BASIC LEVEL We well are meant to listen outside for reassurance. Birdsong minor, the swinging gate, Sinclair sonics from Chucky Egg, Manic Miner. Its binary black/white murk breadth a game multi-tasking pixels on this made lane. Basic is the level to be enjoyed; nothing more complex than a sprout on dry land. Avoiding mud on sheets and gowns' ends the ploy for stalking wood tokens by hand. Strawberry-munching a reward for this trip. Behind black-blued maskings, brief smiles on cold lips.
Choose a chat, one each please, that white yes is bad, hard to resist when toast, said, though, maybe earn points of kind saying no to ready made meal offer. Self-steered from bread tray, it's lovely squash, hearing pride in the talk you cook, next time you'll ask what they get out the food bank.
A cubicle of Hitchcocks. A nave of Scorceses. A saunter of Jarmusches. A wryness of Lees. A sneaker's-worth of Spikes. A shin-splint of Alan Clarkes. A monkey of Meadows. A street sweep of Carneys. A foxhole of Snyders. A green of Christopher Nolans. A froz of Christopher Nolans. A liar of Johnsons. A shot of John Hustons. A patina of Lucases. A mascara of Almodovars. A cursing of Jenkins. A griot of Jenkins. A craquelure of Jenkins. A hybrid of Nell Zinks. A pantsuit of Marshalls. A bubble of Tullys. A glory of Gareths. A stretch of Lubaina Himids. An erect of Brandon Taylor.
Old lore it was - a form of love - that held a mode for living: heed fast the roles to follow through en-route ascension, heaven. Band rates survived the loss of life; a ledge for new fry flown anew, as it was done (respectful sons). A guided stance, atrophied moves. To doff salute to ancient age, fall latest leaves from yester's trees, but men surge fast while women laugh emancipated, broken free. The hold of old ways cowelled and cowed by moolah-designed Me one, me first. My world you live in now, not then, Bright House a lighthouse before the hearse.
The poems Flit and For Sons of Daughters (below) were previously printed in #58 of The Journal in 2017 or so. To say they are representative of my work, well… I don’t know.
Flit concerns my local part of the country of Lancashire – and English to an extent – lives as lived out by families in the North-west of England. Growing up, I learnt about ‘flitting’ in a context of people fleeing the rent man or landlord. The poem isn’t about that – rather the opposite actually – but it is concerned with movement into the future with one eye on the past (or is that the other way around?)
The second poem focuses on my mother (and her now-passed husband) and my interactions with them. As ever with poetry, the success of these two pieces may well rest on the reader’s identification in spite of the possible danger of them appearing parochial in any way.
I would hope that my poems now display a progression and a greater ambition (in structure and syntax, increased clarity, variety of subjects, metrical flexing and so on), but an editor would be better placed to determine that rather than me (my oblique way of crying for help).
Pick up the pegs (avoid her bend) is my sole thought when I survey these colours splashed outside their house. This rained-down game without the rules - might next-door spurn this plastic vommed? Not corralled right... but they! Their backs look well broke, scrat. Corners ordinary destitute. There's scant chance of a friendly wave as each follows their own standard. Flower tips afore brought Eid offerings (hasty greets only then shown). Life is all narco-serene. Tiempo bought; last brews took in; a found array of old folk's things strewn willed-nil cross the sofa front. Instead of taking in a load of odds and sods for ma and her old man, it's my quiet turn to leave the scene and tool noise, kindly, for the clan.
Dear Bob and Roberta Smith. This is a letter of ten foot high thanks for the multitude of paint stuck and shaped seen today. I write outside the Harris Gallery where a rocked pram's wheels rotate and spin regardless of the couple nearly fighting to the side of coloured slats boarding my eyes. I remem- -ber Michael Gove's cumbersome, dear Bibles. I know my family's worth - how many challenges resented, wanted; I remember London's mad hubbub, and wonder if your election bid added colour or toned it down a bit... I think both. I come round to the fact my table for now is a long wooden bench with a wheel at one end. A metre wide, unpainted and untouched. You could go to town here but you already did.
Written after visiting this great exhibition of Bob and Roberta Smith’s work
(white font on a blue background used to aid anyone with dyslexia and not to salute Tories).