Gig dates 2020

Not many dates so far. Arts Council bid pending and then I can plot further.

26th January 2020   Imbolc story Walk                  1pm             Railway, Marsden
21st March 2020     These are the hands launch     No audience Society of Apothecaries, London
28th March 2020       Green Fields launch              6pm             Small Seeds, Huddersfield

Most term time Mondays     Marsden Words          1-3pm    £5   Month of Sundaes, Marsden

The Poem Place – Episode 3

Hi All,

I am delighted to feature in this podcast hosted by Matt Chamberlain along with Bethany Goodwill and David Dykes.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/680696/2790415?fbclid=IwAR3GbjcIjhMOYK9OE7JEJkwy_QqEQcJBZSBVlkEoSTjOgk2OJRH7UqHE29E

My poems from the podcast are below:

I could talk of childhood beaches

of the rock-pools at RhosColyn,

saltwater rashes

and the eel that brushed passed our legs,

eliciting squeals and a swift, slippery exit

across weed-draped rocks.

 

But then I wouldn’t be here in Broadstairs,

one-fifth of a mile from Dicken’s holiday home

but only caring for the lap of brine,

to lean into the waves, to lie back and be uplifted,

to be pulled and pushed

to be part of the tide.

 

I could talk of a Maryport sea-wall

in October,

the wind from the North

almost blowing us over.

 

But then I wouldn’t be here in Margate

swimming with friends I made half an hour ago

and drinking a Margate mule.

 

I could talk of childhood beaches

but I am always a child when by the sea.

315 fine line horizons.

Two dozen seaside sunsets.

11 actual swims in the oceans

unable to touch the bottom.

Properly deep.

 

I could talk of childhood beaches

but in shell years, in sea-glass time

I am not yet even one.

(First published on Thanet Writers, 2019)

Sold out, closed down

You can buy a table lamp for £39.95

but you cannot afford to light it.

Instead, you spend hours gazing

at a stained-glass glow

you can never own.

 

A haircut at the barbers is a fiver

but you and your money are turned away

because you are a woman

requesting a crop cut.

Your cut should take longer,

be coloured and curled

and be more costly to maintain.

You resort to hacking your hair with scissors.

Buy an over-priced pint with the note.

 

They close

Abdul’s corner shop,

the libraries

the smaller schools.

Then the good old standards go:

Marks, Debenhams, Peacocks.

Those who complain

only ever buy online.

It is cheaper and delivery is free

if you keep spending.

 

The NHS

is dismantling itself

one over-worked nurse

or PA at a  time.

 

Community disintegrates

as the lonely find a self-serve checkout ,

a machine for train tickets,

an instruction to disembark

at the centre of the bus.

The smiles and civilities have been sold

to the same place the grit is

and tarmac for potholes.

 

I am reminded of the time Kwik Save closed for good.

We ripped out the shelves with youthful relish

unplugged the freezers.

Glad we wouldn’t be going back.

 

But now when places close

the shelves and freezers stay in place.

No new buyers

to make these air hangars better, brighter, vital .

These high street windows

are dead-eyed and down-cast.

 

The heat chokes us.

The rain soaks us.

There is no comfort

 in this summer.

We are all red-eyed and irritated.

We itch for a revolution.

 

We are hungry for it,

but we are tired

our cores are built from broken promises

and specks of guttering hope.

These used to be what made our eyes shine

they are now lit, sometimes,  by wine or whisky.

Soon to be dead and dull

for good.

 

For all the good will have drained

from even the most optimistic minds.

Optimism thrives

when possibilities are many

as each runway, PROW or freedom

is grown over, boarded up or denied

our hopes are put out

with the small metal hat

that used to countdown to Christmas

but instead of building excitement

this time

each extinguishing hurts

and is permanent.

 

We seek relief in the cloak of songs

from when we were fourteen.

We watch superhero films

to convince ourselves

it will all be okay.

But it isn’t.

And it won’t be.

There will be good moments.

Blissful weeks away from reality.

 

The world is dying.

There are no buyers.

We are the dinosaurs  this time

hoping for a meteor

before bland-faced, blond-mopped stupidity

ends us instead.

(First Published by International Times, 2019)