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I Am A Man

In many ways
I am a man
Made up by many others:
By father, brother,
Sister, mother,
Grandparents and cousins.
I am a man,
Like any man,
Who’s formed by other people.
By friends and foes,
And those that know
My many lovely evils.
I made it work,
I played at work,
And then I made it out.
And now I’m free
To just be me.
That’s what it’s all about.
A man, they say,
Is born one way,
And some may say that’s true.
But I was born
To be myself
And not at all like you.
For not all men
Are made the same,
And I am quite unique.
I know it’s true.
I’m telling you.
There’s only one of me.
I am a man,
That’s all I am,
That’s all I want to be.
A man alone,
All on his own,
Unshackled now, and free.
And so I draw,
And paint and write,
And think on what I want.
And what I want
Is what I am.
I am a man, I am.

It’s the Ecology, Stupid

It’s the ecology, stupid.
Don’t you get it?
All those things we do,
Eating and drinking,
Everyday living,
Everything
That comes from us.
What we can’t help but do,
What comes out of us,
That’s the problem.
It’s the ecology, stupid.
What we make,
What we do with it,
What we don’t do with it,
How we ignore it,
How we don’t see it,
Don’t even talk about it
That’s the problem.
It’s the ecology, stupid.
All the birds,
All the bees,
All the flowers,
All the trees
All the going things.
All the dodos and the auks
All the moas and the aurochs
All the gone things,
They’re the problem.
It’s the ecology, stupid.
The way they die
When they’re near us,
The way they fear us.
Our casual killing
Of all the things
Now living,
Now going, going,
Gone.
They’re the problem.
It’s the ecology, stupid.
They’re not the problem, though.
The dying things,
The things we kill,
The things we ruin,
What we burn,
What we poison,
What we use and lose,
They’re not the problem.
It’s not the ecology.
It’s you.
It’s me and you.
Stupid.

A House

A house.
Four walls, a roof.
A container.
It keeps things in,
Lets nothing out,
Not even hope.
Feelings wither,
Unreciprocated,
Damaged,
Both, apart together.
Dreams die,
Strangled,
Unarticulated,
In these silent rooms.
Side by side
We sit and hide
From each other,
Unliked lovers.
Here, in this house,
We see only
Something
Neat, painted,
Well decorated,
Cracks papered over.
We do not see
Ourselves.
We have too different
Visions of love.
Perhaps nothing
Is what we wish to see.
This place is
A building,
Peopled,
But not lived in.
This is
A house.
This is not
A home.

Being Alive

Breathe.
A misty morning,
Spring, cool.
Voices far and near
Muffled
In the vapour.
Nascent sunglow
Diffused by fog,
In fret beneath
Hidden heavens.
Breathe.
Intake of cold gold.
Outswept brume
Of my ether,
Adding to all that is
Already there.
The taste of steel
On the still air,
Hometown flavour.
Breathe.
The metal seat
Is cool and hard
But there is comfort
In knowing it will warm.
A robin sings
It’s warbled warning
In the garden
I made for us both.
Breathe.
A small space
But my own.
A small life
But enough.
No need to go
Elsewhere.
No need to do
Other things.
No need to be
Someone else.
No need of anything
But being alive.
Breathe.

Love is a Nonsense

Love is a nonsense.
It is, isn’t it?
A stupid idea,
Perhaps conceived
In conception
Or some other
Fulfilment of need
From the time before we had
A need for words.
I mean, what is it for?
What does it do,
Love?
It lays a burden
Of duty,
Propriety,
On those it afflicts
It constrains the minds
And steals the time of
The lover
And, in return,
The loved.
It dilutes the power
Of concentration,
Of one mind
Focused
On one thing.
Because
Another thing
An other half
Is always in there
Demanding
Time, attention, obeisance,
More.
Leaving less
Of me.
Other love,
Brother love,
Mother love,
Love of family,
Love of friends,
That love is pure
Unqualified, unsullied, unselfish
Given freely,
Taken, and given back.
What am I saying?
Am I even speaking
Of love?
I don’t know.
Love is a nonsense.

Me Time

Just give me time
To sit and write
and think and write
and read and write.
Just let me be
the very least
that I can be;
Just let me be
the best I can
at least of me.
Just give me time.

Friends

The other night
With old friends
Drinking
Talking and laughing
Remembering
Our shared lives.
We’ve known each other
For years
But meet only
Infrequently
These days.
Not often enough.
The first words
After months apart
Were a conversation
Barely interrupted
By the inconvenience
Of time.
We laughed
We drank
We talked
Did the family thing
Did the work thing
Did what we do.
We spoke of nothing
As usual
And everything
As usual
We said things
Only friends can say.
“Cut your own hair, mate?”
He hadn’t.
“You put weight on?
I haven’t.
A bit. Much.
Anyway…
You can say many things
To friends
Anything, really
Because they know
Your idiocies.
But you can’t say.
How much you love them.

On The Shivering Tor

Burn me, then,
When I am done
And scatter my ashes
On the shivering Tor.
Don’t bury my bones
In a dutiful hole.
Nothing of me
Will be left
At the end.
There was nothing much
At the start.
Nothing worth remembering.
Who remembers, anyway?
The last stone at Cheops
The first brick of my house.
Who made them?
Who laid them?
Who cares?
Don’t you see?
Bundy or Ghandi,
A millennium from now
They too will be
Fully forgotten
Like you and me.