Accordion By

The Poetry Accordion (2020)

Word thoughts melt, fading, away in memory,

running like a sailor

late, after messing up on shore leave,

left his uniform with the tailor

and the name of the girl he loved that night,

if only she would meet him

that girl, she’d love him back and in future days,

maybe even tomorrow, might neglect to even greet him

The words they reappear somehow, freshly twisted,

explanation not provided

no apology, the way it is with trying to explain the paralysed

before the blacks and whites collided

whatever I see, there are no surprises, I’ve seen it all before,

I write it down before it’s just too late

some call it inspiration, others call it muse,

I don’t call it anything except perhaps the Weight.

Words burn like a furnace, the ore stripped

from the sacred solemn ground

if only it would make a difference to the blind, the lame,

the sick among us, who make the protest sound

Puritans subjugate as they should to the principles of language,

hidden in the bushes, shouted in the streets, strangled on the grass

the perfectly acceptable poetry read out on radio,

interpreting the future, the present, and the past

watch me, wince, no room to move except all the way

throughout the blessed earth

letters, manuscripts, waging war on suitability and accepting prizes,

for what any of it is worth

while the father scratches his chin,

the mother stands at the gate

describing the flight of fancy,

the thing I call the Weight.

Words weigh me down, the loss of themes in colour scream at me

through ether, rain and powder

like the ten year old boy showing his father that he could swim,

across the pool and that it would somehow make him prouder

Death is announced, to cancel out the birth, as if it’s grappling

for something, anything, to make it seem good, or right

and the dogs they keep on barking, something’s eating at the fruit trees

I’m going to find out what or who it is, if I have to sit up half the night

The manuscript of no consequence, as if the readership is hanging

wanting something, to provide some kind of idea, a clue, a taste, a date

in anticipation, sipping on a drink, not knowing what to call it,

the thing I call the Weight.

Words, the wind, they both cut through the air,

tearing like a scythe, a blade, a scalpel, a sword through buttons on my coat

dismissing, caring not a care, not a care, an interest,

for the long and thoughtful suggestions in the letter that I wrote

Hearing, smelling, feeling, watching, which is best to try and corral,

the scenes, the phrases, the ideological masquerades of opinions

given equal time, by those who genuflect and have a bet each way

while they pause, reign supreme over all their sweet dominions

Meanwhile in the corner, over coffee, buttered toast, and scrambled eggs

as the young, the old, the pretentious swank of silk and wool and cotton

sit back, swap smiles and laughing while the bent old lady begs

what to make of it, can I make something of it, will the noise inside abate

to appease this momentary affliction, the lifelong determination,

in the thing I call the Weight.

Words, they take me to a dream, crashing tables, breaking windows

and just as I am awoken there’s a knocking at my door

the place that I land in, has no windows, but has a waiter taking my order

I ask her what I want and she says “how would I know, and what exactly are you here for?”

“I ain’t here for anything,” I tell here, “isn’t that the point of it”,

I realise no one knows anything at all, or how to break free of it

“I can’t tell you what you want” she says unless you tell me honestly

“are you here because you oppose it or are you here because you agree with it?”

I don’t know how to answer it, I don’t know what to say,

I don’t know how I am managing, or if it has a bearing on my fate

I only know it’s name,

the thing I call the Weight.

The hounds are at my door wanting to claw out my eyes

I say to myself “this must be it, this is how a poor man dies.”

I think about the killings, the murder of all things true and decent

the ancient ones, the innocent, the old, the new, the recent

I lay down on my side and try to get some rest

and try not to think about what’s up next.

There is decay, there is loneliness, there is waiting, glimpse of hope

people will hang themselves with anything, I conclude, if given enough rope

I look around for signs, for indications that the tuneless, ceaseless thunder

will forge its will upon me, grab my head and push me under

There’s always this contemplation, thought, even as I’m wounded and perplexed

that I know more than any other living being about what’s up next.

It’s got me thinking, if twisted, unseen tears of sorrow

will let me keep what’s left of things, at least until tomorrow

I wonder if it can be left for someone else to sweep up, mix in some grit and dirt with it

so for now I can sing and dance beneath the stars, and even get to flirt with it.

I remembered my mother who suffered for me, in my hunger made me eat

and wondering about what’s up next will not help me to my feet.

A storm is brewing, not the one you think, it rolls, in plasticine and dough

where the captains and the legislators cannot and dare not go

Go ahead and ask me about the hill, that falls into the sea

if you have to ask me, go on ask it, but don’t ask it just of me.

There’s a gold cadenza waiting, from an ancient cherished text

while I sit and quietly contemplate what’s up next.

It’s got me thinking, wondering, if I stare at the abyss

and cast my dreams towards it, to a place that I won’t miss

There are scars for sure, I can live with those, I’ll lift up my skirt and show you

there’s nothing here to harm you, disappoint you, shock you, break you, throw you

There is a knocking at the door, my next steps are weak but true

and all the while I’m thinking about the next time I’m with you.

The wind cuts like a stiletto, the flowers are starting to bloom

the soldiers lay down the dying, a daughter shoots up in her room

A letter arrives for the lonely, the wind whistles cold through the trees

A prophet yells “don’t fall for the phoney, they’ll steal your memories.”

I recline my ear to the music, the rhythm, the beat, the rhyme,

as I try and weigh the gravity of this weeping Pantomime.

The warehouses and stores lay empty, there are barricades on the doors

friends are making glances, staring silently at walls.

There are broken hearts that love but still alive to teach,

there are rumblings in the street that it’s all just out of reach

The phone rings after midnight, the caller pleads “please absolve me of my crime”

“Not yet,” comes the answer “all the while we’re in this Pantomime.”

There’s a slick haired operator, reading from a list

he’s standing at his platform, with a snake above his fist

He’s reading a proclamation, saying “do exactly as I say.”

He makes a promise he knows he cannot keep and then he walks away.

I wonder if anyone notices, as he swivels on a dime

and murmur to myself about this drama filled, dark, sour, confected Pantomime.

The sun is rising, it’s running late, as shadows fall on bones

it goes dark for a minute, while it obfuscates, no one answers phones

The journalists want some answers, as to the when, the how, the why

A man in a long black coat steps forward and says, “the minute you’re born you’re old enough to die.”

A friend calls me, concerned, he says he’s getting nowhere, down in this dirt and grime

I tell him not to worry, we’re all in this together, in this post-modern Pantomime.

There are people who talk in mellowed tones, as if there’s a secret they need to hide

While others scream there’s nothing wrong, we’ve got God here on our side.

The student, immigrant, the widowed bride, ponder as they stand in line for soup,

they request that someone contact God, to see if he favours any group.

The news screeds contain the same old thing, the verbiage for the time

while the weather closes in again on the same old Pantomime.

Nineteen years, nineteen lies

nineteen lockups where justice dies

Nineteen children dragged away

by nineteen others, one fine day.

Nineteen denials turn your head

nineteen bodies on tracks found dead.

Nineteen Police cars around the bend

just in case you’re with a friend.

Nineteen grave sites, nineteen mothers

burying daughters, sons and brothers.

Nineteen arrests between dusk and dawn

nineteen babies being born.

Nineteen songs, nineteen dances,

from far horizons come nineteen glances.

Nineteen smells of dust and sand,

nineteen thousand years on land.

Nineteen schemes, nineteen scholars,

proposing settlements with dollars.

Nineteen jail cells filled with kids,

nineteen reasons to bang on lids.

Nineteen others, granted bail,

nineteen brothers back in jail.

Nineteen different ways of searching,

nineteen tracks with trackers working.

Nineteen shoes shined, nineteen masters,

nineteen sets of chains on rafters.

Nineteen times and nothing found,

nineteen ways to get around.

Nineteen guards who block the entrance,

nineteen years with reduced sentence.

Nineteen verses for the nation

sung for moral appropriation.

Nineteen treaties, nineteen vows,

nineteen whys and nineteen hows.

Nineteen ways of being told,

nineteen dollars made to look like gold.

Nineteen teachers read from a book

about a man, a man named Cook.

Nineteen denials and nineteen more,

nineteen times dragged to the floor.

Nineteen women cry tears of rage,

for nineteen children half their age.

Nineteen races with the dogs,

nineteen racist ideologues.

Nineteen colours in our skin,

nineteen angles to shine light in.

Nineteen failings from Commissions past,

nineteen changes from the last.

Nineteen fish caught with spear,

nineteen meal times spread with cheer.

Nineteen students graduate,

no time to waste or vacillate.

Nineteen stars, to render mysteries,

nineteen dream time tribal histories.

Nineteen ways to till the land,

nineteen ways to understand.

Nineteen leaders, nineteen voices,

laying bare the nineteen choices.

Nineteen times caught on tape,

theft of food the taste of grape.

Nineteen more who walk on by,

the grapes in season are worth a try.

Nineteen eyes preventing trouble,

watching from inside their bubble.

Nineteen lists of nineteen streets,

nineteen cops mark out their beats.

Nineteen frisks of nineteen pockets,

nineteen pills with nineteen dockets.

Nineteen protests beaten back,

nineteen arrests to keep us all on track.

Nineteen lawyers work through the night,

nineteen sticks of dynamite.

Nineteen reasons to sit and learn,

nineteen ways to make country burn.

Nineteen berries, nineteen plants,

cook them, eat them, sing and dance.

Nineteen elders state their position,

nineteen points in their petition.

Nineteen beds, turned away

neatly turned for another’s stay.

Nineteen bodies in the loam,

rest in their ancestral home.

Nineteen tongues, daily spoken

raising spirits never broken.

Nineteen days of dream time sharing

nineteen ways to show the caring

Nineteen seasons on land and sea,

nineteen steps between you and me.

Who was it who killed poor George Floyd,

who was it who made his life null and void?

Not me, said the cop who stomped on his neck

I was just tryin’ to keep the man in check.

He couldn’t breathe but it’s not my fault

I had to keep him down, I had to quell revolt.

So, who killed poor George Floyd,

while some looked on in Schadenfreude?

Not me, said the President with his strident claim,

These thugs who protest, it’s them I blame

If they don’t go home the guns will sound,

I’ll let out the dogs so there’s blood on the ground.

Well, who then killed poor George Floyd,

was he killed for something he was trying to avoid?

Not me, said the driver of the pickup truck

He was an old black man who ran out of luck

I’m just tryin’ to do my job,

don’t blame me, I’m not part of the mob.

Who was it who killed poor George Floyd,

were they scared of him, or were they just annoyed?

It wasn’t us, the people screamed, “we’re as honest as the day is long,

Our nation is free, our nation is strong.

We can’t help it if the black man falls,

if want your freedom, you must obey our laws.

Who killed poor George Floyd,

who took his life while with the same life they toyed?

Not me, said the judge from his bench on high

We can only watch while our citizens die,

We apply the law as it’s handed down,

we don’t judge over black, brindle, white or brown.

So, who then, killed poor George Floyd,

and why were the bullets and tanks deployed.

To keep the peace, said the Chief of Police, from behind his shield,

it’s the only way to make protesters yield.

Their dignity will have to wait,

now please step back behind the gate.

Who, this is the question, killed poor George Floyd,

could it happen here, amidst all the peace we’ve enjoyed?

Nothing to see here, said the Mayor of the town

We’re in a different place, we don’t hold our citizens down.

it can’t happen here, we’re more civilised,

we understand the injustice of those who have died.

So then, who killed poor George Floyd,

who stole his life, how was justice employed?

It can’t be us, or our society,

it’s fine to be liberal, to a degree.

But just as the ghosts, the ghosts of Jim Crow,

they die in the dust, as they did long ago.

Ain’t no words, ain’t no actions,

ain’t no turgid explanations

Ain’t no thieves, ain’t no captains,

ain’t no messy complications

Ain’t no artists, ain’t no drawings,

ain’t no pictures left to paint

Ain’t no galleries, or theatres

ain’t no Priest, ain’t no Saint

Ain’t no magpies in the spring,

ain’t no policy or dictum

Ain’t no flesh wounds on the body

to identify the victim

Ain’t no shepherd with his flock,

ain’t no one beneath the covers

Ain’t no Father with his child saying –

“if I could have my druthers”

Ain’t no doctors, ain’t no nurses,

to wrap the leg that’s badly bleedin’

Ain’t no food left in the pantry,

ain’t no one to do the feedin’

Ain’t no letters being written –

sayin’ “I will love you truly”

Ain’t no prisoners left inside,

ain’t no rules for the unruly

Ain’t no guru, ain’t no teacher,

ain’t no method, ain’t no grades

Ain’t no night time assignations,

ain’t no men behind the shades

Ain’t no buses, ain’t no cars

ain’t no petrol sniffing kids

Ain’t no wasted trips to Mars

ain’t no nation on the skids

Ain’t no light on the horizon,

ain’t no finger pointin’ shows

Ain’t no descendin’, ain’t no risin’

ain’t no fighters aiming blows

Ain’t no vandals, ain’t no crimes

ain’t no conflicts, ain’t no wars

Ain’t no saviours for the times

Ain’t no cleaners to mop the floors

Ain’t no wires, ain’t no traces,

ain’t no powder, ain’t no phones

Ain’t no wasteland, ain’t no dump

ain’t nowhere to hide the bones

Ain’t no lodges, ain’t no guild,

ain’t no changing of the guards

Ain’t no Kings, ain’t no Queens

so they can send their kind regards

Ain’t no friends, ain’t no enemies,

ain’t no China or United States

Ain’t no wages, ain’t no fees

ain’t no talk about their fates

Ain’t no treaties, ain’t no vows,

ain’t no papers being prepared

Ain’t no speeches, ain’t no vowels,

ain’t no words that are being spared

Ain’t no truth, ain’t no lies

ain’t no sympathists, or cranks

Ain’t no weapons to use as alibis

Ain’t no soldiers to roll out tanks

Ain’t no cops, ain’t no burglars,

ain’t no windows being smashed

Ain’t no lifeguards on the beaches

ain’t no vehicles being crashed

Ain’t no handshakes, ain’t no greetings,

ain’t no suits to wash or press

Ain’t no notes to take in meetings,

ain’t no blouses, ain’t no dress

Ain’t no pretence, ain’t no conceit

ain’t no bullwhip, ain’t no axe

Ain’t no raised fist in rebellion

ain’t no time to just relax

Ain’t no ancients, ain’t no scrolls

ain’t no wisdom, ain’t no knowledge

Ain’t no students, ain’t no classes

ain’t no university, or college

Ain’t no prisons, ain’t no islands,

ain’t no refugees, or slaves

Ain’t no freedom, or captivity

ain’t no hideouts, ain’t no caves

Ain’t no carbon, ain’t no plastic

ain’t no alloy, ain’t no steel

Ain’t no counsellors or psychics

sayin’ “this is how you feel”

Ain’t no Bible, ain’t no Quran

ain’t no letters from abroad

Ain’t no Mercedes on the Autobahn

searching for their Lord

Ain’t no villains, ain’t no heroes

ain’t no one to blame when things go wrong

Ain’t no point in counting zeros

ain’t no poem, ain’t no song

Ain’t no bastards, ain’t no brawlers

ain’t no bodies in the bin

Ain’t no fishermen, ain’t no trawlers

ain’t no fat, or fish to skin

Ain’t no sweeping, ain’t no cleaning

ain’t no dust, ain’t no broom

Ain’t no kitchen bench tops gleaming

ain’t no homeless with a room

Ain’t no plantings, ain’t no seedlings,

ain’t no tilling of the ground

Ain’t no phone calls from the parents asking –

“may we come around?”

Ain’t no càfes, ain’t no bars,

ain’t no fingers on the keys

Ain’t no lose talk on the streets

that will bring you to your knees

Ain’t no libraries, to read and ponder,

ain’t no rooms with ocean views

Ain’t no parks, to sit and wonder

ain’t no papers, ain’t no news

Ain’t no soup, ain’t no ladle,

ain’t no Mockingbird to fly

Ain’t no hand to rock the cradle,

ain’t no ear to hear the cry

Ain’t no Premiers, ain’t no pretending,

ain’t no hide, ain’t no seek

Ain’t no messages they’re sending

to which they cannot plainly speak

Ain’t no face masks, ain’t no health

ain’t no pharmaceuticals to buy

Ain’t no ladder, ain’t no wealth

that’ll hold ya till you die

Ain’t no markets, ain’t no sales,

ain’t no prostitutes or whores

Ain’t no standing in the hallways

ain’t no windows, ain’t no doors

Ain’t no winners, ain’t no losers

ain’t no races at the track

Ain’t no drunks, or legless boozers

ain’t no one to slap their back

Ain’t no honey, ain’t no salt,

ain’t no sugar in the bowl

Ain’t no blame, or finding fault

ain’t no weeping, suffering soul

Ain’t no switches, ain’t no claims

ain’t no guidelines, ain’t no rules

Ain’t no smoke, ain’t no flames

Ain’t no one working, or downing tools

Ain’t no smoke, ain’t no mirrors,

ain’t no sirens, ain’t no fires

Ain’t no promotions, ain’t no scorecards

ain’t no corpses, ain’t no pyres

Ain’t no sermons, ain’t no altars,

ain’t no Eden, ain’t no Gate

Ain’t no slick haired rich evangelist

determining your fate

Ain’t no time, no time to think,

ain’t no rescue, ain’t no plan

Ain’t no place to store the conquests

of the last extraordinary man

Ain’t no stairway up to heaven,

ain’t no troubadours with strings

Ain’t no bread that needs to leaven

ain’t no baths, there ain’t no springs

Ain’t no money, ain’t no prizes

ain’t no old men going to jail

Ain’t no cakes, ain’t no surprises,

ain’t no black man out on bail

Ain’t no mountains, ain’t no valleys,

ain’t no fire trails, ain’t no shoes

Ain’t no pubs to drown your sorrows,

ain’t no Jazz, there ain’t no Blues

Ain’t no concrete, ain’t no oil

ain’t no oceans left to dredge

Ain’t no minerals in the soil

ain’t no trees left on the edge.

Ain’t no judiciary or courtrooms,

ain’t no lawyers dressed in silk

Ain’t no dodgy, jewelled up salesmen

ain’t no preachers and their ilk

Ain’t no principles of warfare,

ain’t no bullets, ain’t no gun

Ain’t no badges, ain’t no welfare,

ain’t no grass on which to run

Ain’t no prizes, ain’t no openings,

ain’t no presents, ain’t no gifts

Ain’t no Prince to send his wishes,

as the winds of changes shift

Ain’t no man, ain’t no woman

ain’t no one to hold your hand

Ain’t no verses, ain’t no chorus

to try ‘n’ help us understand

Ain’t no spare room, ain’t no attic,

ain’t no mattress, ain’t no sheets

Ain’t no flute to quiet the static,

ain’t no marching in the streets

Ain’t no measles, ain’t no mumps,

ain’t no ambulance, or nurse

Ain’t no doctors, ain’t no sleeping

ain’t no quick fix for the curse

Ain’t no coffee in the morning,

ain’t no milk, ain’t no cow

Ain’t no smiling, ain’t no yawning

ain’t no answers as to how.

​In Autumn, Spring, or both, write the leaves that fall, bud, blossom or bloom

and children summoned after breakfast, clean plates, wash hands, to tidy up their room

meanwhile, the Vietnamese lady around the corner, making lamingtons, second to none

and the mechanic’s call to remind me, maintenance is required, if my car is still to run

and nurses who check temperatures at the side of every bed

and sideways I glance – and bow my head.

Then there’s Schubert in C Minor, carrying tension through his hands

dark, moody combinations, colours life, his death, as his last song softly lands

while other music plays, in vain, trying but it’s never quite the same

and interruptions, amendments, the Poets, who wait to hear their name

and promenades of spatial needs with a needle and a thread

while I stumble on in solitude – and bow my head.

The slowly cooking porridge and the coffee, make mine black

suffers nothing inconvenient, as if there’s a shortage out the back

the Mother’s taking knowledge and the Father’s at the lathe

risking everything while singing about the lives still left to save

in momentary thought oblivion, temporary amusements being fed

while I take my application, sign it – and bow my head.

Back to Schubert at the piano, knowing his days are running out

leans down upon his century, tries to twist if not to shout

and the lamingtons, like their maker, never out of style

brought to carers and their children, to energise their smile

and ceaseless eyes maintain a movement, just started, set to spread

while I can do nothing more – but bow my head.

And finally now, in confronting light, I bow my head

with the lamingtons all gone and with Schubert now dead

hang on tight, to the other side, ride the sacred cow

if you didn’t see me then, how is it you’ll see me now

no need to make enquiries, there’s no need to even try

I will now commence to bow my head – and quietly here just lie.

If only I’d had one moment, if only I’d had some time

if only I could make some still small sense of this imaginary rhyme

If only I’d not chased shadows, challenged, instead, their version of the truth

if only the world’s crazy misshapen axis hadn’t been tipped on its ancient misshapen roof

If only I’d ruffled feathers, if only I’d raised some doubt

if only the spruikers of rectitude didn’t make me believe what it was that they crowed endlessly about

If only the trails and the highways, gave me signs along the way

if only the self-righteous clowns in suits had died or gone astray

If only I’d sprung from Corona’s bench and shouted what I thought

if only the silver tongued salesmen hadn’t been allowed to sell me what I bought

If only the soporific axioms of society’s judgemental gaze

hadn’t stalked the unsuspecting, expecting us to follow all our days

If only the publicly funded rulers, proselytising till they bleed

had bothered to even realise, onto their ground fell barren, poisoned seed

If only the so-called penitents had railed and sallied forth

and stormed the gates of the sanctified, showing them all what they were worth

If only the hypocrites and messengers, the dogs who barked at every wheel

had instead turned on their masters, chased them, mauled them, so they’d somehow get to feel

the insipidness and emptiness of everything they teach

while proclaiming thoughts of greatness in the moment that they preach

If only the sanctimonious hadn’t dragged their religions near

and based their protestations on the very things they fear

If only our dreams hadn’t been burned, scarred by their Machiavellian brief

if only their imaginations, lacking, had shown them up in stark relief

If only the schools and teachers, in refusing to be changed

had realised that it’s better to be wrong than to be intellectually estranged

If only when they’d been shown up by long haired fugitives

had they admitted to themselves they did not know how the other lives

If only I’d noticed emptiness, instead of shop-worn bored consumptions

if only I’d just ignored their tunes, their well organised assumptions

If only the patriarchs on their recliners, who sat in judgement all day long

had known that making others weak did not in turn then make them strong

If only the halls of politics, where the unimaginative beat their chest

on their cloistered archipelagos, where they decide that they know best

If only they’d imagine their irrelevance, from the corner of their eye

if only they’d notice the rumblings in the streets before they craft their lie

If only the anodyne reflections of those who divide and rule

had made them pause a moment, to know there is not equality in school

If only the revolution had purged the nation’s conscience, if not the nation’s guilt

then all the longings, turned down, refused could then have it all rebuilt.

If I go down to the water I can see it, momentarily –

It reveals itself in ripples, winking, slyly, at me –

then disappears, it isn’t there, but it was, feigning, dodging in and out, prophetic –

alluding to virtues of sleep, to rest, when feeling somewhat energetic.

So many other things, sweet manna, this sleep, for those who sweat and labour –

filling the well of compensation, or reward, for those who so dearly crave her.

It is this, right here, this, the regeneration of the body, the spirit, or the mind –

or both, or all, if that is what I need, or crave, or somehow in this moment, find.

Check the kitchen, is power generation low –

as I search behind a lounge room chair, for something I can throw –

still, stillness does not arrive and how it all, if at all, its denouement is deferred –

the caffeine induced light-shed nature fighting gallantly, preferred.

Pity treads on the heels of images while it hustles itself away –

says “I’m not ready for you, yet” – come back another day –

what to do, where to go, it monsters thought dreams vacillating –

but dreams are not, merely holidays, ideals or plans procrastinating.

Slumber, sleep, what is it but an absence of the other, or yesterday’s commotions –

compressed into sensual imaginations of needlessly bought devotions –

wisdom – none, it strangles all the things that others purport to it and beseech it to continue –

in gaining, gathering, written, words in support of it, while it strains with every sinew.

The space, the song, of limited speed, if possible, to dance beneath the morning shower –

not diminished, or ignored, resting, content in its extraordinary power –

if only, to look again, in the water, for the ripple, that will mean I’m finally mended –

unto the rest, the peaceful rest, that I’d, to, hours ago, surrendered.

Fires are burning, lines are bracing

Nights in silence, hearts are racing

Tongues are wagging, shelves are clearing

help arrives, for the hard of hearing

Sitting round in circles talking

Wanting more, much more to give

while people talk – about the way we live.

Coffee’s brewing, tea is drawing

Ice is melting, food is thawing

Halls are filled, with conversations

Speakers question, motivations

Opinions offered, not confirmations

Sifting values through a sieve

while people talk – about the way we live.

Winter harvest, hopes are sinking

Minds are focused, on different thinking

City roadblocks, cars are stalling

Buses filled, while rain is falling

Commuters sharing thoughts and theories

in their communal co-operative

while people talk – about the way we live.

Mothers weeping, babies crying

Markets tumbling, sheep are dying

Travellers arriving, at their station

Tourists cancel their vacation

Taking time, some deliberation

more time needed to weep and grieve

while people talk – about the way we live.

Books are written, stories told

Price adjusted, for growing old

House investments, keeping tabs

Innovation, is up for grabs

Trends and movements, kept alive

Administrations, jump and jive

while people talk – about the way we live.

Miners striking, unions banned

Students screaming, across the land

Teachers watching, rules have changed

Library shelves are rearranged

Watching children teach their teachers

teaching them how to forgive

while people talk – about the way we live.

I’m no longer here –

I’ve been in the papers, a “tragedy”, of sorts – when there is no other word

no longer able to breathe, the crash, others thrown clear –

words that mean nothing, the prayers and the thoughts – it all sounds so absurd

words from people who care just enough, trying to do their bit –

between their God, my Father, my Mother, picking up the threads

roles are reversed, their child, their child, their child is dead, there are no answers fit –

just remember, my parents, crying in their beds.

I was only four years old –

if you call that old, killed by disease

the doctors didn’t pick it, thought it was flu, or a cold –

turned, like the Atlantic, to fatal cough and wheeze

I don’t get to grow up, have a boyfriend, bake a cake –

or have friends who come around

play together, go to school, or to argue what’s at stake –

please do not forget me because they put me in the ground.

Fire breath in my throat as my father tried in vain –

him too, with me, buttressed for the fight

waiting, no longer now, the coming of the rain –

trying to hold it off, to try to make it through the night.

The men with their reports, with their advice designed to seize –

the day or just the moment, the instant thought, to run

or stay, to fight, to sleep, to rage against, or freeze –

please do not forget us, my father and his son.

I got caught, like a lot of us still do –

by a single bullet from the same authority’s gun

I was walking home, with a friend, just us two –

He’s white, I’m black so I decided I should run

Maybe if I’d stood still or put my hands into the air –

maybe if I’d just laid flat on the ground

maybe if they’d known what is right, or even what is fair –

if only they’d known that, there’s a chance I’d be around.

At three days old, I am not passed away, I’m dead –

So easy to count my days and insult my too short life

My mother who bore me, who no longer dreams, or forms a thought inside her head –

for the guilt, the shame by another name, the curses of a wife

the hole in my heart, the hole, the words not spoken –

or the brothers to come, who will never get to know me

my Father, my Mother and the family that is broken –

just remember I have lived and please find some love to show me.

You know me, from the news, I died in my cell –

I could take no more deprivation, bashings, hunger, loneliness, false claims, abuse

you seemed happy, someone did, for me to continue in this hell –

you can argue over my rights, as if it’s now of any use

the policies of the myopic, the righteous, with their shopworn, tired displays –

formulated on your television, as your leader, hmmm, explains

try not to forget me as you live out all your days –

I hope that someone remembers this when you lock the others up in chains.

Nowhere here is safe, especially at night but also during the day –

I was outside with my friends when a bomb came overhead

So, you will never know me, someone blew me up, as I went outside to play –

it first blew off my arms and then my legs, I’m twelve years old, I’m dead.

I wanted to go into medicine, to heal the sick and lame –

because I read about it, my teachers taught me, that it’s a good thing to grow up to do

but I’m the victim now, of ideals, someone’s strange political game –

so keep this in mind, when you hear people speak these things, who do not have a clue.

I’m twenty four years old, or was, I’m much younger than that now –

My friends say a better place, they say it such a lot, I’m kind of sick of hearing it

I couldn’t take it, or so I thought, the voices, I’d like to have stayed around for longer but I didn’t know how –

I couldn’t work out the difference between loving it and fearing it.

I’d like to say that love, such that it was, and is, was never far away from me –

I just couldn’t reach out and hold it, embrace it, or understand your simplistic far off theory

I’d like to think that you’d remember me and understand what it was that I could do, or be –

I didn’t leave because I didn’t love you, or need you, I just grew tired and weary.

I was ripped apart by lust, anger, by violent rage and hatred –

I was walking home, you know my name but now it’s far too late

walking home, nothing more, stumbling into something putrid –

society’s indifference, inconvenience, whistling a blind eye to my fate.

Remember, for the others, do not forget me, now just a photo in a locket –

And still you do nothing, leaving others to bring flowers and ideologies that sprout

but for the Grace of God, that moralising grace you carry in your pocket –

create a life now lost to me, as you casually go about.

I was riding my bike to buy ice cream, when a car took my breath from me –

it came from out of space and crushed my lungs, smashed my brain, in an instant, bloody death

blood seeped from my body, as he mumbled and stumbled free –

a passer by came running, to try and save me with his breath.

The driver wasn’t looking, in his alcoholic haze, thinking only of himself –

he won’t remember anything, I’m sure, when, if, he’s dragged away to jail

and if you let him drive again, show him my picture on your shelf –

I’m only twelve years old, I’m gone – yet again we fail.

Our parents used to love each other but then it turned to hate –

not for us, their children, for each other, anger, our family no more as one

my Father took us one day, dragged us out the gate –

he killed our Mother and then he took us from our home, at the barrel of his gun

We are no more, my sister, me and neither is my Father, I’d like to ask him why –

He turned it on himself when he realised we were dead

If he didn’t love his life, our Mother, why shoot us so we’d die –

why didn’t someone stop him, what was so wrong in his head?

We die, and then we are gone, to a long and quiet repose –

or a place to placate our longings, or yours, to make meaning of this end

in patronising soliloquy, in the words that you compose –

and by the way, who are they for, these flowers that you send?

Look out your window, will you, for this brotherhood of man –

Is there a scene you’re trying to catch, a face, a memory, a voice

can you remember who I was, in this grand heroic plan –

We are gone – we are gone – we did not have a choice.

The mattress is comfortable, our neighbours are kind –

they gave us some spare clothes to wear –

our Father went over to the promised land –

he told us he’d wait for us there.

We packed our bags, we gave all of our belongings –

to the people who lived in our street –

we prepared all our papers, our passports, some food –

with our clothes and the shoes on our feet.

He’d gone on before us, told us we’d start a new life –

he applied for asylum, and was accepted –

but an order came down, from someone high above –

it said “your application has now been rejected.”

They turned us around and they sent us back –

from the airport, where our papers were taken –

to my sister, I said “there is something wrong, –

perhaps our dear Pappa is mistaken.”

So now here we are, my sister is crying –

I am eight but she’s only five –

back in the country from where we were trying to flee –

with our neighbours, keeping us alive.

I am scared but my younger sister is worse –

she is banging her head on the wall –

there is no one to help us until my father succeeds –

in finding a safe place for us all.

Our neighbours, our friends, they want to come with us –

“Please take me with you,” my best friend has said –

my father reminded us, we cannot stay here –

if we do we will surely be dead.

“This country I’ve found means freedom”, he told us –

he showed us the flag he’d unfurled –

but we now cannot go there, we must find another place –

another place, somewhere in the world.

Why would you bother –

with any of it, with any of it at all –

with nowhere to lay your head –

with it spinning like a ball.

You say “I’m doing fine,”

when I know that it’s not true –

You write to your mother and tell her –

“I always think of you.”

What else to say except “don’t worry –

I’m always getting by.”

When no one gives you space to breathe –

why would they, even try.

From dossing down inside a church –

with a pillow and not much more –

and the aching legs, arthritis knees –

to bruise the polished floor.

Then out you go to the next day –

and look in vain and roam –

to sign the forms that rank you –

to find a place called Home.

And people ask their questions –

not to you, behind your back –

misguided, misplaced charity –

and all the things they claim you lack.

Woe that your waining contribution –

they ask themselves, “Where is it?” –

as if you don’t question it yourself –

like a country you don’t visit.

Most of the time, you tell yourself –

“I’m fine to get around.”

Other than wanting to just disappear –

no trace, no note, no sound.

Some work was organised, you said –

the hope of cash in hand –

and then the snide resistance –

flowed like blood let through the land.

Authorities, in settings magnified –

the anodyne alarm –

are, like loud hailers at a protest march –

turned up to do you harm.

Your friends, new, old, the ones you left –

resistant to your verse –

the lunatic assemblies –

trying to wash away the curse.

Members of the public –

behind the uniformed pavilion –

give thanks to have no chance –

less than one chance in a million.

They’re having bets these commissars –

these keepers of the flame –

float the odds on reprobation –

while they rally to your shame.

Your head peaks over parapets –

as you wonder what comes next –

and head bowed as expected –

so as not to sound perplexed.

When giving in seems justified –

to prove the doubters right.

“We knew all along,” they say,

that you weren’t up for the fight.

As if they’d ever know –

from their safe position’s seat –

from their leather and their fabrics –

tied in bundles at their feet.

The gates of Eden, locked at night –

keeps you peering in, in hope –

just in case the guards have left a key –

or even just a rope.

And given half a chance, to claim –

what birth has given preference –

who wouldn’t take it, in both hands –

to give us all a reference.

The education, learning –

they used to call it school –

the place to prepare your papers –

to prove you’re not a fool.

You never got to have it –

they never got to hear you –

as conformity is sanctified –

in the direction they would steer you.

I sat with my professors

philosophise as they teach

“be careful,” they said “clanging bells may drown out,

the conclusions that you reach.”

“There are reporters who stretch conspiracies,

to their fingers and their toes,

be careful what you say to them

and the idiot wind that blows.”

“Be mindful of the profiteers,” they said

“and the things they’re trying to tout,

there are fools who know everything

while the wise are filled with doubt.”

I listened to an old man in the street,

with his ancient polished prose

sing songs from his years of loneliness

where all things gold arose

“The rules have changed,” he whispered,

“there’s no revolution left to fight.”

“There is nothing left to say or do

except to walk quietly through the night.

You must question as your wise Uncle might

the truth and all about,

when fools know almost everything

while the wise are filled with doubt.”

Sophocles waits on the corner

talking to the King of Thebes,

he rummages through his pockets

to find them empty, the work of thieves.

“Perhaps we should ask Plato,

for he will have his purse.

He’s observing the masters of television

create their universe.”

The King reclines and mumbles

“Just let them twist and shout,

it’s the fool who knows most everything

while the wise are filled with doubt.”

To The Moor of Venice, Iago proclaims

“I wear my heart upon my sleeve.”

Othello cries, responding

“I cannot grant your leave.”

Desdemona sits by patiently

her reputation by her side

while the men accuse each other

as if they both have things to hide.

Desdemona then, appealing,

“Dear gentlemen, please sort this out.

Need I remind you, fools know everything,

it’s the wise who are filled with doubt.”

The Bell Ringer rings his Justice bells

while the Unicorn makes some notes

as money-men and tram conductors

count the takings, hand out quotes.

The Unicorn steps up to the podium

as the Colonel strikes up the band

to introduce his words of war and peace

just to be sure we understand.

“It helps me get elected,” said the Unicorn

“and when you carry this much clout,

you can fool the fools, they know everything

while the wise are filled with doubt.”

The Nazarene walks into town

to be confronted by the Mob

who try and trick him with their cleverness

and to remove him from his job.

“Your enquiry is a good one,” he said

“it’s important that we know”

he scratched the dirt, picked up a stone

and said “take good aim with your throw.”

They dragged him away from trouble,

they proved him quite the lout.

He cries out, as he’s crucified, “it’s the fool who knows everything,

it’s the wise who are filled with doubt.”

Dostoevsky closes the pages

on his darkly Russian books

searches his darkly Russian solitude

from behind his curtain looks,

for a righteous man or woman,

with a conscience to explain

how everything has come to this

and have it not explode inside his brain.

“I’d trudge through snow to find them,” he said

“if it wasn’t for this gout,

it’s the fool who knows everything,

it’s the wise who are filled with doubt.”

Orwell sits, in his prescience

mind bent over to our times

he warns the unsuspecting

in his mystic dystopian rhymes.

“Please don’t let it happen,” he cries,

as his pen falls to the floor.

“It depends on you, to redeem us,

from this writing on the wall.”

His eyes went dim, his words flung down

to the language that they flout

to the fools who know everything,

and to the wise who are filled with doubt.

And then the artists and the painters

publish musings from their labs

while the authorities quell division

knowing courage is up for grabs.

The little man who doth protest too much

arrested and dragged away

screams lungs dry in reflection

“We will soon get to have our say.”

“It’s alright to ask the question,” he howls,

“you don’t have to preen or pout,

why do fools know almost everything,

while the wise are filled with doubt?”

The road is filled with burning wood

people leaving, are told they should

grab some clothes and hit the road

hear the windows behind explode

strangers help with rattled tins

while others who will put out the bins

and stare ahead with Thoreau glances

resolve to fight, and take their chances

On the outskirts of the town

bottles filled, lines are down

while soporific, prattling fools

shout at us from atop their stools

trucks are rumbling up the hill

as warbling birds begin their shrill

marbled halls begin to shake

and argue over what’s at stake

Horses gallop at the sun

knowing that their race is run

the kangaroo who jumps the fence

suffocates in the smoking dense

koalas feet are singed to bone

sit and stare, confused, alone

sheep and cattle, scorched and dead

or mercy’s end, shot through the head

The sirens sound, smash through gates

to whatever hell they know awaits

the melting steel and alloy seeps

the mother of a missing child who weeps

who has no clothes, or place to rest

but has a story, she can attest

to the flames that ripped and scarred the earth

and questioned what the pain is worth

As heads are counted in consulting maps

hands are raised to point out traps

while embers pulse, in slumbered flight

beneath the feet trudged through the night

the wind that threatens, from the south

breath reaching shallow, dust in mouth

and catch the sleep they dare not embrace

and screw their courage to the sticking place

And fear, in its so-called primal scream

transmogrified to another dream

to stand by and watch the savage breeze

to not bring those who stand unto their knees.

It’s quiet on the road, as uniforms wait

to quell the fire in its frenzied state

the choking, quelling breathing fumes

transposes days in lyric tunes

And birds, felled by burning flailing wings

swept away by fire’s grande opera that whistles, sings

silent, the birds wash up in easy reach

as tourists huddle on the beach

the fire it snarls, and then it yields

but not before it strips the fields

for the owners, who return to find

the irony in their peace of mind

The irony, the empty tank

as subversives talk of breaking rank

and access to the roads is blocked

where no-one is surprised, outraged or shocked

His Master’s Voice proclaims the thoughts

and disappears within his Courts

while water arrives from overhead

and rains on the living and the dead

While beneath the helmets, the weathered beats

exhausted, the weary, slump in their seats

there is food enough to go around

no one talks or makes a sound

While leaders hide or smile through grins

and reflect a while on subverted sins

and remind us of what we all hold sacred

appear before us, standing naked.

Accordion By

The Poetry Accordion (2019)

My neighbour, with his driveway entrance,

hardwood double doors

and the multi-level rooms,

over gleaming, silk-screen shores

his castle, his mansion,

his glory, clearly signed

while I sit in silent splendour in,

the castle in my mind

I approach them in the evenings,

these castles, in their rows

past the windows peering down,

past their pretexts and their shows

as I walk I sometimes wonder,

at being left behind

and settle my contemplation in,

the castle in my mind

The porous, stifled memories

of what might, or could have been

the gentlemen, I greet them,

as I watch them wash and preen

Their castles, in extension,

with no waste of any kind

But I can find no great pretension within,

the castle in my mind

The principles of decadence

in the measure of success

where wealth is institutionalised,

above the heads of those with less

and lonely beat up commodores,

in the club for the refined

wave away the fortune housed inside,

the castle in my mind

If I listen to the preachers

who watch the pledge placed on the plate

as if the weight of it determines,

somehow, my fortune and my fate

I search my pockets for currency,

measured by the blind

and recline in repose and dance my way through,

the castle in my mind

Gratitude, this word again,

it jangles and repeats

inside the castle’s grandeur,

reclining in its seats

I search for explanations,

for a fate I may yet find

I retreat to the farthest corner,

the castle in my mind

This freedom of speech, how do you defend it

is it so close to your heart that you need to befriend it

dignified silence, jettisoned, forgotten

views contrary, sullied, putrid and rotten

It’s true, everyone has their own secret sadness

for you to have to explain all you see in this madness

to philosophise this disgrace that you need off your chest

and put down or shout out all those views you detest

This freedom to confirm the oppositions you hold

does it make you feel vindicated, righteous or bold

does it trouble you so deeply, that others don’t see it

for what you see clearly, to make you decree it

What is it exactly, that you wish to espouse

I don’t understand, this insight you house

perhaps for us both, in this freedom you quote

please write it down for me, in a kind, friendly note

Can you help me define what this freedom means

so that I can walk safely through the various scenes

I’d like to be guided lest I stumble on hate

so that I am confident to one day approach heaven’s gate

If I read it right there’s no freedom at all

in making others look short so you can make yourself tall

I’m seeing freedom in letting others just be

and what they believe don’t much matter to me.

In Dante’s Inferno, when trying to describe,

the houses of Hell’s lamentations

the torments, the trials, laid quick to ascribe

amidst the curses and blessings of nations

Where above good St. Peter looks on from afar

with the Righteous who have given their life

their path it is lit by the Bright Morning Star

who keeps at bay all their trouble and strife.

What then is this Hell, the unpitying flood

from the banks and the ditches of pain

with the splinters from hawthorns, the flesh and the blood

cries for comfort, for comfort, in vain

so what is this Hell, but a Syrian child

playing with friends, in a city, or town

whose legs are blown off, by a war raging wild

as the bombs and the missiles rain down.

This Hell, that guides the tongues of the rich

who proclaim from the pulpits and stage

through the eye of a needle, a flick of the switch,

as this Hell is spelled out on the page

Meanwhile, in another place, to the West and the South

in Civilisation’s Crucible’s dust

another child lays starving, with wide open mouth

where this Hell is in want of a crust.

In Dante’s Meridian, the voiceless and quiet

where the summit is reached with his eyes

and false gods stand angry, most ready to riot

where the tiny flames buzz round like flies

Yet Hell here, defined as a line to a pit

where destinations are summarised in sentence

and the walls built to protect those determined most fit

are paid with wages of sin and repentance.

Where is this Hell, we’re most eager to find

if in the Book we can determine or measure

the disgruntled, the outraged, all one of a kind

find succour in life’s juicy pleasure

For Dante, he searched and stretched his mind’s eye

while his feet sought to gain final entry

for the Righteous, the Pure, they need not hear the cry

of the children who starve by the century.

The children, the children, the children you say,

playing games while the Earth is parlaying

who will fulfil their own calling as guileless they play

while rulers count fortunes delaying

This Hell that awaits is already here,

for the children who can’t see tomorrow

the trafficked, the stolen, their eyes filled with fear,

who yearn for a life they can borrow.

And finally Dante, with his glorious rhymes

while the greats subjugate to his stature

sallies forth from the torment of his turbulent times

and scrapes his fingers at his first fallen nature

While Hell, such as it is, neatly tied in a knot,

while the children of nations, implore us

as we look away, to view all that we’ve got

and ignore what is dying before us.

I was only trying to be sensitive, my Mother always said

be mindful of others, offending

but she was good at it, she didn’t hold back

lived a life she did and if others

well, if others couldn’t cope, keep up,

Not her concern.

I was only trying to be helpful, thinking you’d need some help

wasn’t to know you didn’t want any, even though you said

you weren’t lying, you just were, just needing,

needing is not a mortal sin any more than

being conservative, if you can’t help it,

you can’t help it.

I was only trying to be creative, showing you what I had

you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to get it

you can like it without getting it, you can get it without liking it,

there is no scale, no measure and if you don’t want to read,

or look, or listen.

I was only trying to be useful, although who for

who knows, I don’t but I was told,

that to be so, is to be like him, or her, or you

so I tried, for a time, didn’t work,

Can’t help it.

I was only trying to be truthful,

telling you what you wanted to hear, is that what truth is,

yours maybe, not mine, so that we can all get along,

get by, read the news, look away, look back,

for the weather, in the sky, in my eyes, the truth

look hard, what you see, it’s a question

For now, for later.

I was only trying to be careful,

told to look, not bend the wrong way, offend the powers,

that be, crossing the street, or crossing your heart,

break it, being careful does that, or something else,

compels you for a moment,

The light is green, you can walk.

Where were we?

That’s right, yesterday, you made me stay away,

reined me in, stopped me calling,

not that you could hear me,

know me, have told me, to scold me,

for forgetting, there was much to do,

I told myself , held from myself, firm in thinking,

about my my blinking, challenging the sinking, feeling that,

my stalling, from my calling, in my reports, your retorts,

contortions, the waste of time it showed, you, crowed,

not interested to know, the blow, it might instil,

as you took your righteous fill,

as the imaginary, temporary interruption to my living,

prevented my giving you, forgiving you, or bothering,

to flee from thanking you, thinking you,

might either wage, rage, set the stage,

for being more than no one.

What was it, were you afraid?

or I, with my heavy set agenda, to surrender,

neither borrower or lender, so you said,

did you offer me your seat, stoop to feel the heat,

at my feet, in the moment of conceit, the story that you sheet,

reminding me of what you have,

without a word to impress, not allowing for egress,

from this extraordinary mess,

this trudge through the great descending haze, the malaise,

of your desperation, or your clarification,

stay true so you say, to the evidence you find,

in the limits in your mind,

nothing to unwind, your preservations, reservations,

of wanting to wake you so you’d hear me.

I’m not as rich as you, Palm Beach with a view,

motor, scooter for the run,

to buy the wine, dine, and refine

over your memberships and payslips, your aphoristic quips,

regularly arriving, not for striving,

auto-cliving the struggles of the others,

your brothers, their mothers, if you’d just had your druthers,

no wait, that’s not right, you must continue,

as you review your retinue, the landscape before you,

eschew those who deplore you,

as others who adore you, would I call you,

so you’d finally hear and find a small inspiration,

in my perspiration, exasperation, your quiet desperation.

What was it? Ah, of course, your celebrations,

the permutations of all that you’ve achieved,

so relieved to have believed what was right under your feet,

to beat, to eat, the leavened bread of conquest,

thoughts to suppress, to please,

or perhaps appease, the Master’s beseeching

while they were teaching, the rules, the game,

the whistling up of fame, of sorts, to hide your little rorts,

respected in the sun, the monthly shopping run,

as you look behind, while you find,

the feelings that you left, the people, the people, the people,

left behind,

through the smoke ring of your mind,

to prevent you falling, satiate the feeling,

of your stealing,

while you placate, await, the ceiling of your stalling.

What was it? your yearning for respect,

to cover for neglect, inspect, the reject pile,

of tossed away from where, you left behind your care,

with them you’re in cahoots,

the roots of trodden boots, to not give two bloody hoots,

on the place you left your mark, so you’d,

find a place to park, and hustle after dark,

among your friends, who watched you enter in,

devoid of sin, in the bin,

of your shining bright career, well,

have another beer, fine wine, champagne, extend the noble cheer,

kind of now we know, onto another show,

flash your ready smile, for a mile, in your pile,

the family farm awaits, close the gates, the goats,

the moats, to keep away the threats, regrets, the bets,

on whether you would win, and pour another gin,

oh where do I begin,

to show you, know you, as you crow, laugh, or die.

Now where were we? The grinding of the pain,

oh listen to that rain, to wash away the stain,

a relief to finally have it, to feel it, conceal it,

your secret, don’t reveal it, not yet,

one day, if I pay, the price tag on the garment,

the deferment, your confinement, in retirement,

you deserve it, what ever it is you have,

the faces, tie the laces of the Chav,

who’ll look you up one day,

and ask that you might pay, without further delay,

wave him right away,

a tenner, he can spend it, tell him you will send it, or pretend that it,

can buy some of your hors d’oeurve, the dinner that you serve,

the days that you observe, the carnage that you swerve,

to keep your little nerve,

the medals that you’ve earned, to never be returned,

will I ever learn, burn, to see, or flee, for you, to see me,

in the mirror.

My days are numbered I know that well

it is why I’m stuck here, in this living hell

the biscuits, stale, the tinkle of tea

and the nurses told not to bother with me

This home of mine, so barren and cold

while I lay awake, wondering, “Why would you want to be old?”

A memo went round, a snigger from the lads

there is to be a limit on incontinence pads

Worlds best practice, the limit is three

so be mindful of this when you need to pee

I turned to Vera, my neighbour, not to be too bold

I shouted “This is no place at all to be growing old.”

“Hurry up, old woman, if you want to be fed”

they shouted at me as I lay in my bed

There are others who live here, loosely defined

The solution is clear, the procedure refined

But I will not be laughed at, I won’t be cajoled

This is not the sort of place in which to be old

Taking a walk outside was always a joy

but cutbacks mean there are none to employ

who have the time, or the energy

to spend some time outside, walking with me

There are rumours this place is going to be sold

like this lot, who put a price on this growing old

These filthy, infested, soiled from the weeks

awaiting replacements, fresh, clean bed sheets

I won’t hold my breath, I’d expire right away

waiting for someone to make my day

A premium on sheets too, or so I am told

While I mumble again, “Why would you want to be old?”

There is a nurse who left, she just couldn’t cope

I used to tell her “While there’s life, there’s hope”

But I’m beginning to wonder, if my words mean a jot

as I wait for the completion of life, of my lot

This is not what I hoped for, to die in this mould

shallow in breathing, asking “Why would you want to be old?”

The government tells us they are rolling out help

their words, worthless, dribble, they hang like kelp

Their promises, empty, while I stir in this waste

in the bitter miasma, the lips yearning taste

the nonsense, the clipboard, the promise of gold

stripped of my dignity, as I die growing old

Why is it so difficult, it all seems so wrong

to make it this far deserves a dance, or a song

But instead we are curtained, we’re told to be quiet

denied of our story, forced to deny it

to celebrate life, this life that we hold

it’s not too much to ask for being this old

Some call it abuse, or a slight on neglect

as growing to be old dispatches respect

I’m poked and I’m prodded, as the tray comes around

while love is beseeched but none can be found

This hand I am holding, I’m ready to fold

as I ask the same question, “Why would you want to be old?”

The truck stops, smelling inconvenient in the striving street

the weekly run, the regular collect

stock piles of baby puke and waste convenience

and plastic worn deliveries, slit and thrown

away, if there is such a place, a far off land, to hold such affection

to the men, flint, in orange vest and dignity

investiture of the noble and strong

in the tidy streets, the fast lanes, the weaving, heaving perfection.

The truck stops, about time, beside the fancy, flanneled men

and suited chameleon mavens preening, on their way out

while Schubert like they glide, poor Schubert, not like him, scheming

and mock the ties, the suits, the ear pieced gallimaufry

time wasted while the baby pram and the soft morning shoe

mannequin blows the kisses against the perfect morning lawn

while the streets, narrow, wide, in perfect morning hue

oil against the silk screen handmaid leaning into her perfect morning yawn.

The truck again, has been away but lo

the doggy do and baby puke that waits

for it’s timely arrival,

in time, just in time to flog and flag their importance, in their rightful proportions

the Neville’s and Tony’s, not required for this, waltz away, to not Schubert or Proust

or anyone like them, would they be away, where that is

if not for the truck, the one with their slit goods of plastic and overdue arrivals,

and the doggy do, baby puke and the mannequin’s expedient contortions.

The truck, for us, not them, we, us, we pay

and they bring, and they take

the carriage, carrion of mid-weeks burping spill

and what was cast aside, in haste

but well thought out, planned and trolleyed to oblivion,

the car park, the well parked car and boot and back seat rebellion

while the meter runs and the orange vests plan their visit

about time you say, and yet to spring the waste.

The Neville’s and Tony’s arrive at their station

safe knowing, the truck has come and baby safe

that thrown away, where is it again, somewhere away

a place, a time, a prefecture of clean, green, never seen

why how the water cooler love, the perfect suburbia, the plastic now safe,

gone, not here, there, where that is

and the mannequin, ruffled, tidy, spent and licked

to a new place where the truck will never go, has never been.

And then the Truck, rumbling, gathers up the clippings of suburbia,

the noisy necessary nuisance of perfection

no slum here, glum, earnest to a tee

where the chainsaw, blower the winds, quick to blows itself

and the tea cosy, the pot, the straightened hedges and gleaming bench tops

while the orange vests, not caring for what the mannequin requests

if not for her, if not for them, they sidle up and tip

as if the favour, the eternal favour, heaving, shows itself, and stops.

It’s not our fault, we’re not to blame

we’re just trying to maintain our freedom

we mine the dark materials till we’re blind and lame

because there are other poor people who need ‘em

we do this to keep our country strong

We’re not to blame, we’ve done nothing wrong

We’re not to blame, it can’t be us

We have principles adopted to guide us

We can mount a protest, we can cause a fuss

or continue as our values provide us

Misguided idealism only lasts so long

We’re not to blame, we’ve done nothing wrong

It’s not our fault that we make the most of the land

that our forefathers kindly bequeathed us

We’ve worked hard for decades and extended our hand

to the point where most people believe us

For the ones who want us to join the throng

It needn’t be us, we’ve done nothing wrong

We’re not to blame for what goes awry

with the things we design for protection

while others may suffer, or perhaps even die

to give us cause for remorse or reflection

we don’t mean to divide , we must all get along

We’re not to blame, we’ve done nothing wrong

We are proud to be part of the willing

as our weapons protect the oppressed

it’s not our fault if there is ancillary killing

that keeps orphans and widows distressed

But it helps our country to stay on song

it’s not our fault, we’ve done nothing wrong

We’re not to blame when the economy tanks

we have policies in place to protect it

we really would appreciate a little more thanks

and if the others get in they’ll neglect it

We’re honing our message, it’s as sharp as a prong

we’re not to blame, we’ve done nothing wrong

It’s not our fault if our particular views

are contrary to considered opinion

We don’t need a sermon about our dues

or a challenge to our sovereign dominion

for those inclined to quote Erica Jong

how good is a country that does nothing wrong.

I don’t do it for you , so your thoughts can rest easy

as you nod in your pleasant agreement

while you sip on your drink , peculiar and queasy

at my anticipated long due achievement

I don’t do it so that you , in your tuxedo blouse

can regale us about your refinement

as you so easily fling those opinions espoused

by explaining your rules of assignment

I don’t do it for now , so that riches may come

so the house in the suburbs is purchased

I do it for later , when my years and then some

have passed into dust and resurfaced

Why do you claim theories about such a life

while you queue in the night for your ticket

knowing nothing of the blood drip from the end of the knife

and the verbiage cut free from the thicket

Do you count all my long dark hours lost of sleep

while the whirlpool of thoughts overwhelms me

for you to appear around corners to peep

so you can issue your words to befriend me

I know you so love to guffaw at the thought

of reviewing the work I present

before stringing together words , perfect and taut

and return to the life you resent

You call me over to say you love what I do

You lean your head down and grin

You say what a talent , tell me you knew I’d come through

and tell others you knew that I’d win

Well I don’t do it for you , I do it for me

it’s the only way I know how to

make sense of the mess , and get myself free

an’ point the finger at those you kowtow to

Not the masses, not the torments, not the nightmares of our longing

Not the grasslands, not the homelands, not the roads to our belonging

Not the mortgage, not the storage where our things are kept for later

Not the governed, not the owners, not a Priest to set us straighter

Not the meetings, nor the greetings, so designed to calm depressions

Not the courts, not the gowns, not the wigs of petty sessions

Not the flavours of the artists who draw and paint our every breathing

Not the architects of fashion who have us all believing

Not the rulers, no not them, they’re just trying to represent us

Not their wives who devise a smile and inwardly resent us

Not their minders who stand in line, not the shirts who seek rebellion

Not the children on the swings, not the things we try to sell them

Not the trains, not the roads, not the cycleways or highways

Not the note left in the bathroom, saying “I will love you always.”

Not the trip down memory lane as the morning breaks for freedom

Not the coffee, not the tea, not the lazy news that feeds them

Not to finger, not to fault for failure in ambition

Not the principle at stake, not the mistake of an omission

Not the envy, not the jealousy, in the paragraphs of knowledge

Not the schools, not the teachers, not the university or college

Not the interview in prime-time, not the clumsy explanations

Not the progress, not the hope to reach the heights of expectations

Not the treaty, not the signing, not the colours wrought of meaning

Not the rock on which we stand, not the ones who kill the dreaming

Not the agent, nor the landlord, not the worker on the street

Not the collector of our garbage, not the cold, or rain, or heat

Not the arbiters of style, not the magistrates of taste

Not the headlines, not the markets, not the food since gone to waste

Not the pain, the anxiety, not the teaching the insufferable

Not the diagnosis sought for a tumour thought inoperable

Not the sickness, not the treatment, not the efforts of our charity

Not the judgements, not the medicine, to offer any clarity

Not the child, not the playground, not the laughter, not the suffering

Not the benefits of television, the offerings, the buffering

Not the latest, not the oldest, not the single highest bid

Not the Sage or the Philosopher trying to understand their id

Not the handshakes, not the taxes, not the plea for some redemption

Not the platitudes or punishments that shout for our attention

Not the promise, no announcements, not until we’re all aligned

Not the phone call, not the papers that are waiting to be signed

Not the bank, nor the money, not the gains, not the losses

Not the old man sitting quietly bearing all life’s dirty crosses

Not the lessons, not the marks, not the difference that makes us all the same

Not the sign scrawled in the window saying there is no one left to blame

Not the reasons given air time shouting “That’s just plainly wrong”

Not the press release that follows, not the news to quiet the throng

Not the publishers who print, not the landowners who shout

Not the children heard round corners, screaming “What’s all this about?”

Not the beginning, it’s not the end, where there’s nothing left to see

Not the friends, not the neighbours, not the bonded, not the free

Not the groundswell of a movement, not a quiver or a shake

Not the birds, not the singing, not the tale of what’s at stake

Not the bleatings, not the boasts, not the triumphs of the few

Not the beatings, not the protests, not an inkling, not a clue

Not the slavery in thought, as some kind of gauche bon mot

It’s the weeping heart who questions “If it is not this, then what?”

Sheep droop jaw and hooves split in the stumble for the hay,

eager grey teeth picking at the stubble and the crust

Knees buckle, their hollow eyes, humble, stare down and absorb what was mud

is now unsullied deep red dust

The rain gauge says eight inches, it does nothing more than tease

While a friend brings a cup of tea, some cake, to say hello,

to try and put his mind at ease

“Thought I’d bring you this, tea’s strong, cake’s homemade,”

there’s not much more to say

“Yeah, gotta keep going, that’s the thing,

we’re one day closer every day.”

Cattles ribs are showing, with the tongue that hangs in sorrow

while the market closes down

Weekly shopping is put on hold but it’s still worth catching up

with the auctioneer in town

“You’ll get less than what you paid for ‘em,” he’s told with all due care

And looks up at him from under his wide grey brim

with his empty thoughtful stare

“It’s the best that I can do, the price is low

but it’s the most that anyone will pay”

“Yeah, we’ll just keep going, it’s what we do,

we’re one day closer every day.”

The horse she’s lame but she’ll keep on working,

the Vet says the feet need some attention

“She needs a spell” is his advice,

it’ll save his intervention

“I’ll give her the best that I have, you can pay me later,” he says,

something for the arthritis and the pain

Thanks Doc I owe you one, or two, you’ll have the cash

as soon as we get this rain

He pokes his head out of the window as he leaves

and sighs at the clouds that waft away

“Yep, just keep going, he always tells me,

they’re one day closer every day.”

The girls need new shoes for school so we asked them

if they could get by with some repairs

“Of course,” they said but we know what girls are like,

we’d like to prevent the comments and the stares

“We’re all in this together,” they shouted, they want to do their bit

“If not having new shoes means the cattle get their feed,” they said,

“we’ll gladly take the hit.”

“We should all be recycling anyway,” they said,

“we’ll cope, come what may”

“Besides, we know that we’re just one day closer every day.”

The bank is making noises about the need to talk about arrangements

before they can consider a consolidation

The question swirls inside my head but I don’t dare ask it

about what this says about our nation

He stares across his desk and tries a smile as best he can,

it dislodges as he glances

into his ledger, then asks me to give him a plan

so that he can properly rate our chances

“We want to help, you’re a family we need in the community,

if you feel you want to stay.”

A smile, a plead for immunity, we’ll just keep telling ourselves,

we’re one day closer every day.

The creek that last year put boots under water

is a dry cracked brown sun baked cake

He can hardly bare to look at it, kick his heels at it

and wonder how much more a man can take

There’s another one laying dead next to an old tree on the crumbling bank

that he didn’t need to shoot

and the Kangaroo who collapsed in the heat

while trying to dig up a root

Mrs Owens called, she’s made some bread, biscuits for the kids,

she’ll do her bit to keep the wolves at bay

Good people everywhere keep telling us

we’re one day closer every day.

There’s a sweet sweet sound moving across the settled ground

it whispers in my ear in the morning

like a solitary breeze, whistling through the trees

it summons the birds to cease their yawning

It soothes my pain with the gentle drop of rain

the songbirds far off start their crying

while the howls and screams, the breaking of the seams

tells me he not being born must be dying

The train moves out as the Conductor begins to shout

no one appears to be listening

young women pout with with their blouses hanging out

while the lonely men they cease their whistling

There are people left behind for being poor or being blind

while these thoughts run at angles in my thinking

the rain’s being kind to my ceaseless raging mind

as the Sun’s fading glow is slowly sinking

The sound is in tune as I bathe in its afternoon

the tables and chairs are being shifted

the couples leaving soon hold hands beneath the moon

while they wait for the evening clouds to be lifted

The sweet sound leaves its gifts as the music gently shifts

the rhythm of the drum beat it grows stronger

the sound maintains it’s dance, it offers up it’s chance

to soothe my brain a little longer

And the birds they chime with their imaginary rhyme

while the voice in my head maintains it’s striving

the rain it descends as if to make amends

it offers no regrets with its arriving

The angels stare at me as my eyes they struggle free

from the binds that want to try and keep me

from the names being protected by the ones whom we elected

while under the rug they try and sweep me

What are we made of? asks the child who cries

who just wants a toy she can play with

or to ask most politely before she dies

“is there someone out there I can stay with?”

What are we made of? the question burns

as dark shirts mass at the door

the question is answered by various turns

while the Minister lays down the law

What are we made of? letting others conceal

with meaningful dialogues lessened

what desperation compels us to feel

that all we have fought for is threatened

What are we made of? are we afraid?

of another’s holy communion

the book we were reading is lost or way laid

there appears little hope of reunion

What are we made of? in our brand new suit

with our fresh renovations by the water

what keeps us placid, compliant and mute

to the perfectly choreographed slaughter

What are we made of? kept under wraps

to shelve it amongst our convictions

sprung from ideas disguised as maps

as we draw up a list of evictions

What are we made of? can we pin down the phrase

and tell those weary souls we hold hostage

as we meander through our bright lazy days

and define the ideas that are vestige

Who is to blame when the house blows down?

when the windows and walls break or rattle

who drives us into the dark cold town

to corner and herd us like cattle

What has gone wrong since our bold declarations

on our victorious, glorious shorelines

lining up images amidst loud protestations

and rehearsing our most tragic of song lines

What are we made of? are we too tired to try

to rouse our collective rebellion

while the well dressed, double pressed, trill tongued lie

flails in its indignation

What are we made of? it hangs in the air

a pathétique of rhetorical reflections

while the masters spring forth and brush back their hair

and remind us of their recollections

What are we made of? can we lend it a hand

can we give it some sort of asylum

can we wake it from slumber and help it stand

and give it a new coat to try on

What are we made of? is the mournful request

as others make notes in observing

as those who remember pass by those who know best

and despair at what we’re preserving

What are we made of? the question remains

as if by disturbing the embers

of our quiet desperation and all it sustains

so that somehow our conscience remembers

What are we made of? what is it indeed

that the question requires such an airing

if nothing is left but corruptible seed

it tells us just how we are fairing.

My, what a lovely place you have, you must be very proud

I love your modern furniture and the space that you’ve allowed

the kitchen is so stylish, are these appliances new?

I’d love one of those in our place, I’ll bet that cost a few

The family room is so tidy, how do you keep it clean

We have a lady come each week, we call her Mrs Sheen

The paintings are from Milan and Rome, we got them on the way

with a brief sojourn in Florence where we have a place we stay

I noticed they’re not from here but this one is local art

Yes, that one’s Aboriginal, we thought we’d make a start

I love what you’ve done with the hallway, it simply is divine

It’s marble yes? or slate perhaps, it has a lovely subtle shine

We’re going hiking in Alaska, once all this is over

it’s always been a goal of ours, to trek amongst the tussocks and the clover

That sounds like fun, it will provide you some perspective

Yes, one must be careful where one treads, one needs to be selective

We have some friends in Aspen, we’ll drop in for a week

we’ll do some business if there’s time, some advice, a tip, a tweak

The architraves we thought we’d add, to give the hallway style

I can see that, you’ve succeeded, I can see for a country mile

Well, we thought we’d add an extra room but we managed to add two

You never know who’ll come to stay, there’s room for quite a few

I’ll show you around the garden if you have a little time

We’ve planted some Gardenias, some hedges and a Lime

I must say, the view you have is something to behold

I’d imagine when you took this in you straight away were sold

Yes, the water’s lovely isn’t it, it soothes me when I’m here

and the neighbours can’t see over, in case they want to leer

The driveway’s unpretentious but there’s lots of room to park

The garage was built to incorporate safe ingress after dark

Was the total renovation costly? I do not wish to pry

these things can blow out needlessly if we don’t keep an eagle eye

Oh it certainly went beyond but it’s what we both expected

we covered it rather easily after my fees were all collected

I’ll show you the master bedroom, and my study if you like

We’ve added a gym, a theatre and a place to ride my bike

We’ll be dining on the balcony, there’s a very pleasant breeze

Would you like another glass of wine and perhaps a little cheese

Is that an elevator, does it go to every floor

Of course, the spiral stairway can always exercise the core

Yes, it goes down to the basement where we’ve had the cellar built

There are hundreds resting, ageing well, amongst the rock and silt

Where do you entertain the most, is it inside or is it out

It doesn’t really matter, we like to move about

The children seem to like it, they park themselves downstairs

their friends they come and go, they don’t put on any airs

besides, when we’re away, the Nanny holds the fort

go easy on that wine, after dinner there is Port

It must be gratifying to know that your hard work is rewarded

Ah, yes indeed, our Summer home as well, we’re glad to have afforded

It’s also satisfying to collect the things that all that life can offer

Can’t say we don’t deserve it, is all that I will proffer

You’re to be congratulated but it’s time for me to leave

Your house it is magnificent but I need a place to breathe

The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock

our warehouse has been stripped of supplies

our people are working around the clock

be sure to remember your size

The lifestyle you ordered has had a slight change

we’ve just had to hike up the price

Unfortunately we are unable to exchange

before purchase you should always check twice

The lifestyle you ordered is experiencing delays

There’s nothing more we can do

We’ll try and alert you in a couple of days

when we’ll all have much more of a clue

The lifestyle you ordered is waiting on parts

The supplier can’t give us a date

Your warranty excludes these stops and these starts

we’re sorry if your lifestyle is late

The lifestyle you ordered has hit a bit of a glitch

it appears that the edges are frayed

We have our experts checking every stitch

please be patient if you’ve already paid

The lifestyle you ordered seems to have hit a snag

our schedule has fallen behind

We’d just like to assure you, though we don’t like to brag

That this lifestyle is the best you will find

The lifestyle you ordered has just run aground

we’re launching a rescue tonight

we’d really appreciate you not hanging around

just in case things get awkward or tight

The lifestyle you ordered appears to have expired

It unfortunately ran out of hope

Our plan was to have it before you retired

we’re sorry you’ll just have to cope.

I remembered yesterday the times that I have with you

And visions of the grateful days and all that I have wished for you

I’d stand out in the wind and cold and meet you in the rain

and offer no patronising words to beat us up or take away our pain

I profess my tongue you turned it round from darkness into light

I’d confess to hold you till the world does end and kiss you in the night.

I remembered yesterday when all we had was this

to hold your hand and wait for worlds – to collide and reminisce

The whispers from those who wondered about our contented, yearned for mystery

it does not matter, nothing does – as we author our own history

I’ll gather up my longings and with them I will bring to you

all that I have summoned – and all that I can sing to you.

I remembered yesterday about today, your eyes of flint and steel

I remembered how you won the war of knowing how I’d feel

My fire it burns and aches in me that I cannot give you more

but in your eyes I see that what I have is is all that I adore

So in the morning when I can see – that you give me what is best

I lean my frame towards you and say “it’s time for you to rest.”

There’s a ghost selling memories down by the shore

as a jury decides its fate

there’s a man of religion knocking at my door

I need to lie down, he can wait

There’s a hustler on Easy Street shaking up the town

as a night Nurse finishes her shift

An expert is saying the times will bring us down

as an old man in rags thumbs a lift

There are men who can’t smile protecting the elect

their commission is simple and clear

to repel any threat and to guide and protect

all the things to which we hold dear

A black fella stares down the barrel of a gun

a bus driver flicks his cigarette

no one is sure where the bullet came from

at least we are told just not yet

A young street offender is locked away in a cell

He’s turning fifteen today

There’s no one to talk to, no one he can tell

or ask for how long he’ll stay

There’s a young woman bashed to within an inch of her life

being sprayed with the words of disdain

She has nowhere to run from the tongue and the knife

except into the wind and the rain

There’s an old woman given to stealing to eat

and her children who can’t really see

There’s a gentleman of means who gives up his seat

and reminds us that nothing is free

We have to take action, there’s no time remaining

shout the people building the signs

you go ahead, I am abstaining

say the authorities who practice their lines

There’s a man coming out from behind the shades

as a band it strikes up a tune

he’s carrying his backpack full of hand grenades

walking in the hot afternoon

There’s a man counting zeroes on his stocks and his shares

While a boy shines a torch in his eye

He throws him a dollar and shouts from the stairs

all the truth in the world is a lie

A smile slowly grows on a grandmother’s chin

as her breakfast is replaced by her pills

She recalls how she’s coped with the times that have been

with a promise to conquer her ills

There are people in cars wanting more to be done

on their highway of talk back and rage

a convoy, a meeting, a movement for some

for others birds in a cage

There’s a young man who is older now leaning on a pole

his broken teeth they need fixing

He was going so well till he fell in a hole

for reasons we all find perplexing

There’s a senator talking her way through the mist

her constituents are stopping to think

a preacher’s saying the righteous must surely resist

while I search for a quiet place to drink

There’s a child staring out from her window at night

wishing for a dress she can wear

Her bed is too small and her shoes are too tight

but her hopes are filling the air

There’s another young girl getting lost in her books

as her mother fights to get clean

she kneels in the corner with her smile as she looks

for a father who she’s never seen

In a gentleman’s garden he looks at some plans

he wants to grow some trees

he feels a numbness in his head and his hands

as it brings him to his knees

There’s a woman with a mirror but she can’t comb her hair

There’s a man with a scar that won’t heal

She looks away and into his stare

as she searches for something to feel

There’s a soliloquy for abandoned love down along the Quay

and some women enjoying the sun

A Shaman extends his hands for a fee

while the captains of industry run

There’s a placard in the square telling us about the light

while the soup kitchen hands out some bread

to a man with the knuckles that know how to fight

beside a woman who kisses his head

There’s a boy of twelve who’d like to play

his callipers mean he can watch

his mother must go but he’ll sit there all day

to satisfy his itch

There’s a ten year old girl reaching hard for her breath

as she runs a lap of the park

her Father watches, till she has nothing more left

they’ll stay there until it gets dark

There’s a whip-snapping kid shining her own light

and the teacher who doesn’t mince words

the Alice of the classroom is itching for a fight

and the others, they draw their own worlds

There’s a girl on a bus in need of a seat

as her mother brushes her hair

Two kids with skateboards get to their feet

to lay their society bare

A blonde passes out with her needle in a ditch

A suit drops a grand at the track

The Transport Department, the temporary glitch

The suit’s not worried, he’ll win it back

There’s a microphone shouting there’s too much crime

while a baby cries in the street

The legislators say they need more time

while the diplomats carve up the meat

There is ringing of bells and a man in a coat

who wanders the streets on his own

Where teardrops fall from the letter he wrote

to his brother of flesh, blood and bone

There are sailors in town on shore leave of sorts

as consultants work on their brief

An abandoned mother is before the courts

as her child hangs his head in his grief

There are protesting students not being schooled

they’re being told to conform

they’re taking no notice, they refuse to be fooled

as the rain gathers into a storm

There’s a busker singing the ‘Statesboro’ Blues’

the harmonica peels paint from the walls

The gentlemen of style buy Italian shoes

as the powerful draw up the laws

There’s a mute, there’s a drunk, there’s a spirit in the air

there’s a foreigner clearing the mess

There’s a wandering minstrel laying it all bare

about something he needs to confess

These are glorious days shouts the minister’s voice

your dreams are going to come true

There’s the single mother who has no choice

pleading with a bill overdue

Down along the Cove there’s a boat pulling out

it’s stocked well for the day and the night

There’s a punter who thinks his bet is in with a shout

while the doctor turns out the light

There’s an old woman rummaging she’s looking for food

from the bins at the back of the store

she could ask for a blanket to do her some good

before she goes to sleep on the floor

There’s sin in the boardroom there are deals in the hall

there’s a stain on the image perverted

The managers claim they knew nothing at all

so any and all blame is diverted

There are holes being dug, there are pits for the waste

There are workers bearing the load

The renovated land and the after-taste

lays sweltering by the side of the road

There’s a raid at the factory and phones out of order

the editors are scratching their heads

There’s commotion contained, at the border

while we’re all asleep in our beds

There’s a feeling making me sick to my guts

a brown family is turned around

their last night together is a night in the ruts

after they escaped being drowned

The wind makes its speeches and tells us never to hide

for we all have a voice in the end

except those who don’t and are shuffled aside

left to patch up their wounds and to mend

There’s a young man who is old, he’s worn out from trying

he can no longer pay his rent

he’s rejected again, no use in applying

Please, spare me some change Sir, I’m spent

There’s a hint of rebellion, there’s word on the street

that the unfortunate few have a chance

the mighty they gather and the mighty they meet

to quell such a thought, and to dance

The land is so young and the land is so free

as I stand to my stolid attention

the words that are sung with a smug tuneless glee

lay siege to future retention

While all this is happening I’m asleep in my bed

my brain is trying to rest

if I didn’t know better I’d be sick or be dead

and wondering what to say next.

Accordion By

The Poetry Accordion (… 2018)

Stooping down and listless still

the rain, the pavement scarried

the men they took my food and oil

and all that I had carried

They robbed me with a fountain pen

they left me in the rain

they said they’d come back God knows when

just to add more to my pain

I pushed my umbrella into the hail

I watched it rip and tear

onlookers sneered as they saw me fail

sideways with a glare

I begged for bread with steely eyes

my plate I wiped it clean

“the Government” they said “is telling lies”

it’s always ever been

My friends I found them, some up, some down

in rooms of soft fine leather

but I had business back in town

and stepped out into the weather

I know I’m welcome any time

to share the common bread

where fault is lost for any crime

‘cept what’s on in my head

If I could realise just one thing

that all is not at end

I have a verse, a song to sing

I am my own best friend

I have no room on my leaning frame

The seed that’s planted, in the ground

I have no mind for what lays behind

I put no weight on what others find

On the houses filled and so neatly lined

But to reach for the limits

of what I’ve found.

I have no way to explain the times

Or to exchange my lips for your breasts sweet rise

I cannot reason my heart’s own heat

I do not listen to another’s beat

I do not hasten to another’s seat

But kneel to your breath

and my own sweet sighs.

I have no hope to match the range

Of what your unspoken words have told

to repeat the words of the birdsong rhymes

to hang on the mantles or the chimes

to eat the bread and to drink the wines

to rage against the sheet metal crimes

but to hope to have

your heart, to hold.

I cannot seal my tongue of fire

Or the twisted lyrics of greater men

I cannot hope that the cloudless days

Shall come and go

Be fast or slow

Shall fade or glow

But that all the feted lungs so filled

Shall come back to love you again, again.

Wisdom cries in the street, the humble rise to their feet
to kick their shoes off, before they hit the road

The politics of sin, the times we are living in
reveal the times, before the times explode

Businessmen in suits, sordid new recruits
Trading places, across the marbled halls

Managers in drag, recite the lunch time brag
Put on makeup, and kiss the corporate whores

Wisdom gets up from its bed, makes sure we’re all fed
wipes its mouth, and leaves without a sound

It takes its heavy load, down the long and winding road
and whispers softly, just to show its still around

The rich and poor alight, with the same old appetite
they check their tickets, and wipe their faces clean

The many blame the few, the old they blame the new
and fix the news, so Wisdom’s never seen

Wisdom’s bloodied head, it makes sure it’s not dead
twirls around, to read the daily news

It scratches the itch not seen, remembers where it’s been
and yells to men, who offer up their views

The greats of literature, they summon him for her
and jot down thoughts that jangle in their bones

The spectacles and shows, deliver mighty blows
and whisper secrets, in muted overtones

Wisdom stands on the grave deciding who to save
and racks its brain for a simple word to use

Killing fields of the soul, democracy in a bowl
the people say, the people have to choose

The words of poets lost, the tragic holocaust
speaks in prose, that no one understands

The Lion lays down with the Lamb, it’s true it ain’t a scam
scowls at rulers, who sit back on their hands

Wisdom stands at the gate, checking out who’s late
Taking notes for the good of all concerned

I’m standing within range of the hungry and the strange
whose love has died whose hopes have crashed and burned.

All sorts of things

thoughts tied like lengths of strings

Run through my mind.

Like winding anxiety waiting on her fate

At the watch of hope I wait

From one day to next always the same

Not one mention of her name.

Purpose of caring for what society sees

Collected by charities well earned fees

Say nothing of her beauty.

Silently she speaks and swears at your gaze

Unable to wind through your mental maze

Look not for guilt, look not for shame

But you still will not mention her name.

The snarl of independence carved within her glance

Asking for a second chance

Speak like a child.

Grasp the nettle and stand alone

Stand while the cold wind chills your bone

as the winner’s posted in the frame

You still can’t even say her name.

Reality creeping as time becomes your guide

Fortunate to have people in which to confide

My challenge cannot move you.

Humour’s strength collides with sorrow’s ache

Honest caring can’t waste or fake

Her name, I know you’ll not defame

So why don’t you ever mention her name.

Cruel invasion of life’s comfort

Information on her told as seen fit

Her power is not diminished.

But wait, you tell me of your plans

That include her not, but lonely strands

Expedient expressions make your efforts tame

In making mention of her name.

Peoples actions, peoples words

Isolated by faiths institutionalised lords

Prepare me for her awakening.

Keep her safe and keep her warm

In her red flamed stately form

She’ll push asunder heaven’s gate

Doubt’s high priests head on a plate

In profit or in loss, it’s all the same

Stand aside while I shout her name.