Sunday, 1 May 2022

up for grabs

NFT on request


viewing figures

 

kitchen garden holocaust

or a weekend killing spree

suitable for families

young as they come

 

serial on cereals

during brekkers over lunch

after dinner supper too

also in bed

 

motivation's moot a key

point’s to piss psychologists

off as academics be

more of a blood

 

hound you get the smell it’s mean

see & once your teeth are in

don't let go until the vic

bays at the moon

 

haunting's how the soundtrack goes

sighs of missiles cruising by

every other mother's drawn

into the fry

 

thus your individual

dies in binges night & day

bundled up like lawyers' scrolls

tossed on the coals

 

evidence remains our pro

carbon dating agency

sits on sacks of solid state

testimony

 

gassed or poisoned blown up gunned

down or squashed no matter which

genre takes the biscuit you'll

get your desserts

 

Crime & Punishment for inst

Peace & War historic space

age stroke fantasy or post

modernist tropes

 

no such thing as overkill

plotlines shall be stretched the truth's

infinitely richer when

poorly rehearsed

 

sporting double-barrelled gun

names grenades remote controlled

IEDs authentic looks

ready to go

 

via satellite & drone

tuned from home they fly by wire

when off-line the payload's gas

capsules for laughs

 

beneficial weapons these

lethal rounds of friendly fire

send your troops on summer hols

magical tricks

 

still don’t geddit speaking plain

then Inspector Whatsyername

star of home & cinema

sleuthing wake up

 

latest episode’s come out

playing to your heart's content

mystery’s not which party done

it as you know

 

kids but when you watch them die

entertainment is it news

sport or drama sadly just

folks getting killed 

 

 

up for grabs

 

lines of tripe been laid

she’s unveiled her inner squid

quite a decent bid

 

with Picasso it

always was just fruit & nut

trifle for desserts

 

still she’s quite a dish

just beware of what you wish

for deceptive itch

 

pity oligarchs

can’t afford to cop this lark

she's got umpteen legs

 

grabs you by the neck

ankles wrists & testicles

there’s a happy wreck

 

 

 

FGS, don’t bring back the veil

 

Some teachers complain they still don’t know their students' names seven or eight months into the academic year. I opine it’s the same with mine, but neglect to say how shocked I've been when I finally glimpse a face after so long behind the mask. By their eyes and voice, my brain has constructed features for them. Nothing prepares me for the reality. A long pointed nose, or fuller rounded cheeks; looks of satisfaction or anxiety. Someone’s grey hair has put me in mind of a much older person, and I'm amazed to find a youthful looking forty-something. I can also be disturbed to think how this rather serious-looking person must have been wincing at my dreadful jokes this past few weeks. Many of my old suppositions about teaching the teachers come back to haunt me. What am I but a facilitator, a talking head in a room full of individuals? I have nothing to offer but overrated opinions. I am found out.

 

We've been sent back over a hundred years, to a Turkey when the veil was common for most of the female population. And now the males too are drawn into enforced anonymity, this leveling out of character into heads with eyes-only. The shape of a person's mouth, that most expressive of features, says more about them than words can do.

 

Individuality, eh? You can’t beat it, and wow betides those who take anyone for granted.

 

 

 

Київ 1943

 

liberty or liberation which

revolutionary shibboleth

cut in stone or driving Kruschev's Jeep

surfs up the crime

 

one takes care of conscience as in ends

justifying means whereas your ground

zero cannibal's thirst for revenge

stymies the swine

 

what’s the difference just a half-turned page

separates the freedom project from

its enforcement does the guillotine

leave such a line

 

witnesses of state we saw them drive

by the barricades their flags unfurled

drinks all round & offering renewed

partnerships while

 

liberties were taken victors wrote

history down on palimpsests they rubbed

maps of human races in their own

bloodflow like wine

 

 

 

Charley the Checkpoint Kid

 

Kennedy's alive

both of Kruschev's shoes are off

old Berlin New York

 

Caesar’s bed's unmade

God's out chasing someone’s goat

cockerel's counting sheep

 

we’re just taken in

questioned by a charming cop

out that cuts our throats

 

like the virus it

buggers faith in global don’t

ever postulate

 

watch the walls come down

bombs exploding all around

Charley’s back in town

 

no grabs huh


Sunday, 3 April 2022

Black Sea slugs

Latest Chapbook Out Now

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Black Sea slugs

 

tanks get broken great

mines can't mind disputed Straits

bad for business mates

 

fighting's gonna spend

blood & treasure till it ends

badly round the bend

 

ideologies

stupid owl hegemonies

blind to you & me

 

Florence Nightingale

serves the killers saves no whales

pirates rule the waves

 

geezer's run amock

how to stop his bloody cock's

dab of novichock



One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

 

by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

 

A Review (sorta)

 

Looking back on the Seventies it’s odd to think how many people had faith in Russia and China. Anyone on the left who criticised the occupation of Eastern Europe and the Warsaw Pact was thought of as a dangerous right-winger. You didn’t have to be in the Worker’s Revolutionary Party, Socialist Worker or – fgs – the RCP, to view the basic Communist Party as merely out of touch. China’s Cultural Revolution was the dream of half the stalwarts of duffle coat, donkey jacket, beard and sandals. Go to David Hare’s latest play and be seen carrying Tony’s Benn’s Arguments for Socialism to be hip. Reading Solzhenitsyn, however, was considered very Tory of you, even if you were a known Labour Party member.

When I first read One Day IN The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (half a century ago) what convinced me was not its condemnation of socialism. I didn’t equate social justice with the Gulags any more than I thought of Shostakovich as a political tub thumper. This was Russia. Russian socialism like Russian creativity was bound to be extreme. Only a Russian would have written The Firebird or The Idiot. Tchaikovsky could be bombastic, Yevtushenko not to be trusted, Marc Chagall – well, what did you expect from a comfortable exile? And Marx himself believed the Russian proletariat incapable of true liberation. They would cling to things rooted in the soil, in the church and the soul of Mother Russia – not an ideology born in Hegel’s Germany and nurtured in the fug of a British Reading Room.

The passion to do things in the Russian way might have led to great ballet, to the survival of St Petersburg in World War Two, even to putting the first human in space. But when it came to running an imperial government (of whatever political persuasion), the temptation of the Russians to hitch their fates to the wiles of a strongman would always scupper anything other than expediency. In other words, the end would justify the means. With Hitler it was, If you can’t do it this way, do it that way - and send two different knuckleheads to do the same job. With Stalin, with an endless supply of the above, it was merely a matter of moving mountains.

Orwell presaged all of Ivan Denisovich in fiction. Boxer in Animal Farm works his hooves to the bone, only to be rewarded with a trip to the knacker’s yard. Winston Smith’s free spirit is toyed with, then utterly broken in Room 101. But Ivan Denisovich Shukov is not fiction. He is one of tens of thousands rounded up on bogus charges and sent to work camps in Siberia to build pioneer towns. A fellow prisoner is a navy Captain who had spent a month as a liaison officer on a British cruiser. Years later, he was sent a memento of their time together by a British admiral. For this he is arrested as a spy and sentenced to 10 years hard labour. I shan’t reveal what Shukov’s ‘crime’ was, but it’s equally unjust.

The conditions in the camp are truly awful, the work gruelling, the punishments brutal and cruel, the lack of dignity almost total, and yet the job gets done. Inmates fully co-operate in their own grinding oppression. Solzhenitsyn’s style is to tell it all as it is (well, only the very grossest details are left out). When I first read it, at the age of sixteen or so, I was amazed how quickly I skipped through the pages. Compared with a Herman Hesse, Nietzsche, or other translated authors, it wasn’t simply unputdownable, more like a race to the finish.

This is what you get with Russia. What exactly are they trying to prove? Is there anything in there? Those who I’ve known have been fine individuals. Not hypocrites (like so many Anglo-Saxons), they are all potential members of a dangerous cult. Try your best to see things their way, but don’t try to win any arguments with people whose very survival depends on the denial they are ever mistaken. Stalin is always right. Especially when he’s wrong.

Black Sea flotsam, March 28th, 2022


is your death necessary 2

 

 

were they lovely babies once

did their mummies give a damn

keep them safe from falling bombs

pootin' about

 

Freudian analysis

x-ray encephalogram

reading palms by rule of thumb

pootin' about

 

ask a mother what she thinks

hit or childless cos of them

should convention carry on

pootin’ about

 

still the conscience hesitates

as if history hasn’t cloned

walkin' talkin' bogey men

pootin' about

 

intervention bothers us

should we think it out again

till the bombs & bullets come

pootin' about

Never Under-Said






Tuesday, 1 March 2022

pancake Tuesday mix

 

Putin inside


faith in numbers


all these pyramids

mausoleums & the like

so much DNA

set to ride again

when'll it be possible

eh for goodness sake




piracy cons


Stalin's boots

worn by uncle Vlad

Russian socks


freeze the scorched

Nazi flattened Earth

razed from death

 

crane your neck

Jed the CIA

kicks no backs

 

see the Beeb

lies if truth be told

tank man dies

 

poke the bear

if you dare & quit

fighting square




pork talk


flash the pancake mix

flaky pastry flapjack wall

nuts directed by

arson wells brigade

umpire sacked in tennis court

out of sight Your Grace

fields of tuneless pipes

clogged with fatberg slimming aids

masquerading as

19 Covid Street

fighters clubbed all night

jar or ten of sweet

slapdash whitewash whiplash back

injury is out




sick holiday snaps


jury's in & out

can’t decide who's right or wrong

headless chicken mate


trust the game to make

sense of one-eyed spot-the-ball

keep the takings small


stuff rebounds for what’s

said is true or thereabouts

when you weigh it in


don’t expect connect

chins it’s plug-in mega-broads

make the most of life


take these foreign bods

stuck in UK neighborhoods

business should be good


nah ye shouldnae judge

Starmer for his knighthood by

Jimmy Savile’s rug


eager members hands

off the guilty partners make

way for cowards mate




history lesson Blue


Gazpacho headquarters Amiens

target of a bold mosquito raid

footage from the second war on cheese

cut de Havilland some credits here

after the attack a horde of crack

kitchen hands & social refugees

sturm und drang their way down Alphabet

Street exploiting sticks of garlic bread

comfy chairs & table cloths before

Adolf ein mensch will kommen Hitler

dispatch runner Iron Cross with coke

leaves & spoons surrounded by vampire

wingmen to his Sigmund Freud moustache

calls the faithful to their knees & says




the mouse that squicked


miniaturisation eh

shrunk & falling down the plug

hole or hey don’t close that glass

trapped in a stove

is it so irrational

me not even sure the kit

hasn’t been invented yet

who's got the most

China colonising Mars

cryogenic dinosaurs

probably control the dark

web in a nut

case Amerikar has lost

out to Uncle Samya’s World

innit mind the rabbit hole

drink this or piss

off to park & hide no choice

find a deep exclusive niche

down the pan & out of reach

both fingers crossed




broken tip


Uncle Vlad

the impaler here

take a seat

check these points

each is barely in

tolerance

even I

lose my edge sometimes

bugger it

up you see

bluntly I shall go

round the bend




where you belong


 

lies & provocations at their side

through the gates of Kiyv your missiles glide

droning on about respect denied

Russia you're back


bloody mire Putin he's declared

war is peace again as if the word

black were white defensive move absurd

Russian Attack


kindergarten targeting you chuck

teddy bears in corners trusting luck

those that lose their heads or bite the muck

Russia can hack


who will recompense the folks you've left

homeless neighborhoods & nature wrecked

kids the old & sick abandoned heck

Russia's on track


Putin's out to topple Stalin's worst

record wasn’t it enough you cursed

socialism now the bubble's burst

Russia get back




from the little Putin inside us all


when they don’t believe you any more

it’s discouraging but sad & wrong

not to care or say you aren’t some mad

fascist recluse


nor responsible for ancient wars

virus outbreaks storms or cup defeats

if you hold extreme opinions ask

them not yourself


they should know for judgement shall be theirs

playing god was never your retreat

when you tried it once the day was spent

chasing a goat


tell them you believe yourself improved

age has mostly added to your worth

& as far as wisdom is concerned

what is the truth


who can answer for us all at once

from tomorrow to the end of time

when conditions change as fast as this

talk first then shoot


Never shoot!


Tuesday, 1 February 2022

dad's barmy


all the trimmings

 

hanging off the balance wide

bodied acts a certain age

state their resolutions while

happy new years

ring across the globe it's cheers

bottoms up with drinks all round

Christmas leftovers & wine

heated with cloves

some recycled presents fall

off a tree but shucks the thought

counts not credit ratings how

stuffed can you get

such acrylic hats & socks

table football USB

organiser databank

tickets for live

sex at home plus bogus snuff

movies gobs of candle wax

snowman's frozen ear muffs

panic attacks

 

*

 

cost of living Dude

 

gas & electricity

cable phones The Internet

water rates plus council tax

maintenance bills

 

rice with vegetables & nuts

fruit pots of milk butter cheese

yoghurt bread some chocolate oats

litre of plonk

 

car insurance test & road

tax before you fill the tank

wiper blades repairs new treads

finance & fines

 

glucosamine collagen

multivit’n’minerals

walnut oil biloba leaf

wing & a prayer

 

not to mention family clothes

college travel bed & board

holidays & birthday gifts

shall I go on

 

*

 

wrong moon Blue

 

what a waste of time

rocket fuel & dreams aside

setting worlds apart

 

salvage hauliers

bent on totting what we find

really it’s a crime

 

though the comet's fine

lovely specimen of deep

interstellar ice

 

probably retains

isotopes from primal stars

gone but not reborn

 

still the basic trip

was it worth that lonesome blip

of intelligence

 

*

 

noël coward

 

Christmas past ennui

Airfix kits unfinished faint

whiffs of scotch & cramp

twisted promises

no but cold & damp despite

both electric bars

BC natural gas

’sixty-five or six I guess

by the furniture

melancholy’s first

outing has me shuddering

try & turn it off

having failed to see

through the stillness into wow

this is how it goes

 

*

 

broken tooth fairy

 

stop this bleeding world

fetch the tourniquet before

Shitface hits a fan

 

pardon me it's French

Dumbo comprehend the term

Anglais savez-vous

 

anyroad what’s said

won’t be taken down no score

draws included see

 

off the coupon Blue

read the bearer what they’re owed

straight between the lines

 

it's a joke don’t laugh

picking funny bones with death

duty Royals oof

 

*

 

mirage-à-trois heures

 

gently laughing waves

break along the giddy shore

Party Tricks-on-Sea

 

what no leeks at home

send a politician out

fifteen bob in change

 

has inflation come

back again or is it my

mathematics phew

 

thought I’d lost it then

sixty-five’s a funny age

better get some checks

 

saw a Zodiac

full of snowman saboteurs

landing on the beach

 

*

 

Dad’s Barmy

 

paper tiger wrestling blacked

out without the radio

on or slow to sleep while cold

drunk to my toes

 

you’ve mistaken me before

ghost of Christmas-never-was

full of western promises

broken of course

 

as the ageing mouse that roared

World War Three & right to cry

wolf although I’ve lived a life

mainly in peace

 

somewhat English love to show

off my feelings once a year

own a pet gorilla suit

worn underneath

 

won’t be pigeon-holed for long

homing instincts working class

inverted aristocrat

nailed to the mast

wot, no colour?