Towers to Wings

A wave of wings washing the city
beauty above
for below only pity

The towers we raise in pale imitation
a sorry attempt at a human migration
But the higher we rise the longer the shadows
the greyer the streets
the deeper the shallows

And when we reach those heavenly heights
We find only pigeons
ravaged with blight
Because all that’s above is the same as below
And blind to that beauty
we have only the show

The Empty Riff

That same old empty riff
played out by a big band
in an empty chest
If Dean Martin’s there
he’ll need a drink
But better by far
if the lights just fade to black

Grown Children

I’m tentative to write anything serious about war in any form but poetry more than most. There’s plenty of real War Poetry out there from people who have some actual idea of what that actually means and people like me have no more right to comment than politicians do with their sound-bites or armchair generals do when they indulge in cheap jingoism. But given the time of year I thought I’d make an attempt at ignoring my reservations and try to get something down. Although I do so fully aware of my ignorance and urge everyone to look to what’s been written by those with real understanding rather than paying attention to my, or anyone else’s, notions of something we haven’t experienced – and hopefully never will.

Johnny was a five year old
playing football in the yard
Ivan was a teenager
flirting badly, trying hard
Tariq was the nerdy kid
sitting lonely in the house
And Saeed was the sporting star
endless trophies still to count

But when the bullets hit them
shells exploding on the ground
the Generals smiled and called them men
sure to hold their ground

Flags were flown at half mast
from Boston to Baghdad
the children they had sent off
made them proud and made them sad

Politicians, they saluted
Passers-by all stopped to weep
Such brave young men they declared
may our kids all be like them

But while a child changes
and grows beyond the games
They weren’t the men we wanted
when they lost their chance to live

Because I still remember Johnny
playing football in the yard
Ivan chasing all the girls
trying far too hard
Tariq learning not to hurt
friends made in lonely times
And I still remember Saeed
always winning from the start

Because they were all still children
and at the final mark
the bullets that destroyed them
sent them nothing but the dark


On my travels I’ve met many people, millionaires and bankrupts, junkies and dealers, the confusingly normal and the awe inspiringly odd. And all along, the one resounding trait, the one uniting human factor amongst them all? They didn’t write bloody poetry…

We’re not the icebergs we want to be
We’re cliffs in denial
Seen by all but ourselves
Ready to break
And only as hard as we are fragile


There’s a reason why I don’t tend to write poetry but like drinking, smoking, leaving bills unread, forgetting to take the bins out, eating shitey food and never excercising I just can’t help myself no matter how bad the outcome.

The cracks are the wall
the bricks aren’t.
Prison or castle the weather aged joints are what we mould to.
Then when it falls the pattern stays
and so do we.