birdsong

we pan for gold in souls
stripping away the streets
to find songbirds sheltered beneath.

I met a man
with so little to his name
who gave more than he took,
I met a man
without a passport
who helped to heal the world,
I met a man
who slept in a tent
and wrote poetry.

their words formed songs
and their songs formed smiles
and up stood Humanity
and shook its head in defiance,
as if to say:
I shall not be subdued.

and as clothes made way for feathers
and arms made way for wings
they took flight into cold city night
and the air was filled
with the sound of spring.

we pan for gold in souls
stripping away the streets
to find songbirds sheltered beneath.

two - impostor syndrome

the symmetry is always the same
a calm then a rush then nothing,
then a rush and then calm,
like all the lights in the world
have gone out.

composed I prepare to impose myself
upon assembled minds
pressing a world of self-made pressure
into impressionable consciousness
leaving poetic forensics.
it’s a Dark Web drug
that hits you different each time,
dealt at basement open-mics
and dished out to all comers.

it’s the calm and the rush and the nothing;
its’s the rush,
and then it’s the calm
and then it’s the wanting more.

untitled

it’s cold up there, in that room,
that’s what I remember. images of
flasks of tea, wishing it were rum,
fingers snipped off gloves.

for once I was a writer,
freezing and flowing,
high-up in a garret
in my room full of thought.

for once I lived a writer’s life,
penniless and alone
in my box by the sea.
I saw but did not see,

the arc of the gulls,
their cries like lost lambs in the sky,
or a whole beach breathing
like the man with paper bag lungs.

radiohead ramblings

I sat down one night, put Radiohead on, and rambled along to the music.

Exit Music (For a Film)
the path to Hell is lined
with violins
playing our requiem
in the rain.

Karma Police
this is what you get
when you mess with me
she said
and from her mouth
flew butterflies.

for a minute there,
the powder in my brain
would not settle.
when it did I found
words instead of dust.

Lucky

notes traverse geographies,
and move through the trail of time
to leave you stranded in reality
when they fade.
music was my first love;
my first reminder
of how tight we cling onto the things
that must fade.

Pyramid Song
Jumped in a river
for want of a better story
there was nothing to fear
save the nettles
always on the bank
and the mud
between the toes.

Everything in its Right Place
but everything was in its right place,
it had to be
for that was how it had become.
precisely because that was how it had gone
meant that was right
at least right now.
but sands are always shifting,
new dunes shall shape and fall
and that will be alright as well;
that too shall be all right.

the man who lost his name

the man who wrote jazz
lost his name
hung up in some smoky den
and taken by someone else
while the saxophonist played.
he kept an eye out in town
for who had taken his name
but resigned to not having one
at least for a while.
the man who wrote jazz
sometimes wondered
who now had his name
and what they now did with it.
he should have put his name in it,
he realised,
so he would know it was his.
that’s what other people did.
he would not be so careless,
he decided,
with his second.

thunder

 

it rumbles like the world is crumbling,
and all the skyscrapers are falling to earth
backlit sporadically
by flashes of their decaying silhouette teeth.

a subsound
that shakes soaked pavements,
sets off car alarms
and sends the neighbourhood dogs away to cower,
sounding like distant bombs
that fall on our conscience. 

when the rain comes
it rinses the dust from the sky
and no sign is left of life
bar drip-drip trees
and the echoes of coughs

and then all is quiet. 

ditch it all

one tick
two tick
green tick
blue tick
an endless stream
of tricks and tocks
5-star holidays and bubbling stocks
those bits and bytes
those coins and Lites
souring all my dopamine;
a cocaine-snorting Charlie Sheen,
or Kim Kardashian’s brand new bum
our Princess, set to be a Mum.

your clicks are sold to highest bid
they push a platform on your kid
to spin roulette and red-rag bulls
and all them other evil pulls
dreamt up in labs by twisted mind
who bear no feeling for mankind,
who’ve hacked the soul,
found nothing there
but a bunch of wires
and a bottomless tear
and into this deep pit they’ve plunged
and off our weaknesses they have sponged
until the sun comes up one day
and with a yell, I hope we’ll say
these Likes we’re living
while our brains you’re sieving;
we no longer want a part
and so we’ll start to pick apart
this spider’s web that we have strung
those threads upon which we hung
will fall like rags around our feet
that Insta like, that outraged Tweet,
will become again what they always were,
mere ones and zeros, a server’s whirr.