Podcast #5: February 3rd, 2021

Podcast #5: February 3rd, 2021

Again, the first piece this week is from my self-published chapbook, Curt; Urbane. If you’d like to read this plus the other poems I wrote, you can order a copy by clicking this link.


Stigma

Marked down, tattered remains
redemptive path-strewn negatives;
dismiss their intellectual arrogance
none of that is yours to give.
As brain won’t scan, subordinate
distant anger closely reined, relived
tear stained rejection etched on fingertips:
pencil to key, listen to me
branded self-failure,
eternity, bereft.

Fifty-three autumns past, now know
here remains right place to be.
Let poems fall, bring them back up,
to fail, most vital skill of all.
Wear badge of shame, strong pride, reborn
unafraid of tears inside
other’s definitions not required.
Rules restricting portent’s present tense:
no need for anything 
except myself.

I think a lot of non-writers believe that the idea of writers being struck by inspiration whilst in the shower or in the middle of the night is hyperbole. It absolutely isn’t. This poem is the inevitable moment when you had the idea, but by the time you got to write it down…


Inspiration

Freedom, constrained
words I never had, suddenly regained
from those dark depths of itching fear
that sends skin on edge and teeth to rot
lost in synaptic overlap between fractal and noise
being easier to grasp than hold, let slip away
knowing hard truth between those lies I told myself
that this is truest moment ever made
by words and now

fucking hell

it’s gone.

Podcast #4: January 27th, 2021

Podcast #4: January 27th, 2021

This week, the first piece is from my self-published chapbook, Curt; Urbane. If you’d like to read this plus the other poems I wrote, you can order a copy by clicking this link.


Leaving Alone

This is a journey, printing sounds
one life; adapted screenplay’s fifty-third
draft, annotated down by half. Each day
his music always gives brain sharp hit
no face dishing dirt, car boots treasured chest.
Smart, musical version of assertions,
some other guy’s ideas, new girl
as pawn into their queen, scene set:
destination waiting, anticipate regret.

World’s disparate certainties, combined
final composing coda from page two,
early to fled, never despise those whose
natural talent had this sussed at twenty-five.
Late to depart, but luggage free, finally
all matters, sunset’s filters set by me.
I left long time ago, returning calm
repainting on these hands, under my terms.
You cannot hurt her any more.

This second piece comes from a workshop that was only completed last week. I feel I have grown enormously as a poet over the last eighteen months. The differences, at least in my mind, between the two works are enormous.


Conversation

I never understood you, for the longest time
taught parrot fashion to repeat each line
without comprehension
that other people 
sold
comfort and distinction;
never me.

Everybody doubled down, how hard you were to hold
difficult, disquietening as purgatory 
for souls’ faithful, 
never escaped from
until penance, suffered
served those other people
represented, never me.

Then came the day you saved them
without a single word
connecting vital synapses
handing heart a truth, had always been there
but I could never see
this is, remains true calling
narrative enduring, just for me.

Podcast #3: January 20th, 2021

Podcast #3: January 20th, 2021

This week, both poems are from my self-published chapbook, Curt; Urbane. If you’d like to read the other poems I wrote, you can order a copy by clicking this link.


First, His


Turning head, in early dawn, he sleeps
blissful, closed eyes reminding first;
love manifests in many forms.

What others ask of you, often too much
poor offer without thought, yet lying here
child’s swaddled bliss, perfect disbelief:

I hand you everything I own
no hesitation towards cost
to sleep in innocence, boy’s calm.

Love’s revelation, manual laid bare
no need to ask, just placed as gentle care
nurture, built from nothing, yet aware.

Give age and time, his puzzles point
both means to understand, grow tall,
truth confidence, raise doubtful hand.

To think that in our youth, all answers
were expected to exist, but never did.
Life’s gift to him; new game, all change.

Looking back on this pamphlet, which I self-published back in 2020, I’m already wondering how much better a lot of these poems could now be with what I’ve learnt during the intervening period. I think that evolution as a poet is one of the most important skills you will ever learn.


Second, Hers


This time, so fast, brain can’t adjust
her tiny resting head to breast
how was such beauty built within?

Before strong preparation, except now
golden intentions swallowed whole,
tired body broken, not enough.

The world needs heroes, imbeciles
without most basic skills, recede
grant halcyon child space to proceed.

And I, behind, will melt away
until no trace of wrong remains
mere smudge of black as light abstains.

This broken girl no longer grasps
their basic steps, dead path ahead
notion consumes, depression gains.

Yet tiny hand might yet redeem
both; damaged good, redrawing empathy
redemption hewn, emerging artistry.

Podcast #2: January 13th, 2021

Podcast #2: January 13th, 2021

In time, poetry was given titles. This again I have no memory of writing, but I suspect I know which poet I was wishing would hear my work and point light in my direction…


The Poet, Sits

At feet, I wait
one moment’s chance;
possibility,
hands on belief.
Maybe, I could
attain these heights:
small brilliance that
he holds, to see.

Look up, with hope
for confidence
within a heart
too scared to beat.
Might pass me
wisdom’s gift, distilled
chipped from a soul
of artistry.

Then comes a spark,
awareness blooms,
from too long spent
in darkened rooms.
No need for this
to validate, a life
that’s mine to own,
path I walk alone.

The poet sits
no longer awed,
as mentor moves
no need to grasp.
Perhaps it’s time;
stand tall, ignore
the need to feel
beholden, tied.

Validation, of course, is a dangerous game and as time has gone on I’ve learnt to worry less about looking for other people’s acceptance and focussed more on the stories I want to tell in my own way. This poem was a response to a moment on Twitter that made me realize my world view will not always align with other people’s, and that’s perfectly fine.


Reboot Hill

Self-appointed sheriffs
copy-paste to clipboard
stand by to snitch that moment
hapless noob deletes...

self-regulated warriors
of hot misinformation
recoil in desperate horror
as expert witness, Tweets:

self-indulgent white men
put on their capes, continue
attacking random women
who never take a joke;

self-nominated purists
would never ask for reboot
crowdfunding an antidote
where nobody is woke...

Reboot Hill is groaning
full to overflowing
shitposts full of corpses
NFTs of strife:

as the World is burning
nobody is learning;
Metaverse is pointless

stop selling them your life.

Podcast #1: January 6th, 2021

Podcast #1: January 6th, 2021

This poem was first written in 2017, in the earliest days of my poetic realignment. It doesn’t even have a title, is just known as global_sonnet.odt.
It is really not as bad as I thought it was, because as far as I know this was probably shoved on Twitter before being promptly forgotten about…


As planet warms, our scientists will weep,
The ice-flows crack whilst forests fall unchecked:
Impossible these promises to keep,
Whilst politics and businessmen bisect.
Our fragile home needs heroes to emerge,
A population galvanized by hope;
Environmental risks must not converge,
If future generations are to cope.
Together we can change the course of fate,
Reverse those selfish choices in our past,
With instant action, it is not too late,
Present some solid promises that last.
Stand up, my friends, and heed the battle call:
Humanity, save Earth now, one and all.

This second poem was written on January 6th, during #TheWritingHours Zoom event organized by Kim Moore and Clare Shaw. It was a moment of subconscious revelation: the time has come to put away the issues of my past and move forward. Sometimes, you don’t need to live in the past any more, it is perfectly acceptable to leave it behind in order to move forward.


Don’t Worry Too Much about Truth

If I could, it would be made of joy:
glorious memories in sand, as sun
the Broads, shining as we chugged along;
between New Town and the park
constantly marked with railway lines
pylons, ponds and hedgerow scran.

If I could, I’d find a year, just one
where it was clear this all went wrong
instead my beats are broken, shards
of anger, splatter from a stab, as 
shame and stigma colours every note
no-one on the dance-floor without blame.

If you really want to know, I’m gone;
looking backwards never helped
when everything’s been reconciled
as just a trip that’s sold, then done

don’t worry too much about truth:

stop going back to count each step.

The A127 :: Road to Everywhere

A127 : Taken June 27th, 2019
Welcome to Southend

At the end, we start with a beginning. It’s the road I use every day of my life, connects here with there, is indivisible from the life of this town. Sure you can get into Southend in lots of other ways, but this is the main way, the big road, withe the speed cameras and the tourists not understanding how you merge from three lanes to two. It’s a challenge and huge fun and woe betide if there’s a problem at The Bell.

It’s also had more poetry written about it in this household than anywhere else in the borough. I need to get out more…


The A127 :: Road to Everywhere

This is the road:
bisects borough
checking speed
Progress left
way Fair right
three lanes
become a pain
reducing to
Mini diorama;
footbridge drama.

This is car’s code:
London’s hauling
speed adherence
camera’s flashing
Tesco’s extra
lane avoidance
airport’s runway
roundabout drama
don’t slow down;
front wing’s gone.

This is the load:
fresh recycling
hay bales wobbling
green foil racer
ambulance hastens
make a space
could be you one day
urban clearway
exhausted pace
their daily race.

This is my life:
there and back
eaten, tracked
Google mapped
school, supermarket
fast mood, slow
packed instants
recalled, other’s
lives observed,
remembered
more
than
mine.

This line; constant… park.

Cuckoo Corner :: King’s Rest

The Prittlewell royal Anglo-Saxon burial or Prittlewell princely burial is a high-status Anglo-Saxon burial mound which was excavated at Prittlewell, north of Southend-on-Sea. It is located between the A1159 road and the Shenfield–Southend railway line, close to an Aldi supermarket and The Saxon King pub.

Artefacts found by archaeologists in the burial chamber are of a quality that initially suggested that Prittlewell was a tomb of one of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Essex, and the discovery of golden foil crosses indicate that the inhabitant was an early Anglo-Saxon Christian. The burial is now dated to about 580 AD, and is thought that it contained the remains of Sæxa, brother of Sæberht of Essex.

From Wikipedia

Cuckoo Corner :: taken June 26th 2019
Significant site.

Every day during term time I drive my daughter to school past the sight of a Saxon burial. It’s become habit to wish Sæxa good morning, because it must get quite lonely being out there next to the traffic. The irony of course is that nobody would ever have known about him, but because they wanted to widen this road to accommodate traffic to Shoebury Garrison, excavations took place.

It’s fabulous knowing such a well preserved part of local history was saved from tarmac and wheels: I never sit and complain either, when stationary on this piece of road, which happens quite a bit. The cost of enlightenment is often inconvenience, and if it all gets too much I can always nip across the road, park up and go walk through Priory Park instead. Some mornings, I think my daughter wishes we could do that instead of school.

Failing that, there’s always the Aldi.


Kings, Rest

Rail passes Prince
recently revealed Essex boy
buried in wealth yet
lost chronicles regret:
our Pyramids
Talk of the South
best preserved bet
quietest mouth,
forgotten ancestry.

Road almost ruined
enlightenment, celebrity:
let’s build a pub
next door, so Prince
if tired from weekly
Aldi shop could pop
in for a lager top;
buy wheely bin for him
to store treasures within.

The corner’s square
there’s nothing there
life moved beneath
Museum’s glare,
yet every day
I wave hello:
the Prince’s hump
burial lump
remembered history.

 

Priory Park :: Finish Line

Priory Park : Taken 26th June, 2019
In or Out?

This is the park that you can enter and then immediately forget that Southend even exists outside. It’s a massive space, dominated by the Priory which, for hundreds of years, was an incredibly important part of the local Community. I am embarrassed to admit this is the first time in my life I’d ever visited the site. There’s a lot to take in, and I’ll be back to do just that over the Summer.

It’s amazing how little you can know about places that are literally just outside your front door, or which you drive by each day. Being oblivious to history is fine, but eventually, as you will become a part of it, there’s some sense in making time to understand how everything fits together. It isn’t just dog walking and the bandstand, after all…

This is also where the London to Southend bike ride traditionally ends, and our poem was built.


Finish Line

Race space: everybody’s finish line, laces
unwind: exhausted, invigorated chestnut’s
ashen faced;
here
is where I rest.

Borough’s pride
Tudor boughs

Victorian promenade
a thousand years

green,
unspoilt
centre of
my town.

Band stands, applauds
zip rope action without parallel
history and PE, overlap

whilst terriers
greyhounds
Westies
going south: throw,
ball chase

serene,
unexplored
centre of
your town.

Park your bike love,
you’ve won.

Warners Bridge :: Hockey, Sticks

Warners Bridge : taken June 26th, 2019
Nice Sign.

I didn’t time my photography skills well, and when the Hockey season starts again I’ll make sure to return to Warners Bridge for some colour and proper action for this page. For now, you have the quieter and more reflective side of a club that my husband’s payed and umpired for over several decades. He went on tour this year too: Gibraltar looked very sunny from a distance.

I’ve spent a lot of time with hockey at arm’s length: there were reasons for this, as there are for so many things. Mostly, only now am I beginning to be comfortable with my physical ability. It’s taken a while, but that’s something that can be admitted in public, as other things have been over the years. My husband’s a hero, and I take the opportunity to remind him of this fact whenever possible.


Hockey, Sticks

I tried once, sport’s your
choice to play, I’ll watch
Saturday’s warm window breath
better results in pitch, and yet

drinking games were
worth
your names.

I stayed at home,
made
other worlds until
November day, his
end began
worst path

regretted
to this
day.

Now you teach them rules,
observe, not
referee of orange tee
umpire bites back
but never rude,

this warm, wood shed
piled pre-cooked
match tea of the gods.

Belonging, understand
tribes made by
other’s hands devolve
life’s memories

dad’s histories
calligraphy; slow
hand carved
words.

Club’s trophies, chronicle exposed.

Southend United FC :: The Blues

Roots Hall : taken June 26th, 2019
Pizza and Footy

Our football team’s history is, of course, extremely well documented on its own website amongst others. Pre-season will begin as this website goes live: the team will be seen putting in the hours in my Gym too, as they do seem to enjoy doing a fair bit. It is good to know they worked hard last season to avoid relegation, and honestly that last minute winner was very well deserved.

Whether the new ground is built sooner or later, of course, is a subject of almost continuous debate: the plan however to build housing on the site has already begun in earnest. One assumes that they’ll eventually say yes (it was supposed to happen in 2018 and we’re still waiting) and the new development at Fossetts Farm will eventually become a reality.

Until then, it’s Roots Hall all the way.


The Blues

Support your local lads, history
inextricably lived: formed in
the pub, unsurprisingly
Blue Boars evolve to Shrimpers.
Bob Jack’s fixtures sold
to help the War, moving south
then north and back again
eventually through austerity,
adversity; returning to their
Roots in fifty-six.

That New Years Day I watched
Newcastle get destroyed 4-0;
second tier supremacy,
brief moment in the sun:
since then, their steady need
to move away, expand as
ground contracts, housing
rising, dwarfing floodlights
terraced adverts promising
break new Ground in the east.

Perpetual momentum holds
interest front and centre,
one day we might be awesome
but now this is enough,
blue beating heart of coastal
town, refusing death at
every turn, reminder fighting
to the end will always
turn out well: the East Stands
tall, sings hard, still understands.