eighteen today

my son is eighteen today
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
I wish him well as he whistles out the door
a bus to catch, an exam to sit, a skateboard to ride
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
I tell him concentrate, no silly mistakes
check your workings out and have a good day
as he whistles out the door waving, not a care in the world
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
the sun is shining and the birds are singing
tonight is pizza night, Pepsi’s and chocolate puddings
and I have a poem or two to write
but I still feel like crying . . .

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Go Daddy Go!

daddy do
what daddy must
and daddy must do
what daddy must
because if daddy doesn’t do
what daddy must do
there’s a chance that daddy
will never do what daddy must do
and daddy doesn’t want to be
a bad daddy that doesn’t do
what’s right for his son
and for his family
so go daddy go!
do what you must

(someone go wake daddy up . . .)

bloody spring

in Beijing
with Mei Ling
she was 4 foot
six inches tall
yes she was very small

inside the square
when we were there
it was 1989
and the party line
we dared to cross that line

and in my hand
I held her tiny hand
she squeezed mine tight
all day and night
for we were very scared

on June 3rd
we overheard
the sound of shots
they rang out all around
those shooting sounds

students on the ground
as tanks rolled in
on the morning’s wing
I lost Mei Ling
in the uprising’s fall

yes she was very small
despite her standing tall
she was bigger than most of us
and there could be no doubt
when her cries rang out

that our time had died
as the shadows sighed
our voices quelled
in Beijing
in that bloody spring

 

(with a nod to Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’)

our fathers

give the boy a toy soldier
some tanks and battle cries
dress him up in cowboy clothes
the only good Injuns are dead ones

bang bang you’re dead son
give us a chance dad
you gotta learn quick son
yeah but give us a chance dad

give the boy a placard
hold it in the air boy
tell the boy what to shout about
doesn’t matter he looks bemused

what do we want son?
I haven’t got a clue dad
when do we want it son?
I don’t know I’m just a boy dad

give the boy a slap dad
slap him across the thigh
tell the boy there’s more where that came from
threaten with your hand held high

want another one like that son?
what did I do wrong dad?
shut your mouth and do as you’re told son
I’m really sorry dad

give the boy a rifle
tell him how to clean it
cherish this more than your mother’s life boy
because by god you’re gonna need it

point it and pull the trigger son
but it feels so heavy dad
kill the fucking deer son
but it’s got a young one to feed dad

give the boy a uniform
make him feel like he’s a god
feed him whores to steal his childhood
take it away for good

if she doesn’t want it slap her son
is that the way it’s done dad?
you gotta tell ’em who’s the boss son
I’ll tell ’em like you said dad

give the boy some power
a gang of drooling men to lead
vote for him for he’s the one
yes he’s the one we all agree

take this power and use it well son
there’s hatred in my blood dad
remember all I taught you son
yes your will it will be done dad

 

NB: this one follows on from the last and hopefully continues a thread of thoughts on a particular theme – one which is admittedly a rather odd take on Father’s Day:

https://slideaways.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/the-good-soldier/

 

the good soldier

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the girl with the bloody doll
you come and rape my mother
then you want to marry me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the boy with the wooden gun
you come and kill my father
then you want to enlist me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the old woman in the black shawl
you come and burn my family home
then you pity me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the good soldier to himself
I don’t know what I’m fighting for
then I fight some more

journey

imagine an empty highway
now tell me from which exit should I leave
am I heading out into the burning desert
where the Joshua trees wait with welcoming arms
or am I heading towards the coast
where the pelicans fly in ragged lines

imagine an empty back road
now tell me where I should pull over and pause
am I looking out into a fiery wilderness
where the light dazzles and dances before my eyes
or am I smelling the salty ocean breeze
where the dolphins swim in family pods

imagine an empty dirt track
now tell me if my rental car will make that bend
am I climbing to gain a higher perspective
to witness the making of all this splendour
or am I driving between secluded sand dunes
to find myself on some long forgotten beach

imagine an empty hiking trail
now tell me should I proceed on foot
am I here to meet you on the other side
where the daytime turns to oily night
or am I swimming out to find you somewhere
under the waves and starlit depths

ingrained

the park, the river, the beach
dried leaves from horse chestnuts
bottle tops in squelchy mud
the driftwood of weathered huts

I circle around those memories
like a seagull searching for grub
the trees, the bridges, the horizon
my friends in the cricket club

I’m off to hunt out stag beetles
or mice under corrugated sheets
my day spent in silent solitude
with the birds and bumble bees

the chalk, the grass, the blue skies
marking white arrows on gates
rolling down steep hillsides
watching red admirals contemplate

you can’t take the boy out of the man
the landscape from out of his eyes
it’s ingrained like rings of truth
every year that flies on by

 

The Hippo and The Rhino

the thing about nonsense poetry
is that it has to make some sense
otherwise it doesn’t work effectively
said the hippo in self-defence

oh no said the pink rhino
I’d rather a sonnet in my pocket
than a bunch of silly rhymes
or a bike without a sprocket

oh fuck off said the hippo

The Postcard Poet

I recently started a little side project using my travel and hiking photos. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally here. Links below. Hope you like:

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Twitter: @ThePostcardPoet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postcardpoet/

only takes a haiku (or four)

only takes one drink
to drown a thousand sorrows
so you take one more

only takes one voice
to drown a thousand others
so you shout some more

only takes one hand
to slap a thousand faces
so you want for more

only takes one word
to say you’re truly sorry
only takes one word