Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Update W/C. 24/04/13

Sorry its been so long but pressures of study and other commitments have dominated, the good news is we're nearing the end of the academic year so there will soon be time for more regular poetry ramblings!    All has not been quiet however and I'm pleased to say a very big thank you to Colchester Poetry for the recent open mike on 13/04/13 where I was able to vent regarding the topic of bullying, which is a real bug-bear of mine. I'm passionately against the strong (usually backed up by several cohorts) picking on the weak and I am very grateful for the positive feedback I received on the night. I was quite undecided about whether I should go for it or not and I'm glad I did. The "Circles" project is in its final stages (I promise) and will be finished soon. I thought to add the poems I performed on the 13th of April here. I promise that everything in "Comprehensive Indeed" is true, it contains strong language (for me anyhow) so I've posted it last in the latest entry. The poem is from my first offering "Minutiae" from 2010. I've included "Daughter of the Beat" my peon to Jan Kerouac, daughter of Jack Kerouac founder member of the beat poet movement and "Rear View" which is dedicated to one of the more difficult life moments I've endured. Both are part of "Circles". As ever I'll be grateful of your feedback and comments and I sincerely hope to catch up with you at a poetry event soon.....

Kind regards

Daughter of the Beat

At first, like everyone we ever see, she’s an image, an assumption
Gazing from the page at me, from a time before I’d even heard
Her name, let alone stood on the cusp of these innermost thoughts
Lain bare as words for all to read.

I know my walk in this garden of candid prose will be unique
Seeking more than others seek, I'm following a path that’s
Mine to find, revelations from between the lines leading to

On the day the photograph was taken, if I’m not wrong, her eyes
Reflected more than a cameras lens. An energy reaching out
Decades on – a fragile being, aware of her mortality
Knowing she’ll soon be gone.

Smiling, I'm enjoying alternating shades of light and dark
Finding depth beyond a perfect face, colour beyond
Black and white, happy that words can endure death
Making more than fitting epitaphs – they tell a story.

It’s through her words the beat goes on, she herself
Has gone but if eyes are indeed the gateway to a soul
I wasn’t wrong. Turning the final page I also offer words
Hoping she’s found the peace that she deserved.

Rear View

All I had to do was subtly glance behind me
A surreptitious rolling of the eyes
To see you there, sitting in my present
Yet somehow belonging to the past

I wanted to see if I still found you beautiful
Traced the familiar contours of your face
A numbing sadness tugging at my heart
Feelings from another time and place

I heard your voice in the here and now
Felt your presence just behind
Not something I had to recreate
From the forbidden corners of my mind

Wishing I could say I hadn’t felt the yearning
A desperate desire to re-connect
Resolutely I drove on through gaps of silence
Always one to humbly genuflect

With trepidation I felt the old fires burning
Of the love you’d chosen to reject
I’ve often tried but there’s no going back
No dressing the wounds of your neglect

Wisdom’s lines trace the pain of learning
Framing the damage that’s been done
I pull away with no thoughts of turning
No more rear-view glances at “the one”

Comprehensive Indeed

Lined up like wide-eyed frightened meerkats we await the verdict
Delivered from sneering faces of contempt part hidden by big brother

(And there’s always the guardian angel-rock-ape that waits outside the gate
Of this hellhole, after school, the ultimate tattooed guarantor)

Fingers pointing they progress slowly down the line
A single phrase, a word, mark of the beast conferred:

“He’s a poof, he’s a poof, he’s a poof, he’s alright, he’s a poof”

Said with an amazingly dispassionate contempt
And now for the less fortunate it starts:
Bullying, shoving, sneering, name-calling
And those endless portent laden threats

I’ll get you after school
I’m going to kick your fucking head in
Give us a sweet you poof (always “you poof”)
As if they even know the meaning of the word

Powerless teachers often fare no better
Pale timid mediators that our tormentors know
Can’t be everywhere
Can’t be outside the gates
Where their spineless jurisdiction ends
On the sprawling estate

I swear there are vines hanging from the lampposts
To help the rock apes swing their way to school

My punishable crimes: A briefcase not rucksack
No standard issue Doc Marten boots (in brown or black)

The branded gather in clusters at playtime
Frightened little penguins, bewildered, scared, lost
When the bell goes the buildings spill their stomachs
From the upper floors looking like a swarm
An eruption of scurrying
Faceless ants

ii The Tools of the trade

The shove
Safety in numbers
A Big brother or two
And (preferably) a rock ape for extra immunity
A cover all insult
“You poof”

A flexible threat
“I’ll get you after school”

(Effective even if you don’t follow through)

The threat produces a sick sinking-stomach feeling
Making the victim recipient sweat for hours, fart with fear

The realisation of the portent:
“I’ll kick your fucking head in, you poof”

iii How to be left alone

Obey the law of the jungle!
A hapless victim will be selected for you
Unwilling gladiators we form up
Before the bully overlord and his gang
For their delectation and delight
I can see his sneering face
He knows you’re a spineless shit
More afraid of him by far

The bully cook book recipe:
A pinch of Insults lightly stirred
A seasoning of shoving
Lots of “you poof” for a fuller flavour
Then get kicking!
A Doc Marten to the shins
Or windmill punches to the crying reddened face
You’re learning fast!

A revolting piping hot dish will soon be served
Blood spattered, for good old bully, already salivating
At the prospect of the feast

Show no mercy under any circumstances
The more your overlord grins the better you’re kicking the shins

Don’t forget when they go down a kick to the nuts
The victim is a “poof” anyway, they won’t need them!

Iv The day that friendship died

My dear childhood friend:

If it makes it any easier for you
Forgiving myself gets harder with time
I wish I could make amends
Turn back the clock and stand up for you
Your crimes: polished enunciation
Parents interested in your education

I can see the bullies surrounding you
Laughing, linking arms, forming a tight ring
Framing your frightened face, bed sheet white with fear
I can hear the chanting begin

“Kill the poof, kill the poof, kill the poof”

On a given signal the dance begins
Like a macabre vicious can-can
Doc Marten’s in unison, to the shin, to the groin

Every time you try to fall
They grab your collar
Hold it tight, kicking
Forcing you upright

Game over the suddenly disinterested circle brakes apart
To reveal your face racked with tears and pain as you stagger
Trying to walk, shooting a look at your cowardly “friend”
That says quite simply the friendship ends

I’m sorry

Wish I’d had a spine back then.

V Music teacher

I can see and hear you today
Clear as a bell in my memory
You had a beautiful voice
Long, lustrous blonde hair

And I can see your red face
Unwilling tears starting to form
Behind thick black rimmed NHS glasses
No interest in classic arias here

The boys at the back won’t listen
They’re too busy picking the next victim
Planning today’s playground torment
They merely jeer and barrack you

It is with great sadness I hear the news
A few years later
The throat that sang arias
The rope you used to hang yourself

Vi Comprehensive

“Here I sit bored as hell waiting for the bloody bell”

I will always remember that tribute
Deeply scratched into the wooden table top

Like a pale brown scar cut with a penknife, sutured by splinters
A mute verdict on algebra, geometry, Pythagoras Theory
A hundred things we’ve never had cause to use since

Five long, draining years coming to an end
Unbelievably they’ve put out squash, cakes and biscuits
To see us on our way, trying to create an informal party hat atmosphere
A fitting send off from the 1960’s build penal colony

We disaffected stand sullenly, shifting our weight
From boot to boot when a lone digestive is thrown
The air suddenly sports a display of cake
It’s a riot out of control!

The headmaster is called
And he bursts through the double doors
Mortarboard and black grim-reaper cape
Billowing in the wind of his assumed authority
A superhero like Batman arrived to save the day

We all pelt him, the mortarboard’s knocked off
Rolls impotently on the floor like a chastened dog
A trail of cream and jam adorn his high forehead, spatter his hair
He retreats the scene with undue haste

Then it’s over and we leave, just ebb away, like a retreating oil slick
No thought of a backward glance at the grey prison
Nowadays dying of concrete cancer, what a bloody waste

Vii A legacy

And there you still stand
Ofsted special measures
Re-branded Art College

I still bleed from your stigmata
Curse you when I drive past
Through the jungle-vine estate
Realising I’m scarred just like the table top

Mark Harris has asserted his right under
Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
To be identified as the author of this work.

No comments:

Post a Comment