Poem: Do Not Go Gentle (by Dylan Thomas)

April 24, 2017

(for my Dad)

 

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 


Poem: Lo and Behold

April 17, 2017

 

ecce homo

this Jew ex machina

who’s purloined Pauline

aphorisms

crashed the Whore

of Babylon’s machinery

 

— a sudden stoppage

in the

constant(ine) gears

which had weathered

the (st)orms

of barbarism and buffoonery —

 

died on a tree

say it

(s)aint so

devoid of (e)motion

qui(e)t, silent even

as the public gawked

and prodded

pierced

b(lo)ody hands agape.

Agape! he cries,

Love!

through the tears

renting his b(lo)ody flesh

almost as ba(l)dly

as we have

rented his b(lo)ody

super(ficial) image

through the years

perpl(ex)ed

(conf)used

gored

in the

par(ox)ysm of death

he begged

his go(o)d forgive

those who

(k)illed him

with their fears

 


Poem: I Used To Be Homesick

April 10, 2017

 

 

I used to be homesick

for the smell of the old Sainsbury’s butchers shops, the sawdust, the red raw hands of the fat-armed butcher’s boys;

for the extinct pink Financial Times and the Sporting Life, for their columns and columns of incomprehensible numbers and symbols of form and potential, neither suitable for fish and chip wrapping;

for the smell of the Tube tunnels as a rushing train pushes warm stale air across faces and platforms;

for the hop skip and jump it used to take to keep drinking all day in the days of the mysterious licensing hours;

for the certainty of location in a spoken voice, always the region and often the very suburb or streetscape;

for the red squirrels in the parks and the water rats in the ditches and the horses that pulled the rag and bone mens’ carts on a Saturday morning;

for the hordes of rednosed rawboned hoop-shirted hooligans whooping it up on a Saturday afternoon, street level nationalists;

for the exciting stink of the Standard Wallpaper Company fire way back before the clean air acts when the thick smoke billowed invisibly within the choking smog;

for Toots & The Maytals and Cliff Richard & the Shadows, and the Yardbirds and the Uxbridge Fair, for Eel Pie Island, the Marquee Club, and the Orchid Ballroom, Purley;

for the taste of raw beer hoppy and alive in an alehouse more ancient than America where ₤100 is a busy night and the beer and the bread and the cheese are homemade;

for the rank taste in the mouth when the gasholders were full and leeching and the air smelled green;

for Prince Charles and Coronation Street, and Mastermind and Marjorie Proops and the Sunday Mirror and the Evening Standard and the Guardian crossword, and the suckers getting taken at Piccadilly Circus;

for eel-pie and mash, for meat-and-potato pies, for streaky bacon and fat-filled bangers, for two pieces of rock and six pennyworth o’chips, for Bisto and Bovril and Daddie’s Sauce, for Marks & Sparks Christmas puds, for hot runny custard, mushy peas, black pudding and kippers;

for the china chink of cup on saucer across the village green as your team takes to the field in whites and off-whites and green-stained creams, running and stretching and yawning off the dozen pints of the night before;

for the narrow roads and tiny cars and miniature houses and rose gardens and muddy resorts and back lanes where it is safe to walk.

I used to be homesick

before you.

 

 

 


Poem: Unwinding

April 3, 2017

 

Memory is

the first traitor

 

It is such a waste

to undo the syntax,

to untie the tender meanings,

to try to catch the logic

that meant little then

and nothing now;

to wonder what

was meant.

Was there a

design back then,

that leaves no traces?

 

Memory is

the first traitor

 


Poem: Grandmaster

March 27, 2017

 

The plush vermillion drapes

were pushed aside momentarily —

a passing shoulder, perhaps,

or a microphone cord —

and a brindle shadow fell

across the hushed room.

He looked up from the false ivory,

looked out through the frosted glass,

and one tiny corridor

of his labyrinthine mind

wandered at the sudden, shrill, iridescent glow

of life outside.

Moments passed,

and this moment passed;

the drapes fell back,

and his full deliberation returned

to the quickest kind of death

he could inflict

on his opponent’s queen.

 


Poem: Exchanges

March 20, 2017

 

Needle exchanges

are just

stock exchanges     really

 

stock exchanges

for those

dispossessed

those on the

margin

 

like over-stretched

brokers

in a bare    market

 

leveraged hedges and

currency options

are

derivatives

no different

than heroin from opium

 

stock exchanges

are just

needle exchanges

juicing up

a different

clientele.

 


Poem: Hard Times

March 13, 2017

 

It’s hard to distinguish the fragrance of Geurlain

from that of pan-fried potato latkes

when you’re beneath a barstool

amid the boot-crushed butts and spilled beers.

 

It’s hard to carve an eagle when the tempest

of emotions coats the back of your throat

with a cold glue that no creative

surge can moisten nor free up nor reduce to tears.

 

It’s hard to say what tipped the scales, what failed to

gel, what failed to gather to you the crowds

you needed for your performances

since you screwed up so many times over so many years.