Categories
Blog Poetry

Some things change; some things stay the same

I’ve decided to blow up my blog theme again and try something new. Actually I’ve had this theme for a while, just never used it. I’m undecided as to whether to do full blog post on the page format or some variation of the grid style blog or the read more style. The advantage I think the full blog post has is it, if done right, draws the reader into to the post, plus if you’re into the ‘time on site’ metric, people have to scroll further and further down to see more posts, which equals more time on site. Disadvantage – if the current post doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, they probably will bounce and go onto something else.

Enter the grid style blog.

The advantage here is the reader can quickly scan the front page until something catches their eyes, then they read a little bit and if the opening is compelling enough, they’ll click through and read the rest. Disadvantage is the title and opening paragraph is all they read, they never click onto the read more to discover what else you have to say.

I also think I need to assemble my web self together in one spot or at least to have this site to act as journal/portal.

Ok, so with that I mind, be aware that I’ll be tinkering around with the design over the next fews days, possibly into next week as I am about to go into heavy consulting mode over the next couple of days and then I’m off camping for a few days.


Confession. I’ve been feeling a little existential angst over the past few days, which tends to happen some times when I’ve been reading heavy stuff. I finished Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell and his Illuminations. Season in Hell in particular made me question my own existence. What really made Rimbaud walk away from a promising literary career? A Season in Hell seems to suggest Rimbaud, having produced his greatest work, realised it was all a shame – art, poetry and the like, and so walked away from it all to be a trader and an arms dealer in Africa. After A Season in Hell he never wrote another word again.

The stuff going down in Charlottesville didn’t help either. It’s like we’re going backwards. Our chief leader, not immediately taking a stance against such behaviour, made it worse. 48 hours and much media pressure finally got Trump to call out the evil by name. I know he’s a massive showman, but this isn’t a television series. We don’t want to be entertained, we want to be led.

What little faith I had in the system is now gone.

Sorry I digress. We were talking about portals and poetry.

I worked on this today:

Fear

I’m not used to fear, it messes up my day. I was taught
to be fear-some and fear-less, never let them see you
sweat, I was told.

I was a blind fanatic at best. My nerves, tempered steel.
Then I tasted fear for the first time, it was bitter and
not at all pleasant.

The sensation – knots in the stomach, anxiety and dread –
came all at once, the moment I felt I had something to lose.
Where once I treated life as a casual affair,

I now hang on in earnest, a slave to my own excesses.
Dull are my senses, factory numb. Only morphine,
masturbation and rum can revive me.

Barricaded behind the four corners of my house,
I pray for Saint Peter to lift me up. Or maybe
the Buddha can unbind me.

I must eliminate myself from this monastic place.
Let go without giving up.

And now off to watch some Thrones. The buzz on the Internet today tells me it’s a great episode!

Categories
Poetry

Nightmare hooligan

I wasted many years
chasing windmills and waterfalls.
Now I finally act my age, and my
friends feel uncomfortable when
I’m serious. So I play the clown,
the eternal court jester, the fool.
I’m a nightmare hooligan with a bloody
nose seeking the Book of Knowledge and
the Truth, if there is such a thing.

Categories
Quotes

The chief function of poetry

Categories
Poetry

Reminisced

reminisce 1

rem 2

sheep

rem 4

rem 5sig

Categories
Books

Emily Dickinson

I finished reading a selected work of Emily Dickinson’s poems. She wrote over 1800 poems in her lifetime, although only a handful were published while she still breathed. I found it helpful to read about her and then read her poems. The understanding of who she was as a poet helped inform her poetry at least to me. Armed with this new information, I will have to reread the collection and maybe add a few more to my library as well. I also bought her letters, which look like an interesting read.

I like reading in the first person, especially confessional novels, travel literature, poems, letters, personal essays. Im empathetically sensitive and find reading in first person allows me to build a deeper rapport with the writer, to feel what they felt.

Poetry is coming alive for me again. Why deny my affections?

Categories
Poetry

your voice

Categories
Poetry

deconstruct

Categories
Poetry

One more wink

A lone car rumbles
down the street
the morning yawns
you pretend to sleep
not ready for the hustle
just one more wink

Categories
Blog Poetry

Something new

I’m dog tired tonight. Weekends make you weak. The only thing keeping me awake right now are three pieces of spearmint gum and the promise of watching Walking Dead later tonight.  I have some neat pictures from my Bristol trip over the weekend which I haven’t edited yet. Bristol left me city-sick. I’ve had enough of small town living. I want to be near a hoping metropolis. It’s a shame Birmingham is such a dull city, otherwise I’d hang out there more.

I just have to come up with an argument good enough to get R to move.  I’m going back to Bristol in April to house sit for a week. I’ll have a good look around and start scouting out some places.

In the meantime here’s a poem I’m working on, it’s called Something New

she had nothing new
to say again today

we sit down
to have dinner

she sits across
from me texting
her mate

i watch the flames
throw empty shadows
across my plate

this is what
passes for romance
between us these days

it wasn’t her i
was kissing

her lips were just
in the right place
a convenient lie
to hide the truth

i need new eyes
a new mouth
a new mind to possess

 

– soulcruzer

Categories
Blog

A different kind of war

I felt like reading some Bukowski over lunch. I landed on the poem Mademoiselle from Armentieres. It’s a contrast between old wars and new wars. All boys like to romanticise war. There’s something in our DNA that makes us want to run around the neighbourhood playing army-man, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, and I guess these days autobots and decepticons. World War One was the backdrop of Bukowski’s youth.

hell, I remember when I was a kid it
was 10 or 15 years after World War One was over,
we built model planes of Spads and Fokkers,
we bought Flying Aces magazines at the newsstand
we knew about Baron Manfred von Richthofen
and Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker
and we fought in dream trenches with our dream rifles
and had dream
bayonet fights…

But after Korean and Vietnam, war somehow got dirty and became useless and ordinary “Just a job like sweeping the streets or picking up the garbage.” Gone was the romance of war.

And here’s the bit that really hit me between the eyes. The youth of today face a different kind of war, one that’s perhaps a little more insidious because it isn’t as obvious. Instead of dreaming of war:

they’d rather go watch a Western or hang out at the
mall or go to the zoo or a football game, they’re
already thinking of college and automobiles and wives
and homes and barbecues, they’re already trapped
in another kind of dream, another kind of war,
and I guess it won’t kill them as fast, at least not
physically.

Yowser!

Years ago, I read Susan Faludi’s book Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man and she reckoned men no longer know how to be men anymore, that we are going through a male crisis having been stripped of the iron men of World War One and World War Two vintage. Manly men. Men who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty doing an honest days work. Men who didn’t cry, who drank too much, and stayed miles away from seeing the inside of a baby delivery room.
Faludi makes the point that with the loss of rites of passage like conscription, or being an apprentice to a skilled craftsmen, boys lost they’re way to becoming men.

For women it’s different she says. The coming of girl’s period marks the transition from girl to woman. Mother Nature didn’t bless us with that gift.

Instead, men had to invent rites of passage to signal the shift from boy to man.

What serves as our rites of passage now?

I was fortunate enough to transition from boy to man courtesy of the U.S. Army. “We’re gonna tear you down and build you back up, make you a lean mean fightin’ machine!”

it was wrong but World War One was fun for us
it gave us Jean Harlow and James Cagney
and “Mademoiselle from Armentieres, Parley-Voo?”
it gave us
long afternoons and evenings of play

Welcome to manhood!

Clay

Categories
Poetry

reminisce – 1st draft

She reminisced in my name. Fire, meltdown
and the sanity they let lose in a tangled
abstract fantasy of post apocalyptic let down.

She reminisced in the attic for the wind,
the damned, and the free. Her shadow slipped
further. Soft she lay as the boys came for her body.

She looked to reach them in their sleep.
One by one they came inside her, cuddled
her body like the damned carry sheep.

They wouldn’t reminisce in her beauty
took her dress for rags, her hair for
loose strands of braided hopelessness.

She reminisced in the darkness. No longer
lonely, a mystic fastened like clockwork,
I never tried to see her face.

Categories
Poetry

all the paths i could travel & jane doe

Here’s an excerpt from my poetry collection, A Thousand Bullets Gone Astray:

all the paths i could travel

All the paths I could
travel are pointing me
in 360 directions

Which path I choose
is hard for me
to imagine.

If I move in one direction
the circle collapses and
my path becomes fixed

I can’t help but wonder
what would happen if
I chose another path

Where would that one lead me
What would I be giving up
What would I become?

You can be or do anything
you want, so the words go
and that’s true.

The problem isn’t lack
of choice; it’s too much
choice that spends my head

Which path to choose I
cannot tell, so I stand still
keeping the circle in tact.

BONUS Excerpt:

jane doe

it’s cool she said,
put your hand on
my thigh

ordinarily I would
comply, but you see
i don’t know her name

she smiles, shifts in
her seat, asks: ‘how
about my toe?’

i say, ‘I don’t know
is this a game?’

you’re cute, she says
but just the same, can
you massage my back?

she moves her hair
aside to make room
for my hands

before long we’re
in the sack, i still don’t
know her name

she came just the same
called me a girl’s name

shannon i think it was
or maybe heather

i forgot when she
broke out the leather

the things she did
with a feather made
me come like a cannon

the sun chases
the moon
from the sky

she slips on
her dress, kisses my
nipple and says
good-bye

i beg for more

too late

she closes
the door

i try to call her
but i don’t know
her name

now I see her
everywhere, the
bus, the train
the crowded shops
and playing fields

she even turned up
once at a school recital
in a black bridal dress
made of leather with
strips of feathers
around her waist

now every girl i see
that looks like her i
want to run and ask:

are you the one
who left me in bed
rummaging through
every female name
in my head looking
for one that would fit
you?

they shake their heads
no and scurry away
in haste,

no wait, don’t go
are you my jane doe?

You can order the full book or ebook here.

Categories
Blog Poetry

Can we breathe

Already clustered full,
my morrowed eyes looked
beyond her vintage lips.

Can we breathe, once again,
marked and boundless, a broken
wing, crushed by ignorance.

I could have wandered on,
lived my life asleep like
an old door.

I never really understood
why she said she could only
hate what she should love.

Categories
Poetry

Who is you? – 1st Draft

My friend Julian Stodd has inspired me do what he calls working out loud, which is, in effect, sharing your works in progress. I thought I’d do the same with some of the writing stuff i’m doing on the prose poetry/flash fiction/aphorism side, beginning with this piece, which was inspired by one of Gregory Corso’s poems from his book The Happy Birthday of Death (I can’t find the specific poem, I’ll cite it when I can).

Gregory Corso, by the way, is probably one of the lesser known, but prominent members of the Beat poets. I was reading interview with Allen Ginsberg, and in the interview, he mentions this particular book of Corso’s. I’m about half way done with it and really enjoying it.

So this has no title yet and is not in it’s final form, which I guess is a long way of saying this is a poem in draft:

Who is you?
Don’t look in the mirror, no-one ever found an answer to that question staring back into their cold dark eyes except maybe the witch who dissed Snow White and gave her a poison apple to eat.

Who is you?
Don’t ask your mother, your father, your sister, your brother or your weird uncle Ernie. They’ll just try to shape you into what they want you to be for them. And then, you’ll end up confused with multiple personalities.

Who is you?
Don’t ask the government. To them, you’re a rounded off number in one statical indicator or another. If you’re lucky, they’ll use you as canon fodder. Otherwise, welcome to the machine, where you turn the tools of productivity until they break your body and your mind.

Who is you?
Don’t ask God. He checked out of the program a long time ago. Some say he got bored of watching man’s inhumanity to man and packed his bags and moved to the other side of the galaxy.

Who is you?
Don’t ask me. If you don’t know by now, the joke is on you. Let that fester in your burnt out skull.

Process: I really just started with the question Who is you? which was a question I found in one of Corso’s poems and the rest just flowed from there.

Categories
Blog

sunday afternoon

black coffee pounding
def beats through my veins
a jazz rift drifts like dead flies
against the newscaster’s sand
blasted voice scratching head
lines across my brain.

senior prison officers pimping
passes for pussy, didn’t see
that one coming, male guards
female prisoners human beings
in denial of their base instincts.

ann abramovich knows the score:
‘i wish u peace, love, and health.
blah, blah, blah, fuck that shit. i
wish u sex, alcohol, bare orgasms
and hope u win the fucking lottery,’
she says.

refill please…

my coffee’s cold like countess
tolstoy’s love for pugachev, ditch the
news and dream dreams instead
sorry love no cream keep it strong
bitter, and black like these sound
bites on a sunday afternoon.

Categories
Blog

desire

Her breasts bounce
in step with each
step on the step
master they bounce,

Like over-filled
water balloons
on a string, they
bounce.

Sweat drips slowly
between her crevasse

We lick our lips
like on a hot summer
day, standing before
a merchant’s stall
of freshly cut water
melons, full of thirst

She steps.

Process notes: I was looking for inspiration this morning.  I saw the word desire and thought why not write a series of poems about our base emotions.  Leaning back in my chair, I started to day dream about desire and immediately I thought about the lady I saw in the gym the other day working out on the cross trainer.  She was wearing a very low-cut white tank top that concealed very little.  Now I would be less than truthful if I said I didn’t steal a peak like every other guy that was there at the time.

Categories
Blog

two live wires

It isn’t nice
to be naked.
Two live wires,

hot, exposed,

to dangerous
to touch together
under the night sky.

Dark, unyielding,
no moon to light
the way toward
salvation and bliss.

A kiss delivered
on velvet lips
awaiting the
morning dew

to deliver parched
lips from a thousand
nights of thirst.

Process notes: I wrote this piece after reading a poem by Langston Hughes called March Moon.  In it, the moon is naked after having been undressed by the wind.  Hughes ends the poem with a question:

Don’t you know
It isn’t nice to be naked?

I turned the question into a statement.  This made me think about how some people are ashamed to be naked and prefer to hide their nakedness from their lover under the cover of darkness or dimmed lights.

P.S.  I picked up the idea of adding a short commentary behind the inspiration of my poems from Dana Guthrie Martin over at her blog My Gorgeous Somewhere. Thanks Dana.

Categories
Blog

in search of peace

III.  in search of peace

I searched for peace
but could not find her
on the troubled city streets

I climbed a mountain seeking
peace in the clouds, but saw only
gun-smoke rising from heated barrels

I listened by a babbling brook for
peace’s soothing song, but heard only
the drowning voices of the thirsty cry

I sort solace in the desert sands
but found only the broken bodies of
those who died for the promise of peace

I hid in the jungle seeking peace amongst
the humid leaves, but found only the guerrillas
in the mist fighting for freedom, not peace

And now I lay my head down to sleep
and pray to God my soul finds peace
if not here, then somewhere beyond the grave

Categories
Blog

dark eyes

i want to know
the story written
in her sad, dark eyes

i wonder why
she cries at night,
her sad, dark eyes

never smile, but
captivate, trance like
pleading, needing

sad, dark eyes i
want to know the
pain they hide and hold

the softest touch
the tilted chin
the lightest kiss

to ease the pain
away, her sad
dark eyes follow me

burned forever in
my mind, i carry her
burden across time

Categories
Blog

saxophone

Got my Lucky Strikes and Jesus doll
Pinup girl in yellow shorts pouts love
Through lips red as the dawn sky on
The fourth of July, I’m ready to roll

Cowboy hat no Texan to stand Jack
Daniels and Coke drank separate like
a man, I hitch a ride south on ninety nine
Door opens and slams

Yellow convertible, white walled tires
Saxophone screaming from the radio
Flamingo dancer hangs from the rear
View mirror dancing in the wind, a

Floating angel desperate to land a pair
Of aces so her luck will turn and she can
Sip champagne on the Geyhound headed
East to see the Jersey Shore her home

The Boss made famous in a song and she
Longs to feel the eyes walk all over her
As she struts across the sand sporting her
West Coast tan

A train about to take the underpass, gives
A warning whistle, the saxophone dies
Slowly drifting into the desert night, I tip my
Head back, light another cigarette and sigh

Another page churned, another love spurned
Bloodstained keys lay to rest, eager to feel
The pounding of fingertips, the caress of flesh
A soul laid bare on white sheets

The touch of a woman’s hand on my shoulder
Beckons, the night awaits, saxophone echoes
From the rooftops, the city moans;

She moans.

I moan.

We moan.

Silence…