Sunday, December 02, 2007

At the Meeting of the Earth and the Air

Well, at long last, my new album is finally finished. It's based on some songs I wrote with a friend of mine, Ralph Emmett, at Art College, way back in 1968. The CD features Rob Barrett and Karen Moses singing and Michael Whitehead playing the tabla. I mostly play everything else.

If you click on the little album picture whizzing about to the left you can hear and download some of the tracks, as well as hearing other odds and ends of my music.
Should you wish to purchase a copy and share my musical experience of the sixties visit

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pizza Express

I am in the Pizza Express
Opposite the British Library
Writing this poem.
But where are you
As you read this poem?
And where am I
As you read this poem?

Maybe I’m in another Pizza Express
Wondering how much time has passed.
I bet it’s no longer April.
Maybe the year 2007 has left us
For the new, exciting 2008
Or the scary two tens.

Maybe the poem has made it into print
And you're sitting on a grassy slope
Wiling away a loose half hour
Before the concert commences
Or you’ve come across it on a blog
Or maybe you're reading it in its original notebook form
Which you found in a suitcase of precious things
Recovered from the tumbledown cottage
Where I spent my twilight years
With only a young and attractive, and devoted, female nurse
For company –
Where I raised many a glass of good, red wine
To the setting sun.

Or maybe I am sitting opposite you
At some other Pizza Express
As you read these lines
Raising a glass to us
And to wherever we may be
In future lines.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bournemouth Hotel Morning

When wallpaper
Is stuck to the ceiling
Is it ceiling paper?
The gaps where it’s unglued
Catch the dark

You tap out Morse
On your Blackberry
I listen to the whistle in my ears
Fragments of traffic
Rustle of starched white sheet
Pad of your feet
Your cough and spit into the bowl
Electronic hums
Click of light switch
Clump of distant door
Indeterminate shuffling
Someone seeking breakfast, maybe?
Turning page
In the Labour party
Conference Guide
Soft scratch
Of this uni-ball eye
Manufactured by
The Mitsubishi pencil Company

Creak of bones


What are you dreaming?
Your hot hand
Rests on the fold
Between my stomach and chest

Are you still in the fjords?
Adrift in Flam
On the deep, deep waters
Below the silent mountains
Watching for absent birds
Listening to the thin waterfall
That jogs down the slopes of the moon?

Or in the Domkirke,
The Stavanger cathedral,
Where the august chill of Christmas
Spreads through the dark, ornate carved frames
Of skulls and saints
And bare-skinned angels
Sat upon grey-green stone
Like candlesmoke
Where the man cleans the candleholders
and sweeps the wooden floor
of candle shavings
with his red brush and pan
In the manner of a Viking

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Moonlight Market at Descartes

The scruffy old clown
And his slightly bored wife
With the half-hearted puppet
It’s a transient life
Before darkness falls
In the moonlight market
At Descartes

The couple who avoid
Each other’s eyes
The young John Travolta
And his virgin bride
He sups his beer-blonde
She stares at her phone
They sit in the crowd
But they’re both all alone
Before darkness falls
In the moonlight market
At Descartes

The pony-tailed chanteur
And his accordionist wife
Struggle to keep up
With the rhythm of life
The philosopher smiles
Perhaps he knows why
As the exquisite light
Seeps out of the sky
And darkness falls
In the moonlight market
At Descartes

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Monday Monday

Monday Monday
The Litter God retreats in his
Grey boat
Tuesday Tuesday
I wake alone
Wednesday Wednesday
I worry about the alarm clock
Thursday Thursday
Judy Dog is expecting
A more exciting day than it turns out
Friday Friday
There are no reservation tickets
In Carriage B
On the Newcastle to King’s Cross express
There is much confusion
And a hint of annoyance
Saturday Saturday
Suspense is a four letter world
Sunday Sunday
Time for the repeats

The Eric Clapton Dream

Eric Clapton
Sits in the corner
Of the school hall
Guitar in hand
The children
Are waiting
While I search
For the poem
I am about to read

After a long time
The children
Get fed up waiting
And a teacher
Plays them a song

Finding the poem
Has taken all day
And the children
Have wandered away.
I apologise
For the delay
And promise to come back
For free
Another time

Guitar god, Eric
Sits in a corner
Of the stage
A small group of children
Huddle round him
And he plays them a tune
On the electric piano

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Two Poems

Back Seat Driver

As life moves relentlessly
From frame to frame
I watch it from the back row
In the dark

The detective
Knows who the villains are
All he has to do is catch them

Soon a few loose ends
May or may not get tied up
Someone will make a witty comment
And the credits will roll

Then maybe I’ll watch the prequel
Or stumble out into the cold
Streets of reality

I'll stroll
Along a wintry beach
My sun hat at a jaunty angle
To catch the rain

But I’m tired
And even though these seats are uncomfortable
I’m going to have a snooze

Wake me up when it’s all over

Now and Then

When my soul was whole
Before my voice was broken
And the mirror cracked

When the now of then
Before the pipes were frozen
Before melancholy came

When the universe
Gathered like a starry cloak
Before the first star

Collapsed. Before the moon
Waned. When the black hole joked
Above its horizon

When we were alive
Before time clicked into place
And Death’s staff was slender

When my blood crackled
With blue fire. When a cuddle
Was all that mattered

Now we wait. For what?
The sun to consume the Earth
And an early frost.

Friday, March 30, 2007


You sit by your father’s bedside
In the hours of darkness
Protecting him from doctors
And their fanciful theories

We fly him home
From England to France
Where he sits in his own clean hospital room
With a remote control for the blinds

And you translate his complications
And the doctors’ misdirection
And again sit by his bedside
In the hours of darkness

Protecting us all
From the bogeyman
Of dirt and negligence
And the NHS

Friday, March 02, 2007

In Le Gare du Nord I Sat Me Down to Wait

Feeling good
Two days spent in Paris
Feeling bad
As you were not here with me
Feeling good
To be alive, to have my health,
My mind, to not be sitting
On the dirty concrete begging
Feeling bad
That my feet ache from yesterday’s
Walking marathon
To the Pompidou Centre
Which was closed
As it was Tuesday
Feeling good
That I will see you soon
Feeling bad
That I have to wait until this evening
To catch Eurostar home
Feeling good
As these scribbled notes in my book
Begin to make sense
Of the sights, sounds, smells
Of Paris
Feeling bad that upon my arrival here
I was taken for a mug
And gave sixty Euros to a con man
In the Metro
Feeling good
Sitting on this balcony

Sipping a coffee
Overlooking the station’s comings and goings
Feeling good
That I am not a pigeon
Although it would be useful to be able to fly
Feeling bad that my phone credit has expired
And I can’t call you
Feeling good that I will see you soon
Feeling bad that I will not see you soon enough
Feeling good that I will see you soon

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Things a Dog Has to Do

Clean the kitchen floor lest tiny scraps of food should spoil the appearance of the tiles
Listen to the wind to mark a change in the weather
Watch carefully the cat, lest her nerve breaks and she makes a dash for the window
Guard the window lest the poodle over the road uses insulting barking
Remind potential burglars that she would make a fearsome adversary
Check, by sniffing, that other dogs have clean bottoms
Check, by sniffing, the four corners of the house for intruders
Checking, also by sniffing, the four corners of the garden for the same
Seek the remnants of dead hedgehogs or other small animals and mark by rolling in them
Watch the toy bone lest it move of its own accord
Remind her owner, by subtle means, that it is time for a walk
Remind her owner by less-subtle means that it is time to eat
Bark loudly for no reason - just for the sheer hell of it and to keep owner on toes
Puzzle over unusual configurations of clouds
Guard the front door lest the postman breaks in to steal a letter
Wonder why the strange man who gave her the tasty bone is coming in through the window and not the door

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why Otters Don't Wear Socks


A million little dinosaurs
Having a good time
One fell over a cliff
And then there were
nine hundred and ninety nine thousand,
nine hundred and ninety nine.

Nine hundred and ninety nine thousand,
nine hundred and ninety nine dinosaurs
Having lots of fun
An asteroid hit the Earth
and then there were none.