Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last Pharaoh














He dyes his hair.
He paints his face.
He hides behind a screen,
Curled up in a sumptuous lair.
He takes every care
His weakness cannot be seen.

But, when he commands the tide to turn,
He wonders at his impotence,
As the sea laps round his feet,
The citadel begins to burn
And common people spurn
His rule on every dancing street.

His time to leave is here,
Head bowed, in disgrace.
His fingers drum in futile rage.
He feels, at last, the helpless fear,
As the tear gas starts to clear
And he foresees the bars of his own cage.


Two down. Which dog dies next?



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Art of the Double Act












A peerless pair
of brazen buggers,
bosom buddies of bent bankers
and multi-national muggers.

We didn't think of it first.
It was a classical crime.
Janus was a god and he
Faced both ways at the same time.

Now gone is the old routine.
Much smarter is our all soft touch
( Hard cop, soft cop is so has-been )
Rakes in bonuses, twice as much.

Know when to be serious.
Know when to smile.
Keep the sharp knives unseen,
concealed by consumate style.

Tell the truth and tell it big.
Even if you look real hard,
can you tell the difference
between one man and the other pig?

Fun ranging from a quotation from Catullus ( poem 57 ) to Orwell's own prophetic vision. Hundreds of years pass and we still have to put up with the same shit.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Streets of Tunis













Their love of their country is like fever,
For which no doctors know a certain cure.
The love of a people, once unleashed,
A force at one time perfect, fierce and pure,
Rooting out the torturer, tyrant, thief,
Once tasted, freedom leaves you wanting more.
It cannot burn out, can never be spent,
Rising for the climax, final overture.

So, to the window. Draw the curtains wide.
Fold back the shutters. Let the streets inside.
Above the crackle of distant gunfire,
Once silent voices spin ever higher.
Look up. See what catches every eye.
The scented clouds of jasmine fill the sky.

No sense in being pessimistic all the time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Urban Mythology
















It can’t be true.
In the City of Angels,
in the Land of the Free,
the poor are gathering dead birds
from the street,
desperate for anything to eat.
Beneath the hoarding
with a double-decker big whopper
and bucket of fries,
they’re roasting pigeons
on open fires.

No one asks why
so many feathered friends
tumble from the sky,
or how come,
in the midst of riches
there are those that starve
and die in roadside ditches.

The movers and shakers
are distracted, feathering
their own nests, or
taking aim at one another,
regardless of who gets caught
in friendly fire.

What about you?
When you read the stories
did your jaw, like mine, just drop?
Stop. Convince me.
It really can’t be true!


Human Rights Examiner January 19th 2011
www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/fallen-dead-birds-eaten-by-america-s-homeless

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Game of Chance



















Ice cubes clink into the last cut glass.
Another magnum drains dry.
Pass the cards to your right.
This hand will last into the memory of this night.

Here is a prince of coins,
hollow-eyed, fingering the salt
he’s spilled across the baize,
heat spreading from his loins.

Here lies a queen of cups
humming ‘Abide with me’,
so much red mist in her eyes,
where it ends, she cannot see.

Here sits a king drowning his sorrows,
head buried in his hands,
the vessel founders in his bottle,
comes to rest on wailing sands.

Here’s a self-made man wielding words
sharper than any mythic sword,
cutting truth, saving rotten wood,
blinded by the brilliance of his own blade.

Observe our house of cards slip
into a sea of silent screams.
This is the stuff of unspoken dreams
on this unsinkable ship.

This is the poem that fills the gap for September 11th 2010. Haven't heard anything, so I guess Gillian Clarke didn't think much of it!