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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Chill Pill Promo


You've been writing poetry again
I can spot that leaky pen on your lip
From miles away
And your tongue with the stale taste of metaphor still on
Which you've tried to brush away
The verses linger still in your kiss

You've been writing poetry again
Don't worry, I can tell
It's that fingertip smell
The keyboard stain
The pinky poised above delete
Pushing out your veins
Why this fucking vain obsession?
Lines layered with double meaning
And painstakingly revised
Which you pat into shape
And stanzardise

If words are your food
Why do you play with them
Use them for tools to confuse and condense?

You've been writing that dense poetry again
There's a rhyme in your mind
And a line in your eyes that I can trace
I can see it in your face
'Cause there's a rhythm that you're tapping
And it's not mine

You've been writing that poetry
Yeah, I know you by now
I can hear it in your diction
Your dirty addiction to watching couplets form
The smile as a simile emerges
Your urges to splurge your emotions
Onto innocent sheets

You've been at it again, I lie?
It's the tell-tale tic of your head
As puns pull up seats on your screen
The debris of undeveloped phrases
Onto pages
The twists of your meaning
As you spit feeling into words
And shuffle lines into verse

You've been injecting rhythm into those lines
You're just a meter away from lunacy
And it's pathetic
The way you're dressing things up in imagery
And symbolism
Because let's face it
You're just inventing new rhymes
And new ways
To say the same old things
Like you're in love
Or like you're scared
Or like you're angry
Like you're confused

Because you don't understand the rules
And you use a poem as a ruse
To redraft them in metrical form
And this isn't normal

No, this isn't normal at all


You've been writing on walls
Instead of fighting in wars
Your Bic-gripped hands
Should be handling concrete grit
You should grit your teeth and grin and bear shit
You should be more functional
You should be more like your brother
You should be less of a dreamer
You should be cleaner
More productive

So shut down your PC junk
Put down your dictionary
Pack up your pens
And close your books
Unsquint your eyes and look
Look out at the world
Go on, brave the cold daylight
Of the outside
Without the cloak of allusion
Without the joke of your delusional imagery
Without the hope of a metaphor or simile
Without the seasoning of rhyme
To waste your time

You should be ashamed
Of doing the strange things to language that you do
While the Earth still turns
And cities riot and burn
You must learn
That life is not a blank page
For you to scrawl your doo-doo ideas on
Because there are too many wrongs to write


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A Song

This is a song for the hungry

For those with discerning tongues
And fickle wallets
With single minds and yokes for brains
For the chains that link London streets
For the feet that meander aimlessly
And those who take drunken swigs of postcolonial discourse
Those in double jeopardy
For the aliens in their home territory:
Those who have learnt to read the lines
And not just the bits in between
For the peculiar people
Purses for stomachs
And verses for mouths
To the hungry

This is a song to the hungry
Those without money
Come buy!
Those with springs of living water
Run dry
To those with kum-by-yahs for lullabies
To those wondering minds that are thirsty
And deep-down dirty 


This is for your High Street hips
And down-low thighs
This is for pomegranate breasts
And love-sucked necks
Sun-starved backs
And tear-stained cheeks
This is for the chains that shackle London streets

This is a song
For those with weary eyes
And exhausted palates
Stutter-tongues and crusted lips
This is for the starved
With discerning mouths that would rather wither
Than pucker up to Massa's arse

This is not a poetry masterclass
Or even a classy rhyme
Or a witty sideshow
This is just a freshly squeezed skit
With the pips still in it


This is to those who would rather sink in the cistern
Than suck up to the system
This is to the hard-hearted and the sofly-spoken

This is to the token.
The outcast.
The rebellious.
The lost and the zealous.
To those who riot inside
And those who die daily

This is a song for the hungry and the parched
This is for the medium-bodied and the dry
The sober and the high
The lowest of the low
The aching bellies that leave you restless
For the undetermined and relentless

This is not for the ruthless.
This is only for those with souls
Those with bullet holes for hands
Letting coins slip
For bitten lips
For those who can still spare a kiss

For those who survive
Without wherefores and whys
Those who are afraid to die
Those who cry verses
And whisper curses from leaking pens
And unsteady keyboards

This is a song for the hungry
The downright ravenous;
The scavengers
For those who hunt for the peas
Under the mattresses
And feast
This is for the least
Those who are haunted by beasts
This is for the scared and the scarred
The weird and the wired
Those with seaming wounds that run like rickety tube tracks
This is for the laid-back
And the laid-low
But this is only for those with souls that lay exposed
Beneath the cracks

This is for the rattle of chains
For the battles for change
For the wandering brains
And the hungry

This is just a meandering song
To those who are wronged
To those without rights
To those whom justice has failed
This is to the jailed
Those who squeeze through broken bars
And bail out
To those who fail and try
To those who cry verses

This is me reading your rights
This is for your silent nights
This is for those who walk timidly towards the light
Who flinch but keep walking
This is for those who know when to stop talking...

I salute you


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Cut the Crap

So, more cuts are coming. Nothing new... In the olden days, they thought bleeding you dry was the best cure for sickness.

Not sure how accurate it is, but this map shows a list of libraries which are threatened with closure, up and down the country.

Interesting article and predictable comments about the closure of libraries, and it seems a bit of a no-brainer. Yes, electronic communication, e-books and greater investment in schools etc are all very important. But as a replacement for libraries? Not really.

Of course, when I've been working in schools, I find most of the children have barely even seen the inside of a library (unless it's a class trip), and I kind of understand the thinking behind these closures. For instance, I can't remember the last time I flicked through an encyclopedia for information, let alone went inside a library just to browse through the papers; of course, times change. With the internet, longer working hours and commutes, etc. etc. there are fewer people actually going to libraries than there were in their heyday. But, hey, there are still plenty of people who rely on these places for education, information and yes, internet access.

Some councils have tried - and are beginning - to engage with the wider, younger audience that it seems to have lost somewhere between my generation and those coming up behind. The Idea Stores in Tower Hamlets are just one example of how libraries are being "sexed up". It just goes to show that with a little bit of investment, these places can be a great, universal resource for the community. Meanwhile, some organisations are trying to promote the enjoyment of reading. World Book Night, for example, is coming up soon and has got a lot of publicity.   

Of all the things to cut back on, it just seems typical that, yet again, the literary world has to suffer, and beyond that the printed word. The impression these closures give is that reading is superfluous, easily replaced by other forms of communication. Anyway, I've said enough... I'm (seriously) off to the library now.

Nuff Said

Some things are better left un-

...You shush me
With a Judas kiss
Chaste lips that press into the void

Words that I could have employed
Crash redundantly into each other
Colliding atoms
Invisible under your microscopic gaze

Some things
Like unplayed rhythms on a tightened drum
Burning fingers
And held tongues
Swallowed vowels
Duct-taped mouths

Something's here
Right here
That you don't want to seep through
An accusation magnified by its absence

Come Back

Comeback lines never come
Until your back is a blur on the horizon
And the earth has spun years onto my reflection

Idiot child
How I would have crucified you
If you tried those tired old lines right now

But I will wait till you come back

I will wait
And I will lurk in playgrounds
For your reincarnation to cast its shadow

And I will savour each syllable
Firing plosive curses back in your face:
A vengeance most perfect
Pleasure on my tongue

And even if I am a hundred years young
It will be worth
Seeing your smirk wiped off your face

It will be worth
Having the smugness seep from your being
And enter mine

Today's random word is....


And I'm King tired and better go to bed (cos I gotta be up early, innit?)

So I'll write something tomorrow when I've finished counting my Zs.

P.S. Word count same as yesterday... particularly busy day today so no progress on the prose but wrote 3 poems. I think they show the state of mind I've been in today; reflective, mainly.)


He wears colours

Stuffs bandanas into pockets
As a Blood-
Symbol of brotherhood

His colours are his neighbourhood flag
A way to earn a reputation
In this nation of miscegenation
And miseducation

He wears colours
They are the key to sealed-off streets
The road to head-nod approval
And the future?
Only weary-eyed adults talk of the future
Like a warning, a threat of things to come
But they are grey and he is young

So he wears colours
For definition
Because uniform ties are not enough
They choke his neck and steal his cred
But paisley cloth
Turns heads

And he'll be draped in those same colours
When he's dead.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Morning Broken


In a bed that pins me with its springs
And hugs me to its breast
I squirm out from its embrace
Under the spell of cellular sirens

Life is a Bip
Repeated in nine-minute cycles;
I am in mourning.

I zombie-walk into a shower
Spitting hot and cold curses on tired skin
And the mirror always lies
Shows me glimpses of my father.


I pray for steam;
There are never enough clouds
To hide the lies the body tells


Today I'd rather be elsewhere
Ever other where
Than inside my stiff unironed sleeves

I wear them underneath time-worn layers
Bury them deep
Doors bip-bipping shut
While my unlaced feet find a place
In between commuting minds

And So

I'd rather be
Sprung back into your bed
Under the spell of your embrace
Your siren-like glimpses
Penetrating my skin

There are never enough lies
Too many hidden curses
Underneath stiff lips
Too many closed minds

And one more thing:
Not enough earth to bury them in.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Word Count This Morning: 2,184

Today I've restarted my novel from scratch, which I'm adapting from a story entitled We Live in Hope and Die in Constant Spring

I need all the help I can get as the story - at least the beginning part - has been in my head for years. I wrote the prologue last year, which basically involved the protagonist referring to himself as "we", snorting coke on the plane back from (?) and getting ready to stir up havoc when he returns to London, where people are out to kill him. Bearing in mind, he begins in Chapter 1 as a moderately innocent, Pentecostal church boy of 14, handing out flyers, I've got a long way to go - as has the main character.

Can't wait to get this thing working, finally!