Showing posts from 2016
A lecturer at Leeds college of Art (AKA Jacob Kramer)  found this - the Leeds College of Art Magazine from 1935 wedged between some books about tartan! There's loads of prints inside including this one of the stairs at Vernon Street! 
Icon Gold

God is reflected in the gold and God is reflected in everything. The fogbank and the gold Gold of heaven Gold of Ophir Gold of infinite space
Mists of presence Light of memory Shadows of infinite space
The paintbrush on the glaze The gold leaf, the size It doesn’t matter which Between the gold and the paint there is no hitch
And so to reflect In the water glass glaze And the matt sheen gleam of gold
The forgetfulness reflexivity of gold The infinite space and the true presence How much longer will time rule my day and night Show me a glimpse of that timeless place Peace and rest.

Fiddling Friday midnight
Playing airs and jigs A round of verses and choruses Halls, rooms, pubs and clubs Connisborough Castle, Kirk Sandal, Denaby Main, Grandmas in walkers, kids in wedding shoes Men with pints, buying shorts for the ladies Orange, purple, gold, glitter Sunday bests, going-out-outfits Heavy chains, chain-strap handbags Jaden tattooed on a man’s arm in fairground typeface.
The songs like hymns Black Velvet Band, Galway Shawl, Wild Rover Mixed with 80’s saw Doctors and Pogues Requests from ladies to click up their heels to Half-remembered Irish dance steps from their 12th year Men happy to watch and sing along Young girls mixing line dancing, Irish dance, ballet Wild swinging and harmonic singing.
Through it all I stand I fiddle, Two hours, three hours, five hours I just keep going, just keep playing Don’t forget the bridge, keep playing it if Ged forgets the next verse A short instrumental is required while Christian and Benedict jog their memories for the lyrics Keep on it Keep awake Chris…
Three Funerals and a Veil: Dream Poem 16

It was her Father’s funeral Again She was all in black, white tights and a long black veil She wrote her name in black – on her shirt hem - over and over. She lay on the floor People were a bit shocked but just looked.
And she was thinking, ‘I only have to do this one more time and that will be three funerals for Dad’.
The water III
Strange and strong Not fragile Fragmented – the elements Fragmaformation Transforfragmented Oily roiling of the waters Mighty roar To
Ripulous ripples.
A Birthday in Rydal Mount.

Shifting clouds Like sand through a time glass All the shades of blue night Morning never staying still And behind the mountain The rock the bedrock The place of scrub Herdwick and hardy flocks And amidst it all the rain
Softly wet.
The water II: After Bill Viola’s Tristan’s Ascent.

Beauty of our fragility The beauty of pure life The announcements of Drops of water on our faces.
How, how, how? Once we were dust of the ground Once we were raw Once we were elemental. Our parts divided To water, metal, earth.
The flood. oh take away the water It is drowning us We are engulfed and dispersed We are subsumed in this Torrent of life.
Save us Or we will drown.
The rain goes up My senses are raw with the horror The dark – the slab The rain going up
The noise tremendous.
After: Ori Gersht Big Bang 2006: II

A subconscious awareness of a subtle horror A Dutch master’s dark and light beauty And suddenly noise and violence Shattered glass blast Glass grinding crunch Shredded shards fall in slow-motion Fatal beauty Hidden power Hungry explosive devours beauty and perfection And leaves a single bud blown By the back-draft of the moving air bombed erased lives Scattered fragments Collateral damage The troubles 9.11 7.7 Paris Boston Ground zero The uneasy beauty of destruction The finality of death Latency of Amazing grace And instant irradiation.


All rise Magdalenas and Madeleines soaked in tea Treats and tastes Small cakes full of Sweetness
And savor.
The water: after Bill Viola.

Whatever enters your heart Is a guest from the invisible world Entertain it well. Rumi
The ones that are left behind The ones that have gone before The wall of water Is a veil of light A shadowland A mist of becoming A journey A lifetime of onwards ever onwards

Still life: after Ori Gersht’s Big Bang 2006.

As I turned round I caught from the corner of my eye a darkened space illuminated by white roses, as in a Dutch still life of bygone days a movement from the centre shattered the scene of pastoral beauty  of muerte natura  and all exploded  shattering every petal and stem  sending fragments cascading outwards  in divine trajectory  and after the dread explosion  the plague  of a rain of blood in slow motion down and down and down  the pieces fell in devastating confetti  left waiting  in the black  one stalk of geranium waving back and forth
 through shards of glass and slowly falling debris.

Here in this place Heels kick and beats brew Here in this place
Language spoken time and true.
Stinking Hot Summer NC:

In my mirror is me My Mexican mirror In America once I was soft and sweaty Soaked in humidity Pools forming in my shoes From rivulets Coursing silently, invisibly From my neck, under my sports top Down my stomach And pants and inside thigh Accumulating As it ran sometimes dammed By waist-band and seam Gently absorbing until all Became damp And the only cure
Was a luke warm shower.
Iron shoes

The guns in the gun-rack Signify a beautiful day ruined again. Smooth shiny barrels in gun metal grey Wooden or plastic stocks Packs of BB pellets.
But do tell – why are they here in my wardrobe? Along with the net dress I bought in Stoke PVC bodice, boned and zipped plastic leather skirt. Unwise choices slotted together In their bungalow of belligerence.
My stance with my two strong feet planted Is firmly against.
Against these guns And the violent potential lying submerged, Latent, haunting, threatening Unspoken violence.
Against him The unwanted advances he takes advantage of When I’m asleep The cigarettes and beers The maudlin obsessions:- Serial killers, Survivalists, Vietnam, Army outfits - Multifarious camouflage patterns.
All these things I am against
His shiftlessness His lack of ambition. Irresponsible Sackless Selfish malingerer.
His arsenal of guns Bought in my name With my driver’s license The imprisonment of my wages Malevolence.
And again I’m against all this And my strong legs are braced for at…
Richmond Hill:

Down the clouds, across the way Washing streaming and steaming Hanging across flats only window Sadly sagging the line drooping down No breeze even to float dry
These flats many many Close knit, tight knit communities Kids Dad’s on strike from the mines For months and months food banking before it was trendy
How did the mums survive on this windy hill? Looking down over River and canal Barges up and down To and fro.
Strangely silent, up here. The long haul of shopping bag trudgery From the echoing, noisy, humidity of the market To this high rise separation Wind rattling the taut plastic.

Trial by Space:

Mount Sinai and Mourning Lace. Centre stone, Pendulum, Down, down, down. Think, imagine, centre Concentrate, reach, reach out.
I am standing in a room. It is a physical room. It is a remembered room. In this room is a life-times worth of memory – not mine.
Striped silk bustle skirt, pink kid dance slippers, fans with petals missing. Petticoats, bloomers, chemises, camisoles, gloves, bags, top hats, cloaks, boaters, and beaver furs.
Draws of mourning lace, cards of buttons, reams of tapestry wool and embroidery threads in rainbows of colour. Fountain pens from the 1940’s, fencing foils, tankards, Kafka novels, portraits of Louis Armstrong. Each object shouts for attention and significance.
Yet as I stand in the only space there is a small corner next to a four-foot crucifix in the room, it is empty and it is dark.
Dillon’s room was also dark and memory bound. His thoughts have shifted and sifted and sorted themselves into chapters. But mine are still out to sea.
I have made my nest

in Flats, tree houses, old offices Crumbling mills I have made my home With enemies and disinterested disregarders Alienating some Infuriating others Misunderstood and mistreated my garden a concrete yard A brick wall, the street A roof, a carpark, acres of forest The living only makes sense With the loving Otherwise it’s just
another set of keys.
Number One, Back Mount
The bannisters up How interesting it is that They are the same at number one, number three and number five. So old and black with thick, thick carving.
Here at number one, Piles of children’s clothes covered in a dust-sheet lie like a library of children’s lives. Folded neatly, sorted by age, on each landing of each of the four floors.
Children that come and go quickly, children that stay for a while and the ones that live here. Stationed around the landings of each floor are weird locked wardrobes with padlocks on the front.
In the front room – not the best-front-room but the every-day-back, front-room Gas fire on full Stifling, dusty and winter-time-hot. Richard sits scissors in hand.
He is perhaps six or seven years old A small thin pale boy, quiet and watchful with wild curly red hair He’s off school for the day – enviable position especially if you are not that sick. He has taken all of the dolls And cut off their hair. No one stops him or says anything.
The kitchen smells strongl…

A double edged thrusting dagger, continuously tapering to a thin point, used in France, Switzerland and Italy.
Why this, why now, what’s changed? The word for dagger comes to me in a dream. And I have to look it up. Shakespearean overtones of Macbeth.
It comes to me that this sharp tool Has a metaphorical job to do. It used to be that I lied to myself I snuck around truth, morality, right judgement I cheated myself.
The poniard Pierced my bravado and deflated it slowly Leaving my ego holey and tatty Exactly as it should have been. No more lies.

The great curve

All the poems and all the straight lines can I re-use these fragments and make a new name? Diffidence and radiance, sighs and sobs Encouragement and management, a clock on a fob Cover my shame with curtains of blue snakes in the bedroom, spiders in the loo and all the straight lines seen from a far make a pattern and rhythm an elegance and simplicity. once assembled they are no longer straight but create a greater curve of heart haunting beauty that could be created
no other way.
Post Industrial; 

Mill kitchen, part of The postindustrial landscape I see every day But not the miserable 1980’s mills Crumbling, on fire, deep depths. This Mill, Long gone are the workers their time here just a memory. A remembered scar where a touch calls to mind A shuttle piercing the two bones of the forearm A momentary call of attention to Another’s voice. Family, that’s what it was here in The 1940’s. Tea dances on a Friday night At Pudsey Baths Covering the turquoise freshness with Boards and a Big-Band, feverish, fervent dancers Desperadoes and double-crossers Two timing two steppers Ardent looks, firm thighs Hands… But yes the past is part of the present and
who would have it any other way?
Ode to String:

What is the string for? To tie my shoe To secure my sleeping bag A guy rope A piece if square lashing To carry my keys To thread a rosary That silly string that’s in space and its expandable in my hand To fasten up a curtain rail To tie a roast chicken leg To hang a bunch of thyme to dry To hitch a pair of trousers Or a horse To make a telephone with a tin Can car phone string Computer string Machine string with plug Crochet string for waistcoats and bed spreads Macramé string for hanging plant pots String that connects us all together String that unites us all Dust string Of shared ancestry String connected community String connected relationships String of time String of washing and notes on a stave String of life String of heaven String of death
O death, where is thy string?
Smash this puny existence?

I don’t think so – this is our one shot. This is now Now and eternity Together Telescoping out and then in again. So high we can’t get over it, So low we can’t get under it.
Smash each other’s puny existence? No not that either – not polite, not done What arrogance, what superiority What macho dominance No
How can I hope How can I be what I am meant to be? Oh Listen – Oh discern -  Oh breathe Then act
And pray I’ve heard right.
Web Heart

His and my souls are made of the same stuff Drop soul Drop And find your plumb weight Your level line Your weighted thread From heaven to his heart.
He The one that I am together with Our souls must be created from the same dust. Attracted to each other Like iron filings on a magnet.
Our heart strings In an invisible web Connecting us all.
The vibrations on my Heart string The reverberations on his Heart strings somehow Some way Resonated.
A beautiful Painfully lovely Discord, so close it Almost clashes in discordance Analogous harmonies Next to, yet a step apart
Underground Carpark

What I’d like is to Hide in an underground car park, To lie hidden and sleeping, My body in a car parking space.
At the centre of everything Nothing is important Except to be and to love
I can drift I can strive I can work really hard every day Driving, eating, teaching, researching What does it mean?
It may mean nothing It may mean everything I want to listen more Give me ears to hear.
Be calm Be still Rest
It has been a long year A recovery year A year of bright buds of hope A year of finishing things I give thanks for the year that has been I ask again – every step, every breath Every heart-beat, be with me.
And now let me sleep again In my car parking space Deep underground.

Valentine’s Day Twice:

That Valentine’s day I woke up Knowing that you were across the road.
The evening to come did not go to my plan.
My plan was not to see you at all. I had sensibly and sincerely Pushed all obsession Into the arena of phantasy.
You were not interested or so it seemed And I was married And there it could have remained Impasse.
But that evening You arrived at my door and I Opened to your face – touched By your thoughtful bottle of Red and bottle of white.
Who would have thought we’d drink both Make love on the front room floor
This really was not my plan.
We talked About unwanted letters Who knew he liked them? He never replied and I gave up Sending them.
Somehow we kissed
This was a turning point This was the end of one marriage And the beginning of another Turning on a sixpence.
The next year we awoke On Valentine’s morning In each other’s arms Wondering what came next Knowing we had begun Something Not knowing what Not having planned it Who knew?