I’m very happy to say that a poem of mine about Syria has been published on International Times:
Everything seemed to slow down, movement became almost imperceptible, the clocks hands seemed frozen in place – no one was speaking, a pregnant pause filled the room, they were waiting for the speaker to arrive – waiting to hear what they expected to hear – the curtain opened slowly to a bare stage – a small man walked to the microphone flattening out a small piece of paper – studying it closely as if the writing was illegible – he started slowly reading word by word ” I’m sorry but the president won’t be speaking tonight he’s been shot and is currently in the ICU at the hospital” – moans and frightened voices filled the audience – we ask you all to go home now, so the theater can close early – no one moved, a few people shouted questions – the small man left the stage as the murmuring…
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for Lawrence Toms and other stout hearts
I see the noughts like big heavy tears
struggle to believe each one is an individual
in my gut I know its true , a soft tear falls
I cannot ‘unknow’ the ghastly truth , another tear
falls, drops silently
They do no good, the system has crushed the thousands beyond life
and I stand at the shore, believe myself impotent
Yes, I have celebrated a care package for a friends daughter
been relieved at an ill friend’s grant which after that she shares with her mother
and some regular income for a friend whose feet tread imaginary stony beaches without shoes
I am swept along by a river of news
each seemingly little unrecorded injustice accumulating
twenty thousand, two hundred thousand tears or more will not erode this Shoah
you cannot tally this total with one act.
So preach love, act…
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The leather elbowed teacher
marks his 2000th essay
on the strengths & weaknesses
of the Shannon & Weaver
and notably their refurb of the words
Redundancy and Noise
Sorry to break the fourth wall –
you may need to google that.
The teacher delivers takeaways
of fact, aspires to be Shannon,
gifted, fluent in Bolean number
until Dementia eloped with him,
and Warren Weaver, expert
in cryptographic methods,
who numbered the quality
of two hundred translations
of Alice In Wonderland.
The class is pure Fassbinder:
still frame stares, wiping out words
pin the teacher to the board.
The girl who wrote the 2000th script
is a scabbing miner’s lass
She dreams of Sade to take her away
from the brutalised pit mouths.
She has her own meanings
for redundancy and noise,
of her inside a bottle
crying, ‘Drink me!’, and knowing
the message is not received.
NEET has a hoodie with a label.
He is Scotch on the rocks, raw meat.
living loose on lies and cul de sacs
so we use letters to tidy him up.
Net means ‘pure’. It begat neat, begat
Nitere ‘to shine’, nautum ‘a thing of value’
Sounds right, only the spelling alters;
always the spelling falters our footings.
He bleeds from the grip of below zero
jobs where he spends all week trying to show
that the hunted is a hunter, preying on
carcass jobs, half eaten jobs, praying.
Duties include: filling in forms,
layering rejections, sweet as filo pastry,
paring statistics by not existing.
Neet, but unnoted, not tidy, not nautum.
Quartets of desks like rounds of crusty scones
break up to milk crate echelons.
The peck and squawk of playtime withers
to an elbowed silence of Key Stage torture.
The only sounds: scratching pens and the soft
lap of papers breaking to phlegmy coughs.
Only Rose is stone, a pagan in the mosque
of schooling. She floats in the sunlit dust.
The test sulks, neglected, as she has been,
avoiding eyes when Miss picks out a team.
This is a key stage, the one where can’t,
and teary afraid, pupates to sneery won’t.
For the stressy mum arrested in the playground
the lad who hid in boasts that he was thick
the girl who hid the bruise behind her label
the academic who tore up my report.
For the fitter who whipped his timesheets
home for his wife to fill, for the medic
who fought for years with does and dose
for the guy who drank his way to eloquence.
For the girl who snapped her pens into the bin
when every word she shaped said worthless
and the paedophile who couldn’t hear
the gentle difference of ‘cut’ and ‘cunt’.
For the prisoner, who at 20, wrote a first word
for the refugee who was told he’s just
an ESOL case – a trauma case
for millions made to feel they are the problem.
Our mouths are clogged by codes of privacy.
Our eyes well up with heavy untold tales.
We prop up…
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