A collection of poems and other writings...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Feeding of The Muse

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boys and Girls,

Today at Eight
and then again at Six
there will be

The Feeding of The Muse.

If you wish to observe
this Engaging Event
please assemble in Plenty of Time
at the Assembly Point
indicated by Your Guide

Note:
When feeding has commenced
there will be

No Going Back.

Please do not stand
forward of the
Yellow Line
(Any unauthorised crossing of the
Yellow Line
is entirely at

Your Own Risk.)

If you listen carefully
you may be able to hear
the
Call of The Hungry Muse
while you are waiting
(Although, ironically
the Call is a
Deep
Dark and
Distinctive
Silence.)

Please hand all
Electro-magnetic Equipment
to
The Attendant

No Flash Photography
is Permitted
as this can damage

The Vision of the Muse.

You are advised to
Dress Appropriately –
Wet Weather Attire
may be required
as
The Feeding of The Muse
can be a somewhat
Messy Business.

Light Refreshments
will be available
in Reception but
Please Refrain
from
Feeding The Muse
Unregulated  Titbits
as this can lead to
Over Stimulation,
Loss of Tone,

and a
Terrible Mess
to clear up.

Disclaimer:

Please Note
that while
The Feeding of The Muse
takes place at
Regular Intervals
The Muse may not actually produce anything
of Any Value
for weeks.

The Management
cannot be held responsible
for
Non-Appearance
of the Muse
or any
Sense of Disappointment
induced in Observers.

Any Admission

is Retractable.

The Martian Schoolgirl

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
Her eyes were green as steel
She fired her poison darts at me
And taught me how to feel.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
I followed her into space
But if I tried to kiss her
She slapped me round the face.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
Her hair was as dark as the dead.
She flew in her little spaghetti craft
Three feet above my head.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
She sang as sweet as the night
She put out a single on Cherry Red Records
But they banned it out of spite.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
The pick of the Martian crop
I wanted her to love me back
Then I couldn’t make her stop.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
But she didn’t treat me right
She drank my blood in the bike shed
And kept me out all night.

I was in love with a Martian Schoolgirl
An earthbound schoolboy’s dream
She never even learned my name
But she taught me how to scream.

Now Martian Schoolgirls come and go
And this one came and went
And the currency of my human heart

Has all been spent.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Name-bers

When I was young I loved that old counting rhyme Yan, tan tethera reputedly chanted by shepherds counting sheep.  I got to playing about and this happened...


Una, tom, terry, perry,
paul,
stella, steven, olaf, nina,
dick.

Dickuzzi, dicktum, dictionary, pictionary,
digaul,
dickella, kesteven, dickolaf, dickina,
tomalin.

Unatomalin, tomtomalin, terrytomalin, perrytomalin,
paulotomalin,
stellatomalin, stevatomalin, olatomalin, ninatomalin,
terrylene.

Unaterrylene, tomyterrylene, terryterrylene, perryterrylene,
pauloterrylene,
stellaterrylene, steviaterrylene, olaterrylene, ninaterrylene,
peridot.

Unaperidot, tomyperidot, terryperidot, perryperidot,
paulaperidot,
stellaperidot, steviaperidot, olaperidot, ninaperidot,
palomino.

Unapalomino, tompalomino, terrypalomino, perrypalomino,
paulapalomino,
stellapalomino, steviapalomino, olapalomino, ninapalomino,
stelartois.


Stelartois…

Stephanotis…

Olazabal…

Ni…
Unani, tomni, terryni, perryni, paulani
Stellani, steviani, olafni, ninani…

Una Hungary

Tom Hungary

Alexandria

Tomalexandria


Maximillian

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pianola

35 Woodcote Road, Wanstead, E11
as it is now...
Mr and Mrs Foyster live
at No 37.                                           
She has dark red hair that
floats around her head
unless she puts on a scarf.

On Thursday
before John  and Kate
come home from school
Mum takes me next door
for Mrs Foyster to look after me.

Right, Christopher
she says,
what are we going to do today?

Mrs Foyster pulls a chair
up to the kitchen sink
and holds my hand
as she climbs me up onto it.

My head bumps into her bosom
as I stand up tall.

She turns on both the taps
and fills the bowl in the sink
with water.
Then she squirts a squirt of
fairy
into it.

Swoosh it round,
she says

I put my hand in and
swoosh it round
the hot tap is running
the cold tap is running a bit too.

The bubbles
grow like a frothy sponge.
I pull up my hand and blow
the clump of bubbles off.

Mrs Foyster
picks up a cereal bowl
and slides it under the water
She hands me a little mop,
a wooden handle with a flop of string.
I think it looks like a person
and I make it say hello to Mrs Foyster.
Hello,
Yes, hello, says Mrs Foyster
and she holds my hand with the mop in it.
We push the mop
around
inside the cereal bowl.

She pulls the bowl out of the water.

All clean, she says,
and she puts it on the draining board.

You can do the others, Christopher,
she says,
but don't touch the sharp knives,

and she bustles out and upstairs.

The kitchen is quiet
I stand there and look at the side.
There are other cereal bowls
and plates
and knives
and cups
on the side next to the sink,

but none of them move.

I don't know what happened to Mum's old wireless but I found this
one in a shop in Sheffield recently - it is exactly the
same model we had back then.
When Mum is doing the washing up
she puts the wireless on
and we listen to David Jacobs
but Mrs Foyster
doesn't put the wireless on.

It is very quiet.

Then I hear it

- a strange, quiet
crackling sound,
a fizzling sound,
a whispery sort of
whizzing sound.

It is a very quiet sound
but it feels very close by
and I get a scary feeling
up the back of my neck
as if there is someone there watching me.

I can’t get down off the chair
because the noise is too scary
even though it is very quiet.

I find there is a little noise
in my mouth now
that wants to come out
and then it does come out
but actually it’s quite a big noise.

Mrs Foyster
comes running down the stairs
Whatonearth’s the matter?
she says.

But I can’t tell her

What is it? 
she says again.
She’s holding me
by the shoulders
on the chair -
she does look worried.

There are big creases in her forehead.
I can see her big mouth
and where her lipstick
has smudged away from her lips a bit
or maybe she just didn't stay inside the lines.
And where her eyebrows should be
there aren't any eyebrows,
there's just colouring in.

There was a noise
I said.

A what? 
What sort of noise?
I didn’t hear anything.

There was one,
I said again.

Where, where was it coming from?

I don’t know

What sort of noise was it?

It was a fizzy
sort of crackly sort of noise

Really?
I couldn’t hear anything.

There was though!

I can feel
the corners of my mouth
start to get pulled down,
like when Mum’s cross,
and my eyes start to get prickly

It’s all right, Christopher,
says Mrs Foyster.
It’s all right.
Can you still hear it?

I don’t know.
Mrs Foyster gave me this mug for my sixth
birthday - I'm not quite sure why - but I still have it.


Let’s listen, shall we,
and see
if we can hear it together?

She stands up
and puts her hands
on my shoulders
a bit more gently.


We listen.
Everything is quiet


We can hear the clock ticking
on the mantelpiece.

We hear a lorry go by outside

and then it’s quiet again

Then I start to hear the noise again
and I say
There it is, can you hear it?
It’s very quiet.

She stoops over a little bit

Oh, you dopey boy
it’s the bubbles
in the washing up bowl.
They are just popping,
just popping 
like tiny little balloons.
That’s all it is.
There’s nothing to be scared of.

I wasn’t scared,
I said.

She rests her hand
on the back of my head 
for a moment.

Come on, she says
that’s enough washing up for one day.

She gets a bottle of orange squash
out of the cupboard
and the beaker with the clown on it
and she pours some squash into the beaker
then reaches past me and fills it up at the tap.

Jump down, she says.

And I can now

so I do.

I think there’s a biscuit
in the jar
on the coffee table,
she says,
as we go through
into the sitting room.

And she is right
there is.

I sit on the sofa
and she hands me the beaker
and a custard cream.

Don't fall in,  
she says,
it's deep.

I drink my orange squash
and eat the custard cream

and then I see Mr Foyster’s ashtray
with the knob that you press
to make all the ash go down into the bottom
and I reach out and press the knob

quite a lot.

Mrs Foyster is sitting in the armchair.
She looks at me pressing the knob.

She stands up and goes
and sits down on 
the piano stool

and she starts pushing at the pedals
with her feet
then suddenly
the piano starts playing all by itself.

I wriggle off the sofa
and go and stand next to her
and see the white keys
and sometimes the black keys
sinking down
and rising up
all by themselves

and she looks at me
smiling
with her arms folded.

Her feet are still
pushing away
and the piano is still playing
as she takes
a packet of cigarettes
out of her apron pocket
and reaches for the lighter
on top of the piano to light it.

And I stand there
and listen to the music
and watch the blue smoke
rising from her cigarette.



Tuesday, 5 August 2014

David and Goliath

When
David stood before the Giant
he armed himself with stone and sling
against the mighty Philistine magnum - 
the sword, the spear, the death machine.

And
those who watched would hold their breath
and stand hand in hand on the bank of Elah
to see him fight the mountain man
dressed in armour and with helm of bronze.

And
so bravely young David stood
and shouldered all the fear and dread
of a nation under battle
their hopes and dreams of life in peace

The
shepherd boy who leads his country
to victory over the savage foe,
who holds the just and fairest vision
of life to live, and love to grow.

And
Saul the King was afraid of David
for the Lord was with him
then.

Now
when I look
at the weak and the powerful
all I see are tables turning.
I cannot see where David stands
But is this he who phones a warning?
Is this he who drives the tank?
Is this he beneath this dome?
Is he now the bold protector
fighting for the oppressed home?

I cannot see the justice
and maybe I cannot see the truth
but I can see who holds the sling

and 
who holds the bloody sword.