Thursday, 27 April 2017

So there I was carrying out my daily

ablutions when I reached that point involving
some cotton balls. I stood before the mirror
and, almost pleased with what I saw, began
to cleanse my handsome, nearly perfect face.
I took a cotton ball and dipped it in
some cool, clear, refreshing cleansing liquid
(bought from a store in Paris by a minion,
then flown ten thousand miles to where I was).
And as I drew the half-soaked ball across
my face, I realised that if I wanted
to buy, let’s say, a thousand cotton balls
a day, then that was my prerogative.
But why stop there? I thought; I could afford
fifteen times that amount! But why stop there?
at fifteen thousand cotton balls a day.
I could make it my thing and be the man
who bought a million cotton balls a day.
I’d send my forty employees around
the world in search of cotton balls which they
could buy in crates and ship to my address.
I’d end up owning billions of the things,
my multi-hundred-million dollar fortune
reduced to one, vast, pointless cotton mountain
in which I could luxuriate forever.
I basically need saving from myself.

[After Mark Waldron’s ‘So I was at home doing the washing up’.]

'If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it's my thing' - Johnny Depp

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I Am You Are

I am immedicable anyway. You are copywritten ideas.
I am an unstable podium. You are soft-focus meadows.
I am drifting towards. You are a coat-hanger.
I am books. You are the age of consent.
      One of us is a pseud.

I am an open idea. You are a disinterested onlooker.
I am an unfinished statue. You are featureless terrain.
I am unskilled in life. You are as vigilant as tattoos.
I am a workshop exit. You are inert.
      One of us is incompetent.

I am frayed down the middle. You are indecipherable.
I am rowdy or is it wordy? You are proper hardcore.
I am the ritual of diagnosis. You are a careless hoaxer.
I am a forgery. You are almost inevitable.
      One of us is insane.

I am the liturgy of the word. You are the toast.
I am ignominy. You are unasked-for redemption.
I am lost again. You are the nearness of popcorn.
I am the neglected. You are the thought.
      One of us is target practice.

I am all about the garden furniture. You are working-class escapology.
I am an anti-bacterial glove. You are almost wine.
I am heat. You are the lines on a map.
I am artistic. You are bludgeoning.
      One of us is a door.

I am neat alcohol. You are an emphatic voice.
I am a heedless contrarian. You are the lottery.
I am undeniably illegible. You are respite care.
I am ssshhhh. You are pffft.
      One of us is inarticulate.

I am part-time catatonic. You are pre-emptive.
I am a scrambled foothold. You are for illustrative purposes only.
I am rockburst (look it up). You are unfinished key lime pie.
I am kleptomania. You are vertigo.
      We are The Gods of All Things.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Garden Such as This

The electronic hum of bees and wasps,
fixed atop narrow rods. They sometimes sway.
The cannot pollinate. Their stings are blunt.

The flowers’ metal hinges groan. Their brightness
has faded: dull pale pastel ghosts of colour;
some dead-headed with a pair of bolt-cutters.

The concrete lawn with perfect painted lines:
that shade of sickly institution green.
Grazes of pain for any child who plays there.

The hollow iron tree which doesn’t grow,
or change, or mirror seasons with its blossoms
and leaves. There it stands: stupid; a dead fiction.

The rusted mesh of wire which wove a bird’s nest:
empty of life; housing chrome-plated eggs.
A stuffed bird sings from speakers in her eyes.

The lifeless, cold and joyless work of fools;
a curiosity of sly pretence,
its every inch decisively unnatural.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Eulogy for those Earnest Young Sentimental Spoken Wordsmiths and their Overuse of Anapaestic Feet, Overcooked Rhyming, and Rambling Solipsistic Cod-Philosophising, Just Like My Nan Used to Say

Remember those times when we used to play football in the park,
Past mum’s 6 o’clock curfew, and well into dark,
So that we could hardly see Jogger and Baz’s jumper goalposts,
Not quite yet youthful indiscretion,
More youthful.
A lark?
Same place, a few years later, found us, like unwanted precious stoners,
Glugging cheap cider and smoking Jogger and Kev’s badly rolled spliffs,
And we looked up to the stars, as if for the first time in our lives,
And realised it was well past our bedtimes.
Yes, we had an authentic childhood,
Raised on food that had been pre-packaged and bland,
As we dreamt of being
In a locked-up.
Just so that I could impress that girl I sat next to in middle-set maths,
With the stars in her hairband,
And the sunshine in her ached-for smile.
I sweated my young blood writing her unseen, unread, unwanted poems:
Like my breath on the wayward wind, carried everywhere and nowhere fast,
Me and my teenage crush I was convinced
Would last.
She stole my adolescent heart,
But here’s the really crushing part,
She became a teenage mum, pushing her too-soon filled buggy in that park,
As I held my crumpled heart
In my cold, small hands, like a joy-ridden car.
And I wondered lonely through my life,
The lonely boy,
The only boy
In the world who had feelings,
While all the other lads played their neverending games of ‘Life is a Series of Practical Jokes’,
Talked-up with machismo, and yet more
As they half-danced their way from being young laddish lads
To grown-up
You see, it’s like that man said, or maybe didn’t, but should’ve:
Life is like a bowl of nuts.
Am I Jack Kerouac?
Am I Mhari Black?
Or am I just Noel Gallagher singing ‘Don’t Look Back.’
In Anger?
And I remember Jogger,
And I remember and Baz,
And I remember that girl I sat next to in
With the stars in her smile,
And the sunshine in her ached-for hairband,
And her buggy in that park.
And as I recalled all of those things,
It came as something of a surprise
To realise
That I was almost, but not quite yet.
Oh, so.
Or was I?
You see, the unsaid thought that needs to be said,
That I need to get out of my poetry-filled head,
Cos it won’t shut up, like a really catchy song by
Is that I, with all my poemish words,
Am really, yours truly, madly and deeply:
A composite only,
A caravan of many,
A campsite of baloney,
A cornucopia of youth,
A corny-cope-with-life of:
So, as I take my bardly bow,
I'm hoping that you will allow,
For one last time, an overuse of rhyme:
Cos what I’m really trying to say, you see, is:
It wasn’t easy being a sensitive boy pretending to like football,
And it isn’t easy, now, finally, I can say with some authority
To be a poetry-inspired man,
But is very easy to open a Nationwide Savings Account.
My Nan.
Used to say.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Adoption and Surrealism

Surrealists tried to create meaning in a world made strange and alien by the trauma of war.

The task for the adoptee is similar: to try to create meaning in a world made strange and alien by the trauma of adoption.

Thus, imagining ‘putting your mother’s sofa up a tree’ to explain that ‘this how you’ve always felt’ is a surreal attempt to make meaning out of the strangeness and alienation which results from adoption trauma.

Is adoption a state of being which is impossible to explain or understand with sole reference to the rational?

Or do one's feelings about adoption belong in the surrealist's ‘Kingdom of the Irrational’?

I find that they can often be explained by reference to the surreal.

The Mathematics of Adoption

"Everything is the opposite of what it should be."

‘Go forth and multiply’ young married couples have always been exhorted to do. But who had the authority to say, ‘However, if that doesn’t work: go forth and divide and then take away’?

Society created the equation (problem) which must be solved:

unmarried mother + baby = unacceptable.

The equation is solved by the division of the whole; the division of the unit – baby and mother – into two fractions[i].

What you do on one side of the equation must be balanced out on the other side: the subtraction of the baby from the mother is balanced by the addition of the baby to the adoptive parents. However, once the division has occurred, and the baby is subtracted from the whole, you are left with an incomplete baby: what the adoptive parents get is not a whole child – they get the fraction of a unit, which will grow up always feeling that sense of division/subtraction from the mother and from the self.

Society sees and acknowledges only the ‘solution’ to the equation:

infertile married couple[ii] + adopted baby = acceptable

This solution is given a big tick and marked by everyone (apart from the mother and baby) as ‘Correct’. Society knows what division and subtraction must have been involved in the solving of this equation, but prefers not to acknowledge it; not to see the working out, which has been erased. Not only does society only look at the solution but it also celebrates the solution, and repeatedly demands – insists ad nauseam! – that the child feel grateful for the solution and lucky that the solution happened.

The adopted child therefore inhabits a perverse reality in which he is expected to feel grateful that he has been subtracted from his mother, and lucky that the division between himself and his mother happened.  But the loss of mother, and the incalculable damage that loss inflicted upon the infant, should be acknowledged and mourned, not celebrated.

Everything is the opposite of what it should be.

[i] fractions which, if later added back together, do not add up to make the whole unit again; their values having been changed by life’s calculations so that they can no longer equal a ‘whole’ – which is a shock for most adoptees upon finding their mothers: they do not find themselves, they find just another stranger; the fantasy of being made complete upon meeting mother is just that – a fantasy.

[ii] or ‘saintly married couple’ if they already have their own children and are adopting as a ‘good deed’  (the ‘good deed’ adoption may also mask secondary infertility, which can be erased along with the working out of the equation).

Friday, 7 April 2017

(from) 'Modern Psalms for the Age of Dysfunctionality'

No.42 ‘Hymn to Us – The Lost Tribe of Isn’t Real

Psalm               (Commentary)

Oh, what Joy! (Whatever that is) 

To be Your children. (Are we your children? It’s always a possibility, I suppose. After all – we have to be somebody’s children, don’t we?) 

We sing praises to Heaven! (Despite being denied access. Let’s face it – singing to it will probably be the closest any of us will ever get) 

And Alleluias! (Alle-fucking-luias all the way, eh? Sorry for the profanity, although, we’re not that sorry; in fact, we’re not sorry at all, and may even say it again)

Oh, guide us, lead us and show us the way. (And then, if history is anything to go by, escort us off the premises)

We, Your Chosen People, (We’re being self-referentially ironic, here: we really wish you’d stop calling us chosen’; it’s utter bollocks, and well you know it) 

We humbly offer You our thanks: (Because you can’t be made to feel grateful often enough, ain’t that the truth? Can I get an ’Alleluia’? No? Right, move on)

Glory! Glory! (Allulia! Or, perhaps, Alle-fucking-luia again. Sorry: #Sarcasm)

Although we are not worthy,  (Actually, it’s bad enough feeling worthless without being made to say it out loud, week after week. Genuinely not funny)

Stop fucking about and tell us the truth already. (‘Nuff said)

Amen (To all that)

...and how it reads without the commentary...

Psalm 42

Oh, what Joy! To be Your children.
We sing praises to Heaven! And Alleluias!

Oh, guide us, lead us and show us the way.
We, Your Chosen People, We humbly offer
You our thanks: Glory! Glory!

Although we are not worthy,
Stop fucking about and tell us the truth already. 



The others drew up in an endless succession:
their unions an Alaskan wilderness;
the hangman’s lines mapped on their faces.

A cavalcade of the silently bereft,
whose unseen losses would be hidden
by the appearance of us.

And we were infant prizes,
given away in a shameless charade
of pass the human parcel.

The layers of our histories were hastily unwrapped;
discarded along with our protestations,
and our mothers’ forbidden anguish.

All safety and security annihilated,
we panicked, horrified at the unspeakable absence
of mother; of self.

We hid inside our dismal shrouds of despair,
our familiars vanished: face, voice, taste, touch, smell;
replaced by unrecognisable otherness.

They squandered our identities,
made us strangers to ourselves,
and pretenders to their inheritance.

This, then, is how we lived our childhoods:
as ghosts, like the dead, shrouded always,
and forever hidden from our mothers.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Existential Bicycle Writes Again

The Existential Bicycle is writing.
A cavalcade of words along the beach
appears in wheely arcs and un-straight lines.
The beach contains a wealth of empty space,
he adds, fearing that writers’ block has struck.
He tries his hand at Automatic Writing:
Religion is a fascist accident,
started by fools, continued by dark devils,
and swallowed by the credulous and scared.
It’s too much like philosophy, he thinks,
or not enough like poetry. Or maybe,
he thinks again, it’s simply an opinion,
expressed in clumsy haste by someone angry:
neither philosophy nor poetry.
He stops his search for the profound, and turns
to look towards a neatly drawn horizon.
He falls asleep and dreams of words and words.
The whole world is poetry when he awakes,
and words are written by stars in the sky:
Look up towards the stars to find
a new perspective. Atoms form from starry
explosions. All the things we see – ourselves,
and everything around us – are not new,
but are re-shaped by chance on chance on chance.
Solid matter is space dressed up as substance.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Existential Bicycle and Words

The Existential Bicycle woke up
on the Sandiest Beach in the Whole World.
The endless shore was empty; solitude
his one companion. Up he got to cycle,
but found that he was writing on the sand
in giant, swirling arcs of wheelie lines:
This cage will set you free. Its iron bars
will give you something firm to contemplate;
angular lines to gild Dystopia:
cylindrical, restrictive, cold, and solid;
its see-though shapes will lead your mind elsewhere.
You fill the emptiness inside the cage
with unseen words; the magic ink of thoughts.
He wasn’t sure what any of it meant,
but wrote it anyway. He used to dream
of cycling on the flats of Holland,
or Norfolk; anywhere which was denuded
of hills, those enemies of bikely balance,
but now he rarely thinks of them:
the level surfaces; the lack of inclines.
He writes his way to freedom, line by line;
each day’s endeavours swept away
at night, by winds which bring the next day’s words.