Wednesday, 1 April 2020

bugs have done for us this liberty


bu akşam evde kal


Venus rides alone

through a murky sky she owns

cold indifferent light


people go unmasked

driving cars too goddam fast

tearing up the streets


now the müezzins

start to weave their prayers in twins

piercing & bright


chilled I turn for home

Venus stays behind her gleam

narrows on the beat


still the calls ring out

urging folk to have no doubt

stay at home tonight


*    *    *    *    *    *


don't cry for us karantina



I


my illicit pony GiddyApp

asks me if I'd care to go pot luck

starting out from Spain or Castlereagh

where it'll end


makes no difference how I goad the nag

up the aery waterfall at night

down Old Faithful’s gizzard by the day

where it'll end


stirrup cups for singing as ye go

birds & bees & rubber geese join in

road is long but folk may never know

where it'll end


useless whistling in the dark eyes closed

better open all them curtains wide

sun or cloud the heating system stays

where it'll end


shall I gallop off & back again

bringing viruses in saddle bag

loads or wait & spend the day in bed

where it'll end



II


Covid couldna struck a nicer guy

Hanksy made the virus seem benign

Tom how many times did you survive

saving that Ryan


gumption gets our hero off his cloud

atlas with the flu Apollo too

Elvis meets Vinci Dan Caprio

under the Louvre


never saw you as an astronaut

Google saved the day I own but still

if you'd played some less practical cat

done it with tact


dubious but followed up on tweets

all the highs & lows of quarantine

sampled so we’re stoically briefed

tearful at times


uncles Sam & Tom rolled into one

not an ounce of side or carry-on

just your all American has been

seen but not gone



III


Mum's in Liverpool she's all alone

so is Deniz Lee our eldest son

we're in Turkey same as everyone

else getting on


carbon fumes have lifted streets are plain

empty buses here & there some rain

birds are singing spring is here again

peace to all men


women get remote asylum too

children sit & wonder but it's no

time for homework fix that broken loo

seat in the gloom


blossom frosted up the other night

doggies bark at passersby in fright

slealthy creeps the virus to the fight

who knows what's right


still believe in something can't say no

meaning less from sure to nothing's sure

thing's empire never set us back home

to the future


*    *    *    *    *    *


it's not the leaving of Liverpool



I


Turkey is no bird of paradise

but for pride of place it's hard to beat

Orientals meet The Occident


most of us who've had the luck to waltz

in as political exiles or

like me economic refugees


landed on our feet not so in Greece

birthplace of democracy lately

there the welcome ain’t been all that neat


beaches not so chock-a-block as here

praising Allah migrants land with cries

but a squalid camp is all they find


saw them wade ashore surreal as we

foreign tourists looked at olive groves

land was cheap the views of Turkey great



II


first we saw were figures on the quay

twenty-twelve before the Arab spring

tide washed up on sunny afternoons


childish features burnt & wiry-haired

stared like lawless wanderers no tents

kids on piles of blankets babes in arms


worried for the car I blush to say

shooed them off afraid they’d take our stuff

but the locals had a heart one said


never mind they’re harmless pity them

Christian values I had plain forgot

should have wondered who they were & not


cast them as vagabonds out to fleece

holidaymakers of souvenirs

why was I so thick & plain unkind



III


guy we know a Greek's had enough

says they’re selling sex & spreading AIDS

wonder what he knows his wife shuts up


people soon forget how their folks came

seeking work & housing in the towns

passing through or settling down for good


my colleague a Bulgarian Turk

lost his sister on a protest strapped

to her mother’s back a sniper’s round


grazed its mark & struck the baby’s head

even though a refugee himself

thirty years ago he’s moved to state


overwhelmed by teaching Syrians

it’s a job he has to do the kids

must speak Turkish for their parents’ sake



IV


it’s Ne Mutlu Türk’üm diyene

meaning Happy are those who can say

How they’re Turks the last word DNA


meantime Liverpool got beat again

after many battles won no sweat

neither bangs nor whimpers spoilt the past


such a multinational team so cool

fifteen years of exile took their toll

banned from playing in the Euro League


now no matter where you're from to go

praising God or Mammon is your choice

all you gotta do is win & lose


pointless crying if your side can’t play

dazzling games each time they hit the pitch

children have died tryna reach a beach



V


years ago the former Lesbos port

had a market place where refugees

flogged their bits & pieces as they fled


Anatolia’s Independence War

Greeks Armenians & anyone

fearful what the vengeful Turk might do


people can be monsters take their cut

maybe it’s banned in scripture but friends

bash each others’ heads for plots of land


brothers if the bible were believed

couldn’t solve their differences till one

stabbed another or left them for dead


when the technicolour coat is pawned

rainbows point to crocks of jealous gold

who respects the pots their neighbours owned



VI


Alchaeus & Sappho writing while

Hebrews wandered in the wilderness

sang the ups & downs of Lesbos folk


knew its stony hills & valleys shore

lines with massive hidden gulfs the cliffs

forests vineyards groves & even trees


turned to stone when Vulcan’s ashes rained

making deserts of the northern fells

early Christians tore their poems up


now we scratch through ancient rubbish heaps

steam papyrus scraps from mummy’s masks

piece together jigsaw dithyrambs


not to be outdone by ancient Greece

strewn along the Sikamenas strand

lie the shreds of refugees' IDs



VII


who we talking 'bout you may accuse

Africans & Afghans some Burmese

scores of Pakistanis few Chinese


why leave Turkey as their stepping stone

that’s a million dollar question one

reason’s never can sufficient young


people get to live out their dreams but

weary oldsters know the western world's

streets ain't paved with gold that's Neverland


something desperate drives the man to hold

up a child & cry give me your towel

plastic bags & tape protect his phone


took our kids on boats though not CharÓn's

Lord knows what they’re flying from no wings

birds of paradise in human skins



*    *    *    *    *    *


deus nobis haec otia fecit


as there’s nowhere left on earth to fly

airlines going bankrupt anyway

all we have’s ourselves & breathing time

here’s what I say


never will we get a better chance

when the wheels are rolling once again

must it be the same old song & dance

odds out of ten


bugs have done for us this liberty

we should sit & listen while the birds

sing & bees repollinate the world

pointless to cry


right enough the docs & nurses won’t

get a moment’s peace nor those who serve

patients’ meals & marshal our reserves

they have my vote


some of us will die the dice is cast

paradise won’t wait on Pentecost

now’s the time to face Apocalypse

heads up or bust


wot, no crowd?


Sunday, 1 March 2020

songs without birds



when are we going to Moscow
Uncle Samya can you say
if you sell your new revolver
we can take the train today



unentitled

if some galaxies seem unfamiliar
others are the epitome of queer
recently a hole fifteen times its size
brought the Milky way down a peg or two
relatively for it was long ago
but the msg took its time to arrive

much can happen in just a billion years
hardly more than something else takes to blink
are there other universes out there
say beings beyond our reality

perching here on our tiny spiral arm
we Earthlings gaze up at stars in alarm
not as if the cosmos would do us harm
like the folks who go to work packing arms



shirtholders' meeting

invites only to the Davos game
sit-down stakes a cut in ages as
climate change Cassandra takes the stage
striking for fame

donkeys do the robot work till men
face extinction now who'll speak for them
Angry Thornbird plugging Virgin Trains
play it again

what the heck we're doing in a world
three score years & ten before the mast
owners get second helpings when they
step to the plate

nature with its glaciers on thaw
there in Switzerland the cuckoo clock
warns adulterers to flee a nest
foretold is all

stick yr ill-got where the finger points
frostbite not withstanding learn to cheap
skate if bored of snowboarding annoint
No-brainer king



penguin brief

line between greaseball & rape ain't too
fine how many shades of charcoal d’you
get that lipstick on his cheek or shame

just forget it Zimmer man don't break
shtum from snorting steed to shaken weed
characteristically he looks

daft you gotta be kidding go laugh
all the way to Hollywood & back
home where folks say he's a jolly good

fellow hurrah & #HimToo no schmuck
peddled far worse than the Juke of Pork
upskirt gaze all the way to the top

heads will roll the tail’s between his legs
no one’s guilty everyone’s to blame
suck yr lollipop the jury's game



Hunters with Pacino trailer

Palestinians grow up in vast
concentration camps but Jesus wept
precious few annihilated yet

metaphors are out you can’t compare
millions shuttled in on cattle trucks
greased of their chattels then stripped & gassed

better treatment’s meted out to lambs
ants are crushed with more compassion mad
dogs get rounded up by kinder hands

these days viruses are snoozed with smart
drugs & one day soon unsocial thoughts
clocked on apps will face the Judgment Bots

meanwhile Amazon’s Original
scuppers Holocaust revenge denial
Palestinians don’t touch that dial



more dark matter

scientists have blown another black
hole in space the place is full of them
looks as if we’ll have to think again
where will it end

some folks say in God & thereby have
life’s existence helpfully explained
handed back responsibility
acolytes spend

far less time deciding how & why
than debating which way best to serve
trusting data read on their behalf
by an elite

science doesn’t do away with faith
rather the reverse but every time
new discoveries are made we must
spike them with salt

smaller holes than this have boggled minds
bigger heads than mine mistaken size
filling blanks between our ears requires
using our eyes


hands up

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Jerusalem


drop in tune out & turn off

what mah gonna lob at Trump tonight
name him the climate change regicide
Hasan-i-Sabah of the golf club
blackball his snide

words don’t weaponise the pacifist
be meself for once just stop & think
sticks'n'stones won’t break his balls nor pomes
loaded with stink

probably a swarm of locust would
conjure more applause than metaphors
comb the White House lawn with robot claws
cleaning his spoors

who could then unleash a plague of rats
that'd eat up all the green kickbacks
Biblicise the war on cheese with quotes
Jonah would pack

that's enough shut up for once & all
leave him sprawling on the game show floor
call a halt to this impeachment trial
do touch that dial



PG the final tips


I

Plastic God eschews the land He leaks
into wells some time ago a Greek
weaponised His fumes ten thousand ships
burst into flames

Bedou tending pools of Him had stacked
goatskin loads on camels' backs to trade
at the coast for pots of wine & bronze
knives then did sly

Promo Theus scale another route
using alchemy revealed His core
element as diamond soup but kept
quiet for yonks

meantime whales got hunted down for spunk
just before the automobile age
raged across the planet leaving Him
overnight king

glam rock followed the end was in sight
vinyl worship sent demand to new
heights of depth from which the Plastic One
rose ashèn winged

II

worship Me in effigy He roared
flaming from a solid rocket bird
soon the heavens started spanking new
stars did the strand

those who'd put their faith in credit smiled
Plastic bore the weight of gold but felt
light as air spent just as frictionless
outlets did trade

out at sea He brought freedom to fish
never saw such low conception rates
broke all records when condoms blew up
like ’88

supermarkets bagged the greatest share
margins low enough to triple wrap
codswallop @twice the going rate
checkout galore

AstroTurf was knelt on by the score
drinking to the victory over there
in His styrofoams He promised they’d
conquer the world

III

huh nowadays Plastic ain’t all that
tries to sneak back down His hole the mutt
Old King Coal was sleeping on the job
Olive is next

time to let the baggins out of jin
solar winds to blow the keks off Him
paper tigers at His coattails this
headline just in

Plastic God is through but with defeat
staring Him in the anonymous
mask He tries to engineer one
last for the past

check His new credentials out He's pea
green inside forget the single use
propaganda hanging round His bin
second hand Him

chains of molecules are wily beasts
snakes on grass that hold a Bible class
Plastic God's got anti-Christ you see
try Him for free



shirtholders' meeting

invites only to the Davos game
sit-down stakes a cut in ages as
climate change Cassandra takes the stage
striking for fame

donkeys do the robot work till men
face extinction now who'll speak for them
Angry Thornbird plugging Virgin Trains
play it again

what the heck we're doing in a world
three score years & ten before the mast
Lucky Bags at 20 30 when
you overstep

nature with its glaciers on thaw
there in Switzerland the cuckoo clock
warns adulterers to flee a nest
foretold is all

stick yr ill-got where the finger points
frostbite not withstanding learn to cheap
skate if bored of snowboarding annoint
No-brainer king



Jerusalem

I

feat of space & time the Promised Land
can't be beat its very ashes bleed
what lives on when countless folk have died
Phoenix or pride

Romans Saracens & Jews abound
overseas from old Byzantium
Turks Crusaders Druze the lot collide
still it survives

is there magic does Jehova dole
out milk & honey while hand grenades
spike the fields even Samaritans
get on the phone

Everyman has got to come from some
where it might as well be there but be
ware the price of land in dollars per
metre goes up

up & up you gorra be dead rich
man to own an inch its very stones
cost the Earth the most exclusive grave
yard in the world

II

let the politics get back to square
one reset the clock to zero ground
God's representative has not been
on His rounds yet

men & women thrive in Eden right
not to pick too fine a bone they split
cooking cleaning washing up & child
care fair & square

till some angel taking one aside
spins a line it hardly matters what
since the other hasn't seen or heard
diddly squat

promises promises did those feet
countenance devine & all that jazz
take the cow to market Jack my son
new lamps for old

call a snake a snake a burning bush
fire for heaven's sake if truth be told
you've been on the sauce again a word
isn't The Word

III

Promised Land means what exactly fig
trees & olive groves look there a date
palm some flowering Judas trees a goat
wouldn't debark

well there’s water underground it rains
on & off the winters bloody cold
not what you'd call Eden Gardens how
much do they want

world's powerfulest clown Alexei Sayle
Alsop boy before my time but still
Kosher Scouse & diamond geezer swore
blind not to sell

out as president do one thing Pal
get the Palestinians their rights
tell that Knitting Yahou he's not on
stump up the cash

pay the beggar off & call it quits
as for William Blake the music's good
change the words & it'll be a hit
land of the free

                    [ dah dah da-da daah
nah na-na nah nah naah naaah naaaah... ]



force majeure or act of war

not fanatics crushed at football ties
funeral ravers villagers with strange
dialects or gods in gas attacks
far faraway

not some demonstrators charged & shot
down cos why was anyone in that
town those fools whose plane would cross the lines
should’ve stayed put

not escapees from dictatorships
refugees in leaky boats their routes
hopeful when compared to neighbours who
croaked with mouths shut

nor the people swept away & drowned
venturing abroad on holiday
burnt to death or decimated by
epidemics

just some folks who lived next door but one
bods with kids or pets those mums & dads
seen on queues who'd chat & lend a hand
if they were asked

Do Lend A Hand!