Saturday, 31 March 2018

I saw a pen and ink sketch
Of William Burroughs
It was in a pop-up art exhibition
In Hull’s old fruit market

I looked at the sketch several times
But there and then I did not buy it
Yet, next day, back at home
The image was still on my mind

I found a likeness online
A photograph in the Guardian magazine
Fronting an article about the aforesaid Mr Burroughs
Addictions; I thought this to be the base for the sketch

Further investigation turned up Matt Hopper’s page
On Etsy; the print was for sale, I made the purchase
A well-wrapped parcel arrived in a couple of days
Along with the sketch a card with a website address

I followed the trail, to find a well-worded artist
Who had lived a long time alone, perhaps too long
On a council estate with historic roots; sometimes
You see, you do get way more than you bargained for

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Friday, 30 March 2018


Twisted trees
Sunlit branches
Frost one inch deep
On the car roof

Blue sky
Almost cloudless
Frost one inch deep
On the shed roof

Birds in flight
Also in evergreens
Frost one inch deep
Reveal garden footsteps

Sun behind me
Also to the side
Frost one inch deep
On the turning tide

Peace and quiet
I’m all alone now
Frost one inch deep
On remembered minds

Shadows on chairs
Shadows on tables
Frost one inch deep
Outside The Old Stables

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Thursday, 29 March 2018


The light
From the warm white
Bare lamp bulb

Falls onto the bright
Plain polyester type
Shower curtain

I lay in my bathtub
Left side
Under the water line

To ease the pain
Of my year long
Frozen shoulder

I am covered in bubbles
Meanwhile Lyle Lovett
Sings of his woman troubles

These are times of peace
These are times of calm
Balmy reminders of last summer

These are the moments
Of joy and gratefulness
For life and sentimental stuff

This is the life
And don’t I know it
If only I was able to show it

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


Turner prize
A cold day in December
Actually a colder day than that

The fruit market
A cold day in December
Actually a warmer day than that

Robots, and waterfronts
A cold day in December
Actually at least as cold a day as that

Turquoise blue volunteers
Struggle with their posture
Awkward; with time, with purpose

Visitors, and well-wishers
And condescending temptresses
Who have seen me disappear

Seen me disappear
Into paintings and onto postage stamps

Seen me disappear
Into installations and video projections

Seen me disappear
Into a Saturday afternoon in December

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Broken Open

I have been released
Many times before
Although this sure
Feels like the big one
For several days, and nights
I have felt, and seen, a light
It is a light which I now call
The clear light of freedom

I tell you this as I listen
To Brian Eno’s Discreet Music
While I soak
In my morning bath
While I ease my shoulder pain
With the warmer water
And, with discretion being
The better part of valour

I won’t tell you
Of all of the circumstances
Which have brought about
This wonderful transition
Except to say, for I feel
That I must say something
So I will tell you that at long last
There was a letter

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Monday, 26 March 2018


You sent me away
I went away
Either way
The way
Was inexcusable

I wanted to stay
Just a little bit longer
But I heard
Someone say
That is a Hollies song

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Sunday, 25 March 2018


After snow, sleet
After sleet, rain
After rain, sun
After sun, light
After light, life

Life, as in birds in flight
Life, as in birds on branches
Life, as in birds at play
Life, as in birds in the snow

After snow, stillness
After snow, shadows
After snow, leaves
After snow, grass
After snow, life

Life, as in rooftops
Life, as in fences
Life, as in summer houses
Life, as in places to stay

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Saturday, 24 March 2018


All of our summers are long ago
All of the photographs
Serve as mere guides to nostalgia

The pristine, bright red, sun umbrella
Set against the vibrant blue sky
It is a memory, but only for you

The words say something
Which only words may say
All else being lost, scattered

The four winds
They have risen, they have fallen
Their breath is now of new life

All of our summers are ahead of us
All of the photographs
Have yet to be composed

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Friday, 23 March 2018

The Security Of Clothing

She is insecure
He is insecure
We are all insecure
Everybody is insecure
But I am most insecure of all

She wears bright clothes
He dresses as a country gent
We all wear our Sunday best
Everybody struts as a peacock
I try to look the part

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Winter’s Words

Snow falls
On talk of broken branches
Trees, which once stood tall
Are picked at, and picked at
As if to bring on the ravages of winter

Snowflakes swirl
In the bright light
Of the breezy morning
As if a thousand dancers
Prepare for the ballet

Between the footprints
And the lamplight
Are treads of doing
Treads of preparation
Treads of love

All the while
The pick pick picking
Conversation carries on
As if the sores
Are not already sore enough

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Half A Song Or Less

I did not
I do not

I wait for the heartbeat
I wait for the band
I wait for the night
The night of the damned

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Letter Of Hope

I wanted to write to you; in the here, and in the now
As if I was about to send you an early morning letter

I would like to tell you
Of the big blue skies
Of Lincolnshire
And to let you know
How peaceful it is
Out at Gibraltar Point
To walk on the salt marshes
To watch the sun rise
To watch the sun set
In between
To partake of tea and coffee
In the new visitor centre

I would like you to know
The inner workings of my mind
You know the sort of thing
How memories come and go
How the past works its wonders
To lead us into the present
And onwards to the future
I am fond of meditation
Quietly, in contemplation

I read works about the soul
Also the collective unconscious
I hope that doesn’t make me
Sound too too esoteric
It is not that
I have any deep calling
Yet it does interest me
To explore my own self
What makes me happy
What gives me contentment

And what of you
If you read this
How might you reply
Would you tell me
Of the environment
And ambience
In your locale
Might you send me
Details of books
Which you have recently read
Or plays you have seen
At the theatre

And what of art
And those art galleries
Which you may have
The good fortune to visit
More especially though tell me
If you have walked on the sands
Or taken photographs
Of the wild roaring seas
And the majestic oceans

Yes, that kind of thing
Would appeal to me
It is important
Don’t you think
To feel to be alive
No matter how old
And grey we become

To be out in the elements
Brings me to life
To feel the wind and rain
To walk on fresh snow
To bask by the waves edge
In the heat of summer’s sun
To run down the sand dunes
Gasping for breath

I myself am reading memoirs at the moment
The Diaries of Anais Nin - Volume 5
Simone de Beauvoir’s All Said and Done
And Jonathan Stedall’s Where on Earth is Heaven
To name the most recent purchases of good fortune

Anais is evocative, sensual, speedy
No doubt she could lead me astray;
Simone is thoughtful, and thought-provoking
She would have encouraged me
To sign up to her causes
Jonathan leads me to the films
Which he directed for the BBC

The ones on Jung, and Rudolph Steiner
I would particularly recommend
Yet his portraits of John Betjeman
Are as charming as is the man himself
A fine romantic poet
You can find
Jonathan Stedall’s films on youtube
Just key his name into the browser

I was saddened very much
By a recent poem that I wrote
It is called Avoid And Abandon
I sincerely hope that it is not
A premeditated portent to the future
Better that the focus
As Thich Nhat Hanh says
Is mindful to reduce the suffering

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Monday, 19 March 2018


What is it, of these separate words
What is it if there is no reason
Why to try to explore the hidden one
Why to implore the open one only to be

Why use those awkward words
The separate and the hidden
When, if truth be told
Both of those lines were given

Why would Bill Nighy be here
In this Micklegate 45 cafe
Is he a lover of the vinyl
Is he playing in the town

How would you ask him
How he gives the awkward words gravitas
How would you ask him
If his packing cases are held by Bureau Veritas

What is it, of these street-facing windows
What is it if there is no celebrity
Why to try to explore the forbidden one
Why to implore to open one simply to see

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Sunday, 18 March 2018


Someone said you were drunk
Someone said you were condescending
Someone said why visit the monks
Someone said is it never-ending

And so the conversation did move on
Yes the conversation did so move on

From Socrates to Pilates
To the cost of those who represent
From deputies to destinies
To down payments of the rent

Someone said what did you expect
Someone said it’s all part of the act
Someone said did you not read the text
Someone sad it’s a sad life, that is the fact

And so the conversation did move on
Yes the conversation did so move on

From Bake Off through to Strictly
And how fame is the stars intent
From take-off to feeling fairly sickly
With the purveyors of all that’s sent

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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Collected Commentary

I am going into town
To see no new people
I am going into town
To see more of the real me

I read your story
Of the grief-stricken young maid
I read your poems
Written on the railroads of USA

I too have stood, and also sat
In cold empty churches
I too have stood, also sat
On the edge of the fens

So we have shared movement
And been
To each other’s houses
To write, to read, to laugh

You are the real thing
And I am the old pretender
You have the gift
And also you have given

I am going into town
To see no new people
I am going into town
To see more of you know who

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Shouldn’t Be Said

This isn’t the song
Which I wanted to sing
That old old story
Of you wearing my ring

No I wanted to sing of avoidance
The avoidance of me by you
I wanted to sing of abandonment
The abandonment,  and you seeing it through

I wanted to hurt you
And you to hurt me too
I wanted to hold on
To you eyes of blue

I wanted to tell you
And you to tell me too
I wanted us to sing on
With both singing true

I wanted to sing of abandonment
The abandonment of me by you
I wanted to sing of avoidance
The avoidance, and you seeing it through

This isn’t the story
Which I wanted to be sold
The sad old glory
Of being left out in the cold

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Two To One Question

I never did know
How far from the altar
I never did fathom
That old helter-skelter

I asked you once
I asked you twice
I offered you heaven
For a roll of the dice

You said no once
You said no twice
You didn’t believe in me
Or in Jesus Christ

I never did know
How far from the altar
I never did fathom
That old helter-skelter

I walked away once
I walked away twice
I was fearful of leaving
I was fearful of life

You stayed behind once
You stayed behind twice
You couldn’t conceive of me
Or of being my wife

I never did know
How far from the altar
I never did fathom
That old helter-skelter

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Bacchus Hotel

I am the only patron
In the rather swish coffee lounge
I am somewhat intrigued
By the chrome yellow shadows
With neon blue outlines

Now I play shadow puppets
As I choose a replacement dessert
Due to the run on the syrup sponge
The room is an interior designers dream
Or nightmare, depending on your taste

The stamped distressed vegetable crate
Suggests the establishment opened in 1691
I am joined by an old man, with his even older
Greyhound, assuming that is of course
That each dog year is worth x times a human year

The waiter explains to the woman at the bar
That she ought to book her Christmas meal
Sooner rather than later; you know how it is
In the trade, everybody is a salesman, everyone
Wants to make their mark, in full on sodium

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hutoft Car Terrace

No parking
Between 10PM and 6AM

To the South
At some distance
A promenade of lights
With the windmill's red lights
On an higher elevation

To the East (straight ahead)
A grey beach
A Black sea
A blacker sky
Above the horizon

To the North
The glow you might be due
From Gods own County
Other than that
Nothing given

Nothing, as well you might expect

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Monday, 12 March 2018

Some Words Don’t Go Away

In the words of John and Paul
And all of those
Who chose not to hear

In the sense of lost control
As we presuppose
There is indeed a life of fear

If the day should fill your soul
Set fair to fully oppose
That which could easy disappear

There, with troops and wherewithal
An idyll to compose
To see the sea, so far, so clear

Yet doubt you might, and doubt is all
In the ability to foreclose
On all that’s wrong, and all that’s nowhere near

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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Lost, Not Found

I retrace my steps
If I had bought a blue pencil
Or an orange pencil
Then the lost cap
Would have been easier to spot

I will buy a blue pencil
Or orange
Or whatever bright colour they have in stock
I won’t buy another black one
That would only seem to compound the error

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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Lost And Found

I slow down
In search of my pencil cap
I hear the singular warbler

I hear
And then see
Another aeroplane

I hear
But don’t see
The cars on the coast road

This is a well trod path
One day a little child
May come across my pencil cap

And may ask its parents
What sort of person
Might have left this here

The child’s parent
If mindful, and imaginative
May tell a story

Of the old man, from far away
Who came here one day in winter
To write, and take photographs

In his excitement, also due to
His inability to do two things at once
He lost the pencil cap

And no matter how slowly
He walked the muddy path
The cap was not found, until today

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Friday, 9 March 2018

Lost Again

One might call it graceful
Except for its sound balloon
Some way behind
Some way to the side

Should one write
Of still finding the sound
Should one write
Or take photographs

This place is nineteen minutes
From my home
As long as I too am prepared
To add to the urban traffic noise

Once again I have lost the tip
Off my favourite pencil
This time though I fear
However lateral my exploration

Or thinking, the top is gone
My peace is shockingly shattered
By a scruffy little dog
The owners words not mine

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