THE MORNING RUN OF THE UNEMPLOYED SOCIALIST MAN

on the 2nd of December 2020 in Bedminster, UK

I’d been resisting – the stress

of looking for work, or

using the time in a way that Cliff would have approved of

and – let’s be honest

getting soft in me old age

but not today – out the door!

It’s cloudy.

Primary school across the road

bittersweet as ever

young teacher in Santa hat and visor

guides the exuberant innocents

i turn onto the pavement (carefully)

and then the cars begin, dozens

like poisonous sharks trying to close in on shore

each with its precious cargo

and fully armed

with excuses

(expletive deleted)

I pass the funeral parlour

where a liveried ambulance waits and i

laugh at the thought of the old guys laughing

in the hospice they run across the road

a one-stop shop until you drop

(dark materials take the heat)

And now i’m on main street, that highway

between hells

chocker with chokers, mostly muscle cars

pumped-up parentals

on the “school run”

(expletive deleted)

still plenty diesel for the schoolkids to breathe in

as they walk alongside

and if it stunts their minds

the guy in the beamer will find a way

to get over it

Had enuf.

Turn into the side streets to run the gauntlet

of the gentry’s shiny hockey sticks

so much to like

so much to feel shit about, i

turn into a jolly little street to see

moms and dads and tiny little feet

walking round to school, and I know

i should be glad

but part of me fills with hate

We are apes

not wolves

we’ll never stop resenting

domination

however gentle

It’s bin day. Everywhere

men my age in Guantanamo suits

roll and drag the detritus of these lives

up and down improbable hills

while the guy in the bay window

checks his mail

So many smells

so little time – what’s that?

Cleansing, wholesome, powerful blast

ammonia from the Last Launderette

wrestles with the refuse and the diesel

if i cared enuf about my lungs i’d be like Rabbit

always on the run

Home, i turn

crossing East Street

Peacocks, my friendly saviours

still – just – open

George’s shutters down tho today’s the day

the beans can hit the toast again

and i’m listening to myself

“judgemental git”

but there’s a pain in it, the pain

of knowing everywhere you turn

there’s a job to be done

And the worst of it is not that

there’s so much, nor that

there’s so many, who don’t want to face it, no

it’s us, we’re all mixed up

hey, that’s ok, it’s complicated (in some ways)

but we’ve got to want to understand

we’ve got to hang on to that

on our side

THE MORNING RUN OF THE UNEMPLOYED SOCIALIST MAN

THE KID WITH THE KEYS TO THE KITCHEN

He’s the kid with the keys to the kitchen

and he smiles as he waves them in the air

while we stand in line, snigg’rin and bitching

waiting to go in and get our share

and when we’ve cooked everything that he’s asked us

and put everything back in its place

then he’ll let us out with our rations

on our old school dinner trays

and we smile as we pass through the doorway

and say thanks, and you’re the man

because tomorrow we know we’ll be hungry

and we’ll have to come here again

THE KID WITH THE KEYS TO THE KITCHEN

THE KINGDOM OF THE UNKIND

In the kingdom of the unkind

young men get up on the stage

they’ve been doing what makes them blind

they will fly into a rage, at

anyone who’s left the room,

anyone who can’t keep up, or

who doesn’t know the tune

And they’ll tell you that they’re scared

to walk down your mother’s street

and that whatever they think you are

that is what you’ll always be

They’ve been lifted into place

on the bones of the welfare state

so say hi to the master race

as u watch them masturbate

there’s no self-deprecating comment

that does not end in vomit

and just when you think it’s too vile

they’ll throw in the paedophiles

They’ve been independently schooled

but they will always be in debt

to the things their daddy stole

and I would say forgive them lord

at the drop of my flat cap

if they could hear a word

above the sound of one hand clap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE UNKIND

I AM BLESSED

I am blessed with a never-ending stream

of soppiness which when taken to extremes

comes out as rage or something quite obscene

and the pen with which I write can’t keep up steam

and I am still the Y in My Team

and I am still the U in recluse

and I hope that I can be of some use

_

I hear the pig joke that he’s a lesbian

as he’s angling for a glimpse of her tits

I’ve heard worse from the lips of investors

but they don’t know the half of it

_

For I am out as a girl who likes girls

though she’s not blind to the beauty of the lads

and likes to climb trees and stuff like that

and I am out as an ego who would be so proud to serve

but only if it’s still before the mast

_

I am cursed with a never ending stream

which is why I always keep a bamboo cup

I’d like to sing but I get a little hoarse

and I only need a kiss to shut me up

just another kiss to shut me up…

_

1st September 2019 to JSP, who gets me – and takes me

I AM BLESSED

JUST SLIP AWAY

It seemed like such a great idea

what not to like?

a garden

two lovebirds

i just set the mood and press play

 

And yeah, ups and downs

need to get tough sometimes

and the numbers begat             and begat

but all manageable

kind of what i wasn’t born

to do

 

Even playing off the other flavours

(and the ravers)

and no I can’t deny i got a buzz

from seeing my guys forge ahead

crosses and towers             horses and swords

cloaks and daggers             black books

 

Sure there was a point where I got a bit freaked

when they made with the actual chains on their brothers

that wasn’t part of any plan, i

thought i’d given them options

thought i’d given them             management solutions

but they were off, fuck it, no holds barred

 

I had a few guys, and the proles took their side

and they stopped the worst of it

for a while, but not before they’d

sucked the life from the children of Eden

to kickstart the last of days

 

And now it’s seriously beyond.

 

My inbox is a mountain of trash

i can’t even answer the bloody apostles: i’ll grant that they

set it up well

plenty of wiggle room

but that Aussie camper’s right

people hold me to blame,

and i can’t get off the hook

you should see my facebook – except you can’t cos

i’m friends with everyone

and no-one

 

Sometimes I think only bright eyes got it right

and i wish i could just unpick it, or slip away

just slip away…

JUST SLIP AWAY

PAIN

Pain

it’s not a signal to a little man

in your brain

it’s the screaming siren that you know

is not a drill

(and yeah, time to think about whether and when

to take that pill)

 

You were lucky

got a dose of it young

got to know which side your head was buttered on

which side your prayers were muttered on

then stuttered on counting blessings

Nearly forgetting

tho he sent the odd postcard;

now he’s back – knock-knock-knocking on the hostel door:

right now it’s more of a noise than a threat

It got you writing again” – but it’s not the grit

in my huitre, no shit

no pearls gonna come of it

Come off it? Not this time. The warden says

he’s brought his bags, he’s

come to stay

Hey that’s a real neat way to end it

but it’s bollocks

and there’s so much more to say

There will be days, or hours

when things are okay

and to be okay will be very heaven

when even to breathe will make you feel like a king

and even to see will make you feel that you see

everything

In between, you’ll get to know each other well

find a way to dwell

in that compact labyrinth, and you’ll know

which side your head is buttered on, and

which side your prayers are muttered on

(the kind of sarky prayers the godless like to swear)

and how to focus focus focus on the mandala

the pulsating orb, to make it settle

command the messengers to their quarters, orders

which may or may not be obeyed

All this is easy – sometimes. The hardest thing

is staying on the track with the young horses

staying on the path, bridled with hawsers, pulling the barge

bridge after bridge

with him on your back, cackling, digging,

sticking the knives in like they did with JC

For they will give you a token of sympathy

as they think of a way to replace you, well

we can’t afford to carry him forever”

and you’re gasping to swim as you know what it’s like to go under

gasping and grasping

But the harder you try

the more that you pant

the more they’re embarassed

and know that they can’t keep you on

and you’re gone

Not even a card and you’re

sat on your own in the surgery

waiting for the verdict

no stranger to the savagery

work says you’re not fit

doc says you are

nobody wants you and there’s

nobody left to care

except the people you care about

who you will not burden as they grapple

with cares of their own

Manage your pain

Manage your self

Manage your brand

When you were young, the old and unfit

lived on a pittance but they

lived in a council flat: now there’s

fat chance of that

even tho there’s two of you

again

Pain pain pain pain pain

pain and me:

how it’s gonna be.

PAIN

IMAGINARY FRIEND

I tried so hard to stand up straight

tried to be myself

but in the end

i needed my imaginary friend

he’ll put his arm round me

tell me it’s okay

or that it doesn’t matter

anyway

he’s got the power

not to change the world

but at least

adjust the resolution

he values my

contribution

listens to all my shit

makes like it’s interesting

understands

the ins and outs, the complications

could take forever to explain

to anyone else – and they’d get fed up

of the tragedies

when i’m on my knees

he’s there

for me

IMAGINARY FRIEND