Wednesday, 2 December 2009
When I past him on the street
His face was a grim storm,
Penetrated by his eyes of gray-blue fire
Pouring out the years of back break and heart ache,
Seeping out poorly managed anger into the landscape around him
But underneath his bubbling skin,
A turmoil of ideas, sounds and words
Breaking the ice-thin,
In a wonderful harmony,
Over a hard past
And an ever more difficult future
If he is Creator of all these nature designs-
impossible to understand and deep in beauty,
my response is to respect.
There may not be a Creator/Designer but if there is
I must respect.
But , He may not mind a joke about Himself.
Then, this immense Creator..
He sent His Son and people CRUCIFIED HIM??
Sorry, as for now the only Gods I know
are my parents as they created me.
Or.. the power and wonder of love may be God.
As for the God of EVERYTHING?
I do not know, I do not understand,
I can only respect.
HAPPY and PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS eveyone!
On a cool October evening, Brian set about to finally try and reap the rhubarb harvest filling allotment, one of three his wife, Caroline, had purchased for him upon his fiftieth birthday. It was half four and the sky had lost its daylight lustre, now taking on a rich ochre built from pinks and purples that hurt his eyes. The task was taking longer than expected but he had promised his wife a fine rhubarb crumble supper before the day was out and knew better than to let her down. Caroline was not one to suffer disappointment easily. This, coupled with his awareness that, as afternoon succumbed to evening, she had almost certainly already prepared a crumble topping, made him continue through his fatigue.
Brian bent low and tugged on yet another green stalk, his filth dregged nails digging into the vegetable’s flesh as he struggled to gain purchase. His lumbago and orthopaedic left shoe did not make for an easy reap, it hurt to lower himself but he had to for a better grip. A sharp pain ripped through his sides. He immediately straightened but acted too fast out of shock and so winded himself.
“Bloody Nora! I’m too old for this. It’s too…too bleedin’ hard.”
Brian looked to his basket, three hours of toil and he had barely collected enough rhubarb for a single bowl of crumble, and Caroline often required a second helping.
“Oh but Oh. Oh what I’d give for a helping hand to get me rhubarb in before the day is out…”
What was that?
From the blackberry bush at the foot of his allotment. Another rustle followed, this time coupled by a faint, high pitched giggle. Brian looked up, his grey brow more knitted than his jumper. What was that? Wind? Was it the wind? It was indeed a possibility; but the position of his allotment, cornered betwixt hedging and stonewall made this unlikely. Plus, as he noted with a quickly sucked forefinger, there was barely even a breeze.
A further giggle. This was louder than the last and did not peter out in the same manner as its predecessor; instead it swelled to the merry sound of a rich jovial guffaw and a swift clearing of gob at the back of the throat. Brian turned to face the other allotments, but there was no one. All the other gardeners had long since left. He was indeed alone. This realisation brought a chill to the back of his neck and the hot air from his nostrils steamed the bottoms of his milk-bottle glasses as fear deepened his exhalations.
Then a voice.
“Allo Brian! Been ‘avin t’trouble wit’ the pullin’ o’ your rhubarb I see?”
“Aye, I am a bit as it happens. Who? Who might you be?”
“Be not afraid ol’ shaver”, the high voice implored without losing an ounce of its merriment, “I mean ye no harm. I offer only solutions. Brace y’self and if I may, I shall present meself. Are ye braced?”
Brian checked his braces, they were satisfactorily taught.
“Aye voice, I t’am braced and braced well. Now voice, advance , slowly mind, and let yourself be known”
The brambles thrashed wildly as something struggled to emerge from between the coiled mash of berries and thorns. Brian took a step back, anxious of the potential threat that may materialize from the foot of his garden patch. The bush fiercely shook again causing resting birds on its top to take flight and green leaves to cut loose from its branches and fall to the soil beneath. And then, silence.
“Here I be Brain! Ho ho! You’ve never seen the likes of me before I should say!”
Brian grabbed his shovel, pointing his blade in the direction of the voice, “I have yet to see the likes of you now sir! Show yourself I say!”
“Lower your gaze Brian McKaye! Lower….there we are! Ohoy there, ho ho!”
And there he was, a little man in a little hat leaning casually against the edge of Brian’s wellington boot, his long white beard tucked into his green rubber overalls. Between his teeth he clamped a long clay pipe, something he then dutifully removed to introduce himself.
“I am Merry Ben, King of the Bugger Gnomes. We travel from allotment to allotment looking to aid t’gardeners who are having t’ trouble pulling out their root vegetables.”. Merry Ben returned the pipe to his mouth and began a triumphant jig around Ben’s foot, skipping his booted feet and swinging his elbows back and forth.
“The Bugger Gnomes?”
“Yeah, don’t worry so much about that.” The little man gave a quick puff on his clay pipe, “Anyway Brian, I see that your back is one of aches and knots. Poor chap. With a little help from meself and the Bugger Gnome gardenfolk, we can have the remainder of your rhubarb up in a jiffy! And you and t’good wife shall have a fine crumble before the evening is out. What do ye say?”
What do I say? What can I say? Ta Merry Ben! Thank you!
“Splendid.” Merry Ben tipped the cinder out from his pipe and placed it in the front pouch of his overalls. He reached upwards into his tall gnome hat and pulled out a tiny quill and parchment. “Before we do out. Sign here, here and here, just next to the little crosses. That’s it, ta.”
“I can’t read it.”
“No, err, you wouldn’t. It’s in Gnomish. It’s nothing really, just the usual Health and Safety stuff y’know, oh and a bit for HR thrown in there ‘n all. Making sure you’ll allow black, disabled gypsy Gnomes tend your garden without ‘hindrance, prejudice or intolerance’, that sort of thing.”
Well, Brian was a Yorkshireman and had never even heard of such things as prejudice and intolerance. Were they a kind of black pudding? He thought, Aye, was that new type, the one with not such much fat in it? Wasn’t that an intolerance pudding?
“As a Yorkshireman I have never heard of such things as prejudice and intolerance” he told Merry Ben, “But they do sound like pretty awful things.” and so he signed as required and returned the quill and parchment to the little man. The gnome gave a little smile, pursed his white whiskered lips and whistled a mighty whistle. It started as a deep guttural utterance and, as his little chest contracted through loss of air, it gradually raised in pitch to a sharp piercing squeak, heightening until Brian could no longer hear it.
Once again the bush art the foot of Brian’s allotment began to shudder. One by one similarly attired gnomes emerged marching from beneath the brambles, each with a tiny gnome shovel in his hand. This continued until there were at least eighteen Bugger gnomes lined up and marching on the spot before of Brain. Merry Ben stood at the head group, he addressed his gnome army.
Then something strange happened. The Bugger gnomes bookending the line each pulled a small penny whistle from their caps and began to strike up a tune. This appeared to be a cue for those carrying tools to set about work, singing in unison.
“We are the Bugger Gnomes,
The Bugger Gnomes we,
And we shall pull your rhubarb with a one, two, three.
With a highly-lighly-lighly,
Pull hard Bugger Gnomes,
We’ve a job to do.”
Brian watched in amazement as the Bugger Gnomes went about gardening. They threw little grappling hooks to scale the mighty rhubarb stalks, dug deep trenches around each plant and hacked at its trunks with tiny scythes. One by one each rhubarb stick was chopped and dragged to Brian’s wicker basket as he looked on with glee. (in rapture?)
“At this rate we’ll have enough rhubarb for a rhubarb crumble supper with seconds to spare for both Caroline and meself!” Brian exclaimed as he rested on a nearby pumpkin and taking a long and hearty swig from the ginger beer in his thermos.
Within minutes the job had been done. “Thank you Bugger Gnomes!” Brian said as he shook each one by the hand, “How can I ever repay you? Hang about! I know. Here, take a stick of rhubarb with you lads. For your long journey. It’s the least I can do. By ‘eck, I’ve got enough, here take two. Fair thee well strange gnome folk, may your journey bring you every good fortune.” Brian happily passed Merry Ben two sticks of rhubarb, “You might want to put a couple of spoonfuls of sugar on that, it can be quite tart.” He picked up his basket and began to make his way home.
“Not so fast! Ho Ho!”
“We don’t want your rhubarb Brian. Though tis a very fine offer. If you’ll just give us our payment, we’ll be on our way....Ho ho!”
“Aye. Payment. You signed the agreement?”
Merry Ben reached back into his hat and produced the parchment signed earlier and passed it up to Brian. He read it once more.
“Gnome, gnomie gnomie gnome? Gnomie, gnomie gnomie gnome?”
“Not that, that’s Gnomish. The small print.”
“Once the agreed task has been performed to completion by the Bugger Gnomes a one-off payment is expected upon the demand of the Bugger Gnomes King. The payment of course being in the form of....”
“No. No! I would never, never...”
“Ho Ho! But you did! Why do you think we’re called Bugger Gnomes? A ‘mis-gnomer’? Ho Ho! Now pay up.”
Brian tried to make a run for it with his heavy wicker basket, but his lumbago, orthopaedic left shoe and the weight of his rhubarb slowed him down. He lost his balance and fell head first deep into the mud. After a struggle he managed to look up. Everything had gone dark, his thick glasses were caked solid in earth. He felt a sharp tug around both his welly boots, so strong that it forced both his legs to snap painfully together. The Bugger Gnomes had taken their opportunity. His legs were new bound together with the grappling strings the gnomes had used to climb the rhubarb plants. Merry Ben jumped from the garden, ran swiftly up Brian’s back and used him as a platform to bark orders to his men below.
“Bugger Gnomes Ho! Onward home!”
The little men were working hard now, dragging Brian back into the bramble bush from where they had emerged. He tried to stop them but their shear strength in numbers was proving too much, he looked desperately for something to grab onto, something that would help him resist their pull but there was nothing. The wily Bugger Gnomes had plucked every last rhubarb stalk, the field was bare and all Brian could do was flail his arms in vain, clawing for support. The gnome flautists struck up their tune once more.
We are the Bugger Gnomes,
And as Bugger Gnomes we’re fair,
We’re gonna take our payment,
In our Bugger Gnome bramble lair.
With a Bugger-rugger-ding-dong,
And after we’re done,
You won’t sit down for a month to come.
Brian cried out in despair as he felt the prickle of bramble thorns through the corduroy trousers at the top of his wellington boots, the gnomes had already reached the blackberry bush! He struggled to kick out but his feet were too tightly bound. There was no escape. He was to be buggered. There was a long tug on Brian’s hair. It was Merry Ben.
“Bugger Gnomes halt!”
The Bugger Gnomes stopped immediately in their tracks.
Brian heaved a sigh of relief through his mud-caked nostrils. A reprieve! He wouldn’t be buggered by Bugger gnomes after all! Of course! Why would they bugger him? He was too old for that! Why would they want him, with his lumbago and hairy old arse? They’d come to their senses, and just in time too.
“Bring the rhubarb sticks along lads. We may need them....Ho Ho! Onwards once more! Bagsy me first go.”
With another tug on Brian’s hair the gnomes proceeded to drag him further into the bush at the foot of the allotment. They continued with their song.
We are the Bugger Gnomes,
Singing our Bugger Gnomadic verse,
We’re gently and polite so please don’t fight,
Struggling will only make it worse.
With a pull-down-of-your-corduroys
And swift one-two-one-two
We’ll make sure your rhubarb gets back to you!
Back at home the clock on the drawing room mantle struck eleven. Afternoon had passed to evening had passed to night and Caroline had not heard from her husband for several hours. Where was he? He only needed to collect a few stalks of rhubarb for Pete’s sake! She paced the room chewing her bottom lip. She’d tried to distract herself; she’d made a crumble, had a shower and put on her favourite pyjamas. But there was no getting away from it. She was hungry! It’d been over six hours since she’d eaten and now Brian’s prolonged absence was causing hunger pains.
Then a ringing. The door!
Caroline ran to the porch. There stood her husband; bloody, badly scratched by brambles and weeping in the moonlight. His trousers were round his ankles. He let out a soft whimper.
“What? You’ve been gone hours. Brian you look a mess. What a state. You only went out for rhubarb. Get your trollies back up. I can only hope that Mrs. Raven at no. 42 didn’t see you, it’ll be all round the estate by next week.”
Brian looked at her. Too weak to move. Too pained to answer.
“What happened to you? Brian....Where’s my rhubarb?”
Brian collapsed head first into the house, trousers still down by his ankles. With a stick of rhubarb up his jacksey he had answered both her questions in one.
Time stops, a soul moves.
Weak arms and a strong heart burn,
Squinting eyes in the smoke,
Timbers fall as white hot flames crack,
Sounds alter, intentions finding their release in brilliant light.
Lost words and shouts,
Serenity runs in the air,
Perfectly late hits of brittle hammers on aging strings.
Everything is black and white.
Lush hills, proud crops, clovers,
Kestrels soar under a thunderous sky,
Dandelions, skeletons reborn on the wind.
After being born and growing up in Oregon, U.S.A, Gardner started her writing career under the false name of Alicia Scott and produced her first book, titled “Walking after midnight”, in her junior year of college. Following receiving a mere $3000 for the book, which took roughly three long, hard years to complete, she decided to settle down in to a ‘real career’, ending up working as a management consultant that she progressed to loathe and despise. It was due to this factor that Gardner began to spend all her free time writing romance novels, until one day she decided she needed a change and tried her hand at writing a suspense novel. The end result was “The Perfect Husband”, a book that masters all the expectations of a suspense novel and takes the reader on a tense journey from beginning to end, awarding Gardner with the Reviewer’s Choice Award in 1998. What followed after this successful book is a long list of gripping and engaging thriller novels that both wow and suspend the reader until the very last word.
Carrying on from her first victorious book was “The Other Daughter”, which is Gardner’s most successful book to date, once again winning Gardner the Reviewer’s Choice Award in 1999 and also the 2000 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Suspense. “The Other Daughter” is set in Texas where a serial killer is put to death, whilst alongside this storyline takes place the tale of a nine-year-old girl who is abandoned in a hospital. The narrative follows Melanie Stokes as she is adopted by a wealthy family, grows up and discovers something that brings fear and terror into her life. The suspense is rigid and unbending throughout, whilst tension and anticipation walk hand in hand alongside the plot, creating a spine tingling novel that cannot be put down. In this novel Gardner delves into the darker, more sinister side of family life, where the enraged and lived pace and suspense is continuous and present in every word. Melanie Stokes is a strong and independent character that passes as a very likeable person throughout the book. Through the detailed descriptions used of her personality and enjoyable sense of humour the audience can relate to her easily, making the downside of her story more emotional and gripping for the readers. The story is a roller coaster journey, with frequent ups and downs and the occasional loop, all of which the readers embark on with Stokes. On the other hand, Dr. Harper Stokes is a mysterious and captivating character, allowing enough suspicion to arouse in order that the audience begin to question him, but not enough that they completely doubt him, making the end result shocking and scandalous. All the characters within the book play a crucial role in developing the story and making it a well worth read that becomes completely glued to your hands until the moment you finish it.
Another greatly successful book of Gardner’s is “Gone”, which tells the story of Rainie Quincy and her disappearance that all seems self influenced up until ransom notes start appearing, increasing the suspense and drama in the novel to her normal well achieved standard. Making it clear that money, fame and power are driving the kidnapper into this terrible crime the audience join Quincy and his daughter, Kimberly, as they race against time, trying everything they can to rescues their loved one. Rainie bravely battles with her merciless captor, making her a great role model to women and encouraging people to sway towards her. Rainie herself is a strong, self-independent character who struggles with alcoholism and past events that hang over her head, refusing to let her get on with her life. These issues all contribute to the tension and anxiety that is present during the scenes with the kidnapper, allowing suspense to be close to tangible and the character to be more likable through her flaws. Opposite to the innocent victim, the hostage taker is a malicious and evil character that will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve what he wants. The suspense is created through the constant ignorance created by the author, allowing suspicion to arise in all possible areas.
Gardner is a good representative to female victims, which are a very common theme within her books. The majority of her novels contain a lead female character that is victimised and singled out and that are treated in ways that make even the bravest of people flinch at the thought. Although this is the case, Gardner allows each female victim to overcome the problem and fight back against her attacker or captor. This presents a good image to all of Gardner’s female readers and especially any of them that have been victimised as it creates a positive picture that victimised women can overcome their fears and problems. It allows Gardner’s female readers to become more sympathetic towards the female characters within the book, permitting a compassionate outlook to be attained by these readers that ends in a positive outlook on how victimised women can accomplish a normal life style after a disturbing incident. It is fair to say that Gardner, showing women to be the stronger sex emotionally and showing how they can overcome anything, takes a fairly feministic approach. This general outlook that is present within all her books allows an optimistic method to be produced and lapped up by her readers, especially the female ones.
Gardner is always generous to her readers, offering them more than just her wonderful books. Here, she has allowed her readers a little insight into her mind and offers her opinions happily:
10. What is your next planned career move? What is next for you?
1. How would you describe your style of writing?
Suspense. I try to make a story believable by making the characters
2. Which of your books would you say is your favourite and why?
I would have to say any book that I just finished writing.
3. Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
My most recent book, SAY GOODBYE, was difficult to write. The
topic of predators was especially hard to research.
4. Which of your books was the easiest to write and why?
I have yet to have a book be easy to write. I’ll have to let you
know when that happens.
5. How old were you when you started writing?
I began writing when I was 17 and published at 19
6. Where do you get your inspiration from?
True life and true crimes. I find inspiration in news stories.
7. How do you create your characters and are they based on people you know?
Each of my characters are their own entity. Portions of people I know may be in
many of my characters.
8.Would you relate yourself to any of your characters?
I can’t say that I have written myself into a character. My voice lies in the written
words and story. That is how I become part of my novels.
9. How long, on average, does it take for you to write a book?
I write one book a year, with about 3 months dedicated to research and 6 months
to write the pages. The other 3 months in the year are spent on book promotion
and trying to enjoy my family.
I do not expect any big changes in my career. Like many authors,
I hope to land higher in “lists” and to write a better novel each time.
at the edge off sunrise
and groan gently
across the breeze
into your eyebrows.
i want to carry you across
the finish line
in a camera shot finish
without you even
stirring slightly once.
want to score the winning goal
at wembley in injury time
and have you asleep
smiling on my shoulder
all the way home.
Want to look at the frozen tide
which is calling me awake
at 5 in the morning
and then contrast it
with the restless movement of your head.
but across the frozen wastelands
in the nearness of your lips
i could taste their moistness go cold
as i reach to kiss you
while watching the sunrise.
i could feel their blood redness
turn a cold purple
as you groan once
and then sub-consciously
turn away to look at the ground.
i want to join you asleep
at the edge off sunrise
and groan gently
across the breeze
into your eyebrows.
but your tears carry
me across the tide
until sadness is but a memory
and i can't turn back.
My wife had been passing the salt (NaCl) more slowly than before and slightly to the left and according to this internet site, that means that she is hiding something. I thought nothing of it, surely the fading of our passion couldn’t manifest itself in something so banal, so meaningless, but then, I do consider the addition of salt to be fundamental to any meal (and she knows this). No, thoughts of that nature must vanish like stains when carefully treated with milk and bleach (a peculiar concoction I know, but the balance must be delicate).
A friend just called, Matt, (Matt Oiley), I’d told him of the now quickly mounting salt incidents and he too recognised the need for caution. “Where is she now?” (I’m not sure that they were his exact words, but he certainly uttered something to that effect). I replied, “She’s with a mutual friend [Josh Utter for your reference], playing Sony Playstation”. Matt paused before offering a supporting “Ahh”. “Yeah it all seems pretty legit” I said, slowly realising…the Playstation…HAS NO GAMES!!!!!!!!
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Atomised passions tamp under artic axles
Our heroine panting at Knutsford or Keele
Coffee untouched. Fingering his last letter
Tears beyond green gasholder at Bescot
Bronzed hunks are striding
Not to Walsall or Wolverhampton
A million bosoms heave --the press of tyre treads
You drive straight through broken hearts
Get over it, girl
Put your foot down.
*Inspired by the fact that the M6 toll road is built on a foundation of several thousand pulped Mills and Boon novels.
sweats rusty water
projects psychedelic flowers
on Eden’s walls
her hair suits this light
so she stays out late
into the dusky night
drinking a toast to
her head’s hot halo
then shimmers home
along the shore
while the still sea
whispers otter’s secrets
and mussels snigger
like knuckle cracks
In Central Park the next day, chilling out with big name directors and actors in the bright sunglasses-shaded morning, looking up at the Dakota and around at all the regal dulled splendour of faded apartment buildings. Lying back on a bench among the flowers and listening to the increase in traffic: human traffic building and building through the irregular bouncing feet of a succession of comedy joggers; marathon men and women, sweating in unison on the dust track around the glittering reservoir.
Sitting near the Imagine circle, listening as a grey bearded old man in a dirty suit played a wistful flute for the shot one caught among the rye, the black arms of trees marking the gold morning sun around Strawberry Fields.
Descending into the dark subway with the chipped white tiled walls and the wind streaming down the tunnels, then seeing the train, the people, the crowds, and the movement to and fro, here and there, and a man with no body from the waist-down, going up and down the train swinging his torso like a pendulum, a Pepsi bucket of coins carried in his mouth landing with a jingle after every swing of the arms.
Getting off the subway, climbing up to the light and across the Brooklyn Bridge out of town, looking back at the mix of faded grey and sparkling silver on the skyline. Pausing to take a photograph of two gorgeous, giggling, bronzed Hispanic girls bemused and / or amused by my accent, the graffiti-stained, rusting steel girders alongside, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance over to my right.
Standing with the East River glistening benignly in the sunlight before me, then turning left onto the street, before walking back across the blue and white painted Manhattan Bridge, glancing back at the Brooklyn Bridge in all its ageing glory, with its tilting stone parapets and suspension wires like strands of fine hair glistening in patterns.
Peering through the plastic fencing of the Manhattan Bridge, down at fat tugs plodding through the flat expanse of blue, a flash of a mile of sunlit white alongside. Gazing down into Chinatown with its smell and its bustle and its graffiti covered back yard walls in the shadow of the city, beneath the ornate towers of the magnates of the past, hustling, bustling, toiling, oiling, boiling, broiling.
Catching a subway to Battery Park, deciding not to regret life, and then getting on the Staten Island ferry to the land of the anti-climax…waiting around for the dark, looking back over at the Manhattan skyline, seemingly immovable, distant, distinct, tiny. Watching ferries going back every half an hour, sirens ringing out and the human rush to go back: men, women and children jumping over turnstiles, clambering on board, and then making the return journey to the science fiction cityscape: the Blade Runner night time, with skyscrapers like mountains of stars. Catching the subway back and listening to an old man singing baritone and rattling an accompanying musical bag of coins, then giving him all my dimes and walking up the steps to look up at the red, white and blue peak of the Empire State, high in the star-bright night. Then the next day in Greenwich Village, sitting outside a café on the corner of McDougall and Bleaker Street gulping coffee, looking around at the white on green street signs, the yellow painted traffic lights, the poster filled lampposts and the iron wire trash bins. Getting up to look around at the clubs, The Blue Note where Bird and Bessie and Miles and ’Trane played, the Café Wha? where Hendrix and Dylan played, and the Bitter End where Springsteen played, all playing, all in my head, music swirling and swirling around with espresso logic.
Going to Ground Zero to see the old church with all the flowers outside it, in the shadow of the huge empty space where the ghosts of twin towers whispered sad falling songs to those stood there looking at nothing. A building site of sadness, mud and dust and dirt alongside the ashes of American flags, and then other American flags, with redneck, loyal, sensitive, beautiful, brutal, foolish, sublime, poetic, heartfelt and genuine messages; scrawled and printed on the fabric between the blue stripes. Then making my way out in the wake of a reverent and respectful silence, smiling at a jolly sculpture of silver stone construction workers sat together eating sandwiches.
Drifting home in the muggy evening dark, hiding on the back streets, looking in windows, shops and hushed delis, where old men and women watched tellies, and then moving on, feeling the whole world trembling beneath my feet and the pavements steaming with heat. Back to the YMCA, up to my room, the TV’s all around me bouncing their adverts through my walls, and the heat pipes still rattling and rattling and the radiators mercifully off but still banging, and the sirens ringing in the heat and the humidity. Lying stagnant between the scrapers, naked on the bed, sweating, wanting to sleep, not being able to sleep, getting up, getting the guide book, reading with eyes straining, waiting for the next day, and then the dim light slowly being turned up: the sun behind buildings, still and cool.
Shuffling down to breakfast, past the pensioners running to the pool in their plastic bathing caps, with their proud, half-naked, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty year old bodies and serving myself and watching a very, very fat man smothering dozens of pancakes in a syrup that slithered around his mouth and down his front, and seeing his example and doing the same, but in my case stocking up, fuelling up for the day, churning it up, taking it in: fruit salad, muffins, coffee, pancakes.
Seeing the Chelsea Hotel, elegant, old and beautiful, red brick and balconies black. The house of artist ghosts, with gold plated plaques on the outside dedicated to James Schuyler, Brendan Behan and Thomas Wolfe; god’s lonely man, and Dylan Thomas; who sailed out from there to die; and reading in the guide book a tenuous tale about Jack Kerouac writing like a madman. Wandering around and then taking a break, going to a tiny cinema in the West Village and watching a film called The 400 Blows; sitting in a city of movies watching a movie, funny and true, with a freeze frame at the end leaving me beautifully blue.
Striding out into the sun, wanting to run, just for fun. Sitting in the park looking up at the Empire State, going down Sixth Avenue and waiting in the queue, then getting in the lift and listening to a laid-back old guy fielding the same gags over and over, yes, up and down every day, eighty eight floors then more, okay. Then walking out of the lift and feeling as though I was making small steps onto the surface of the world for the very first time. Squinting at everything in microcosm before me, right down to the Financial District and into the water beyond and the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island again and the tiny models of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.
Circling around and around as others stood looking at plastic replicas of the building, not looking out of the window where a quarter of the world seemed to stretch around past the greenery of Central Park, round to the swamps of New Jersey; the state of gardens; like Staten Island, a moth beside a light bulb; the hot dusty light bulb of Manhattan, shining bright in the middle of it all. Then waiting until dark, until the city lights flickered on to replace the light of the sun, in intermittent jewelled dots sprinkled across the darkness.
The next day, taking in the Whitney, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Edward Hopper paintings in a Whitney room alone, Rothko in the Met, a long twisting Pollock, a Buddhist mural two hundred feet high, and Picasso and Cezanne. Drinking coffee and looking out of the window at the park, and then going to MOMA for free and seeing Lichtenstein’s big comics on the walls amid the crowds, and sitting down in a brief air-conditioned respite from heat. Then gazing at the pale, circular banded spaceship of the Guggenheim, standing alone before the park in all its mighty white.
Going to the public library guarded by lions, full of whispering mice, corridors, chandeliers and books, yes books, but with no time for books. Down into the dark underground again and getting off at Union Square and watching a busking set of black brothers in basketball vests doing somersaults and back-flips to a blazing stereo, round and round, over and over; their feet scraping the ceiling.
Back up to the light, finding the day had gone cold, scanning Time Out and seeing so many choices, so many things to do, and going off to the New School with famous poets and writers reading for free. Listening as Robert Creeley reads his poems and steals the show so much that I go off and buy his book, and he signs it for me and talks to me. Telling me that he has more time to write now and so his poems are often longer, and making me feel like I’m with one of the poets of forever, with his calm and his serenity and his profundity; the vision he encompasses in one seeing eye. Then walking out into the humid night, going back to Battery Park and sitting on a bench, peeking up at the stars and gazing across the East River to the blinking lights of Brooklyn.
Riding the rails the next day; the steel horse running on rails, and going back to Central Park and lying on a bench in the sun. Then going up to the Bronx and getting paranoid: perceiving a tinge of meanness in the air, before seeing the giant letters of Yankee stadium and Budweiser, Budweiser, Budweiser emblazoned on water tanks and rooftops and lorries in red flashes. Walking through Harlem and along Malcolm X Boulevard and Dr Martin Luther King Jnr Boulevard and seeing the Apollo, going into a soul food diner and eating black-eyed peas and potato salad, listening to two old men sitting at the counter speaking about black history and jazz. Smiling to a sweet old lady dressed in pink and the geezer at the counter with a tweed suit on and a feather in his hat, then strolling like a black panther down the street, past all the book stalls, walking back over to Marcus Garvey Park, quiet save for schoolchildren on the basketball court; hoop dreaming beneath the twisted bare trees, climbing up the steps to an incongruous bell tower and surveying Spanish Harlem, and sauntering back down into the subway for a ride; the sweet steel ride back uptown to the glamour of 42nd street, to walk around Times Square among the camera-clicking crowds, multicoloured screens and neon dreams...
sat in front off me
a blue Denim jacket
but it looks purple
Purple as like the sky.
Purple as like the light shirts
Purple as my ex's
Purple as the sea
which we walked on
where I fell asleep
and woke up
looking like a lobster
and couldn't sleep
on my stomach
for two nights after.
Purple as your daughter's
who looks at me
with a cruel like stare
after you try to tell her
and she says
And I nearly say
well, it wasn't my
choice to be born
He’s done it a hundred times in public.
Now he’s going to set it down on disc,
For posterity to marvel at.
Ladies and gentlemen!
The maestro is about to begin.
Fats Waller to break!
The cue ball sizzles up the table.
Five, ten, fifteen times it returns to baulk.
The pyramid begins to crumble.
Suddenly an opening appears.
In goes a red. Yes!
In goes a black. That’s right!
That one touched the side of the pocket. Mercy!
He’s got a kick!
I’ll say he has!
Clean the white ball please, John.
He’s regained position.
This black, and one more red and black,
Will leave his opponent needing snookers.
Who is his opponent by the way?
In they go!
Now he can relax.
The pace accelerates.
The balls begin to fly.
The colours crash to the backs of the pockets.
The cue ball moves at his command.
His right hand explores the extremes of the keyboard,
Delighting in its creative daring.
His left hand lays down a solid bass,
Every note struck with perfect accuracy.
At last he’s on the colours.
It’s academic now.
Yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and Smack!
In goes the final black.
What shall we call the tune, Fats?
I don’t know ……
Fistful of keys?
Fuck me, London.
I’m here on a trip. Please, take grip.
Ride our car. Topless.
Bare back seat. Rip our roof wide.
Shoot your London spurt inside.
Fuck me alive. I came dead.
Fuck London breath into my head.
Remind me how to breathe,
Fuck me, screaming. Fuck me, dumb.
Fuck me, London, then fuck my Mum.
Yes! Mum. Fuck. We can swear here.
Bold queer. No fear.
Imagine divorcing my Step Dad, Mum,
then you’d always feel like this.
London fucking you! London fucking me!
London, smokey fit.
Let’s stay. Be gay!
Cramped crowd stiff.
Graffiti smacked on barest brick.
Polluted mouths. Fucking loud!
Gimme the keys. Mum, please
don’t take us home to the cruel country.
Marc Bolan was killed by a tree.
Let me be fuck... like Freddie Mercury!
Acid served by naked dwarves.
Mum, aren’t these things you applaud?
Aren’t you stardust? T-Rex gold?
Don’t let marriage turn you old.
That wedding ring’s a circle of hate.
Let London fuck us, Mum. Don’t wait.
That wedding ring is a circle of fear.
Bet my real Dad’s fucking here.
And we strut about preening and glittering with wit.
Stopped long enough to attract each other
Admired our credentials embellishing our already brilliant personae
And tried to love.
Which means taking the cloaks off.
Two deadly assassins of love, our internal observers
Analysing, assessing, covering like leprous leotards,
like clinging lycra,
As we search for gaps in each other's defences
And stop up the chinks in our own.
Shooting down emotions with logic
And the future, our future, with reason and hellish realism.
Just sometimes, not often but sometimes,
I've felt that we've managed true nakedness.
Thrown off all the fabricated material and intellectual crap.
The Emperor and Empress have discarded their peacock clothes,
Lying together mutually limbed and comfortable,
Allowing the simple truthful words out:
Please love me but don't trap me.
I need you. I want you. I love you.
Therefore I am vulnerable.
Don't hurt me.
Love me massively but not blindly.
Don't be my slave.
Don't be hurt by me.
I fear both betrayal and boredom.
Let us not destroy each other,
Though let us have the power to do so.
Let's put everything into it.
Let's show and be the real us.
Let's do it.
Please be as I have dreamed.
Getting to where love needs to be,
To that basic kernel of all human love -
Dumb holding and hoping.
Dumb holding and hoping.
Here are the roots of the tree of knowledge.
Every leaf takes sustenance from their
Intrepid delvings into unknown soil,
Their widening boundaries of the edge
Of the possible, their decades of care,
Their exhaustive paean to incessant toil.
But for the labour of long-dead minds, where
Would even the flimsiest pamphlet be?
Years of learning and etymology
Are the secret story that all words share.
These are more than just dusty aides memoire,
Redundant tomes from an obsolete age;
Here lie the Principia of all things,
The first utterings of the way things are.
The writer may be made a fool or sage
By posterity’s take on what fate brings
But each idea is more path than cage
And there are pleasures in false diversion.
Truth is not all one gets from immersion
In the rivers that flow from ancient page.
of motor function come to think of it
was gradual but even sudden as it did
appear was not a shock. When you have
disposed your own limbs like a puppeteer
started dressing yourself down in shops
wake suspicious after dreams and can’t
decay on carpets you will accept
Cocaine covered bullet
Explodes inside a brain.
Red milk, grey shards,
Pebbledash the floor
Lifeless stricken stain.
Hitman, death squad,
Walk out through the door
Into the acid rain.
Gangland, drug war,
Shooting through the street
Into a ruptured vein.
Terrorise the weak
Taxing the insane.
Nightclubs, white lines,
Gangsters run the town
Doling out the pain.
Doped up, bombed out,
Razored in the face
It’s Manchester’s refrain.
the nature of birds
how you are like one;
you trip over your feet’s awkward twigs
Balance, once you’ve found it,
On the edge of flight.
Your words are thick as gravel
still as a lake beneath trees
Slyly I hide things from you
I hide the bright parts of myself
That moment I saw a skyline
refract and break on the sea
thought, this is the cleanest image
I will ever own.
You speak about
the nature of love
as if we’ve found out its secrets.
You’re winging your way
from countries you don't visit –
on the time difference –
blue biro slashes
carving out the weather.
Your ethno-tat dresser
parades puppets –
frames of the family
wearing nothing but beach-huts,
a brass Eiffel tower.
You live these images
we got you your own passport.
But then you can't speak French.
Can't stomach all the fuss.
And how would you climb Mt. Fuji
anyway, on your bad leg?
We travel through three worlds aware of one
but all merge together, collaborating
I tread gravel under boot through this summer,
and batter down the spring under a bathroom shower.
This is the cum on the touch light, the clenched pencil
in primary school, the sweet rust of sharpeners on teeth
the legs of Ms Payne, her scarlet skirt of serial killers,
the lobster-like thoughts of laced panties.
This is the wine threshed weeping without tongues,
a cream pie at the Bukkake party of rust
Wordsworth is a girl to fuck and fall in love with
she works in a bakers shop on my holiday near the lakes.
We travel through three worlds aware of one
but all merge together, collaborating
We are crowned and cowering,
laminated and alive
Halo kneed and late for tea.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
we, harbourers of wild aspirations,
drunk in subterranean drinking dens.
red raw throat cries of illumination
by golden light of flickering candles
in wine bottles, wax dripping onto tables,
ice crackles and melts into warm whiskey.
we, sots of a wasted generation
viewing the earth through pint glass monocle.
high definition dreams spewing from mouths
with our eyes red as the surrounding brick.
our thirsts satiated with cheap liquor,
we knee jarred swagger, blag paths to nowhere.
our anaesthetized minds float, swirl skyward,
our words smash sink in stormy purple seas.
“I know I am but summer to your heart.”
Southern: hot and sticky, blazing sun
Southern: hot and sticky, blazing sun
I know I am southern, hot and sticky,
but summer to your blazing sun-heart.
Or English and damp, dank and cold
Or English and damp, dank and cold
Almost an autumn of sorts, preparing to die
Almost an autumn of sorts, preparing to die
Almost preparing to die, dank and cold
Or an autumn English damp and of sorts.
Still, you come to explore what lies like territory
Still, you come to explore what lies like territory
And coils back at your touch—wavering, shy
And coils back at your touch—wavering, shy
You come to explore what coils back like territory
And still lies at your touch, wavering, shy.
I am hot and sticky, damp, dank or cold,
and, to your heart, almost an autumn territory.
Southern and still, blazing sun coils, wavering at your touch.
I know you like summer lies.
Preparing sorts of English shy, come back
to explore but what, and to die?
* a line from a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay
He stutters under the weather
air tumbled and wet, a feather
fall, a fossil fern, a living coal.
He calls in the lichen skinned trees
swings down softly, rips up a heart.
He is night without stars, ink without paper,
sin without soul, miner without pit, is crow.
He can be shiny blue in his Sunday best, but
he prefers horizontal rain, toppled bins, and
the little windfalls of golden eagle chicks.
A black bearded sky pirate, a flying anarchist flag, the devil in drag,
a spit of ink from a death warrant, an iron filing pulled towards sin,
a blot on the landscape, landing mob winged, familiar with witches,
neck deep in dead lambs, crisp bags, and the shortbread of tourists.
a tiny thorn in the chink of my armour
where you left it
knowing full well it would begin,
a postal chain of thought
that would lead me back to you
now the songs sing more clearly
all that time dusted off the notes
you were one of the black keys
there to divide the life i lead
sharp or flat it
it all depends from which side
its looked at
you told me
the other side never made much sense
that it was the means that justifies everything in between
but I've seen the white walled daylight
and the sun would fall easy for me
if I could believe an ending still exists
you should use this moment
to realise now is not all we have
The masques become apparent
As the orchestra take their places
Music sheets absent from stands
The violinist’s bow glistens gracefully
As he begins to play the first note
The imagined conductor, raised arms
Begins the nights entertainment
Gowns flow across the floor
Sweeping away settled dust
As the tapping of dance shoes
Accommodates the faint music
Coat tails hang limp in wait
Hands held out, gloved, holding masques
Eyes meet across distances
So my eyes search for the familiar
As the gentle swaying begins
The Gown folded neatly around me
Revealing pale flesh above
Glowing beneath the candlelight
Flickering in shadows between time
I spy that ruby, Deep Red
Set high in a band of Gold
Decayed through time, heritance
Beckoning me forwards, hypnotising
As your fingers close, pushing
The Red Ruby becomes prominent
Catching the flicker of a flame close by
I see you longer
As you sweep behind the column
Snaking around unnoticed
As the flames hold many secrets
The masques conceal identity
I feel a sudden rush of air
Warm as though from your lungs
The flame so kind beside me
Flickers once more, then darkness.
I am surrounded by you
The music continues unknowing
I feel your warm fingers close
Trail down the nape of my neck
Follow the loose tendrils hanging
Gently caressing, releasing me
You take hold of the lace
Dark against my skin
You pull harder than expected
And from my hand it falls
What concealed my only secret
I turn sharply in your direction
In that moment I see truth
As the music haunts my thoughts
Your eyes fall deep into me
Taking my hand you lead, I follow
Into the moving bodies with time
Each beat and stroke of a string
Guiding them in perfect unison
We fall into place, a perfect fit
As your steps show me the way
Paving a path destined for me
You teach me the art of seduction
So gently does your Ruby Ring
Stand aside from my dark gown
Black interwoven with forest green
With a spot of blood within
Where your eyes pierced my soul
You move in closer yet
Seems you are not satisfied
With a mere dance with a gentle lady
As nature would have its hold
I hear it gently whisper in my ear
Telling me of actions yet to come
A warm flush creeps up from within
I lower my gaze, rest my tired head
As though intoxicated from sounds
You see this as your opportunity
My flawless unscarred skin awaits
As you pierced my soul deep
Your lips lock and you begin to take
My breath expires into you
Un-deterring you from further action
Keeping you enticed, your hold quickens
As does the striking of strings
Pale ivory keys, decayed with time
Punctuated pleasantly with Black
I feel your power pushing me
The cold stone against my bare back
Your life forces now coursing through
My once unscarred mind, body & soul
Yet it seems this is not enough
You pull away, quickened breath, unsatisfied
I seek solitude in the dark
Now pleasantly surrounding me
Attempts to regain composure
Soon falls short, unfulfilled
I feel you force me further
Your darkness now comes closer
Freezing my ability to repel
You seek to fulfil your desire
And from the pulsing of the music
My blood pulsates through that vein
Each beat mimicking the cold plucking
Of a string tied taut between poles
Which like a predator your gaze falls upon
You move fast, forward
Seeking your nectar of life
And the physical piercing of skin
I hear it break, bringing pain
Gently using your tongue
Guiding the pain away
I find pleasure in your action
Like the embarrassed maiden
My gaze turns away
As you drink your fill
Finally satisfied you heal me
Leaving not a mark to tell
But a drop, almost a shadow of your Ruby
Sits silently above a tender breast
Holding onto the column for strength
As my blood now runs smooth
Intoxicating you with innocence
Bowing low before me in gratitude
Your hand finds my velvet masque
Raising your head, eyes searching
Place it gently in my hand
A promise of a future meeting
A token of what has been
the afternoon / don’t turn it off.
They have come from
the past say the
cut and collars.
On new build estates / overspill
housing. Friend said
there’s a growing wave / re
- newed interest in
Inevitable nostalgic twinge.
So-called technological advances
/ half-way accomplishing
a subduing of nature.
Winter and shaved heads.
The tangle of motivations unpicked.
More difficult still when
considering the unknown of
cultural. Nothing but impressed.
I will sponsor you
£50.00. Can be done online.
If targets aren’t met
in this office your team-leader can
A photo for the blog / not taken
/ reasons wanted uncertain. In
Chinese buffets she gets some funny looks.
Talking and writing rejected.
No longer considered of much worth.
When I was 6.
I got told I would struggle
With pink’s and grey’s
When I was 6.
I got told I would struggle
Telling blue’s and purple apart
When I was 6.
I got told I would
Never become a train driver
And lots of other jobs
I had never
Back when I was 6.
So I became a poet
And now get words mixed up
Instead of colours.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Portland, tram lines, pricking pyramids
with headlines, holding cobbled hordes,
head-aching hour bells, claustrophobia:
‘Everybody’s watching you
when you follow the line.’
‘With a flat, incessant forward climb
She drinks a round of bottled wine,
A static shadow moves, behind
Nearly morning, ‘nearly mine’.’
Bench-like, sat on a woman outside
(grinding writhes inside),
but then I thought I maybe shouldn’t.
Dying tree-like drooping down
over her corpulent face,
slick white hair, opulent rare,
couldn’t help listening, her groaning urine skirt for cats,
stranded, ripped and wrenched, outside a red-brick flat.
‘Fat, fluorescent concubine,
Drink the sound and hear the wine,
Fat, fluorescent concubine,
Smell the taste, sounds divine.’
It hailstones for a couple hundred seconds:
startling as she left the corner,
ending as I get through the door, swipe card turned around,
standing with her tongue on the glass licking a cross shape on the window
while wine trickles out of the crevice of her mouth.
Black eyes, and yellow cracks,
hair was falling like snow on the fag packets
of intelligent Neolithic man’s waste:
‘I know what you don’t want to know.
I don’t believe in limitless roads.
I don’t believe in howling ghosts.
I don’t believe in seconds, I do believe in hours, but not days.
I don’t believe in stealthy forms, but movements in alleyways where their
stealth is worn.
I don’t believe in rising day, but falling hourly, fright falls away,
I don’t believe. I don’t believe in suffocating fumes
But breathe, resonate, impulse, cry out, far and finger-wide, cry out!’
Friday, 1 May 2009
firstly we have just set up a blog at www.unsungmanchester.blogs
not only that but we're also tweeting...so if you also like the concise textual spewings of twitter come and follow us on www.twitter.com/unsungmaga
finally, the news you've all been waiting for...we've got our next issue in mid-production AND we've got our next launch night organised at the thirsty scholar on 31st May!!! WOW! make sure you keep the date free and we will garnish you with some more details nearer the time...
we're still accepting submissions for the next issue, so if you'd like us to publish your poetry, prose etc then email your work to firstname.lastname@example.org
bloodshot eyes devoid of shine.
fairytales left far behind,
truth and myth become entwined.
pussy sores, stained fingertips,
skeletal frame, blistered lips.
vulgar states can't be suppressed,
self destruction, self detest.
sombre thoughts of piety
in moments of sobriety.
drown in drink, in drugs immersed,
shelter from this universe.
the curtain falls, the final scene
nothing left but tales and dreams,
a wasted youth, debauched, obscene.
say farewell to the libertine.