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Sunday, 27 May 2012

   "


                                 OVERMAN
adrianpfox8@gmail.com


It could be realised tomorrow if men would
learn to pursue their own happiness
rather than the misery of others'





                                          Bertrand Russell



       BEYOND MAN




            songs poems + prose

SUE

I've been laughing and crying
with suicide, she's been flirting
with me. Now its time to call
it a day but I cant do it anyway.

These tears are all I have to help
me navigate this unnamed time-
zone of disability that stops me
in my tracks.


I can see you in double or
treble going about your able-
life. I'm living through these
tears in blue and black and white.

Life is like an optical illusion
that leaves me jet lagged, dis-
orientated, these are my
seeds of hope.





A GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND


Our house was the centre of the uni-
verse, I was eight in August 69'.
Our street was named after a mountain
Etna, the street behind was Jamaica St
and the one behind that was Havana.
You could see right up to the Crumlin Rd.

My brother had a little tin camera like
something out of a lucky bag but it took
the greatest photo I have ever seen.
That morning my eye was the view finder
blinking the moon landing on T.V.

And a line of armoured cars coming into
Belfast for the first time.  The only step
I felt was the policeman's boot when they
took me in behind the sand-bags on the way
to school to beat me with rubber hoses
and ask what my Da' was doing last night,
little did they know that I would never tell
even if they killed me, I'm still waiting
for that giant step.

I might have been young but I grew up fast
like that snap-shot on that tiny tin thing
taking a snap-shot of history.

                             


AN ODE TO AUTUMN

'I knew that if I dipped my hand
the spawn would clutch it'

Seamus Heaney



To all you language buffs this is not
an insult its an experiment, I am not
grammatically correct in English
or Irish so go easy on me.

ANGLOW

I sah Sean Keats in the crann
his ceannaithe were so sharp
like a man upon nádúr fluttering
a wind so dense and fuar sa gheim-
readh his head filled with liath
cloud adrifting by the harshness
le feiceáil showing us the slí to go.

Like leaves upon a crann within
a budding le feiceáil, but life will
titim and ardú again. from an-
other uillinn (a difriúil window)
it looks like Seamus Heaney
facing north, bás of a naturalist.
                                                                           I saw John Keats in the tree
his features were so sharp
like a man upon a nature.
Fluttering upon a wind so
dense and cold with winter.
His head filled with grey
clouds adrifting by in
the harsness of his sight.

showing us the way to go
like leaves upon a tree
within a budding sight, but
life will fall to rise again
like leaves.

from another angle
(a different window)
it looked like Seamus
Heaney looking North

Death of a naturalist.

BIRDS EYE VIEW

A WHITE BIRD PASSED
A BLACKBIRD AS IF
SAYING HI!.

IT NEVER SOARED FOR

ANIMOSITY,IT EVEN SHOWED
A LITTLE HUMANITY.

ITS ALL HAPPENING UP THERE

OUT THERE IN THE WILD
BLUE YONDER.




THE SON OF A BASTARD SON








I am the son of a bastard son, my father was found in a basket on a doorstep in north

Belfast in the 1930s.  Maybe its understandable that life was sad but because he lived

a life that was a lie he didn't have to make my life a misery.  From day one he was my

o' pressers boot, other kids have puberty, school and social hurdles to climb mine was

my fathers boot standing on my head.  I couldn't wait to get away from him, when I

was young it wasn't so bad but when I got older and realised he was telling my mother

that I was a useless waste of space.  He was like the devil on your shoulder, when I

got a little older he was on my back constantly trying to tell me what to do.



When I got older I told myself.  'fuck you ya cunt, I'm gonna make your life hell, I

created my own language to call him a cunt and a fucker, I said it so fast my family

didn't even know what I was saying and every opportunity I got I farted and spat in

the fuckers food and stole his money from his pockets and his coin collection while he

slept.  Every Saturday I dropped a fiver on the ground and said i found it.   One

devious wee fucker friend told my older sister when asked where I was, he said I was

in the empty houses smoking cigarettes and she told my father who beat me and

grounded me for three days.  What he didn't know was my bedroom window opened

above the out house so I used to put a pillow under the blankets and go play with my

mates and climb back in.


What he never realised was I loved the man but that was his loss, deep down I would

have done anything for him but he taught me to be a crafty fucker to get the most out

of life.  Although he was a miserable fucker he did make me stand on my own two

feet so really I'm thankful to the olde cunt.  He was a smart guy but he didn't even

know it, he lived in a world that was very negative and you weren't praised, you got a

clip on the ear and the whole community knew you were a bastard found in a basket,

so the word bastard must have echoed through his head.  He left home aged fifteen

went to England joined the army and said he was seventeen, that's when he began to

live his lie.  Every six months to a year he lived in a different town, he met my mother

and hounded her naive innocence until they were married against her families

blessing, I suppose you couldn't blame her she was full of goodness and wanted to

help that was her basic gift.  I am the middle one of six children all born in different

towns.


I suppose you cant blame her now for being so bitter she must have felt raped for

years, they separated after 30 years and some members of the family sided with him

but didn't realise that he was a twisted man who knew no better but he didn't have to

abuse my mothers good nature.  All he had to do was stop lying and living his Belfast

hard man way and let his guard down to let people in.  I think that's why he hated me

so much he was jealous of my free truthful way, he always said I was to sensitive but

I was only like this because my nature was my mothers nature and that's why he loved

her and hounded her into marriage.  My father was a sad man poor guy didn't know

how to love, he was a bigot who hated blacks, white protestants, yellow people,

Packies and all those women who knew how to love.  the nearest thing he had to a

mother was a mill worker in a drab tunic kneeling down to scrub her doorstep or in

church pews with three fingers missing waiting for some haloed second coming.  I

grew up without a role model my mothers good nature rubbed of on me, I suppose

that's why I'm a poet,  I was sensitive to her feminine way not in a camp gay way but

in a macho/feminine way if there is such a way.  I think what im trying to say is

although he was an bastard I loved him and wouldn't have been able to stand my

ground and survive such a negative world.  He ran away from the traditional apron

strings of his so called mother and a bastard life and I ran away aged sixteen away

from the traditional violence and my fathers apron strings, he ran from what he didn't

know and I ran from his hatred, knowing love was better way but his macho hard man

attitude wasn't letting me or anyone else in.  If my brother had asked for fifty quid he

would have put his hand in his pocket and gave it to him but if I asked for fifty pence

he would tell me to fuck off, he never even gave me pocket money.   I done the

shopping for my mum and stole from shops to keep the money until I got a part time

milk round or butchers message boy while at school.  Suppose I can laugh about now

has dead but I  remember times being humiliated in front of friends, and being

huddled in corner trying to sleep in empty houses with ice on the windows.  I ran

away from home four or five times until I was old enough and I couldn't take no more

and beat him in 1977 and walked out the door and caught a bus to the ferry port and

the over night train to London.  I can still feel the emptiness of sitting on that bus

waiting for my father to come down and take me home, I loved my parents and didn't

want to go but life at home you could cut the atmosphere with a knife when we were

in the same room we hated each other.   I had told my mother that I had to get out

because it was affecting my families life, and my mother agreed, she knew that from

the day I was born I had to swallow his boot, that day I went to London was the best

and the worst day of my life.  I would have died for my family now I don't even talk


to them due to the stubbornness my father instilled in me.


THIS IS NOT A UTOPIAN DREAM

'It could be realised tomorrow if men would
learn to pursue their own happiness
rather than the misery of others'

                                     Bertrand Russell

The weeds sway in my garden
as tall as me, giving me
hope and truth that life
is not a bed of rose's
not here anyway.

I go through another grey day
of scepticism, churning it
into paradise.

This is my garden of hope
in the rain beyond
the blue door.

The roof-tops and the trees sparkle
in the rain-drops of light.


YOU'VE GOT TO GIVE TO GET


'poetry is like sunshine it's free'
Adrian Fox

Humanity what have I given you
what have you given me? I've been
through your greens and browns,
the lush meadows of grief. I've
been south to yellow sun and red
in fire season. I've been through
the west and east that turned
the east to west, I've been through
poetic points. I give you truth,
you give me beauty, you have my word.


NINE LIVES

'yet why not say what happened'
                                    Robert Lowell

A grey haired man sat in a wheel-
chair, filled his pipe and pondered.

1.

A little boy running by a boat-port,
slipped and fell head over hells into the water. 
He struggled for a time and tried to grapple the sky
until he fell through its depth.  It was beautiful in there,
the seaweed and his hair moved in motion, slow motion. 
Someone dived in and saved him and he woke
with a crowd around him.

2.

The bullets danced around his feet,
he stood there frozen with fear and pissed himself. 
A big red hand came through the hedgerow
and grabbed him by the scruff, hauled him
and threw him on the lawn.  The piss once warm
was now cold in the dark reality.  The big hands
grabbed him and threw him over fences and into his porch. 
The door ajar red off the latch,
he turned to see the man shot on the road.

He was his sisters boyfriend.

3.

At half-time the group of young boys played
and dreamed in the goal mouth of a Gaelic pitch,
the tree trunk-support that stopped the ball
began to fall and like a tom and jerry cartoon
he ran halfway down the pitch and woke up in a hospital
not knowing his parents names or his.

4.

He balanced on the tip of a tree reaching for a conker-err,
he fell through the tree breaking branches as thick as trees. 
He lay at the foot of the tree with blood coming from his nose and ears,
his friends thought he was dead.  so did he?



5.

They came home from a nightclub,
his friend Bray his brother and girlfriend rose.
Someone put on pretty vacant by the sex pistols,
there was a knock on the door and his friend answered it
and returned pale and frightened.  A big man asked me
to turn down the music, he had something heavy in his back pocket.
The door was kicked in and we ran in all directions,
He dived under the bed his friend and his brother hid in the cupboard,
his girlfriend ran into the kitchen.  He lay there and heard the gun-mans
footstep his heart beat and his breathing, he put the gun to his girlfriends head and said tell your friends to stop fucking around.

6.

They were playing pool for money in an orange-mans bar,
He was green and naive.  He potted the black and went to the jacks,
stood there at the row of urinals heard the hammer being cocked
and put to his head.  Looked down and thought he was gone,
just then the bar man came in and said put that fucking thing away, he's ok.


7.

They walked home from a nightclub in a town in northern Ireland town, a yellow and brown Capri pulled up along the kerb.  The young man seen the glint of an axe being lifted, he pushed his girlfriend to run ahead and he ran the other way turning to see man the chasing the girl,  he ran up behind the guy kicked him on the back for him to chase him but there was no where to run so he ran down a lane and hid in a dark corner of a drive way. he scraped the axe along the wall coming down his heart beat and his breath beat with the on the edge of your seat horror, I'm coming to get ya and I'm going to kill ya!  just when he was six feet away behind a parked car someone that heard what was going on switched the light on and light him up like a stage light.  he ran around the car, motioned over the bonnet and back to his girlfriend threw her over a fence and ditch and hid before the axe murderer came up the drive, he looked up and down the road and got back into his car.  all the way home they hid in fields and saw the nutter in his car five times.

8.

Holidaying by the sea with his family on the north head of Kerry,
he counted the waves and tried to predict them and reach a stone island by the rock pools.
The wave took from the rock into a whirlpool of ocean and he went down and down and down.
Just when he gave up the idea of ever surviving the sea formed mermaid hands
that lifted him like a barnacle clinging to the rugged coastline.

9.


                                                   EXIT STAGE LEFT



Three seconds after the life support machine was switched off Peter woke and sat bolt

upright in the bed like some demon from a horror movie, eyes wide and intense as if

he had seen a ghost, his brain erased of all memory of 45 years, without any form like       

a new born child in an adults body.  He opened his eyes but couldn't find any point in

reality, he thought he was still going through the stroke and those tunnels of darkness,

where am I he said in his head but no words came out but the girl in yellow seen his

confused demented look and answered ward 3, as if she knew the question he was

thinking, can I get you anything, she said and he raised his hand to his mouth as if

holding a drink and she took the jug of water and disposable cup from the vacant bed

next to him, putting it on his table she continued brushing under the bed.


In his head he trusted nothing and none he didn't know where he was, the nurses came

around the bed but he thought they were out to kill him, he was hallucinating on the

drugs that were keeping him alive.  He held the bed rail and broke into a cold sweat,

his bed was pushed from the ward where the man with the chainsaw was cutting up

bodies behind him and chucking the body parts into the bin, he was hallucinating life

and death he couldn't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  As his bed was

pushed on the lift going down to have his throat cut for a tracheotomy, he caught his

reflection in the mirrored  sheen of the stainless steel and started screaming but no

noise was coming, he twisted the blankets around his hands and broke into a sweat

and hoped that the nurses were not out to kill him.  A girl put a mask on his face and

he drifted back into the darkness then awoke and the girl was telling him his body had

rejected the tracheotomy and the incision on his neck would heal in days .  He looked

around for a fixed object that he could place in some sort of reality and decided on the

exit sign at least if I see this ill know im not dreaming.  You've taken a stroke said the

doctor in the white coat, we will explain more when you've had a good rest, the last

thing he wanted was sleep but he was beat he felt like his body had been put through a

blender his brain felt like a smoothie. 


He fell into a dream state at least he couldn't see any exit sign, all these

demon doctors stood around the bed asking him questions all talking at once, all

their questions like can you walk, talk, speak, move your limbs, one blink for yes, two

for no, he felt like he was in  a Steven King short story, when all the doctors in his

hallucination reached over the bed to inject him he woke.

He tipped over the stainless steel table to make a noise and raise attention, as he

thought the nurses were going to kill him, he saw the exit sign and realised that he had

come out of the dream.  It was only when the nurse picked up the table and asked him

was he ok did he realise the nurses were out to help him, the drugs that were keeping

him alive sucking on oxygen were starting to ware down and the nurse said don't

worry your in hospital in good hands and she tucked him in and he fell into a sleep. 

when he woke it was as if the hallucination was true there was a group of white coats

around the bed he looked up and saw the exit sign he knew it was real, you took a

stroke said the white coat, can you talk said another, can you lift your left arm they

sang like a chorus or refrain.  Your paralysed down the right side and you lost your

voice well be back after you rest, when they walked away he reached under the

blankets to see if anything was missing, this feels like a car  crash but I feel ok

everything is there I think.


He tried to picture the scenario but he couldn't see himself, the door at

the exit sign was ajar and he could see a big detached house in a field he recognised as

the grey stone road and he began to draw a map in his head of where he was, I must

be at the back of the hospital he told himself.   every time he saw the exit sign he

would that map in his and that gave him a point in reality, after that things began to

fall into.  The brain is a wonderful organ it begins to remember after a few days things

will be come clear, don't worry peter, he felt reassured being called a name it gave

him some grounding like another marker on his map,  his world was at last coming

out of the darkness but the people around him began dropping like flies, the old lady

in the bed beside him the man around the corner and the girl across the way, he

grabbed the hand rail as if he was moving into another dimension closed his eyes and

hoped.  He woke to the warmth of the sun shooting through the window and the sight

of people busying life, a white coat said I'm doctor so and so and began pulling the


curtains around his bed, he looked up and saw the exit sign.







AUTISTIC ARTISTIC

for Riley

The boy with the stars-
and moon in his hands.
The boy in the bright-
coloured dinosaur coat
he'll never be extinct.
Jumping for joy, lining-
up tomatoes air-freshner
honey and sauce to see
how good it smells.

The joy is in his heart.


A BOLT FROM BLUE

Art and poetry have been keeping me alive since 2005, honesty and truth have been part of that process. It’s as if I have been compelled to write my truth or the nearest thing to it, the moments of capable negativity have been the lifeblood of these pomes. I call them pomes and not poems because I feel that they are created from a life force of negativity. Before my stroke as a published poet I always felt that my soul had to be in love with life to write poetry, I’m still in love with life and have the same passion for life but I’m coming through the back door my pomes are fuelled with negativity but they are still searching for an alliance. They are formed by the moments of living despair, as you know I was always dark but now my poems are almost black with a tiny glimmer of light, I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got for you and even for me, I’m disappointed at times but I’m digging in the dirt, I’m taking the un-academic route living in the moment of un-truth, it feels as if I’m writing these pomes from this pool of negativity but sometimes the images are so dark I feel as if I’m depressing people so I know how you feel I depress myself but I don’t mean to. It seems I have to be honest with myself and delve into the dark and survive this hell-hole. I don’t mean to back away into shadow but I’m lucky to even be alive so I’m very thankful for your understanding and support, I couldn’t have done this without you, my friends thank you. I have to be totally honest with myself here, I survived a massive stroke like a bolt of lightning that would have killed a horse.
We will never know the reason why we’re here and I don’t want to know its magic but I have to live with the fact that I’ll never walk never talk properly and am paralysed down my right side but I have no regrets, I lived large and diced with life I know I should have died ten times over but I would do it all the same tomorrow so in the words of a great French lady who lived large, no regrets I had a wonderful time and now I must pay, this is the luck of the draw, these are the cards I’ve been dealt. I feel I only survived this bolt of blue because the love of my friends and family, because our love for each other was and is honest and true. I seen the darkness and craved for that tiny glimmer of light, I felt like I was on a train travelling on a metro system of grief going under tunnels of darkness then suddenly the bolt of blues power source switched off for how long I do not know but just as I was entering death and my life force was being erased like a star dying being drained of life the bolt of blue came back on and left me here. There is no sense of time in the galaxy of death so my dot in the negative space of the uni-verse leaving me in a dimly lit world of shadows that I create my inner light from and from this inner light I am catching moments of magic that help me over this hurdle of disability and suicide that knocks my door each day.
I want to find that otherworldly place that my poems had before the stroke, they will always have that confessional leaning because even before my stroke I was in love with reality. It’s very hard to break free of this disability, my home is like a hospital ward, every room has hand rails wheelchairs piss-pots and the aids of disability, this is my world.
Writing is my only escape and as most of you know I was a very independent person, I left home when I was sixteen and went to London and Dublin so I’ve always had that feeling of standing on my
Own two feet but my life now is the opposite, knowing that you can’t live without carers coming in to help you get up in the morning and go to bed at night so I’m sorry if the world I portray is dark and deep and hard to handle but its ten times darker for me and even I can’t stomach it at times but it is the world I must accept. It’s the bitterest pill I have had to swallow, the only way I can explain it is having a way forward but your stopped at a disability checkpoint and you realise there is no direction to take so all you can do is go round and round the roundabout and hope that you come of one day. Some of my pomes are leaning to that otherworld, at least becoming a bridge to that place of poetry, my dark self will always be there to help me accept this and I know it’s depressing at times but please bear with me and I always believe in self-censorship so it’s up to you not to read, this is the only way for me to get off this damn roundabout. One day I will reach that higher plain but I have to keep pushing my brain to form that other form,
thanx.







Who ever does not some-


times give full consent, 

and a joyous consent, 

to the dreadfulness of life,

can never possess

the utterable richness 

and power of existence."



                     RAINER MARIA RILKE













UNTITLED
for Seamus

You  had to go
and leave us
with a door
into the dark.

Sad but you had
to go to that better
place where poets
live in poetry.




UP THE PRAGS

    "WE CANNOT BECOME GOD AND THAT
WE BECOME MORE GODLIKE"

                         ROBERTO UNGER


I don't want to train
your eye or ear to
see or hear my images
dance across the page.

They do their own dancing
out of step with a duende
or negative capability.

They find their own feet
metre and rhyme, to flow
across this page.

My words might be dis-
abled but they will help
you see beyond 
a mor-railed self.




The sky in the wind
in the tree in me.




Who ever does not some-


times give full consent, 

and a joyous consent, 

to the dreadfulness of life,

can never possess

the utterable richness 

and power of existence."

                     RAINER MARIA RILKE



DEPTH CHARGE

The depth
of my poems
were 6x6
a good memo-
rial or a red-
red rose.

As you see
my poems
are getting
shorter.

Life in this
wheel-chair
is 2x2 but
less is more
than more.








LIMBO

Written in 1817 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
         translated in 2013 by Adrian Fox

It is a strange place this limbo
where time and space aren't mine.
Seated in this wheelchair with
night-mare sense in toil of half-
being, elastic space and time in
outstretched hands in barren
shifting sands of time unmarked
as moonlight on the dial of day.

The old man sits in human time
with scant white hair and fear-
ful steady look that stops earth
to watch his sky moved by moon
and seen by sun.  His whole face
is full of silent sight, his look
looks back reflecting light.

No shapely kiss on sweet sight
limbo walled a spirit cell swirls
a ghostly swirl of shadow, horrors
fright of dull purgatory curse
a heaven/hell of future state.



THE WAVES

The waves
swim eyes
to shadow
light.

 

TEARS OF YEARS

In years of tears
Moving-stagnant.

This poem is be-
coming a contra-
diction in terms.

I hear the traffic
flowing like
a river to the sea.

Life is doing all
the elemental fun-
de-mental things
but is it moving me?









THE SEAGULLS

The seagulls are gulling
a scavengers cry, soaring
the sky on thermal-
light.  We watch and ask
why such terrible beauty?

Their gliding around like
Albatross from deep in
a mariners tale In-
land.



A UNIVERSAL THIRST

Tiny drop-
lets of colour
swirl my coffee cup
like oil on water
forming constellations
shapes and forms.

I could read almost any-
thing into them but
I just gulp them down in-
to me.

ZANDT

I look up at
Steve Earle
on stage,
the lights
and stars
strumming mud
and gold
as if Towne's
was in the hall.


BUY ONE GET ONE FREE

A carer calls and gets me up
To hear the tock of the clock.
I look out to see life drive by
The bin-men came and emptied
My dreams, the tissue of life
Flushed away.

We are all alone watching
this world go by, locked in a locked-
in-syndrome searching for a neon
god in a buy one get one free world.



THE CURRENT
For Michael Longley

A cygnet and a swan sail by like
debris beside the pier beside me.

the water splashes below my feet
with the sound of crystal clear.

As if you could see thru nature
Along with my human fear.

The glistening sun on water
Wants me to shoot of the end.

To drown in the deep waters flow
And see the current of this world.

To float like pollen on the wind
Like a bird gliding with wings unfurled.

Overhead.



 

THE OTHER COUNTRY

For Carol Ann Duffy

The other country is:
A silhouetted hill by a lake in a night sky,
the shape of a naked woman from
your dreams.

I woke up sleeping on a steering wheel,
VW imprinted on my forehead.
I drove north and detoured left, always left,
around a lake and started back where
I began in dreams.

The star in the western sky flickered
above my manger. Reading Keats,
O Solitude!, and your touchable dreams.
It seems as if Keats saw 9/11
in the first three lines of his poem.
As if nothing has changed
in the poetic span of time.

I dwell in murky buildings but
my soul, it is free. In here, I see
the wonder that is really the blue me.



 

 

NORTH WEST PASSAGE


I.M  of Michael Hartnett


Rise little blackbird
To the top of the tree
Your song is witness
To pain and joy.
           

The sky was like a Turner painting:
A dusky pink hue, hanging melancholy.
Im planning to drive to Donegal
And listen to the Lambchop CD,
This music still drifts me in and out
Of reality.  Driving down the motor-
Way behind a horse box as if
The horses head came from a painting
Into my imagination, galloping bareback
Through the Bann and the Blackwater.
Below a bridge where children wave
Across the Sperrins, past the raised ruins
And the razed to the ground ruins of history
On the North West Passage, through the Fairy
Water into another world embroidered
In memory, thatched in time.



INCANTATION

For Seamus


My brother took me over two boxes of books.
I rifled through a past I thought was forgotten:
Old poems, Dostoyevsky, Kavanagh, Kerouac,
notebooks and old diaries.

This was my past before the stroke,
the one that was like a dream.
Its funny how I dont remember
And flicking through these, I do.
Like an old man rediscovering
Or a child with a time-travelling toy.

With a box folder of poems written by me
But the overall sense of them seem to be
Written by someone else.

You dabble in verse and it becomes your life,
then one day you take a stroke that almost
stops your life and your poems seem
to be written in your younger brothers hand.




HYPERION 2

I dreamed I dropped a cigarette
And there was nothing I could do,
Only lay there paralysed and watch
The place go up in smoke.

My right side is lifeless listless dead.
I lay and watched the carpet burn like
A picture on the screen. I watched

The things in front of me slowly dis-
Appear like the light was taken from
My eyes, like Keats watching his own death.

Two hundred years in front of me
And I just watch it burn, I had to find
A way in for our words to burn, I live
Out here in yesterday but its today I fear.

His old right hand lay nerveless listless dead
Shadows of the magic hand of chance.
Why should I open my melancholy eyes?
Blazing Hyperion in his orbed fire, darkened place.

Dreams of death and darkness death and darkness
Monstrous forms, effigies of pain. There are
A thousand signs of purer life, receive the truth
And let it be your balm.





A MAGIC HAND OF CHANCE

I.M John Keats

I shook this living hand warm
and capable of earnest grasping.

If it cold in a melancholic ode
In the veil of deaths delight.


SILKEN


A single rose emerges
Plants its indelible mark
on the corner of my eye.
I want to cut you off
Place you on the surface
of my dreams, caress your stem
and smell the fragrance
that secretes.
I have 
you here
on the bed,
extracting
leaves marked
like freckles
on your back. 
Your quint-
essential
silk on my lips.
Drop-
lets
of summer
rain
fall from
The petals.
I place you in a glass on my window-
sill. The young thorn pricks my finger: inserts
Beneath the skin, reminding me how to hold
you honestly, tenderly.  I know your vibrant
colour wont last but beside it on the stem
is another bud to bloom.



THE WRONG ROAD

In the ring of Gullion
on the coastal route.
The road I took as a boy
With my heart in my mouth.

Past the customs and excise
My dad went on the run, he
Died before the peace process
So I think he’s still running.

Interned now not by a special
powers act but by earth.  Nothing
much has changed , I almost
remembered/forgot to turn right.



CIR-CUM-NAVIGATE

first to blue then more than blue then to a blue never seen
by anyone but her’   
                           David Harsent
Drowning in shadow, falling from light
Into the vague un-earth-ness, as if you are
Resting on darkness swinging on dark-
Ness beyond.  You are there in the depth
Feeling bluer than blue on the soft clouds
That fold over light until it slowly folds away.



A POEM INSIDE A POEM


A poem inside a poem

revealed it-self to me

showing a slant of ages

like an image within

an image.


Coming out of dark

a bi focal trick in the eye

of concentration to go

deeper and deeper into

the poem, grey matter.


Grey Matter



I look around this room and realise my muse

has exhausted the theme of light and dark

but the shadows still fornicate.

I’ve used the bed-rail, the wheelchair

And the stand-by beacons

to keep me from drowning in dark.

My piss-pot is angled like a shooting star

Blazing my trail of hope.

My positivity comes from the well

Of treasure, the source that we call god.





Whether it is or isn’t I think the well

Of human spirit is a vessel of magic

That keeps us whole and I always

Make love with my light in the dark.

                                     


A COLD SON OF A BITCH


                                                        ‘yet why not say what happened’
                                                                                          Robert Lowell


John looked from the kitchen window, the sink he stood by was like the interior of a

well worn tea pot or the inside of his lungs sucking on yet another cigarette.

The street light threw a subtle pastel glow on the still housing estate, the red rusted

Volkswagen beetle stood like a monument to his life.  He told himself, ‘ill have to get

stuck in and fix that car tomorrow’.  He dropped a sleeping pill and rinsed it down

with a cold swig of tea and ‘ill have to clean this place’ he told himself

climbing the stairs.  He dreamed the usual sixty year old dream of young ladies

running naked through summer meadows.  When he woke it was those abstract

images of memory that disturbed him and lingered like a blunt saw through his aching

heart.  It’s a suffering fucking hell he told himself throwing cold water over his face

as if extinguishing the image in the mirror and the reality of his bald head and pointed

features.   The stench of his loss lingered with every step he took down those steps

where once walked the wife and mother of his dreams.  He could almost see her

walking down those stairs to meet the day with that irish strength that pushed the sore

reality to the ground.  Im a loser he told himself a stupid bastard remembering being

an infant in a basket found on a front door,  a single droplet of salted tear fell from

his hard Belfast exterior he brushed  the tear aside like the murdering bullet from an

armalite rifle.  As he ejected the stale teabags from the teapot he thought I have to go

doctors today and get that dla form filled in and get a mobility allowance and have a

new car instead of that almost unrepairable rusted old banger.  He remembered how

the car looked in the nights subtle pastel glow,  and said god you’re a bastard you and

your cold light of morning.

He sat in the doctors waiting room trying to remember good times like his first born

or his wedding day but this annoying ugly kid kept shoving leaflets in his face about

cancer of the bollox and depression.  Just as he was about to smack the kid up the

head he heard the broken english voice of the Pakistani doctor call his name on the

tanoi like a conductor on a bus.  As the doctor filled in a section of the dla form and

wrote some prescriptions for depression angina headaches and the general feeling

that life is a sick load of balls. John was calling him a black bastard in his mind

because he asked him exaggerate his findings on the form and received instead

a lecture on the ethics of medicine.  John was a bigot he didn’t know how to be

anything else, he hated blacks, pakis, Chinese  as well as all those beautiful

women he could not have and especially that bitch that left him after thirty one years 

and six children.  He walked home through the maze of housing estates with his bag

of pills for every ill but the aching black hole in his heart.  Going past the derelict

houses full of grafitti he remembered the night the police man called.

The shadow of black cap was cast off and fell through the hall like the black cloud of

Depression,  ‘your daughters have been searching for you’ screeched, crashing with a

families laughter.  Those words rang through his mind like the word bastard the winds

of a harsh winter reminding him that life can be a cold son of a bitch.  He passed the

old decrepid bettle without an engine with out much hope of ever pumping fluid

through its rotten pipes.  He opened the front door and half expected his wife to pass

him and his children playing music and busying around the house,  instead he was met

by the grey stench of loneliness.  He stood by the sink steadying himself as those

words pounded through his head he washed down paracetamol and an anti depressant.

His head pounded filled with anxiety he staggered into the living room and threw

himself on the sofa putting his feet up on the coffee table between the carbareatur .

And the innards of a TV he was trying to fix.  He then stood up over the hearth and

placed a little blue tablet below his tongue and his heart rate began to fall and he was

able to catch his breath and relax.  He climbed the stairs and threw himself on the

single bed this is my bed I must lie in it he told himself and looked through the ceiling

through the grey sky through the galaxy of stars burning in the darkness of his sight

crumpled up into a little boy and cried himself to sleep.  He woke with the

hope of a thirty year old man he debt,  he bounded out of bed to tackle the unbeatable

day,  ‘you cant beat a good cry’, he told himself throwing water about his worn

features.   He brushed the hair from the nape of his neck to cover his bald patch and

brought it to a point on his forehead.  He sang walking down the stairs a song he sang

to his children when they cried, ‘you don’t have to be  a baaa  aaby to cry’.

Opening a cupboard in the hall he dragged a filthy pair of overalls from a pile of

clothes on the floor and stepped into them tucked his hair into a tweed cap and lifted

the toolbox.  The morning was a little cool but the sun was coming up strong above

the grey housing estate, ‘ this is gonna be a good day’, he thought sucking in the

almost fresh air.  Opening the passanger door of the car creaking like a great sigh

reaching in he delved between unsecured seating  busted wings and an exhaust

hauling a jack from the debris.  He took the cross shaped wheel brace and placed it on

one of the four nuts,  before taking hold he stooped and spat on his hands taking hold

he gripped the brace and turned with all his might and tried to budge the nut as if it

was his last task on earth.  He cursed the car and gave it everything he had, all a sixty

year old worn heart could muster.  A heart like a prune without syrup dried and left in

the searing desert of hurt to long,’ ya red bastard, ya german fucker, ya useless heap

of shit,  he mumbled as the sweat broke on his brow.  He rested a while leaning

against his dream and took a cigarette from his top pocket lit and sucked, he licked the 

beads of sweat that fell across his lips he ran his tongue across his lips once more they

were cold and grey he licked once more unsure and tasted death.


On the morning of his funeral a letter drifted through the letter box, one of his pal-

bearing four sons opened it and it read, we are pleased to inform you that you have

been awarded full-rate motability.



FRIENDS

It's almost still out
the rain fell straight down
like a sheet of summer.
I can never forget this day 
when i was so close to suicide.
The blister packs of tablets
are on my floor, tied tightly.

so close, we sit together.


WHAT PATRICK KAVANAGH SAW

(or a disused house in county Louth)

Just up Duffys lane, over the fields towards Mucker,
Kavanagh land,  just a mile from Hack-
Balls-cross, through his poplars,
Over his wooden gate and I was lost
In an old abandoned cottage.

It was as if the people had just walked out the door,
Like a film set of Patrick Kavanaghs Catholic Ireland.
Lost in a world of sacred hearts, blood from thorns
And sepia-toned pictures of Jesus. Bloody icons

Littered every step I took. It seems as if I had walked
Into his poems in memory of his mother and father.
I didnt even know what a poem was then;
All I knew was he had the jack of a car
And I had the branch of a tree
And we were out on manoeuvres, playing.

I picked up an ebony and ivory walking stick
That I was going to use as a gun. Dont. said
My brother who was two years older and wiser,
Thats the devils plaything. After all, he was a smart guy:
He could count to ten in German and watch
Match of the day at the same time.

I threw it away as if the plague was carved into it,
I went upstairs, looked out the window
And saw what Kavanagh saw. I considered
The grass growing, growing cool about my ankles on a July day,
Running home through the fields with my brother
And a one-eyed, three-legged dog.



KNOWING THE UNKNOWN


I.M. Wallace Stevens


Deep in the depths of
irrationality, Im being rational:
creating accidentally on
purpose poems like
a pre-meditated dawn,
a disabled reality.

Literature is my desire
to live in this able-
bodied world.

Ive been down the road
of suicide poetry, stood
on the ledge of my soul,
looked down at the river
of poetry but couldnt jump;
so I reign here with a blind brow.



THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING


He woke in a tiny bed-sit, a picture of his son's face falling away from his eyes like a rainbow drifting into the filthy walls. In a state of confusion he clambered into his clothes along the three flights of stairs he managed to manouvere in massive strides, standing on the cat that scared him half to death and jolted him closer to the front door.  The fear of what that hologram of his son meant drifted through his mind. 

The Queen Lizzy was quiet for a change: the drunks and junkies were asleep or still locked up in the cells after the dawn raid. He ran to the end of the street where the kebab van parks and sat on the wall, awaiting the girl to exit the phone booth. For fucks sake, hurry up, he told her silently, his motives losing momentum. He turned to the street and watched the creeds of the world clamber along; among them the lost and the lonely released into the community, the mad ones, the real people. An old lady with a white painted face shoved a shopping trolley along the middle of the road, the rush hour traffic swerving to miss her. Elvis in a sequined waistcoat posing for a shout singing Love Me Tender across the street.

A man in a long black coat who never speaks to anyone, justs walks around with a scrunched up ball of paper in his hand, wiping crayons taken from his breast pocket across the page. He met him once in the Irish cafe and like a tourist he bought him a cup of tea and asked could he have a look. Without a sound and half a smile, he handed him his sketchpad while another appeared instantly from within his coat, and he began drawing the scene outside the window.

Only he could see what the man was drawing, whose back was to the view. He watched him draw half a man, half a car and half a street, like the aftermath of a blitz. The other ones, with crayons, he said, and he took a ball of paper from his pocket and rolled it across to him on the artificial marble, Formica-topped table. As he unfolded the ball of paper, Monets, Lillies, Van Goghs trees and Vermeer's light filled his eyes. He looked at him and saw in his eyes the other half of everything.

He rushed past the girl and shoved the coins in the slot, his heart beating wildly like electronic codes gathering in his head; a dead tone. He took the rejected coins and shoved them home again and again, only to hear the same dead tones ringing like a thumping headache; she must have changed the number, he thought as he returned to his little room. Feeling caged like an animal, trying so hard to concentrate on a book that it only brought confusion. Unable to erase the sight of the picture of his son appearing like that hologram and the worrying thoughts attached to it. Your conscience is the prison of the mind; no matter how hard you try you just can't out run it.

Oh how he wished at that moment that he was one of the dispossessed shuffling through life, oblivious of any moral obligations. He thought of his father trying to run all his life from his bastard past, each one of five siblings born in a different town and staying no longer than a year in each; Belfast during the 60s and 70s being the longest they stayed.  There was probably one of the safest places in the world for him: what past would want to find you in Belfast during the nightmare of the troubles?

When he gave up running from his past a secret family exploded after thirty-one years of marriage. It showered down on the family like emotional shrapnel, sending the family to the four winds to lick their wounds, killing  father and devastating his mother with three strokes. He always swore he would never be like him, yet here he was in a fucked up town in England while everything was across the Irish Sea. He discarded the book with a vengeance into the corner of the room, took his only coat from the only chair and left the still madness to join the frantic streets.

It was a warm summer's evening, which didn't help much as the town's grim sights clashed with the elements and his void. He called at the Asian shop and purchased a bottle of overpriced wine (uncorked), without a care for paying over the odds, anything to surpress his inner lament and to awaken his mind to simpler things. He walked south of the town, intent on not opening the wine until he reached his destination. Beneath a filthy old railway bridge he uncorked the wine and took a deep swig, while in his mind he told the roaring train thundering overhead to fuck off. He passed the roundabout where the cars waited impatiently for their little piece of space, in a mad hurry to get nowhere.

Dusk fell on reaching his destination, his space by the river. He went there often to clear his head of the modern filth. He sat by the river edge smoking and chugging the wine; a slight warm breeze blew with the riverflow, creating short sharp waves that gleamed with the red dye-injected sky. A treat for his eyes after the usual week of air-conditioned factories, traffic jams, and everywhere the sight of built-up grey areas filled with drunks, junkies and perverts, clambering the streets in search of some temporary nirvana. That vexed feeling came fleeting back at the sight of a riverboat pumping along unnaturally like filth on the river; its cheap coloured lights flashing and cutting the reflection of the line of trees from the far bank like a chainsaw. Idling towards the boat were a train of swans: at their point was a beautiful white bird followed by four black cygnets; guarding the rear was the majestic male. Pleasantly they blended with the scenery, belonging.

The bright lights of the boats exterior and the lights within clashed, creating silhouette shapes from within that pranced around, out of sync with the nightclub thumping beats. Mans celebration driving like a nightmare on the surpassing river. He recalled a night he was on board that very boat, The Princess: a cruise, or so he thought. One of the girls in work arranged it. He pictured the scene, relaxing on the starboard bow with a beer, mellowing with the sights and the natural flow of nature passing by.

Most of the people he worked with were assholes. Their form of chilling out after work was to be glued to the box in the corner that pumped garbage into their minute recesses. He was excommunicated: he's an odd-ball, they said, because he couldn't make a comment on the latest goings on in the soap operas, or who scored the vital goal in the football, or give his opinion on the lunatic on the news that murdered twenty-seven men and women and ate their genitals  He liked poetry and literature. They can keep their electrified dementia; he'll stay quietly insane.

He got a beer and left the swarm of people within. He sat on the deck ready for the world's natural flow. The disco beat pumped decibels of thumping sounds through the hull, echoing tremors through the rivers capacity. It's no wonder it's a good river for fishing: they want to be caught and have their necks smashed on the nearest rock. He was so pissed off he wanted to catch a hook, pull back on it, and be hauled to freedom. He was starving, wanted to hear classical music and let his mind wonder off to take it in, then pour this experience out on paper.

He tried his best to relax and push those stupid sounds away. Just when he thought he had it sorted, one of his fellow workers broke his concentration to talk shop.  He had riverboat sickness; leaving the deck, he returned to the madness and sat with his fellow used, as the pretence of beer and whisky flowed. The booze took its toll and he was no longer in control, letting it flow with the filth of the boat on the river. As the train of swans met the boat, two silhouette shapes stood on the deck, drinking from glasses that flashed in the moonlight, pouring their substance from the glasses down on the flock, their strict security broke in shock. He yelled at the shapes, you think it's fucking funny, ya mindless wankers.

In his rage he didn't notice the swan swimming towards him, bolting onto the bank, honking and hissing, wildly flapping its outstretched wings. He stumbled back and ran for cover behind the trees with the echoes of laughter from the boat. He zigzagged through the line of trees, and by the time he reached the river edge again, after finishing the wine, it seemed the moon and stars were out for his benefit only. Mellowing in solitude, pondering his circumstance, watching the shadows from the far shore rippling a picture for the album of his mind, until something caught his eye. He turned to see the swans silently coming along the river edge. He was about to get up and run when he told himself stall, relax. His heart beat wildly and shook with fear like the flowing river when the majestic bird broke the water with great ease onto the bank and idled towards him.

The massive bird came strolling along the grass verge. For a second he made eye contact before he lowered his head, closed his eyes and braced himself. He felt the strength of its breast as it pressed against him. Its cold beak brushed his forehead and flowed to the nape of his neck with the affection of a lovers touch, and a sensation flowed through  his mind and body; a new sensation, something he had only come close to experiencing when seeing his children being born. It cleared his mind of every trivial thought he ever had. He opened his eyes, left the river and returned to the town, got his gear together from the corner of the filthy room and left. On the train he thought maybe I should leave her alone, maybe theyre better off without me.

On the boat crossing the rough Irish Sea, political parties condemned murder in the TV lounge. As he sipped a pint of Guinness, it was winter in Northern Ireland. All things were dying, the rain and the sea spray cut with the coldness of steel; but he held in his hands a picture of his sons. Reality was pulsing with a rhythm he never wanted to lose.

CONSCRIBED

In Memory of John Hewitt


I drove down the Bluestone road
Sat by my sisters grave, waiting
for grief to rise. Poetry comes
from down inside there:
its like trying to make sense
of nothing and make it flow
on the page.

Sitting here beside a river
watching memory meander
and surface there in the current
to wave hello, goodbye.
So rest there Stephanie, and sleep
memory awake.

I am here at home in this
moment NOW. These
streets are my glens.
These valleys are my cathedrals.

I conscribe this poem, having
breakfast of toast, tea and tablets
by an un-stained window;
exiled by the space beyond
that blue door.

BLUR ON A WINDOW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

For C.D. Wright


That image is drifting away already;
An image coming out of an image.
A man standing against the body of a man.
Will my sons ever see the sepia-tones of my past?
Will they hold an ebony and ivory walking stick,
Stumbling between this world and that
In an old abandoned cottage?

I took my five-a-day today, tablets.
My day begins in silence and poetry and ends
In silence and poetry.
An image within an image.
I go to my hide, my will to power.
Turning another days muck into gold:
A blurred memory from childhood stumbling across a main road
With my eyes closed to see what it's like in the dark.



SOJOURN


The drug dispenser lays open
Holding open a book of poetry.
Carver books and Nietzsche books
Are piled by philosophy and gloves.
John Keats is there, open and soiled,
Held open by the knife and fork.
Beside the boxes of tablets, the blister
Packs that balance me each day.

Its like a chemist shop or an alchemists
Shelf. Im flaking away here, leaving behind
A trail of poetry and dried skin. This is why
I sojourn here, alone and palely loitering,
Just up the road from the balancing lakes.




TYPEWRITER


It feels like 1971 or 1981 with-
Out a network connection:
An internment, a Facebook with-
Out a face. It seems like were
Going back to paper, pen, and grey grime.

The blank, black screens of my lap-
Top and iPod are like relics: old
Broken screens on a mound of
Debris. It feels like Im hoking
The bins of today searching for
Tomorrow.

In thirty years we have only ad-
Vanced to a dump. The laptop
Begins to breathe, reboot,
Then dies. My room resembles
A second hand or pawnshop
In a flea market.

The black screens just look at me
Blankly, the cold sets in and I go
And put the heating on. At least
The boiler bypasses the cold.

So much for the G-force, my skin
Wrinkles the ageing process, so much
For the giant leap for mankind.
Looks like were going back to the old type-
Writer with ebony and ivory keys
And a ribbon to write my heart of darkness.


GRAVEYARD THISTLES

I believe that the power of art and the love of my children dragged me from the clutches of death six years ago; that and my faith in humanity. Poetry has such a hold on my life that I woke trying to fit my new mute self into a poem. I fell into a coma: not the inner light of sentimentality, but the inner dark of reality. A duende/ negative capability, a way of dealing with the horrors of life. Only when we dig right down into the darkness do we find a black light, like that of the negative capability John Keats saw, a poets inner loneliness.  A way of accepting my new life, giving me a way of living with the wheelchair, the bed rail and the monkey-pole, and now they are just items of life.  Just as Keats when he felt the negative capability;  even in the grip of death he found that ounce of wonder. At that moment, just as your lights are about to go, theres this mighty surge of wonder that makes you write another word, it has driven me to wake everyday and write. That has been my purpose for six years now. Whether it be good or bad, it doesnt matter: that is beyond me. All i know is that it flows like blood and gives me the strength to rise above the negativity and find another word for another day.

Raymond Carver said that in fires, influences are forces: circumstances, personalities, irresistible as the tide. Louis McNiece once said poets dont know what they are doing: if they did, it wouldnt be done. So this essay is taking its own course.

Poetry for me holds a deep sense of strength and it has always been there, like a wreath pulling me through the darkest days.  It was there when my father and my sister died and I dealt with their grief in the lines of a poem. It was there when I took my stroke and lay on a hospital bed only able to move my eyes.  Without poetry I wouldnt have come through those dark lonely days.  I have read umpteen essays on the power of poetry, always asking the question, does it change lives? Well, I can say that it has changed mine. I grew up in a working class family and poetry was never exercised.

The only books I read were of Michael Collins, or the secret army, or Hollywood; poetry was a bad word.  No one in my family wrote poetry, so when I began my friends and family said I was mad and my friends nearly all disappeared and thought I was out to steal their words. I was always digging, looking for a source to spring and shower me in wonder. I never liked the work place, having been a butcher boy, a metal polisher, a bin man and an electronics engineer; just a few of the hundreds of jobs Ive had.  Before I left school at fifteen with a basic education-poetry was like the word fuck you felt it but didnt say it in this moralistic sentimental world. I remember one teacher, a Mr ODonohue: when he read poetry or stories they came alive, and I was captured in the words. All my mates were messing at the back of the class and I would usually be in the middle of them, but when he mouthed literature, It was as if I fell into a trance. I just wanted to leave school and get out in the world and earn my own money; so on my travels through the streets of London and Dublin I always scribbled down things I saw, trying to piece them together for a good lyric for a song, being as I was heavily influenced by the words from the streets as David Bowie and Lou Reed were, using that language.

I remember a friend lending me Fires by Raymond Carver: I read the poem for Karl Walenda and it blew me away. I have since read and re-read that book: his words held me to that tightrope, it tailed me all over Magdeburg in Vienna and Prague. The poems wind was holding me up, it was under my skin south towards Puerto Rico and the torrid zone, and just beyond the Caribbean. I had to shake myself free of its hold.  From that day on, poetry captured my dreams and coloured my day.  I began to have confidence in the words I wrote, toying with the idea of putting words together. I was unemployed at the time and having a hard time with a young family, trying to be the breadwinner and do my own thing. I got my family back to the magic shores of Ireland. I'm English but even I knew that Ireland was better for my children than mad capitalist England. I said to my wife that I wasnt going to work: that I wanted to be a writer. I may as well have said I wanted to be a brain surgeon or an astronaut; writers were from another planet. Those words of Raymond Carver were like my own language, it was as if he told me I could do this.  I built a desk from an old door in the box room and I created my haven, a little office where I could lose myself in the written word.  I told my wife it would take two years: it took me six to get my first thing published, but in that time I was reading W.B. Yates and Kavanagh, Dostoyevsky, Hubert Selby, Robert Lowell, Elisabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Patrick lane, Ted Hughes, Liam OFlaherty, Sherwood Anderson and Flannery OConnor. I immersed myself in words.  For ten years I wrote and re-wrote and read and reread, piecing together snippets of thought.

One day I got a brochure on the Poets House in Port Muck, a poetry retreat. I sent them three poems and I was accepted.  It was magic: two weeks of poetry and poets by the sea. I got stuck in and loved the people I met.  I workshopped my poems with Medbh McGuckian and Simon Armitage, Jimmy and Janice Simmons and Martin Mooney, my heroes.  It was like everything was released in those two weeks, with the freedom to talk about poetry; outside in the real world, it was like talking about something taboo. There was only certain people who didnt think you were nuts. Before I left that magic place, Jimmy and Janice Simmons invited me to apply for a Masters Degree. I didnt even have an GCSE or an O Level, but Jimmy said youve got three weeks: write me a piece on your thoughts of poetry, and send me ten poems and Ill send them to Lancaster university. I drove home from Port Muck and every turn of the wheel was the thought of me doing a Masters.  Every twist and turn was speaking of reality and the surreal demons inside me, back and forward, mirror, signal, manoeuvre.  Eventually I sat down after talking to my wife and said that I had to take this opportunity.  I wrote the essay and tidied up ten poems and sent them off thinking that I would not get a reply and drifted back into reality.  Jimmy sent the work to Lancaster: they were passed around a group of outside examiners and on the merits of my work I was awarded a scholarship to do a Masters. I knew then that the puzzle was being pieced together.  The Poets House was moving from Port Muck to Donegal, so this was a new beginning for them and a new beginning for me.  I had this jumbled page of writing called The Light on the Stones, about my fathers death, a death that impacted my life so much, and since then through that poem I have always believed that there is something beautiful in death. It was as if my father spoke to me, and my new father of poetry and literature showed me a way of dealing with the hardships of life. If I said this outside of poetry, youd think hes away with the fairies, but I believe that we should be taught more positively about death because there is something magic about it.  Jimmy Simmons sat me down at the computer and arranged my words into a poem; ever since that day I have edited poems that way that Jimmy taught me. Jimmy died a few years later but Ill never forget him, and every time Im working on a poem his image enters my mind.  I got the Masters, not that it means very much: I dont hold much sway for a piece of paper on the wall.

But since then, Ive worked teaching creative writing to children and adult groups all over the country, and have met some magic people. I have four collections of poetry, and have been published by Poetry Ireland, The Honest Ulsterman, Fortnight Magazine, The Black Mountain Review, Lapwing, and Lagan Press.




THE LIGHT ON THE STONES


I retrace your final journey now in a blue car,
Not black, alone on the motorway.
Passing the Maze prison, the stench of my engine
Overheating is like gunpowder, spent shells,
Lingering, your dream of Irish freedom.

I climbed the mountain graveyard
Above the violent, divided city,
Above the peace line that stood between us
In the living room. It was a maze
Of kept graves, lawns, wreaths, flowers,
Names on glistening headstones.

Your plot, all weeds
And wild grass, cries out for order.
The fallen wooden cross bears no name;
But you are there. Like a sculptor
With clay I reach inwards, my hands
As delicate as salmon wings riding
The white water, struggling
The strong currents of grief.





I brush the soiled tears from your eyes
And you awake in me, swimming
And glistening in mine. My hands
Shape the clay moulding our wounded past,
Emerging in the light on the stones.


LYRA

'I have two luxuries to brood over,
your loveliness and the hour of my death'.

Keats to Fanny Brawne July 25, 1819



John Keats holds the seat of poetry
the instrument plucked by the breeze
of Orpheus, riding high on the horse
of poetry, a stable-boy on Equules colt
star in the major magnitude of Lyra.

Like a knight shielding his mother's honour
the room fell into quietness, remembering
he wiped her fevered brow, the memories
of melancholy flooded, writing with
this living hand, this moment.

Luxuries of death and love keep me within

higher paradigms of expanded darkness, writ
water on the rippled land, his soul was soaked
in the shipwreck futures salty brine among
the mean streets beneath the bells of bow.


the casual graves of night soils along the dark
shore of the Thames, an uneasy light headedness
sweeps over gathering darkness swallows sky.









THE ORPHIC SONNETS/PRAYERS

               ‘not till here and beyond
                voices are rendered lasting
                and pure’
                                  Rilke

HEART-SPACE


1.

These poems go out to my ethereal family
the pure strong ones, the ones who keep me
pure and strong.  Learning to say
what I cannot say.

Cars drive over my dreams things enter me
Deeply and find a shallow form, always
Going back to the beginning back to
The word.

I see death and destruction, oh mother
Of the word, earth.  I know love
Is the only answer but how
Can I grasp love when        
The system that gives
Life does not allow
Me love.

2.

to saturns blessed queen, Reah
hear my horrid howlings.  Mother
of my uni-verse, liberating muse.
My words are flowing from images
But what are they doing?

I found my purpose, the word now
I must find the form.  Oh thunderous
Jove please echo my words around
your lofty heights and atherial blaze. 
Send them through your divine power,
through shrouds of dark fluid cloud.

O Jove hurl them with your strong arm
Around the tops of mountains.

3.

I call on you
The mighty
Splendid light.

Aerial, dreadful
Sounding flaming
Light.

All parent great
And strong, parents
Of prolific rains

Wash me in watery
Frames and dry me
In airs wide bosom

Through stormy
Sounding gales.

4.

to reveal my crown of wishes
royal health and gentle peace
to be my constant guide.

I call on mother earth
that fruitful showers
fall.  I call on you
the sea with pools
of bright light.

Empress of deep gentle gales
Sweep my rocky shores
Veiled in cold transparency
and fountains pure
waft me over

stormy shores.

5.

to Nereus;

the demon of the deep
the dark foundations of my sleep.

the earths bounty, the earths un-
shake.  To the daughters of the deep

wild leaping in liquid sea
the beauty of sacrafice delight

to almost drown
in pools of light
to live each day
in ponds of sight
send words of right
on mystic rites.

6.

to you who holds the key
of chambers weep.  Let me
light my way to the end.


The source of fertile earth
The all destroying force.

Fruits of dark
Endless root

Give to take my souls de-
Light, accept the darkness
Of my sight.  Draw near
To my prayer.

7.

oh ruler of mankind
listen, listen to my words
the deep is dark.

My weapon is
my only tongue.

Open up take me in
Infernal queen.

Let me lick the realms
And whisper words
Of love.  Some things
Are best
Unsaid.

8.

There are half truths buried in life
Lets be sure to be unsure.
The eyes sees what
The mouth cannot say,
Everybody has a truth-their truth.

I seen it but the stroke blurred
My vision, how can I
Say what I see.

Did I see that man pass
That window and leave
His mark on you?

Rilke you gave me this title
And you gave me your truth
In the meaningful word
In-clan-nation.

9.

I hear
The pure
Stuff
Trickle
Down
A drain.

Meandering
Memory

Tumbling in-
To a tumbler
After
A down
Pour.

10.

THISTLE-

DOWN


The weed thistle-
Down reaches
beyond me and my
height before this.

It overlooks the fence
Looking up and out
At life looking back at me.

I can only grasp
The limits of life
In its milk thistle.

The leaves dance
A poetic rhythm
Rising and falling
In the rain.

THE FORM OF THESE WORDS ARE CREATED BY THE MOMENT.

Why do we want to create a magic formula for yesterday, form is the moment
and the word the moment creates the form. Form is not a structured way of saying something you've written, a formula a haiku or a sonnet. Do you want to do what was done yesterday and go the academic route to refine it or do you want to do what's you?
Jack Kerouac one of the great beat writers told us to 'write as if were the first person
on earth' and Wallace Stevens told us that 'the theory of poetry is the theory of life'

THE FORM OF THESE WORDS IS CREATED BY THE MOMENT.

Beat poetry was new and experimental as were the words of Walt Whitman and when we heard it first we went wow and since then have tried to fit our words into the pasts parameters but it was the moment of change that created those magic words, so we've got to let the moment create the form. beat poetry is named so because it captures the essence of beat poetry it has life a rhythm a pulse. ok I know I fall down on the grammatical front but isn't all new writing politically and grammatically in or un-correct.

THE FORM OF THESE WORDS ARE CREATED BY THE MOMENT.

form is a moment lost in time and we harness that moment with words, form is not a way of saying something written on a page, we know that we can never capture that moment but why not create a moment from that moment not by reliving the formula
but by creating a new form from the magic of a form its not its steps that creates its magic its the moment. words have a rhythm a magic of their own and they find a rhyme within the moment (the form). we can never reproduce the magic of a haiku
or a brilliant villanelle but it was the combination of words that caught that moment.


Life is experimental, we are stepping into the unknown (if we want) stepping into truth, our truth, let us create the dimensions of our truth of our moment and as Joseph Attila said let the 'silence of our dreams take on a human form'.

MY TRUTH










REMEMBER HUMANITY
FORGET THE REST
             BERTRAND RUSSELL








songs



UNITED IRISHMEN

A bit of a song, a bit of poem
from a bit of history.

The moment is damp dull
and a Northern Ireland grey.
The days have been like this
since I can remember but
I cant remember days of hay-
stacks and jumping rooftops.

I almost remember those days
crying childhood and jumping
for joy. a captured moment in 
mid-air like a petrol bomb before
it hits the ground and ignites with
joy, Henry joy.

days like these, I feel in sync
get a link from his-story
and imagine days of peace be-
fore 1794. its as if my child-
hood was raped and pillaged.

I think I remember days before
nineteen sixty nine, living in
a mixed area just off the crumlin
road, shopping on Shan kill.
those were the days my friend
what ever happened to those
days of Henry joy.

they hung him up in Belfast
a native Irish English son, up
there on the gallows pole
they hung his undivided soul.

Irish heart English blood
he was made of, he's buried
up there in Belfast in
a soiled Irish home.

salute the joy that joy gave
salute this time and place
called peace and the days
of Henry joy.



STROKE DOWN BLUES

Caught in this mumbled mom-
ent of dis-abled secterian blues
looking down at my wheelchair
and my frankenstein boots, then
up into grey skies and the sent-
time-mental route, mid-way is
my blister packs and my
overdosed life looking
from this moment with
no where to go

sitting here in limbo
with no where to go
sitting here in limbo in a state
that doesn't want to know
sitting here in limbo with
only words that flow in-

to this current.

Words of wonder, words of snow
words that drift onto this page
and find their own show
its own way down

sitting here in limbo
where time is moving slow
sitting in a moment that
doesnt want to know but
drip, drip, drip, down

sitting here in limbo
just sitting here in limbo. (fade)




A BOY NAMED SUE

Suicide you are my friend no more
you sit here at my breakfast table
trying to shove your wares down
my throat but im not taking no more
I'm not soft in the head no more, ok
I'm broke and disabled.  Get of my back

I don't fear you, you sick sad coward-
ly person.  Suicide you preyed on my
sadness,  I just laugh at your hardness
it's you that's soft in the head, your a sad
case with no form.  You only had one way
down.  You cowered me down into this hell

but this is my sadness my cell so please
get of my back, to think you almost fired
me in clay.  you'll have your sad sick way
in the right place at the right time.

In the meantime stay off my back.
you are just the life I lack
I carried you around like a heavy sack
now I spill you out on the floor
because you cant hurt me no more
your  just a sad sick shallow bore
I'm on my way back up.

A POME OR A SONG OF RIGHT AND WRONG


Is poetry the saviour of life?

I know we need something to pull
it from the swamp of  neglect.
whether that's an academic one
or a moment us one.

poetry is past and future us
like life is fast and furious.
it meets the sound and feel of this day
and drags it into our sentimental soil.

is poetry the saviour of life?
tick the box or x it through
but whatever you do make
gold out of this muck.

poetry is the call of life?
written there like a cave painting
on the markings of road, there is
one way to go and there is only
one way to know.

it don't matter if it right or wrong
good or evil light or dark in-
love or hate, all that matters is
that this is a song of hope.

we are all made of blood and conflict
we are the atom that made the atom bomb
we are what is within us, we are both
right and wrong.  we are the first men
on the moon to call it a scam, we will
start a war tomorrow over today.  we
are just fickle humans playing life.

please let me be?  there I go again
talking to myself, let me be in-between in-
between right and wrong, love and hate
light and dark, good and evil.

we are made of blood and conflict
we flow in the current war
life is lonely without a predator
we need life sucked from us
to feel to gush and rush to soar.


Who ever does not some-

times give full consent, 

and a joyous consent, 

to the dreadfulness of life,

can never possess

the utterable richness 

and power of existence."

RAINER MARIA RILKE


 poetry is like sun-
shine its free    


(my adopted kingdom) 


IN THE SHADE

The world doesn't look so grey 
with these sunglasses on. 
Poetry and my children
are my only hope. There are 
no good and bad days in my world 
I've adjusted the colour of day.


Looking through fresh eyes
the seasons come and the sea-
sons go and winter is upon us.
there is no right and wrong
no love and hate, no light
and dark here, just both
and it looks good to me.


REFLECTING DEATH


The waves

swim eyes

to shadow-

light.



poetry is what poetry does


FRIENDS

Its almost still out
the rain fell straight down
like a sheet of summer.

i can never forget this day 
when i was so close to suicide.

the blister packs of tablets
are on my floor, tied tightly.

so close, we sit together.



CAPABLE
                 negativity 


   ‘not till here and beyond
                voices are rendered lasting
                and pure’
                                  Rilke



 poetry is like sunshine its free

                                                                                       
                                                              'I am obliged to perform in complete darkness 
operations of great delicacy 
on myself'
          John Berryman


A POME OR A SONG OF RIGHT AND WRONG


Is poetry the saviour of life?

I know we need something to pull
it from the swamp of  neglect.
whether that's an academic one
or a moment us one.

poetry is past and future us
like life is fast and furious.
it meets the sound and feel of this day
and drags it into our sentimental soil.

is poetry the saviour of life?
tick the box or x it through
but whatever you do make
gold out of this muck.

poetry is the call of life?
written there like a cave painting
on the markings of road, there is
one way to go and there is only
one way to know.

it don't matter if it right or wrong
good or evil light or dark in-
love or hate, all that matters is
that this is a song of hope.

we are all made of blood and conflict
we are the atom that made the atom bomb
we are what is within us, we are both
right and wrong.  we are the first men
on the moon to call it a scam, we will
start a war tomorrow over today.  we
are just fickle humans playing life.

please let me be?  there I go again
talking to myself, let me be in-between in-
between right and wrong, love and hate
light and dark, good and evil.

we are made of blood and conflict
we flow in the current war
life is lonely without a predator
we need life sucked from us

to feel to gush and rush to soar.

      
A POME OF LAST LINES

1. ARE THESE THE WORDS THAT SET ME FREE?

It feels like I'm deep in a syn-
drome, lost in a deja-vu
in/out of a virtual reality like
a non-mental case.

a believing non believer locked-
in a vuja-day, a day that
I remember but I cant re-
member my way out.

I cant be the only one on this
planet that's fucked-up in
an in/out world.  if this
is a virtual reality I'm back
where I belong, lost

in a rhythm before it becomes
a beat, the mid-flow of a metro-
Nome striking this moment
to be.  my pomes are like

an M.C.Escher creation they go
out to lead you in.

2. THEY GO OUT TO LEAD YOU IN

I've been through the black
paths, seen life as the crow
flies, there is black skin on
me.   I never know what I'm
doing, the words take over in
me like a shadow on concrete
a cracked slabbed pavement
I'll slab my way back to you.

3. I'LL SLAB MY WAY BACK TO YOU

through the entry, along the alley-
ways, in the sound of Gregorian-
chant, I'll reverberate here on this
held hymn among the dirt and debris.



A choir boy abused in a con-
fessional box writing through
a gauze, a veil through which
I see, kerb-stoned.

4. KERB-STONED

On this corner of life
I loiter waiting for me.
tri-coloured in green
white and gold, draped
in red white and blue
sitting on my fence
watching the parades
go by all black and blue.

BLUE

I've written many pomes of this title but
its just my way of life.  I've thrusted jet-
streams and swam streams, been bitten by
lamp-ray and vulva in me.  been suckered
into many a thing but these are the words
that have set me free.


THE PURPLE PLASTIC BENDY SPOON

The sun slanted in and stole the day, children
cried into lollipops and parents moaned.
I saw a jet- stream shoot back through cloud
like a double helix in the sky, the backbone
of humanity, evolution flat lined then it began
to merge like a sky walkers sky-rope through D'n'A.


I see all this through the square window, through
the fence that fences me into this hell/cell, past
the multi shaded red bricks that play my emotion
each day like a path of bricks in a game of cluedo
red, blue, white green or yellow.  just a colour
coded drug dispenser sitting in a wheelchair
in jogging bottoms and Frankenstein boots
sweltering in this heat.

all I can smell today is jealousy and the stench
of rotting flesh from the millions of pig, poultry
and livestock kill houses to keep us alive.  like
Fredric Garcia lorca they have murdered my sky.
ive spent ten years behind these vertical blinds
in this hell/cell, there's no good Friday get out card
this is a true life sentence with no parole.

It's sad when you eat cereal with a children's purple
plastic bendy spoon because your paralysed
and the food goes everywhere but I wouldn't change
a thing.  I had two or three lives and I had a ball,
ok I'm the ball kicked of the wall and up and down
the road dribbling poetry and art between the posts.

I feel compelled to write this as if I haven't just been
a poet since I got a masters degree in 1997 but
I've been a poet writing pomes since the day
I fell from that tree or the day I almost drowned
in that sea that was the day I lost innocence and became me.

HEART SHAPED VERMILION RED

I woke this morning, reached out
and the snippets of dreams began
to fade sneaking through the curtain
dancing out of the corner of my eye

Re-tracing my flesh as if brushing
away sleep, I found one of your hairs,
teased it out like a golden thread
searching for the eye of the needle,
stitched it to memory and felt
your touch penetrate be-
neath the skin.

with the beginning of this poem
in mind, I stumbled for a pen
threw back the covers to reveal
heart shaped vermilion red, the dark
outline following the contours of flesh
with the precision of an artists brush-
stroke as if I had known you inside out.

Still moist in my mind, your kiss.


                      MY BASTARD STATE

Before decimal currency there was a social realism in the air, everybody was grounded into a moral of do your neighbour no harm and no harm will be done to you, when I first came to Northern Ireland in 1967 the people were so friendly and helpful it’s a pity that their humanity didn’t out-weigh their sectarianism.

The new graph of life came and we lost our individualism. Pre 1971 everything was dealt on a local level but post 71’ sent shockwaves of confusion through both tribes who retreated into themselves creating even more hatred and tension, they created the divide in the communities through confusion. 
We were then being governed by this new order from London who knew nothing of 
Northern Irish culture so every ruling they made put the peoples backs up and the people kicked back and the conflict went into a tit for tat paranoid hatred.
After 71’ we were confused and didn’t know what tribe we fitted into and we fell into our group of clones or the closest group of unity that fitted our confused hatred, we became like a swarm of ants confused going in all different directions. The morning of internment was a great example of this: Everyone knew they were coming it was on the grapevine that they were coming to take you away ha-ha, but we didn’t know from what direction, we were like a pack of headless chickens running around without our individualism, no wonder Northern Ireland became such a dangerous place it was like a traditional gangland.

I was ten in 1971, a confused little English boy living in a nationalist area, my day was one of survival, kicking back against this hard man macho culture until I became one of the tribe. I remember being kicked by a prod gang and the next day it was the taigs who beat me to sing the sash or recite the hail Mary, I didn’t know what they were talking about so they beat me even more. I was just as confused 
as they were, the whole Irish/English dimension was out there in the state of confusion.

I was an English boy who was put out of his home in a mixed area between Shankill and the Crumlin road, Columbia street by an angry mob carrying the flags of my country. I was so confused by it all and knowing my father was a man who served in the British army who began to speak of hatred towards the British. I have to admit that I’m a peace loving person but for a time I went along his path as he was my macho role model. Lucky I always kept my mother’s naive wisdom of never do no one any harm. I had a strange up bringing the son of a Belfast pessimistic father and a Dublin optimistic mother, add this to the confusion and sectarian paranoia, I didn’t know where I belonged I didn’t know whether I was coming or going I was up and down like a yoyo, I didnt know where my aligance lay even the people who knew what foot to kick with were confused so you can imagine mine. Not until I began to form my own opinions backed by my mothers one golden rule in life of don’t do no one no harm was I able to stand up and be an individual. I was the little boy sitting on the fence watching both tribes and I must say there were times when I swayed by the hatred and confusion, lucky I didn’t turn into a hate filled rebel fighting for a cause that was brought on by confusion, sitting here in hindsight and peace time I can see the state of confusion. It seemed the future was heading towards art and realism heading in the direction of fair play and justice then the powers that be done a u turn into a crusade mode of war greed and I don’t give a fuck what the people think mode. As if we suddenly changed course into a roman gladiator way and became members of a cloned barbaric state, the characters of our society became outcasts and anti-individualists. Not that it mattered much to me I was trying to survive a bastard British army father who was in the I.R.A., the whole world seemed in a paranoid dog eat dog state. I done what I had to to keep my one golden rule intact and my way of not becoming one of the tribe full of hate and greed. The world was in an Orwellian nightmare and I wasn’t gonna be part of that big brother hatred so I ran into myself into realism and truth. People think I am depressing and dark but I’m not the world we live lacks truth and honesty and characters’ of true conviction, I’m just truthful and human and I’m just doing what comes natural to me, churning my truth into a tool of survival. Looking back now I can see that I was a very confused young man, deeply affected by my fathers paranoid state of being a bastard child, I know now that I must take his bastard child with me and find some truth for him to survive and nurture in my children so I don’t really care about the past, this is my beginning I know this is the future of my humanity. These are only my opinions of my state and how I seen things. I think Northern Ireland and its sense of humanity 
and friendliness really has something going for it ,it has moulded me and my sons into worthwhile individuals so even through this paranoid confusion I have found a true bastard state.

POLLINATING DARK

The cars go by my window
from there to there but Im In
the hive in-between.  The sun
shines poetry onto the page
and the shadow of cloud drift by.
Capturing emotion that's a
drive by written in me.

Time goes by and seasons pass
but life still shines in me, it finds
a way of producing honey
from the syllable bee, even if
the nectar was disabled in me.


SPECIAL POWERS ACT

Looking out from
these barbs of note-
book, captured on
these grey lines.

Looking in here in
this prison cell, doing
time for something
that I didn't do.

Tunnelling my way
out in syllables,
its the only way in
through truth.

Have you ever had
that barbed-wire
feeling, that feeling
of nothing at all.

There is no such thing
as no-thing, there is al-

ways always your call.





INTO BLUE

'silence in your dream's has
taken on a human form'

                            Atilla Jozsef

I've seen life from every
angel, I have jet-streamed
the sea and the sky.

My children are my colour
rainbow of sight and I am
the great protractor
shooting off my in-
ner light.

I'm a walking, talking metaphor
searching this bomb-site,
its a waste land of debris, love
and hate a mine field but I've
got my detector to detect

that's my needle of rite and
this is my pen point of sight.

This is not formed into a simple
sonnet, its something that hasn't
been done before, its the light
beyond my black hole.

This is the moment formed in-
to the memory of me and you.

SAFE HOUSE

What is this cell of light and dark?
Where paintings float upon walls
And books are piled to keep
Your soul warm. Even the government
Can’t name this cell to be a safe house,
a place where man is between life
and death like a black in a black market colony.
A place where life waits for it to fit
Its mould, it sits there outside waiting 
to join in the fun of morals dis-
Ease and war, big brother isn’t watching be-
Cause man isn’t watching him to be corrupt.
This is a disabled hell in an able-bodied light
Growing into tomorrow to be its silent sight.

This garden prim can’t out-grow weeds
The seeds of life will flow and create
A memory, beyond the realm
that only thinks it knows.
Utopian dreams are hippy trippy
I think I’ll stay home, today
And create this masters peace.



TRUE BLUE



The artist whose deity is art, has a religion as valid and as capable of producing great art'

Yvor winter                      

A true individual is so rare in this world in my view there has only ever been a few, the main man the man of true conviction has to be john Keats. There have been many that came close like Rainer Maria Rilke, Nietzsche, Lowell, Frost, Kavanagh, Dostoyevsky, I could go on all day but I’ll only mention one more of my hero’s Raymond Carver, his poem what the doctor said is one of the greatest poems ever written, as brave and as true as any melancholic ode. Keats and carver seen beyond themselves, they seen into the images they created that was their higher self. Apart from Rilke and Nietzsche who seen into themselves and tried to mirror that, we see a higher calling beyond us beyond the image we are creating for Keats the image within him was the self and he only seen that because he seen death, his death. For me he is the only man I know that has reached that higher plain, through his negative capability his images have reached almost perfection.

As Robert Lowell said imperfection is the language of art, many of my hero’s reached that almost perfection but always had a higher realm to reach so their images were always created with some god or other in mind but Keats was free of that realm and his images were so natural and intuitive, His nirvana was his nirvana his Valhalla avenue. He is and will always be the master, master crafting poetry. Many of these poets and a lot more I haven’t mentioned have reached the pinnacle but just haven’t reached that extra inch because the strength of their belief stopped them, Lowell and Kavanagh are a great example of this both enraptured and captured by a higher being.

Maybe it’s because I am disabled and live in a broken shell that I can see beyond into the realm of words and like Keats and Carver I see my own death, my nirvana of life, death. I’m not saying and I never will say that I am near the standard of these masters, they sit in my heaven beyond honours and ego haloed by humanity.

                           HALF-DOOR

The rain beats my window like
a military drum cascading off
my broken spout like a water-
fall on concrete, splashing
memory of a rain barrel.

A well on the Castleblaney road
a well where pure water sprang
from the earth, raining into
the five gallon drum with a glug
glug glug pouring memory of
a cottage by the roadside
and summer salads from the earth
of my fathers 6 x 6 plot, we were
living of the land, fertilising our
own soil creating our own light
to shine through a half door.

The military drum has stopped
beating but the memory lingers on
to roll of the skin trickling down.


TORN

Words undulate to me like
war, torn, death, dreams,
I can't fix memory to signal
smiles in waves of love. 

Maybe I didn't get any but
I did, I just can't recall.  I'll
have to turn these words around.

Words undulate to me like
war, torn, death, dreams,
real words with real hope
and real scope in dreams

of death and war.


FISH STONE


I’m awake at 4am writing an imaginary tale.
Everything feels right as if it’s in its right place
All except me. This is my world, a world of alien-
Nation, laying here in a profile bed waiting
Listening to a birdsong tweet its way into my ear-drum
As if I knew its language. Anything to kill the silence
Of a five hour wait, waiting for carers to come and
Dress my paralysed body. The birdsong falls to silence
But it’s still in my head like a memory but you know
You’re building a life of memories where you can exist.
Building a world to fill your formless brain,
As Buddhism say’s I am god creating. A world that fills
My locked in syndrome and my memory of 45 years
That was erased by the stroke that left me paralysed,
Un-able to walk or talk so this is my imagined essay.
An essay that’s lost in a dream somewhere
In a prose poem and this is the only way that

I can get it back to conjure it out of my head into my head.


AAAAAAAa


POETRY IS LIKE SUNSHINE IT’S FREE

What does this world want from me?
My words and my images are all I’ve got
You can take them there like sunshine free.
I’m trapped in this consumerist world
I can’t find a way in or out, I know
Were all trapped in our own world but
This is a consumerist broken hell, all
That I know is I have to get out but
I don’t know which way to go, do I?
Fall into the spending spree or into a dis-
Abled cell, all I can do is hope that
My poems don’t sell and my words show don’t tell.



THE STATE OF INDEPENDENCE

I've been writing and rewriting my state of independence since I got out of hospital
in 2005.  This world i live in is very frustrating, this is the last nail in my coffin as they say or the only nail that I can hit on the head and hopefully someone out there can place this in the hands of the person that controls my life.  I am hoping that this new D.L.A. system pip's. is more beneficial to me and my state of independence.  In 2005 i was awarded middle rate D.L.A. which is around four hundred a pound a month, i struggled for a while trying to keep an adopted car on the road and for a while it was brilliant for my state of independence my spirits were high i was going to concerts and readings, I was living life as good as any able bodied person but then the economic crash came and i began to feel the pinch.  Can anyone out there tell me how you can manage a car food gas internet telephone petrol etc on four hundred pounds a month, how a person unable to walk or talk paralysed down his right side can live alone independently, this issue has baffled me for years how can a person that cant walk or talk be awarded middle rate D.L.A. and a person who can walk and talk gets the full rate.  I only want what is humanly possible I'm not a sponger I'm a person that hopes there's a human bone out there somewhere.  I've had to give up my car and my state of independence can anyone out help a fellow human that only wants a life of human being.  My spirits are dropping lower and lower each day and this struggle for life in an uncaring world is getting harder and harder each day.


THE HARSH CAUSEWAY


I was a son, brother, husband, father,
I was once all of them but now I’m
Only one. I don’t feel like some-

Body’s son brother or lover I am

All of them like a bolt out of blue.





The thing that almost kills you makes
Life worth it even though I’m dis-
Abled on a bedroom floor. They cliché
Life in ‘what doesn’t kill you makes
You stronger’, it breaks the golden rule
And creates the stanza of the moment
To become the pome of yet another day.
For a moment the locked in syndrome

Isn’t locked, art has come again and saved
My life. I am turning nothing into something
The magic of the blues that we live through.


   




A POEM INSIDE A POEM

A poem inside a poem
revealed its self to me
showing a slant of ages
like an image within
an image fading into
a column of light.

Coming out of the dark
a bi focal trick in the eye
of concentration to go
deeper and deeper into
the poem called grey matter
into the matter why.
Grey Matter


I look around this room and realise my muse 

has exhausted the theme of light and dark 

but the shadows still fornicate.

I’ve used the bed-rail, the wheelchair

And the stand-by beacons

to keep me from drowning in dark.

My piss-pot is angled like a shooting star

Blazing my trail of hope.

My positivity comes from the well

Of treasure, the source that we call god.

Whether it is or isn’t I think the well

Of human spirit is a vessel of magic

That keeps us whole and I always

Make love with my light in the dark.


AWAY IN A MANGER

'not that we become more God
but we become more godlike'.
                                 Roberto Unger

My webcam shone like a star
Above my manger computer
Screen, my three wise men
Were on facebook waiting
To give me gifts on you tube.
I googled them and the stable
My home, I yahooed my wife
In the Philippines and I seen
A beautiful country but I felt
Life on the streets and I seen
Their beautiful smiles, isn’t it
Brilliant that people can do this
And we don’t feel so lost
And alone, this has become
My heart and soul its be-
Come my stable home.


RHYMED TIME



'loving them all the way back to the source

loving everything that increases                                          
Raymond Carver

The current of literature flows
And I stream the stream. 
I don’t know what kind of fish
This is until I land it, I’m writing
This for me, to find the current
Flow and to know that it’s
A big bastard. You have to know
Where the current flows
And when to let it go. The scales
Are black and silver and it swim’s
Every colour in between. It me-
Anders through the water as if
It knows it can’t be caught.





It’s big and bold and beautiful

It’s been hooked a thousand

Times but this isn’t about

The hooking its about its

About the killing time. Time

Is a big fish landed in this




I know im repeating myself but I like 
this poem, life is a repeat.



THISTLE-DOWN


The weed thistle-
Down reaches
beyond me and my
height before this.

It overlooks the fence
Looking up and out
At life looking back at me.

I can only grasp
The limits of life
In its milk thistle.

The leaves dance
A poetic rhythm
Rising and falling
In the rain.



                                                  REMEMBER HUMANITY
FORGET THE REST
             BERTRAND RUSSELL





a translation of Joszef Atilla
        A PURE HEART



WITH-OUT

Without Father with-
out Mother without
god or coffin lid, I'm
nailed in limbo with-
out love.  For eight
years my heart is
barren nothing.

My store this cell
of lonely tears
a sell of fifty years.

Even the devil won't
buy this lot of mould
Even i cant turn this
muck to gold, I must



lie within this soil, this
sod will grow seed-
less from my
pure heart.




THE CLARITY OF WONDER

Poetry and words have become a more spacious form ever since my stroke they have become my very being, my creation my life force.  I know this is a bit extreme but I wake and sleep, I even dream verse.  It's hard to believe that words can save your life,
but they have transformed me from a comatose paralysed jerryatrick vessel looking out a hospital window to a man living an almost independent life driving an adopted car.  When I woke from the blackness of my stroke, I woke with a poem being formed in my head.  My brain had no form, I was unable to walk or talk my brain was almost lifeless that had been erased of 45 years of memory.  Words began to slot into place creating space and time, the brain is an amazing organ the way it begins to create its own form and remembers the life you remember as if it remembers instances that spark of a time and a place that makes you remember and so your life has only one meaning to build up a bank of life you can invest humanity in, words of true conviction words of higher meaning than you ever placed before.


Everybody finds a source an inner music to help them through the afterlife, I suppose ive been one of the lucky ones I loved my music so teaching others my inner music became so natural I loved it and I think others loved it.  I came to words like a fish does to water no one ever wrote before me from my family so I never understood all these layers of literature and levels of ages like classical verse, modernist verse and free verse, I came from the verse of the street that's the only verse I knew, I  had nothing or no-one to compare to, no academic training I was just very honoured to be in the family of words.  I loved Dante, Chekov, Carver and Kerouac, the classical the olde the free and the new its all the blues no matter how you see it.  Poetic words in prose or poems all find a way of cutting through the levels and ages of class  non-sense to become the definition of the professor of poetry who said poetry was a criticism of life in an intellectual deliverance.


I was always trying to grasp the meaning of life but I think as far back as primary school the alphabet pinned to the wall was my reason, as Patrick Kavanagh said I grabbed an education early.   I hated school I had my teacher, the alphabet running around my head that was my teacher I didn't see the point of the rest it was all regimental drill sergeant bullshit just like being in the army.  School was just a kicking shop where you learnt to kick back and you fought your way through the grades and learnt how to take a dig because life was full of digs.  History art and English were all that interested me you knew a knocked past to know a knocked future.  School was as regimental as the army stand in line jump to attention and do as your told I always rebelled against authority,  I spent my whole life being told what to do.  My mother with her Dublin naive wisdom was all I needed, just one golden rule of humanity never to do no one any harm.  she learnt that golden rule from her mum and she played it out on the canals of Dublin as her mum( my nanny) was the unofficial midwife of Rathmines and my mother was the unofficial woman of her day  and ill be the unofficial unofficial poet of the north,un taught and un grammared my favourite word in life was fuck, i was asked by a born again christian not to use the word fuck, ok mate I said if you stop using the word god around me and ill stop saying fuck, I never meant fuck to be an offensive slang but they're tiny traditional minds could not see that. I always wanted to be the unofficIal some-one from some-where, it felt like I was an orphan and my fathers were the teachers of words I met along the way.
imagine in 2007 i was sacked from my job as arts officer for using the word fuck thats used in books magazines cds newspapers and I'm a poet trained to use words in the shallow sectarian fucking province
of Northern Ireland, were the saddest fuckers on the planet ruled by traditionalism.  Let us take the sting out of mere four letter words like wasp, life, love, fuck, rose and embed them without offence in the list of humanity and wear them close to our hearts, they might just save your life one day.

Poetry and words were swimming their way through my life and i didn't even know it,
they were finding my current like the words of a poem i wrote for Patrick Kavanagh and Raymond Carver as part of my degree thesis, ' the clarity of wonder in the undercurrents'. words have become my spiritual source meandering its current through my flow, I hope creating this bank of life for another eight years.

Albert Camus asked the only real question left to mankind: how do we deal with suicide? and in the words of John Berryman who went down that road this is my blind brow.  he knew that the only way around this problem was to find something higher than yourself and words became his dream songs, so this was my almighty being to help me over the last hurdle of life.  i haven't believed in god since i was fourteen on the way to mass when i saw a man in a balaclava shoot three people dead and raise his rifle to the heavens and yell for god and ulster.  from that day on i swore if that i would never again worship a god that man killed for, i swore i would have nothing to do with that god or the men that killed in his name.  i am looking down into the abyss of disability and all i see is words, I'm laying here waiting for my carers to come and dress me into a wheelchair for the day and return tonight to undress me into bed and that's my day everyday, words are my respite.  words have lifted through the darkest days and are swimming now around my head, the only thing that creates life building my bank of memory that finds its way in and out of my locked in syndrome.

   These words have become my order of art, my modernism in my essay of intellectual deliverance.

Matthew Arnold who was the professor of poetry in 1857 delivered a lecture at oxford,in that lecture he stated that poetry was a critic of life delivered in his form of modernism his intellectual deliverance.






the art of looking into bleak- 
blackness and finding hope.


EVENT HORIZON




Capable negativity is my way of understanding the uni-verse and the universe understanding me, the name comes from the poet Keats looking into his own death and being able to write such beautiful words.  Without him i dont think i would be writing this blog today, we all need an inner light of some sort and this is mine.



WREATH

The wind breezes
through the leaves
like blue sky
white cloud.

Green shimmers a bouquet
shivering in wind and all
we can do is look on
in awe.


WORDS OF HOPE I HOPE

I'm beginning this piece of writing with my hope, you can call it what you will, an essay, memoir, pome or story it fits into all.   I recall when I first took the stroke laying flat on my back in a hospital ward, my brain erased of 45 years of memory like a blob of porridge gruel, without form.
My friends were the only light in my sky up there on the ceiling of shadow that created my world my Chinese opera of light and dark.
My body began to shut down and there was nothing I could do only grip the blankets and hope that I didn't leave in a wooden box, people on the ward were dropping like flies and I thought that I was next so I gripped the blankets and went into a cold sweat thinking even the nurses were out to kill me.  I had no form of the norm I was like an alien on a human planet I didn't even know the difference between fantasy and reality.
A man called Billy from my ward had just died and a woman beside my bed but I didn't know who or what or why, when your in hospital all negativity is kept away from you.  I was surviving and tripping off the drugs that kept me alive sucking on tanks of oxygen like an astronaut lost in space.  They made an appointment for a tracheotomy because I had difficulty with my swallow, then they pencilled me in for to fit a peg feed to my stomach and feed me through a tube.  My friend peter called and gave me a strawberry yoghurt and my body took its nourishment so they cancelled the operation on my stomach, my body began to recover and I was able to eat pureed food. things didn't seem so dark it seems like I was pencilled in for life,  they cut my throat for the tracheotomy but my body rejected it, it didn't look like I was going to live artificially which was a huge relief.

Im laying here eight years later waiting for my carers to call at my independent home
thinking just how lucky I am to be alive, I really thought that I would leave in a coffin.  My friends called just days later and took me out to a burger joint for a milk shake and me being me in my die dog or shite the licence attitude I ordered a burger and my friends cut it and made me be careful, my body began to nourish itself.  I remember we laughed so much that night it was like my first laugh I had since the stroke, it was like a great weight had been lifted, ill never forget that thank you peter and co.  Since then ive been able to drive my own adopted car and lead an almost independent life that has given me a real life boost.  I cant understand why the D.L.A. people haven't allowed me to afford my car as I had to give it up due to cost but that's another issue.  Im so grateful to be alive and paying homage to these words that have been my saviour and  found solid form in my mind, my brain was reduced to almost nothing.  The brain is a wonderful organ of recovery, the only way I can explain this alienation is like a baby in an adults head.  Words have found my inner core and have imploded like a stroke of blogs and found this hope.

Don't get me wrong im not a blasphemer of spirituality, I know we all need an inner light to guide us towards enlightenment.  Every road I went down towards a spiritual being no thing or entity seemed to have enough faith to take me past the last hurdle of defeat where I must live in hopeful wonder.  Words and John Keats and is negative capability could take me beyond to find his light in death, he is my Jesus Christ and god is in these words that unblocked the roads, this is my road through these words of hope to hope.   This has been an amazing uplifting journey that I hope gives hope to all disabled people that there is hope within us waiting for the right word to trigger your determination in us to create syllables of hope.  It lives within us like a true faith that other faiths cannot reach, words have broken  me out of a locked in syndrome and found form to live as a human being.  I know I get blue days but when I took the stroke I couldn't see these days, I thought I would end my days as a vegetable.

          I COULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU MY FRIENDS!

+

POETRY

I have been finding form every-
day for eight years now, these

couplets of words running a-
round my one way.  This pome

says what I have to say, lost in
your every way, ive been saying

this over and over again, love
lost in every single day.

These are my words of wonder
abandoned out there in the bay

These words are beginning to un-
rhyme away from the memory of time.

spirituality in poetry doesn't hang
by a word or a rhyme pouring

wonder in a writers/readers say
they aren't just the best words in

the best order, they are my words
in me and your way.  By the end

of the pome it slips back into
memories time, these aren't just

words they are my words of hope
that have found hope in time.

THE POETS ESSENTIAL LONELINESS

“I think the artist, feels lonely. Perhaps his recourse to art, in any form, comes from his essential loneliness

                                  william carlos williams 

You have got to give a poem something of yourself and a little time and respect  before you can wear the poem like the scales of Elizabeth bishop's fish or kick William Stafford's dark over the edge and listen to the wilderness, finding a way into a poem so that it expresses a truth, finding the poems essential loneliness.
I think its very respectful how the American writers pay homage to their favourite writers before they begin to read a word of their own, we need to learn from that and give thanks to the writers who inspired us.  The way that Ted Hughes seen the fox thought on the page, poetry is a very solitary act, poetry is like the souls spoke on a wheelchair turning through life at a different motion, all words are disabled and need care to appear on the page but then its time to share the poem, to much emphasis for me is put on plagiarism and copyright and I think we have to learn to trust each other.
poets aren't marched into a stanza like a regimental troop, ok we pay homage to the soldier war poets but we are breaking away from that regimental conformity that corals us into nice neat stanzas, the road to poetry isn't along the road of war upon war, we have got to break free of old regimes and follow the beat poets the poets of the day into the new refreshing poems of tomorrow.  We are being cloned by the past but we are moving forward with a captive mind into what Chezslaw Milosz called 'a more spacious form' only with men like him are we free of old regimental way's that feed our poetry and our education into a dog eat dog system.

Only with our darkness and negativity of the past can we turn this muck to gold and break the shackles of the past and step into the enlightened future that awards people without the foot stomping circus act, we are not a pack of performing animals we are a group of civilised people called humanity without the brainwashed divides of war.
It's time to share things freely, honour and respect doesn't come down to how much money you have in your pocket, ok,  we have to live in a consumerist society but don't let greed rule the day ok we need a little to get by but its getting out of hand.
Only when you give do get your poems come  back in a new fresh eyed perspective that takes on board the criticism and turns your writing into a shared poem of trust.

Good honest writing will always find a way through the bullshit metre, we can see a lie a mile off.  Raymond carver in the book 'fires' says no tricks,  we've got to be able to trust people and just like giving and receiving a poem we've got to give and receive trust with the magic of truth.  There are no tricks in writing you can read all the self help books you want and steal other writers thunder but that wont make you into a writer, not until you stop kidding yourself,  there is only one truth and that's your truth, write the poets essential loneliness and that essential loneliness will come back and make you un-lonely.



                                   POETRY IS LIKE SUNSHINE IT'S FREE



TWO WOMEN BY A DERELICT HOME

The troubles have my mothers heart
and her daughters soul, debris lay
everywhere, the shell of home that
once was quaint , a quaint cottage 
deep in you and me.

My brother died for this to, it's sad
when you see the truth in you.



                 SKIMMING THE CREME OF THE TOP

From day one his father told him he was a waste of space so he spent his life
battling against his fathers regimental establishment ways.  His father was a re-
publican who fought the British as a member of the I,R,A, beyond the front door
in romantic rebel free Ireland but at home he was as bad as the establishment he fought against, he was a walking contradiction, he could never understand a man
that joined the British army to escape the traditional ways and ended up fighting against the British.  He learned from an early age to skim the crème of the top and began by stealing his fathers money out of his pockets while he slept, he never seen it as stealing he felt he was taking the pocket money that was due to him.  If his brother asked his father for fifty pound he would put his hand into his pocket and give it naturally but if he asked for 50p he was told to go away so he felt he was taking what was rightly his, he ended up running away from home on four occasions to escape his contradictory bullshit and leaving the home and family he loved because of his fathers jealousy towards him.  To him his father was a tight ass, so he had no criminal intention towards him but he was a miserable son of a bitch and from age thirteen he worked jobs as a message boy for the local butchers and got up at 4 in the morning for a milk run, he even stole the coins his father collected.

As a message boy he was seen going around the town on his message boy bike that looked like a deformed chunk of metal and a chain, like something he created out of scrap parts if he wasn't scooting around town the blood was dripping from the meat parcel outside the snooker hall, the people always got their meat after he had a frame or two.  Every Friday the milk-man/driver left his money bag between the seats and the motion of the van spilt money under his seat to gather there and one day while the milkman was collecting rounds he lifted the seat to sea an ocean of pocket money so every week he went home with his wage and a pocket full of tips with this and the bags of money he stole each week from the accounts desk that counted the costs for a week, even as doing good deeds for his mother he done her shopping by walking into Dunnes stores holding a brown paper bag blew up in his arms as if it was full and walk out with it full and pocket the money into his pocket money sky rocket.

By sixteen he busted his father who hated his free and easy way and was jealous of the relationship he had with his mother his father was always telling him what to do, but he was reared with the naive wisdom of his mother without morals but one golden rule of life never to do anyone any harm.  He left home at sixteen as the atmosphere between him and his father was so thick it began affecting the family, so he had a chat with his mum and they agreed is was best for everyone so he went to live with his cousins in Stoke Newington.  he bluffed his way first as a metal polisher then a goldsmith cutting shapes with a diamond tip onto gold imitation watch bracelets, London was a wild place and he was a wild boy who went with the flow. Punk was on the go the year was 1977, he was a English boy who was called a paddy because of his deep Belfast accent. he fitted in well and became one of the many mad cultures on the streets of London, it was like being an extra in a mad max movie.  Everyone was from everywhere and everybody had a licence to do whatever they wanted and blame the punk way of life, he felt like he was part of the streets he was kicked along and kicked teds soul boys skinheads and every creed and gang who heard his accent and wanted a  a piece of his English /Irish action.

He didn't know where he was or what his real name was as he came from the seed of a bastard son left on a doorstep, he fought his way through the grades of life not knowing who he was from where.  Everywhere he went he would just to go with the streets flow, and the streets flow wasn't always the nicest.  He didn't come from the traditional streets of Belfast fighting a republican war, his war was against the regimental adults trying to tell him what to do he wore the punk attitude on the sleeves of his torn boating jacket held together with pins.  He went to London to get away from the violence on the streets and walked into a culture that kicked your head in for dancing to fast, nobody knew what to do so any thing went.  by the first while he'd robbed a factory got caught by the old bill who kicked him senseless in a cell,
interrogating him to tell them his parents address who beat him and wanted to deport him, he told them they had  a nervous disposition who would take a heart attack so the judge was leneant and gave him a hefty fine and community service but he never paid it and went home, he had enough of London and its drugs and back alley ways that was supposed to broaden your mind, instead it closed down his one golden rule of life and began to suffocate his soul.  Back to his fathers confused rath and his bullshit bastard life, it seemed like everywhere he went his fathers bastard past was following through the streets.



STATE-US

The building blocks of life are E,G,O, as if were made from Lego, that's why we love it because its the building blocks of the future the nearest structure to live DNA we can hold in our hands, I  know you think Adrian has lost it the poor guy has to much time on hands, has away with the fairies but everything comes down to state-us, even the social networks and online shops who have the power because they control our state- us.  Im not writing this to start a revolution, this is not new Nietzsche, George Orwell and Bertrand Russell and the true legislators have been telling us for years this is just my version of today.

Yes I have to much time on my hands, I'm lecturing to you and me I'm one of those Lego people with a social network and a Amazon account, my whole point is to make us aware of our ego and our state-us in this snobby slant that doesn't mean were better than anybody else.  Being aware of the tiny details of life that create our bigger picture and shifts power into us and makes us confident creators, instinctive more rounded human beings.  So lets break down the snobby coloured Lego and build the foundations for a better world not based on honour and snobbery but a state-us of the real you and me and be part of an exciting social network and a finer structure of life, after all we are the creators of this world we live in so give the people the power with-
out L-EGO.




AN ODE TO TRUTH

' beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all
ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'


John Keats died for humanity
it came to me like a bolt from blue
it galloped right out of a dream
as if he was speaking his blue true.

The truth of his negative capability 
is walking around in you, do you 
want the truth of the stable-boy 
do you want what's living and true.

he died from disease, his dis-
ease was his truth and the truth
is better than fiction and that's all 
you need to know.


LIMBO

Written in 1817 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
         rewritten in 2013 by Adrian Fox

It is a strange place this limbo
where time and space aren't mine.
Seated in this wheelchair with
night-mare sense in toil of half-
being, elastic space and time in
outstretched hands in barren
shifting sands of time unmarked
as moonlight on the dial of day.

The old man sits in human time
with scant white hair and fear-
ful steady look that stops earth
to watch his sky moved by moon
and seen by sun.  his whole face
is full of silent sight, his look
looks back reflecting light.


No shapely kiss on sweet sight
limbo walled a spirit cell swirls
a ghostly swirl of shadow, horrors
fright of dull purgatory curse
a heaven/hell of future state.



AWAKE

'it is important that awake people be awake'

William Stafford made me see be-
yond 1942 and the world war
he refused to fight for.  Beyond
the old aggressions, past
the rained on silverside
and the golden brown sunny
side of my shed.  Past the grey-
blue sky with green leaves
and white budding
blossoms animating.  Past
the civil rights war that be-
came the civil wrong.  Past
my Mother playing by the Grand Canal
in Dublin and my Father throwing stones
into a murky pond in Belfast.  Past
my granny and grandpa dreaming
of a nation once again, beyond
my children's pride my grandsons
smiles and me.

It's as if that moment in 1942 has be-
come a moment in Northern Ireland
I'm on the border and I can see through
his dark standing at the side of the road
between animal and human and I kick
the animal over the edge and hear
the wilderness listen.


BLAME GAME

'imperfection is the language of art'
                                              Robert Lowell

We have lived this blame game for years
and from this silly shallowness we have created
a them and us society, everybody blames everybody
for not having things. We have created such a divide
between the rich and poor the wrong the right
the good and the evil.

We have to become a more tolerant society where
love and hate live together and good and evil right
and wrong live in one non judgemental society
where right is wrong and good is evil we are all just
humans who make mistakes but lets be tolerant
and not toss people away to spend their lives behind
a wall, what a waste of life. 


We live in a world full of graveyards and prisons
yet we have created this world we live in, we aren't
non judgemental enough to see past the laws that we
have created from this them and us society, if we lived
in a world where everybody is right and everybody
is wrong, a world where we don't hang draw and quarter 
for the wrongs that come from a society that we created. 


We have got to stop this blame game only then will we have
less war and suicide because we would feel better about our-
selves crime would lower if we become a more tolerant society
and learn to live in a world that doesn't reach for perfection,
were all right and were all wrong were all good and were all evil
but isn't this a wonderful imperfect world.





ABSTRACT HEAD
By Jawlensky


When I saw that painting
for the first time
it  blew  my eyes away.

He studied that form
‘The face’
for ten years
to see what we cant see.

I can see myself
evolve
In the brushstrokes.

A FUTURED POEM FROM THE PAST



Every writer writes the past

as if there is someone or some-

thing within susceptible to now.



A living past in the present like

a gift making its mark  on this page

today.  At this moment I think William-

Stafford is behind this but I cant be

sure, I cant fit the name to the form.



Its all those wonderful writers who

wrote under my skin like Indian ink

in skin its written below the finger-

print that becomes part of the psyche.



the writer of yesterday writes
today in you.

a cul-
de sac of pome's


A pharmacy of pills, red
yellow, pink and blue
purple and morning, noon,
evening and night a rain-
bow of drugs that keep
me right

literally im living for this
moment, literally living for
this day

this isn't a sonnet or a haiku
its literally formed
my way

this pome is becoming
my moment and my
moment is becoming
my day

I want to explode from within this
and let it become your say
I want to put form into form
and let it read one way.




In my world of poetry and art
every moment counts syllables
and brush-strokes that keep me
here upon this earth.

My moment is created by
the moment of finding positivity
even in this barren landscape
of disability, hope is within.

Even in my darkest day of suicidal
hope there is a tiny glimmer that in-
tices the reader into my poems.

its a strange world in here in this
adopted darkness, a few years ago
I lived like a dog in un-adopted dark
where I could only access four rooms
but even there I found hope on
the black paths of poetry and art.

This is my hollow-gram of hope
the weight of my soul is within
these words skimming
the troubled water like
a bridge.


LYRA

'I have two luxuries to brood over,
your loveliness and the hour of my death'.

Keats to Fanny Brawne July 25, 1819



John Keats holds the seat of poetry
the instrument plucked by the breeze
of Orpheus, riding high on the horse
of poetry, a stable-boy on Equules colt
star in the major magnitude of Lyra.

Like a knight shielding his mother's honour
the room fell into quietness, remembering
he wiped her fevered brow, the memories
of melancholy flooded, writing with
this living hand, this moment.

Luxuries of death and love keep me within

higher paradigms of expanded darkness, writ
water on the rippled land, his soul was soaked
in the shipwreck futures salty brine among
the mean streets beneath the bells of bow.


the casual graves of night soils along the dark
shore of the Thames, an uneasy light headedness
sweeps over gathering darkness swallows sky.



THE  WAVES OF RAIN





The waves of rain
swept the black-
roads, cars are like boats
in the wind.

The sin-news and tendons
of the threads of life are
broken in there, an on-
going rope of phlegm.

You can only climb out
of the well so far and swallow
the chain of hope and spit out
the bile of hopelessness
and regurgitate wonder.

after a storm that fell like
a monsoon theres a smell
of crisp clean printed pages
the scent of bark in a forest.

as if a squirrell was
a scurrying squirrell
and man was only a man
walking by.






A CUBIST DREAM

A black-bird-
went by the
vertical blind
and the gaps
in the fence
like a gait of
motion picture
move-ment
be-coming
a cubist dream.

light makes
shape of light.


stories,paintings,

pome's











TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE OF SUFFERING

'remember humanity forget the rest'

I'm not delivering an essay from some twisted ongoing vandetta but I thought I was living a lie by my father from his twisted lying bastard past, I have accepted that I must find my truth in art but humanity has been lied to, we live in a moral maze even if we don't believe in a fairytale god, we don't know what we believe in this twisted moral maze.  Christianity has brain washed us into this twisted moral maze and we must untwist ourselves into our truth for humanity to find any truth, progress.  Humanity has been raped and pillaged by a twisted belief that has hijacked spirituality and raped mother earth.  I think its time that humanity found it's way it's truth.
Humanity has been in a stale-mate for centuries Christianity has robbed everything good that was in paganism and has violated mother earth and if this essay only works on one level my level to find my truth well then that's good enough for me.

At the end of the day this is only what I believe, I am believer in truth so you believe what you want.  life as we know it was created from a negative capability,
we have to be more honest with ourselves and accept what Keats called the negative capability and face death and the knowledge of suffering.  im not saying we have to walk around like the cheisher cat that shit with big stupid sentimental grins lost in a nursery rhyme fairytale but we have to face the truth of life which is the truth of death.  Keats faced this truth of death in life and was a wonderful human being
another wonderful human being said :

"Who ever does not sometimes give full consent, and a joyous consent, to the dreadfulness of life, can never possess the utterable richness and power of existence."

               Rainer Maria Rilke


Life and all its magic beauty was created by the big bang theory so we have to face the suffering of life and stop living in this bubble of fairytale creation and face up to life and stop burying our heads in sentimentality.  the only way for us to become like Keats and Rilke and hold true humanity in our hands is face the truth and become one with nature.  Keats had to go away to find the truth and rilke had to struggle in isolation to find this magic and say what a true mans tells himself and stops lying to himself, it feels like were walking away from humanity, were on the way down so lets go down to come up.

For a lifetime we have lived in confessional boxes of secrets and lies that have fuelled holy war and abuse well I'm taking no more, my family has died and killed themselves through drink over this land because of these pervert liars who are allowed to twist our children's minds, these are weak twisted people who live in another century.  Never again in my life will I put my foot into a church, they have sucked me dry and we pay these people to abuse our kindness, we must accept the real law of the land not a carnal canon law that bends you over a desk and fucks you up the ass.  I'm taking it no more I am living in the real world where I accept the reality of life and my negativity turns my life into realism not lies upon lies upon lies that twist life into a sentimental fairytale.  my mother has lived a life of poverty and lies in a holy abused war, we are free from the clutches of our minds being warped by corruption and lies that has fed of our suffering as if they have a monopoly on death and dying.  Death is a beautiful thing and we have been told that it is wrong but until we embrace death as a part of life that is as magic as life itself and the people left behind embrace their giving of life from a warm un-twisted human being, then only then will we have a true life left to create the true path of humanity.  I'm sorry if I have offended anybody I am not saying this to shove my opinion down your throat but all I ask is you read this my truth and wake up and go your own way.  This is only my truth and you have yours but as they said in a song on the album Rumours, 'go your own way'.  John Keats the great truthful poet of humanity said:

'There is a flaw in happiness to see beyond our bourn-

it forces us in summer skies to mourn,

it spoils the singing of the nightingale'
                  
                                                   John Keats

It seems we pay to get into this world and we pay when we leave, its as if the church has a toll charge on life and death.  Keats and Rilke live and die up to the statement of Shelly's that poets are the true legislators of the world, theses are two exceptional human beings who embraced their truth and went their own way so I would say true poets are the true legislators of the world.  The more truth and knowledge of suffering we learn the less we need the church to live our lives for us.  The man of achievement can only be reached through the un-certainty truth and beauty, it seems humanity is at a checkpoint and life is in a limbo state we live in a world full of lies and corruption so lets be exceptional human beings and face truth through the life of death and be the guardians of ourselves honest true human beings with the licenses of truth.  we can only move forward through truth when we stop lying to ourselves. 



THE MAN WHO FELL 
TO EARTH

'Poets don't know what they are doing?
if they did it wouldn't be done'

Why I'm sitting here with a masters degree and four books of poetry published is beyond me, no one in my family ever wrote.  I was born in Kent and all I can remember is a block of council flats in London where the rubbish was shoved into a shute that was my technology my progress.  Seems I was born on the streets, I recall
playing with my brother in a pedal car, I grew up in a room full of t-chests and picture frame markings on the wall not knowing if the family were moving in or out.  I spent my first years in that state of unknowing as if the walls were stamped by a bastard bureaucrat who didn't know where he belonged.  I was born into this bastard flow listening to my fathers Northern Ireland hard man republican rhetoric and my mothers naive Dublin wisdom, I grew up in a quea sah rah utterance of not knowing what to do, nothing much has changed as I still don't know what im doing.  I just went with the flow as long as my high chair was piled with food I didn't care. 


The only books I ever read were on Hollywood and the I.R.A. so I grew up in a movie of grave yard vigil like gone with the wind with the wind that shakes the barley as the civil war scenes. I was reared into that realm of un-knowing, born on that republican border, my father was born and placed in a basket by a door in north Belfast, each one of us six siblings were born in different towns as we were like a brood of gypsies moving home and school running from my fathers bastard past.  Why im in a room full of dead poets musician hero's is beyond me, I don't know where my gift of literature came from, I might not know very much but I know good writing, I don't know where the rhythm of life came from.  I wasn't any good at school in fact I hated it, I had no interest and hated authority so school was just a kicking shop for me and I fought everyday through the grades being the little English boy kicked up and down the playground I became good with my boot the only thing was I didn't know and still don't know what boot to kick with I passed my street exams fighting one of the best fighters in the school.

Between my bad boyness being beaten down by regimental adults and me breaking windows and being expelled I got what kavanagh called a basic education, I was always good at English and art but only one teacher knew that, a mister o' Donohue
my secondary school form teacher, when he recited stories poems and literature I became hypnotised by the  tales of Gulliver's travels or plays by Shakespeare as I could relate them to life on the troubled streets of Ireland.  I was in a dunce class where teachers left the room stabbed by compasses but when my form teacher recited literature I went his way and shunned all my friends messing.   I remember walking into the assembly hall for my maths exam signing my name neatly at the top of the page and walking out to get four percent, that was my pass I went out and punched the sky as if I had failed and beat the bastards,all I wanted was to leave school get a job and earn my own money and tell my miserable cunt of a dad to fuck off and I  done that walking into the house smoking and we fought by the fridge and I busted him and went to London, the year was 77' wearing a boating jacket ripped to shreds and held together with pins.  Everywhere I went I scribbled down the words of the street being into punk before punk listening to Lou Reed and David Bowie when I heard bowie and Lou reed in a friends bedroom in Dundalk in 1974 it was as if we took heroine and fell wanking in the hall and here's to you and me boys.  The literature of the streets was living my life and I was a part of those songs poems and plays.  I began to dress like a john cooper Clark figure with make up and undertakers hats with nail varnish, because I was sent on interviews by the job centre I wore nail varnish not to get the jobs I didn't want to work, my favourite song was career opportunities by the Clash that went, 'career opportunities no one will ever know every job they offer you is to keep you of the dole', I still live by that today,  I was a boy from the black stuff the Northern Irish black stuff an alternative Ulster.  Now I have an M.A. hanging on the wall beside my paintings and published books of life,  I might be in a wheelchair but in here theres still the soul of a punk writing his way out of this capitalist traditional life, I was never was just a prod or a taigsitting on the fence this was my war, I was always a fucking human from planet fucking earth.




IN HERE

In here things don't
seem to move like
they do out there

clouds-drift
sun-shines
cars drive by

loneliness doesn't
seem to have moved
in years, there are no

mirrors in here to see me go.
                              





BEYOND BLUE



' beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all

ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'




Keats has given us the gift 

of the grief of life 

in a Grecian urn.



He came so close to his under-

standing death through 

his negative capability. 



He gave us the poetry of life

by seeing and feeling death. 



I owe my life to this man,

when I couldn't see past

my own disability when 

all the poets and artists 

took me to my point, 



Keats took me to blue 

and showed me the way beyond.


           Nietzsche's inner piece

Raz-rat woke to yet another damp lonely day, as the church bells rang and the rain fell he sat by the window writing a poem he fell into, into the solitude of his writing where bells of art rang from a majestic masterpiece, as if his voice had the voice of art, expressing himself only through his art form.  Where the bells of god couldn't influence his words, a place where words flowed with inner peace not warped by a brain washed mind, 'why cant I stand on my own two feet', he asked and laughed at the fact that he couldn't even walk or stand.

Poems flowed from him and he put them straight onto a blog called 'Losers Weepers'
even the blogs realistic title brought a smile to his face knowing that most people
wouldn't understand his black humour. Fredrich Neitzsche was his hero and he believed him to be the godfather of punk that began in the eighteen hundreds, he was the men of men, he was a true man of conviction, a man relived through these words that were written over two hundred years ago but they rang with the truth and naturalness of today as if they were his words, even when he read them back to himself while typing they sounded like his words of truth.

The poems flowed from him like seeds of truth writ for the hope of the future.  he didn't reject god but he could not live in a sentimental fairytale world of hypocrisy, where god was being abused and twisted by man, he needed truth and reality for his pomes.  We have been lied to for to long its time we broke this cycle of violence
he told himself, its time to break free of holy wars.  He remembered a time as a kid
on his way to a mock confessional climbing the steps of holy cross church in Belfast in the early 70's as he strode the steps armed with a cheap plastic mother of pearl prayer book, he heard gunfire from behind and he ducked into the bushes to see a man with a machine gun held in the air yelling for god and Ulster standing over three dead bodies.  it was as if he blinked and took a photo and etched it into his mind like the image of a Russian propaganda poster forever scarred into his mind.  I want nothing to do with a god that is being used to kill, he looked down at the prayer book and up at the great doors threw the prayer book away and ran home crying.

only now can we live true lives in a true world through art, 'god is dead', art is the true meaning of life, I must break free of this molly cuddled society where man has been brain washed and cant stand alone in the world of truth, he looked into the pools of the worlds tears and said:  'man is a rope stretched between animal and superman, a rope over the abyss, what is great in man and art is it is the bridge reaching the other shore'. a spirit rose from within and poetry flowed out and he versed a spirit of truth, filled with life and death, the grief of life he never hid away behind the gravestones of the past.  his poetry spoke of man in the dream of god, intoxicated in the theory of good and evil in the confusion of right and wrong, he saw man within his guilt in the bowels of other worlds like the Dantes illustrations to hell.  Write with blood for blood is the spirit of the little boy who walks alone shrouded in thick melancholy.

To  war and warrior we love you,  I know the hatred and envy of your hearts, be great enough to be ashamed, step away from holy war and do not kill in the name of god.
I give you bread and medicine to my friend for there is truth in friendship.  this is the night song the fountain of dark, this is the soul of soul and it sings like a lark.  this is the black hole that sings with light, I give to you the grave song and this is my wreath of life for you to celebrate the wept journey.

ZARATHRUSTRA

God is there for the weak confused misunderstood people and Nietzsche's superman theories are there for the rest. Zarathrustra is a big bold beautiful boy, a manesfestation
of man with good and bad traits of realism where god 


is a spiritual entity that fills the void of ignorance and un-intelligence. I'm not saying one is any better than the other but Zarathrustra is conjured up more in the modern world where god is outdated, god speaks to us from the biblewritten thousands of years ago and the superman maxims were written only hundreds of years ago and are closer to the truth of how we live today, the god parables speak of holy war crusades but in the knowledgeable mind we are past holy wars that go against. The only way to move forward is to stop this cycle of violence, I know we cant reach a utopian perfection but lets get as close as we can, man needs 

conflict to show him the way through the in-between.






CLARITY

"When England was the whore of the world,
Margaret was her madam"
                                                   Elvis Costello

Watching the road thinking about
Maggie Tarmac Thatcher, not much
has changed here since then:

Were still struggling to be free,
economically the road may as
well be a stream of sewer run-
ning through the middle ages

Were still listening to helicopters
cutting the sky, trying to imprison
the Real I.R.A. and this is supposed to
be a time of peace.  Life still feels
like a them and us state shaped
like a piece of coal.

When are the true legislators going
to be allowed to stand up in a stanza
and hail poetic freedom from the un-
flagged rooftops.  Were drowning in
this consumerist mud.

When are we going to turn this muck
into gold and face the fact that life
has two sides to each coin and stop
playing the one sided blame game
celebrating the righteous chosen few

We are all people of this one nation
standing up in this stanza of seen-
through, so lets celebrate the death
of life and get on with the life of death?





THE GEMS OF REALITY

"Who ever does not sometimes give full consent, and a joyous consent, to the dreadfulness of life, can never possess the utterable richness and power of existence."
               Rainer Maria Rilke
       
John Keats and Rainer Maria Rilke are alive today in their words of magic, spinning their thread of poetry in a web of modernist negative capability through the world of economic strife, making us accept the dark gems of reality and see who we really are.  The real me and you without the lies of false consumerism, this hopelessness is bringing us down to earth where we hit the ground running and create magical poems songs and art that will fill us with the spirit of the masters, as Patrick Kavanagh said "poverty is good for the soul".  These true men of conviction are protecting us in a balm against the silly sentimental shallowness of celebrity manufactured culture and the greed of consumerism in a throw away political nonsense society.  They are chiselling away like masons of the tongue on headstones rising from the earth in our graveyard of truth like pods that will cast the blogs of tomorrow.

This is the time to wake up to the world of human frailty and stop hiding behind the hem of Christianity.  I'm not out to offend or blaspheme, I know we all need spirituality but lets fill the cathedrals with music art and poetry.  Christianity was a wonderful cloak against the middle ages but there's something flawed in a society when they hail a man in a dress in a pope mobile when there are people in the world without the mobility of a wheelchair and access to take them to the street corner.   To a society that puts a singer/paedophile in jail and a leader of paedophiles in a dress on a stage.  Lets bail Christianity out and save it any more sex scandals or holy war embarrassments of going against the grain of mod-ernism.  We cant have the spirituality of yesterday clashing with the realism of tomorrow.  I apologise if anyone is offended but as Tom Waits said get down of the cross we need the wood to build an infrastructure that helps people, were not building a them and us state or a judgemental society in a dog eat dog world, stop this blame game, you don't need religion to be spiritual.

Don't get me wrong I'm not an angry god hater, its man I have the problem with, I just hate organised religion and liars.  We are not Prods or Taigs or Isralei Palastinians we are humans, Religion has caused divisions within us that started war all over the world.  we spend millions on defence while we live in poverty watching the fire works display of war.


        A MEADOWBROOK ELEGY WRIT INTO AN ODE

What might blossom from the muse tree
and spread its wings like an angel.
locked in this cell of dark worship, I am
compiling a disabled autistic symmetry
of words looking from the inside out.

among the cold stanza's and soiled brush-
strokes, even if I was dipped in the muse-
I would die in their force of being, for beauty
is the infant within truth and wonder.
every art holds a terrible beauty and I in-
spect mine before spitting out my black cry.

we are amazed when touched with dark hope.
who can help us now? only art not angels or man-
kind manning the barricades of ignorance.
the branch of tree on that black hill aches

a numb and lonely pain
As though a sad elixir were shot through.
A pale faced melancholy rises evaporating
rivers of sentimental happiness.

The winged leaves of nature
Sing the notes of spring, summer, autumn
And winter.

It’s as if at birth I was given a dose
Of negative capability and even in this death
Of life my poetic mind it is tinged with a glimmer.

Flying in this moment on wheel-chaired chariots.
I feel the flowers at my feet and the rains upon
my brow embalmed in un-adopted darkness
within this waking dream.

           


It is a flaw in happiness, 
to see beyond our bourn-
it forces us in summer skies to mourn, 
it spoils the singing of the nightingale.
                                                       John Keats


PRAYER

Poetry is as Robert frost said ‘the sound of sense’
And as Robert Creely said ‘you write the senses
In front of you’.  In writing poetry we fill in the gaps
Of sense to help us understand this mess, trying to
Bridge the gap between the pen and the pure page.

Projecting the past into a readable present.
Every day a poet has a new beginning a rebirth
A smudge of reality on the clean page.

Poetry is like jazz music it trembles to caress
The vibrations of life.  We live in this moment
And because of what we see and hear,  dwelling
In this reality our attitude to the language dictates
What we write. Because of what I seen when I was a boy
And as a poet ill try to capture that:

I Strode the steps of holy cross church
trying to stride two steps at a time
Armed with a cheap plastic prayer-book.
Just as I was approaching the great doors
I heard gunfire from behind, I turned to see
A man in a balaclava holding a gun in the air
Victorious he yelled for god and Ulster
Standing over three dead bodies.

I looked at the prayer-book the gun in the sky
And the great doors and threw my prayer-book
Away and ran home crying.









                                                             

A WHEELCHAIR AND A WINDOW

I was trying to find a nice way into these words but the only way is through a bastard life, I cant paint the fact that my father was left at a doorstep in a basket and I took a stroke aged 45 paralysed confined to a wheelchair.  I couldn't even begin to fathom how bleak his young life was growing up on the cobbled streets of Belfast in the 30s, it must have been like living in hell for a young boy growing up with the word bastard echoing streets and alleyways like a chant.  He left home aged fifteen said he was seventeen went to England and joined the British army.  All my life I have lived his lie, I am one of six kids born in different towns in England, Birmingham, London, Coventry Kent and Belfast his lie running away, every word that came from his mouth was a lie.  these words are my truth so these truths are written for my Father John Joseph fox- Irvine,  I don't even know if thats his real name but as he called everybody he never knew Jim so this is for Jim- John- Joe- Sean whoever, my da, I think ?

Being a poet/artist I wanted literature and poetry to run through the veins of these words, I was trying to find a link with the words of great men.  I was leafing through
' finders keepers' Seamus Heaney's book of selected prose and the only link I could find was a title for this book 'losers weepers' realising that our lives were lived on different planets, the academic world and my world were total opposites, so as Keats said, 'sorrow is wisdom', I hope you find hope in my bleakness I know I found magic in writing it.


I was born in Kent England in 1961 of Irish parents, my mother from Dublin and my Father from Belfast so I grew up with a southern romantic view of Ireland and the harsh reality of Northern Ireland .  I don't remember to much of England, being stuck in a lift in a pram on the isle of dogs, my sister beating a boy in a wendy house and my brother cutting his hand, so England for me was just a block of flats where the pictures were removed and put in t-chests and life was stamped on the walls not knowing if the family were moving in or out.  The first six years of my life was spent in a highchair in this world of unknowing if I was coming or going.  The first traumatic thing i remember was aboard an aeroplane taxi-ing onto the runway of aldergrove airport Belfast being jolted back and forth like a rag doll and my father saying i was too sensitive and needed to much attention and my mother holding my hand saying hes only a child, filling three sick bags, i suppose i was somewhere in between a sensitive/harsh  little boy maybe it was that hard sensitivity that moulded me into a writer.  The first years of my life was spent in that state of unknowing moving home and changing school every six or seven months, after a while it became the norm and we were like modern day travellers.  Belfast during the troubles was the safest place for my father to hide his anxiety and paranoia and find trust in his lies.  he almost became a normal father bringing home a treat from work on friday nights, if there is such a thing?



AN EXTRACT A DAY
                                                                                                             
poetry is like sunshine its free









SWAN CLOUD

The first signs of sun
and blue sky, jet streams
cut as if the airline to para-
dise is now in service.
One shoots across the sky
colliding with a cloud be-
coming its tight rope to
walk the sky.

Spring is almost here
Mr spring slowly balances
it in drifting.  Even I look
up not to see a celestial being
in a heavenly paradise but
to see a flock of swans
migrating home. 









TWO LINES



Two lines of light go

across my ceiling,

I've watched them all

night listening to wheels

come and go, they're my

trans-link into memory.



An over-night train from

Straneraer to London when

I was sixteen running away

from home.  Now that I think

I've spent my life running away

from home and now I'm lost.



I can't really remember a mo-

ment from childhood, did I

have one?  My father was always

trying to steal mine.  Just cause

he was a hard man from Belfast

left in a basket at someone's door.



I've been playing a life

time of rap door run.


 COME LEG OR ILL DRAG YOU



Its funny how life 
becomes a statement.

I used to laugh at people
 who were unbalanced

Saying ‘come leg or ill drag ya’

You should have seen me
 this morning and every

Morning stumbling like a drunk
 into the wheelchair.







universal thirst


Tiny droplets of colour

swirl my coffee cup

like oil on water

forming constellations

shapes and forms.



I could read almost any-

thing into them but

I just drink them down in-

to me.





 ScUlPtUrE oF FoRm



                A poem or a good piece of art

                     T-R-A-N-S-C-E-N-D-S

                   You into a magic moment

             When the realisation or his or her

                     R-E-A-L-I-S-A-T-I-O-N

                     of that piece of art  clicks.



           At that moment we are taken from this

             H-U-M                                  DRUM   

               WORLD.



          Carriers of great lines, this flock of words

          Or paint or dance or music this sculpture

          OF                                                 FORM.






                              





                 They sum up a time and a place

                 A BIRTH                                                      A DEATH

          They fill that moment with contentment

              It don’t have to be a moment of happiness or sadness
                      BUT IT’S A MOMENT.

AWE



A we money spider ab-

sailed from the ceiling.

He spun down that web

threading life that we

hold dear.  To us

thousand and thousands

of feet but just a unseen

thread hanging there
above my head. 


FEAR



                

Sleep has past me by like

A stranger in the night

Opening my weary eyes

To the minds beautiful sight  

Nerve ends tingle and

the senses are alight

the smell of memory lingers

from the pillow-white

I see there in the darkness

A sense that tenderness might

Raise me from the bed

Elevate me beyond my sight.



Sleep will come again

When I do not know

I will dream that I can feel

The falling drifting snow

The scent of spring, buds

Forced through me to grow     

The warmth of summer

Comfort in my childrens flow

I shall taste the autumn

Leaves breezing to and fro 

And I shall taste all this

Within the earth tomorrow.                      


ON THE RUN



I woke disorientated locked in

A cell locked into a disabled

Sectarian nightmare.  All the other

Patients were set free to protest

Peacefully and riot on the streets.



It was as if I was folding into an un-

Poetic stanza and I had to get my dream

Process back on track into my truth

Or else id be left here alone between

The bars of my profile bed.



I moved the pillow back and plumped

My dream and in my head it erased

A line of repetitive rhyme.  I was sleeping

Like I sit in the wheelchair bent and dis-

Illusioned, I felt like one of the dead men

Unwalking.  How did I survive, I asked myself?



I had to fall from an English-

Boy into an Irish

man running free

In dream.


A3 PAINTINGS



PONDERS END

IM of John Keats



I don’t see a map laid out

in front of me, I can see

the scars of humankind.



All roads pulsate poetry

Out of the city and beyond

The arteries vein on and on

And on to ponders end.



I can feel a man that’s feeling me

I can feel a man that’s cutting true.




20  ODD LINES



I was the man in my mind

I needed you and you needed me

to be the man in your mind.



I saw you rise in the colours

I traced on the wallpaper



Your colours oppressed me

And blemished my days matching

Streets, blood stained, war




Camouflaged green, hidden

In the dog barking voices

out there concealed by the wind.



I never understood those colours

Until you shed through my tears

Locked in the room, blue



White the colour of sky be-

low a scrubbed disinfectant sun.






WINTER SUN THAWS THE ICE



Revealing lush grass and earthly delights

Every tree bears a scar, every walked on

blade of grass.  Even the black-bird

has a problem with the Robin scouring

the earth-tossing aside yesterdays rotting

leaves to find the food of survival.



Imagine this is Legahory, Craigavon

Northern Ireland and I’m sitting in the car

outside the health centre waiting for my wife

who will arrive any moment now with a pre-

scription that will help her through an-

other stage of life.



The dream




I began to 
sway awake
and out.

Like snippets of silken
Shadow from the dream 
I've been having all of my life.

A catalyst without ink to stain
undulating through fingerprint
silk-screen frames.

White on white but there in sleep 
it was a bomb-blast of colour 
like a painting by a master.

All that remains is shadow
the wind and rain settles
and the words i had stored
for this poem lie fragmented 
on the page.









INSIDE OUT

NO, no, no, go not in-
to the darkness with-
in darkness. 

The door will close
and will not let you out.

For you life is with-
out a purpose so
create a purr-
Pose within
these words.





‘not till here and beyond
                voices are rendered lasting
                and pure’
                                  Rilke  





A FOUND POME

Listening to the rain,
I want to go out there
And shower myself.

I want to feel it on my scalp
Trickle down my fore head
And fall from my eye-lids.

Don’t get me wrong I’m male
Not afraid to cry, it pelts in
Her soul.  ‘my waters have


Broke’.  I want to walk out but
Just as I wheelchair the rain
Ends and the falling rain falls

To a trickle, now that the rain
Has stopped, there is silence
I wait in the long pause let it

Ferment in my brain, smother me
In love, I want to go sit on my door-
Step cry and let the rain finish this pome.

   

A COLD SON OF A BITCH



                                                        ‘yet why not say what happened’
                                                                                          Robert Lowell


John looked from the kitchen window, the sink he stood by was like the interior of a

well worn tea pot or the inside of his lungs sucking on yet another cigarette.

The street light threw a subtle pastel glow on the still housing estate, the red rusted

Volkswagen beetle stood like a monument to his life.  He told himself, ‘ill have to get

stuck in and fix that car tomorrow’.  He dropped a few sleeping pills and rinsed them

down with a cold swig of tea and ‘ill have to clean this place’ he told himself

climbing the stairs.  He dreamed the usual sixty year old dream of young ladies

running naked through summer meadows.  When he woke it was those abstract

images of memory that disturbed him and lingered like a blunt saw through his aching

heart.  It’s a suffering fucking hell he told himself throwing cold water over his face

as if extinguishing the image in the mirror and the reality of his bald head and pointed

features.   The stench of his loss lingered with every step he took down those steps

where once walked the wife and mother of his dreams.  He could almost see her

walking down those stairs to meet the day with that irish strength that pushed the sore

reality to the ground.  Im a loser he told himself a stupid bastard remembering being

an infant in a basket found on a front door,  a single droplet of salted tear fell from

his hard Belfast exterior he brushed  the tear aside like the murdering bullet from an

armalite rifle.  As he ejected the stale teabags from the teapot he thought I have to go

doctors today and get that dla form filled in and get a mobility allowance and have a

new car instead of that almost unrepairable rusted old banger.  He remembered how

the car looked in the nights subtle pastel glow,  and said god you’re a bastard you and

your cold light of morning.

He sat in the doctors waiting room trying to remember good times like his first born

or his wedding day but this annoying ugly kid kept shoving leaflets in his face about

cancer of the bollox and depression.  Just as he was about to smack the kid up the

head he heard the broken english voice of the Pakistani doctor call his name on the

tanoi like a conductor on a bus.  As the doctor filled in a section of the dla form and

wrote some prescriptions for depression angina headaches and the general feeling

that life is a sick load of balls. John was calling him a black bastard in his mind

because he asked him exaggerate his findings on the form and received instead

a lecture on the ethics of medicine.  John was a bigot he didn’t know how to be

anything else, he hated blacks, pakis, Chinese  as well as all those beautiful

women he could not have and especially that bitch that left him after thirty one years 

and six children.  He walked home through the maze of housing estates with his bag

of pills for every ill but the aching black hole in his heart.  Going past the derelict

houses full of grafitti he remembered the night the police man called.

The shadow of black cap was cast off and fell through the hall like the black cloud of

Depression,  ‘your daughters have been searching for you’ screeched, crashing with a

families laughter.  Those words rang through his mind like the word bastard the winds

of a harsh winter reminding him that life can be a cold son of a bitch.  He passed the

old decrepid bettle without an engine with out much hope of ever pumping fluid

through its rotten pipes.  He opened the front door and half expected his wife to pass

him and his children playing music and busying around the house,  instead he was met

by the grey stench of loneliness.  He stood by the sink steadying himself as those

words pounded through his head he washed down paracetamol and an anti depressant.

His head pounded filled with anxiety he staggered into the living room and threw

himself on the sofa putting his feet up on the coffee table between the carbareatur .

And the innards of a TV he was trying to fix.  He then stood up over the hearth and

placed a little blue tablet below his tongue and his heart rate began to fall and he was

able to catch his breath and relax.  He climbed the stairs and threw himself on the

single bed this is my bed I must lie in it he told himself and looked through the ceiling

through the grey sky through the galaxy of stars burning in the darkness of his sight

crumpled up into a little boy and cried himself to sleep.  He woke with the

hope of a thirty year old man he debt,  he bounded out of bed to tackle the unbeatable

day,  ‘you cant beat a good cry’, he told himself throwing water about his worn

features.   He brushed the hair from the nape of his neck to cover his bald patch and

brought it to a point on his forehead.  He sang walking down the stairs a song he sang

to his children when they cried, ‘you don’t have to be  a baaa  aaby to cry’.

Opening a cupboard in the hall he dragged a filthy pair of overalls from a pile of

clothes on the floor and stepped into them tucked his hair into a tweed cap and lifted

the toolbox.  The morning was a little cool but the sun was coming up strong above

the grey housing estate, ‘ this is gonna be a good day’, he thought sucking in the

almost fresh air.  Opening the passanger door of the car creaking like a great sigh

reaching in he delved between unsecured seating  busted wings and an exhaust

hauling a jack from the debris.  He took the cross shaped wheel brace and placed it on

one of the four nuts,  before taking hold he stooped and spat on his hands taking hold

he gripped the brace and turned with all his might and tried to budge the nut as if it

was his last task on earth.  He cursed the car and gave it everything he had, all a sixty

year old worn heart could muster.  A heart like a prune without syrup dried and left in

the searing desert of hurt to long,’ ya red bastard, ya german fucker, ya useless heap

of shit,  he mumbled as the sweat broke on his brow.  He rested a while leaning

against his dream and took a cigarette from his top pocket lit and sucked, he licked the 

beads of sweat that fell across his lips he ran his tongue across his lips once more they

were cold and grey he licked once more unsure and tasted death.





A CARE PLAN

A line of jet stream
Shoots across the sky
And clouds my view.

I'm as free as a carers time-
Table, a bundle of shit
Tied up in the middle

I’m dressed like a rag-doll
And left at the breakfast table
To take thirteen a day, tablets
To balance me-my mood.



UN-BROKE

My imagination was running wild
Chopped up by a chainsaw being filed
Cof-fined like a piece of trash
Mind scrambled and reality mashed.

My throat cut for a track-e-otomy,
My body rejected, does no-more for me
Frustration of having no emergency cord,
Locked-in-syndrome-alphabet bored.

In physio I couldn’t put my foot on the floor
Speech-therapy was like ahhhh nursery chore.
I spent my days looking out a window at Foster Green, 
my life was a poetic land-
scaped scene.

Meal times was like one flew over my cuckoos nest
With brain damaged injuries abused like incest.
I don’t ever want to forget those days even if it makes
Me sad today, laughing with nurses pulled me through
Poetry art and my children gave me life’s clue

It don’t matter if you have puberty or a stroke
accept your lot and you’ll be un-broke.





EMPATHY


We live in a dog eat dog world but
I' m not barking or biting back.
It's survival of the fittest
and I aint very fit, I live each day
on honesty-these words
are my only truth.  Poetry and art
are all i have so I give them
away for free, wev'e got to give
to get so when will you see me?                              


                                    







MY BLUE DISABLED DOOR


I.M. of Dennis o Driscoll

My blue disabled door
Opens automatic and al-
Most lets a visitor in.

Well I can pretend.
The ghost of Christmas past
Came in and walked out.

The door is on a cycle
It closes after thirty seconds
So guests just come and go.


Halfway down the hall, I stopped
And turned back to slurp my soup.
I was going to listen to a poet read
On you tube, this is real poetry
I thought and through the silence
I heard your poem-‘Someone’.



                   THE PURE POET

Somebody once said that some men aren’t meant to be happy they are meant to be great, Patrick Kavanagh is one such man.  He seen himself beyond himself beyond poverty, Mucker, Dublin and even beyond his reality of spirit that he found on the ‘grand canal’ bank.  Only when we are lost are we found, only when something is taken from us do we find an Inner strength, at the moment he wrote that poem/leafy with love and the green waters of the canal/ or the moment that Raymond Carver reached out in the poem to shake the doctors hand in ‘what the doctor said’ or the moment that Robert Lowell wrote epilogue and the line’ imperfection is the language of art’.

There are lots of magic moments in poetry the list is endless, it is them moments that make life worth living for me.  He might have had a lung removed and tossed into the hospital incinerator but the day he walked the grand canal banks his soul was on fire and he almost joined the ranks of the pure poet with Keats and Rilke, just when he reached the pinnacle of poetic words god takes over the poem.

Patrick Kavanagh and Raymond carver are my reason for writing, they gave me the confidence to write these words, I love carvers filthy realism, ive read him and Kavanagh for years and everytime I read Kavanaghs selected or collected I want to read them without god.  The soil and the poverty would be so much richer without god and that’s my opinion, I believe that Christianity has ruined this country, the conflict in this country has been going on for 300 years and once we were finished with that we had the church sex scandals, I believe that Christianity the cause of both scandals has hindered this country and put us on the back burner where we play catch up.  Even in my creative writing classes I hated the word god in a poem or the essence of god, the power and the majesty that we’ve placed on three letters is to much for any poem to hold so for me poems with the word god crumble.

I was 14 when this happened on my way to a mock confirmation mass


PRAYER

Poetry is as Robert frost said ‘the sound of sense’
And as Robert Creeley said ‘you write the senses
In front of you’.  In writing poetry we fill in the gaps
Of sense to help us understand this mess, trying to
Bridge the gap between the pen and the pure page.

Projecting the past into a readable present.
Every day a poet has a new beginning a rebirth
A smudge of reality on the clean page.

Poetry is like jazz music it trembles to caress
The vibrations of life.  We live in this moment
And because of what we see and hear,  dwelling
In this reality our attitude to the language dictates
What we write. Because of what I seen
when I was a boy, ill try to capture that:

Striding the steps of holy cross church
Armed with a cheap plastic prayer-book.
Just as I was approaching the great doors
I heard gunfire from behind, I turned to see
A man in a balaclava holding a gun in the air
Victorious he yelled for god and Ulster
Standing over three dead bodies.  I looked
At the prayer book, the great doors and ran home crying.


Before I say any more and offend people I should explain that I have no problem with the entity its how people interperate it, just like the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh I’m going to try and remove god from a poem.  I know that’s going to be difficult because Kavanaghs poems are god and that time and place is Kavanagh and the Irish people but other poets do it so well and don’t have to mention the word god.  Kavanagh has passed into the realm of great men whether he mentions god or not but just for my sake god doesn’t live here and my perfect world would be to read without god and to put him back on the shelf between Keats and Rilke.
My belief is that Kavanagh would be a greater than great man without the man.
A poet has to stand and be counted and let the words do the talking, I think his poems
Would be richer and wiser and I believe that Christianity in this country is as he himself said anti art.

Canal Bank Walk

Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring wonder for me, grow with nature again as before I grew.
birds gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.

As Patrick Kavanagh said the self is only good as an illustration: Wow what an illustration, all I have done is take away two lines and without going to deep into the heart and the meaning of the poem I believe it to be a better poem without the word god.






REFLECTIONS



Everything is unfocused

In the supermarket window.

Everything is doubled or

Trebled in this xmas mayhem

Spree, it looks like last year

And the year before

And the year before

Before are ganging up



And consumerism

Is after me.



                                            WAR


Why?
 


A GOOD CRY
For Larry

‘this is a weeping song’
                         Nick Cave

Living here within this tear,
I’ve tried to swim beyond
My locked in magnification
But the ducts of time wept
Tears each night that
go round and round.

The further I go in
The further I go out

I must turn theses tears to
Tears of  joy?  My eyes
Are sore but there’s nothing
left to do, I cry when I laugh
and when I’m sad so all I
can do is have a good cry.






  TEARS OF YEARS


Years of tears
In tears of years
moving stagnant.

This poem is be-
coming a contra-
diction in terms.

I hear the traffic
flowing like
a river to the sea.
                                    
Life is doing all
The ele-mental
Fun-demental
Things but is

It moving me?




                




AWOKE

I.M. of Ezra Pound

I look out the window
this morning and dusk looks
back, its as if I’m looking past a day,
time.  What time is it out there?
Time in here is lost in my poetic space.

Ezra pounds into me with a concrete
Tender touch, I look into the wall
The cavity of it all, entwined around
a profile bed rail like a lover that holds me up.

I am not the man I used to be I’m dis-
Abled, I no longer have the voice                           
I used to have-I’m unvoiced but
These are concrete words
of unpolluted joy.                                                     

                                                                                             T.B. FOR W.B.

 


                                                                               I’ve just found hope in lines
                                            of un-hope.  It’s a lovely golden
green crisp day, the sun is shining
and the only things that disturbs
the day is the helicopter over-head.

They say we have never had
One days peace on this earth ever.
Isn’t it awful that we live in a world
Over shadowed by yesterday.

The two most poetic words ever
That sum up the history of man-
Kind were written by an Irishman:

“A terrible beauty is born”.


Its like the charge of positive
And negative, the balance of the uni-
Verse, the charge of right and wrong,
Love and hate, light and dark.

You can juxtapose it any way but
You’ll come up with the same beauty-
Terrible, the kind of love that’s true.
















hi I was going to produce this and sell 
on facebook 
but i hate money 
and consumerism 
so ive done 
it freeeeeeee
as a blog.   enjoy.............










GRAVEYARD THISTLES

I believe that the power of art and the love of my children dragged me from the clutches of death six years ago; that and my faith in humanity. Poetry has such a hold on my life that I woke trying to fit my new mute self into a poem. I  believe I saw something in intensive care when I fell into a coma: not the inner light of sentimentality, but the inner dark of reality. A duende/ negative capability, a way of dealing with the horrors of life. Only when we dig right down into the darkness do we find a black light, like that of the negative capability John Keats saw, a poet’s inner loneliness.  A way of accepting my new life, giving me a way of living with the wheelchair, the bed rail and the monkey-pole, and now they are just items of life.  Just as Keats when he felt the negative capability;  even in the grip of death he found that ounce of wonder. At that moment, just as your lights are about to go, there’s this mighty surge of wonder that makes you write another word, it has driven me to wake everyday and write. That has been my purpose for six years now. Whether it be good or bad, it doesn’t matter: that is beyond me. All i know is that it flows like blood and gives me the strength to rise above the negativity and find another word for another day.

Raymond Carver said that in fires, influences are forces: circumstances, personalities, irresistible as the tide. Louis McNiece once said poets don’t know what they are doing: if they did, it wouldn’t be done. So this essay is taking its own course.

Poetry for me holds a deep sense of strength and it has always been there, like a bouquet, pulling me through the darkest days.  It was there when my father and my sister died and I dealt with their grief in the lines of a poem. It was there when I took my stroke and lay on a hospital bed only able to move my eyes.  Without poetry I wouldn’t have come through those dark lonely days.  I have read umpteen essays on the power of poetry, always asking the question, does it change lives? Well, I can say that it has changed mine. I grew up in a working class family and poetry was never exercised.

The only books I read were of Michael Collins, or the secret army, or Hollywood; poetry was a bad word.  No one in my family wrote poetry, so when I began my friends and family said I was mad and my friends nearly all disappeared and thought I was out to steal their words. I was always digging, looking for a source to spring and shower me in wonder. I never liked the work place, having been a butcher boy, a metal polisher, a bin man and an electronics engineer; just a few of the hundreds of jobs I’ve had.  Before I left school at fifteen with a basic education-poetry was like the word fuck you felt it but didn’t say it in this moralistic sentimental world. I remember one teacher, a Mr O’Donohue: when he read poetry or stories they came alive, and I was captured in the words. All my mates were messing at the back of the class and I would usually be in the middle of them, but when he mouthed literature, It was as if I fell into a trance. I just wanted to leave school and get out in the world and earn my own money; so on my travels through the streets of London and Dublin I always scribbled down things I saw, trying to piece them together for a good lyric for a song, being as I was heavily influenced by the words from the streets as David Bowie and Lou Reed were, using that language.

I remember a friend lending me ‘Fires’ by Raymond Carver: I read the poem for Karl Walenda and it blew me away. I have since read and re-read that book: his words held me to that tightrope, it tailed me all over Magdeburg in Vienna and Prague. The poem’s wind was holding me up, it was under my skin south towards Puerto Rico and the torrid zone, and just beyond the Caribbean. I had to shake myself free of its hold.  From that day on, poetry captured my dreams and coloured my day.  I began to have confidence in the words I wrote, toying with the idea of putting words together. I was unemployed at the time and having a hard time with a young family, trying to be the breadwinner and do my own thing. I got my family back to the magic shores of Ireland. I'm English but even I knew that Ireland was better for my children than mad capitalist England. I said to my wife that I wasn’t going to work: that I wanted to be a writer. I may as well have said I wanted to be a brain surgeon or an astronaut; writers were from another planet. Those words of Raymond Carver were like my own language, it was as if he told me I could do this.  I built a desk from an old door in the box room and I created my haven, a little office where I could lose myself in the written word.  I told my wife it would take two years: it took me six to get my first thing published, but in that time I was reading W.B. Yates and Kavanagh, Dostoyevsky, Hubert Selby, Robert Lowell, Elisabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Patrick lane, Ted Hughes, Liam O’Flaherty, Sherwood Anderson and Flannery O’Connor. I immersed myself in words.  For ten years I wrote and re-wrote and read and reread, piecing together snippets of thought.

One day I got a brochure on the Poet’s House in Port Muck, a poetry retreat. I sent them three poems and I was accepted.  It was magic: two weeks of poetry and poets by the sea. I got stuck in and loved the people I met.  I workshopped my poems with Medbh McGuckian and Simon Armitage, Jimmy and Janice Simmons and Martin Mooney, my heroes.  It was like everything was released in those two weeks, with the freedom to talk about poetry; outside in the real world, it was like talking about something taboo. There was only certain people who didn’t think you were nuts. Before I left that magic place, Jimmy and Janice Simmons invited me to apply for a Masters Degree. I didn’t even have an GCSE or an O Level, but Jimmy said you’ve got three weeks: write me a piece on your thoughts of poetry, and send me ten poems and I’ll send them to Lancaster university. I drove home from Port Muck and every turn of the wheel was the thought of me doing a Masters.  Every twist and turn was speaking of reality and the surreal demons inside me, back and forward, mirror, signal, manoeuvre.  Eventually I sat down after talking to my wife and said that I had to take this opportunity.  I wrote the essay and tidied up ten poems and sent them off thinking that I would not get a reply and drifted back into reality.  Jimmy sent the work to Lancaster: they were passed around a group of outside examiners and on the merits of my work I was awarded a scholarship to do a Masters. I knew then that the puzzle was being pieced together.  The Poet’s House was moving from Port Muck to Donegal, so this was a new beginning for them and a new beginning for me.  I had this jumbled page of writing called ‘The Light on the Stones’, about my father’s death, a death that impacted my life so much, and since then through that poem I have always believed that there is something beautiful in death. It was as if my father spoke to me, and my new father of poetry and literature showed me a way of dealing with the hardships of life. If I said this outside of poetry, you’d think he’s away with the fairies, but I believe that we should be taught more positively about death because there is something magic about it.  Jimmy Simmons sat me down at the computer and arranged my words into a poem; ever since that day I have edited poems that way that Jimmy taught me. Jimmy died a few years later but I’ll never forget him, and every time I’m working on a poem his image enters my mind.  I got the Masters, not that it means very much: I don’t hold much sway for a piece of paper on the wall.

But since then, I’ve worked teaching creative writing to children and adult groups all over the country, and have met some magic people. I have four collections of poetry, and have been published by Poetry Ireland, The Honest Ulsterman, Fortnight Magazine, The Black Mountain Review, Lapwing, and Lagan Press.




THE LIGHT ON THE STONES


I retrace your final journey now in a blue car,
Not black, alone on the motorway.
Passing the Maze prison, the stench of my engine
Overheating is like gunpowder, spent shells,
Lingering, your dream of Irish freedom.

I climbed the mountain graveyard
Above the violent, divided city,
Above the peace line that stood between us
In the living room. It was a maze
Of kept graves, lawns, wreaths, flowers,
Names on glistening headstones.

Your plot, all weeds
And wild grass, cries out for order.
The fallen wooden cross bears no name;
But you are there. Like a sculptor
With clay I reach inwards, my hands
As delicate as salmon wings riding
The white water, struggling
The strong currents of grief.

I brush the soiled tears from your eyes
And you awake in me, swimming
And glistening in mine. My hands
Shape the clay moulding our wounded past,
Emerging in the light on the stones.



SILKEN


A single rose emerges
Plants its indelible mark
on the corner of my eye.
I want to cut you off
Place you on the surface
of my dreams, caress your stem
and smell the fragrance
that secretes.
I have 
you here
on the bed,
extracting
leaves marked
like freckles
on your back. 
Your quint-
essential
silk on my lips.
Drop-
lets
of summer
rain
fall from
The petals.
I place you in a glass on my window-
sill. The young thorn pricks my finger: inserts
Beneath the skin, reminding me how to hold
you honestly, tenderly.  I know your vibrant
colour won’t last but beside it on the stem
is another bud to bloom.



BAY A


The tree
In the mirror
By the pebble-

Dashed wall
Looks cold
Dark naked
and alone.



OFF THE ROAD


‘a meloncholic smile’
-Tindersticks

I do not want to face the realisation of my condition:
unable to walk, talk, paralysed down right side,
but seeing my grandson made me reflect.

Like an adult born into a child, the mind forms
into something that can grasp language.
That’s the way I felt in intensive care when I woke
from my stroke, trying to grasp the language of words;
It feels like I’m compelled to write down these feelings
of loneliness and silence as if I have to make sense of this
scientific term, locked-in syndrome.

They talk about the power of words but these words really
and truly saved my life. It seems as if I’m turning muck
into gold. Without god or some spiritual entity
I’m creating a positive force through art as if
my life depended upon it. A beatnik
in this beaten world, this is my new city blues,
my road trip a cul-de-sac of poems.



KILBRONEY


A cacophony of dawn
Sang from the forest
And stirred us awake.

The sounds echoed a wild-
Life programme as if deep
In the Amazon, exotic
Creatures exclaiming dawn.

We lay together in the tent
surrounded by nature,
caressing every sense
erogenously.








ODE TO KEATS


My heart aches a numb and lonely pain
As though a sad elixir were shot through.
A pale faced melancholy evaporating
rivers of sentimentality.

The winged leaves of nature
Sing the notes of spring, summer,
autumn and winter.

It’s as if at birth I was given a dose
Of negative capability even in this death
Of life my poetic mind is tinged with a glimmer.

Flying in this moment on wheelchaired chariots.
I feel the flowers at my feet and the rains upon
my brow embalmed in un-adopted darkness
within darkness within this waking dream.  


 

 

THE OTHER COUNTRY

For Carol Ann Duffy

The other country is:
A silhouetted hill by a lake in a night sky,
the shape of a naked woman from
your dreams.

I woke up sleeping on a steering wheel,
VW imprinted on my forehead.
I drove north and detoured left, always left,
around a lake and started back where
I began in dreams.

The star in the western sky flickered
above my manger. Reading Keats,
‘O Solitude!’, and your touchable dreams.
It seems as if Keats saw 9/11
in the first three lines of his poem.
As if nothing has changed
in the poetic span of time.

I dwell in murky buildings but
my soul, it is free. In here, I see
the wonder that is really the blue me.



NORTH WEST PASSAGE


I.M  of Michael Hartnett


Rise little blackbird
To the top of the tree
Your song is witness
To pain and joy.
           

The sky was like a Turner painting:
A dusky pink hue, hanging melancholy.
I’m planning to drive to Donegal
And listen to the Lambchop CD,
This music still drifts me in and out
Of reality.  Driving down the motor-
Way behind a horse box as if
The horse’s head came from a painting
Into my imagination, galloping bareback
Through the Bann and the Blackwater.
Below a bridge where children wave
Across the Sperrins, past the raised ruins
And the razed to the ground ruins of history
On the North West Passage, through the Fairy
Water into another world embroidered
In memory, thatched in time.



INCANTATION

For Seamus


My brother took me over two boxes of books.
I rifled through a past I thought was forgotten:
Old poems, Dostoyevsky, Kavanagh, Kerouac,
notebooks and old diaries.

This was my past before the stroke,
the one that was like a dream.
It’s funny how I don’t remember
And flicking through these, I do.
Like an old man rediscovering
Or a child with a time-travelling toy.

With a box folder of poems written by me
But the overall sense of them seem to be
Written by someone else.

You dabble in verse and it becomes your life’,
then one day you take a stroke that almost
stops your life and your poems seem
to be written in your younger brother’s hand.




BARCODE OF LIGHT


The sun shoots in, then blinks behind cloud:
The day begins like summer mornings do.
I don’t know where this poem is coming from:
the reservoir of survival, a spiritual source?
No one knows; I just know its magic.
It gives me a purpose, and just as I say purpose
The sun pierces my sight and the world,
The light shines on my wheelchair
And it becomes my throne.

I am the king of this un-adopted castle.
Nature throws its light and I label it Buddhist,
Christian or Pagan. You can see why civilisations
Have worshipped it, It has the power of an Adidas top
Or a 60-inch Plasma screen or an iPod but
This trademark is free.



BIRTH WATER

For Gillian


My brother and I kicked
A five-gallon drum along
The Castleblaney road.
Skimmed the birth water
And dipped into the wells.
Pure clarity.

Like Pele or George best
Kicking a can along the road.
Returning like an African tribal
Woman. Memory isn’t skin-
Toned: it’s a blur of reality.



BILLOWING


I woke and everything was fuzzy,
Pasteled in sleep. Every move
I made was a burst of colour.
Beyond the mist, the dew, my window,
The world seemed cast in a spell of silence.
I looked out on a lovely, lonely landscape:
It was as if the world was made up of just me
And the artist Edward Hopper;
This was my Mid West.
Suddenly the world was animated
By the sound of a car going by
Then everything became fragmented,
Abstract, cubist, surreal.





William Stafford said:
'I don’t want to write good poems. I want to write
inevitable poems.'



CRUDE OIL


This is the gateway
to darkness within:
darkness, my translated
truth, a trip through limbo.

The well can't ever be
used up; the clarity
of poetry and this black
hole theory has been cut
through me.



BLUR ON A WINDOW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

For C.D. Wright


That image is drifting away already;
An image coming out of an image.
A man standing against the body of a man.
Will my sons ever see the sepia-tones of my past?
Will they hold an ebony and ivory walking stick,
Stumbling between this world and that
In an old abandoned cottage?

I took my five-a-day today, tablets.
My day begins in silence and poetry and ends
In silence and poetry.
An image within an image.
I go to my hide, my will to power.
Turning another days muck into gold:
A blurred memory from childhood stumbling across a main road
With my eyes closed to see what it's like in the dark.



SOJOURN


The drug dispenser lays open
Holding open a book of poetry.
Carver books and Nietzsche books
Are piled by philosophy and gloves.
John Keats is there, open and soiled,
Held open by the knife and fork.
Beside the boxes of tablets, the blister
Packs that balance me each day.

It’s like a chemist shop or an alchemist’s
Shelf. I’m flaking away here, leaving behind
A trail of poetry and dried skin. This is why
I sojourn here, alone and palely loitering,
Just up the road from the balancing lakes.




TYPEWRITER


It feels like 1971 or 1981 with-
Out a network connection:
An internment, a Facebook with-
Out a face. It seems like we’re
Going back to paper, pen, and grey grime.

The blank, black screens of my lap-
Top and iPod are like relics: old
Broken screens on a mound of
Debris. It feels like I’m hoking
The bins of today searching for
Tomorrow.

In thirty years we have only ad-
Vanced to a dump. The laptop
Begins to breathe, reboot,
Then dies. My room resembles
A second hand or pawnshop
In a flea market.

The black screens just look at me
Blankly, the cold sets in and I go
And put the heating on. At least
The boiler bypasses the cold.

So much for the G-force, my skin
Wrinkles the ageing process, so much
For the giant leap for mankind.
Looks like we’re going back to the old type-
Writer with ebony and ivory keys
And a ribbon to write my heart of darkness.

 



THE BLACK PATHS

I follow the black paths to beauty, past
graffiti and new-city grime. It’s as if
I’ve been put in this wheelchair to sit
and scrutinise each stone. My words
were written in conviction, even graf-
feet-tied on mobile phones. I see him
on every fence, on the floor, engrained
on the handle’s door. Carver, Kavanagh,
Keats and all the masters of words are here
as a pillion of poets wheeling these words
into my home. As the man of the moment, Keats, said:
‘What the imagination seizes as beauty is truth’.
I’m digging the debris for my truth; he is watching
in nature’s stare; this poem almost shapes his face.



 

 

BUS STOP


You who wrote on water

We have come full circle
From Keats’s waking dream.

Far beyond romantic’s revolutions,
Punk and new romantics.

We have been through sentimental
Fairytales and it’s time to jump off.

Let the bus pass the stop that says
'slave morality' , jump off into the un-

Known, go round and round the roundabout,
Through the country the cities and towns,

get off at the balancing lakes.



REFLECTING DEATH


The waves
Swim
The eyes
To shadow-
Light.



CONSCRIBED

In Memory of John Hewitt


I drove down the Bluestone road
Sat by my sisters grave, waiting
for grief to rise. Poetry comes
from down inside there:
it’s like trying to make sense
of nothing and make it flow
on the page.

Sitting here beside a river
watching memory meander
and surface there in the current
to wave hello, goodbye.
So rest there Stephanie, and sleep
memory awake.

I am here at home in this
moment NOW. These
streets are my glens.
These valleys are my cathedrals.

I conscribe this poem, having
breakfast of toast, tea and tablets
by an un-stained window;
exiled by the space beyond
that blue door.



 

 

DUENDE


‘Only mystery enables us to live.’
Fredrico Garcia Lorca

I was baptised in dark water.
I saw my reflection in a puddle.
I put my foot in it, splashed my skin.
My poems are my thought fox. Some-
thing else is alive.

There’s an unfathomable presence
rising and falling, a heavenly hell.
I’ve got Raymond Carver’s, ‘ What
The Doctor Said’ and ‘The Gift’ by
Cheslaw Milosz in the same book,
‘A New Path o the Waterfall’.

 ‘Here it is; I hold my hand towards you,
warm and capable of
honest grasping.’

It doesn’t matter if you are armed
with Emerson’s white fire or Lorca’s black -
sound, Plath’s celestial being or Ted Hughes’s
winged crow. This is not to invoke duende
but to form a spiritual chain. 




 

 

MAHAMUDRA

for Kenneth White

When the mind finds no place
to stop, there’s Mahamudra.’

           Mahamudrapadesha



I opened the door to let a fly free
but another one came in.  The vast-
ness of grey sky, the old tree con-
tours the wind, the stump rooted 
among wild, wild, wild grass 
and thistles as high as a man.

Just off the diamond path that 
leads to my house, my un-adopted 
kingdom; the wheelchair slope 
is marked like leaf mould, fossils 
of the past drifting back from 
nurtured soil.  The wind picks up
the cars go by and nothing 
has to happen.



 

ALCOHOL


Pierced by death, you kill time.
You drive through the minutes
And the seconds of these lonely
Moments that last forever.

You see the summer sun reflect
Like diamonds on the waters
Of your mind, all that belongs
In this moment framed:

By the earth, Lough Neagh, the sky;
Alcohol and its problems are beyond this.



CROAGHAN HIDE


A rectangle of life looks like
nothing is happening but
the branch trembles the reeds
sway, the water’s shore,
the shore I breathe.



HOLLYWOOD AND THE I.R.A.

You wouldn’t think that once
I was a young published poet,
Able-bodied, in love with life.

The only books in my house
Were of Hollywood and the I.R.A.

Errol Flynn and Michael Collins
Guru-ed my life; I swash-buckled
Love in the clothes of war and
Even married a girl called Kitty.



A FENCED IN POEM


Digging for a soul
Without god
In this wild existential
Garden.

I step away from
a sentimental path
and find light in dark
a truth in my truth.

The wind blows
Everything east
the world looks like
a Donegal landscape.





WHAT PATRICK KAVANAGH SAW

(or a disused house in county Louth)

Just up Duffy’s lane, over the fields towards Mucker,
Kavanagh land,  just a mile from Hack-
Balls-cross, through his poplars,
Over his wooden gate and I was lost
In an old abandoned cottage.

It was as if the people had just walked out the door,
Like a film set of Patrick Kavanagh’s Catholic Ireland.
Lost in a world of sacred hearts, blood from thorns
And sepia-toned pictures of Jesus. Bloody icons

Littered every step I took. It seems as if I had walked
Into his poems in memory of his mother and father.
I didn’t even know what a poem was then;
All I knew was he had the jack of a car
And I had the branch of a tree
And we were out on manoeuvres, playing.

I picked up an ebony and ivory walking stick
That I was going to use as a gun. ‘Don’t.’ said
My brother who was two years older and wiser,
That’s the devils plaything.’ After all, he was a smart guy:
He could count to ten in German and watch
Match of the day at the same time.

I threw it away as if the plague was carved into it,
I went upstairs, looked out the window
And saw what Kavanagh saw. I considered
The grass growing, growing cool about my ankles on a July day,
Running home through the fields with my brother
And a one-eyed, three-legged dog.



KNOWING THE UNKNOWN


I.M. Wallace Stevens


Deep in the depths of
irrationality, I’m being rational:
creating accidentally on
purpose poems like
a pre-meditated dawn,
a disabled reality.

Literature is my desire
to live in this able-
bodied world.

I’ve been down the road
of suicide poetry, stood
on the ledge of my soul,
looked down at the river
of poetry but couldn’t jump;
so I reign here with a blind brow.



THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING


He woke in a tiny bed-sit, a picture of his son's face falling away from his eyes like a rainbow drifting into the filthy walls. In a state of confusion he clambered into his clothes along the three flights of stairs he managed to manouvere in massive strides, standing on the cat that scared him half to death and jolted him closer to the front door.  The fear of what that hologram of his son meant drifted through his mind. 

The Queen Lizzy was quiet for a change: the drunks and junkies were asleep or still locked up in the cells after the dawn raid. He ran to the end of the street where the kebab van parks and sat on the wall, awaiting the girl to exit the phone booth. For fuck’s sake, hurry up, he told her silently, his motives losing momentum. He turned to the street and watched the creeds of the world clamber along; among them the lost and the lonely released into the community, the mad ones, the real people. An old lady with a white painted face shoved a shopping trolley along the middle of the road, the rush hour traffic swerving to miss her. Elvis in a sequined waistcoat posing for a shout singing ‘Love Me Tender’ across the street.

A man in a long black coat who never speaks to anyone, justs walks around with a scrunched up ball of paper in his hand, wiping crayons taken from his breast pocket across the page. He met him once in the Irish cafe and like a tourist he bought him a cup of tea and asked could he have a look. Without a sound and half a smile, he handed him his sketchpad while another appeared instantly from within his coat, and he began drawing the scene outside the window.

Only he could see what the man was drawing, whose back was to the view. He watched him draw half a man, half a car and half a street, like the aftermath of a blitz. “The other ones, with crayons”, he said, and he took a ball of paper from his pocket and rolled it across to him on the artificial marble, Formica-topped table. As he unfolded the ball of paper, Monets, Lillies, Van Gogh’s trees and Vermeer's light filled his eyes. He looked at him and saw in his eyes the other half of everything.

He rushed past the girl and shoved the coins in the slot, his heart beating wildly like electronic codes gathering in his head; a dead tone. He took the rejected coins and shoved them home again and again, only to hear the same dead tones ringing like a thumping headache; she must have changed the number, he thought as he returned to his little room. Feeling caged like an animal, trying so hard to concentrate on a book that it only brought confusion. Unable to erase the sight of the picture of his son appearing like that hologram and the worrying thoughts attached to it. Your conscience is the prison of the mind; no matter how hard you try you just can't out run it.

Oh how he wished at that moment that he was one of the dispossessed shuffling through life, oblivious of any moral obligations. He thought of his father trying to run all his life from his bastard past, each one of five siblings born in a different town and staying no longer than a year in each; Belfast during the 60s and 70s being the longest they stayed.  There was probably one of the safest places in the world for him: what past would want to find you in Belfast during the nightmare of the troubles?

When he gave up running from his past a secret family exploded after thirty-one years of marriage. It showered down on the family like emotional shrapnel, sending the family to the four winds to lick their wounds, killing  father and devastating his mother with three strokes. He always swore he would never be like him, yet here he was in a fucked up town in England while everything was across the Irish Sea. He discarded the book with a vengeance into the corner of the room, took his only coat from the only chair and left the still madness to join the frantic streets.

It was a warm summer's evening, which didn't help much as the town's grim sights clashed with the elements and his void. He called at the Asian shop and purchased a bottle of overpriced wine (uncorked), without a care for paying over the odds, anything to surpress his inner lament and to awaken his mind to simpler things. He walked south of the town, intent on not opening the wine until he reached his destination. Beneath a filthy old railway bridge he uncorked the wine and took a deep swig, while in his mind he told the roaring train thundering overhead to fuck off. He passed the roundabout where the cars waited impatiently for their little piece of space, in a mad hurry to get nowhere.

Dusk fell on reaching his destination, his space by the river. He went there often to clear his head of the modern filth. He sat by the river edge smoking and chugging the wine; a slight warm breeze blew with the riverflow, creating short sharp waves that gleamed with the red dye-injected sky. A treat for his eyes after the usual week of air-conditioned factories, traffic jams, and everywhere the sight of built-up grey areas filled with drunks, junkies and perverts, clambering the streets in search of some temporary nirvana. That vexed feeling came fleeting back at the sight of a riverboat pumping along unnaturally like filth on the river; its cheap coloured lights flashing and cutting the reflection of the line of trees from the far bank like a chainsaw. Idling towards the boat were a train of swans: at their point was a beautiful white bird followed by four black cygnets; guarding the rear was the majestic male. Pleasantly they blended with the scenery, belonging.

The bright lights of the boat’s exterior and the lights within clashed, creating silhouette shapes from within that pranced around, out of sync with the nightclub thumping beats. Man’s celebration driving like a nightmare on the surpassing river. He recalled a night he was on board that very boat, The Princess: a cruise, or so he thought. One of the girls in work arranged it. He pictured the scene, relaxing on the starboard bow with a beer, mellowing with the sights and the natural flow of nature passing by.

Most of the people he worked with were assholes. Their form of chilling out after work was to be glued to the box in the corner that pumped garbage into their minute recesses. He was excommunicated: he's an odd-ball, they said, because he couldn't make a comment on the latest goings on in the soap operas, or who scored the vital goal in the football, or give his opinion on the lunatic on the news that murdered twenty-seven men and women and ate their genitals  He liked poetry and literature. They can keep their electrified dementia; he'll stay quietly insane.

He got a beer and left the swarm of people within. He sat on the deck ready for the world's natural flow. The disco beat pumped decibels of thumping sounds through the hull, echoing tremors through the river’s capacity. It's no wonder it's a good river for fishing: they want to be caught and have their necks smashed on the nearest rock. He was so pissed off he wanted to catch a hook, pull back on it, and be hauled to freedom. He was starving, wanted to hear classical music and let his mind wonder off to take it in, then pour this experience out on paper.

He tried his best to relax and push those stupid sounds away. Just when he thought he had it sorted, one of his fellow workers broke his concentration to talk shop.  He had riverboat sickness; leaving the deck, he returned to the madness and sat with his fellow used, as the pretence of beer and whisky flowed. The booze took its toll and he was no longer in control, letting it flow with the filth of the boat on the river. As the train of swans met the boat, two silhouette shapes stood on the deck, drinking from glasses that flashed in the moonlight, pouring their substance from the glasses down on the flock, their strict security broke in shock. He yelled at the shapes, you think it's fucking funny, ya mindless wankers.

In his rage he didn't notice the swan swimming towards him, bolting onto the bank, honking and hissing, wildly flapping its outstretched wings. He stumbled back and ran for cover behind the trees with the echoes of laughter from the boat. He zigzagged through the line of trees, and by the time he reached the river edge again, after finishing the wine, it seemed the moon and stars were out for his benefit only. Mellowing in solitude, pondering his circumstance, watching the shadows from the far shore rippling a picture for the album of his mind, until something caught his eye. He turned to see the swans silently coming along the river edge. He was about to get up and run when he told himself stall, relax. His heart beat wildly and shook with fear like the flowing river when the majestic bird broke the water with great ease onto the bank and idled towards him.

The massive bird came strolling along the grass verge. For a second he made eye contact before he lowered his head, closed his eyes and braced himself. He felt the strength of its breast as it pressed against him. Its cold beak brushed his forehead and flowed to the nape of his neck with the affection of a lover’s touch, and a sensation flowed through  his mind and body; a new sensation, something he had only come close to experiencing when seeing his children being born. It cleared his mind of every trivial thought he ever had. He opened his eyes, left the river and returned to the town, got his gear together from the corner of the filthy room and left. On the train he thought maybe I should leave her alone, maybe they’re better off without me.

On the boat crossing the rough Irish Sea, political parties condemned murder in the TV lounge. As he sipped a pint of Guinness, it was winter in Northern Ireland. All things were dying, the rain and the sea spray cut with the coldness of steel; but he held in his hands a picture of his sons. Reality was pulsing with a rhythm he never wanted to lose.

 






THE ORPHIC SONNETS/PRAYERS

               ‘not till here and beyond
                voices are rendered lasting
                and pure’
                                  Rilke

HEART-SPACE


1.

These poems go out to my ethereal family
the pure strong ones, the ones who keep me
pure and strong.  Learning to say
what I cannot say.

Cars drive over my dreams things enter me
Deeply and find a shallow form, always
Going back to the beginning back to
The word.

I see death and destruction, oh mother
Of the word, earth.  I know love
Is the only answer but how
Can I grasp love when        
The system that gives
Life does not allow
Me love.

2.

to saturns blessed queen, Reah
hear my horrid howlings.  Mother
of my uni-verse, liberating muse.
My words are flowing from images
But what are they doing?

I found my purpose, the word now
I must find the form.  Oh thunderous
Jove please echo my words around
your lofty heights and atherial blaze. 
Send them through your divine power,
through shrouds of dark fluid cloud.

O Jove hurl them with your strong arm
Around the tops of mountains.

3.

I call on you
The mighty
Splendid light.

Aerial, dreadful
Sounding flaming
Light.

All parent great
And strong, parents
Of prolific rains

Wash me in watery
Frames and dry me
In airs wide bosom

Through stormy
Sounding gales.

4.

to reveal my crown of wishes
royal health and gentle peace
to be my constant guide.

I call on mother earth
that fruitful showers
fall.  I call on you
the sea with pools
of bright light.

Empress of deep gentle gales
Sweep my rocky shores
Veiled in cold transparency
and fountains pure
waft me over

stormy shores.

5.

to Nereus;

the demon of the deep
the dark foundations of my sleep.

the earths bounty, the earths un-
shake.  To the daughters of the deep

wild leaping in liquid sea
the beauty of sacrafice delight

to almost drown
in pools of light
to live each day
in ponds of sight
send words of right
on mystic rites.

6.

to you who holds the key
of chambers weep.  Let me
light my way to the end.


The source of fertile earth
The all destroying force.

Fruits of dark
Endless root

Give to take my souls de-
Light, accept the darkness
Of my sight.  Draw near
To my prayer.

7.

oh ruler of mankind
listen, listen to my words
the deep is dark.

My weapon is
my only tongue.

Open up take me in
Infernal queen.

Let me lick the realms
And whisper words
Of love.  Some things
Are best
Unsaid.

8.

There are half truths buried in life
Lets be sure to be unsure.
The eyes sees what
The mouth cannot say,
Everybody has a truth-their truth.

I seen it but the stroke blurred
My vision, how can I
Say what I see.

Did I see that man pass
That window and leave
His mark on you?

Rilke you gave me this title
And you gave me your truth
In the meaningful word
In-clan-nation.

9.

I hear
The pure
Stuff
Trickle
Down
A drain.

Meandering
Memory

Tumbling in-
To a tumbler
After
A down
Pour.

10.

THISTLE-

DOWN


The weed thistle-
Down reaches
beyond me and my
height before this.

It overlooks the fence
Looking up and out
At life looking back at me.

I can only grasp
The limits of life
In its milk thistle.

The leaves dance
A poetic rhythm
Rising and falling
In the rain.










REMEMBER HUMANITY
FORGET THE REST
             BERTRAND RUSSELL



                                                                


      





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