Monday, August 7, 2023

She'd never think twice

See her there

staring from the second floor

of an old house on Frenchman's Road

what has she seen? what has gone before her?

a mane of snow where violets grow

eyes of turquoise blue

and she smiles at you

When just a little girl she used to play in the streets

and all her friends would be there

and she'd never think twice cause it seemed

those days would never end

And now she lives alone in her empty home

once hers was the only house on the street that had a phone

now people never call, except for those call centres

she looks outside to see the schoolkids walking home

they're all on their phones

and she remembers the games she used to play.. hopscotch, marbles, knucklebones

When just a little girl she used to play in the streets

and all the neighbours kids would be there

and she'd never think twice cause it seemed 

those days would never end

She accidentally touched the glass that separates her from her past

it leaves her feeling cold and she remembers "oh i'm old!"

despite her new cardigan with the violets sewn on

that she has worn like she has worn her body

ageing while she herself doesn't age

not for 100 days, 1000 days, 30,000...

When just a little girl she used to play in the streets

and all of her friends would be there

and she'd never think twice cause it seemed

her days would all be nice

and now she's 94 and her friends have gone

and her days have grown long like the shadows of the memory 

of her mother's songs that she'd play to her

before the war, in 1934.. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

the pain of the game

Open up the borders release the plague

open the carnival, open the graves

send for your bible send for your cane

sit down at the table, feel the clank of the chain

can't you explain, why can't you explain?

the pain of the game

the moment you were born the race had begun

and you run and you run to catch the fast-rising sun

don't tell them your dreams or they'll laugh in your face

just climb up the ladder, put them in place

and as you climb higher, they start to feel small

pretty soon you'll rule over them all

you run through the forest you run to the lake

you'd better run faster or you're going to be late

to your own execution, it's drawing quite a crowd

and as you draw closer, they start to get loud

the executioner greets you as a friend

he says "everyone's here! everyone you sent (with your pen) to their ends"

you awake with a sweat from the terror of the night

in your bed of delusions its sheets crisp and white

with your lover beside you and the sun on the floor

surrounded by all the good things you adore

but you wish you could speak to them, the ones in your dream

you'd ask them "what does it mean?" 

that your dreams are the machines of your grief

but you spent all the money on new machines of war

while a shivering ex-serviceman dies right outside your door

you run to the churchyard to bury your head

or seek some forgiveness from the souls of the dead

but they won't forgive you, they're not even there

all you can squeeze out is an insincere tear

the further you go, the further you run

the longer the shadows from the fast-setting sun

'till it stares at you coldly straight in the eye

the witness to every one of your lies

the witness to every deed you tried to hide

then it sinks and leaves you alone with the night

now only the mirror can see what you've done

but it won't forgive you it's just like the sun

your family won't protect you nor will the police

nor will the prisoners you have released

but it's in your own head where the judgement is found

it's there with the sound of the pound of your soul going down

There's also a demo of this song here: (at about the three-minute mark)

Monday, July 18, 2022

Pay day

how long

must we remain strong

with a shit storm blowing in every other day

you work hard

push through the final yard

and the boss is on his way

you don't know what he's going to say

but today is payday

'the work's done

but you coulda done better, son'

then he rolls off on his merry way

a blank stare

you fall back in your chair

and the kids climb on to play

the tv's on 

but you know it's all wrong

people just say what they're paid to say

it's called news 

but it's a kind of abuse

and the boss watches every day

and before they say it 

he knows what they'll say

especially on payday

and today is payday

you scroll and scroll 

through the wall of trolls

you wonder who their baiting for today

it seems true

like it's you their talking too

and they know who's going to pay

the conspiracy 

will set you free

it's a play within the play

and the boss watches every day

and today is payday

but tomorrow is payback day

you don't fear

cause he can't hear

the words you choose not to say

you feel them though

and sometimes it shows 

when you look at him in the eye that way

he always drives home this way

and the tools are in the tray

and you don't care what he'll say

cause we've all got a new job today

and today is payback day

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

in the old days

in the old days
i would want to write to you about all this
this devastation, this departure
i would want to tell you all about it
about the void you have left in my life
i would say 
how in the blank portals of my room
i look for your lovely body
its familiar bones and places
your corkscrew smile 
puncturing my heart
and drawing out my breaths

about how i'm using the recipes you taught me
how i'm wearing the clothes you bought me
i'm tasting the words you gave to me
every time i speak
and i desire to hear your voice in echo
correcting every dumb thing i say
there's no more familiar voice to me in this world
i am dying to tell you all about this
and hear your reply
because i assume you are going through all this too
and no one would understand this mess i made
as well as you

so long in tune
this pain is the loss of our alignment
its intensity and its reason
is just the very absence it records
that familiarity is what
no longer exists
if i went looking for it in you
i would be faced with the horror
of its disfiguration
as would you it in me

we carry each other's ghost
and we can imagine it as we like
to imagine it
i can imagine you
as in the old days
your tangly hair tumbling down your shoulder
your blissful cheek and your hip
ghost piercing through the London streets
like a wonderful disaster
the wonderful perfect disaster
that i welcomed into my life 
just so it could be messy forever

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

This is what we chose

 if they ask

you should tell them

that we could have stopped it

but we chose not to

you should tell them

we had the tools

the technology

and the time

but we chose to enjoy our comforts

a little longer

those same comforts we have now lost

and so we rake the leaves

the autumn leaves

the leaves of our history

 our poetry, our learning

we rake them all into piles

 and then we burn them

we burn them to forget

for to remember

brings too much pain

and all the leaves are burning

for the forests are drying out

and the coral reefs are turning bone white

the storm is coming

but there won't be much snow

and so the glaciers retreat

and the seas rise to drink our cities

and this is what we chose

this is what we chose

Friday, April 30, 2021

the poppy

 i saw a poppy in the field

waving its bright red head in the air

one fine summer afternoon

and i said

'the storm is coming

dark on the horizon

it will tear your petals

from your face

and crush your body

bend it down into the earth

'why can't you be stronger 

like the thistle over there

with its spikes and firm flowers

no storm will worry that one'

and the poppy replied

'my beauty is inseparable 

from my fragility

just as the thistle's beauty

comes from its daunting strength

'when the storm comes

we will all do as our nature requires

and afterwards you will remember us

for the truth we embodied

and not lament us 

for what we could not be'.

a reading of this poem with music

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Pacifist (long version)

They killed my mother
they killed my father
they killed my daughters
they killed my son
now I must avenge every one of them

The police have been disbanded
so the law of the land is in my hand
and in my hand is a gun

Some call me a partisan
but really I'm a pacifist
and for peace I will do what must be done

There is a tree in the square
I cannot say what was hanging there
but we will take the fruit of their deeds back to them

So if you are free and you want to
you must join us we are many
but the fight must be faught to be won

Some call me a partisan
but really I'm a pacifist
and for peace I will do what must be done

There is a cancer, it is spreading
we must cut true, we must cut deep
if we're to save the country that we love

So don't turn around
don't look back
don't doubt
and don't fear
for the march
is to the heartbeat of the dead

Some call us the partisans
but really we're pacifists
and for peace
we will do what must be done

I kiss my mother
I kiss my father
I kiss my daughters
I kiss my son
and now I must avenge every one