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10 December 2017

Solus

Loner

she was in worse shape

than any one I ever seen

life had ground her down

until she cast no shadow

and signified nil

on the grand totem

one sorry night

just for the hee haw

we jacked her into the sing song

and we heard her howl

just like the dying

we seen then

that here was a woman

who’d sojourned far

having lost so much

her’s were the ghosts

of dead infants

the transcripts

of coroner’s inquests

and the tattered fragments

of suicide letters unposted

the question was not

how she’d endured

for so long

but why

.

8 December 2017

Radiance

eye_BW

the best part of me

is too often obscured

by the daily grind

of an ordinary life

only to be

rediscovered

in the unexpected hour

as a strange and familiar

radiance

beyond the reach

of the human eye

.

24 November 2017

Re-evolution

Leaf_01

Banish those tensions

With the smoke

That blossoms

In the mind


Check your coat

And your hat

And make this place

Your home


Flower assisted dreaming

Could be the catalyst

That sparks

Your re-evolution

.

9 November 2017

Titanic

Titanic

Fuck your games

And fuck you too

You have no shape

No solid connection

Nothing to guide you

You don’t know

What happens next

But I do, yes I do

There are lifeboats available

Why don’t you get on one?

Your ship won’t be coming in

For years you held me hostage

Just in case you were discovered

I was your ace in the hole

Your prisoner of fortune

But I won’t go down with you

Now that your ship is sinking

While the band plays on

The melody is familiar

But it’s just not your song

.

8 November 2017

Silence

0003797_rhythm-of-silence


When the music stopped

So did the world

Abruptly

Echoing on for a glimmer

Like the final words

Of some old book

‘Surely I come quickly. Amen.’

And how will the dead dance

But in silence?

Not one tear will bring us solace

In the turning of a million years

This was our soul, our empathy

When we raised our voices

To sing along together

Not as a choir, but as a race

Now mute and alone

Who now will sing our song?

.

27 October 2017

A Prayer

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Our sponsors

Who are relentless

Anonymous are thy names

But thine kingdom come

Thine will be done

At home

As it is in commerce

Forgive us our debts

As we forgive those

Who foreclose against us

Give us this day our daily fix

Of sex and soap and politics

And lead us not into temptation

For temptations sake

But deliver us from sequels

For thou art the kingpins

With the power of transmission

Now and forever

Amen

.

26 October 2017

A Farewell

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I felt the weight of it in my chest

The heft of it on my heart

I dared not remember

Nor did I care to forget

The little death

You left in your wake

You were wrenched from my life

In the cruellest of ways

And I yearned for your laughter

As I drowned in your tears

And I mourned for your love

For a thousand years

.

18 October 2017

Milk & Honey

Window

3 am again

same old

same old

pavlovian routine

the incessant splatter

of bloody raindrops

on my window panes

the drip, drip, drip

of memories predisposed

to the anachronism

of my wicked, but splendid

fallacies

if they could only feel me now

what would they say?

they think I’m teflon

and that nothing sticks to me

the facade is faultless

but the interior corrupt

I’m faded and jaded

since those days

of infidelity and loss

my nights are fainter

and spent figuring

memorial alphabets

into novel expressions

that pierce my ears

to fill my head

with poisoned splinters

a little milk and honey

is all I’m asking

a little milk and honey

to nourish and sustain me

through the bitter hours

before the coming dawn

.

4 October 2017

The Seventh Sacrament

Reciever

Somebody put soul food

in my midday fodder,

spiked me with holy water,

and pulled my knickers down.

Those bare arse cheeks

were of little consequence;

provided that the heavy hit,

distilled from heavy shit,

concealed my embarrassment;

along with a litany of grievous sins

hitherto unrecorded.

.

The testament euphoric

melted my studied indifference

with billion dollar words;

laying on a smooth line in piety,

nauseatingly hypocritical

under any circumstances,

but doubly so in mine.

.

I never seen it coming,

but brother I was stoned

and guilty of those pleasures

far too long deferred

on receipt of holy orders.

Those creature comforts keep

most men in stolid sleep

and sleeping is a sin

akin to blissful ignorance.

.

So don’t never tell no one

what has passed between,

cause no-one needs to know,

and you know what I mean.

The fruit of all my labours,

the seeds that I have sown,

could go excommunicado

with bitter denunciations

and the casting of first stones.

.

.

27 September 2017

Poor Cow

cow-2


In the languorous haze

Of the afternoon sun

I stared at her breasts

Heaving as she drew

Each labouring breath

Beneath me

As I drove home my seed

Amidst the tall grass

And I hated her then

I loathed her

As I wanted her

The flies surrounded

Her corpulent flesh

And I saw her dead

In her rictus gaping

And the fecund

Detritus of her lust

And I knew it was over

Before it had ever begun

.

The Blood In My Eyes

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I brought the bad news

judiciously carved

into reasonable chunks

that were easy to swallow

but hard to digest

there was the momentum

of some terrible gravity

behind my every word

each was weighed

and then dispensed

on tablets of stone

saying; if you cast the first

then I shall cast the last

it was a diabolical pact

but I just couldn’t see

for the blood in my eyes

had so blinded me

.

Obey

OBEY.thumb











Fear is the prime motivator,

Fear is the organ of our reflex,

Fear makes the world go round,

Binds our colony of fragile exiles,

Legions of patient coffin fillers,

Worm fodder for potter’s field,

Golgotha’s funerary whores,

Suspicious of all that is other,

Macabre in tonal fascinations,

Nauseated by the difference of flesh,

Hungry for the blood of innocents,

Fearful of the shock of discovery,

And the blinding light of reason,

The meek shall play the long game,

Await instructions from above,

Everything is permitted,

Nothing is forbidden,

Unless it is forbidden,

If you are not with us,

Then you are against us,

You must choose sides,

There are no alternatives,

There is only one rule,

Obey all the rules.

.

22 September 2017

Hungry

Hungry

That’s me there – face to face with the back of the crowd and fetching awkward angles between my toes. It’s always seemed that symmetry eluded me and I was dissolving fractions in a decimal world. A feline soul in a canine cosmos; I told a big stripey lie that painted me a permanent crimson and soaked my banner with piss. That was thirty years or so ago and there’s been plenty of action under the bridge since then, it sometimes feels real late, but that’ll be the times. I developed humour as a mechanism to lubricate those rapidly diminishing hours. Burdens borne with a smile sometimes feel like blessings in disguise.

Those hooks and punchlines are mine to own, but they aren’t all jokes, half of them are true. I hawk them anyway because there is little else to say – people expect lies in these days of photoshopped selfies and fictitious biographies, so I get away with the odd deprecating truth – so long as I sugar coat them. No one accepts the sour any more – their palettes are acclimatised to saccharine and the soft candy floss of mediocrity.

I stood in a long line to receive short shrift and a parcel of unwelcome platitudes. I’m not complaining mind you; I got to where I am by the circuitous route, but I got here just the same. I’m quite comfy in my hollow and if things are now slower than they once were it’s only because I was speeding in the first place. I was always all post haste and frantic stratagems. I was hungry – the way only poor boys are hungry and I’m still hungry – the way only old men are hungry.

.

16 September 2017

Soulless Episode III

Condoms

She robbed me with apparently no sense of irony. She was enraged and barely coherent. I had been rumbled again. She went through my pockets looking for anything she might have missed. She found a couple of condoms in my jacket. She held them up and laughed.

“Just in case Johnny? Or do you always go prepared?”

She tossed them at me with a gesture that suggested both amusement and contempt. She loved a grand gesture did Jane and she had the dramatic flair tae pull them off. She was a bonny lassie, but she would insist oan talking.

“Yer easy tae get along wi Johnny. Yer a good laugh and yer no bad in the sack, but yer lacking something.”

Here we go, I thought, the commitment lecture – it had to come one day. It always does. Still, I couldn’t help gazing at her near naked body and thinking that a man could lose himself in a woman like that, so why can’t I?

“Yer a coward Johnny. Yer afraid of commitment and yer afraid of love because yer afraid of rejection. Ye take nae risks ‘cause yer a cowardly fucker.”

I was smiling now. I didn’t mean to and it could only wind her up, but the whole scene had a familiar pattern to it. I had recognised the symptoms and I knew it was coming, but like a fool I had to turn up for the final scene. I was almost glad I did though, she was magnificent in her rage. She was a very beautiful woman of strong character. If I were ever to fall in love it would be with a someone like her. I wish I could tell her these things, but tae what purpose? I just lay there on the bed smiling like a muppet.

“You’re pointless Johnny. You’re a record wi nae groove, a fuckin’ bike wi nae wheels. You have a’ the charm and grace in the world Johnny, but ye huv nae soul.”

I groaned in psychic pain. Not that old chestnut. There’s no such thing as a soul. Even Buddha had tae admit that, sort of. The soul is a concept – an abstract – a fuckin’ falsehood. Why do they always pull that soul shite on me? If she meant I had no conscience – that I could bear. It wiznae true, but I could bear it. This soul malarkey though just got oan ma tits. I had soul – even Buddha said I had soul – whatever that means.

“There’s nae need for this Janie, we’re friends after all.”

“I dinnae want tae be one o’ your ‘friends’ Johnny. I’m no some wee whore fi the scheme who’ll let you pick her up or let her doon as ye fuckin’ well please. I deserve mair than that!”

“What’s the money for Jane?”

“I’ve been yer whore and now I want paid!”

“Did I make ye feel that?”

“Aye Johnny – ye did.”

There was so much anger and anguish in her face that it silenced me dead. She loved me. She really did love me, and in that moment, I knew I loved her. It was too late though. Too much had already been said and too much had already been done. How could she ever trust me again? How could I? She would be better off without me, who needs a man with no fuckin’ soul anyway?

.

14 September 2017

East Of Leven

caravan_01

I could dae this of my own accord you know. I dinnae need the spike, the earmuffs and the diamond collar. I do awright oan ma ane. I kin write awright if ah kin just get some sleep! Men of a certain age, especially those of the manic-depressive persuasion, often find it difficult tae sleep. Loads of pent up emotion an’ barely supressed anger keeps them awake at night. You’ll find that many men of a certain age carry luggage heavy wi pent up emotion an’ barely supressed anger; it’s the lack of fuckin’ sleep that does it.

I’m in an awfy fix. I’m in Scoonie, East of Leven; Scotland’s ane Anus Mundie. I came here tae get away from it all. Fuckin’ well succeeded tae – I’m miles away from anything. This place was designated as pointless back in 1962 and filed under forgotten; not to be revived in the foreseeable future. Some part of me has died here. There is some portion of Scoonie, East of Leven, that shall forever remain Buddha in an unmarked grave.

Brought Johnny. Fat lotta use he is. All he talks about are burds; burds he’s shagged and burds he wants tae shag. He’s goat it bad that yin. He was gifted wi a beautiful intellect which resides in the glans of his penis. I love the guy tae death, but one day that cock o’ his will lead him into mair than temptation. I told him tae be meagre wi his wants, but on that score he’s the greediest bastard a’ ever met.

We’re no exactly oan holiday here. This is no gentleman’s junket. We’re on the lam. No fi the law or that, but fi our friends. Our pals want a pound of our flesh. Some depressing tale involving supposed MDMA tablets and an alleged horse tranquiliser. A very ugly story, but all too common in today’s marketplace. We were merely intermediaries in this carfuffle, but since the primary agents had absconded wi the loot, we were held by many tae be responsible. Stupid bastards. To a man they are all stupid bastards and the stupid like to weigh in mob handed. The mob that’s after us is comprises of some unsavoury characters who’d just as soon knife you as kick ye in the head when yer down. We’re running from a lynching – there’s nothing the stupid love more than a good lynching.

They’ll never find us in Scoonie though. The sun cannae find us in Scoonie. Which is a huge problem. I brought my stash, of course, but what use is it? How the fuck does an honest dealer make a living during the winter in a caravan site in some Godforsaken corner of Scotland naebody has ever heard of? Give Johnny his due he’s been out in Leven every day hustling the few remaining angles, but maybe he’s just hunting fur burds. It’s been three weeks since he got laid last and he’s getting kinda antsy. That testosterone banks up and swamps the mind ye know. Many are the wondrous feats of stupidity perpetrated by horny men.

“You know trying to find a trick on the street is too much like hard work. You want to open an oaffice.”

“Why an office?”

“If you had an oaffice the tricks would come tae you.”

“Why?”

“Tae buy your services of course”

“And what are my services?”

“You’ll be relieving them of their cash.”

“Just like that?”

“Just a little mind you, no enough tae send naebody tae the polis.”

“Ye’ll have tae be specific Bood – what would I be selling?”

“Dreams Johnny Boy – dreams.”

“Fan fuckin tastic Buddha – wid you get tae the point?”

“A raffle – a lottery, anything that cost you nowt to organise and the punter only a few coppers tae play. We can use the laptop tae design the necessary and print them off in the site office.”

“Won’t they be suspicious at the office?”

“We’ll wait till they’ve gone hame – I have the key right here.”

“That’s a screwdriver.”

“It’s a key in the right hands.”

“So we are going to run a fake lottery no one will ever win. Won’t people be pissed when they find out?”

“They never will. Millions of people dae the lottery every day and not one of them realises that they were ripped off. I’ve done the maths Johnny and statistically speaking yer odds of winnin’ are about the same if ye buy a ticket or not. No-one seriously expects tae win the lottery anyway. They dae it just in case; people are playing ‘cause it fuels the old pipedreams for a wee while. They get to imagine what they would spend it on if they did win; an entirely vicarious thrill costing a mere pound. Of course our lottery will cost a fiver ‘cause you get five lines wi every ticket. It’s a special international lottery which gives out billions in prizes every day and it’s all tax free because they are based in The Cayman Islands.”

“Looking at it that way people are pretty stupid., eh?”

“The stupid ones are, but the rest are just greedy. Never make the mistake of thinking yer trick is stupid Johnny, never underestimate anybody. If you find a trick who is genuinely stupid – walk away. Have nae dealings wi the stupid whatsoever.”

“Surely they are the easiest tricks?”

“Too easy, but unpredictable. You ever know how the stupid will react to being made a cunt of Johnny. The prisons are full of stupid fuckers who killed for nae apparent reason. Nothing is more dangerous than brute ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Have no dealings whatsoever with the stupid Johnny. If you huv a stupid friend – boot him intae touch. If ye huv stupid customers – get rid of them before they get ye busted; I guarantee ye that they tell every cunt they meet everything they know about you. No drug, not even booze, causes some much strife. If we're looking for the source of our fuckin’ woes, we shouldnae be testin’ folk for drugs, we should be testin’ them for stupidity. There’s nae fuckin’ rehab fur the stupid – they’re always fuckin’ stupid and that’s a fact. What was it Oscar Wilde said? ‘There is no sin but stupidity’ I reckon he was spot on; stupidity is the route of all evil.”

“We can all be stupid at times Buddha – people make mistakes.”

“I agree, but that’s no whit am talking about. I’m talking about the terminally stupid – the ones who cannae learn fi their mistakes; because they were right to make them and would do it again tomorrow for the same inane, stupid reasons they did it today. I’m serious Johnny – you let the stupid into your life and chaos ensues. That’s enough philosophy fur one day – fire up the laptop an’ let’s get tae work.”


Epilogue

I wish Johnny had listened to me. Perhaps I should have placed more emphasis on the stupid, but Johnny found he was willing tae indulge stupidity if it came wi a pretty face. That peccadillo was to cost him dearly one day, but that’s another story and I’m no the man tae tell it. Creativity being the cessation of stupidity our lottery scheme worked out well. We only sold two hundred or so tickets, but that raised over five grand and meant we were able to pay off our ‘creditors’ and still have some change for beer. All’s well that ends well they say – except this is no the end, but the beginning.

.

11 September 2017

Stew

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back end of the coal scuttle

lived a boy who’s story

read like the entrails

of a fucked-up Philip Larkin

his was time well spent

he was the model good boy

at his best, he was a gold star

at his worst, a misdemeanour

nowhere ever happened

within his sterile orbit

while outside a revolution

mashed up on the streets

inside it was TV Times

and Top of the Pops

with custard creams and tea

he dreamed of some

San Francisco somewhere

where he could start out anew

but back in the corporeal

it was a Thursday night

and mum was making stew

.

Rental Dogs


C26b13f9aa88310aa4d30f134ba2cffaDo me a favour would you? Lift the lid and let it breathe. Let some of the heat out, we don’t want it boiling over do we? We just want gentle simmer to bring out all the goodness. Cooking is an art form, it takes patience to prepare a masterpiece. This is what it’s all about boy – meat on the table. A man must provide for his own and no one else is gonna do that for him. A man must provide even if he has to steal. No too much like – only what he needs. Leave some for the next guy. You nibble the hand that feeds you Johnny. You leave teeth marks and you’ll find a posse of rental dogs oan yer tail.

Those rental dogs are meaner than the average mutt and just love the taste of blood. They smell your fear and so you must keep that shit well hid. Never look ‘em in the eye. It aggravates ‘em if you look ‘em in the eye. The eyes are the windows to the soul and those mongrels have no souls, see? Most rentals are bereft of souls. Whether they were stolen by pimps, or dealers – notorious soul thieves – or worn away from the inside by worry, hatred, or avarice; the rented have a legendary soul deficit.

Poor boy went insane and sold his soul to complete strangers. He got a sawbuck for one weighed ounce of solid soul. He bought a wrap with the proceeds and smoked it, but it never filled the hole left by his soul. No amount of gear ye smoke, or booze ye drink, will ever relieve ye of a missing soul. Take all those rental buddies and barflies who congregate in the temples of oblivion, or the crack heads and junkies they look down on. They got no souls.

Half the world haven’t got no souls and mostly that’s avoidable. It’s a question of intent; of how much you want something and how much you are willing to pay. My advice, Johnny Boy, is to never want anything too much. Beside you’ll see that prices come down if the seller knows you can walk away. Some have no means of paying for whatever it is their hearts desire, so they go rental. But you’re only rental so long before you realise that your soul is part of the deal.

It’s a nightmare to live without a soul buddy. The soul is that vital spark that kickstarts the emotional and intellectual energy that makes ye unique. The soul is yer passion, yer intensity, yer mojo and without it yer an empty husk. Take it from Buddha you never want tae go rental. No for fortune, fame, for women, or drugs. Because nothing is more valuable than yer soul.

.

7 September 2017

To Dream As Gods Do

Pan_01


your suicide warden

garnished in chains

inspects your arsehole

where morning has fled

your pot hole eyes peering

through a lysergic purge

witness only the contents

of your dingy abode

which encapsulates the wearying

trinkets of monstrous dalliances

and licentious attacks

of falsified intentions

these are the things you’ll remember

during those lonely repasts

of quaaludes and hard liquor

green tea and ground glass

.

you learned to sleep in shallow latrines

on egyptian cotton and busted bed springs

gazing up at refracted reflections

in cracked ceiling mirrors

where decades of hope

disappeared in a murmur

to dissolve and fade like baby aspirin

.

your aged gigolos and militant dandies

dopes on the ropes fighting losing battles

are smudged entries in last year’s diary

so your electric wire and phony smile

seemed like your last best defence

in a life grown cold

from hustling for change

and god knows you need a change

there’s one more hit left in the locker

so lay back and relax to dream as gods do

.

4 September 2017

God’s Own Gun

MK6-Webley_4


The work is never ending

The work goes on and on

The means of salvation?

The route to damnation?

Is not for me to judge

Nor am I in the position to

Even if I could

I was told the road of excess

Lead to the Palace of Wisdom

Or indeed to Pentonville Prison

From where I’ve just come

I’ve been testing the veracity

Of either assertion, most of my life

I’ve come the conclusion

That any conclusion reached

Would be a little premature

I continue my research

While I pour another excuse

The decanter is always

Half full, or half empty

Depending on your predilections

And the entire universe

Is held in balance

By a single thought

The way that so many angels

Balance on the head of a pin

In the laboratory of my mind

I have tested and rejected

Oceans of hypotheses

Whole empires of thought

Have crumbled at my command

It hasn’t been easy

But the work has been fun

I’m Occam’s sharpest razor boy

I am God’s own gun

.

31 August 2017

Any Burden

Donkey_blk

I’m in chemical confinement

l a s t ..o f f.. t h e.. b l o c k s

held in a generous solution

replete with aspic crown

maybe something I said

crossed that invisible line

I offered them contrition

but they just tied me down

I’ve got no padded cell

just a padded mind

this way’s more humane

and so it would seem

to the casual observer

but if he scratched the surface

the observer just might find

there’s more to skinning cats

than first meets the eye

I want more human rights

and far less human wrongs

I waited up all night

by the telephone

when finally you called

I said I wasn’t home

I didn’t feel no better

and I was still alone

but I’d bear any burden

and I very often do

I’d even commit a murder

if I could only get to you


*Image: portrait of the author as a young man

.

30 August 2017

Dirty Feet

Dirty-Feet_01


me and my dirty feet do well enough

our stony egress from domestic strife

was sanctioned by our physician

and relayed by express riders

across the kitchen table

in a flourish of insult and injury

but we made good with smiles

and the enduring trace elements

of lithium and freshly squeezed irony

this was a bitter lunch, a scant repast

that cost too much

.

29 August 2017

Confessional

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I’m coming clean

cause it’s good for my soul

I stole them words from a cracker box

I’m leaving town on a bus later on

a circuitous route through the badlands

throw any blood hounds off my trail

I never liked it here anyway, it’s a shithole

the folk round here never took to me

some people say that I’m vain

but I never claimed to be perfect

I like myself if that’s what they mean

when it comes to me I’m biased

some distrust me cause I have no soul

but when push comes to shove I’m honest

don’t you go thinking I’m running away

it’s just that I’m allergic to lynch mobs

and when they find out just what I did

they’ll come to an early consensus

that I am no longer meant for this world

but loving someone was never a crime

whatever the difference in status

just to be sure that you understand

it wasn’t the act, but the feelings

I left her in tears, but its better this way

a life on the lam is no life at all

when you’re young and receiving a baby

.

27 August 2017

The Power Of Speech

Phone_01

where do you get your sharps?

I need to know they’re clean

I’m allergic to dirty things

so don’t touch my pistol

unless you wash your hands

I get more trouble that way

than opposable thumbs allow

your voice sounds kinda thin

hold it up to the light for me

because I know about these things

I know what you were on the inside

you were a lavatory superintendent

and a bona fide shit herder

there’s no shame in that my friend

many a named player shovelled shit

I’m the prescient son of a prescient son

And I’d have had the readies handy

if I had only foreseen their coming

so spill me that trick you do

when you’re bombed out

down under the bleachers

it’s cheap seats for me and you

until we can fashion key holes

and the necessary certificates

to get us from here to there

wherever here or there is

I know you think you know me

but that’s unlikely to be the case

somethings are unknowable

and others have matching luggage

but irregular identities carved in haste

presumably out of dubious necessity

those spectators who crowd us out

at the soup kitchen

I pay them to stare at me

it forces me to remain spectacle

in a world that rains disappointment

but I’m over all that for the time being

except for the embarrassment

and the sudden deep coil reflex

when someone mentions her name

I know you don’t mean nothing by it

so don’t give it a second thought

I only called to reassure you

that I still have the power of speech

.

25 August 2017

Barbed

Wire-Rose

deep inside your psycho tenement

where I have eaten sacred roots

you store up secret treasures

of dirty lies and bitter truths

I did not return for your disclosure

I have long since ceased to care

I wanted nothing more from you

than the paper that sets me loose

why did I settle for an inventory

of sorry tales and damaged goods?

you turned me out a disappointment

and you served me dog’s abuse

you thought of me as an appendage

to your sycophantic retinue

those were days that I’ll remember

though they’ve ceased to be of use

they left a trace of disappointment

that would linger on for years

but I don’t hold all that against you

I know you couldn’t help yourself

So please don’t furnish an excuse

besides, I left that shit behind me

and I do not miss the stench

so strike me from your book of names

where you list the details and address

of easy marks and diverse suckers

those indolent backsiders

and the hysterically obtruse

who pay your fares

and pay them gladly

for the promise of a fondle

or a surreptitious kiss

don’t confuse me with those losers

cause you ceased to be of interest

when I first realised the truth

I’m not the fool you made me

back when I was just a youth

I don’t associate with wankers

nor do I hang around with thieves

I no longer want inside your knickers

you’ve long since lost your mystique

.

23 August 2017

Your Favourite Lover

Bed

Three’s crowd darlin’

Did no one tell you that?

Three caused more murders

Than greed ever done

And baby that’s a fact

There’s a man odour in here

Like the smell of dying dogs

You better burn those sheets

Cause they’ve been spoiled for me

There’s only room for one man here

So who’s it going to be?

.

When I first met you baby

Five or six years ago

You didn’t have a clue

But my how you have grown

Have you gone all femme fatale?

Is this a game you’ve been playing?

Well the fun and games end now

Don’t waste your time explaining

You better make your mind up

Or I’ll have to set you free

Who’s your favourite lover

Is it him or is it me?

.

21 August 2017

Bagman

Brass-Knuckles

There was a crock of shit at the end of my rainbow. That’s the very first time I was gifted anything for nothing. There’s irony in that statement cause brothers and sisters – nothing, not even shit, ever comes for free. I was once an archdeacon for the diocese of no hopers, now I’m a bagman for the combine. I collect what’s due them from the people of the parish. They shell out a little corn to those who’re in need and I gather the proceeds. I just come from stoving Fat Eddie’s face in. I get a little vexed when people don’t pay. For one thing I’m supposed to – it’s the nature of my job and for another I’m on a slice of the trim. It’s in my own interests that the punters cough up; so if they don’t then things can get rough.

Fat Eddie’s wife asked who gave me the right. I told her I was free to do as I pleased. She told me my freedom was an obscenity while I helped keep my neighbours in chains. That was something to contemplate; however briefly, I’m no philosopher so I wouldn’t know. I just do my job and don’t think about it, because in my line of work thinking doesn’t pay. If it was up to me there’d be no collections and we’d all live in peace like the good Lord says. But it isn’t up to me, so I do what I have to. Whatever it takes to keep my head above water. Times are tough and they’re getting tougher. I just play the game. I don’t make the rules.

Some local loser followed me from Eddie’s. My tracks were still warm and revealed my bloody feet. This joker tried to tap me right there on the corner. I said I don’t do loans, I only collect them, but I gave him a sawbuck for temporary relief. My good deed done, I was soon on my way. I had places to go and people to meet. Business is booming on account of the recession. People are hard pressed, but they still have to eat.

They said I was a sociopath and a menace to society when they locked me up and lost the key. I just do my job to the best of my ability and hope that it’s enough to keep my people off the street. We all do what we think we have to. That’s the nature of the game we all play. We are all of us slaves to the system and no matter what they say none of us are free.

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19 August 2017

4:15 am

Eye_blk


a good night’s rest, so they say

is the next best thing to sleep

but I can’t stay still long enough

to get me some relief

I close my eyes on the world

to reveal a world within

I can’t divert my mind

from the thoughts

that are keeping me awake

I try my best every night

you don’t know how hard I try

there’s just no ease in the dark

but that’s the nature of the beast

the quirt cuts deep, yes it does

and won’t grant me no release

it’s a long slow death, so it is

when all I need’s a little peace

.

Gone

Bag_Blk

I wish you’d take your can of worms and collect your dirty sheets. I don’t care where you go, or if you pound the streets. Why don’t you gather your scant belongings, it really shouldn’t take you long. Just stick them in a plastic bag and leave me the fuck alone. I hate to show such indifference, but I’ve really had my fill. You only come here anyway when you have time to kill.

I’m sick and tired of you and the dramas you enact. I simply want you gone and now; please don’t ever come back. Whatever thrills tomorrow brings you won’t involve me. In any case your idea of fun is very rarely free. I’m tired of your misadventures and the hassle they entail. So I’ll no longer be there to bail you out of jail.

You’d best delete my number; I won’t be answering your calls. I’ve got other folk to talk to and they won’t roast my balls. I see you smashed the bathroom mirror. Did your reflection cause offence? Or was it just another case of psychotic self defence? I cut my feet on the shards you left, but it’s the last I’ll bleed for you. Your next donor stands in line for the abuse he’s no doubt due.

You can raise a glass in fond remembrance for all the shit that we have done. You know it really makes no difference, cause in a moment you’ll be gone. Last night was the last time you’ll sleep beneath my roof. I can’t say I’m going to miss you. It wouldn’t be the truth.

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18 August 2017

Tread Softly

Foot-Falls_blk

I just dummy up these days. No one cares to hear what I have to say. But I have seen what I have seen and I know what I know. I have witnessed our faint progress beneath remote uncaring stars and I know that we are bound to them by forces beyond our comprehension. The life of man, a single man, is of little significance in the great tide of events. Epochs have come and gone to leave no trace but fossilised remains in The Museum Of Natural History.

What shall I bequeath I wonder to those who come after me? Will some trace of my love linger still in the hearts of my progeny? I have no wisdom to impart them, no great insights to share. I doubt if I’ve had a single original thought in my entire life. If I could leave them anything it would be this advice; tread softly through this world, but don’t take the same route twice.

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17 August 2017

Sacrificial

Sacrificial_Lamb

it’s the stony silence

the morning after

a savage beating

the night before

it’s that fragile feeling

of quake and tremble

and those crimson stains

on the killing floor

the dawn reveals

the shameful secret

of blackened eyes

and fractured jaw

the sacrificial lamb

was led to slaughter

under dismal skies

by a man of straw

it’s a mouthful of ashes

and a handful of nothing

but the familiar lies

from his bloody maw


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13 August 2017

Shadow Dogs

Black Dog








for those we are about to deceive

may the profits make us truly grateful

and though we have been known

to fold our cards too early

we still catch them worms

cause there ain’t no flies on us

we was gifted twice in this life

as exponents of those killer graces

that grant us immunity from persecution

and with the promise of our chosen names

sanctified through industrial language

to never reveal our source code

or the identities of our sponsors

we was once foreign to the combine

and now we are its masters

long may we continue thus

in the pursuit of power

through knowledge

and to orchestrate the game

from the safety of the shadows

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11 August 2017

God’s Own Medicine

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send for a physician

one who can prescribe

god’s own medicine

a scripture green and gold

a liturgy soft and splendid

the only prescription

that’s good for the soul

I’m just an old fart

trading in words

just six feet away

from the bone yard

and a long way from home

some temporary relief

is all I can hope for

god’s own medicine

does that for me

.

7 August 2017

Arsenic

Arsenic

There was arsenic in his voice, boozy and bitter with recrimination, dark and foreboding as a winter storm. He was hostage to his fate; tied down by a wife and mewling brats and locked into the mundane drama of domestic life. His only succour was the drink that made him mean and the memories that only fuelled his dissatisfaction.

He was something of a philosopher when drunk – but his homilies smelled of meat and murder, and his declarations were as brutal as his hands. His facts were plain as his daily bread – his fictions as transparent as his liquor. He seemed to sup from that poisoned cup that twists at a man’s insides. He spewed forth a venomous mixture of sarcasm and bile that burned the ears and shamed the listener. I can honestly say I never knew him. I never saw beyond the disguise. He was an enigma to me and a puzzle to my heart was my old man.

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6 August 2017

Jesus Is Waiting

INRI[5]

3 am again

and my mechanism

is stretched to breaking

tore a line from scripture

blessed are the poor in spirit

for they are on their tod

they haunt the early hours

searching for their God

but you know what they say

you’re never really alone

when you have a good book

solace comes in many forms

so I read the testaments

in search of consolation

and have been informed

that Jesus is waiting

but he can’t come

to the phone right now

.

1 August 2017

Bicycle Thieves

bicycle

you were famous

for the snatch and flight

the derailleur gears

and the headlights bright

those diamond drapes

with shiny stud collars

sharp as razor bills

in assorted colours

you always knew the score

where to be

and not to be seen

where to chore

and get away clean

you knew just how to come and go

those blanket ropes

and midnight runs

that only we would know

we captains of the road

were bicycle thieves

catch as catch can

the vagabond heroes

of numerous misdemeanours

and villains to a man

authors of a petty crime wave

diminutive in scale

but we had a grander plan

for staying out of jail

we all had our allegiances

we swore not to betray 

but as form follows function

just as all things must decay

we were merely chocolate outlaws

who would one day melt away


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31 July 2017

Yer Mojo

Mojo_01










you either got it

or you don’t got it

some folk

don’t have the ears

for it

some folk

don’t have the eyes

they’d be missing out

on something special

for most of the time

so let there be no doubt

as to the bottom line

if you can’t make it

then simply take it

just as long

as you don’t fake it

coz that would be a crime

.

28 July 2017

Snowflakes

Snowflake

the calendar of memories

measures out the hours

in balmy summer afternoons

and sudden April showers

and I remember her

as snowflakes lost in play

I was a damp November morn

and she was Christmas day

.

26 July 2017

Beauty On The Bus

the-man-on-the-bus


blow me a kiss

single return

returning home

a hard earned day

of daydreams

and negotiated silence

inner peace

for pieces of sky

the heavens shout out

with special relevance

blue and vast cavernous

swallows me whole

and then spits me out

this is not enough

but it’s all too much

coughing up

spewing out

piss and puke

where beauty stops

so does the bus

stop

stop

stop

.

23 July 2017

Sugar

Hand










he’s got a little sugar

in his tank

I don’t mind that

but he just crossed the line

with an unfamiliar touch

I wasn’t really offended

but this guy is my friend

I don’t know how I’ll feel

if he pulls that shit again

.

24 June 2017

Hedonist

milos-burkhardt-04

here’s to those louche lounge lizards

and licentious feline derelicts

who propped me up to dip my pockets

and barfly angels who furnished me with flesh

but were blameless in my corruption

nothing appealed to me like everything

and having everything I wanted more

because every pleasure seems attainable

when you’re a drunkard and a whore

.

Before The Lights Went Out

lights-out

was that real enough for you?

I can still taste the blood

is there anything better than that?

I should fuckin’ well hope so

so you think you’ve had enough?

who was that cat on the cross?

I make a point of never knowing

that cunt had some moves

he was immaculate, so he was

I’m glad I got to see him

before the lights went out

.

20 June 2017

Spots

spots


I turned a new leaf

shed my skin

sloughed of my previous

and wiped the slate clean

the new and shiny

appeals to my ego

worldly still, but clean

sleek and natural

in mint condition

without form

over distance

without the reproach

of my erstwhile peers

I discarded the things

that brought me only sorrow

but I just can’t forget

what’s foremost in my thoughts

that I’m still a fuckin’ leopard

even though I changed my spots

.

18 June 2017

Footprints

Naked

I don’t fancy yours

that’s not the worst of it

no one twisted my arm

I was hostage to opportunity

awakening in a strangers lair

there’s a sense of shudder

in these awkward instances

nonetheless departing

with guilty steps

and a vague feeling of failure

I left shallow footprints

in yet another world

.

14 June 2017

Ornithology

Ornithology

In my youth blood tainted carrion birds stole my grub stake and poisoned my prized ambitions with unrefined cynicism. I would have turned the other cheek given the opportunity, but they had forestalled that option through brute ignorance. So I weighed in with my best restricted codec and they took flight before my grievous demeanour. I gave those fucking vultures a piece of my mind, something I could ill afford at the time. Those cut price scavengers thought I was crazy, but that diagnosis had been revised years before. I’m not crazy – I just have alternative thoughts. There is only one degree of separation between you and I. That’s the depth of a mirror and the exact angle of its reflection. That’s why I know that you’ll recognise the truth behind what I’m about to tell you – because every word of it is true if you only put a little imagination into its discovery.

I recall a man I met in China many years ago. I was immediately suspicious of his energy, he was radiating some awkward vibrations and his eyes lit up all Confucius when he first spied me. He told me I’d travelled far – a less than inspired guess as far as I was concerned – after all I’m not Chinese and I had to come from somewhere. I told him not to worry because I had a return ticket.

“That’s what you think” he replied.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“Everything changes and we never return to the same place we left behind” he explained.

“Leave me alone” I said, as I tried to squeeze past him.

“You are alone.” he replied smiling.

“Who are you?” I demanded.

“My name is of no consequence” he answered.

“That’s a strange name” I quipped all smug like.

“These are strange times” he answered.

He explained that he was a holy man and that despite appearances he was very, very old. He had, he claimed, travelled the world for many years in his quest for enlightenment. However, on his return to China he discovered that everyone he had ever known was dead. It was only then, when he was utterly alone that he had his great epiphany and the true nature of the universe was revealed to him.

“And what is the true nature of the universe?” I reluctantly enquired.

“The universe is indifferent” he answered.

“No shit” I responded.

“No shit” he confirmed – still smiling.

I gave him twenty bucks and bid him good afternoon before making my exit, but not before he told me that one day I would truly fly – just as the birds fly.

“But first you must find your wings my friend – first you must find your wings”

I paid little heed to what he had said. He was obviously just another vulture out to fleece unwitting tourists. So I simply carried on with the mundane and the inconsequential giving no thought to such flights of fancy. But as the years went on I grew ever more dissatisfied with my lot in life. I longed for adventure and new experiences. I remembered what the ‘holy man’ had said about flying and I started to wonder where I might find my wings.

I began by observing birds and trying to assess what size and shape of wing a man might require for flight. I made a few drawings, but did most of the work in my head. I built a workshop in my mind where I would go in private moments to labour on my secret project. Like Daedalus before me I would build models of my designs and test them against the wind. I would assess which wings gave better lift, or greater manoeuvrability, or allowed me to glide for longer. I simulated test flights and trials through which I devised instruments and control surfaces to help keep me in the air. By this time I was flying regularly, but only for short periods of time. I discovered that the flying is surprisingly easy – it’s the landings you have to worry about.

Eventually, through much trial and error, I found the ideal wings for me. The moment I put them on I knew that at last I had the apparatus which would see me conquer gravity to fly like a bird. The beauty of flight is indescribable and the freedom it affords immeasurable. I am a great Albatross combing the oceans – I’m a Swallow dancing acrobatically through the air – I’m a Falcon racing towards the ground in a killing stoop – I’m a Condor soaring high above the Andes.

Some might say that I’m running away from the realities of life on the surface of the Earth – and they would be right. Existence on terra firma seems tedious and uninteresting compared to a life lived on the wing. Now more bird than man I’ve thrown off the shackles of gravity for the euphoria of flight and the freedom of the sky. I urge the reader to ditch the humdrum and the banal to find their own wings and join me there.

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