Thursday, 10 September 2009

saw a bird with a broken wing

saw a bird with a broken wing
sad speckled pigeon
brown and white on the rough tarmac

saw a girl with a broken heart
held her in my useless arms
cold and dark on an airport floor

saw a friend with a broken home
immaterial, void, lost in limbo
bitter at my stability

we stand despite
we walk despite
despite despite
we walk
we stand

Sunday, 16 August 2009

the sheer pointlessness of excellence

the sheer pointlessness of excellence
of gold medals
great achievements

dada honours, decorations
R Mutt CBE
a war medal made of pigs' ears

the life sacrifice to be a star
the hammering ego
the ludicrous cross to bear

photo insight

saw it in her eyes
she loves me
even now

saw it in her bright alive eyes
from an old torn photo
she loves me
from her grave

mind is capable

mind is capable
of conspiring with the universe
to bring you freedoms
beyond your present conception

Saturday, 15 August 2009

these people

these people
interrupt my meditative stream

i pretend to listen to their flow of nonsense

i am considering the stillness
inherent in everything that moves

but my insights are crushed
by the babble of friends family world news

i breathe deeply
try to recapture the Realisation

try too hard
and it's gone

I'm back
and give my attention
to my loved ones

which is where i ought to have been

seeking enlightenment
is the most stupid ***** thing
you can do
because it sure as hell won't get you there
and you'll miss your kids growing up
and your partner will be bored
by your eternal navel gazing

so if you want to know the universe
try going to the football
with your mates.

we ate berries in the summer

we ate berries in the summer
and our health returned
plucking rasps and strawbs
like they were diamonds
in a jeweller's robbery

this soup, you know
will keep you alive
in years to come
it has magic in its warmth

always keep yourself warm when you can

we baked homemade bread
from freshly cut and ground grain
it gave us solidity
wild the cruel winds blew
or dreams to smithereens

berries, soup, bread - remember this

this rug

this rug you are wrapped in
belonged to a man from Irkutsk

he gave it to a Pole
in the forests of Siberia
to keep him warm

the old Pole,
fingers lost through frost bite
gave it me in turn
to keep me warm
on the motherless train
to my new beginning

wrap it around you child
wrap it round your soul
keep it
and when the time is right
- you'll know when -
give it to a stranger
to keep them warm
and safe from harm

Thursday, 13 August 2009

erik satie thank you

erik satie thank you
for sparing us forty minute symphonies
and giving us instead
the two minute heart of the matter

beauty without cloying
spirit without cloysters
humour without laughter

a silent sparse perfection

a lovely chaos ensues

a lovely chaos ensues
nurturing but directionless
jolting but serene

chaos upon chaos
like a messy layered chocolate cake

no easy answers

no easy answers
no answers at all
your questions are pointless
there is nothing to answer
don't you see?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


thus. the numpty calls his blog thus
meanwhile it's raining outside
soft scottish rain, liquid cotton
i love the early morning
before humanity gets into first gear

imperfection is perfect

imperfection is perfect
poor quality divine
this poem sucks

perfection is sick
the divine so tainted
this poem rocks

perfection resides within the error-strewn
the divine rests with that which is poor
this poem, not even a poem, mere trash

Friday, 7 August 2009

"do you see how happy he feels?"

"do you see how happy he feels?"

my eyes could hardly open they were so tired.

"don't you think you should be more like him?"

i would do anything for her to shut up so I could get back to sleep.

"After all life is for living"

or something like that.

to imagine is better than reality

to imagine is better than reality
and reality is just imagined after all
it's hard to know what's real and what's a dream
we all just flow, stumble, fall, fly

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

too scared to be simple

too scared to be simple
too desirous to accept
the frantic frenetic

keeping busy
the avoidance of living

Monday, 3 August 2009

blind willie's lament

dark was the night
cold was the ground
sang poor blind willie johnson

dark is the pit
cold are the bones
of blind willie johnson

dark is the Earth
cold is the heart
but blind willie johnson is red hot

i write a poem

i write a poem
Christine watches House
seduce a young medic on tv
which of us is wasting our time?

what there isn't

what there isn't
rises higher in my mind
than what there is

what's not seen
obliterates my certainty
of what I see
with these limited eyes

Thursday, 30 July 2009

desert daze

desert daze
rust red, deep blue
feverish confusion

Australian sweat
the toil of sandy days

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


have none
live, that's enough

be nice to people
it's a hard challenge

don't hurt animals

get practical things done
and stop protesting every issue

if not stories

if not stories
then what?
art? the sensation is too short
work suffices for a while
but drains the soul
and tv creates a void

if not these then what?
follow the breath
watch nothing in particular
be nothing
accept the universe

difficult poetry

difficult poetry
is too difficult
to read

bad poetry is good

good poetry is bad

this is bad poetry

this is a manifesto for simple poetry

Some ghosts

"the ghosts of jews are everywhere"
Helen Degen Cohen wrote this
and i shivered with sadness

Monday, 27 July 2009

ignore facts

ignore facts
they breed rumours
which turn into lies

surf the world on instinct

the sparkle hair

the sparkle hair
her defining feature
could not hide her despair

for all the pain inside her
she seemed bald
and blanched
like a damned soul

not all poems work

not all poems work
but that's ok
they're not made for sharing

they're made in order to be born
that's all

if anyone else likes them
that's a bonus

and maybe this is not a poem anyway
who cares?

Saturday, 25 July 2009

bools in their mooths

bools in their mooths
they kept the plebs from the privileged

pretending to give the lowly
a sniff at the bone
they proceded to offer
a feast of salmon and champaigne

to the ones that mattered

all this in a democracy too
all this in the people's parliament

can't help but think

can't help but think
the buddha
kind of got one major problem
fully resolved

only to take his followers
into another
albeit lesser one

that of non-experience
of chronic stupidity

without crashing
we can't learn to drive properly
and the trick is not to sell the car

the towel dropped

the towel dropped

it's alright
you needn't avert your eyes

it was against my clothed back
to support a lower back weakness

not that my nakedness
is something in itself
to be squeamish about

even in these days
of false piousness
and brutally judgmental

brecht mocked the establishment

brecht mocked the east german government
for chiding the workers
when they rose against oppression

he said wouldn't it
be easier to dissolve the people
and elect another?

earlier, just after the war
he mocked those who expressed horror
at the Holocaust

he mimicked them (paraphrasing)
whilst war, normally fair and decent
this time went too far
and that is a matter of great regret

good mockery bertolt
good writer too
shame you didn't quite know
how a good society was to be fashioned

then again, who does?

salvage operation

the moon and sixpence
maugham on gauguin

second hand via amazon
2/6 1961 Penguin Modern Classic

i rescued a lost book
lost author
lost age

WSM salvages my fragmentary
grasp on human frailties

dragons aren't real

dragons aren't real
are they daddy?
she asked in a hushed voice

no my dear
of course not

now keep quiet and still
or we may be discovered

the sound of boots
on the creaking floorboards
above their fragile faces

if you put all of history

if you put all of history
in a leaky bucket
the truth, little though there was
to begin with
would seep out
leaving only myth
and lies

and folk would be happy with that
historical truth
is an awkward little bastard
to have to face

stormy clouds

storm clouds
gather on the
polish border

seventy years

the nightmare begins

where are the Allies this time?


tell me what it takes
tell me who you lean on
when things get dark as hell

do you know who you are?
do you know anything at all?

living room incident

walked into the living room
two dead bodies in a skip
one male bleeding
the other, a woman, under misty glass

NCIS on the telly

walked out of the room

jesus and gautama have a row

Jesus: My father, creator of heaven and earth...
Gautama: 'scuse me?
Jesus: My father, creator of...
Gautama: There is no creator, only flow, change, causes and effects of causes
Jesus: I am the son of God, the father
Gautama: No God, no creator, this is all the delusion of a sense of fixed self
Jesus: I am sent down to save the sinners
Gautama: no sinners, no sins, only unskilful thoughts, words, deeds
Jesus (getting a bit teed off): I could clear you out of this temple without blinking an eye; I've done it to others
Gautama: and I would let you without blinking an eye; who needs a temple anyway?
Jesus: You are just...
Gautama: ... a collection of physical and mental aggregates, which arise and vanish in an instant.

Friday, 24 July 2009

it's urban rural Hamilton

it's urban rural
this blade of grass
this air

the breath
is freedom

the town comes to life
and the trees still rule

the precious alone time

the precious alone time
early morning
everyone sleeping

is finished

i hear movement upstairs

time to emerge
from micro-universe
and be a social presence

i try to do

i try to do

that which needs done
which is very little

that which ought to be done
which is a lot
here i must be careful to observe and laugh at my distate
for what deludedly appears tedious

that which might be enjoyable, enriching
gracious even
which tend to arise or not arise at random

i try not to do
that which won't affect me badly
if i don't do it

things lie undone

things lie undone
but what needs done?

sleep, eat, the chance to know life

thanks Kung Fu for the quote
forgive the adaptation

but I'm not a Shaolin priest

nor though maybe
a fictional character
in a tv series

Thursday, 23 July 2009

did a painting today

did a painting today
called Z4
five minute job

is it good?
hardly Titian
did a computer version
for this blog
not the same as the acrylic original
but it'll do
so that's now two new paintings

what is good?
what is Titian?

wrong grieving right loss

i admit to a trail of sadness

but in the wake
the shimmering gladness

of knowing my cat
for these past ten years

our rescue of her
from matted fear and decline

makes me smile
and the sadness retreats into a tiny shell

beautiful vava

beautiful vava is dying

she's purring as I lie beside her
at the radiator

one eye half shut
she's shutting down


life is leaving her
the purr is last to go

blocked freedom

we build to protect
and in protecting

welfare become burial

public service
giant walls
and obstacles

arises from risk

brick by brick
pull down walls

wrestling with simplicity in writing

towards simple poetry

away from showy

that no one understands
so no one buys
and no one reads

poetry isn't narcissism
isn't indulgence

most poetry isn't poetry
but masturbation


we set in motion consequences
trains of reactions
chemical, physical, emotional, nonsensical

sometimes we mean it
but have little control
over what then happens

mostly clumsily, stupidly

life is relentless collisions
of trains of consequences


library books sit unread

library books sit unread
on my other desk
alongside the waiting easel
and two necessary but worthless
legal documents
i have to read and, if in order, sign

life is on hold

in the mainstream morning

in the mainstream morning
i pondered petals holding teardrop rain
then Toto's tail brushed the stem

and the water sucked into the soil
and all that was left
was the flower, the cat, the soil

and my pointless thought

do not contend

aye right she said

and i gave up instantly

why argue with a force of nature?

it's 11am get back to work

it's 11am get back to work
said the tyrant inside my head

this stuff - poetry
that's not work
that's indulgence

there are causes to be won
businesses to be met
plans to be planned

but words must have their moment too

love the rain mum said

love the rain mum said

and it drenched me
from the day i was born

and it will
drown me in my coffin

six feet below
the sodden turf

but that's ok

milosz wrote

milosz wrote
the grass between the tombs is intensely green

not on my grave
the rain in Hamilton
pours incessantly

and my tomb-lawn is bright and cool
as spring


is the best we can do

better to fail
to live up to purity

than to fail even to aspire
to possibilities

mantra for the moment

talk write family sit
watch the mind
don't cause harm

on concentration in my time

life goes so fast today
we're the generation who can't focus
on one thing for more than twenty seconds
so i now write my poems to fit
the attention span of a gnat

i have a mind to write short poems

i have a mind to write short poems
because i can't concentrate long enough
to read others' long ones

so i figure if i write short poems
at least people can read it all

instead of giving up
after the first six lines

Friday, 10 July 2009


nor the robes
nor the shrine

not bowing
or prostrating

neither statues
nor exotic names

no priests
no monks

not buddhism
this clutter of religiosity

just this mind
this space
this crazy empty mind space

is all

do it

ugly mind

a snooty voice -
my mind recoils
at its own prejudice


i switch the light on
and everything dims

fait accompli

Jesus on his cross
No way back for Pilate


zen has no future
buddhism no past

Age of anxiety

grey tomorrow
covers the sky

rise early with Thoreau

the yellow corn
announces dawn


the crimson skull
beneath the fragile skin


nothing remains to be said
so I'll say it


bow & scrape
the economic system

time for bed

the consequence
of not being tired

literary criticism

there are no bad poems
there are no good poems
there aren't even poems

Friday, 26 June 2009

a wilderness of opinions

a wilderness of opinions
a wilderness of choices
a wilderness of issues
a wilderness of careers

life is simple
food, sleep, a chance to work

(first line is Buddha's criticism of debates on metaphysical issues that go nowhere; last line is spoken by Caine in tv series Kung Fun when asked what we intended to do.)

Saturday, 21 March 2009


on the 16th June 2009
as always at that date
all around the world the faithful
turned towards Kirkcaldy

those rich enough
by following what they took to be his teachings
were of course in the holy town itself

thronged with businessmen
and increasingly in recent years
some women,
economists - the high priests of the religion
and of course the political elite'
agnostics mostly
but needing to be there
to press the flesh and pledge belief
in the one true faith

and at noon the great moment
when all bowed towards the lowly lawyer's stable
in which He was born
warmed by the cattle and the sheep
in the immaculate kingdome of Fife

they got to their knees
- on fine rugs made in Indonesia, special offer -
and lowered their heads to the sacred Earth
kissing the font of all raw materials
such are as left now
and declared the holy mantra

those to the west of Kirkcaldy
all around the world


those to the east


thus the mystic rite was fulfilled
and all those who could afford it
held festivals and shopping expeditions
and visits to ex-rainforests
to see how the mines now worked

while those
the excluded
the non-believers and the untouchables
looked on in envy and bewilderment
holding their sick and dying infants
standing on the parched, waste-strewn soil

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

1314 and 2009

ah remember 1314
it was nothin like they bastart
propagandists say
just blood and screams of agony
for minute after minute

a cowered in the river
ma leg half severt
by some massive english sword
least ah thought it wiz english
could have been wan ae oor side
it was such chaos an carnage

an that turncoat bastart Bruce
aye he milked wan side efter the ither
sookin up tae the english when it suited him fine
then when he saw an opportunity tae stick it tae his enemies
up here he puts his patriotic crown on
pretends that aw his past didny exist

and cried himsel the father of scots
the saviour ae the nation
aw spin
an the mugs bought it

no me
ah wiz jist caught up in the bastarts grabbin evry local guy
they could find
ah tried tae hide in the hay
but they pitchforked it so much
ah'd huv endit up wi a hundred holes in me

and so there ah wiz
in the battle tae end battles
in the war o so-called independence
the war tae end aw wars
cried Bruce

aye right Roberto
you watched as hunners ae yer peasant pawns
were slashed tae bits or cut doon by arras
that fell fae the sky
like a swarm a locusts

aw you played yer cameo role well
the knackered knight ridin tae escape
barely able tae keep oan his horse
poor guy
though he was probably just another bastart
greedy for land an power
but what a saw was a shattert soul
an you
fresh fae daein nuthin whilst we bled
caught up wi him
and ye took oot yer big shinin weapon
a couldny see whether it wiz a sword or an axe
an you took him fae behind
an clattert the massive metal brute
doon on his unknowin head
and near split the manny in two

this wisny battle
it wisny a duel
it was cold heartit
cold blooded

an me
ah jist wantit hame
tae ma bairns
ma wife
and my wee bit land

wan ae the lucky wans me
wan leggit willy they ca' me noo
still a git by wi ma crutch an ma daughter's soft help

but ye kin stuff yer scotland up her hairy arse Bruce
this wiz niver fur us
this wiz only fur yer own chests full a money
your parcel a lands
there's a parcel a rogues in this nation
cryin themsels heroes
aw the time jist riflin through our coffers
bleedin the poor
conspirin against each other

you and yer damned bishops
your great victories
your deal wi the Pope
and the gentler Edward in England

father of the nation
butcher of bannockburn mair like
butcher of yer people, yer rivals, anywan that stood in yer way

hist'ry'll paint some rosy glow nae doubt
it always does to those who win the game
but as ah watched ma blood trail doon the Bannock burn
an thought ah'd never see my wee sad eyed daughter again
ah raged and raged inside
at the evil men who took us tae this madness
men like you Bruce
aye an Edward tae
an Wallace and Comyn afore

nae sense a good or bad
just greedy maniacs

an when ye die
as even kings must
ah hope tae god there's a hell in which you'll rust

Friday, 30 January 2009

in my previous piece on this blog

in my previous piece on this blog
i made two typos

i wrote dready instead of dreary
and wil instead of will

but didn't correct them
i quite like dready as a word
not at all like dreary
but combines reggae and fear sentiments
as for wil it just looks good
and the meaning remains

what's perfect is ugly
what's polished is sick
give me mistakes, glitches
the beauty of the real
the majesty of the normal

tesco polski

in some dready distant future gaze
i see tesco signs rusting and broken
every little crumbles
the free market closed
no sunday openings
nor the other six days of the week
just the belaboured prowlers;
haggard dogs, wolves
foxes, now free to come and go as they please
what survives is stronger than human fanaticism
and all our plastic marvels wil melt wi' the sun

There is no...only paint

There is no...
only paint
no God in Heaven above
no hell below
or is that no God in Hell below
but the devil plays merry with us
high up in Heaven's own hell
only paint
only write
anxiety stew for tea tonight
Betty's dying
and there's nothing i can do
only pain
only paint
oily paint
oily tears dripping down
the stew-stained canvas laptop screen
the need for this medicine, paint
for this affirmation, words
we're dying, and nothing we can do
except paint poems and write paintings

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

the Controllers of the Arts

the Controllers of the Arts
say they want poems with originality
striking imagery
like "glass umtytown"
or "long hair handshake shook"
but i want plain words
in plain lines
with plain meaning
and imperfections
like life is
the wrinkles, not the make up
the rough bark of the tree
not the sheen of a steel black office tower
what is worn out proved its worth
what is haggard has experienced
what is broken has a past

Saturday, 24 January 2009

clouds come in colours

clouds come in colours
a spaypainted canvas
we who see only white
are dead though we breathe
clouds come as shapelets
anvils, snowdrops
we who see only cloud
see only our shroud
clouds come in legion
lonely, oppressed
we who see only vapour
can never know ourselves

we have seen through the worst of the winter

we have seen through the worst of the winter
and though there will be cold days yet
we have the marvels of spring summer autumn to enjoy
and warmth, colour, long days