Poetry & Music -
2nd May 2017
with Mike Parsons David Kessel, Abe Gibson,
and Roger Hoddle.
floor spots come early...
Powis Road (off Bruce Road) E3 3HJ see map
Bow Road or Bromley by Bow Tube/Bow Church DLR
3-Bees Cafe 4 - 8: bring a bottle/cans
Austerity Door Policy - give what you can afford
Attempted Escape (July 1976)
Calliope – The Epic Muse
Ship of Fools
The Pool On The Mountain
Dawn, and the sea at last
Calliope – The Epic Muse
Where is she now?
Another crippled lover?
Does she secretly finger her genitals
And flinch buying vaseline?
with the sweet formal smell of decay,
To be only and always an actor,
She stretches alone in the bathroom mirror,
Winking at madness.
And who ishe that wastes her youth,
Afraid to lose her though in time he must,
Where willhe be when her beauty turns to dust,
When the arrow in her soul begins to rust?
Grasping hard at the the first miserable chance
And missing the beat.
Thehead tips back at the first caress;
Listening attentive with closed eyes,
A dry mouth swallows.
It's all a physical competition,
Where each is to be stared at,
Glared at, stripped and stripping with sordid imagination;
“The price of the all day smiling court.”
Nose down, arse to the sky,
Flesh prods flesh in a moment of shame
With tight closed eyes.
Yeilding, shebecomes avictim,
Impaled upon their abattoir love,
Inthe staccato dance of the carnal ceremony,
Until painfully awkward she desires no more
and disemboweled on red satin,
The knife is all she feels.
It's hard to scream when you're standing
And yet the gentlemen hold it back so well,
Choke it back.
I despise you who will not scream,
Who, knowing, love the knife.
Ship Of Fools.
“You had better be ready to behave absurdly enough to pass for one of the boys.”
If you don't mind, I'd prefer to stand,
If you don't mind:
I was stranded, helpless and alone,
What would you have done,
What could you have done,
What did you do?
I'm sorry, I'll start again.
It was a desperate journey from the start,
With no map or compass,
I spent most of the days arranging shelter,
most of the nights alone.
Hidden, the world at bay, I tried to catchup,
So little opportunity in the waking hours.
Do you mind if I walk around?
Are you sure?
Why arn't there any books, don't you read books?
Of course it was predestined to fail;
I wanted it toomuch to get it.
I needed it too much to plan.
Wastoo proud to ask, too desperate to wait,
Soon too hungry to scheme,
Until I wsn't even sure what it was I wanted.
You must have space before you can prepare,
Must arrive before you turn back,
Somehow I never managed to...
The tan leather cheserfield emptied it's occupant who drew one of the heavy blue curtains across the bright afternoon thtat fell in through the tall, narrow windows and made the dust sparkle like a million stars against a backkground of old lace.
Save your clinical manner.
Shall I tell you about my life?
I've seen time prove different.
There is only growing or decaying,
Living or dying.
There are no fences to sit on,
Dying is dying.
There is only working or resting,
anything else is impossible,
Like a novel or a film,
There is no “away”.
After such a weak first act there was no avoiding it;
the drugs and the drinking helped at first,
And after a while I got over the worst,
But I was learning it all too late.
Allegedly non participants all,
(We made a point of it)
Rebellion made a close totality,
We prided ourselves on the criminality
Allowed us by the state.
I forgot all about the attainments of solitude,
Retraced my steps to a thousand belows,
A thousand times winding,
But kept up the dignity,
Choice is the mark of superior animals.
The dregs to the bottom, the scum to the top,
A scarlet chameleon running scared with the wolves,
With the passing of seasons came the knowledge of pace,
I now walk the tightrope of a new set of rules,
Wondering who used to make all the decisions.
At night, thinking of the key,
I used to tell myself that the real militant
Is inside and active,
If people don't acknowledge you, you push.
There is no “away”.
Reaching a point where slowly...
3. Low Tide
“Suffer better if you want them to weary of punishing you, Be there better if you want them to let you go.” Becket – Engame
Knowing the place for the first time
And fearing thecold of the winter to come,
I look back towards innocence,
Hoping to be released from the testing and corruption
Of this fought for world.
It takes a certain degree of physical fitness
To be strong enough to think.
Going back to the not forgotten anddesired again,
Trained, collected, ready and waiting,
For the next time, your time,
A lot of catching up to be done.
I'm going to have to ask you to leave...
Find someone else to give you your identity,
Prop up, count thte hours and playspecially for you,
Someone who'll listen, with dumb understanding,
Having first learned what is fitting to do.
What I need now, you wouldn't dare to hope, save in a dream.
The irreverent laughter of sheer contempt
Is no longer welcome in my froont room.
Too soon a winning post.
Having been once roundthe board and made it home,
Waiting no longer,
“And leave behind an empty junction,
Glittering in the sun”,
A petrified consciousness abandonded.
4. The Pool On The Mountain
Ascending danger's sheering slope,
Drawn by the rising moon,
A mighty tide brings undesiring hope,
To a man alone above a creedless countryside.
The cold gleam of the twilight,
Illuminates the set expression of the maask of pride.
Thedamp air stirs,
Wiping the reflecting surface of a sheltered pool.
A sudden gasping for breath,
A moan in theback ofthelips parts the lips.
Flared nostrils smell thesalt thtat stings,
Bringing a heightened blush to pale cheeks.
A passing cloud brings darkness,
Graces the memoryof a long forgotten dream;
Where, after connnquered orange, active reds and cloudless blue,
A river, crusting white in tidal rise,
Reflects the deepest green beneath a grey stone bridge.
Forever becomes an instant.
The mask falls and there is silence.
Inthe time before I knew I was alive,
There was a girl,
Whose mirth and beauty tuned my soul,
Whose comfort and protection showed me love.
She tried untangling the web,
To find more than the player and the game,
To win the praise of beauty from an alien muse;
a mystery forever are the tears she cried.
I dedicate all silence to this girl,
Who tried to teachm not to waste my words,
But self belief could not accept,
The truth her eyes alone could see.
And this the lesson learned in bitter time,
Together with the possibility of life,
And reason's promise,
I find reflecting cruel,
Upon the surface of this rocky pool.
5. Neap Tide
When you look down from a great height,
When you see the pavilion below.
Out of reach,
You get dizzy.
It all blurs before your hand,
Those are tears.
It's what they call crying,
You do it when you are afraid,
It prevents you from falling.
I learned alone;
How to examine possibilities.
I had to be taught how to receive.
Practicising openings for four years
It maynot be fair, but it's just
Reaching a point where slowly you lose your nerve,
You should always test before you start.
Extended beyond yourself, you cannot take another step,
Anything else seems imposible,
You are pulled on or sent back,
It's up to you.
One doesn't go to war for mere amusement,
Or walk in idle curiousity,
The road that stretches into possibility;
Awayfrom what once was,
Past where it's not
I have to question surrender,
Trade belief and choice for theknife.
There is only the trying.
Renewed attempts at the summit define,
Here failure is rewarded, only despair contemptible.
Slowley changing circumstances leave one free.
Theend is the beginning again.
Slowley theanswer reveals itself;
“It's time to shake the tattered arras
Woven with thte silent motto”,
Return for corrections to a script,
To add a phrase, a gesture here and there
and keep a vow made long ago,
Restoring water to a barren land.
A blank face strains with effort,
Swallows hard, buildfs on a questioning,
Only those who don't try, don't fail.
Turn again and thrust.
Against the wind.
Strong enough to question.
Face the strain,
Edging slow, no rest allowed,
Lightto a point
where the force beyond balances the force behind.
Invisible barrier across no road.
The frontier between the past and not.
The limit of existence.
One step further blows you back forever.
Slow snow shapes flash past,
Blurring images, that grind the all at once into dark nothing.
With it comes the pain.
An all white pain, all white.
Above, below, above before behind.
Surprised to find your eyes are open,
Hidden, in the shadow of the peak,
From the full force of the wind.
Blinded by thelack of colour,
White turned grey appreciates the tonal quality
Of vivid dullness.
Then a yellow, out of time, stone.
Its hard graven texture
Resists the tread that crunches gravel underfoot.
Man confronting stone,
Pays homage to as beckoning throne.
If you let go you are blown...
Here, kingdom of the wind,
Abode of pain and suffering,
The will to liive istested.
Sheer passion swirls a pure desire
Into a force to tunthe windmills of the world.
This nature's pivot,
Hinges between blizzards.
Here is silence;
Theheart of thte storm,
Theeye of the cyclone,
wind blowing threateningly over your head,
Protected, you find you have nothing to say,
It is simple;
You go up to come down.
It's routine, dull and ordinary,
Matter of fact and obvious,
Cold and wet,
Just and fair,
No more than fear.
But you face it and don't back down.
Lack of vision works an image on the rough scarrred stone,
You can touch it.
Feeling its pesence you can reachtowards it,
Acting your life like the defender of another's dream;
Gentlte splash of shallow water under moonlight.
Splash and fall.
In the time it takes to hear yourself,
Inside thememory, above the roar,
The fingers arch and rise again.
A lover's breast rises and falls with eager breathing,
The setting harad the teeth for the final assault,
A yellow stone sinks beneath the surface.
Splash and fall.
6. Dawn And The Sea At Last.
A Pleasant stroll, past muffled silent forms,
Toward the summit, glances briefly down.
Brackish melt drips glistening over dullgrey stones.
This chill trickling
Violently rips the fine lace coverlet
That folding softly covers naked sleeping warmth.
Collecting in an eager channel,
It cuts through nether worlds to wake,
Wherre spiralling in frozen pillars,
The wind has danced it's silent motto.
This water fills the pools of memory.
From off its stirring surface, light reflects
Onto a crystal roof above,
Where whispered rumours of a silken banner
Echo round a darkened cavern.
The greens and browns now bare revealed,
Hint promised purple springtime joy
That keeps one moving.
Resolution past perfection brings
Strength gracing beauty withits gift.
Thensuddenly in devastating dazzle,
A thousand surfaces reflect thereal light,
Air shining is divided,
Vibrating lines of life cut boldly through a universal time,
Meet, intersect and finallyresolve
Into the diamond of eternity.
A silhouette drawn level with the sun,
Raises an ungloved hand in solemn oath...
a million dots on the retina simplify a clear sky,
No longer the need to comprehend thte night.
Here in the first light,
A single smile.
That single constant look
Thatfillsthe space between thte clink of glasses,
Sinks dodwn into thte mist across the bay
To find the horizon.
Coming down you fly, fall, jump.
You dive and stumble.
A crazy dance like falling standing still,
Collected trill of feet upon the hill
Avoiding broken rocks
And pausing once or twice to catch your breath.
Adapting, surfing through a dream,
To the sonata of themountains,
Feeling themusic through a bended knee,
The poetry,thte metre, one step, two.
Dance to theleft and the left and thte right
and back and on.
Stop, check and on. Short
Sharp, quick, balance.
Perfection in presence, no more,
Just keep facing down
Feet must fall into place,