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The Price You Pay To Be Alive

May 21, 2017
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Bright shards scrape down the dawn wall
Splintering eyelids that seek only dark peace,
Soft sleep shaken neath its brittle pond,
Its broken surface slicing the skin
As you rise into stark reality’s cold air
That again you attempt to withhold.

Try again to dive below and swim away
Try, try again to ignore the body’s fresh aches
And the mind’s urgent thrashing
Flaying, until dead, cowering subconsciousness
As it releases its clinging, hurting tentacles.
Now you are fresh vomit, free until day crashes.


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Year Twenty-nine

April 2, 2017
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29 years today, Veronica and me.
We hitched our wagon to a shining dream,
Endured the jumping, bumping roads,
Held fast at winds that rocked our sides,
Each taking turns with firm-held reins
When at a climb the other baulked.
And still each day we greet as one
And each still evening share our song
To fill each other’s sorrowed moments
Up to the brim with steadfast love.
On as one, a trust in each secured
We’ll hold our hearts as long as we can breathe,


Spades Are Not Trumps

February 6, 2017
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Worms hidden
under this blanket of glass fibre
there to protect the ground from weeds,
those wild and unchosen gifts,
a menace to order
in this, his garden.

Free of green fingers
he knows not much
of nature, life and beauty,
just its cost.
Nature is his enemy
he will force it
into his square-eyed plot,
the one he knows
above his coverlet.

On a grand bench
he sits to listen
when flocks twitter
alarm calls in damp air,
He emulates, badly,
truth perceived
in cauliflowered ears.

But larks and tits,
carelessly broadcast seeds
under chipped bark,
germinating, seeking light.
awaiting his retreat,
to the rickety-rackety bridge.

Without turning of the soil,
beneath their glass ceiling
worms wiggle woefully.


Trump It Voluntarily

January 20, 2017
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I’m calling a halt to the jive about Trump
I haven’t gone barmy, in need of my bumps
felt, but Yanks know him well for his time on the stump
and STILL put him up there and still primed his pump.

He can’t help his looks (well, apart from that clump
on the top of his bonce that appears like a dump).
And next to Obama he seems like a chump
Not charming nor erudite. More of a grump

With the press he’s been gifted you’d think he would flump
in the back of the bar or a faraway tump.
No, there’s too many trolls; and I’m not one to slump
Let’s just throw him some rope and see if he’ll jump.

Al Barz, Inauguration Day USA.


Cultivation

January 17, 2017
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Gazing past the winter
you can smell more than roses,
more than fresh-turned soil.

Search for glimpses
in Nature’s hideaways
of last year’s lost moments.

Leaves, unswept on your path,
a source of unfortunate worms
for Spring-hungry birds.

Sometimes we grow so much
that simple pleasures
escape our sophisticated minds.

This grave is for a wealthy man,
just look at the beautiful marble
hiding his destitution.

We each rise from our own Spring
hoping forth brightly
where joy waits in a far field.


Kick Me Kate

October 8, 2016
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(or Tempest Fugit)

Bloody hell, the cheers and adulation meted out
Illuminations stimulate and bongos shout
Their repetition beat their repetition beat
Bold lips mark out the route of every street
From every morning sheet to every night-time turn
And close projectile words and phrases crackle, burn
In incandescent fury like some firework that speaks
That tumbles energy in all directions in bright streaks
A thousand words that fizz and pop and scream and fall
And temporarily they fill the stage, the screen, the hall
Until it ends. and every word and every shining phrase
That spent itself so brightly in the sparks that did amaze
Now, in the haze of smoke that smells rich in the dark
This audience lies bleeding, blind, beleaguered, stark.
But where the words that linger madly after day is done?
Where are the magic phrases clinging to a fading sun?

 


Seven Months Missed

August 12, 2016
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It came as dread surprise to find you there
Not in the world of mad surprise and sad demise
But in a place of swollen hearts and buffered dreams
With silence from soft-painted lips which cannot smile
Such words that once filled rooms with chiffon strains
Dank stains of early scourge now sealed eternally
And no one bore what brought you to that last escape

It comes as some surprise to find me here
So many hidden moons and clouded suns away
In solitary contemplation of a stricken life
Imagining the sadnesses of those you stroked
Their separate sporadic reminiscences
Scattered broadcast pebbles on a sandy beach
Stumbled on as I once tripped upon your breath


Posted in Reviews

earning juice

July 15, 2016
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the cooling wind through my domain
agitated paper slips.
a vegetating warehouse job.
fragrant carrot, cabbage, coriander,
artichoke, asparagus, eggplant
shoulder-rub with grape and grain,
berry, banana, apple, orange
mingling in their wealthy stench
with toxic diesel fumes from trucks
assaulting running sinuses
in the fresh dawn breeze

warehouseman, Ernie enjoyed
the sales, the cut, the thrust, and swirled
in long and shabby overcoat,
his face experience deep-etched,
receding tide of auburn hair,
flaring nose, unfingered gloves,
yelling out the day’s demands
at poor, crestfallen donkey-men,
and scrawling figures clutched in sheaves
running through the numberwork
to land through window at my desk

from six a.m. to midday sharp,
dim morning to the highest sun,
greengrocers came to stock their shops
from shipments that arrived at dawn
and argued over quality
and mithered over quantity
and haggled over costliness
complained at being overcharged
insulted those that cheated them
(those who were running such a scam
against their business acumen).

I filled in sheets with daily take,
with running totals, top to toe,
chilling phone upon my ear
responding to Head Office needs.
my final daily task at noon
freed me, running for the bus
to spend a leisure afternoon
unfettered in a fettered land
surveying nature’s ants and sheep
with stolen fruit held in hot hand
pear juice running lip to chin,
elbow to the sunshine grass.


SJ – inked in parentheses

June 13, 2016
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Before the breeze arrived from the Azores
Before the blooms of Spring broke through the soil
She left. The sun too late to warm her bones,
Under Winter’s sullen canopy,
She inked her life in squared parentheses.

The weight of spiky granite in her head,
She stumbled often, grazing tenderness
From skin that wouldn’t shed no matter how
She longed to cast it into bygone years
Before the breeze arrived from the Azores.

And tears, empathic with the Holocaust.
And unjust faith in failed humanity.
Exquisitely, her faltered self-belief
Denied that academic mountain-top
Before the blooms of Spring broke through the soil.

Before the party and the burgeoning,
Before the Rosie age yet to arrive,
She left no packing done, no notice given
Unwilling, in her proper state of mind,
She left. The sun too late to warm her bones


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Ward Ten Descents

April 25, 2016
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On waking, I heard no sound,

but noted, at five a.m.,

through a brightening window,

the long, slow, shallow descent –

a white tube of night fliers;

a package of people

pleased to return

to Birmingham International

as the rising sun

shattered the horizon.

 

On my left, in bed five,

I heard Colin’s struggled cough

in his long, slow, shallow descent

in a bed with rails

and with tubes, night-flowing –

a packaged patient

pleased to return

to Birmingham Heartlands

as the rising sun

split the cloud asunder.


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