MAKING FACES: POEMS 1970 – 1990ish

That – soft – click

of the sitting room door handle
of my parent’s home when I revisit it
releasing like a madeleine dipped in ty phoo

That soft click

Having lain awake for ages
hearing the muffled buzz of tv laughter
I tiptoe up the stairs, reach up to the
warm brass knob

That soft click

Years later a girl called… Elisabeth?
sits in the armchair which is really my father’s,
crosses her arms over her chest
and pulls her teeshirt over her head
revealing
two new dawns

That soft click

Adam and eve and pinchme
went down to the river to bathe
took off all their clotheses
swam and laughed and played
then on the sunny bank they lay
indulging in sexcesses
in polymawful pervery
and sadomasokisses

we stripped off our denim
we stripped off our tee shirts
we stripped off our knickers
we stripped off our lies
and then God spake saying:
“From now until wonderdrug
there remains stretched
between all women and all men
between all men and all men
a taut membrane of fetherlite rubber
and who punctures it dies

the vicious little shit! but what the fuck
never mind this new filth forged from the
juice of our understains. God knows
what dark crust of odious murk
already cakes us?

Nostalgia:
bottomless feelings without conclusion,
an endless, pointless sigh

Jealousy:
the stomach opens, scrotum tightens
each croaked word I speak drops from my lips and
aaaaaiiiiiii!

My son Joey crazes round the room stark naked,
wanton libertine, begging pleasure me pleasure.
Simple at three to be starkers. Boy o boy
it gets harder and harder

Satin & lashes, peaches and steam,
leather and fleshiness, creme de la cream
hitch this up, stick that out, pout thus and thrust –
voila: lust.

Buspoem

It was quite
a long-time ago.
There was a
red bus
at dawn.

Little red
and grey shadows
lurking
and wandering
from seatoseat
among the old ladies
and weeping conductors.

Sixpence
The little red bus
stopped.

At the end of the bus queue
bulletbus
with
cobweb windows
I watched
as the doors buckled open
and the grey mistshadows
slid up
onto the bus
and
the brownshadows 2
giggled
and pounced
on a
runaway driver
who suffered
from severe engine trouble.

A couple of
ties
stepped aboard
and wandered past the shadows
to disappear
into the back
into the past.

Sixpence
And the greyshadows
rise up
and sweep
still cackling
out of the
cracked lips of the bus

Sixpence
And,
hiding a tear beneath my busticket
sweep out with them
and across the road
into
the
shadowschool

1970

”””””””””””””””’

Raft

In frost all substance equalised:
brick, flesh and earth as cold, as hard
as raw blue fingers digging in the snow,
unearthing twig and bone.

You are a brave child,
foraging the stillness of a landscape
without space beyond these lines.
Your hot head feverish,
in the onslaught of a perishing wind,
convulsed by pump of blood and footfall,
wet-eyed; at every breath steam rising.

You are gathering objects to you,
stripped now of function,
scratching the frost
from these emblems embedded,
assembling and binding them,

constructing a vessel.
I cannot know what words,
what images you choose to store –
provisions for interior siege.

You are building a raft,
a thing to cast off in.

”””””””””””””

Sound Poem

You, listener, speak;
I take the credit
/edit/ out the hums
and ha’s; “I’m just a medium
sort of person, really,
tuned to my Fmeral reality.”
With razor blade and sticky tape
reclaimed as Personality.

I listen. I record.
I analyse and then revise –
“It seems to me,” and what seems
NOW
is past rewinding passed
from reel to reel
refined rejigged reverb
…verb
…verb
…verb

May I present
A BALANCED VIEW
______*
*my pencil drew
this fine blue
line

While on the other hand (hand other the on while)
The Radical,
extremistly self-styled,
prepares to phone –
(delayed by seconds
…1…2…3…4…5)

  • to phone in LIVE Hello?
    Hello?

“We’re talking to,”
a yard or so of tape
AND NOW A BREAK////////////////////////////////////////////

to play a jingle
spin a disc
to tell you this
is RADIO
oh, wonderful, oh
RADIO
oh, singin’
chattin’
proppin’
up the status quo
…quo
…quo
…quo

May I present:

THE QUIZ FUN CHAT
KID SOOTHE & THRILL
SHOW
THE 24 HR A DAY
WEEK IN ONE EAR
& WEEK OUT
ALL YEAR ROUND
SHOW

Hello?
Hello?

My… (talk into this please:-)
my dumbness transmitted
in stereo
multiplied nation-wide
latent voice hovering

silently seethes up the air
at a very high frequency
drifts over the city
awaiting a listener
a you to tune into me

Hello?
Hello?

You read me?

King

huddled embryonic
in warm corner
of cold, dark world;
a soft, white solipsist
silently curled,
am playing my gigglestick,
fiddling about under cover.

slipping under the covers
of hard-edged reality,
into my underworld…
King Wanker
of a flushed, moony universe,
bosoms and buttocks
I summon up,
the old rites perform,
polymorphous, perverse
in my otherless land.

this bedship I steer
beyond possible bounds,
King Wanker
sticks pins into darkness
where the fears are full flood.

savage – I feel no rage
surrendered – I feel no shame
what harm can I do?

O, but the onrush,
the guilt juice,
the spillage –
the howl of alone!
unable to lie now
to cuddle me,

King Wanker
King Man
grit teeth
slip tight

no need to awake
unless bodily shaken

Him

Your long words
never cease to confound me;
your estranging nod
when we pass in the street,
your barest glance
through the thick of debate
as the ol’ dialectic plods on.

‘ah yes, but…’
A safe flirtation
through the thick of the themes
we discuss:-
a) The Role of the White,
Anglo-Saxon, Protestant,
Middle Class Male
In Contemporary Society.
b) The Sexual Politic:
A Personal View,
c) by allusion, occasionally,
tentatively,
The Nature of the Relationship
Between Me And You.

We armwrestlers
we two men
over coffee over beer over three years
of Eng. Thought & Lit.
sat discussing, squeezing out pips
from our separate experiences
pressing together.

“ah yes but…
WE CHART MAPS OF COMMON GROUND
WE PLANT SEEDS OF COMMON STRUGGLE
WE PLOT ROUTES
through the thick of the future
as the ol’ dialectic plods on
through the thick of the web of the text
to a point where the two of us fit
in the closest proximity.

“ah yes, but…”
your long words
never cease to exclude me
from the heart of the matter.
Come time we do not hesitate,
don’t loiter to natter but
turn back abruptly to Real Things:
lives with our women.

“ah yes, but…”
just once or twice I have had you
through the thick of our distances;
I saw and I ached and I gobbled you up –
your hesitant, confident eyes,
your graceful, nervy gestures,
chopping up squares of air.

“ah yes, but…”
your long words
never cease
never falter nor lead me
to a place to make other shapes:
angers and sanctuaries,
silences, tangles.

oh yes but
the ol’ dialectic plods
on
and
on.

We armwrestlers
half brothers
love smugglers

we two men.

Pocket Guide

Ye olde Brumagem
Heart of not far from Shakespeare country,
Load of old bullrings.

Municipal Brum of stalwart chaps
Chamberlain, Cadbury Baskerville,
Watt, Rattle and Carrot.

Brrrmingham – Motor City
of ringroad and superprix,
great place to get out of quick.

Eurobrum: new jet set
conference and communications centre
simultaneously translating
to all corners of the globe.

Multibrumicultural city
of Balti, Bhangra and Carnival,
snazzy shades of youth groups
juxtapositions and fusions
of elders’ traditions.

Workingbirmingham
Land of hard graft and metalbashers
where self made men
made cars, planes and pins.

Boringbrum
Britain’s second (rate) city
self deprecating
self confessed
dullsville

Brimming Birmingham
forward citizens
of City and Villa
to symphony and opera

Proud Birmingham
more canals than Venice
more parks than Paris
more hype than anywhere
city of a thousand trades
city of a million souls
city of a trillion possibilities.

The Politics of Glances

The Politics of Glances
a delicate matter.
Her caution, her cynical glint,
that hint of – admit it! – desire.

And how can she communicate
without manipulation
without sell-out
without strings,
assert her right to ask,
might we light perhaps tonight
each other’s fire?
Instead the looks and smiles,
the talk of other things.

So, what’s the risk?
She’s sussed up to the eyeballs,
all options open,
insured, at least in part,
against despair.

To reach out to someone,
to a man to be precise,
to reach out for something
and find it not there.

He makes all the right noises though…

Succumbing again
to men and their treachery,
confronting the oppressor with,
of all things, a kiss!

And didn’t her friends say:
The prick is a gun with babies for bullets,
it is pressed to your life,
your glances his trigger –
don’t pull it! don’t pull it!

Rocking with her sisters at the interface;
thinking that, doing this.

Song for Swinging Politicoes

Let’s go! One two three four –
INVADIN GRENADA
Bangawanga, bombawomba, –
hup – hup – hup -hup – hup
INVADIN GRENADA
Democracking, stabilicing, bestowing freeedum –
dumb -dumb – dumb – dumb
INVADIN GRENADA
north south big mouth east west we’re best
INVADIN GRENADA
we got the key you got the cruise –
how can we lose? how can we lose??
INVADIN GRENADA
INVADIN GRENADA
INVADIN GRENADA

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dance Daddy Dance

Dance Daddy Dance
out of nowhere someone come
the tip tap tip of ten new toes
beat the big soft drum
beat beat cos Joe is come

Dance Daddy Dance
clutch to your chest his hot head hug
he grib grab grubs he longs to suck
eat eat now – Joe is come

Dance Daddy Dance
in the early hour he howling howling
rock rack rock dat soggy bum
him suds him shit him bodyheat
sweet sweet Joe – Joe is come

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sheffield Elegy

ThisBeingTheIntolerableTelling
OfNoneOther ThanThatAbsoluteFact
OfLifeAsWeDreadIt
CominToYaLiveAnPreRecorded
DoubleSpeedQuickTimeNeedfulCraving
MindfulofAllBeatsAndSubtleties

SHOCK! thatsthenameofthegame
SHOCK! tellingitloudstyle
backforsideswards – upandown
goin on a mission on a character assassination
shut up an listen BAMBALAMBALAMBAMBAM
(eeupduck!)

eros & thanatos wrestling in the park
adam and eve and pinchme driving through the dark
I&I and she/he their ReLayShunShip marooned
on jagged anger, high and dry, high and flying
flunking out to stray red eyed the bleary city
itchy city shitty city – shut up an listen

I&I and she/he mourn the dead
wet their lips, press kisses to her silent wrist.
SHOCK!
The wrench bolts through
their limbs conducting
death to life to rage to rage;
a livid consciousness of every breathing.

in and out and in and out
this is the way through the guts of the city
as the mourners hysteric it dancing 2/4
sticky hand in sticky hand,
wobbling on the brink like baggy toddlers.

and remember the old days? the nice days
the bluepeterland of nice clean white faces
so PaTerNaliStickally polite, so simply super,
so goodytwoshoes?

and we were young and easy under the strobelight
eyes wide, legs wide, smiling,
reading the news today boyoboy,
dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemin.
We had a dream then and pots of money,
no egg on face, no rags, no bones…

FastForwardToNowThen
TheMAtterOfTimeBeing
ThingOfTheMinute
ThisGloomyBlueAgeUppermost
ReseshunHitCrumblinSheffield
slap in the face for the well brung up white kid,
pinko, affluent everso, the mealymouth.

SHOCK!

Southsider sidles northwards
gleaming newpinstyle
thinks he’s the cream man, the fuckin creme –
reet chuffin berk ‘e were

“Shutupanlisten” this woman sez,
gobsmacks the kiddiwink,
lays him on some
PoLiTickle Re-EduKayshun –
Get this – info on what’s
goin off an stuff, the what’s to do.

He blinks, gulps some and shoulders up,
roll’s up his sleevies – you bet!

And if I could only
with sharp steel scissors
clip out the good bits
assemble crisp booklets of
black print on white paper
the whole doings packaged concisely
to be flogged for a bomb

And if I could only
funds apply for for ongoing
workshops and skillsharings
brainstorms and nosepickings
by misfit truants laddoes and girlsonly

And if I could only
store 3D multimead
softwearing videoh dear
her everybreath recorded
stored in memory for
atatouch recall

And if I could only
be naked singularity
clutching her gift to my throat
silver locket of black black
antimatter black hole of
hopelessness warping the everyday

And if I could only
fight back the panic –
“You and I two also rans,
lost at sea in a baked bean can”

Today wrenched from its socket
cars back into lamposts, old lady topples in the road,
a drunk is roughed up and dumped outside the pub –
all duff. grit yer teeth and kick a policeman
(we need someone to blame)
sing: BANTHEBAMBALAMBAMBABOMB
grow wings to soar above oppression,
rage rage against the killing of the strong.

Satanic

“The exposure of a writer of twice his stature…”
“The status of a writer of no substance at all…”
“Fiction of a danger substantially greater…”
It is. Are you? Aren’t we all
Backed up against the wailing wall?

Speechless – gobsmacked –
heartfelt – unutterable,
darkly unmuttering
stunningly silent
our adjectival causes
turned suddenly
violent.

As the Sky rains down its drizzle
of wall to wall celebrity,
plugging holes in chaos
with tromploy pictures of integrity,
recipes for disaster
in undergrounds, at Locherbie,
How-To guides to scandal –
do you want to be a wannabe?

It is. Are you? Aren’t we all
Backed up against the wailing wall?

Lest we forget
the gap twixt text and chat show,
twixt scraps of newsprint headline
and the floating turd,
a three minute silence, a momentary pregnancy –

Praise be to Allah
for the power of the written word.

Edge of August, Keef Green, Jon Arnold and CM, Phun City, Hoxton, London, Nineteenseventysomething)