Please do not eat the grass

POETRY

It’s amazing to consider how far we’ve evolved, but while humans ‘protect’ our cousins in zoos, the great apes are observing us. There’s a reason smoking is banned at London Zoo, especially around the open-air enclosures…

Monkey Black heart Bog Rolls

How the residents of ZSL really feel about being humanity’s guests is further explored in Cyrus Song (available in paperback and e-book formats).

Pan troglodyte propaganda

POETRY

A future traveller found a sheet of headed paper in one of the infinite monkeystypewriters. ‘The human guilt complex’, or ‘The Simplicity of Human Complexity,’ stacks of an evolving soliloquy were leftΒ in the Unfinished Literary Agency‘s photocopier.Β 

Alien skull Monkey Soliloquy

The writers continue to evolve, and they’re apparently handing out flyers in the street. They’ve learned to publish.Β 

No walking frame required

POETRY

The weather is cloudy where the sun never shines, wherein lives a poet of sorts, writing about mutual facial weather events, tears by proxy and fair weather friends, right outside your door.

“We’re not truly gone until we’re forgotten, and the grief we feel is joy. We don’t know that because they’re not our tears…”

SLEEPWALKERS

Sleepwalker Cloud

I believe the departed still walk among us (most recently, my friend and neighbour, and my brother-in-law; before them, more friends and family, with my auntie Margaret apparently paying a visit whenever I’m watching a royal documentary on TV), and most of the time we don’t know they’re there, because they live in a different physical form. When we’re reminded of them, I think that’s because we’re subconsciously aware that they’re with us, that they’ve spoken and we heard them, or that we felt them touch us.Β My dad’s still around but he’s alone. I hope he can hear me.

I believe we’re never truly gone until we’re forgotten, and the moments of grief we feel must be joy for the departed, because they know they’re being remembered, like we’re waking them from a long sleep. We’re crying tears of joy, but we don’t know that because they’re not our tears.

The matter of mortal history

POETRY

MORTAL INFINITY

Monkey Black heart infinity

An irrelevant Valentine’s poem

Black heart Valentines

I lost it halfway up the Escalator

POETRY

For a friend who’s lost the plot. Like I’ve been left so many times, they just want to be by themselves…

Halfway up the stairs Poem

Identity lost in the post. Hold on to the handrail, keep your head up kid.

The poeticism of animal farming

POETRY

The minimalism of verse, existentialism with anthropomorphism…Β 

Mushrooms on Toast Poem2

Mushrooms grown in the dark are best served as appetisers.

Cow Car StarGazer

Who’s afraid of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings (or Paul Jennings)?

 

The cat thinks it wants to go out

POETRY

Where you’re from doesn’t have to be where you were born. Your heart can come to life many years after you’d merely breathed to find belonging. Where you’re from is where your heart beats, and for me that resides in an ode to London SE13, and especially SE6. It’s a world where nature prevails, word on the street is the jungle book, and cats wear murder mittens. Sometimes I wish I was back where I belong, in the black heart of Catford…

catford se6 cat poem

Fell asleep with a cigarette

THE WRITER’S LIFE

There are few people like me, who wander around the perimeter of mental health, sometimes just to test the water at the shore. Several thousand of us are barely noticed in a world of billions of contradictions.

We can walk for mental miles before we find a fellow human we can engage with, then when drinking at the pool of life, the same conversation ensues:

β€œCan I interfere in your crisis?”
β€œNo, mind your own business.”

Fall asleep with a cigarette, to the flicker of a TV set…

Cat in bed Green

This is me and thousands of others, and I have a friend who’s unlike me in all respects but for one commonality: We sometimes find life around us so confusing that the only person who might make sense of it is ourselves. And even then, we get confused and we don’t talk. We try, but in the end, it’s only to ourselves.

Friends try to talk to the person inside which doesn’t understand itself, so we push them away. We’d prefer reasoned debate to conflict but we punch walls because they can’t talk. Mirrors don’t fight back either.

Once we’ve punched all the barriers away, we’re left drinking alone, while kindred spirits live in another country on the other side of the water. Distant nomads, thinly-spread on the human landscape like Marmite on toast, neurotribes look away from their reflection in the drink.

SEVERAL THOUSAND MANIACS

Monkey Black heart Head up Kid

There’s an oasis we don’t see, because we’re too busy looking into the pool of our own lives, rarely daring to look up. But deep in that reflection is the admission that we’re only fighting with ourselves, punching water and making ripples: contradictions.

β€œIs that your personal crisis over there?”
β€œYeah.”
β€œShall we skim a pebble? It might look up.”
β€œShould we do that? We might hit it in the head and fuck it up.”
β€œFuck yeah. If we don’t, the neurotribes will have one less introspective maniac to reflect on. Personal crises have a habit of becoming self-consuming and aren’t so good at swimming.”

We are the mental health rejects, introverts, alone on opposite shores and other planets: our own, invaded by so many middle-class pretenders. But we’re several thousand maniacs together, and we can spot the interlopers from a mile away on a world where only the truly mad can survive.

Existential cat

β€œKeep your head up kid, I know you can swim. But ya gotta move your legs.” (Augustines)

We won’t all find meaning in life, but it’s nice to spend the one we have with people who provide glimpses into another world, wherever they’re from. The flicker of a TV set.

Stay home and do subtraction

THE WRITER’S LIFE

“It’s a subjective term, an elective one; something in your shoes, or on them. Do you want to walk it into your house?”

blood film strip

There’s nothing especially wrong with talking to your reflection in the mirror, but when you begin by addressing it, β€œLook…” then perhaps you know you’re talking to yourself because there’s no-one else around. Sometimes the man in the mirror finds poetry the best reflection when alone on a very cold planet.

Down here below the mirror, in the blind spot where a kid gets crushed against the railings by a council dustcart, I write prose for the anxious souls who have to venture out and engage with society, because authority requires them to do so, even the surrealists.

I write poetry for those who’d rather not invite community into what society conditions civilised humanity to consider convention; verses for those who have to get up and dress themselves before they go anywhere; and pages torn from the book of entrapment.

Letters from personal imprisonment, where visitors are discouraged; notes discovered in a pocket. A message from a lonley planet to whomever might be listening, some horror writers find poetry to be their best outlet for that which spans their real and fictional worlds. With its minimal words, the medium of the verse paints portraits and landscapes with bridges in the background. As if anyone hadn’t worked out that the world isn’t safe in human custody…

TEPID HANDS

Hands_of_hell

Life on earth attending a friend’s funeral then escaping before the wake, wondering if as many people will turn up at theirs and who’ll provide the sandwiches; or leaving a party when you’re less conspicuous by your absence; the art of subtraction and division is fucking off and talking to yourself about the mess you made.

It’s impossible to invite people home when you have no home to speak of, so you write about what it was once like when your world was cooler.

“Look, there’s no-one else around. Let me see you in the mirror. It means I’m not looking at you directly. The underfloor heating will keep us warm.”

Staedtler Noris 122

And all the surrealist can do is support his fiction on crutches, and hope there’ll be elephants in the room, knowing they’ll be floating in the air so lightly that they don’t crush the eggshells on the floor while the clocks melt.

Something a confused writer questioning reality with poetry can do, is keep a personal diary. The only way to make sense of it is to leave it open on the last page. Then I’m something.Β