Fish fingers

My mother worked on an airfield
At the end of world-war two
He watched the plane land in flame
Out of the bright, bright blue

I that good enough for you?
Hat more can I do?
Fly the plane that crashed
Burn to death at last?

The history of the war
I written in memories
That melt like bread and dripping
In the houses of the poor

I’m wondering about you
And I don’t know what to
There’ something sad about you
And there’s nothing I can do

Handle bars and handle holds
They put them everywhere
But I cannot find a handle hold on you

You’ve been born a long time
Please come from behind ?
But with a hook inside your egg
How can you escape from
What’s inside your head

You ran as fast as lightning
Like a bullet from a gun
And landed in the system
Without?

Your peeling skin is crying
Wanting to tell the truth
I think your heart is peeling
You’ve gone back to the doll’s house?

It’s only by remote control
That I found the strength
It’s only by coincidence
I got on your wavelength

It’s like to see a flower die
Please tell me why, tell me why?

You’ve got to respond
You’ve got to respond
Don’t hide in your self-pity
And respond
It’s the common strength of lovers
To respond

People, food
Who can trust them?
Packaged in cardboard

People in cheap packaging
Everywhere
Food that has no soul

In cardboard boxes
People and food
Manufactured mouthfuls

People are fish fingers
In boxes
Dusted with bread crumbs

There’s a great factory
On the earth
Manufacturing people

Bland white fish fingers
Mass production
Society is a factory

I am exhausted
I am cut out from a fish
A precise white coffin

I am exhausted
I am dead
I am a fish finger

Little button eyes
Pulled out
Little fish mouth
Removed

No tail, no fins
No nothing

I am exhausted
I am a white fish finger
In a freezer

It is the church
Of the middle class

With car tyres
Hung on the walls

The stained glass windows
Depict colourful advertisements

The priest
Delivers rich home cooking

In their minds
They want to serve

A country
That isn’t good enough

Where is God they say
He is editing a newspaper

They’re given free polish
For their souls

Apply this
To your appendix

Death
Is a life insurance contract

Life is
A renewable trauma

Sometimes I am in motion
Like a rock
Rolling down a mountain

The crash produces stars

My soul
As thin as cellophane
Comes close
To being recycled

I pick the shark teeth
Out of my ghost

I’m a rolling slag heap
Of tears and rocks

I am asleep in a storm
With a heart under six feet of snow

Lockdown
Is a new photo
Of humankind

An anatomy
For a student coroner

The living
Go dancing
In the abandoned house
Like sprats

In a lockdown
Photograph album
You know nobody
There are no faces

True distances
Appear as a pathway
For sleepwalkers

The common place
Is moving into
A new darkness

I have been wrong
Wrong with prophesy
Wrong ith words

Rip me open
And stuff me full of lightning

I have been wrong
Wrong on the phone
Wrong on the recording

Burn my body
Disinfect my soul

I have been wrong
Truth tells me so
I am wrong to be me
There is no room at the inn
For happiness

The world moves in a circle
On broken teeth

Who is alive?
Who is dead?

Who’s shop is empty
Who’s bed has not been slept in?

There are advantages to take
Shoes to fill

Sweep away the tears
Of your neighbours

And walk on the shoulders
Of ghosts

I got my garage hook
But I do not have a garage

There is a girl I love
But I do not have a marriage

You make me hard
You make me cold
You make me hard
You make me bold

And I’ll never be the person I once was

I had a friend
In a music box

With the sunken eyes
Of an Italian criminal
In a silent movie

When they pulled down the statues

When they pulled down the statues
Of the slave traders

Did they pull down the house
Of the slave traders?

When the statues hit the ground with a thud
Did the house of the slave trader’s fall?

Are pre-judgements a dead end
When cases at law are a long train?

People become slaves to their debts
To pay for their mortgages and to pay for their rents

So slavery exists in many ways
And most of all it exists as sin

Did they try to bring down a statue of sin?
But sin is not a statue that they can bring down
The fallen statue is left on the ground
But they all walk away with debts to pay

The gunman in the mind

Every argument
Every hate
Is a new link to the chain
That we make

We sit in fear
Amongst the rocks

Our strong backs crushed
By nightmares

Every stolen trinket
In our Magpie like beaks

Every nest of stolen feelings

Every pearl of wisdom
That we smash to smithereens

Is a new link to the chain
That we make for ourselves

I have one forming now
In my stressed and tight stomach
I can feel it curling into shape
I can hear it click into place

How does it feel to be
out in the firing range of life
do you cut down the trees
to make the target easier?

do you aim your gun at the cardboard cut-out?
how do you feel when they start to bleed from their wounds?

there’s a gunman in the mind
ready to kill
who sees his neighbours as little game birds

and every one that gets shot
is another link in the chain
that we build for ourselves

In answer to Hettie’s question about Birchfield House, why?

And the little garden was in contrast to the L shaped block of flats that was built in the 1900’s to cram as many of the local poor of poverty stricken Limehouse during the slum clearance into the small cramped rooms as possible.
But at least I could look out of the window to see a really nice garden planted about 25 years ago of fragrant shrubbery and tall bamboo.
But I woke up early this week to see it all dug up by a crew of road diggers.
And it was nice to look out of the kitchen window to see a Wren or a Robin or some other little bird attracted to the exotic plants which probably gave them a stopping off point on their journey across the surrounding busy roads
That are used by 100s of trucks every day from the channel ports with all the awful exhaust smoke and pollution therefrom.

Where I live on the ground floor with a squeezed in feeling with black mould on the bathroom wall and a damp musty smell in another room and ever since I moved in here 30 years ago I’ve had worsening respiratory problems that are probably going to shorten my life and walls so thin I can hear people talking in their sleep and you have to ask why???
Thank you for the question that no one else has ever asked before and that it’s been asked by someone who lives 1000s of miles away in Chicago and is a credit to you and a shame on this place.
Which was part of a co-operative until so upwardly mobile people started buying their flats from the council and turning them into even smaller units for students to live in so that they could make as much money as they can – out of the co-operative.
And I want you to know that you’re one of my favourite bloggers because you have not been afraid to ask difficult questions.
So I woke up one morning to find that the most beautiful thing about Birchfield House Co-operative has been ripped away.
And what is a co-operative. Is it where we are supposed to work together, shoulder to shoulder with a communist spirit? defending ourselves from the outside heading towards a bright new co-operative future. but self-interest has led to a corrupted co-operative and a pointless co-operative.
The whole concept has become a place of self-interest and corrupted ideals.
I’m good at writing things down and I can read aloud what I write down but when I go to any kind of meeting I tend to start thinking too much and when you think too much when you’re in a co-operative meeting dominated by selfish people don’t expect anyone to ask you what you’re thinking.
There’s an attitude these days that if there’s something you don’t like you can fix it regardless of the consequences and the government will support you.
The garden: I remember about ten years ago when everything was in bloom, lush and green and scented. Then it seemed to get a council gardener group who like to cut shapes out of the shrubs regardless of the blossom coming into bloom so that they stopped them coming into bloom and then obscene bare areas appeared beneath the shrubbery that was once covered by green leaves. And now this, want to resurface the car park area, – true or false; cut everything down and dig everything up and for what. More car parking space, more pollution in a heavily polluted area.
There are 24 flats in this block and nearly all of them have a car and some of them have two cars and the courtyard is too small for all of them.

The Virus

The grey light
Of January
Ruffle its feathers
And follows me
Like a virus

I run a little
I hurry along
I touch nothing
For I am not strong
Like the virus

I see the pigeons
Flocking
Flying in circle games
Around the sky
From roof to roof
They fly
Like the virus

Like a cloud
That darts about
From mouth to mouth
And fills the lungs
With stone
And isolates
And cuts off
And makes you its own

So that I shut down
The irrigation gate
To my soul
And I dam up
The pool
So that I cannot
Drink at all
Any virus

The breath of people
Like smoke from a cannon
That I avoid
As much as possible
Walking around
And around and around
Their deadly ammo

So I look
Slightly ahead
To the finishing post
Of the race
Through the war
And I join in the cry
Do not ignore
The virus

Oh it’s funny
Isn’t it
How we
Kill each other
With the virus

Bloxwich Cross of Sacrifice

The Bloxwich Cross
of sacrifice
stands by
Elmer Green

The children pass by
Do not wonder why
Or how long
It has been

And there are no names
Only a number
Of 300 men who died
Who lost their lives
For their country
Missing

And who are their wives
Their children
And if they arrive
To search
It’s all guessing
Who was lost
Where
On the battlefield
Where only a few bones
Were found

Who were they
The 300 men
Of Bloxwich
Who answered the call
In the first world war
Who did not realise
What they would be
Getting into

And all that remains
All that they have for a grave
Is this cross of sacrifice
In Bloxwich
Not far
From the maternity ward
Where I was born

Mask Shadow

Would you
Like to call
Mask Shadow?
Asked a soldier

Someone
Had been standing
On your doorstep,
I wonder
Who it was?

For every bomb
Dropped on the mountain
There was a journalist,
Now they are all gone.

May all the leaders
Be buried
In one grave
-Where they can
Fight on
Alone.

The leader
Wears a hairnet
Of internment camps
So he can hear
The screams
Of his prisoners.

Lonely
Old ladies
Are all
That are left.

Beauty on the block

Dead men
Wander about in here
Deadmen
Wander down
The corridors
Stamping on the floors
Their movements
Like the sound
Of chains
Dragged over rocks

They went
All around
Their homes
Locking windows
Locking doors
From the outside
Yet still
They escape

The light bulbs
Flash on and off
The light bulbs
Are faint
The corridors
Are neglected
They are
Never cleaned

Then this
Beautiful girl
Appears from the lift
And it all goes
Silent
A silence of amazement
Because
She walks with angels
And nothing
Can change her

Monopoly

This is the state
Of the world today
Even the sunlight
Is turning grey

Beauty is in a barrel
The ugly gun thrives
Soldiers so maddened
By poor people’s lives

The pretence being
To leave no one alive
To their grinding poverty
And cries

This is monopoly
on a huge scale
death is a counter
that gets out of jail

who burns the houses
who blows up the streets
as trailing behind
are the refugees

We’ve seen a giant fall

We’ve seen a giant fall
And all of his enemies call him a fool
His own supporters broke the wall
His on desire broke down his rule

But still he does not see
He’s as blind as blind can be
His reign is a little pool
The whole world is a sea

There is only the truth
That buttons his shirt
There is only the truth
That feels his hurt

Accept the wind
When it cools the flame
Accept and move on
And accept the pain

I am just a little man
He made me feel six foot tall
He taught me to believe in myself
To break down my own concrete wall

He fought for me on the mountain
He fought for me on the sea
He rose up like a bright star
A symbol to all who are free

He rose too high
He got too fat
The other stars knew
It would not last

Like a rocket
To the moon
That exploded above
Much too soon

Life comes on
Life goes away
People like him
Have had their day

Love is not complex
It does not mix with hate
It shines more than every star
It lives in every date

The world moves on as one
For a meeting with a fate of its own
It leaves failures behind
It leave them all alone

Criminal Deng as hard
Criminal Deng was strong
His biceps were attached to steel bars
He stood on feet of stone

Standing in a government square
Where people are made to group
Practicing their healthy routine
Surrounded by government troops

what blocks the sun from shining
what favours the night
what chains up the feet of men
what blots out the light

The seething mass of humanity
That must seethe
The reckless mass of humanity
That must wreck

And the wind answers at last
Carrying trouble on it back

Man does
And man falls short
And out of his heart
Walks many a corpse

His hobby I power
He pretends to love his people
Give him power
And he only wants more
He’s a man with no heart

His food is power
He fattens himself
He sits at the table with his porridge
He eats until it comes out of his ears
He’s a man with no heart

When he takes from the poor he says
Give me more
He promises to change the law
But he wipes the floor
With the love they gave him
He’s a man with no heart

Sergio

Tell me the meaning of architecture
Tell me the meaning of justice
Explain it in a way
That even a bird could understand

Don’t talk of blood
Blood understands very little
Blood is dumb and functional
And cannot fly by itself

Like thoughts in the brain
We live in buildings
And our thoughts live in agony
Like snakes stabbed by knives

Mr Justice of the Peace
How many thoughts have you corralled today?
And Mr Thought Control
How much memory have you blotted out?

I’m building a house of anger
Here in your land
Have you enough flames
To burn it down?

Blood does not understand fire
But it has a ghost that cries
And the cries neve fade away

You may write history
With the ink of death
But the sun and the wind
Clean it and preserve it

As the truth between us
And the truth between us
Strips us bare of lies

In the court of pity
Where we go to be pitied
And pity is sold like lard
To wretchedness and woe

In the court of pity
Where we go to be pitied
And pity has a famine
Where we die of thirst

In the court of mercy
Where we go for mercy
And mercy drips through a wall
For the beggars of mankind

In the court of mercy
Where we go for mercy
And mercy is a telegram
Of a few words

There are millions like us
Alive and dead
We cover the benches
Like stinking rats

And once in a lifetime
And we are we are given a lottery ticket
We who are tied over a stone
Worn down by the wind

And our judges all line up
To sing halleluiahs
Then they are dispersed
Into the sweetly singing wind

Every good judge
Is buried in sand
He trudges through the sand
He sits down on sand

His judgement
Is like sand
His courtroom
Is like sand
Every good judge
Every good judge

You may hear
Of a good judge
Trudging through the sand
From one sand hill to another
With vultures above his head
Without any clothes
Wandering through the sand of life
Every good judge
Every good judge

And so he cries out
And his cries become clouds
And the clouds travel across the land
And the clouds rain down
On a dry and thirsty people
In need of a good judge
In need of a good judge

Notes
I watched a film called Sergio about a United Nations diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello who helped Timor to become independent of Malaysia. In one scene he talks to a lady in a basket weaving workshop and askes her what she wants. The last verse is an adaptation of her very poetic reply. It seems for some people that ideas expressed through poetry are all they have of their former lives and freedoms.

The Crimes of Art

These crimes of art
That makes fools
By suggesting
That we know nothing at all

That drive us
To oblete the questions
Growing in our souls

Fearing the light we produce
Do we turn away from the light?

These tricks of art
These pranks upon society
Whose waves start to roar
Against a portion of a dream

This giant of jest
In the jesters hat
Oh how he laughs
At the joke that destroys us all

How do you call goodness
Into question?
By destroying the things
That you feel good about?

If you do not wish to see
the murder
close the door and do not believe
That goodness is strong

The goodness inside
Does not need protection
It needs reality
If it is to question

Oh poor sleeping beauty
The beast is also part of you
Why should it be denied the love
That you both aspire to

Do you sleep to calm the inner beast
That grows hungry and further apart
Or do you stay awake and try to ease
The pain of him in your heart

In the machine of life
Empathy has its mechanism
Without it
You will walk upon one leg

If you lock up the room
In someone’s house
where a loved one lives
you destroy yourself

if with a social tattoo on the arm
you burn the blood of the soul
you will make the person lose their balance
but they will not hear the alarm

so that they are drawn to the water’s edge
and do not see the danger
or they speak harsh words
to a complete stranger

so that they hob along
like a cogwheel missing a cog
yet they do not know
into what harm they go
or what harm they come out of

so that they need to learn
why they go through pain
they can’t explain
and bruise so easily at the missing thought
that enters everybody else’s brain

Notes
firstly i was thinking about how art works in society and then I began to think about people who through the fault of society are without some emotion