76 Swordfish Street (8 1/2 bar blues)

donwanna come down hard
on the self-styled avant-garde
              nor would I join its ragged band
              to give decrepitude a hand
this keyboard here’s got only seventy-six keys
but likely as not, won’t be needin’ all of these
              for my little Bach preludes
              [to keep me off the quaaludes]
biddleybumpdeboom –  meant a staircase for Mel Brooks
a pleep was a strawberry …silken lines, silver hooks
               but it don’t really matter what poetic forms you choose
               you aingonna escape these declining empire blues

.

[silken lines, silver hooks……………is stolen from John Donne]

.  

Advertisements

[I will believe]

I will believe
against all evidence
that men are good
that by and large
they are elevated
and deeply satisfied
by simple gestures
of solidarity

twice blessed indeed
is all compassion –
healing the healer
enriching the giver

I will believe
against all evidence
that this is so
because I know
to what extent
men’s minds have been warrped
and bent by the strategies
of cleverly camouflaged tyrants

I hear the reigning tyranny
in every tv jingle

the majority are brainwashed
into believing they want and need
that in their fears and self-doubt
they may come to satisfy
a tiny minority’s unending greed

.

.

To those who claim even Einstein was a believer

Einstein believed
in the god of Spinoza
not the god of Deuteronomy
to say the syllable
is not necessarily
to be unwilling to let go
of infancy’s invisible friends
but possibly to sense
a mathematical harmony
in the immeasurable
universe – the word
god for Spinoza
was interchangeable
with the word nature
and god’s law
meant quite simply
natural law…
and even the staunchest
atheist believes in that

/

/

where the secret lies

Why, do you suppose – or, perhaps, how is it  – that  never 
has there ever been a truly lasting peace on this earth ?
There does seem to be some concensus 
that if all humanity is ever to breathe free
walk upright – unafraid, unhungry 
then it is Love that must surely light the way
If this be so, then where does it lie
the kink in the machinery – 
the spanner in the works ?
Is it possible we use a word
that has no substance – or is it rather …
that the Love I speak of
is not the stuff that greeting cards are made on  
not something one gives someone  or gets from another
not a gift or a prize…but a form of grace born within –
truly inside – and this Love, this philos,
is brother to the elusive understanding
that no one is ever solely right.

There is no hard cold truth out there – no absolute certainty
there can’t be – for in every act of seeing
there is the seer – you cannot see the big picture
any more than you can see the back of your head.
Only when people come to accept this –  this undeniable reality –
that there can be no absolute certainty –
is there perhaps a chance that they will find 
not just the way,  but indeed the reason
to look deep into the eyes of an enemy

and if i believe anything, it is that
it is there – in that understanding
of unavoidable fallibility –
that this beleaguered race of warriors will ever find
the path to peace. 

.

.

Breakfast, yes, but daybreak?

day doesn’t break
except towards the end,
to wit: at nightfall.
Mornings it breaks through
smitesas a savior might
– all
the spooky gloom – gate
crashes the dark
bullying convention –
affirming life by
its bright intervention.

Come let us celebrate
in renewed cheer
that the sun
[or at least
some half-baked grey light]
is still and once again here.

.

.

.

.

.

[approaching winter whips the colour ]

approaching winter whips the colour –
           scrapes the gossamer haze
                      of warmth away –  lays bare
       the raw crystal of blue above…

chill renders blinding as midsummer sun
   the stucco cream
         beneath the slate-roof building
                     leaves us squinting
     at  ochreous iron oxide tiles
above defiant gothic greys…

and when the sun goes down
                 [or rains counsel prudence]
     the howling hues are stilled
                            to a pre-dawn wimper
         and we’re so grateful
              to be sheltered here
                   behind the window

.

.

ATHENA [for A Knight in Shining Sweatervest]

O she sprang
from the godhead
fully grown –
indeed fully armed
and fully dressed
so there’d be no doubt
she was metaphor
incarnate – Truth!
Truth, Truth, Truth Truth –
let Reason clang forth
like four dozen carillion bells
let their sweet swells drown out
the half-truths and smarmy lies
and loopholes [noosed in ties]
Let the owl hoot to herald
a new here and now
let natural love win out
…somehow

.

.

scrap paper

Did I care ? Not right away. It was just a scrap of paper, yellowed and soggy, with a kind of typeface I am fond of: you know, the kind with feet: little extra bits on the corners of the letters. The words were very very small though and I thought I’d let it dry out before trying to read it.

I’d fished it out of the lake – No! That sounds somehow heroic. More exactly: I found it just about to break away from a reed on the shoreline. It would have floated out if I hadn’t passed at that moment, eventually been shredded by rain, I guess, and unceremoniously submerged.

I held it in my open palm walking home and laid it gently on the dining table as soon as I got in. I did turn it over then, and was happy to see there was nothing on the back. I could place it on another paper and thus preserve it without sacrificing some other text – or having to choose between them.

What the hell did it say, you wonder, as that must be the reason I’m telling you all this, right? Well I won’t keep you waiting any longer: here is the text in its entirety

…brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Eventually I did find out what it was an excerpt of, but I won’t bother you with that, as it is for all practical purposes irrelevant! It wont make the words any truer or more meaningful. Either you see the value of them or you don’t. A diamond isn’t any less a diamond because it’s sitting on a dung heap, nor is fecal matter other than what it is on a silver plate.

You can google it, if you want, though. Even just the first three words after the brothers and sisters bit. And while you are at it, google orthopraxy.

.

.

Skip the crap in glossy magazines and the propaganda spread by, ahem, universities

are we all born ill then ?
all the children
who dive into the finger paint?
dance, sing, make up stories?
Is humanity just one big fucking disease?
an ape-mutation with built-in damage?

when I read a poem
am I wraping myself
in another man’s bandage?

I don’t think so
and I reject outright
the notion that art
is some kind of illness
that the pursuit of beauty
is deviant behavior

no
[say I – almost ready to go]

half of what the famous
are quoted as saying
is just celebrity insurance
sold by journalists, who clearly
profit from the deal
[and make sure you spell the name right, sonny]

no, no
no more upper-class bullshit today, thanks.

artist
is what we all start out being
and there should be no denying
some are more talented than others
just as some are brighter
more charismatic, gifted
[alas the gods are devoid
of any sense of justice]

those that retain a taste for living
continue to create
works designed to be shared

it is the brain dead – the slaves
the subservient spineless
duplicate cogs
that are the ill among us

they surround us – and those
that can turn a phrase
or tune a string
or sing on key
those with the presence
of mind to hone a skill…
they may – in some small way
be said to heal

Indeed true healing
is more art than science

It takes years to become a doctor
the fever isn’t born of illness
just labour

.

.

.{Sick are those with no talent who think whatever shit they write is a poem…and they will remain sick as long as no one is generous and selfless enough to help them heal themselves.]

.