Saturday 30 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 30. Poem 30. Writers Stop.

I’ve stopped writing, I’m trying to ignore
my thoughts, the feelings, the walls, fences, doors
and ceilings, I just want to stare out windows
without analysing the condition of anything.

The bricks in those flats, those houses,
the lives between them, the gardens, the dead grass
the feeling I can’t fly, the sleep I can’t get to,
the nerve of a city boy who doesn’t write
about nature.

cars have more parks than us,
this bed is polluted with the stench
of a walking regret.
my bones are claustrophobic
in my body of work.
the noise is broken in my head.

Friday 29 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 29. Poem 29. The Good Die Curious


The Arch Bishop of Canterbury
was at my poetry gig last night
he walked into the room with the smell
of incense on his white gown
hung around his thin body, and a big
purple wizard hat on his head.

A poem was read about gravity
being an over-rated phenomenon


He cheered joyously
waving his golden stick around
stroking his beard
like it was a white cloud
grown around his mouth.

The bouncers asked him to calm down.

He apologised and blessed them
with a glass of tap water.


This morning I woke
with the feeling of travelling.
I could either read a book
or go for a walk.

The streets were warm
under my feet.

I saw a little boy on a scooter
rolling past a small shop, painted black.

a placard was put up outside


me and the boy stopped outside
and stared through the black windows.

Life should walk in there and ask
to speak to the manager
said the boy.

We could have done that... but we didn’t
we just looked at each other
admiring our youth.


On the same road I came across another shop.
It was boarded up and painted bronze.

A sign was painted in big white letters on the door.

Haircuts £4

Then below in brackets it said

(FREE Hair Cuts For The Homeless. You don’t need to look good for anyone except God)

I wondered if Jesus ever used conditioner in his hair,
Maybe, but
I doubt sacrifice ever smelt like Citrus Fruit.

Thursday 28 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 28. Poem 28. A Working List Of Questions For You To Answer

Me, Josh and Alex got into questions on Twitter this morning...

Raymond Antrobus asks ...

Why can't cigarettes give me up?
Does the woods shit bears?
Do dead bodies ever want to see kids?
Can a mountain sit on you and think about its life?
How long has time been longing to go backwards?

Alex Gwyther asks..

Do paintbrushes sometimes wish they were the ones being painted?
Does the colour red ever feel blue?
Do dogs think man is their best friend?
Do birds ever feel better than us knowing they can do the one thing man can't but wishes he could?

Joshua Idehen asks...

Do cats ever look at man and wonder if there is more than one way to skin him?
Is the early worm grateful to catch death at the beak of a bird?
Do kid groomers dream of grooming defenceless pervs online?
Do toilets feel like shit?

Wednesday 27 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 27. Poem 27. After Page 9 Of The Good News Bible

When you have sinned get another tattoo.
When you worry wash your smoking jacket.
When you are in danger you are not a boring person.
When you are depressed the sun has not been on your back.
When God seems far away, you are not displaced.
You are a bird that has to dance to fly.
When you are discouraged, remember your parents can be wrong.
When doubts come be a balloon that has been underwater.
When you are lonely or fearful, speak to that black, gay, Jewish woman.
When you forget your blessings, sneeze again.
When you grow bitter or critical grow a beard (women - grow armpit hair)
When your prayers grow selfish, shave.
When you leave home read Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse) NOT The Alchemist
When you want rest and peace, MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT!

Tuesday 26 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 26. Poem 26. All Things Haiku

“It’s amazing what we keep in our brains,
some we want, some we don’t want”
– Barbra Antrobus (Still amazing at 95 years old)

Our mind is a place
We learn to look at all things
with the arms of eyes.

Monday 25 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 25. Poem 25. Feild Of Rape

You are in a car
You are sitting in the passenger seat
the sun is out
You can smell it in everything
the windows are up but You want them down
the air is a dirty heat
but Sarah is driving
she wants them up.

You drive past a field glowing
yellow with flowers,
so bright it makes You dizzy
Sarah says look a field of rape
You can’t believe that rape has a colour that
kicks and screams in Your eyes
louder than the M25.

Sarah takes one hand off the wheel
to point at a bird in the sky
Sarah calls them tits that are blue
You ask Sarah why we call a bird a tit?
Sarah says most birdwatchers are men.

You don’t laugh
You just sigh.

Sunday 24 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 24. Poem 24. For Joshua Idehen

My friend Joshua has the highest blood sugar of all my friends.

He has Maltesers on his cereal for goodness sake!

This makes him a very good hype man.

Ask him if he has any regrets in life...

He’ll say something like

If the machine in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless mind existed
I’d charge through my memories with a shotgun!

We’d be in the street
he’d roll on the pavement and cower behind lamp posts like a lost starship trooper.

his memories would be giant aliens
armed with teeth like rusty blades
and laser guns.

Joshua would get hit and explode

blood, guts and limbs
raining onto the traffic

I’d be by the lamp post
laughing hard
to the belly.

Joshua would get up off the pavement
and I'd apologise
for laughing at his horrific death.

Saturday 23 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 23. Poem 23. This Goes To Those That Want To Fuck Me

I sleep like sleep
is a dream I go to
to rehearse my sexy walk

in the streets
eyes admire me with their stares.

They’ve never seen anything so big
in my sleep.

They take my picture
to put themselves closer
to my image –
I’m the envy of hipsters.

Like a Romantic poet
or the maid that gets to smell the clothes Bob Dylan
sleeps in

I coined the phase
Eye tint
For black sunglasses.

I made it cool to fuck
Doggey-style with a pencil
behind your ears.

I've made a lot of women come

they all recommend my penis
in magazines –
they use amazing adjectives
like huge and genuine
on front page articles about my penis.

They compare me to God
and a plough machine.

They said it was extra cool that
my clothes smelt like pencils.

This gives me the credibility of a legend
in everyone’s dream.

You know, I’m the best dream anyone
could have about themselves.

You know, I know it’s weird to use the word
real in a poem

But you know, I’m really good at

Thursday 21 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 21. Poem 21. Adventurous Heart

I am Sagittarius

And that’s meant to mean I become wildly adventurous when someone breaks my heart.

I guess it’s true.

The first time my heart broke I decided to stop looking both ways when I crossed streets.

If a car hits me it was meant to be

It’s funny how I can be superstitious and an atheist.

Once I nearly acted on a suicidal thought by joining the Army.

I’d just sent off the application but I met a girl just in time to rescue my self esteem.

When she broke my heart I became a communist.

Every time I saw someone wear a Che’ Guevara shirt I’d run up and test their knowledge on the Cuban Revolution.

What I was actually looking for was a fight.

One day I got it.

I ran up to a guy and saluted him the way Che greeted his Guerrilla fighters.

He looked puzzled then told me he thought it was Bob Marley on his T Shirt.

I threw my fist right into his face.

But he took it well and whacked me in my ribs.

Still, it didn’t break my adventurous heart.

I was going to go to Cuba as a activist but I met a girl. Just in time to rescue my self esteem.

When she broke my heart I became a poet.


Disclaimer: I'd like to remind people that these poems are ideas/first drafts. NaPoWriMo is a celebration of the process of writing poetry... there... I became defensive like an amateur.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 20. Poem 20. A Dream About John Hegley

I saw John Hegley in my dream
he was on his hands and knees
sniffing the concrete.

The street was busy
people stopped to gawp
they couldn't believe what they saw.

Once again I had to defend
the strange behaviour of my poet friends.

I said don’t mind Hegley
He’s a poet see, he must be working on his imagery.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 19. Poem 19. Have you ever met a Brain Surgeon?

I have. It was a woman and she said

she cut into a brain and it leaked goo
making the room smell like raisins.

She said she laughed at the idea
that we can be reduced to the smell of raisins.

I was sitting on my mate’s sofa the other day

He was rolling a spilff when he said to me

Pain makes people feel important

I nodded my head and asked him if he’d like to live
like his existence is hypothetical?

He said he already does

Then he opened a bag of tobacco and put it under my nose

Smell that he said

I did.

it smelt like Raisins.

Monday 18 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 18. Poem 18. My Voice In The Mirror

I went to America.

It took four days for me to stop pronouncing the T in water.

Can I have some wadder please?

I met women who liked me for my accent
so my voice became a new lover I introduced
to everyone.

I’d say

Hi I’m Ray... as in Ray Charles.

And they’d tell me their names and if they didn’t say something like

I’m Amy as in... Do you want to sleep with me?

I wouldn’t care.

My voice was becoming proud,
It used to keep to itself but now
It wants to get out more. It wants me to repeat
everything it says,
I talk in my sleep and dream in my talk.

I had no dreams for years. Suddenly
I was in one every night
doing voiceovers in all of them.

I dreamt I met Barack Obama and he accepted
The Nobel Peace Prize in my voice.

Sometimes my voice makes my face feel inadequate
and I wish I only existed as a radio personality.

People would hear my political speeches and say my voice
provides the directors commentary to their lives.

After a week back in the UK I pronounced the T in water but lost the T in “later”

I’ll see you lay-der!

I’m not sleeping with many women anymore
I think it has something to do with my voice.

British women get very jealous when I talk about myself.

Did the sound of your voice replace all your ex-lovers or just some?

I go home alone most the time
so I can write really long poems
just to prove I have a lot to say.

Sunday 17 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 17. Poem 17. Lateral Thinking Crabs!

I’ve started thinking laterally
while walking into rooms like a crab.
No one thought it was weird.
The English see stranger things
Like Lions on European flags
people reading books on trains
and the sun proving its existence.

I see people walk like crabs without a single crack on their face.

They spend half their lives making their crab walk look effortless.

I bet those smug bastards have never made anyone smile for free.

That’s what I’d say while I walk past those crabs like a pink Lobster.

Saturday 16 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 16. Poem 16. A Conversation With A Waiter.

In the cafe’ people ask me why I smile all the time?
They tell me it makes me look foreign.
I tell them happy waiters get happy customers, no?
And I say that in Portuguese and they just smile
Like they understand.

Friday 15 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 15. Poem 15. Ego Therapist.

OK Ray. Get your ego out your pocket...
put it on the table and let’s have a good look at it.
Well... it’s certainly grown a bit hasn’t it?
What have you been feeding the bugger? –
Oh’ you took it to America – that’s normal then.
What are those purple marks on its neck? – love bites?
Did you do that yourself? Hmm, yes, they look good but I think
we should have a look at its teeth. Open wide and say
Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee... Good, that’s a beautiful smile.

OK, lovely. you can put it back in your pocket Ray
but I want to continue these sessions.
No major concerns. I just want to watch it’s activity around other egos...
OK, that’s all for now Ray.
Take a lollipop and I’ll see you next week..

Oh’ cute poem by the way.

Thursday 14 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 14. Poem 14. Over-heard Conversation Between A Man And His Son

We like looking at the sea, don’t we?
It’s a peaceful activity... all that blue
and white. It’s great isn’t it? How the sea
provides a breathing exercise.
How quiet it gets in your head when you stand still
to watch it work. It’s the only thing I do
without thinking...

No son, I don’t know who put it there.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 13. Poem 13. Warm Machine

Every foot in my poem walks
down halls, looking
for dance floors in
other people. It’s a party
in a foxhole. Invite yourself.
smell the tarmac
shift the gravel. Hold
breath like fire
in the heart of your hands.
Operate your spirit like life
is a beautiful industry.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 12. Poem 12. Sonnet

These are the sounds of you that cannot sleep
Inside the noise of my tormented mind
I try to not exist as if I keep
Shutting my eyes to see how my dream rides
And when I wake with a lie on my lips
One that unties my tongue from the bondage
My only question is how I can live
Through a time where something about you comes
Like a summer of guns that come to fire
Before I am ready to leave our fun
The quiz of you holds me slightly tighter
Than the fevers that I have tried to kiss
Again, I am holding another’s hand
Again, I pretend to be who I am.

Monday 11 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 11. Poem 11 - Ray, Are You OK?

In the past 3 months I have received sixteen text messages
that say the same thing... word for word...

Ray, are you ok?

For some reason these are the only messages in my inbox.

Some of them came completely out of the blue and others
are replies to messages I sent.

I do remember sending one message that said

I want you and not because I’m lonely.

almost immediately Ray, are you ok? was received on my phone
at 2.14am.

Sunday 10 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 10. Poem 10. Cover Of Roberto Balando - Dirty, Poorly, Dressed.

Bohdan Piasecki emailed me recently and asked me to pick a favorite poem and cover it. It's nice to see performance poets acknowledge other poets... I only changed a few lines from a translation (from Spanish to English) in this poem but I'm learning it as it is one of my favorite poems.

On the dogs’ path, my soul came upon
my heart. Shattered, but alive,
dirty, poorly dressed, and filled with love.
On the dogs’ path, there where no one wants to go.
A path that only poets travel
when they have nothing left to do.
But I still had so many things to do!
And nevertheless, there I was: sentencing myself to death
by red ants and also
by black ants, traveling through the empty villages:
fear that grew
until it touched the stars.
a black and white boy educated by night and day
Can disguise himself as anything,
I thought, but it wasn’t true.
In darkness, my heart cried. The river of being chanted
from feverish lips I later discovered to be my own,
the river of being, the river of being, the ecstasy
that folds itself into the bank of these abandoned villages.
Mathematicians and theologians, diviners
and bandits emerged
like aquatic realities in the midst of a metallic reality.
Only fever and poetry provoke visions.
Only love and memory.
Not these paths or these plains.
Not these labyrinths.
Until at last my soul came upon my heart.
It was sick, it’s true, but it was alive.

Saturday 9 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 9. Poem 9. Sat In A Park And Wrote This Poem

Now we taste like
The warm light of stars
There is a new art
To our steps.

We walk under bridges
And pebbled yellow paths
As the warm engine
Of summer starts.

The sky has cracked
Its lips for us to smile
At a bright blue face
Like we are looking at the ocean.

Friday 8 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 8. Poem 8. The Women I Meet When I Walk Around Calling Myself A Poet Can Tell...

I’m full of shit.

often I walk into rooms as the loudest mouth
with the least to say.

I talk like I read self-help books.
I talk like I only mean what I whisper.
I talk like I’ve been lonely.

If I look good
I'm standing a good
distance away
from myself.

If I see myself
it’s because other people see me

I think I think too much but how much is enough when
we question everything?

The question here is what is everything?

I told you I'm full of shit.

Thursday 7 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Day 7. Poem 7. yay it's Confessional Poet Thursday!

Why do you love poetry?

Because all you have to do is mean what you say.

Is poetry shit?

If poetry was shit it would be dead by now.

Are you shit at poetry?


Are you shit at poetry?


Why are you so sensitive?

I celebrate my weaknesses.

What are you most afraid of?

The approaching death of someone I love.

Why are you afraid?

I’m pussy

Why are you afraid?

I’m crying now.

Are you celebrating?

It’s too soon for these questions.

Can I ask you again why are you afraid?

Because I don’t know if I could close an open ending.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 6. Poem 6. Haibun (Prose)

Yesterday Christian Watson challenged me to write a Haibun which is 180 words of prose that is then summed up by a haiku. Woke up extra early this morning to write this and not sure if I followed all rules in terms of theme but this is what I did come up with.

I have stopped writing. I’m trying to ignore the feeling I get
when I’m alone with my thoughts. I know what they are
but I don’t know where they want to go. I can’t
be stopped from doing something that might inspire an experience
that will expose the way I think. I am a museum and everything
is in the dark. I feel for the walls, still ignoring the grainy voice of
nowhere. I hold out a black map and look in a place I’ve never been
for the colour of lightning. My chances are losing weight, I might
never find my way out of this side of an empty page. I have stopped
talking to myself because I’ve stopped writing but the museum that I am
is exhibiting the way I breathe. The warm air is soft
and bleeds easily. Black is the burnt smell of all the questions that got
answers by falling onto the slow barbeque of time. ‘Nowhere’ is still a voice
somewhere in my head that says lose yourself... and then
I do.

Trust your directions
They will lead you far away
You might find a home.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 5. Poem 5. On Being The Sober Guy At The Party

I find it awkward telling people at house parties
I don’t drink.

People never respond well.

They raise their eyebrows,
tilt their head and spill
their words.

oh’ ... erm...

Then they wait for the least awkward moment
to walk away.

No one wants to know the person who will remember them
the next day.

They will tell you about the shame of your night,
you won’t know whether to apologise or wish
you had died.

I’ve seen people at parties strip
deep into the naked night,
I know their names,
I saw them crawl on the floor and bark.


No one is supposed to be there at these times,
everyone should be drunk...
high... or tranquilised.

A boy was sobbing in the quiet corner
of the party.

I’m ugly, I’m ugly, I’m ugly, I’m ugly

He looked like a picture that didn't want to be taken.

I soberly walked over to him and gave him a hug.

No one wants to be hugged by the sober guy at the party,
But there he was, crying into my arms, asking
Why God gave him such big ears?

I cradled him, and waited for the least awkward moment to walk away.

Monday 4 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Poem 4. What You Are Thinking Is More Interesting Than What You Are Writing.

What you are thinking is more interesting than what you are writing.

Be like the ocean when the sky keeps falling on your shoulders.

My love is ice. It can’t stay solid because I tend to meet woman of fire.

I am an overflowing ocean of old love but I like swimming.

There is nothing wrong with people doing things the way you wouldn’t.

I think in a strange broken way but I like it.

Everywhere I’ve been is walking through me.

My walls know about you.

I lie all the time because I want people to think I know a lot about life.

Sometimes misery is the colour of my thinking.

I had a dream that my skin was pealing. My arms and chest were white crumbles of torn red flesh

There was a lot of blood but I was calm and at peace with my disfigurement.

My memory is like an electric friend I don’t trust.

I have flowers I would never have discovered if it weren’t for death.

Most lonely people kill themselves on Christmas Day.

I can’t tell if I’m lonely.

Sunday 3 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Poem 3. Usually Purple

I feel in colour, usually purple
where light meets
dark in a temperature of rooms
with radiators
during summer nights, where
walls are bruised plums, swollen
with juice. And rain
comes down cool but I
am inside
where I seek and hide
in bright gardens of
dying orchids.

Saturday 2 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Poem 2. My vices are women and poetry

I want women to hold my writing
hand so I can write poems about the things
I can’t say to them.

I trust the women I sit alone with.
they brush their fingers along my grazed
tattoo'ed arms, and ask
if I have a condom.

they are smarter than me.

The smell of girls that gave service
with berry lips
has faded into something
that could have been.

This is the universe where
I would take my hand and marry my words
if I was sure they were right.

I always feel like something is missing
but I never know what it is.

I feel like love is a type of clean, and
I’m too dark for it, too cut up.

If there was a licence for love,
I’d have points for speeding, so
I caution women.

I say
I am not the ride to have
If you don’t want to crash

I’m a love child, so
everything about me is an accident
or a broken
or a good idea that doesn’t work.

And I want to die at my desk
thinking about how much beauty is born
from women and poetry.

Friday 1 April 2011

NaPoWriMo. Poem 1. How To Be Good At Being Middle Class.

wake up.

turn on Radio 4.

step into warm soapy shower.

dry with towel hot from radiator.

brush teeth.

insert body into Lenin blue suit or silky red summer dress.

smile in mirror.

don’t feel guilty for being middle class.

step feet into black shiny shoes or red high heels.

leave home and remember your keys like you always do.

walk down street and smile like the sun is out, even if it isn’t.

start a conversation with at least one person who doesn’t want to fuck you.

best bet is an old woman or a small child.

talk to them like they’re looking for good examples of good people.

be polite and donate to charity.

walk down the street and talk to homeless people.

ask them what sleep means to them.

offer them food and smile even if they call you a cunt.

sign up for volunteer work in the third world.

surprise the world by smiling in the rain.

sell your car and see your city from a bicycle seat.

marry yourself to something exotic like world music, Italian food, Spanish poetry or people with dreadlocks.

kiss the French way.

think about people in Japan, Libya and The Congo.

come to the conclusion that beauty will save everyone.

brush teeth.

keep smiling and sleep well.