gallery;
And does your tiny spirit
Fade away like a flower?
Or like a seed is it saved?
To sleep beneath the earth
Yellow Underwing
To sleep beneath the earth.

12/6/96

Evening light was fading

Evening light was fading
Violins played endlessly
Tension grew continuously
Isolation grew a lucid dream

Evening faded, violins played
Tension grew in fading light
In elongated stretched chords
Church vibrated continuously

Violins threw gladiatorial nets
A stampede of tension, rapid of sound
Loneliness blossomed like Bittersweet
Hung in the isles like repentant dead

Violins played continuously
Evening light faded endlessly
Tension grew, a public execution
The lucid dream engulfed the church

Muscles vibrated like steel strings
Flesh quivered like sound boxes
Air was strewn with molecular graffiti
Pins of sound like arrows of battle

Violins played endlessly
Tension grew continuously
Breathless out of control
Then they ended suddenly

June

Song: Australia House

Lyrics to Australia House:

Chorus:

I went down to Australia House
Fot to find a friend of mine
It’s so strange there is no doubt
She’s been gone a long, long time.

Verses 1 – 3

I never thought you’d leave me
I never thought you’d go
You vanished like a dream
You vanished like the snow

I took a trip down under
Flying through the sky
Noone seemed to know you
No matter how I tried

I’ve seen such bitter hatred
For reasons unexplained
I wish that you were with me
To help me through this pain

Australia House

A song about how a loved one can seem to dissappear from your life without any warning. About a dream where I went searching down-under.

%d bloggers like this: