18 Jan 2018

SEASTATE


Redacted Glory




R E V E R B E R A T I O N S




PERAMBULANS TENEBRIS (WALKER IN DARKNESS)


Poolside

And everywhere
waters presence soft
springing from the bedrock
dampness eked out of the walls.
Tidal flow colouring the streets
scents of salt of ozone seawashed
gulls cry and turbine hums.
Timber settling and steel corroding
dolphins crowd the light,
Poseidons children wrapped in
channels threading the substructure.
River knits the ways of
secret arterial flow
refreshing taproots of
the city alive on rolling ebbs
safe harbour.
Restless wave bringing flotsam
to meld in the pool of life
beneath a shaded magnolia
stands the beating heart
from which bell like echoes
resound to call its
sons and daughters
adrift in the four corners
blood filled with crafty hooks
diaspora meshed and netted
till the moon flexes
an inexorable draw

to port.

Sea of Crises

No garden then that concrete year
grey as Mare Crisum,
sun dappled island of cement -
stars my destination
moon in the gutter.
James Burke commentates
As Eagle leaves the safety
of a  kitchen orbit.
Three days circle the yard
silver plastic glinting,
module making unexpected
course corrections near
Mother of all asteroids.
Sheets battening in solar wind,
tracking the washing line,
over a landing site secured.
Countdown to burn,
finger and  thumb executing
last minute correction
as Armstrong flew dead stick
with computer off.
Hundred feet –  closing fast
like cheese.
Craters and dust.

Easy now
Almost
Brace
And

The Eagle Has Landed
Tranquility Base here.

Magnificent desolation.
Roll back on warm concrete
Admiring the achievement
tiny plastic LEM on
harsh lunar surface

Prepare for EVA
as a shadow falls -
One Giant Step
as the final shirt is pegged out
like a conquering flag,
crushing my dreams
of space exploration.
Houston, We have a problem.


Birth Panes


A light of other days
gleaming wanly
from no glass.

Conspicuous by an absence
locked and shuttered against
times arrows.

Sparrows flutter and nest
picking spiders from cracks
fertilising the beds.

I see flaws
in your plan creeping
tendrils hiding scarlet rust.

Red marrow against bone white
pale shades move
amongst the fronds.

Hobs nails strike sparks
Beneath locked botany
faux goddesses and lost captains.

Watch over these weathered days
shall we meet again

within or without ?

Fur Coat and No Knickers


I see you now you wanton harlot
On street corners beckoning lustered
rainwashed colour across your windowed eyes
half closed and glinting slyly in the sashes.
Shamelessly pouting for selfies in ornate arches
your well turned railings curve away
to darkly inviting cul de sacs and mews
where I could lately linger  
as white stars pass by silent in the twilight
Skirting the hallowed halls and vaults
Filled with plundered treasures
A Lovely bust framed in crumpled iron and brass.
There may be snow on your roofs
but the flame in your grates
still warms the cockles of my heart.
Mature as a rare vintage, sparkling and heady
you’re drunk on Saturday nights
but always daisy fresh by Monday,
ready to throw open your doors to
your faithful legions of furtive lovers.
To paint your nails and gloss your lips,
cinch your corsets and tress your hair,
It takes work to look this good.
It hasn’t just happened by chance
experienced hands attend your needs.
But I see through this glamour and sheen
past the lofty hordings and miles of scaffold,
beneath the lime spattered aeries and sandblasted colonnades
to the liver bird behind the painted smile.

Albions’ finest daughter’s
no spring chicken now It may be true,
maybe you’ve become
a little portly round the docks
from funnelling all the foreign fancies
when you were young and more accommodating
to the whims of merchants and the largesse of the seas
Maybe a little too keen on the old baccy
You’ve been smoking like a chimney for years,
sooting up your complexion, silting up the flow
making you cough and spit up in the river.
But you’re better now I see
amazing what a bit of slap and a
cheeky nip and tuck can do.
Blousy and brassy you strut these days
from estuary to inland
your crooked curving smile
beguiling me always.
For all the flash and neon,
Polished glass and burnished silver 
the face I see
that glorious rising visage
beyond
behind
before   is you
ageless and evergreen
and I know as we grow older together
that I will always want

to hold your urbane hand.

Miss My Mersey Mermaid

The sun has set on my incoming tides
the rush to claim the fairground rides
to throw my afghan across the puddles
the very thought leaves me in muddles.

Yet it seems just yesterday I ran
through the market past the van
unloading fruit and veg, fish and meat
to our lunchtime bevvy, our special treat.

A pint of Higsons and a couple of straws
the blue one mine and the pink one yours
gazing into your mascara’d eyes
I wove a net of conniving lies

I’ve really only me to blame
with promises of stardom, dreams of fame
no wonder you saw through my schemes
to try and fool you with my dreams.

My Biba model, my Mary Quant
what I thought every girl would want
to pose before a gleaming lens
but that ideal is surely mens.

No dolly bird would want to strip
for a party seven and a greasy chip
so although I thought I had you made
you had no intention to parade

Around my dingy terraced flat
with me as Warhol thinking that
I had conned you into my bed
but you were clearly streets ahead

And ready with a sharp retort
when I stupidly voiced the thought
like any wholesome Liver bird
you shut me up with just one word

And turning on a platform heel
you quickly left me to feel
that I had clearly underestimated
the fairer sex and felt berated.

Now many years have passed
those heady times could never last
and I wonder now in modern days
why I did not expect to find your ways

To be so different from mine
but I was a chauvinistic swine
and lost the chance to love the one
true soulmate now forever gone

Instead I’m left upon the shelf
and constantly chastise myself
the rivers strength flows in your veins
its timeless beauty still remains

Haunting my reveries and regrets
for those brief moments ill not forget  
the Mersey beat of your proud heart
singing so loudly from the start

you wowed me in those early days
your easy laugh, your hippy ways
made sure that I would never lose
the image of your departing shoes.

For although I thought I could win
your heart and smile, that dimpled chin
I was already lost without a doubt
And my clumsy plans would get thrown out.

That summer of Love was truly real
but I confused the way I feel
with simple lust and manly greed
for concrete love and honest need

Now I’m condemned to depths infernal
After losing love eternal
had I just heard the song
you’d been singing all along

your mystic sirens fluid grace
Sun dappled skin and freckled face
was showing me the one true way
to learn to love another way

had I heard and not been distracted.
Made sure my pass was then retracted
Looked beyond your kinky boots
Explored the options to their roots

Softly softly i’d tread the stair
To your pad and find you there
Your flat was tiny, of this I’m certain
window drawn with paisley curtains.

a battered sofa and formica table
a case of books on myth and fable
covered with candles and draped in beads
Just for show as no one reads

instead I had to push my luck
dragging your innocence through the muck
and rightly so you cut me free
Told me to go and let you be

now I am old, alone and sad
wondering what we could have had
I wish I’d never made you go

cos now I’m ebb and you’re the flow.

The Newer Times


I
At 3.00pm yesterday, a large sinkhole appeared in the pedestrianized section of Chapel Street. Liverpool council have requested an investigation into the appearance of the hole and the Lord Mayor is looking into it.

II
In the city of Magnetogorsk this week, steelworker Boris Valigorsky discovered the distinct likeness  of the Russian Premiere on a salted cracker in a vodka bar over lunch. The Kremlin meanwhile strenuous denies it is Putin on the Ritz.

III
William Shatner, 72, famous for his roles as Captain James T. Kirk and T.J Hooker, faces assault charges following a visit to the White House this week, after misidentifying the presidential hairpiece as a Tribble.

IV
A certain Dolores Rheinart of Dolt, Missourri was dismayed to discover that the jar of pickled cauliflower florets she had won on Ebay.com, was in fact the preserved missing frontal lobe of Einstein’s brain.

V
Employees of the Manchester branch of Johnson Advertising Hoardings were forced to suspend work today, as Jonah Sutcliffe lost his footing while operating an industrial laminator and made an exhibition of himself on the factory floor.

VI
The prestigious wedding of Dieter and Magnus Johannsen was brought to premature halt today as the groom was accidentally treppaned by a malfunctioning camera drone. The footage is exceeding all viewing records on Youtube.

VII
Comedian and charity fundraiser Terry Clemmens suffered head injuries yesterday, while raising funds for Alzheimers Research with a bungee jump from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. His manager later stated that he assumed the cord had been ordered in Metric as opposed to Imperial dimensions.

VIII

In Bootle today, operatives in the neighbourhood spray tan salon ‘Shimmerpool’ celebrated their 1 Millionth customer by taking the train into the city and painting the town burnt sienna.

Comebat Backman (All is forgiven)

I still check the dark street corners
Amongst fading flowers and crowds of mourners
For flapping swathes of black and blue
But these days it seems  there’s no sign of you.

For us mere mortals, things are rotten
It seems to me that you’ve forgotten
It’s your place to right our wrongs
And hear your exploits hailed in songs.

But lately I’ve noticed it’s been while
Since you brought any baddies home to trial
Are you getting old, do you walk now with a Kane?
Has all of that battling left you in pain?

Or has Middle age spread and too much fast food
Made you lethargic and less in the mood
To fight our injustices and settle our scores
Or is the man in the street now a lost cause?

But then you’re human too just like me
Probably turned on your telly and been able to see
That supervillain and nemesis are now long gone
You’re the last of your kind, the only one.

Unable to be anywhere at a glance
You’re not Superman, you haven’t a chance
When bad things happen everywhere on the globe
You’re probably napping in your comfy bathrobe.

When the man on the street can happily turn
And watch without feeling his neighbourhood burn
There’s no mushroom cloud warning to cover your head
The suicide bomber makes sure you are dead.

Without rambling monologues, the plan can proceed
These terror attacks will always succeed
There’s no spandex and dayglo or capes to be seen
Not even a jacket in camouflage green.

You just sit back and relax and recall the days
Of heroes and villains and unending praise
This isn’t a story which just needs amending

For It doesn’t bode well for a comicbook ending. 

5 Jun 2017

Happening Tonight

The culmination of several months work, volunteering to support Dr Catherine Marcangeli in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Mersey Sound, 'Happening Tonight' was intended as a low key reading of work from Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, fifty years to the day after the publication of Penguin Modern Poets No10. Along with students from Edge Hill University and a brace of established contemporary poets, the evening became one of magic and surprise.
Firstly a BBC film crew asked to be invited along to film the event, with a view to preparing a BBC4 documentary on the anthology, then on the day of the reading, I discovered that Roger McGough himself was going to be making a special appearance. If I wasn't nervous already, meeting one of my poetic heroes in person was a major event.
Novice reader Eve Lewis gave a spirited rendition of classic poems, no small feat for a student just entering her second year on the Creative Writing course. 
On one of the hottest nights of the year so far and in front of the spotlight, I was wilting delivering my own response to the Mersey Sound - 'Miss My Mersey Mermaid'. 
Mark Greenwood of the Dock Road Press cooly and calmly showed us how it was done with a selection of original work and his own performance pieces. 
Fellow Masters student Sue Comer, herself a conceptual artist as well as a writer, gave a lovely, measured performance in a three part homage to the book. 
Tom jenks, the imaginative and inventive founder of Zimzalla, read his favourites from the anthology in his own inimitable style. 
After a brief interval and a phony hiatus by myself, I was overjoyed to reveal my special guest, Roger himself, the very epitome of calm and controlled performance. 
Although his appearance was meant to be a secret, I think word may have leaked out, earlier.. 
Fellow collaborator Brendan Quinn gave a powerful performance to a sequence of poems, one for each of the big three. 
The elegant and talented Patricia Farrell reads her own performance piece 'Take my hand and let us rumple the surface of this ice cream'. 
Robert Edge showed no nerves as he rounded up the shows penultimate performance. 
By this time I was sufficiently relaxed to allow myself a slight smile - with the satisfaction that the evening had gone well. 
My final guest, my own tutor in poetry, the great Professor Robert Sheppard presented the rousing 'Batwoman Sutras' 
To round off the evening Roger McGough took questions from the audience, before enjoying a natter and a beer with the crowd. The mark of a true professional! 


10 Apr 2017

The Steampaladin's Return

As brave helios' steeds retire

behind this ice-choked horizon

tinting grinding floes incarnadrine

A boreal frost rimes my beard and

biting wind recalls fond moments -

the edge of my lady's blade at my nape

keener than any shard of ancient crystal

I might lay before her,

An embarrassment of riches

rooms of gold and precious scintillants

would pale into insignificant trifles

before the luminance of her visage.

Long have I journeyed in her name

beyond the comfortable bounds of latitude

to bring the glory of her word,

the mercy of her hand.

My capital now distant in time and space

Behemoth wading green oceans and frozen steppes

I have traversed them all and gladly

would do so again, should she command

her hand, her gaze, her glory

to be shared, to be revered across empire.

I hasten home, now my love

bringing word that your claim is laid

on these vagrant lands beyond the shores

of great Albion resounding

its hallowed spires of burnished brass,

in purifying tides of steam.

A cleansing tide radiates forth

bringing order and modernity

to the far flung corners of the world

telegraphing the visage of the god-queen

in her majestic splendour.

I crave the winds to bear me with all speed

To Albion, embodying wisdom and virtue

whose beating heart resides in her hallowed and regal breast

which god willing, your champion shall behold

on return to Londones gleaming spires,

its capitals shining streets.

Till then, my queen, my love I remain,

your mortal instrument. Your paladin. Your hero.

11 Mar 2017

One Mans Meat

Myself and the talented Brendan Quinn, deliver a collaborative piece at the Robert Sheppard Symposium, 8 March 2017.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XaoXF9KoxUQ&feature=youtu.be

10 Mar 2017

A Primal Fear

A calculated risk
dipping a toe
in unknown waters,
breaking surface tension
expecting to feel naked ankles
brushed by plaster belmonites.
Wiggling toes gripped by 
pink whiteness
ten foot spider crab
claws poking out from behind glass
secured decades before.
This japanese monster loose
stalking fear on a tide of blood
should I venture too far from sure.

Pale sunlight spears Triassic waves
through black nylon gloom
drawn tight across a view
Ichthyosaur regards me with
a gleam of savage patience.
Aeons passing a saucer eye
awaiting the moment to strike
in dusty galleries as the
limbic screams retreat 
decades after haunting
every stretch of darkness
with gently smiling
jaws.

11 Feb 2017

And The Word Was - Creativity

Post launch and time to reflect on the final exhibit and the process of curating the exhibit. Its been some months in the making and a lesson in curation and organisation. Stepping back and looking at the work, I am relieved and immensley gratified to have the chance to work with some talented and generous artists and writers, who have given up their time to both assist with the behind the scenes practicalities and to take time out of their packed schedules to create new pieces especially for the show.

The exhibit will run until the 24th of February and features the work of Brendan Quinn, poet and writer studying for a Masters, Jessie Hill, second year BA writer and Film student, Jen Murphy, MA student writer, Sue Comer, visual artist and MA student and Philippa Holloway, Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student.

I am also extremely grateful to the inventive and entertaining writer and editor Mr Nicholas Royle, who runs the Nightjar press and edits the Best British Short Stories sequence, who, after a presentation to the creative writing Masters seminar group, kindly agreed to open the exhibition and spend time chstting to the artists and the audience in his usual candid and enthralling fashion.


BRENDAN QUINN

JEN MURPHY

JESSIE HILL

PHILIPPA HOLLOWAY