I Write To Still My Inside Songs

 


I write to still my inside songs.

But words escape, they flutter fecklessly away.

I grit my teeth and bite my tongue.

Verbal tics have possessed me lifelong.
The disguises are displaying exponential decay.
I write to still my inside songs,

to shackle them with cursive ink where they belong;
expression of ignorant impression of air from within clay.
I grit my teeth and bite my tongue.

The context is lost and meter and meaning are both wrong
But phrases form perfume and colour my spiritual bouquet.
I write to still my inside songs.

And sometimes they're dripping with venom and vengeance from forked prong
But I never claimed to be Virtue in any morality play.
I grit my teeth and bite my tongue.

It's the battle to wrestle harpy squawk into birdsong
Sit and scribe, instead of say.
I write to still my inside songs.
I grit my teeth and bite my tongue. 

Davey Jones

 

This body of water
Swallows bodies of our daughters,
 bones of our sons.
Unforgiving, dark, forbidding, 
Rolling roar at sinking sun.
Beneath, the beasts,
Insatiable, sleek,
Electrical activity
That signals what they seek.
Saline gargle, Panicked splashing,
Telltale sound of surface slapping
Sensing from distant continents
the scent of stress incontinence.
Heavy, tired, socks that slide
half way off feet
Already freezing,
Tiny
speck
of life
in ocean vastness
Muster all the power that you can harness,
Burning core, your microcosm
Water scorched and adrenaline sodden,
Rages in futility
Against elemental inevitability.

Release air, relinquish earth,
Extinguish fire and become water.

Hypoxia hallucinations,
Visions, sounds and strange sensations
Faces, flashes of conversations
In unfamiliar situations.

And pain.

And then peace.

Consciousness incorporeal,
Subaquatic, state surreal.
Watch from without
As you wash away
And lose the ability to feel.

No more pain
No more rage
No more age
No more aching
No more taking breaths before you speak.
No more breaths.
Only freedom.
Go with the waves.
Let them take you away.

This body of water
Swallows bodies of our daughters
And bones of our sons.







#solwayharvester #drowning #lostatsea #nautical #daveyjoneslocker #poem #poetry #amwriting 

The Monster Under The Bed

 

My mother always shushed me when I went to her and said
"I think there's a monster hiding underneath my bed"
She said to me "you silly bean,
All that's there is mess.
Did you think I hadn't noticed?
It's time that you confessed
To your scurryfunge scullduggery
Honesty is best"
Well, frankly I was not in the mood
For lectures on my housework
Or lack of it.
I pursued it once again,
"It's there, I know,  I heard it move
I thought I saw some eyes,
When I tried to trap it with my books
And muddy docs, size 5.
I heard snoring earlier, I swear it! No, I did!
How can you be so sure there's no monster under my bed?"
"Because monsters, my love, live
 in story books
And in the hearts of man.
I explain that when you're older.
You'll learn to understand. 
They aren't interested in your ankles,
Or giving wriggling toes bites.
They are not photophobic
Now turn off your light."
I held on to her dressing gown as she tried to leave
and once again persisted. I began to plead,
"But what if it gets me, what will I do?
Can I shout you if it happens?
Will you come through?"
Exasperated  now, she sighed;
"Look, there isn't a monster,
That noise is your belly, or maybe it's sounds from the radio, or telly.
I'm tired, it's late, go to sleep,
Don't complain..
I don't want to have to come through again."
"Ok then, mummy, if you are sure"
Placated, I was; reclined and demure.
"Love you mummy, sleep well, good night"
"Schlaft gut" was her automatic, heartfelt reply.
The light was extinguished, the footsteps retreated
I lay in my duvet  cocoon anticipating
Silence.
After 5 minutes of adjusting eyes
The shadows were forming into threatening guise.
And then I heard it, the little scrabble thump
Of the creature residing beneath my bunk.
I rolled to the wall and pulled up my feet
My fear crystallising into gritted teeth.
I turned again, foetal, now blankets dishevelled
And gingerly stretched out my fingers the level
of the corner of the bed,
And gave them a wave
And a savage white claw shot up out of the grave.
I yelped and pulled back,
Heard a disgruntled snort.
And my anxiety giggle was horrifying caught
In my throat, trying desperately to stay quiet.
I don't want to be part of the monster's diet.
Hand wounds aren't easy to explain
And bite Mark's are obvious quadrants of pain
And if there is evidence that the monster is real,
then mummy might actually get down and kneel
And find you! And we can't really have that,
Can we, my darling, secret, feral cat?




Green Eyed Monster

 

This year, of all it's hardships

This year, of all it's woes.

This year of lessons, battles, losses, hurt and heaviness and sorrow.

Has been particularly difficult
For writers of dystopian allegororical ilk.

No  matter how outlandish
Or seemingly absurd
It's all plays out in news reports
Almost word for word.
From fire and murder Hornets
To plague and civil rights
Through the gauntlet of grotesqueries
To the scuttling at night
Of genetically modified crayfish clones
Eating cholera corpses down to the bones
In the waterways of a graveyard
In a major European city.
None of it's very pretty.
So this year, I have focused
My (by nature, admittedly a bit goth) brain,
On learning how to smile again.
As happiness is a revolutionary act.

My concrete corner,
Unwelcome altar of
Windswept plastic offerings
To the God of down-at-heel seaside towns
Crisp packets,  chippy wrappers,
Discarded masks,
Encroaching valerian, damp and doll sized dunes
Became a waving wash of wafting treasure.
I had finally cracked under the pressure.
The need to nurture is less what this was about,
More the need to beautify.
So I began haphazardly.
Went to the garden centre to see
What sacrificial flora I could adopt.
I've never stopped trying to grow things.
It's just that I have black thumbs and sap-stained fingers,
From all plants I've killed over the years.
But the indoor ones, for me, it seems
Were too fragile and subject to neuroses,
They'd sulk themselves to death
after a couple of months of neglect.
Outdoor plants, though!
A brand new world of possibilities.
I started with just a couple,
Something that's hard to kill.
Flaming lady shrubberies
A statement, if you will.
The smiling assistant assured me
It didn't need much care.
Just a spot that wasn't too windy
And some pruning here and there.
Well.
I put them down and on they grew,
New scarlett leaves unfurling.
Eye pleasing and inobtrusive,
My experiment conclusive,
The plants brought me joy.
Now. I'm a product of a culture
And of a generation spoiled.
Millenials, we whine and grouse
About our lack of toys.
But we were born in the 80s,
where excess was the goal
And when we find something that dopamine hits
We fall into addiction roles.
I didnt mean for all of it
To get so out of hand.
That flaming lady beckoned, you see
And I accepted her junglist plans.
The next trip I checked all the labels.
The corner we had was quite dark.
We get 2 hours of sun in the morning
So we had to have shade loving plants.
It took me what felt like forever
Methodically checking the charts
For sun dials and seasons and meaning
Behind the corporate cartoonists art.
Eventually I made my choices, picked out some pots too.
Went to the counter to pay for it all
And encountered Snooty Boots Sue.
She smiled and welcomed the greenlings
To be zapped in their barcode baptism
Then turned to me to ask questions
And referred to the plants all in Latin.
I shrugged and explained my new passion,
Confessed my ignorance of it all.
So Sue turned her sizable nose up
Pursed her lips, crossed her arms and drawled
"Oh I see. You're a new gardener"
As if new made me automatic scum.
"You will need some compost to go with this,
Can you guess which is the right one?"
She gestured a bingo winged arm to her left,
I Dreadingly looked to my right
A wall of colourful plastic sacks
Of variously composted shite.
I hadn't a clue,  I shrugged again
"The one with the flowers?" I guessed.
"Nooo" she sneered, ample chest in grey wool.
 "The blue bag for you would be best".
As she was taking my payment she asked,
"Where have you left your car?"
"No, I actually-"
"What?"she interrupted,
"Without it you wont get far"
The notes of disdain and triumph were there.
And her haughtiness was just too much.
"I'll be fine " I shot back, my shoulders squared,
Teeth gritted, jawline jut.
She smiled at me sweetly,
And said "if you're sure.
Here, let me help you"
I looked at the floor,
I looked at the sides, I looked at my stuff
I realised that Hercules himself would find it quite tough
To carry it.
It's that old 80s lifestyle, the drive of must have more.
I'm not making excuses, an explanation is all.
But I'd come this far. She couldn't win
So i sorted out my freight
One on the back, hands full, under arm
Ceramics! It was some weight.
Then Snooty boots Sue
Got her moment to shine
And reminded me with a grin:
"Don't forget to take your compost"
I took a deep breath in.
"No, no, quite right. Could you give me a hand?
It's under control, this was part of the plan.
I just need help to raise it over
This bag, then I can carry it on my shoulder".
Aghast, sue said,
"You can't do that! You'll hurt yourself, what about your back?"
I said " i can, i am, I'm off. I'm not going far. Thanks very much".
And strode with as much briskness as I could
Staggering slightly, and sliding in mud.
Once round the corner and out of her sight
I Gave up the ridiculous impotent fight
Against gravity,
and let the bag slide to the floor,
Off my shoulder,
by now reddened, soggy and sore.
Pondering what on earth could be done.
To rescue me from my pride's bumbledom.
When a black cloud surrounded once white panel van
Burped to a shuddering halt
And sooty marked garden gnome face of a man
Shouted something about
Needing a lift, could he be of assistance
I was so overjoyed I damned well near kissed him.
And I managed to get them home.
A quick cup of tea and I was out there digging,
As happy as a pig in it.
Trowel in hand, repotting and arranging
Trying to make the prettiest fit.
And when the spell broke it was later that day,
I'd whiled a good few hours away
Immersed in the earth and the dirt and the smell.
I was happy.
The theory, proved, conclusive.
But the height of that first joy proved elusive.
It was good still, yes, no denying,
But it seemed no matter which plants i was buying
I couldn't get that first /rush/ again.
My flower seeking urge was becoming so great
I'd been buying in secret alone
And sneaking succulents into the trolley
When shopping for food for our home.
What had been a barren grey wasteland
Had become, not the gardens at Kew,
But at least a refreshingly green space
As the plantpots number grew.
They encroached on the path and blocked doorways.
They clawed at passersby.
Honestly if one had demanded Feed Me!
I wouldn't have been surprised.
And I had peace to keep with the neighbours,
Who had nearly lost an eye.
So I took up my secuters in shaking hands, and trimmed them down to size.
I snipped and I sighed, saddened at their shrinkage.
I sorrowfully apologised.
Tidy and tamed they finally are, neatly encased in the corner.
But I can't wait to see the growth of the jungle
When the weather finally gets warmer.
For now I am on the wagon.
No more plants for me.
The pathway is halfway passable
And the fire escape is free.
I might fall off this wagon,
I can't promise I've stopped forever.
But my millenial whining at least has moved on,
To complaining about the weather.





Pedestals

Heed the mob with scythe and sickle,
Burning torches, glassy eyes.
Adoration false and fickle.
Come to cut her down to size.
They invested, they projected,
Told her she could have it all.
And when she did the unexpected
Gleeful forced her graceless fall.
Bind her hands and cut her tongue out.
Mock her struggle to survive.
Hobble her with heartfelt hatred
Sharpen up your spiteful knives.
Parcel out her flesh as pound cakes
Pass around her hacked off hair.
Memorise her worst mistakes.
Burden her with cross to bear.
Be careful when you are beholden.
Flatterers are always liars.
Don't believe your hype or fanbase.
Pedestals are funeral pyres.

Uncomfortable Crown

Stand 6ft back and deliver.
Stand 6ft back motherfucker.
Keep your distance, kill the virus.
We're united as divided.
Stay 6ft back motherfucker!

Hands on flesh and dripping lips
Are distant memories.
Finger tips
are gloved; and inside
red and raw
from soap and scrubbing.
Dry and sore.
Visors fogged with rancid breath.
Dehydration's safest bet.
Under aprons nervous sweat
trickles, tickles.
Don't stop yet.
If not service then you're worthless
and essential's redefined.
It's the year of perfect vision.
See the world through unslept eyes.
Safety now is in division.
Mass graves dug attest this fact.
The way it was was never normal.
That bridge is ash.
There's no way back.

Choices 2; an answer

I've spoken about choices before,
About how
The decisions we make are more
Or less
Than we give them credit for.

I find myself poised to respond
to a rhetorical question i once posed
That I find had limited scope.

Do you want gold, or silver bars on your cage?

 I would never have guessed
That fortress walls and barbed wire fences
Were even an option.
I was unaware that moats could be added,
Crocodiles,  branches of wait-a-while tangles,
A fire! Why not? And those monkeys with wings.
The whole Sleeping Beauty sharp bramble thorn things.

I feel like this wasn't really choice,
That through the cacophony of survival
My low, stammering voice
Got lost. And arrivals
Of heavier burdens to hoist
An unwelcome surprise. 


The Belle of Bulgham Bay

This verdant,  windswept spit of land
Ringed around with golden sands
Tended by MecLir 's right hand
Where magic makes its final stand.
Curlews cries,
Enormous skies,
Phynodderree in poor disguise
Mooinger veggey in Elfin Glen
Preserved til now from way back when.
Cashtal yn Ard, the sacred ground,
Silkies surfing at The Sound.

The lady I'd like to discuss with you now
has been cruelly misnamed as a sea cow,
by sailors sloshed on rationed rum
I'm not sure how else this siren would become
such a lumberous beast. She's more the sea sparra.
She is the Belle of Bulgham Bay, the beautiful Ben Varrey.

Now, memories made
when families play
In millpond waves
on sunny days
Often come at hidden cost,
I mean, how many earrings have you lost?
How many individual socks,
How many flip, but no more flop?

When you've baked your brain you know you can't trust it,
Distracted by sand in your toes and your gusset,
You picked up the spade, you picked up the bucket,
But you always leave something behind.

These tiny trinkets, swallowed by tide,
Make for glorious mermaid finds,
Out at Maughold she's a cave that's filled with wondrous things.
Buttons, brooches, bonnets, buckles; the bounty high tide brings.
She's got spectacles and hearing aids, dentures and toupees
But these oh so personal items are not lost, in fact they're saved.
In the Curiosities of Terra Firma Museum they are all exhibits.
And it's helping to explain some eccentric human habits.
Creatures come from distant oceans to educate themselves
on the ways of the grotesque flesh folk. Entrance costs two shells.
The Belle of Bulgham Bay is rightly proud of her collection
But she keeps a secret stash of her special selections.
In here she keeps the sandals, flip flops,
Workmen's boot, verruca socks,
Toe rings in particular are impossible to resist.
You see, the Belle of Bulgham Bay is a foot fetishist.
It all began when she was young,
Angsty, teenaged, spotty.
She saw a flip flop floating by,
A bit unbleached and grotty.
The imprints of the toes were clear
On polystyrene foam,
Stroked the ridges, mesmerised.
She felt her heart unfold.

So on this verdant windswept spit of land, &
When walking barefoot on the sand
Domt be surprised if a clammy white hand
Reaches out
AND GRABS YOU!!

Collectors

Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people make air fix models so well
You can barely see the joins.

Some people collect conquests.
Some people collect scars.
Some people collect experiences
during which they see stars.

I've got a new collection,
and not through conscious act.
It's been kind of foisted on me and
I'd rather give it back.
I'll put it in an album,
Neat, protected, labelled, proud
private slice of all the lives
that used to be around.
Past tense.
You see it's all the funeral cards
with photos and songs and poems.
It's hard
to watch the collection grow.
I have no control
over this.
It's not like pokemon cards or vintage picture discs.
They're all limited editions,
all one off works of art.
All threads in one rich tapestry
of which we're just one part.
And the pattern that they weave glistens
Crystallised in wisdom.
Passed through timely advice
and an ear willing to listen.
It's not like I can display it.
For flat living it's highly compatible.
For the major part of it,
It's completely intangible.
The cards are merely a symbol:
A trinket in place of a jewel.
One hydrogen atom representing
Each universe of you.
So I'll put them in an album,
neat, protected,  labelled,  proud
and share them with the enthusiasm
of the traction engine crowd.

Some people collect conquests.
Some people collect scars.
Some people collect experiences
during which they see stars.

Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people make air fix models so well
You can barely see the joins. 

I am Alpha

Every third generation
Comes a swell of population
That is heavily swayed towards the masculine breed.
Their forefathers before them
Only dreamt of time for boredom
Heavy hardships sailing on an ocean of needs.

Now over educated,
And fatally frustrated
By the search for rites of passage in this labyrinth of lies.
Force fed plastic fantasy
Of brutal masculinity.
Expectations uniform imperfectly their size.

Pain is compulsory.  Suffering is optional.
Terror unavoidable, endurance's honour irrational.
Hollow hearted heroes hand on bleak batons of bones.
Absentee role models bequeath medallions of millstones.

Shed your manacles of manhood,
Shake the shroud of conqueror.
Share your weakness to withstand it
Shine love's light as northern star.

Effervescent energy when unused turns to bile
And atrophy follows apathy, in deed, in thought, in style.
To combat putrefaction do not turn to dull distraction
Reframe homegrown heroes in your overactive mind.
You can be a man of action in your human interactions
Without staying isolated and it starts with being kind
To yourself.

Picking Scabs



Fire gazing family,
Night breezes lazily
Hissing through leaves and open windows.
“what is it? Why the sudden stirring?”
“hasten, children. Close the curtains".
Scrubbed cheeks, kissed brows,
Blankets tucked, thumbs sucked,
Knotting feet and now, sleep.

My mother had warned of the Carras Dhoo men
When the briny breeze blew up the glen.
She'd told of the gloom and the peaty tomb
And the lives of unfortunates taken too soon
And their hunts conducted under silvery moon,
Oh, we knew of the Carras Dhoo men.

The paths, the routes, the cave, the nooks,
the crannies stashed with finery snatched
From drowning grasp
Of hands that lead to skulls scarlet smashed.
The rocks that froth with bezerkers ferocity,
Passengers previous pomposity
Reduced to loot worth losing your life over.
Hah! We knew of the Carras Dhoo men.

Night dashes on hillside, steep and tripping slide,
The cruel tide siding with those who upon her do not ride
Through respect
But instead turn the earth.
Whose women were dark haired and dark eyed,
Adorned glorious bejewelled in their men's finds,
Beguiling glamour of the hard life,
We were warned of the Carras Dhoo men.

We heeded indeed, our ravenous ears
Drank the juice and spat the seeds
As reformed roguery and diabolical deeds.
Reigniting a fire in our eyes, we rose,
A group of reluctant wives, willing warriors,  natural worriers,
To reclaim our lives.

Revestment bereft, avoidance schemes ended
And with them all chance of our happy ending.
Mouths to feed, our need undeniably greater
Than the flashy tourists, the odd passing freighter
That might pass our way.
There's a big boat in the bay, boy.

There’s a big boat in the bay.
Tomorrow we'll take the children to play,
Down by the breakwater,
Picnic sandwiches cut into quarters,
Castles and hole digging,
Where the tide washes in.
You should come down to meet us.
We like to play a game we call
“Finder's Keepers “.

But tonight? Ah, tonight.
The brine’s in the breeze
Hissing lazily through leaves
Whispering claxon call to deeds
for those that know
To listen for it.

Tomato

In my drive to self sufficiency
Indoor gardening appealed to me,
So I hung them in the windowsill,
Ingredients 3.

I knew it was a risk to put
The basil with the rosemary
But I figured one would thrive
And which didn't really matter to me.
What I didn't figure on, though
Was the overgrown triffid tomato tree

It started as a sturdy branch,
Hopeful, healthy, heavenly scented,
Enjoyed the cyclical drown and parch
Of a suntrap windowbox well vented.

Past the window and round the corner,
The tentacles claimed the wall.

And now a fruit is dangling, heavy
Promise-green of future feast.
Tantalising, tempting beauty
It grows each day and whispers “eat me”
As I wash the dishes underneath.


Psalm for Motorcyclists

TT is here

The wheel of prayer roaring
Thirty seven and three quarters
Of energy embedded in
Sacrificially sanctified soil.

This is how new ley lines are formed.
This is where heroes are born.
This is why leather is worn.

The pillion-pilgrims return
With acolytes of their own
And pass the passion in their turn
To new generations grown.

Sacred speed, courage, endurance,
Gladiatorial battle with nature's forces
South sea sounding gulls wail a chorus
Heralding the arrival of thousands of tourists
The islanders take a breath.
Let us pray.

Straight outta tha Pondy

It's nice to be down with you Southside folk. 
Got my passport stamped by some Culture Vannnin bloke.
He gave me border grief,
wouldn't cut me no slack.
I'm from the wrong side of the electric railway track.
I live in Ramsey.
It's the place to be.
We don't get your chances or your budgetries.
You've got most of the jobs, most of the bars
and most of the parking for most of the cars.
We've got increasing numbers of unemployed,
pregnant teens and banged up boys.
We've got genteel hippies, restaurants,
Shakti Man and the Mooragh splash park.
We're a town with texture and layers of past
and the odd pool of vomit you have to sidle past.
They've gentrified our heart and installed a Costa Coffee.
The old businesses are closing 'cause the young folk have no money.
We've a working port, a bit industrial.
Still a bit rough; we're Mannanin's rebel.
You've know you've met a Northerner when you meet attitude
and you in your ignorance might think them being rude
but what you're missing is up here we don't have need for graces. We like straight talking, standing ground and getting in your faces.
They've fancily repaved Parliament Street
but that doesn't change the leaking shoes or dogshit on your feet.
You can will a town to prosper but you can't make poor folk spend
and everything's eroded by the pigeons in the end.
You tell us about Anagh Coar and what it's like in Pully
but they all seem bourgeois when you compare them to the Pondy.
In the winter it is crowded in the Library
because it has heating and you can stay all day for free.
The businesses that work up here are all a bit niche.
Old money eccentricities unlike your nouveau riche
high street brand name blandness up and down your old Strand Street,
homogenised and sterilised by office shoe clad feet.
Not happy with two Costas, you've a Starbucks now as well!
And what have we got to counter that?
Leonard Singer, and Alan Bell.

Slack Lining

Heel to toe, heel to toe.
Stepping carefully, stepping slow.
Each foreshadowed print a potential mine;
choose between conflicting signs.
This way, that way, u-turn, short cut,
tunnel, bridge, no through road, shut.
Tight rope, slight hope,
but no sign of safety net.
Height choked, dry throat,
not even half way over yet.
The depths below, glow.
inviting inverted flight, one way,
skimming with fluttering skirts,
nirvana visage no longer concerned,
diverted from diurnal concerted
effort.
The glow below, expects.
Lava monsters, demons, mummies,
Terminator 2, crocodiles and slurry
await you moaning, reaching, grasping.
Sulphur-breath and curses rasping.
Tentacles, tendril, terrorists, Thatcher,
Count Olaf and the Child Snatcher,
Gagamel, Skeletor, Mumraa, Blair
welcome you and take their share.
That glow is far beneath.
Let it remain so.
For now furrow of thwarted thoughts
form saline irrigation forks
and roll into the watering stalks
of eyes stress-blade sharpened to
hunting hawks.
Feel the breeze on your face.
Pick up the pace.
Purposeful placing of heel-toe-heel-toe race,
miss-step apprehension with mistaken nonchalance replaced.
Almost indifferent to the threat
you split and curtsy, pirouette.
Amaze with your ability
to juggle responsibility
while dropping things that they don't see
into the depths below.
Heel toe. Step. Heel toe.
Along you glibly go.
Wider sections provide reprieve
from constant pressure. Ironically
it's from this bit you'll likely fall,
when you paid  attention to the ground
at all.

Present

We are here and now
but how
to get out of this mess
is the question.
Grotesquely gratefully undertaken guilt
in the lands that colonialism built.
Damocles democracy up to the hilt.
Kamikazi kakistocracy cashing in on milk long spilt.
Curdled cultures spreading spores.
Survival instinct the strongest force
on decreasingly distant shores
while we try to define "reliable source".
Fake news and State news and Corporate news, too;
they're all propaganda
an underhand way to push one agenda
it's demonstrably true.
We've gone from mock outrage, to sincere apathy, to militant bickering.
It's a revolting rhapsody
of society's disunification and collapse.
Here we are, and now.
Ploughing on,
disregarding rippling rumbles
as grumbling gods.
Tornadoes, volcanoes; hurricaine brutality;
gargantuan gyres and shifts of polarity.
Terra Firma trembles to Terra Fragility.
Rewarding ruination dressed as destructive capability.
Vulgar vultures, wagers of war
licking their lips while weapons stocks soar
and waste water rattles shake plates to the core
and toothless judiciary makes jokes of the law.
Free speech and Hate speech and Corporate speech too;
they're sophisticated-
in the Platonic sense-
manipulated.
None of it's true.
We've gone from communication, to control,
to Twitterati creedence gifts.
It's left a giant hole
where debate should be.
We've let civilisation lapse.
Are we here? And now?
Surround yourself with light
and fight
the frequencies of dischord.
Use courtesy. Firstly remember compassion
before embarking on any rash action.
Remember that romance is not being rationed
and amplifiers elevate the maxim of attraction.
Guttural grunts of headline hacks.
Persistant pop ups of click bait claptrap.
Love's language languishes solely through lack
of being spoken. Take speech back.
Home life and Work life and Corporate life, too.
They're all characters-
in facets of sense-
they're all you.
We went from idealist, to masochist,
to embracing practicality
and in the midst lost liberty.
We built our own traps.
Here
and Now
are we.

Not to quote Jurassic Park, but -

My dear fellow jugglers 
in the Cirque du Suburbia,
you may think your home impervious
to encroaching adult themes.
But “Nature always finds a way”
and they’re going to learn it all some day
but it’s probably better in some ways than by some other means.
You’ll all be aware of the endless oughts
that contort and constrict
instinctive care.
Single modern motherhood is
a carousel
tersely tethered with knots.
Will nots and spill nots
and hope nots and choke nots
and try nots and cry nots
and eat nots and teach nots.
The most strangulatory
of these tangles is
expose not
meaning: Protect your child from the darkness of this world
and teach them the strength of enlightenment.
The entitlement of access to the hive mind
-by necessity a skill they must learn,
‘cause coding is the future –
shoots my determined obsolescence right in the maternals.
So to detract from external influence
I knew what to do.
We’d get
a pet.
Landlord clause: no fur or paws
no electricity eating heated enclosures,
no live food, no rodents,
no hooves, smooth or cloven.
From amidst this messy mesh
a loophole
I sagely extracted.
No one had said anything
about marine arachnids.
Fishtank purchased, live plants in
filter on and the process begins.
Background danios Spotty and Stripey
soar and chase and are occasionally fighty
but mostly work as extras in the theatre of the tank.
We even had a red-shirt! For his sacrifice we thank him.
In true tradition we set the stage; when he died the first act was over.
Two long months we’d had to wait for the alga bloom to cover
enough of the surfaces to act as a rider
for our new stars: The undersea spiders!
Or shrimp. As they’re also called
or as some people say, “You mean PET PRAWNS?!”
Yes.
is the answer.
Now. After about a month a strange thing appeared,
at first no bigger than a poppy seed
then as it grew I came to realize
there was more than one stowaway snail inside.
Gio was delighted, I was concerned
about intercrustacean diplomatic relations
but they co-existed peacefully and the purpose was perfectly served.
Until the day these mucilaginous interlopers, now numbering four or five
decided to stage a three-day-three-way-sex-show. Live.
Right at the front of the tank they were!
“Mummy, what are they doing?” “Errrrrrr..
I think they’re making babies, Gio.”
“But there’s three of them!” “Yes, I know…
oh I can’t explain it, they’re snails, I’m not sure-
hey, who’s that in the castle with his face out the door?
Is it Blackfish? Has he made friends with the shrimp?
He’s the first fish to spend time in there I think.”
This happy distracting friendship warmed both of our hearts
and we smiled as Blackfish spent more time in the dark
and the shrimp brought him food and he slowly grew fatter
but everything was lovely and nothing else mattered.
The snails population in the background grew and grew.
We lost count when they got past 22.
One morning I was woken by Gio screaming “Mummy!
The shrimp have got Blackfish and they’re opeing his tummy!”
I raced in and slack-jaw gawped. The violence was alarming.
But more than this; the realization that shrimp understand farming.
Two Medium Shrimp held Corpsefish still, while Big Shrimp did the slashing
and then they gathered round and gorged themselves. Gio, big-eyed watched the action.
More generations of snails came. Then more and more and more
until the monopod population was a problem we couldn’t ignore.
We had to get rid of all of them. We couldn’t leave even an egg.
They eaten us out of live plants. We’d had to get fake ones instead!
It took the final solution. We gave the tank a deep clean.
And boiled the snails in the gravel. And murdered their babies with steam.
Then rebuilt the tank from the ground up and so far, it seems to go well.
It’s more like an eight-year-old’s fish tank and less like the circles of hell.
I think it’s fair to say, in this case
my attempts at parenting were a little displaced
by “Nature, red in tooth and claw”
or, transparent in the case of the shrimp’s grinding maw.
I tried to protect my son from his curiosity and an internet search engine,
but accidently introduced him to orgies, murder, evisceration
and ethnic cleansing.

DOROTHIA

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'd like you to meet my friend.
Her name is DOROTHIA,
She lives risks and sets trends.
Her Diabetes is type 2,
through diet self-inflicted.
She's Obese, technically morbidly so
and Reclusive - isolation addicted.
She's Older now, she draws a pension,
loves her tobacco, Hedges and Benson.
She's Hypertensive,
is doing something about it,
but her Inactivity gives
her anxiety no outlet,
so Alcohol is where she turns.
And this is how DOROTHIA learned
all the risks factors for developing dementia.
After diagnosis, here is the message she sent ya:

"All of these causes are within your control,
act now and make changes.
Grow heathily old"


                                                                                                 

All of the above are the controllable risk factors available to avoid developing dementia.

Just a piece of information. I'm not lecturing.
 I wrote it to help me remember for day-job purposes.

While you're here though, please consider becoming a Dementia Friend. This requires nothing more of you other than you than to read some information, watch some videos and apply the awareness you gain to your life. It can make a huge difference to people's lives.

Go here to learn more and become a Dementia Friend.

Thanks. Xxxx

Winter Solstice

History's hurts burst gracelessly and blur
the polished edges of responses
sponsored by maturity.
Blurting half-burped mutterings of
defensive small-talk offerings
in place of confident honesty.
The maw of malicious memories yawns
and looses vapours venomous,
vines around voice until it leaves a croak.
Crone-dry and bladder-wracked,
hoarse retorts crack
thoughtless reports across the
hectares of unspoken battles fought.

Token offerings to false idols prove the dedication to deceit.
Conceit conceals tears long since congealed
into crevasses carved by rictus grin.
Spinning stories cobweb thin
from which a larder fully stocked with
melancholy memories of mockeries suspends,
an endless supply of abuse.

Cogitations crank and the wheel, it turns.
Burn the lights on the longest night,
for tonight we learn and sacrifice
a sorrow
in exchange for wisdom.
Flames devour, smoke billows,
sour tongue converted to
icing sugar ash,
cinnamon cynicism
and not-in-my-name nutmeg.

Feast upon your fears and you will never feel them again.


Yule Be Back

A portal opened in my lounge
sometime in mid-November.
A velvet wrinkle overlapped and
time’s quilt was oddly angled.
Up went the tree!
Up went the lights!
The glorious windows
dressed in party clothes.
Stair rods and banisters
festoons and fragrances
that speak of feasts and warming spices.
Inviting glows and cosy stories
by torchlight.

Outside
conker battles finalise into
en of season skirmishes.
Guys succumbed to elemental distress
and the stench of rotting pumpkin corpses
rang from the town in
jubilant and guttural rowdy shouts
as cold breath caught in
over confident throats.

As a penalty for this
badly ironed chronological coverlet
a fine was set
and the time was taken back.

With bated breath in stasis
the presents waited.
The house waited.

In the missing time a place was found for everything
and having no time to dally in,
everything went to its place.
Reset for rambunctious rabble’s return.
For music and pictures and stories and tea.
For dinosaurs and Harryhausen, Nick Cave and walks by the sea.

Longing for the normal passage of time.
Smooth, wrinkle.


The house waits.

Tired

I’m tired.
I’m tired of hearing lies.
Refutations, clarifications, retractions and denials.
The rules of sophistry are easily learned
abuses of guided perception are Pulitzers earned.
As a self confessed sapiosexual
I find this twisted corruption of the intellectual
leaves me cold.
Shoulders hunched against the hurricane of unsure states,
of choices between hate and hate,
of divisiveness inevitable
among a population overwrought in apathy.
They didn’t seem to care about Operation Yewtree.
There is no outcry at the end of democracy.
The more salient among you will say
“But Georgia, It was always an illusion!”
Your silent acceptance betrays deafening collusion.
If populism is the enemy
we are elevating the judiciary
above the will of mass humanity
instead of innovating with prudency
and making the paradigm work for everybody.
Name-calling and
hundred-and-forty character sound-bites
have reduced debate
to bar-room fights.
One sneers
and the other reaches for a pool cue.
And it’s you, yes you
trafficking in this nonsense.
Demonizing both sides
occupying the mock-moral high ground peace-pretence.
The military complex is undeniable maths.
This crossroad of history only leads to mine-filled paths.
I’m tired.
I’m tired of insincerity dressed in emojis.
Of public mourning for countries
we didn’t want to bomb in the first place,
of choices between hate and hate.
I’m tired.
End time prophesies seem inaccurate.
They missed the flood of inverted facts
or turgid turmoil, social inertia,
interventions in justices by various churches.
Don’t we all want to live?
To have enough to survive and to give?
To be happy and share,
to give thanks and give care
to the weak?
The goals we seek are the same.
I’m tired.
I’m tired of seeing the same mistakes
the same choices between hate and hate
peddled as the only options.
Where has the future gone?
Huxley, Dick, Burgess and Brooker
Tellers, time-travellers, prophets and spooks are
following the echoes into the chamber.
Amplifying, demystifying, warning of the dangers.
I’ve come to value them more than the news
as shreds of my repaired fraying faith come unglued.
And differences between the actual and the absurd
become blurred.
I’m tired.

Camping

In this canvas-shanty-holiday town,
you'll hear strange sounds when the sun goes down
and played out families are tucked up tight
in polyester slug-suits in the still of the night.

At half past three
you need to pee
in insomnia regretting that last coffee.
Your tent mate is oblivious;
they've been snoring for two hours
while you slithered up and down the slope
with great rustling sounds.

The decision made, you try to rise
and sit up with a plan.
But your elbow's caught inside your zip
and it pulls you down again.

The zip is caught! You can't get out!

Your bladder twitches a threat.
You cursing, muttering free your legs
which immediately don goose flesh.
Pull on shoes, wrong foot, wrong way
laces tied as long as they'll stay
and with screwed up face and finger tip
try to open the front door zip.
The slower you go, the louder it is.
You think “Fuck it!” and try to go quick;
The zip is caught! You can't get out!
The whole tent gives a wobble
and you burst into the porch of sorts
in a breathless, blundering bundle.

Picking past the other homes
newly acute awareness
of whispered squabbles, saucy moans
and farts confidently careless.
As eyes adjust you realise the toilets are worryingly distant
and like Lara Croft with lasers you must cross the guy rope alarm system.
You wheel and tiptoe, duck and hop
knowing you'll pee yourself if you stop.
Nearly there but then your heel catches and pulls out a peg.
You freeze and hear blamey whispers coming from inside that tent.

“That' the fifth time! I said not to camp here!”
“Fine, you can come on your own next year!”

Run away! Preserve yourself and reach the portaloos.
They'll be equally grubby, no matter which one you choose
and finding one with toilet paper's a great thing to behold.
You lock the door and sit but the toilet seat is cold.

The relief is blessed beautiful. You dress again with leisure.
And water free hand cleaner is a modern camping pleasure.
Confident, collected now you begin the return trip
and trip's the operative word as over the same peg you slip.

Twang! With owl wide eyes you scurry,
ducking, wheeling, tiptoeing in hurry.
The saucy moans you heard before
have progressed to throaty groans of “more”
and their unfortunate head torch shadow display
is giving delight to some, but others dismay.
You pass by and observe all this
but after five minutes, something's amiss.
Where did we put the tent again?
I'm sure it was here. I remember when
we pitched up. That seagull flag,
the leilandii trees, that plastic bag.
Oh look. It's starting to rain.
Didn't bring a coat of course, the noise it would have made
would have been a rustle too far.
Oh God, looks like I've walked right past
it. It's all the way back there.
Stumble, trip, grab the zip.
Slippy fingered wrestle with it.

The zip is caught! You can't get in!
Over in the next tent a stirring begins.
You've woken their kids and they've started to fight
An angry bellow rings out through the night
followed by a man's voice, shrilly;
“I've told you before not not stand on my willy!”

Back in your bag, the rain sounds heavier
but only liquid sunshine falls on the British Riviera.
And fresh air sleep is fuller
you wake feeling so refreshed
and sleeping under canvas for sciatica is best.

So when the sun comes up we'll cook sausages and bacon
And smile like we heard nothing of the other campsite's patrons.
ut up and shut up,

choose the obstruction least offensive
and if you can learn to live with it
be an audience attentive.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

If you like the theatre,
or going to live shows
there's a whole cast of characters
who to you are quite well known.

I'm not sure if they're real
or some sort of rent-a-crowd
but where ever there's a view to obscure
you'll find them gathered round.

It doesn't matter if you book seats
or turn up hours previous
to guarantee your front row view.
They're cunning and they're devious.

First up in this parade of pains
is the Giant Head-Geared Horror.
Whether hat or hair it doesn't matter;
its mass is a thing of wonder.

You crane to the left,
you strain to the right
attempt to secure
uninterrupted sight
of all the stagely treads afoot.
You finally find the best place to look
and now the 3 rows behind you's view's hidden.
As you hear them all shift you're a bit guilt ridden.

What you don't realise in your angsty little quest
is that now you've taken the entire armrest.
“That ignorant bloody space invader”
is how you'll be remembered.
But this about-to-be-a-bad neighbour
is of an individual standard.

He's invading space on the other side!
He got quite claustro when he tried
to avoid to being touched or crowded or crushed.
Now it's becoming apparent he's the Great Unwashed.
The stench started as just a whiff
the woman on the end wasn't sure so she sniffed.
It made her eyes sting and her nose hairs burn.
She gagged and the woman in front of her turned
and over glasses chastised a “hush!
You're ruining it for the rest of us!”

Gagging woman sees her chance
and joins the crowd at the front to dance.
And just as she's found a great view of the feature
enter the Four Legged Staggering Crab-Like Creature.
United at the shoulder, mutually supportive
but with feet and legs at war with each other,
attempts to walk are abortive.
Everyone they stumble into spills their drinks in shock
but from their own never-empty glasses they don't waste a single drop.

Another multi-organismed beast
makes incremental attacks and never retreats.
It's starts in on your peripherals,
usually embodied by a group of girls
who over time push their way into the space
that previously was taken by your arms, or your face.
They never tie their hair up
and it all goes in your mouth
when you try to light your cigarette,
then try to put it out.
Their bloody hair's on fire!
They use so much spray and mousse.
You put up with it for so long but in the end it's just no use.
You sidle to the sidelines and go for a quick wee.
At one point one of those girls ended up sitting on your knee!

Upon returning to the scrum,
sweaty, dancing, joyful.
Your space has been taken by a man
wearing a coat half-duvet, half-hairball.
A firm-fan-favourite song begins
the surge forth irresistible
and you fall forward into him.
As least when you land it's comfortable.
His po-faced wife or girlfriend is leaning over the railings
looking bored and slightly offended by these audio assailants.
I don't know why she came along,
it's not like it was free.
I think her space would be better taken by
a fan. You know, like me.
Upon closer inspection, you recognise these two.
They're the one's that annoyed you earlier
by pushing in the queue.
It wasn't fair, it wasn't cricket
But you 'd never say anything,
you're far too British.
And besides, you've been waiting a third of your life
for this very gig, for this show tonight.
So you put up and shut up,
choose the obstruction least offensive
and if you can learn to live with it
be an audience attentive.

So if by some lucky twist of fate your eye line's unimpeded,
you're comfortable and the toilet queue's non-existent when you need it,
check you aren't just pushing in or obscuring others' view.

Because you might be unaware that the annoying bastard's you. 

Anti-Shanty

We all sing the songs of souls lost at sea
and preserve in musical amber memories.
But what of the land-bound in fishermen’s towns,
Now the fish are all dead and the industry’s down?

These boatmen more solid on liquid than land
on coal-littered beach front at sunset they stand.
Watch while their mistress is tossing her waves.
Greying and gloomy. She resents what she gave.

Now she casts off the covenant and keeps all the catch
and the sails in the harbour are folded or slack.
Lobster pots line up, empty in the sun,
while their salted-faced owner silently burn.

For it’s pints they are downing
to tribute the drowning
of another in whiskey not sea.
For they know where they’re going,
it’s their own path he’s showing
a way out of their own misery.

The swallows that flit through the cherry blossom trees
know the sea demands her tithe ev’ry fifteen years.
She lowers the pressure and hitches her skirt.
Swishing them wildly unbuttons her shirt,
booming with laughter she rolls on the shore
and demands that more businesses pay her, and more.

Her revenge for her rape is undeniable and savage
for hell hath no fury like an ecosystem ravaged

The touch of the hull on her skin is well met
but behind these caresses is an anchor of debt.
She gives life and takes life; some later, some soon
changeable as wind direction, reliable as moon.

People flocked to pay homage in sunny days gone by
but they’ve mostly stopped coming since the monkeys learned to fly
and now the town relies on hand outs and the landing stage is closed
and they’ve paved over history with a red brick road.

The people left land locked pay their dues in installments
of barometric infirmity and camphor-based liniment.
Crippled by ozone and scattered by squall.
They yearn when they hear the Wind Maidens call.

It’s a lifetime of hardship and internal fights
when the wind’s from the West and the bells ring at night.
But the Goddess takes all, every bit in the end.
Either swallows with love, or starves and contends.

And if
you ask if in this contract they willingly took part
They’d say

They’d give it all again. Body, soul and heart.

Lyrical Living

So I’ve been to all these gigs
and listened to the bands
and heard how nobody understands
the loss they feel,
the heartbreak, the pain.
It’s the same old story Sam,
sing it again.

I’ve heard all the fills, like
“Oh, baby, yeah”
Did you run out of words to fill that space there?
Am I getting old?
Or just getting pickier?
Or perhaps, with experience, cynical and bitterer?
It’s just that all this monotonous crap
as about as profound as clickbait video soundtrack.
Calculatedly sentimental,
as irrelevant as Blockbuster video rental
to the age we are living in and the way I experience
emotional ambush and unspoken inference.
Blandy McBlanderson.
Selected generic
when we lives in such interesting times.
LED screens on with lightshows mesmeric
to distract from the mundane straight rhyme.

That’s not to say I don’t love it.
Dancing is pure bliss.
Eyes-closed-bass-pounding-through-my-chest-my-arms-a-twist.
Exchange of energies intense,
connection of rhythm and chord and cadence.
Dance for sorrow.
Dance for rage.
Dance for anxiety.
Dance for tomorrow
belongs to those that can see it coming.
Dance because knowing what’s going to happen isn’t always a blessing.
Dance when you feel powerless. In
some small way you’ll feel better.
And whether you know it or not
the shot of joy I feel,
knees buckling after a night on the tiles
is the same depth of smile
I get
from poetry.
And so, although I seem
ungrateful
I’m really not.
I’ve had a summer of music never to be forgot.
And from my depths, thank you
for you’ve all heartily moved me.
It’s just that if I’m honest


I’d rather be at poetry.

                                                                                                                    

This was one of my entries for the Manx Lit Fest Poetry Slam this year. One young man mistook my friend for me. He asked her at the interval what her problem with modern music was. To him, I say two things: 1) Wrong tall dark-haired girl. and 2) You've totally missed the point of the poem. 
Much love. X

Devon to Stafford

Brace for re-entry.

We are on the journey back
from days of beautiful denomination.
Microcosm Utopian of idealistic civilization.

On this Monday there’s a lack
of colour and common consciousness.
A frustrating thrust of others’
sense of self in faces
gladly grubby,
creased, greased, glittered, refitted
with natural smiles.

Hold on to that happiness a while.

Block out the brash blast tablets
of the crass consumer classes.
Transport yourself with memories of
Redwood morning walks.

Swaddle cloaks invisible
protective and permissible
with expectations reasonable

and feet at one with earth.

Where's the Justice?

The debutante floats down the stairs,
gloriously made up dead-eyed stare.
Hand rests light on banister.
can’t grip too tight for tendon’s tear.

Fabric flows over fragile frame.
Shawl on shoulders hunched with shame.
muscles mangled, marked and maimed.
Blindly believing she’s to blame.

These daughters of a generation
grew to dream of degradation
and aren’t presented to society as they ought
but instead face their attackers in days in court.
Boys who play at being tough.
Punch-bag girlfriends painted as sluts
by advocates paid by tax payers’ pounds
to let violent criminals walk around.

“Service the community,
pay your fine and you’ll be free.
Legal aid with pay my fee.
You can put your faith in me”.

How dare they show their face in the street?
Hold it high and smile and meet
supposed friends who go and treat
as heroes boys who girlfriend beat.

200 hours, some cash, no bars,
while they walk about bearing your scars,
sometimes bear your babies too
‘cause they can’t afford the boat fare to Liverpool.
Meanwhile back in those same courts
other battles are being fought.

15 years for importation
of a herbal medication.
Sole carer of his wife, for saving
his son from men who wanted to erase him.

This justice is a fallacy.
It’s all misjudgements I can see.
Don’t say they need help mentally
when she needs reconstructive surgery.

These boys who never do hard time
perpetuate their life of crime
and become the kingpin slime
of empires rotting communities spine

who drag us all down to slum-like homes.
Curfews, flood-lights, no-go-zones.
Locked in for safety. Don’t go out at night.
Don’t walk down dark alleys. Don’t wear clothes too tight.

Don’t’ stick your head up, don’t have any pride.
Let these happenings go on island-wide.
Say nothing and just keep it inside.
Brush under the carpet that she nearly died.

The law is an ass, not a donkey, an ass
and since I wrote this more miscarriages will have passed
and the new Chief Minister will be raising a glass
and we’d better see things changing.

Fast.

Vacationcy

Suitcase castors skitter-clattering
fights the
cloudburst pitter-pattering
battering
homeward jetlagged smattering
of tourists in the dark.

Taxi tyres swishing
hitting
pedestrians with mists
of filth that were
puddles
moments before.

The roar and whistle
of the storm’s winds bristle
hairs on necks
suntanned
and long haul sore.

Cash for taxis crushed in numb hands;
plans of walks on sunset shores
are splattered monumentally
with clarity of fact.
You’re back

from your holi-bobs, your jollies,
back to bills and job and worries.
Scurry soggily, fog clogs
your vision and windscreen.
Familiar roads pass under you unseen
as fatigue erodes last run of sinew keen.

Tinnitus eardrums
numbed
to thrum of engine’s
 singing
lullabies
as hedges echoes follow behind.
The drive has never been longer.
wringing wrench of
muscles hunger
to feel some
relief
from cramps.
Angry clamp
stamping angles
into ankles.

Damp hats doffed,
clothing off
and duvet down.

As sounds recede, your thoughts
of pastures greener, all sorts
of golden reveries consort
themselves freely.

Home.

And comfort.

                                                                                                                                         

I had the honour and delight of running a workshop on the Writer's Day of Manx LitFest 2016. This is an event in which budding authors attend workshops, Q&A sessions and panel discussions with authors, publishers and agents. They also have the chance to pitch their idea to a publisher. 
The workshop I was running was all about the use of sound as more than the obvious. It's all a bit complicated to explain here, but is based on the Kiki/Booba experiment and resulting inspiration. It leads to very meta-rhyme and form. 

The point of it is to recognise that sound is almost as evocative as smell. That the sound of words affects you more than their actual meaning. The poem above was inspired by sound and written using the principles of the workshop. 

This style of writing is why there are so many tongue-twisters in my poems. 
Xx

Blessing for All

May all the marks you leave on this world be positive
(and not in only a footnote kind of way).

May all the hearts that are touched you remember it
and recall you most fondly and often, day by day.

May kindness to strangers be commonplace to you and normal.
May all that you work for succeed in a way that’s unique.

May you recognise treasure in everything.

And find every truth that you seek.

Stardom

Stella lived her life in a most dramatic vein.
One crisis was replaced by another
each with limited arc and time-frame.
Each morning montage defined the day;
a theme song sung in the shower.
Costumes thrown on any old way
had miraculously stylish power.
Her morning walk to work was seasoned with cheerful greetings -
miniature talk well rehearsed,
ceremonial coffees and sweet things.
All was an adventure.
Stella occupied the Right Place at the Right Time.

But that time became a trial
and Stella's smile
began to slip.
She was tired.
One night she took the option
of having an
Early Night.
She just... went to bed.
Head under covers.
Smothered.
Swaddled.
She modelled
her behaviour on a bear she'd once seen on a documentary
and slept for months.

Once sated,
on waking
she walked naked to bathe.
Eyes closed
in steaming flow
she cleared her throat to sing and
----------------------
nothing.
In the absence of theme
she brushed her teeth
and roughly dried her skin.
Throwing on any old clothes, towelling off her hair.
You couldn't call it an outfit
and even "bird's nest" wasn't fair.
Leaving for work, a memory lapse.
Her keys stayed in their bowl.
As the door clicked shut behind her,
she shivered in the cold.
No smiles wore the merchants
as she purchased her refreshments.
Perfunctory politeness,
instant coffee, cold toast
and lack of breath-mints.

Ahead of her, along the street
she noticed a commotion
of cameramen and camouflage
and folk of filming notions.
As they scurried to their points of view
a figure strolled with confident shoes,
a figure well known to Stella.
She knew that hair cut, she knew that sway
of the hips, she knew the way
the chin was lifted in a smile, she knew
the length of those legs,
the shape of the head, she knew
her.

It was... her.

Did she have a twin?
Stranger things
have occurred.
Stella turned and saw this doppelganger
greet Joanna.
A long time colleague and friend.
She watched them bend
in the choreographed art of hello
showing their best sides to the man
who'd tried to hide behind the post box.

Stella tripped towards them,
head curious-terrier tipped to the side.

Now about 25 feet away
she heard a crackle-voice say
"Stop her!"
Stella fell to the left,
a great force had hit her from the right
throwing her to the ground.
Hot salty fingers crammed against mouth
hairy knuckles inches from two pound coin sized eyes
and spittle-flecked "Shhhhh!" spilled forth
in halitoxic sigh.
Crackle again:
"Get her away. You'll have to tell her
she's been replaced
she got too dull. We've hired another Stella".

"You heard the man, get out of here, you're ruining the shot"

"But," Stella whispered, "this is all I've got.
You can't just take my life from me.
What do you mean 'replaced'?
Have you given that girl surgery?
She's got my fucking face!"

"Look, love, you need a new job, they've given you the boot.
The viewers demand to see action,
new Stella's 'enjoying her youth', if you know what I mean".

He leered and patronised all at once
"You know, if you're stuck I know a bunch
of guys that make films with girls like you;
rejects, has-beens, once-had-it-alls.
They'd pay you well, it'd be something to do,
your back's really against the wall".

A wave of panic burst through her chest
as she kneed him in the bollocks and took her chance to wrest
herself free from his weight
and scrambled away
sobbing.

*********

Blanche works in a cafe.
She wear a practiced smile.
She hands out cappuccinos
and is a bit fifties in style.
Brittle blonde and boring,
but for the moments in her day
when she relives her past life
and the cameras point her way.
As a bit-part she is comfortable,
it's a steady job at least.
But her eyes expose the brief time
she tried to get by on the streets.

_________________________________________________________________________

This poem was debuted yesterday at the Deep South Music Festival, where I was performing alongside the magnificent poets, Bill Strutt, Martin Lynch and Jennifer Davies (winner of the 2015 Manx LitFest poetry slam). It was a brilliant event, despite the weather being typical of a Manx summer (rain/sun/rain/sun/rain/sun/WIND).  Lovely atmosphere, great music, much silliness and aches this morning. Love the Summer season here on this island, there is always something going on... Roll on Dark Horse.

Love to all of you.
Xxxx

Musings on Time

The time it slips, it slips away.
Handfuls of sand through fingers greying and shrinking inside their skins, knuckles gnarled and buckled through a practical lifetime's abuse.
Decades come and go so slow by day, so fast by year. You blink and find yourself awakening here. So far from then on paper and so vividly recent in memory. 
When understood and appreciated fully they lack that fog of nostalgia by which comforting versions of events are often obscured. Reassuringly, this means pain is also racing in retrograde, flying us away from it in bated breath taken at treacle-light speed.
My knees are mechanical now - gristly grinding each gesture in echoing growls. My barometric blood gives me warnings through the aches of coming rains.
I recognise my lifetimes by the shade of my hair in photographs, my dress size from outfits of mismatched clothes donated by long lost friends. Some I miss, some I am relieved to have had riddance, but all I cherish.
Is this aging?
It certainly feels like growth.