Storm in a Teacup

Don’t conceal it. Don’t hide it. Don’t fear it. Don’t fight it. Just put your head down and right it.

Don’t give in. Never surrender the win. Block out that enormous din. Just get yourself up and head for the win.

Don’t shatter your dreams. Avoid tearing at the seams. Watch out for low beams. Just look for the place with good teams.

Don’t slide about. Don’t scream and shout. Don’t ever make yourself doubt. Just let it all out.

If not, what have you got? Your thing, your place, your lot. You’re more, are you or not? You’re here on this pale blue dot.

Now go get it yourself! Trust in your health. There’s more to life than wealth. Put doubt firmly on the shelf.

In a pickle.

Financially, mentally, substantially.

In a pickle.

Unquestionably undoubtedly, profoundly.

In a pickle.

Historically, periodically, profoundly.

In a pickle.

Oddly, secretly, openly.

In a pickle.

To the letter, by the books, across the board.

In a pickle.

No trust fund, no benefactor, no obligation.

In a pickle.

Without reserve, without doubt, without care.

In a pickle.

Dark thoughts.

Take it all for yourself. Pool up the wealth. Cripple those in ill health. Myself. Each self. Yourself.

Why should anyone share? It isn’t supposed to be fair. Have power, will scare. Less care. What care? No care.

Copy it, market it, sell it on. Small trader’s hopes gone. Give in to each don. A con. This con. The con.

Hardened by grimy soot. Tough under each jutted foot. The struggling empty gut. Howling mutt. Growling mutt. Mournful mutt.

Crumbs shouldn’t drop to the floor. Beggars asking for more. Wounded families, sore. Greedy poor. Filthy poor. The poor.

Darkness crawls through the light. Crushing all that is right. Turning summer to winter’s night. Strangling delight. Sapping delight. End of delight.

She.

She didn’t throw herself from gorse under a horse.

She could not endorse her message without remorse.

She didn’t plot a way to close down a course.

She didn’t use an overly aggressive force.

She didn’t yell, “What do we want?”, down a megaphone.

She didn’t cry long hard and alone.

She didn’t stick herself in front of rush hour.

She didn’t throw eggs, milk, or flour.

She didn’t write a play and sign up a star.

She didn’t brandish a message along the side of her.

She didn’t lecture or pity the fools.

She didn’t etch out a story, hands filled with tools.

Nor did she shout out at all cost.

She didn’t argue until hope was lost.

She didn’t glue her hands to classic artwork.

She didn’t fight, resist, bite, spit or go berserk.

She didn’t cry behind a podium in front of an audience of the great and good.

She did talk sense and described all she could.

She even wrote it on her pencil tin.

She whispered her words amongst the great din.

And nothing happened.

Nothing ever could.

Status quo.

No changes.

No new beginning.

The same old.

Nothing.

Rebellion #3: Confused

They fought for us. They thought for you. They won for freedom. They are one and true.

Now, we fight for ideals. We fight invaders. We fight refuge-seekers. Weren’t we once bastard crusaders?

The fickle and trickle of history. Surrounded by sinister hostility. Split lines and scorched earth. Rebounded in ability.

The boundaries expanded. The world was divided. The scars were sewn shut. The remainder decided.

There stood statues. Status removed in reflection. Pulled out shattered pews. Heading to a new direction.

We question the questioners. We squeeze the doubters. We exclude the opposition. We silence the shouters.

The man says we can. The woman says we cannot. The party toes the line. The leader cares, not one jot.

Vote for this. Decline that. Scream and shout about it all. Ignore that silly old twat!

You’re upset about raiders coming over seas. Afloat on makeshift dinghies. You ignore nameless children floating for fees. One less worry buried in the seas.

Clear mistakes without fault. Confused and dumbfounded has arrived. Homes gone, no roads left. Unsheltered and barely survived.

What if tomorrow we had to retreat? Would you put your feet in the same hot seat? Would your drum carry the same old beat? Where would you go for the last meal to eat?

Who would care if you were not there? What if your loved ones were forced underground? Where will this path go? Would you open your mouth with that ugly sad sound?

Humanity? I see. Believe me. Free?

Rebellion #2: Homelessness

I was ripped from my womb, sent from warmth, from my creator, made to work to the bone for the inflator.

No longer again to see Mother nor Father, in workplaces far away, sent out long hours day after day.

Through taxes and energy bills, through blooded sweaty torn up hands, ploughing out profits for someone else’s lands.


I carried my owners, along with my leaders, and prayed to the sky that God may receive us.

No answer from upon high, to my pitiful cry, as I crept out to deny my sigh. Time was to fly.

The strength of those who fed us with kind, as we wallowed through despair, without comfort of mind. An axe must grind.

Here, I ask of you to reflect for a while,
Along with my colleagues, in times of denial. This life has been a trial.


For we are the future thrust into fear,
And cold nights gave up some lives year on year. Year on year on year.

Remember us, the homeless dead, as we lay down, ice tethered to head. Dead.

Dead.

Rebellion #1.

I’m the rise against the odds. I’m the growl facing the sods.

I’m the vote that casts a change. I’m the matter that needs derange.

I’m the fighter in the field they want to mine. I’m the nurse fixing plasters rain or shine.

I’m the voice that they want to silence. I’m the battler against all manner of violence.

I’m with many who shout and demand new ways. I’m one of the glued-up rebellious art damaging strays.

I’m the silent protestor who annoyed the police sergeant some. I’m the leader of the change that has to come.

Stand alone, fall down. Stand tall and together, stand up for your town. Stand for the greedy and against the needy, stand opposite me, you’ll see. We’re the changes that are needs be. See.

The time is now.

Aberystwyth Town

Attack after attack;

Balls whipped in deep;

Every game an opportunity;

Running down the byline;

“You’re not fit to referee!”;

Seasiders giving it their all;

Tref am byth!

With black and green, shirts we all dream;

You can do it for our Town;

The past is in books and the future in boots;

Here in Aberystwyth, the teams are all ready.

The women, the men, the boys and girls are ready;

Over to the tea hit for Bovril and Wagon Wheels;

Win, lose or draw, loyal greens forever roar;

Now, where do we begin?

Football at Park Avenue is back;

Our floodlights drape the field in rays;

Our stands sing chants beyond the valleys and hills;

Together we stand and cheer on the teams of Town;

Ball after ball shooting at the goals;

Athletic warriors wear our dream badge;

Loyalty, love and destiny’s results follow;

Let’s feel the mighty movement of Aber;

“C’mon Aber!”, shout the voices from the terrace in the sky.

Look at the linesman and laugh with the fans;

Up, up, and up the table we desire;

Be here now and be there forever Town.

Hey adventure, where are you?

I’ve been waiting, patiently and impatiently. Where are you? Perhaps, you missed me here. Hey adventure, where are you?

I know I’ve been distracted, confused and upset. Where are you? Just maybe, you’re too busy to call by. Hey adventure, where are you?

These days have been testing for me, unsure and hanging on the help of others. Certainly, you know where to look. Hey adventure, where are you?

I looked back at last year and the year before, and one before that. How come you didn’t visit me yet? Hey adventure, where are you?

Is it something I did, said or thought? Am I not the same person as before? Hey adventure, where are you?

When you call by, bring some tissues and a shoulder to lean on. I’m sure you’ll return. Hey adventure, where are you?

I’m feeling so low, blue and deep in shadow. You won’t see me outside. Hey adventure, where are you?

I need to feel the sharpness of lemons, taste the sweet cool air and smell of green life. Instead, you’ll see me between these walls. Hey adventure, where are you?

It could be worse I guess, cast off and unwanted? No letter of recommendation or wave off. Hey adventure, where are you?

Hey adventure, where are you? I need you. I need. I need you. Need you. You. Come get me. Hey adventure, where are you?

Hey adventure, where are you?

Spheksophobia

How many old dreams of the past are dormant? How many dreams of the future are yet to be realised?

The flocculant rain falls, and the howling wind calls, as he bangs his head firm on walls.

How many days drifted in and out? How many hours in light? How many in night?

The foundations of the house shake, they ripple, bend and quake, all the while his feet flip, slip and bake.

How many lights shine out bright? How many rays cast no shadow? How often does light fade to black?

The will of a man is tested, his head ill-rested, broken undigested, wasted hope scattered and shattered.

How come comets flash and zoom by? How do meteors find their way? How often do they evade all sight?

The feel of his feet grow rough and sore, unable to walk no more, lost on a map with no detail, cast off to sea without a voyage.

How does a guide find a route? How do you define what’s in a suit? How often is a path well-trodden?

The life of Riley, the hidden Eden, the leadership skills of Christ all the parts of Paradise’s Elysium far, far out of reach.

Eh?

We’re all writers putting pen to paper, typing night and day;
Singing love songs come what may.
Banging out letters of dismay;
Giving our opinions on hearsay.
All in front of us, our display;
Making sure we have our say.

Place down your head, just go and lay;
Eyes to the left, eyes to the right they bend and neigh;
Come month end’s wait for our pay.
Should I go or should I stay?

Passing our eyes over the latest play;
Heartfelt causes won’t go away.
In hard times, we kneel and pray;
Write that letter to the girl called Fay.
Oh sweet Fay, the next day your name is May;
Life moved on and we found our way.

Children rejoice, they jump and say, “Yay!”
No more waiting, no such delay.
Watching movies until we hit the hay;
It doesn’t really matter if anyone’s gay.
Dipping our toes in the deep of the bay;
All around the sound of that lovely jay.


On cloudy days grabbing each ray;
Talk about football on the Saturday.
Watching movies until we hit the hay;
It doesn’t really matter if anyone’s gay.
Dipping our toes in the deep of the bay;
All around the sound of that lovely jay.

Streetcat.

I feel like a roof won’t cover me.

I can’t busk under a tree.

Jobs will pass by me.

Nothing here, nothing to see.

The big issue is deep inside of me.

Confidence is my absent key.

I can’t earn this, unreachable fee.

Teaching, reaching and beseeching thee.

Fetch no path my way to feel glee.

Absence and opportunities aren’t free.

The other side: as a rotten wasted bee.

B.D.

I’m going to explode. There’s a simmering rage. It’s rising up and ever closer to spilling up and out.

The mountain of hills and volume of small plenty is what this is all about.

I sense walls and fences stand only to be broken. Each panel a temptation to clout.

Leaning forward, I imagine a shattered wall, crumbling and littered with flaking grout.

From the wall windows litter with broken glass, alongside a sagging spout.

I look to the sky and beg, “Why? Why? Why?”. Each word grows from whisper to shout.

I stumble. I fall. No one hears my call. I snigger. I grip the trigger. Should I squeeze?

Yes, yes, God please. Do it. Do it. End it. End it all. Time to say goodbye. Time to go.

But, I take a deep breath. I focus my tired eyes. The black dogs snap at my feet. I throw them a bone.

You are not alone. You are not in company. You are not your own. You are not the company.

Twitches replace stitches. I fiddle less. I flick the pages. Reading makes me feel better.

The books are my escape. The escape is what I need. The last legs. The leg. The finale.

The fear never departs. The delay must stay. Keep it all at arm’s length. Control it.

Never ever give in. The black dogs can’t win. Snap all they want. Never give in.

Boundaries.

The wall doesn’t keep you inside
nor does it stop you escaping.
The range of the boundary’s grasp sit inside
refusing to ruffle or fold ever slightly like two ever strong shoulders of foundation.
The fences you make prevent you living and pay sacrifice to the freedom out of your longing reach. Barriers change in time and
ruins rise to fall, with temples and churches spilling outwardly, full of prayers for one such deity or another, seeping your skin’s
inward desire to be led and let go,
while forever knowing you carry the
weight of slumping shoulders
bound by boundaries of the mind.

Scale.

It isn’t the panic
that draws you ever closer
within its tumbling realm of vision or that tremble in your loin,
dancing upon the shaking shoulders of sacrifice.
It is the bite that remains forever itching failing to heal and settle,
a ruin which ever leaks over your skin
intoxicating the inward desire
while forever guilty mite weakens
slumping from shoulders
into the abyss.

The Fall Within You

It doesn’t take much to trip and slip when the angry dogs are snapping at your feet. They’ve invited wolves this time and they’re agitated in ways you knew as frequently possible m yet could never escape. They howl and snarl drawing nearer without ever getting close enough to sink their sorrowful rabid fangs into flesh. Their dirgeful salivating pus-filled gums drip oozing brown liquids across the foot of the bed. You feel heavy-hearted panic for a moment. Chapfallen fear.

A white hot cold like steel pressing against your mind’s eye, sliding all senses beyond control, the rage simmers and bubbles threatening to erupt to the heavens above, bringing hell to the day’s gloomy sky. Yet it won’t and can’t. You’re in a mediocre state. The best that can happen is average. The worst is equal to the best. Flailing and flat lining just above terrible but far below lugubrious pleasure. A monotonous gray scale of simply not good enough. The dour silent rage.

You know you can’t escape the wretched day that hasn’t come, but woebegone, you know it is soon to arrive. The fed up walls will fold in and the ground will crumble. You’ll slip, fall, down and tumble. The saturnine strives you had and the live you lived will be gone. The forlorn ashes of the fires burning around you will blow in sepulchral raging winds from north, east, south and west before slamming doleful thunderous bolts of lightning into the parched remains of your skeleton. That morose skeleton itself, fused and beyond mobility. Useless mirthless blue.

Hope knocks at your dejected door but the disconsolate door’s hinges have long dispirited rusted and welded to the wall. The wall has been long-covered by grim vines, rotten downhearted hanging nooses, despondent witch trial posters and fragments of a long forgotten camera obscura lens. The crestfallen wall’s dusted windows each produced Pepper’s ghosts no longer. Their cast down faded glass panes are grimed and moulded beyond shape and figure. Faded features hang weary and low, tangled in slim twine macramé. Downcast melancholy.

Stuck in a Sigh

It seems never ending. I’m trapped. I’m surrounded by a bubble. Happiness and joy have no way in. I’ve been stuck in this sigh for far too long.

I used to be active and mobile, and all the things I wanted to do, I did. Not now. I look on and see them pass by. I’m stuck in this sigh. A seemingly continual throng.

At times I see the sunrise and the sunsets. I feel it like before but it’s as if I’m outside, looking in. The great rays cast no heat my way. The sigh sits on my tongue.

I smell flowers and sense nothing. I watch butterflies dance and flutter and I sense them crash into the ground with no sound. The sigh begins but fails to fade like an endless song.

I pick up pens and they slide from my hands. The words they could and should write gather no sight. They never exist. This sigh is drowning my wish to cry out louder than King Kong.

How long can this sigh go on? I long for those sigh to fade to black. I wish this hollow pocket in the sigh would leave my tongue. I dance and smile outside but inside the sigh strangles me. It feels all so wrong.

Sigh. Silent sigh.

Life.

Life is for living; it’s for seeing; it’s for feeling; it’s for playing;

it’s for kicking a football in a field; it’s for stumbling on stones and slipping and breaking some bones;

it’s for smiling; it’s for crying; it’s for…

…missing home; it’s for feeling that tear. That tear building in your eye; and that moment you look at something so stunning, you’re overwhelmed with feelings.

You try to find the words, but the words aren’t there. They’re out there. They’re in here. In your head. But. You just can’t pick them up and place them in the right position.

Life. Life is beautiful. It’s pretty, it’s witty, it’s exciting, it’s frightening…

It’s staring into the abyss and not knowing where you’re going.

When you want to go somewhere, you go somewhere. Having a plan is all fair enough. Having no plan: just as good.

Just live the way you want to live.

There’s only one way of life.

And that’s your own.

Poem and tattoo inspired and influenced by The Levellers and their song One Way
The original recording made at Abuji Cuo in Yunnan (29/7/2021)
Details of Abuji Cuo (29/7/2021)

Live, breathe, hope (Draft #1)

Muck in your eyes, surging cries, looking at then falling skies.

Pain straining your train of thought, hate free world sought, avoiding a day of distraught.

Stress says take a rest, your chest days you’re not your best, can’t even get dressed.

Stumbled upstairs, fairs not so fair for your cares, time to go get some stares.

Off we went, full consent, not worried about the rent, feeling less than elegant.

While I live, I breathe, I hope. Those hospital superheroes got me off a bad slope. Those hospital heroes helped me cope. While I live, I breathe, I hope. Up once again looking down life’s telescope. While I live, I breathe, I hope. Those hospital heroes helped me cope.

Knees a quivering, head all shivering, doctors and nurses delivering.

The news was confusing, my listening cruising and choosing, what it’s using, musing and infusing.

Shook by the broken heart, given a start, by way of observation chart.

Rating the flurry of worry, compared to a filling of slurry, bitter taste exiting in no hurry.

Human resources steadying, off for further readying, yet in a place unsteadying.

While I live, I breathe, I hope. No need to duck, dive and mope. While I live, I breathe, I hope. I cling on to the shipping towrope. While I live, I breathe, I hope. Walking together on every tightrope.

After the manic half hours, the room drained of flowers, friends turned away after hours.

Left with my thoughts, my personal dreadnoughts, gunshots casting lots and lots.

The demon at the foot of the bed, fear felt instead, I could have been brown bread.

Jabbed and prodded until sleep, a peak that weeped in heaped seep, knee-deep in thoughts that go deep.

Slipped in and out of shut eye, thoughts indivisible by, unable to oversimplify.

While I live, I breathe, I hope. Reach out for the good bathroom soap. While I live, I breathe, I hope. Thankful for the stethoscope. While I live, I breathe, I hope. Knowing today is just a kaleidoscope.

Poetry: Quicky.

Good whatever time it is there,

Why do we think that the unit or the selection of topics will be interesting?

Poetry helps us understand and appreciate much more than the usual normal mundane and daily lifestyle or things around us. It can be deep, meaningful, silly or relaxing. It’s an art form of self-expression by words. It can be presented in many formats and it doesn’t always follow conformity. A good poem can make you feel sad, angry, delighted or make huge belly-laughs in just a few sentences. They can bring civic pride. They can symbolise unity and they can mark resistance. From my early discovery of poetry through comedian Spike Milligan and Now That Days Are Colder (Bowmar Nature Series), a certain Eric Carle and his hungry insects, poetry has reached out to me and worked its way into the very fabric of my skin. I enjoy a bad rhyme or Limerick but take deep meaning from tragic poetry like Paul Celan’s Todesfuge (translated from German as Black Milk). I do of course come from the city of Manchester, famous for Dr John Cooper Clarke, JB Barrington, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Lemn Sissay and Argh Kid. We also have Jackie Kay on loan from Scotland and deployed in Salford. This is the place.

What do students already know, and what can they do?

I guess students have experienced poetry via movies, traditional primary school texts (Chinese or English), and other exposures through popular culture, perhaps even advertising.

Are there any possible opportunities for meaningful service learning?

Linking in with poets via online interviews or guest appearances in our classroom may be possible. As a class the potential to collate a poetry book from favourite poems, created examples and so on will be possible.

How can we use students’ multilingualism as a resource for learning?

The possibility of translation, interpretation and analysis opens a few doors.

Take care and ta’ra!

Who am I to tell you what to believe?

Who am I to tell you what to believe? When I can’t picture the ideas you conceive. Every day you bend, kneel and pray, but here I am with thoughts hidden in grey.

What do your Gods speak to you? How can you have faith in if it’s true? Do animals and plants have belief? Perhaps they’re all to lucky to avoid grief.

What is wrong? What is right? When does darkness stop and become light? How do the lost become the found? Must it take circumstances so profound?

Who are they to tell you not to believe? They can’t feel the life we’ll all leave. Resurrection, dedication and minds so set. Always believing, no sweat for regret.

The hum of the crowds all drowned out. Knowing how and where, never in doubt. Eyes to the sky, devout until the last. Shadows of worry forever outcast.

Their words, choruses and hymns echo. Through halls, walls, valley calls they grow. How did the lambs find their leader? Must they nod or bow before their reader?

Who are you to tell me what to believe? My mind is free like the air I breathe. I pass with peace but no direction. Each duty comes with no selection.

What I choose I can’t quite grasp. The paths I lead cannot all clasp. The roads I drive cannot all go on. Each lane merges and bends to one.

Destiny and fate call my name. I don’t know the end of this game. How did I get to be so alone? The decisions alone were mine to prone, groan and bemoan.

[scrawled in Kumbum Monastery, Xining, Qinghai on 19th July 2021]

Bitter taste.

Some things were not made to be enjoyed;

The bitter tastes they leave on the palette;

The framed emptiness they draw not toyed:

The forceful thump of Thor’s mighty mallet.

Ever cringing nails on the dusty blackboard;

Piping rumbling ghostly marching skeleton bands;

Darkest nightmares suffered and explored;

Murky creatures move through dense moist wetlands.

When hope and love do not arrive on your booking;

be sure to recall that time of overlooking;

a subordinate word at the theatre of the absurd;

for entitlement to a smooth passage is unheard.

Grasping doubt.

Maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t.

I wish I could but I feel I couldn’t.

I look deeply into my dreams.

They all don’t seem what they seems.

Parts of the perfection have no direction.

Each and every ambition is littered with defection.

So, I sit back, relax and just float along.

Knowing the words and tunes but making not one song.

My actions, my words don’t let me show it.

There’s music in my soul I know it.

Doubt bites at me, it knifed into my soul.

Black dog edging, tearing away at my lifelong goal.

So, what’s stopping has stopped the beginning.

My head is no longer a fit place for winning.

Stop.

Carry on?

Fly Like a Bird of Prey.

Do you recall Kim? Before her Evangelia. Wasn’t there a Jayne too? Nikki wasn’t too quickly. Shirley not? Wendy house? Didn’t you once meet unrequited love? You said you wouldn’t carry on or try again. But, you did! And, who now? Who do you fancy? Is it that Nancy? Or Daisy who drives you crazy? Or Spring, Summer or Autumn? The seasons of choice? Dance with your dreams.

Do you remember that Karst mountain? It rise from the ground like a camel’s hump. You said to yourself it was the most beautiful mountain you’d ever seen. And then you set eyes on Everest. Then Ama Dablam. Then Annapurna one, two and three. Fishtail Mountain. Snowden again and again. Always Winter Hill, but forever dreams of new peaks unseen.

You said you wouldn’t read after Jon Ronson. Wasn’t Jurassic Park the book to end all books? Then Airframe, the Animals of Farthing Wood should. The Jack Reacher series could. Ian Fleming gave you the spy that ended all spies. Pages of love, lies and cries. Yet, you close your eyes and there’s no disguise. Your bookmark never hides.

Back in the day wasn’t Ghostbusters always your favourite? Gremlins and Goonies, two you’d never forget. Watching Jaws, again, without regret! 007 live and let. Leslie Neilson going on and on, I bet. Movies like Gemini Man and iRobot to watch once – no fret. The minds eye full of Skynet.

Things are said one day. Things come and go away. With each passing birthday I say, never betray your display of child’s play. Each day we find a way to convey the driveway of life. Hooray! The outlay does not outweigh what we repay on our stairway to our breakaway. Fly like a bird of prey.

Written in January 2020, in Nepal, on a notepad. Before COVID-19 became annoying.

Refresh.

Craning my neck: stooped harshly.

Deep inside the bowl: placed hands partially.

Turning the pressure to flow: seeking coolness.

In my Chinese house: undrinkable cruelness.

The water here: causing neshness.

Flowing slow water in Manchester: enhanced freshness.

Upstairs at the bathroom: Broom Avenue childhood.

Drinking fast to slow: glug, glug, should, would and could.

Cooler than air, fresher than fair: my share.

After teeth, before sleep: my answered prayer.

I miss that tap: we were raised together.

The tap of life: water from Lake District weather.

Night rider.

The leap of faith: a frog darting between wheels.

The ray of light: shining beams and how it feels.

The foot on pedals: energetic pulsing engines pumping like pistons.

The gripped handlebars: spinning cogs unheard for all who listens.

The rush through dark: air rippling over and under.

The night time cycle ride: a wonder of a wander.

Darkness enveloping: hot air strangling the pathways.

The slick of the wheels: gliding along, down and up every raise.

Trees looking on: witnesses of the rider in the night.

Snakes hiding away: not their chosen spectacles of sight.

Cool air nowhere to be seen: the slick ride of the bicycle abound.

Night rider: over ground, uncrowned and without a sound.

Treasure!

Treasure! Treasure, I tell you! Jewels of the ocean sent over seas and up the river! Landed to me! Inspirational treasure! Oh, how delighted I am! For my gold, has such value untold. The treasure is the warmth of thoughts shared. To be unforgettable. To dream the unknown future foretold. Tell me dreams. Are you with me? Are you for me? Oh, your unforgettable embrace. My heaven. My dream. One day, I hope you shall return. Until then, I have my treasure. The greatest treasure, however, is your heart and soul. My memories. You are the treasure I seek.