how i live now

prompt: respond to the content or title of a novel you’ve read recently

.

back then,
it was all
we knew

now, it’s
bikes and cars and buses
two silver keys and a brown one
and bikes

now it’s
twenty and fifty pence pieces
and washing machine round the back
and counting

now it’s
cows on the field
and boats on the river
and boats

now it’s
sun in the sky
or rain on my old umbrella
and my purple coat

now it’s
that walk to the train station
with harry potter on the brain
and stephen fry

back then
it was all
we knew

now

it’s starting to
become.
anew.

prompt: respond to the content or title of a novel you’ve read recently

.

that adroitness
an ease

our smiles switched
clasped

no yoghurt
sweetsourness this

no might would
should no

I’m
taken in

a world
b&w, like

wine kick warmth at
skullback

On the Effects of Global Capitalism

each particle of dust pricks at
the nose, sows a noteworthy seed
a package of heat from the hum
of the PSU fan, it lands,
searches out a spring in sated
skin as it waits for sun. The thin
remembered season sits on it,
colours windowstruts’ bowed outer
edges in theme or thickens the
days’ individual midpoints just
subtly so they say—what’s to choose?
the ways the dazed base of a drained
glass get the light or us? note the
how many strokes make a book when
dragged into soggy earth. sit back
and drink a thousand years in quick
switches/glittering awaited swigs.

On the local effects of global capitalism

Effects of
    “ g l o b a l   c a p I t a l I s m ”
have yet to be determined.

Studies have shown it to contain
twice the personal pronoun “I”
as well as a more than usual
amount of “l”s.

Effect of
    “ g l o b a l   c a p I t a l I s m ”
have yet to be determined.

Speaking to an officer of
    “ c a p I t a l I s m ”
Mr B had this to say:
    “ it is not your time”

Effects of
    “ g l o b a l   c a p I t a l I s m ”
have yet to be determined.

Mrs Eldritch from down the road:
What is your opinion of this “ c a p I t a l I s m   g l o b e ”?
“downright disgraceful what they’re
doing to our country my daughter
eldra –”

Effects of
    “ g l o b a l   c a p I t a l I s m ”
have yet to be determined.

Onto the weather. Forecast looks
Cast-over and grey-shine from the
East makes for a lovely holiday in
Essex.

That’s all for now viewers.

And remember.

Effects of
    “ g l o b a l   c a p I t a l I s m ”
have yet to be detteeererrrrrr

On the local effects of global capitalism

Pay capped below inflation.
Again.
Workers forced to lose their jobs.
Again.
Wards reduced to minimum staffing.

Again.
NHS cut backs save the budget.
Again.
It may sound well
- and good
- and proper
- on paper.

But what do I see?

I see a girl, face withered by pain.
Whose eyes are sunken deep in a
prematurely-lined face.
Whose hands are sore from scratching.
Whose voice is hoarse from screaming.
Whose legs are muscle-wasted, vigour-stripped.
Whose mind is minimised, desperate, raw.
Whose days are restricted to four walls and a door.
Whose movement is constricted a wonky-legged wheelchair.
Whose life is limited to the soft screams of her head.
And when I hear the nurses,
arguing in impossibly insistent tones,
at 12 o clock, when she dreams of sleep,
"Who is on one-to-one?"
"I did the last hour."
"Who’s got the co-ordination sheet?"
"I’m doing hourly checks."
"Well, I’ve got to be in the clinic room."
"We need another HCA."

I wonder who we have saved.
1991

Your brain’s gone doollally,
Your feet left your shoes,
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
For the first time in ever,
There’s nothing to gain
From being saintly or sacred
Or hiding your pain.
The books that you’ve written
Are safe on the shelves
Of boys and of girls
In their tens and their twelves.
You’ve left a fine gift
To the world that’s behind:
The gift of the anapest,
The doggeroll-ryhmes.

But what of the man behind song, behind verse?
Was living with words, not a boon, but a curse?
Did rhythms of ham and eggs tramp in your head?
And pictures of cats in hats sleep in your bed?
We know of your vision, the goal to bring books
To all children, all youngsters, no matter their looks.
But, on the subject of kids of your own,
“You have ‘em; I’ll entertain ‘em”, said with a groan.

Don’t you think it’s funny what struck you out flat?
It wasn’t your wife’s suicide (we’ll gloss over that),
But boring old cancer, that everyone gets,
No once-ler, no green grinch, no gammy-meflets.
And, what’s more, the cancer that tore your inside
Was cancer of throat, your voice it had died.
What was it like, knowing censorship loomed?
Like a Hakken-Krak howling, the knowledge ballooned
Until you had to accept it: this was your lot.
Your time it was up, you had had what you got.

I’m afraid that sometimes
Even adults get scared,
when enemies hunt you
and catch unawares
the bravest of brave,
and the best of the best.
(Though that’s just conjecture:
we don’t know the rest.)
But on you must go,
through the wind and the rain,
and on you must go,
and battle with pain,
Like all of your characters,
down each road they went,
But you, unlike they,
know that your days are spent.

Where to go next?
I’m afraid I don’t know.
I’d love to tell you
how the story will go.
But you’re on your own here:
today is your day!
So write your own story,
and get on your way.

Remember your maxims, and choose left or right,
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Whichever direction, let your feet be your guide,
And, I promise you truly, you’ll see out the ride.
For you’ve brains in your head, and I know you’ll ride high!
I know this because you’re that kind of a guy!
Step with care, step with caution, and step with great tact,
For death, just like life, is a Balancing Act.
The year is a good’un, it’s nineteen-ninety-one,
So off on your journey, and have some good fun.
I guarantee nothing, not even success,
For that isn’t concrete, even in rest.
But I warrant adventures, and new things, unknowing,
Why are you waiting? Your future’s still growing.

Out of Water

"Out of Water" by SaifulH

image

You breathe in
 - smoke -
Your scales yearn
- water -
Your lips feel
- fire -

What do you see?
Looking at the tessellated wall,
the smoke stained rings,
the nails painted stark red.

I see:
your naked chest,
your unbrushed hair,
your fixated stare.
And I think:

stop.

Just stop.

Let fire be red-warmth.
Let water be blue-strength.
Let air be white-clear.
You do not have to have all.

(Your nicotine-stained tips remain
yellowing.)

October, 1988

October, 1988

A stella month for my parents, I’m sure
And somewhere 134 miles away your
parents were smiling, pure ecstasy on
their lips – you know, in that fixed way
that I imagine on parents who’ve had
you for three months now and isn’t
it wonderful the no-sleep the no-sex the
no-swearing the no-sodding-anything –
and imagining your future. At three
months old I don’t imagine they saw the
bright city lights of a film premiere, the
international flights of a promotion tour,
the reporters at your door at your home
in England where, 134 miles away I was
sat at home, reading the books on which
your films were based, face laced with a
smile in that fixed way that I imagine
said no-sleep no-sex no-swearing no-
sodding-
anything – please just let me finish this book.

I

I am a human being -
    am I?
Am I not a human doing?
I am a human. Passively.
I feel, I speak, I share.
I walk, I write, I think.
I have disposable thumbs.
But this does not make me
    a human being. For that, I have to
human be.

1989

To bring improvised
demolition
to concrete,
to face
the

material its
made of, this maze—
a chance we
forget
our

parents took, taking
their souvenirs,
reminders
of the
soul

excreted by that
corporation.
Too busy
feeding
ours,

we defer to the
structures that strip
us down to
these bare
bones

of living, restrict
valid being
so: step just
within
walls.