muy bien

I tear the photographs of me into tiny pieces
sort them into colours black and white
brown and blue, green and red and orange
faded like an almost forgotten Majorcan sunset
where we went to forget about Dad
and turn our lives into something new
I wasn’t quite sure what to do
I was only a kid

I glue the pieces of photographs on large sheets
of snowy white paper that is rough to the touch
freshly fallen with no trace of footsteps
as all childhoods should remain
but we know that’s not possible
the pieces are jumbled now
I make them into different shapes
that resemble landscapes

And I am there if you look closely
amongst the rolling hills and fields
a lost boy peeking out from behind trees
you see me waving from inside a cloud
no  angel am I
only torn pieces of photographs
thrown to the wind and scattered
confetti memories strewn

chalk marks

these chalk hills have settled
in my bones
white as seagull feathers
hard as the past yet
soft as the present moment
I ache to be dissolved
to be worn down like a coward
as the cliffs that face the sea
choose to lose their daily battle

these chalk streams have flowed
in my veins
they have meandered through
forgotten vales forever borne onward
changing course with seasonal whim
the fight being only with oneself
it consuming all of time
crushing the outer shell to powder
blunting the flint of any resolve

these chalk marks have left their scars
on my childhood skin
we collected skulls on the seashore
sucked green slime from the sockets
soft slippery between our toes and teeth
when deeper down and buried
we found chunks of mortar fins
corroded into abstract art
still deadly in our hands

slide away

the past is now a million years away
falling faster than a billion tears today
but that’s okay I can let it all slide away
a million billion words can only mean
. . . there’s really nothing left to say
but now it all comes flooding back to me
in blues and blacks and purple greys
the bruises of a child who went astray
his love a fading summer golden ray
. . . there’s really nothing left to say
the future will likely come back to stay
haunting for each millisecond of the day
the present binding me in clods of clay
. . . there’s really nothing left to say

PICT0123a

 

selfportrait

I
look out
and try to find
blue and crimson skies
where birds fly from the corners of my eyes
and a copse of trees on a wilderness road
is a little piece of England in Wyoming
where the shadows breathe life into the rocks
and the wolf within me sniffs the summer air

I am
alone and I am
a traveller and I am here and now
in no other time or dimension or space
there are pieces of broken seashells in my pocket
the sharp edges a reminder of sand between my toes
my burnt shoulders a reminder of childhood
when I walked these shores without a care
doing what children ought to do in silence

I understand
the importance of being alive
although I cannot comprehend the meaning of it
the days are numbered with my personal DNA sequence
another unfathomable equation that directs me
and sends me spinning through these landscapes
like an out of control meteorite on a collision course
that urges me to bend down and pick at the desert gravel
to find the piece that fits snugly in my mind

I
of course I can
it’s as easy as buying a ticket and jumping on a plane
there’s no glue to bind me like gravity to this planet
I can come and go as I please and take my leave
wave to you from afar or hold you near
my reason is to journey and never arrive
the call of the wild lulls me to sleep
and in your arms I slumber peacefully

IMG_20160826_125124a

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/

 

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

 

Lament

your voice, your voice, came whispering
through the white waving heads of the cow parsley
it echoed down the sunken lanes of this fair county
from my memory to the inside of yours
a story of imprinted landscapes laid bare

your touch, your touch, once brushed
the flushed cheeks of wild red campion petals
an innocent at dawn with caressing fingertips
easing the milk from creamy white teats
tired head rested on the beast’s beating flank

your face, your face, youthfully reflected
in the yellow sun of a still buttercup morning
held up to the chin of childhoods lost and buried
where promises once held future’s sway
and a fragile breath grasped at something better

your heart, your heart, modestly imperfect
left bleeding amongst the purple honesty day
fortune’s name carved on an unmarked grave
a beggar girl sent on a wishful errand
cast adrift on ploughed and muddied fields

your song, your song, hummed to another
that chimed with the bluebell hymn of spring
would that you could ever be his lover
and that he would taste your sweet words
on the lips of an eternal starlit night

moving

keep moving you whisper
the only safe thing to do
through dandelion fields
once yellow with promises
where a footpath crosses
barely visible
like the secret run of a badger
diagonal from edge to edge
avoiding obstacles with booted feet
and the air blistering overhead
wide brimmed tin hats casting shade
eyes on the scything swifts
squelch of mud between steps
and over we go
the rough lichen crusted timbers
the ivy bandaged broken limb
the stream that wets the flat rocks
rippled on a seabed before man
we climb and reach up our hands
but the fruit has not yet formed
and all about us
the song of our foot fall
repeating echoes in hollows

 

no

escape routes

staring at the cracks in the ceiling
he went in search of unexplored lands
lost worlds mapped in lines and stains
one-eyed cyclopes in missing plaster caves

there the route to King Solomon’s Mines
Quatermain exhausted he falls to sleep
forty leagues of adventure dreaming
he climbs Kanchenjunga in The Lakes

exploring Slater Bob’s copper mines
‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
but there are only books lying on the floor
slipped from the hand of a tired boy

now the books are aligned on shelves
classics, fiction, poetry, art, nature, travel
and the man still dreams of unexplored lands
the cracks in the ceiling his escape routes

~

the black holes he passes through
huh, the mazes that he wanders
a different form of escape sometimes beckons
one that cannot be written in words

 

‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
adapted from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.