Sunday, 24 November 2013


(I actually wrote and performed this for a feature slot for one of Kevin Reinhardt's poetry events, then never did it again. It wasn't the intention to abandon it so swiftly, but its Vonnegut-apeing quirkiness probably didn't seem quite as clever to me later on as it did the morning after writing it.  These things happen.

I can't remember how I handled the "insert your own…" aspects of the piece. Pointed to the page, I think. That should be bloody high on the list of things you really shouldn't do in front of a live audience.)

We have all, at one point, fantasized about “being” with celebrities.
Don’t try to deny it.
Don’t sneer at me.  Don’t pretend you’ve never been
captivated by shallow glitz.

 Insert your own fantasy here    ---------------------------------------------------------------
Insert your own poem here:

 I cannot do it for you.

Eventually these dreams become tiresome.
Once the admiration of your friends
wears off and turns to jealousy so you
have no friends, you are left alone.
Your lover talks to Dazed and Confused
about the tragedy of war and a
new fragrance she has launched, and
you are merely a vampire in a hall of mirrors.

For today, however, I am
imagining getting together with the
woman on the late news programme who is
researching corruption in the American Military.
She sits, stuttering slightly, wearing
more make-up than she’s clearly used to,
trapped inside a television against her will.

I know how things would run.
I would meet her at a party.
One of those crap London dos full of
rich kids talking loudly and
confidently about subjects they know 
nothing about.
She would be fascinating and approachable.
Her angular nose would bump against
mine when we tried to kiss, but it
wouldn’t spoil the moment.  We’d laugh, and
the pressure, and eventually her clothes,
would be off.

Her busy work talking to people she
hates and trying to extract the
truth would make her lonely, and so
she would need the slow pleasure of warmth,
would not see it as restricting or
suffocating, just liberating.

Maybe weeks, possibly months down the line,
her single-minded passion, her
interest in the world, her beliefs would
make her enviable company.  If I
didn’t love her by this point,
I’d at least feel something approaching it.

But I have a life of my own, and I wonder:
How would I feel when, for the seventh
morning in a row, a tin soldier from her
war model kit, commonly used as a demonstration
tool on broadcasts, got stuck in a bloody
trench in my foot?  How would I take it
when she left me after
six months to do research in Kyrygstan?

There are always these doubts.
I know.
I have been married nearly a thousand times to
different women, all for a few moments.
I quickly turn my attention to the PA on the
sixth floor downstairs, the woman in
vintage clothing who lives on the
tenth floor of a run-down tower block,
the lady in the silent home film I have
found in the local junk store.
It always ends the same,
and I do about it what I do in real life.
I sigh and do nothing.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

You Must Have Noticed

(One more from the file of very old poems. This crept into a self-published pamphlet called "The Blues For Dummies" I only ever made about twenty copies of ten years ago.  It was a horribly designed, flimsy xeroxed effort which was supposed to have generated extra revenue from gig bookings, but in the end only used to earn me a few quid a night - perhaps because it looked so unpromising.

 Possibly in a bid to confuse my future self, there was also a poem called "The Blues For Dummies", but that never made the final cut for some reason.  Maybe I should try to find that somewhere among my piles of paper…)

Check “Last Ten Calls” on your mobile and
watch the jagged, dot matrix
parade of names of
cumbersome, beer gutted,
list loving single males
flick past your eyes.
Make a note of them.
This is your army.
Her name isn’t there.

“1471” the land line,
listen to the lilting female voice, the
only one you’ve heard
crackling down the line in a
fortnight, slide from sleepy
vocal ballet to eighties
Numanoid robo-jerk as she read off
your parent’s number.
Her number isn’t there.

Consider last conversations,
the chew of clicking chat,
innocent innuendo expanding,
remarks on new men she’d met
clattering like sharpened
flints of secrets from her
pocket which she toyfully
hid with her foot, protesting
their platonic status.
Your mind wasn’t there.

You’ve had your last warning.
She’s sick of waiting for you to decide.
She knows if it were up to you
you’d spend your whole life

waiting for the right time to surrender.