Welcome to my adventures and experiments in creativity. Where writing is like running: sometimes I know where I'm going, and sometimes I see where the mood takes me.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Reading Light (POEM)

Reading Light

I am the darkness.

I am the end of the world.
I am the stopping of clocks; the silence of tick-tock, tick-tock.
I am the black hole that can swallow galaxies.
I am the question: “Am I awake, or is this all a dream?”

I am the absence of light.
I am the eternal night.
I am the one who has been proved right, for
I am so much more than you ever imagined.

I am present at your moment of defeat.
I am the voice that haunts your purgatory.
I am the only one who can show you the way.
I am the hope you turn to only at the last.

I embody the fires of hell.
I am what my dreams have made real.
I am the crushing might of all the Gods.
I am the bringer of doom; a cascade of wrath.

I am the slayer of kings and destruction of authority.
I am a decimating force more powerful than nature herself.
I am … Oh.
The lamp just needs a new bulb.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Cracks, Coins And Sellotape

From April 25th 2010: 

Advertisers are annoyingly good at their jobs.

For as long as I’ve been able to venture out on the roads of Britain – and for as long as I’ve listened to commercial radio while doing so – there have always been reassuring words from the employees of car windscreen repair firms. (Well, one firm specifically, and I bet you can guess which one). They’ve spent years telling me not to worry if a chip ever blights my view of the aforementioned roads; that my car insurance will probably cover it, and they will deal with all the paperwork.

When I first heard these adverts, however, they were missing a vital bit of information. Would my no-claims bonus be affected? I wondered. No sooner had I started to ask myself this question than – lo! – the reassuring voices started to include the answer in their forays onto the national airwaves. The advertisers had put my mind at ease again.

Like I say, annoyingly good.

It was all academic though. Miles and miles of driving, covering every corner of Great Britain, passed by with my windscreen deflecting the occasional errant stone like the shields of the Starship Enterprise deflect photon torpedoes. The radio commercials continued to reinforce how easily a chipped windscreen could become a cracked one, but never did I have cause to worry. I just marvelled at the fact that ‘Gavin’ and his fellow employees never became really annoying, when so many other commercials grated on my very soul even at the first time of listening.

I didn’t have cause to worry … until a few days ago, that is. A particularly vicious stone, thrown up by a motorbike, caused a chip and some accompanying fracture lines to appear on my windscreen’s previously impenetrable surface. The car’s defences were breached, and suddenly a new horror lurked on the horizon.

With the winter months well past, the regular advice from ‘Gavin’ about the danger of heating a cold, chipped windscreen was no longer pertinent. Instead, he had a new scare tactic with which to alarm me – potholes. One jolt from an uneven road surface could see my fragile windscreen splinter like the broken surface of an iced-over lake. I have to bump over a bit of a kerb to park outside my house, so was my driveway suddenly off-limits? How careful did I need to be?

I couldn’t take a chance. I didn’t want to believe that even the slightest deviation from smooth running could make things worse, but I also knew my chip needed sorting out. Frustrating as this was, the cumulative effect of all those adverts meant I immediately knew where to turn. Yeah, the advertisers are that good.


Sadly, ‘Gavin’ didn’t answer the phone when I rang to make an appointment, but Becky – whose name I was pretty sure must be real – was a more than adequate substitute. Albeit that at this point, matters took a slight turn for the absurd… Her first question centred on whether the chip was larger or smaller than a £2 coin. When I confirmed it was smaller, the conversation continued something like this:

Becky: “If you put a match head over the chip, would it cover it?”

“Yes,” I answered with confidence, despite not having a match to hand to make sure. “But there are some small fractures coming from the chip.”

“If you put a five pence coin over the chip, would it cover the fractures?” came the next question. I struggled with this, suddenly unable to visualise the size of a five pence piece. “I would guess so,” I said, confidence ebbing away.

“Can you measure it for me?” Becky asked, clearly sensing my uncertainty.

“Err, yeah.” By this time I was standing outside the house with nothing that would be commonly considered as useful for such a task. Then a mini brainwave occurred: “Shall I fetch a ruler, or are we okay sticking with coin-based measurements?”

“A coin is fine…”

I took out my wallet out and selected a range of coins. In truth, the whole experiment ended in something of an anti-climax, as a five-pence turned out to cover the blemish on my glass; a twenty-pence and a pound therefore returned to my pocket disappointingly unused. On the bright side – apart from not having to go and find a collection of old British coins from the mid-1980s so we could work out if the chip was bigger than a half-penny piece – all of this did at least allow us to establish that my windscreen could be repaired, albeit not for another three days.

“Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk of it cracking in the meantime?” I asked, mindful of the dire warnings given out by ‘Gavin’.

“Keep it covered at night, as the temperature can still drop quite low,” came the answer. “And you could put some sellotape over it…”

Presently, the conversation came to an end and, of all things, I dutifully applied a piece of sticky tape to the front window of my car. I suddenly found myself wishing that all the radio adverts that had led to this point had made clear that a working knowledge of the diameters of the various denominations of our stout British currency was a necessity should I ever suffer the misfortune of a chip. But then, if ‘Gavin’ spent his repeated half-minutes of airtime telling me that, I probably wouldn’t have gone to his company for help when I needed it.

Which is why advertisers have their job, and I don’t.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Hero For Two Minutes (POEM)

Hero For Two Minutes

How must it feel to be a big deal? 
To see the net bulge, then wheel away 
And celebrate with the crowd as a real hero? 
Hear them cheer and exclaim, “What a backheel!”

And how must it feel to say goodbyes then depart, 
Only to watch your former team succeed from afar? 
How must it feel to drive a flashy car, 
But go out on the pitch and see all your shots hit the bar? 

Is that the lot for many a football player? A fickle existence, 
Going through a cycle of moving from club to club? 
Picking words carefully to try and click with the fans; 
Hoping they applaud every kick and bestow affectionate nicknames? 

Which is a worse fate for a man to have befall him? 
Fail to perform or be a player fans can’t recall? 
Perhaps he clings to the few days when he stood tall, 
Like this example (for which I had to give my memory a trawl): 

One spring day in 2005 we chanted and shouted, 
When he scored twice in two minutes against Sheffield United. 
That day he was Gifton the Gifted. He rallied and lifted the 
Players and supporters, made sure Stoke weren’t defeated, 
And was duly treated to the adulation his play befitted. 

But they were two of just thirteen goals that season, 
A meagre strike rate and reason enough to see 
Him play for seven more teams before reaching 30. 
Now he’s in America teaching kids how to play 
And searching for a club who’ll give him a game. 
I wonder if Gifton remembers the Britannia’s cheering that day?

From Humble Beginnings

It has occurred to me in recent days that, fun as it is writing and posting the poems I've been coming up with, there has been precious little writing on the subject of my actual journey into poetry itself. I mean, I actually read a book of poems the other week, and completely failed to offer any insight into how it had altered my perspective on this poetic journey I am attempting. Of course, to be a poet requires the creation of actual poems, so a lack of anything else is perhaps understandable. However, this journey will be equally mysterious to you, the reader, so I must make more effort to communicate it to you.

A review/appraisal of the book can wait until the end of the week, however, because the purpose of today's entry is to post a guest poem. The reason for this might be considered something of a vanity exercise, but it has come about as a direct result of my recent adventures in the poetic form, and so the very fact that I have inspired someone to write a poem of their own is surely a sign of some progress! Contributor to the comments of this blog (and very good friend of mine) Martin, has produced the following:

Chocolate Digestives

Surface of the
Canal: rippled as the top
Of a Chocolate Digestive.
I wish there were some
in my cupboard

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Just Another Girl... (POEM)

Just Another Girl In Need Of A Deed Poll

She stood at the bar with yet another would-be suitor,
This one Steve, a mild-mannered and handsome Geography tutor.
Polite and jittery laughter at one another’s jokes
And casual knowing remarks about the pairs of other folks
Having similar evenings in the pub in that new romance glow.
Everything was going smoothly until he struck the killer blow –
“Hope you don’t mind the question, but have I come across your name before?”
He asked, “I really can’t place where though, maybe on a toilet wall or door?”

Initial impressions had been good but now he couldn’t be the one,
And to suggest otherwise even two more hours would have been a terrible con.
So she forced a resigned smile from her love-starved lips
And put down enough money to cover the drinks plus tips;
Called the night to a close, pecked him on the cheek, “Thanks and goodbye,”
Drove into another single night, stifling weary tears she wished not to cry.
“Fucking fucking Mum and Dad, I was a baby girl not some stupid doll,”
She shouted to the empty night, “Now I’m just another girl in need of a deed poll.”

* * * * *
At the age of seven she understood the mockery she would be facing
When she saw her name inscribed on a public washroom handbasin.
The difference didn’t matter; what difference is made by one ‘e’?
Nobody was going to care if she spelt it Kimberly or Kimberley.
Those first few years she learnt how to etch a smile – took it on the chin
While storing the frustration and pain behind that Hoover Dam grin.
Now our Kimberley’s twenty-six and drowning in limbo, no marriage in the frame;
Just one six-month relationship (that promised so much) to her goddamned name.

* * * * *
Out with friends, but it’s yet another lonely night. She meets a guy; he’s tanned
And rugged – everything Kimberley knows she can’t have, so the fear sets in and
She feels awkward once more. Then he talks first, saying: “Hi, I’m Neil.
Slightly odd, try not to laugh, but my surname’s Standard and middle name Ideal.”
Her heart skips; this is surely a joke. But something inside says, “Let it roll.
Play this one right and maybe you’re no longer another girl in need of a deed poll.”
Finally she has the inspiration she seeks, ignition for a small and dormant spark
To make the life she’s had denied since she was christened Kimberley Clark.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Belt (POEM)

The other advantage to wearing a belt, of course, is having a ready-made tourniquet available should an appropriate emergency occur.


I don’t wear a belt
Because my figure is not svelte;
Trouser waists fill with my unsightly bulge
Thanks to an unquenchable desire to indulge
In food that is far from healthy.
The situation is getting grim,
Oh how I wish to be trim

Hake (POEM)

Thursday’s poem turned out to be an unintentionally serious effort – an idea that stemmed from trying to be flippant about roadkill veered dangerously close to becoming something approaching a ‘social commentary’ (if I may be so bold). If it turns out I could write serious poems then I suppose that’s good, but I much prefer irreverent nonsense like this:


If you should ever awake
From your slumber one morn
And find you’re lying next to a hake,
Then pause a moment: let the day dawn,
Take stock, and for goodness sake
Don’t say we didn’t try and warn
You. But please do try and make
An effort, just don’t fawn,
Or it’ll follow its instinct and take
Every advantage it can. It’ll yawn
And say, “I’m so tired. Get me something to slake
This awful thirst; I’ll take it on the lawn.”
“That ain’t grass,” you’ll reply, “It’s fake;
I put Astroturf down when the ground failed to grow corn.”
“Don’t care!” the fish will say, “Now carry me out on a rake.”
You’ll wonder what you did since you were born
To deserve this; after all, a fish can’t have its cake
And eat it, surely? Well yes, it can, or
It wouldn’t ask about lunch too, and want a tasty salmon bake.

So the lesson here is clear:
Should you ever awake
Lying next to a hake,
Find some time, and make
The effort to go and take
It back to the sea. Or a lake,
For the purposes of the rhyme.