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Category: Poems

Wild Blue Angel

50 years ago on the 31st August, I was one of around 600,000 people who spent a glorious weekend on the Isle of Wight in the company of such legends as; Free, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen, Moody Blues, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, Chicago, Joan Baez, Sly and the Family Stone, Ten Years After, Ritchie Havens, Procul Harem, Miles Davis, Jethro Tull, Kris Kristofferson, Family, Taste and of course one of my all time Rock heroes – JIMI HENDRIX. This Friday (18th) will also mark the 50th anniversary of Jimi’s death. In the early hours of the final day of that unique event I had witnessed Jimi’s last ever live performance in the UK.
My poem Blue Wild Angel is my tribute to Jimi

You were purple haze
with glorious hair
a gripping tooth
in velvet corduroy
parachuting plucked
from Seattle roots
to Ronnie Scott’s

Right -handed fender
played upside down
fuzz pedals
Carnaby Street medals
A Voodoo child
God, you were wild

A spangled banner
using smoking keys
as passion ignites
you on your knees
with bandana tied
before orange flames
your red rooster calling
in a smoking daze
leaving needle stick
for opiated words
handfuls of barbituates
pressed self-destruct
after Isle of Wight
in the middle of the night
I was there…

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Love Story – a black out poem

I created a black out poem as part of an exercise within a Writing Group I am involved in.
I used Page 184 from SHOW ME THE WAY TO SANTIAGO and managed to create a Love Poem.
Here are the words that were left behind after blacking out most of the text.

Evening sun in
time envelopes us
She is spiritual
she is seeking some connection
our meeting is hugs and warm
we go our separate ways

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Zoom Events

I thoroughly enjoyed my return to ‘open mic’ land on Monday with the wonderful David Driver hosting an exclamation of local poets. Up coming this Saturday is an Open Mic with BIASAN, an event that is part of the Bradford South Asian Heritage Month.

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Normality

So, you want to go back to normal when this is all over
Where our NHS is underfunded
And under-prepared for what is needed
You want a normality that sees
Key workers on zero hours contracts
Or paid the minimum wage
You want to take for granted
delivery drivers, supermarket staff,
Go about your business and leave
the homeless on the streets

You want to return to a normality
That bails out the banks, rewards the rich
Ignores the poor and vulnerable
You want a normality that protects privilege
And scorns those that don’t have it
A normality that castigates foreigner’s
All those people not born in the UK,
Who kept afloat the NHS, the care system,
picked the crops that would have rotted in our
fields, so that we could eat in our little castles

You’d prefer to go back to normal
Where staff who look after our elders
Are doing so without the
necessary equipment and support
You want a normality that sees
Traffic jams and saturated skies polluting our environment
And putting the very existence of our planet at risk
A normality where economic growth
Is the measure of progress and not
The health and well-being of our populations.

Do you really want to return to a normal
Predicated on the survival of the fittest
When what this has shown us is that
Collectively we are only as strong as our weakest
You want a normality of individuals scurrying
Like lemmings to keep up with the Jones’s
Not having time to dwell on the needs of others.
In their communities, their countries, their world
A normality where success is greed and power
The state is organised to protect such status, rather
than to care best for those who need its help most

So, be careful what you wish for when you say
“I just want things back to normal.”
Think carefully about what you really mean
Is it the freedom to go out, to socialise,
To meet a friend and give them a hug
The freedom to roam the countryside, wherever you please
To eat out, visit the local pub, watch your favourite team
Freedoms many normally just take for granted, and yet
For the weakest and less fortunate in the world
Such options are a normality only lived in dreams
And if, if, we go back to a normality that fails
To recognise our responsibilities to all citizens of the world
Then our children, and our children’s children
will never forgive us.

Peter Kay
First written 24th April 2020

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LEST WE FORGET

So let there be no mistake we are at war,
though our enemy wears an invisible cloak,
targets indiscriminately without fear or remorse
leaves no corner of the globe untouched and yet
We rehearsed this catastrophe four years ago.
Identified our weaknesses, of which there were many
Put in the pile; ‘too difficult’, it’ll never happen
But it is. Here. Now. Each minute of every hour.

And who is at the front line fighting this enemy?
Who is it that is taking the brunt for us all?
Not the politicians, city slickers, certainly not the banks
It’s our NHS staff who are right in the face of it
having to fight an enemy they just can’t see
except in the lungs and the eyes of their patients
Seeing the fear of death, whilst knowing they are at risk, too
Yet, and this is what makes it so hard for me

They needn’t have been at such high risk at all
if in the knowledge of what would be needed
those who could have acted on all our behalfs
had taken reasonable and necessary steps.
Ensured that when, not if, a global pandemic struck
we could arm front-line troops with what they needed
not throw them to the mercy of the four winds, as
we did with our young boys over a hundred years ago.

So fuck you gutless, incompetent politicians.
Hold your heads in shame, you deserve no sympathy.
we’re now throwing money away like confetti, to
shut the door, but the bloody horse has bolted.
We could have saved many more by spending before.
When the dust has settled on this human disaster
and we are all remembering our dead, as best we can
let us not forget that we were involved in a war.

and that every man and woman on that front line
deserves our admiration and so much more
every one of their names must be inscribed
on memorials in each place they came from
their bravery should be remembered year after year
the same way the fallen are from wars fought before
never let us forget that they died to save us
and never let our NHS be under prepared anymore.

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Poem of the Day 29/03/20

Encouraging the dog to bark

Social distancing in the park

Going out on my bike for a ride

Acting like I’ve something to hide

Setting off on a gentle run

With my gloves and face mask on

plans go well till kissing gate

After you. No you. I’ll wait.

Both turn around and head away

that’ll be our exercise for the day.

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Graveyard

I spent time with Alyson Rhodes, as part of a workshop looking at inspiration for writing that can be derived from a cemetery (Bingley Cemetery on this occasion). The second of the two workshops was cancelled due to Coronavirus. However, I have so far produced two poems from the day.  I will add this to my collection of poems about graveyards.

This poem is one of them:

 

GRAVEYARD

Was it the moss that lichened him to the stone?

Did he spend a life of meaning whilst alive?

Beneath the earth remains of calcified bone

Whilst above the ground granite memorials loom,

Near lies MARINA, who died by the ocean

Here the ‘sea’ is wave upon wave of headstones

that stretch eastwards; an army moving in slow motion

marching on the spot, watching over loved ones.

 

There are the well tended and neglected plots

Homing a no longer old husband or wife

Graves of the haves and also of the have nots

long livers and some who died young in a strife

Some sought religion before they passed over

Others found a different faith late in life

But the one thing each gravestone had in common

words mourning their passing, that cut like a knife

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Great night from many splendid poets from near and far at HEART in Headingley.

Thought I’d post one of the three poems I read tonight, entitled Where has all the truth gone

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DARKNESS

 

And in the darkness I hear the call

Wonder whether the lustrous moon is up

To witness the random slaughter

Inside I read stories to my daughter

Shut out the reality and stench of the kill

Stroke her hair and sing a lullaby

Though my blood is curdled by the cry

And in my head my other self asks why?

 

Later as dawn approaches I am awake

Thoughts tumbling upon each other in my head

I rise and check my daughter’s breathing

Watch her perfect child-like body heaving

Outside a sudden gust of wind rattles the gate

The owl makes a last call before handing on

The mantle of birdsong to the blackbird

Whilst I can only ponder the absurd

 

Ask again why she had to die

And whether next time I stand

on the precipice of the bridge

I will dare to jump

To shut out once and for all

Both the darkness and the call

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