Friday, 30 August 2019

To Rest In Peace
They were men of the north
suitably suited
in black dense as new hewed coal
or dark grey shiny as wet slate
or, rarely, the midnight blue
of a northern night sky.
It was a formal occasion
this laying to rest
of the dull grey
past known,
of the bright red
future hoped for.
They laid them to rest
with broken flowers
petals crushed
with ashes
and dust.
It was a formal occasion
this laying to rest
in peace
or not.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Vase
The kitchen looked tired and worn
like my mother did,
the last time I saw her there.
I felt no nostalgia for it.
It was not my childhood kitchen.
It held no special memories,
I thought.
And then,
I saw the vase on the counter top.
My friend found it on the Kings Road.
Bought it and brought it home.
I’d asked her to buy me something,
a souvenir of swinging London.
She bought the vase.
I never much liked it.
Dark and bulbous,
it spent most of it’s time at my mother’s,
though she didn’t like it much either.
Then time stole it away,
took it from my memory,
erased it.
And now,
here it is again, sharp as ever
bringing the past home
as it stands empty
on the counter top.
It seems that her death
invested in it a poignancy
that it had not known before.
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All humans seek love. It is the basis of our existence, the song that makes life warm and meaningful. In spite of the daily anger and meanness with which we are encountered in today's heated political climate, an anthology that speaks of love is a strong protest and refusal to give in to the forc...

Friday, 23 August 2019

Where Equivalence Goes To Die
We soon found out that Native Americans
were the bad guys.
We watched the Hollywood portrayals
of the cowardly braves
deserving of death
and the brave, honest settlers
who rightly prevailed.
If propaganda is successful
it won’t even be recognised.
And successful it was for a long time.
That is not to say
that all ‘indians’ were good people,
that they never committed atrocities
or preached hatred and abuse.
But the power was so disproportionate
that they could be no equivalence.
The scales were already tipping over.
To pretend balance was possible
would be a distortion.
Then there were the Nazi’s.
No one now thinks that
their arguments
of superiority,
of paranoia and racism
should find an open ear.
But ears were open then.
Wide open.
And eyes were closed to
enslavement,
starvation
and death.
That is not to say
that all Jews, Slavs and gypsies were good people,
that they never committed atrocities
or preached hatred and abuse.
But the power was so disproportionate
that they could be no equivalence.
The scales were already tipping over.
To pretend balance was possible
would be a distortion.
And in South Africa, a new ideology,
separate development
for the benefit of each culture.
So it was justified
in the propaganda,
the dominant discourse.
And it found the open ears
of the powerful.
So segregated townships were created
and Bantustan homelands.
far away.
Separation, control,
humiliation, harassment,
impoverishment, exploitation.
That is not to say
that all the black people were good,
that they never committed atrocities
or preached hatred and abuse.
But the power was so disproportionate
that they could be no equivalence.
The scales were already tipping over.
To pretend balance was possible
would be a distortion.
And now in Israel
the same game is being played,
separation, control,
humiliation, harassment,
impoverishment,
destruction, death
with the same justifications,
the same ears open
to the powerful,
closed to the oppressed
That is not to say
that all Palestinians are good people,
that they never commit atrocities
or preach hatred and abuse.
But the power is so disproportionate
that they can be no equivalence.
The scales are already tipping over.
To pretend balance is possible
would be a distortion.
So now we must wait
for some ears to be closed
and others to be opened
as history moves on
relentlessly.
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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

On A Sunny Sunday
It was a sunny Sunday,
a perfect day.
So he dressed them in their
Sunday best
and they went to the park
to play on the swings
and roundabouts.
My father.
My half brother and sister
on a sunny Sunday.
They were surprised
to meet her
as they walked home.
They were surprised
to see that
she was carrying a suitcase.
They were surprised
when she said goodbye.
They didn’t believe it
so they went home
to their new council house
to wait.
She never came back.
It had not been a happy home.
She could be violent.
But it was their home.
She never came back.
So they moved to his parents
where they were
only grudgingly accepted.
It was not a happy move
but it was the best he could do.
Sometimes on a sunny Sunday
she would leave the hospital,
escape in search of her family.
But they never found each other
again.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

COME FOR A SWIM
“Come for a swim,” they said
and I thought “why not?”
It would be a new experience for me.
I’d looked over from my field and seen the pool,
seen the children laughing and splashing
and moving through the water so easily.
What an adventure it would be!
I pushed through a gap in the fence,
ran right up to the edge
and jumped!
I hadn’t expected to sink.
The children hadn't sunk.
What will happen if I go lower?
Already my feet don’t touch the ground,
if there is any ground under this water.
“Come for a swim,” they said,
I should have tried to fly
I’m sure pigs can fly.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Eye Contact
Look at me.
Hey, look at me.
I’m here
I’m real,
a real person
and I like you a lot.
You’re really special.
Hey look at me,
look into my eyes.
Look at me!
How the fuck
can I look at you
when you keep
kissing my eyes closed!

Friday, 16 August 2019

This Time
Before my time,
they used to line the streets
with the heads 
of the defeated stuck on pikes,
heads
which rotted away in time
leaving only the pikes
standing empty.
This time
too little remains to separate
heads from bodies,
there’s too little left
to identify the defeated.
Winners and losers are all
remnants
in the rubble of the city.
If there are survivors
they could take empty helmets
and set them on pikes
instead.
The pikes would
rot away first
this time.
But there’s too little left
and there’s no one
to do it
and
no one
left
to see it
this time.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Leaving
Last night at the theatre I saw you again,
Your smile in a face so much younger.
My confusion, my thoughts, my stares made him turn
and your warm smile chilled me
with ice melting now from the long frozen lock,
the key turning freely to let out our past.
And my past, and it’s future all came flooding back,
the shock of sensations long gone.
The dance and the music, the books that we read,
the memories that we must both have
of the pain and the pleasures,
that were part of our love
such a long time ago.
So I ask myself now, can anything stay
to give pleasure to us in remembering those days?
For my remnants now seem to be only pain,
and their sadness engulfs me
and halts my return.
So I left, in the end, as I left you, my love,
Saying nothing, taking nothing,
leaving nothing behind.
Without saying goodbye.

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Saying nothing, taking nothing, leaving nothing behind. Without saying goodbye.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

This Is Not An Egg
The egg box was so sculptural with it’s peaks and troughs
like a metaphor, a mirror of life in textured paper,
I thought a giant version could easily become
an acclaimed art installation
and I thought I could make it.
And then I remembered the glasses
left behind in a museum of modern art
by error or intent,
real glasses,
not the “ne sont pas les lunettes”
Magrittean sort,
I could feel some guerrilla art hatching inside me.
I fetched the pot egg from under the broody hen
and pondered the possibilities on the way to the gallery.
There, I placed the egg box on a table,
sneaked it in
between the other exhibits
then I placed the Magrittean egg inside.
Just the one egg seemed most fitting
especially since one was all I had.
I had already written the title card.
Such a work deserved two titles
one above and one below the artist’s name,
my name, of course.
First came: “THIS IS NOT AN EGG”
and underneath:
“THIS IS NOT AN EXHIBIT”
It was perfectly placed
and looked magnificently subversively ironic.
I think Magritte would be proud of my effort.
And now I must wait
to see if anyone notices.
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An international biannual online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.