Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Finchley Encounter

He opened his mouth
and a bird flew out

I think it was a wren
It was small and brown anyway

I know that sounds a little vague
but to tell you the truth I was startled

Are you a magician? I asked
He smirked and shook his head

He bent and picked up a discarded note
Is this yours?

I swallowed. Now it was my turn
to shake my head. We parted

I walked into the Swan
and ordered a swift half

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Live at Staplecroft Village Hall

Posted by Hello

Here it is then - at last!. The project that began nearly a year ago when I bought a little electronic box that enabled me to record directly on to my PC.
It started out as a verse novel about a group of teenagers who formed a band. I wrote about a dozen or so songs for it on holiday in France last summer. But the story run out of steam. So I decided to record the songs anyway. The band were going to be The Mighty Molecules. But, after lots of arguments in the pub, they settled on Wonky Finger.
Jill said of my first recorded effort that it sounded like it had been recorded in a village hall. Aha, I though - then that’s what I’ll do. Make it a live album. The awful acoustics in the hall will surely make up for my technical deficiencies.
If you're interested you can buy the album – or swap for something similar (your album – or maybe a compilation you’ve made) at Rabbit Press Regular visitors can contact me at the Rabbit Press e-mail address to swap. Oh, and the CD comes in a little hand made case.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A Blur of Sea Bass

I am sitting in Bella Pasta
without my glasses
I left them in my hotel room

The waiter explains the specials
and reads me the menu
which is in particularly small and blurry print

The tables and chairs are polished beech
The ambience is chrome and glass
Light fizzes playfully on the cutlery

I dip my rustic bread into the dish
of virgin olive oil and sweet balsamic
and savour the warm Shiraz

From this commanding street-corner seat
I watch Wolverhampton and the world
pass before the large windows

The evening traffic is heavy
A motorcycle roars past the
Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Shop opposite

The first course arrives. Arranged artfully
around a bed of rocket (rained-upon

with olive oil) four thin slices of succulent duck

A quartered fig sits on the rocket
and a fold of Parma ham perches upon the fig
My taste buds swoon, recover, swoon some more

I finish the generous glass of red
I order another. The young Italian waitress
has an intoxicating scent

A truck rumbles past the
Harley and Japanese Cruiser Specialists
Two teenagers slouch past The Tattoo Palace

I am regretting my lost youth
I want another chance. A few more chances, actually.
So much to do. So much to taste.

The sexy waitress brings the sea bass
It lounges on a bed of asparagus
dripping warm flavours over the crisply turned
vegetables around which laps

the sweet, tangy sauce,
redolent of dusty Mediterranean holidays

And I am losing the poem

the form, the style
the plot

Any moment now I shall be rhyming
I finish the second or fourth glass of Shiraz
I order chocolate ice-cream
I stare at the old people, lining up
by the door of the Flame and Lily Nursing Agency

I sign the bill
but have no idea what I’m signing
up for

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Cold Poem

Some mornings
When the cold creeps into the warm corners
That you’ve been saving
And you’ve nothing to say
And even less to write
And the wind is from the North East
And the clouds have spent their grey snow
You stand against the radiator on the landing,
The halfway point,
Scribbling these words
Gazing through the window
At the ripped and naked hoarding
On the freezing street
At a loose, brown bird
Chipping at a cracked paving stone
At the hole left by rhyme and reason

Poetry, you write, is easy to define
By its absence.
But you are thinking about the bed you recently left
Her hot afterglow
And soon the bathroom floor
Cold marble beneath colder feet

More Train Conversations

Hi, yeah, nah – it’s little Bill
he didn’t say nuffink
yeah, Tunbridge Wells
Nah – Wobbler
yeah, me an’ Wobbler
Nah – why would I say anyfink about that?
Think of all the skirt
we’re gonna pull in Tunbridge Wells
yeah, gaggin’, yeah, that’s right
me an’ Wobbler
yeah, sweet

The train slows
We’re approaching the station
I smile at the woman opposite
She smiles back, a knowing smile
Tunbridge Wells, eh?
It seems unlikely
They’ll even make it through customs

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Story So Far

Do you remember
At the beginning of the story
how I caught my reflection
in the bedroom mirror?
Do you remember
that I noticed how tall I was,
that I had dark hair
falling loosely over my collar
and smouldering eyes?
How I dressed casually, but smartly
keeping one step
ahead of the fashion crowd?
How I smiled at my reflection,
noting my bulbous nose
and long sideburns
framing my generous face,
a smile that said
You are one cool dude
and you know you are?

Well, I caught my reflection again,
this time in the window
of a back street café
where I am sheltering from the rain
and sipping a scalding hot cappuccino.
Maybe it’s the way I’m sitting
but I look much shorter,
and my hair is grey and thinning.
I’m wearing a heavy woollen coat
that belonged to my father,
a fashion that hasn’t yet swung around.
My nose, too, seems narrower, more angular,
and my lips are thinner,
my smile slightly lopsided,
like a rowing boat as you step in.

And I wonder
Am I the same person?
Or am I someone else,
who has wandered into the story
by mistake?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Danny Chaucer (1)

Having posted some children’s poems from my two solo collections I thought maybe I'd post some poems from my other book – this one is for teenagers. It’s called The Journal of Danny Chaucer (Poet). The poems form a narrative. The narrative is based my own teenage years - the seemingly hopeless quest for a girlfriend and the band that I started with some mates. I've hopefully disabled comments on parts 2, 3 and 4 and so any comments should all be together, below. I've also put a link after part four. Please excuse this blatant consumerism. But a poet cannot live by rhyme alone...

Alarums Stage Left

Why does the firebell ring?
When Jenny and I
Are halfway through
An experiment to determine
(if she fancies me, really,
deep down)
The coefficient of expansion
Of various metals that
(she has a lovely figure
all curves
and light-brown hair
so soft
I can hardly keep from
running my hands through...)

Mr Paine yells
It’s probably just a practice.
Leave your coats and bags and...
His voice is drowned
In the noisy tide of Special Needs
Sweeping past like excited elks
In the corridor.
I hope it’s a real fire, I say to Jenny.
Of course you don’t!
People would get hurt.
Smoke. Suffocation...

We join the flood of students
And I lose her in the jostle
And noisy chatter
We go Down the Up stairs
(Which in these circumstances
We’re allowed to do)
But then I remember Tommy.
Where is he?
He’d never manage the crowd
With his leg in plaster.
And what if it’s not a practice?
What if it’s real?

I wait at the bottom of the stairs
Until the crowds have gone
And suddenly all is eerily deserted
And is it my imagination
Or can I smell smoke?
No sign of Tommy.
I rush up the stairs
Along the corridor.
I’m sure I can smell smoke.
And in to the classroom.
Empty - just a slew of bags
And coats.
No Tommy!
I rush back down the stairs
And out on to the playground.
My class see me and they all cheer.
Mrs Taggert tut tuts.
And there’s Tommy, grinning.
I went back for you, I yell,
In case it was a real fire.
I thought you’d need help!
It’s okay, he says,
We went down the other stairs.
Jenny lent me
A hand.

Danny Chaucer (2)

Poem to Jenny

I sit by the window
As the sky grows dark
Watching the road
From your house to the park

As you walk past the window
You see me and grin
I glance up - our eyes meet -
I wave - Come on in!

I open the front door
My face has gone red
I bring us two drinks
(There is much left unsaid)

There’s a film at the Showcase
We both want to see
I suggest that we go there
You quickly agree

I sit by the window
The street lights come on
If you had passed - I wonder
What would I have done?

Girl Talk
(Poem unfortunately found by Jenny
in my notebook and read by all her friends)

Girl talk
All about shopping
Who’s dating Namalee
What did Alyx say to Lee
Girl Talk
Make up
Who fancies Kerrie
What did Martin say to Emily
Girl talk
Make up
Boring as watching
A brick on a chair
Chit chat
Soap dish
I sometimes wish
I was somewhere

Boy Talk
(Written in my notebook
by Jenny Keane)

Boy talk
All about football
Who scored the goal
And bugger all
(Excuse my French)

I could say more
But please don’t tempt me
It’s basically
Their brains are empty !

Danny Chaucer (3)

The Very Worst News

Bad News
Like a seaside hotel with no sea views
Bad News
Like a crossword with no clues
Bad News
Pants too loose and too tight shoes
Bad News
When you never win and always lose
Really -
B-a-d N-e-w-s

Tommy rang to say
He’d had everything he wanted for Christmas
And what was that? I asked cheerily,
Not anticipating the kick in the shins
The sledgehammer blow to the head
The punch in the solar plexus
The meteorite about to obliterate the Earth
He said,
For Christmas I had

Danny Chaucer (4)

I said to Tommy Lock
I’m thinking of forming a band
Whaddya think?
Punk? He enquired
Boogie-woogie, Hip-hop?
70s influenced? Retro rock?
Acid-soul-house-jazz or pop?
Heavy metal? Hard core? Slash?
60s, flower-power, disco, soul?
I shrugged, You know. Just rock ‘n’ roll.

Wanted to Rock

The ad on the Music Department
Notice board read -
Drummer and Keyboard player
For Exciting New Band
Influences Oasis
Deep Purple
And Led Zeppelin
(although Anna
thought that the inclusion
of the last two was rather sad
and wasn’t sure if anyone
would have heard of them)
( Tho’ Mr “Mickey” Most, Head of Music, had)

To find out more or to buy
The Journal of Danny Chaucer (Poet) CLICK HERE