Thursday, 31 October 2013

An outburst for Patti Smith

She comes loaded with double-barrelled genius.
Vicious, with an evil beauty, sowing graceful seed.
Her mastered crafts are spoken generously,
Violent giving, incantations of terrifying pureness.
Krishna reborn as Christian witch.
She has the eyes that Blake espied.
Black defined diamond bulbs
That burn the souls of men.
And yet, she breeds mothering loyalty.
She is weathered but not smothered
In the tides of grief.
She is steady in her wildness.
The wrath of Jehova does not scare her.
She scatters, but does not chase,
The rabbit souls of her words in the city's concrete thicket.
She makes sublime the body's weary destiny,
By fixating the spirit's aperture on the truth,
As sunlight burns the blades of grass through glass.
But her rebel's soul is joy, the anger of a child in freefall dances.
She is an intimate rage.
She builds courage by catastrophe.
Death, loss, heartbreak, toil and sadness
Are the shapes by which she stencils beauty.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Haiku for Lou Reed

The black rain's spoken.
All I've got's a guitar pick
Carved from wet willow.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Saffron's graduation poem

You know what you know
That which can’t be written down
That which confounds 
The pierced eyes of the lyric-bound
That which slips past
Religious fingertips
That which compels
Aggressive scholarship
Which shuts the fuck up
The noisy expertise
And the one-penny tricks
That make all love 
Turn to helplessness.
You know what you know. 
That passion is intelligence
That hard work 
Is not the same as persistence
And that dreaming
Is what makes us human.
You know that art
Is not a question
Of statistical chance
And that the empty page
Carries in it the 
Trapped beauty of the poet. 
You know that it is the insane
That will save us.
That all murder, all evil
Is just wounded courage,
That anger is what
Our first sacred breath 
Looks like. 
You know that redemption
Cannot be captured in
Petty argument,
That healing is no theory,
Only that which happens
To the lonely – when they are sick
Of their own punishments.  
You know that for every 
Heartbreak, death and scarring,
There exists ten thousand
Lavish dawns
That hope, romance, and life at source,
Are one.
You know
More than you can stop to express
That wisdom is a movement
That knowledge is musical
And that a day’s work
Should make you windswept
But not winded or spent. 
You know that those that cuss
At love, are just those that
Are cursed with longing
That they too have
Needed some light in their doorways
Some stories and silk-like voices
To stroke their brows to rest. 
You know that they too
Are children
Petrified of their own innocence
So much so that they will
Force the world to answer their assessments
While they themselves are always failing. 
You know that no one can mark the heart
That no red pen can correct a song,
And that to do anything right
We must enjoy doing it – wrong!
You know more than these cloaked brotherhoods
Who congratulate you on your genius,
Who do so only for their own smug politics.  
Your waking thoughts outrank 
Their long, elastic logics,
Their pencilled experiments.
You graduated at birth,
With a raw knowing
With a first class awareness
Drawn from lifetimes like libraries
Stocked with philosophical dances.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sonnet after accusations of being 'pretentious'

The florid crime, the quirks of Calliope's whims,
Distil the drool, satiric treacle's pride,
The glottal joke, the aspic spittal's phlegm,
To sweetened truths and honeysuckled lines.
In nervous creeps the sorry heart rebels
With relished winces, spices numb the lips.
And rapture's yodelled song is quelled,
Preferring obmutescence - or a quip.
The things you call pretentious burn the blood.
The pierce and pant, the flush that swells the lungs.
Split-second strokes that cannot cool to words,
Caloric gases rise to rack the tongue.
Feel free to dress your abstinence with spite.
If beauty's truth, it's safer to be right.

Friday, 27 September 2013

And now you've shown those fucks

The shit they say will hurt for sure.
They mean it. Bastards work that way;
No girl's a saint, no human heart is pure,
But those with skill go out their way.
They make their mark and make it last.
Act innocent as you fight back.
Distract themselves with blunted jousts,
Defend attacks, complain of being attacked.
Just fools fight those at war with their own hearts,
Like healing those, who live by staying sick,
By cannon fire, alive but spirits cursed.
Such losing battles strip the soul of grit.
But war means time and readiness for luck.
You stood your ground. And now you've shown those fucks.

She hides tonight

She hides tonight in the frosted mist,
In the half-shaped curves of ice and light.
She hides in the damp-petaled leaves
That swoon from sun-bitten trees.
In the sky's drenched-cotton folds
And in the crispness of the grasses.

She hides tonight in halogen hallways
In rose-light behind dirtied curtains.
In the crack and beat of guilt-quick footsteps.
She hides in the breeze upon the spine,
In the dying sound of lovers' hate
And the stomach's ulcerous heat.

She hides in the rain-pearled webs
In the rotted squeak of wood-worm planks.
She hides in the bottle-necked, pineal rush,
In the mucus spice upon your lips.
She hides in the spider's liquid womb,
In her black-silk spawn about to burst. 

Where are all the bohemian girls?

Where are all the bohemian girls?
Disheveled and distracted in their crafts?

Where are all the wine-soaked girls?
Black-fingered women, curves like Raphael sketches?

Where are all the bohemian girls,
The cough and spit, unshaven women?

Where are all the blood-lipped women,
The bite and screams like Sahara storms?

Where are the chivalrous women,
The midnight girls, and battle-tested?

Where are the iron buckled prophetesses,
Rapier-skilled, and hearts like holy water?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Synchresis - Caesar weeps before a statue of Alexander

Before you conquered worlds, defeated memory's ranks,
Deployed the rains of hell to fight your fight;
Before you battled ice and heat, left gods outflanked,
Left terrified the terrors of the night,
You must have sliced your soul, let spirit bleed,
Pierced innocence, cut horse-skin for your heart.
The needs of war require the death of need,
The loss of loss, and grief for grief, to start.
My trauma leaves me little skill, but lust
And shameless scorn for those who've shut me down.
Pathetic tears can't fashion life from dust;
What lesson now can sun draw out from stone?
Though by my age you'd played the thief to God,
Time waits. I'll purple history with my blood. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Breathe and let the heavens sing

Breathe and let the heavens sing.
Be like the supple leaves,
Sheathes of velvet friction,
The harmonies of angels' whispers.
Breathe and let the heavens sing.

Be like the loyal sun,
Whose darkness is but a shift in light,
Whose stubborn beauty imbues
The vast and voiceless night.
Be like the loyal sun.

Loosen up with the wind.
Unlock your lungs, allowing heat
To laugh through your heart,
Swallowing the insolence of God.
Loosen up with the wind.

Do not thirst but sip.
Each wilting taste must sting
And tarr the toungue with burnt earth spices,
Cooled, cask sweet, wood-stained in souls.
Do not thirst but sip.

In a word, relax.
Let the tapestry of spirit
Flutter carelessly in your breast.
Transcribe its beat, and muffled song.
But in a word, relax.



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Blues for Miss So-and-so

Junk food shops and midnight men's clubs
Skunk dealers shudder in the doorways.
Bleach scarred brickwork under floodlights.
Couples laugh over street-cafe kebabs,
Fat-Turks at fruit stalls argue the toss.
Police cars flash epileptic in heavy heat.
Boys with tanned gypsy skin in denim shorts
And Russian tough guys in pink T-shirts strut.
African ladies gossip at the bus shelter,
Shoulders shining in the summer night.

You talked so much, so well, about art.
You could discipline the wind with jabs
From your polished lense's shutter snap.
You could conquer the light of angels
Grip refractions between your fingertips
As the clouds parted on city gravel.
Headlights on the metal, sun on street-signs,
Rain in the beer glass, the smooth turn
Of the subway tunnels in a dying rush.
You talked so much, so well, about art.

On the canal surface absinthe spooks are cast,
The night-thick waters are met with the moon.
Stars strain through the wine-soaked clouds
Breaking like softening ice caps burn.
The frictions of morning trains pierce the quiet,
The sound of freight cars on metal evoking hope.
Strange air in the city summer. Stifled breath,
Passing through your teeth dead like poison.
Street lamps flower across the red stones
Bright pockets of furncace cinders in the dark.

You thought you had me settled, my soul
Just paintwork on your perfect canvass smeared,
Another blend of flash refraction,
Peering needy in your fisheye prism.
Like all men, another Brechtian mouthpiece,
Imprisoned, blocked, in egotistic noise.
My words you scripted in their ready poise
Finishing my brushstrokes before my paintbrush moved.
You thought you had me settled. You were wrong.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sonnet written while travelling through Argyll

Sun-brightened blues infuse the summer shores;
Refining winds meet blood embellished earth.
Green juices flower into dark wooded forts
On bedded fields regaled in toughened cloth.
Relentless forests line the crowning crags;
Round kingly hills, the kingdom's riches reach
Steadfast with memories carved in stately cracks
Where history's current sings as rivers preach.
Each grief's a birth maturing truth from loss.
Deserted thirsts by death replenish need,
Like tideless sands enjoy the curse of floods
Reviving luscious leaves from dust and heat.
We're not the root but leaf. Not wave, but stone.
The planet's fuel. Just trimmings of the sun.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

A sonnet for all the motherfuckers.

I'm here to tell you that evil will not triumph.
That the crippled hearts that cripple others
Cannot douse the blossomed flames of life,
That we are born from the death of stars,
That your terror is what will always save you;
That it is not the devil, but the solar dust,
That struggles to burst and push through
From the blood hot sun inside your breast.
I'm here to tell you that the eyes of stone will rot
In the poetry of history, the Pharaoh’s winds.
That blunted hearts grow blunter still with thoughts,
But do not die with dying's shedded skins.
I'm here to tell you that you have already lost.
Fear is now my friend, my strength my curse. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

In her mutinous retreat

Perfected unimpressed
Her skin is white heat
With apple fresh perfume
She's in mutinous retreat.

He doesn't get the chicks
And always looks like shit
But his fingers are like bullets
In arpeggios and licks.

Joy it fell like rain
On the St. Martin's steps
And the camera like a gun
Caught the traffic and the stress.

Now the slabs echo in their glamour
With halogen silhouettes
and the river's like a cinema
As the floodlights pirouette.

Now the wind it carries laughter.
The sting, the spice of tears.
A resonant nostalgia
Of when hours felt like years.

Each rhythm builds up harder
Each pierces and each rusts,
The furious tuneless player
Busking for love's trust. 

And the sick are painted lovely
The lovely lose their bloom,
While the poet's headless poetry
Is the panic of the doomed. 

He plays on despite it
He plays as if at war
She is out there in the onslaught
Cursing as before.  

And he still can't get the chicks
And he still feels incomplete. 
While she is sicker than the sick
In her mutinous retreat. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Two opposing suns

Let's face it, holding it together's hard.
You have to cook the books to make it work.
Swallow a paradox of battling facts,
Mix metaphors, confuse your death with birth.
A woman's belly's built to hold the moon;
Make light from stone. Life's chemicals unwon,
Between the heart and rituals of her womb.
Priestesses born from Psyche's war with form.
A man's the child of two opposing suns.
Two hot infinities that burn as strong,
But can't outscorch the other. From them come
Live shots of flame between the hips and lungs.
From jugular to coccyx's spinal roots,
Two buds of heat make life from lightning's fruit.

Friday, 12 April 2013

'Hit back': a sonnet for Andreas

A pink conflicted skin of storm,
Gentle, pent thick, with melting dyes;
Refracting daylight's soft fragmenting warmth,
Breaks up night's blooming, petalled, half-disguise.
London. The dizzy, drizzled Soho lights,
Spread wet, chaotic child-like over streets
Vinigared black. The city's pressure bites
You - pincered by the flash and shrieks.
Your battle plan begins from where you stand.
Bare-fisted, young, transfixed by midnight sun.
Appraised of facts, like sand between your hands.
Apologies get banished on the run.
The city's polystyrene tongue attacks.
With language made to scar and crack. Hit back.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Ode to Spring

October's flourishes are dried to must,
And ice comes carried sharp by wind. The sun,
Strikes ground refreshed and brisk with dust,
Before maturing grasses from the mud.

Broken capricious watercolour clouds
Let evening's palette-melted warmth unfold,
Turning the fingertips of branches brown,
Bruising the naked sky with blue and gold.

The time-cut trunks round shadowed churches crack ,
And moss and holly strangle bricks and creep
Around Victorian cobwebbed, sugar-glass.
Cement and polythene entrap the weeds.

You ask me what a man is – I say he's heat.
And you know it. And his heart billows like
Powdered cirrus, or wind weaved through the wheat
Drowning the sensual afternoons of light.

Ask me what a man is – I say he's earth.
Dense generations hot in buried dirt,
Where darkness moistens roots in fertile filth
Before awakened shoots are born and burnt. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Saffron's Sonnet

The language of apologies is cheap
And quick convenient in its rhetoric.
Actions toil and we must close our lips,
Love is not love but troubled doublespeak.
That said, dreamed dreams can choke the day-to-day,
As hearts shift justice through the oil and heat,
Driving fast lanes between the cash and play,
With fragile metals you cannot cheat for speed.
Sometimes its all we have – our words, our dreams,
The body's petrol powered ambitions dry.
Inspiration like premium gasoline,
A hope-black engine in your chassis cries.
Concrete and rubber meet and trouble burns,
Keep steady, tight ahead, and take the turns.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

In defence of self-pity

Sun on the cloud like a cut blood orange,
The pupils pinch, and the retina cringed.

That's the life of a boondocked soul.
Wine two for a tenner, you're on a roll.
Bloody minded, playing the fool,
Caffeine enraged, too cruel to be cool.

Unwashed sheets, a jealous stench.
Knee bones, neck jealous clenched.
Light stale, flea-ridden lunch,
Mind on its back and sucker punched.

City traffic, city hypnosis.
Sweat, bad breath, and histrionics.
Pink wet sky above a Picadilly poet
Fingers a cliché in his fraudulent pocket. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

For a pay-day treat

No touch, no kiss, hands off the hair
It's 200, or two-fifty the hour.
Girl brunette, pubescent eyes,
Her doggystyle moans are pitch-perfect lies.
Two bottles of wine, it's got a mind of its own,
Need something back just to go on.
White walls, white sheets, a humourless room
The opposite problem of ending too soon.
No lips, no breath, a shadowless sex,
For a pay-day treat what d'you expect?

Friday, 15 February 2013

The truth is I understand you.

The truth is I understand you.
Your bite and your sneer
And your perfectionist rage.
I understand why you deploy beauty
Like a fleet of bombers.
I get it, how you have to keep
The world at a whip's length
And how in the absence of strength
Your fingernails and teeth will
Have to do.

Somewhere along the lines
You learned to grip tight,
To perform with bitter lips
The way some alcoholics
Become achievement addicts.
It's not hatred of men.
You make out like a chauvinist
Just for convenience,
It keeps the seas parted.

The way you say, 'fuck you'
Is sexy, not because I'm a masochist,
Not because tearing the world an arse hole
Day after day is good practice,
Or becoming of a bitch.
No. It's because
If it's a choice between you and the abyss
You always choose you.
And that's more than I could ever do.

Maybe I never loved you.
Maybe it wasn't compassion.
Maybe it had fuck all to do
With damsels, distresses
And white knight complexes.
Maybe I just understood you.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Great King Street Blues - For Pat

With tongues cigarette minted we lipped
The blueprints of our disappointments
That left our songs in mouthfuls trapped,
Our ingrown teeth red with persistence.
In the afternoons the soul turns timid.
Ideals childish coded against the flow,
The heart’s timpani stride becomes a tired thud
Wise words lose their attack - crescendo.
We are nothing but brave peninsulas
Met only by the pinkish heat of light
That seasons the muted currents between us
And dresses the glittered trimmings of the night.
None of us islands, none free from each other.
Love is our revolution, not our master.  

Monday, 11 February 2013

Been a while

Square against the thumb the cold
Steel fresh with a winter physics.
The sunlight livid on pallid walls
Dry-defeated in achromatics.

Lips alone are mightier than the pen.
Like sleet drops on mountain brooks
Leave imprints on the the water's skin,
They outclass poems in swallowed lyrics.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Sonnet on reaching thirty-two

At thirty-two I feel no shame, I am
No less inspired; enraged, and vital still,
Though money'd power and hustling time
Attack for sport virginity of will.
Sometimes I've felt defeated by a smirk
Left deaf by sneers in London's diesel squall;
Saw Satan light a candle in the kirk
And say 'salvation first must see you fall'.
But no devil, Christ, no market's tick-tock facts
Can mark the scroll on which I scratch my truth.
The rebel's art keeps fantasy intact
A manifesto not enslaved to proof.
My hasting days in flight are still not done.
So listen up, you fuckers, and be dumb. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Your photographs

Everything discarded
Your books, your records.
It's all at last released 
Charitably unburdened.

Except, though, your photographs.

All memories embittered
The afternoons of laughter.
Coffee, rain and records
Loyalties hungover.

All, just not your photographs.

We said we loved as artists.
Not lip-synched by a  kiss
Not cemented by bodies.
It was all bullshit.

But not your photographs.

Pirate heartbeats still
Pledge beauty's booty shared.
But titillation's thrill
Strips genius bare.

However, not your photographs.

When I come across your footprints
I reclaim it all with dust.
Smear away the graphite
Dirtied with a curse.

Of course
Your photographs.