Saturday 21 December 2013

Snow Blindness Music

The fog came in from the ocean, covering the islands, covering the shore. Sometime later it enveloped the town, smothering the buildings with a clammy hand. The hilltop itself was clear and bright under a full white moon, hanging like a giant snowball in the sky. Stars twinkled like distant fires, sending messages between the galaxies. From above, the fog had been compressed and compacted, and was illuminated by the brightness of the moon. It stretched out across the town and over the Firth like frozen tundra. You felt as if you could step right out and walk across it. It was white and glowing and shone up into the black sky with the light of a fallen angel.
   “It’s beautiful,” gasped Elizabeth, staring out at the frozen sea.
I tried to say something but couldn’t find the words. The silence was the silence of space, deep and unending, but sprinkled with life.
   We stood for ages, gazing down on the fog. Eventually, Elizabeth spoke.
   “I’d like to be reborn on another planet,” she said. “Can you imagine?”
   “Yes,” I said, looking up into the sky at the distant stars, “I can.”
   It began to get really cold on the hilltop. Somewhere a horn sounded, breaking the stillness.

Monday 11 November 2013

Ocean Motion

The Eden Effect

Drifting Down the Lane

This is a wonderful new anthology of poetry and art put together by editors Agnes Marton and Harriette Lawler. It's based on the children's game Whisper Down the Lane, or as we called it, somewhat worryingly perhaps, Chinese Whispers. The whispered secret is the Magnum Opus, the Great Work of alchemy, turning lead into gold. Each poet and artist had to interpret the secret how they wished, and the book is arranged as a chain of interpretations, quite brilliantly by the editors. Here's the link to the shop where you can buy either a hardback or a paperback copy. It's quite expensive but a fair price for a large coffee table book like this, where the art reproductions are really magnificent: Drifting Down the Lane.

I'm going to blog my poem here, but in actual fact it should be seen in context with a great piece of Cubist art, and alongside a sequence of poems by Andy Jackson, Andrew Taylor, Sarah Crewe and Ira Lightman, where a wonderful chain of meaning is created. Please buy the book. It's well worth the price and would make a great Christmas present. Thanks to the editors and all the poets and artists who contributed.


Where I am, always where

rivers of breath, ribbed

by caution, daring, quotidian

homeostasis, soak the body rock

animistic, flight of pictographic captains

sucking back the hologram

to formative singularity, mulched

in low level dream delirium.

Eyes along a thread, glissando

quick to confluence of irrigated

radio waves, pig gut fluvial

spilled at bordering consciousness

breaks to calcify, purge, clarify,

surge of intuitive cloud gold,

radiance known as that,

shown no disconnection where I am.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Otoliths 31

Here's some vispo of mine at a spanking new Otoliths:

Check out the whole issue cos it's totally spanking!!

Sunday 20 October 2013

The Sunday Times, Poet's Corner & Me


Here's today's spread in a tiny corner of the Sunday Times. Poets have to be content with small corners. But how nice to have one here! We may have struck a blow for experimentalists everywhere, right at the heart of the British establishment what what. I'm very grateful to David Mills for publishing this, and for his insightful comments. And of course, deeply grateful to my publisher, the wonderful Alec Newman.

Friday 18 October 2013

The Sunday Times Poet's Corner

The Sunday Times will be featuring a poem of mine from Lunar Poems for New Religions in the Poet's Corner section of their News Review supplement this coming Sunday(20th). To quote another "famous" poet: Yowsa!

Sunday 13 October 2013


Silver Ghost Hostel

Visions persist, vapours rising from a trough where the pigs are feeding...

   No doubt I am with a friend, and we are young, standing in a clearing, surrounded by trees, by a river, information streaming from branches like light freezing time. It's impossible to decipher or decode, but leaves us euphoric. We crunch through the woods, talking of battles that might have been. Memory and mystery hammer my chest and I think about the Spanish girl we met on the island. I wear love like a scent.
   Out on the road, we walk in a delirium, the clouds above us ripe with meaning. It may be we're heading towards Eden, or an ocean. At this stage, all landscapes coalesce. There are mountains, valleys, rivers, seas in the body, limbs as windswept as boughs. Passing vehicles are narratives, family histories, fascinating radio dramas.
   "We've found the way!" I shout.
You whistle up ahead. Waterfall. Jimi Hendrix.
   Someone is bound to open a tearoom on the highest mountain, or introduce gullible Americans to ghosts. We don't talk much, but when we do, it's about important things, like imaginative Spanish flights while listening to Miles Davis, or what Katrina sounds like on half a tab of Acid. At the hostel, we are about to meet Christians in a vortex of synchronicity. No doubt I will derive much meaning from this. I am so earnest. I have come from a place where pigs are forgotten and there is refuge and rest in monasteries. You are modern; I am more medieval at present, but waking up to modernity. I am so incredibly earnest. Occasionally I wonder if you have lost your virginity. I'm sure you have, and it frightens me a little. I want to lose mine, but not yet. Not until I have captured sound. It's hard to imagine, but each of my atoms is packed with guilt and, in time, all sorts of darkness will roll in and swamp me. If I tell you this, you'll probably just laugh and speak about innocence and my death fixation.
"So serious," you'll say, and head off with other companions.
But you'll draw me in again, and what I learn will settle like silt in an estuary.
   I want you to phone me late at night, and when you do, I'll try not to be consumed by so many lifetimes rolling fear between my fingers. Our meaning will always be unspoken, because sometimes, really, too many things are said.

Wednesday 9 October 2013


The Alien in my Bookcase

There were certain preliminaries. That walk through a stone field at night lit by stars, the north blazing. A craft circling the sky, breathtaking geomotion, beyond craft, dipping down behind the house in joyful dark. The surprise of a crystalline psyche. Immediate transport. Witness to invisibility, the gravitational attraction of objects orbiting an easy chair, plastic floating Eucharistic wafer. I am called to the ceiling, to hover, a shamanic dragonfly.

If I invite the Milky Way
into my living room,
it’s not because the lighting
is so precious.
I’ll always siphon magic
from a dolphin teat,
juggle poltergeist
through esoteric fingers.

For days the dead seagull 
lay on the road, its soul
hovering in Disney time,
aching to be redrawn.
Astral travel isn't liturgical,
but there are nooks in my mind
where they've dropped
hooks for mystical fish.

We'll get reacquainted 
with the hub of the galactic
wheel. It's my intuitive chest.
Our dreams are a hive
for umbilical visitation. Unkill
complacency. Spindly 
purpose has limbs
precise like buttered bread.

The ascent then, while governments pump instruction. Bright all of a sudden, white path vista of an ocean spreading, spreading, faux glorious. Ecstatic suggestion. I am handed model submarines on a wooden jetty. Some I reject without consideration, but am left with the choice of two, "Moon" and "Christian". I choose moon because I know I am a Christian and there is no guilt and fear is pecked away by crows.

The underwater hub is an accelerated bureaucracy, frozen charity, ink and paper flesh. I constantly reaffirm reality by testing the solidity of objects, a firm comprehension of the edge. Moving then through a thriving compound. Someone is assigned to me. I must sign up for abduction, before the shocking formality of introductions. What does one say as planetary host?

The problem is more complex than conspiracy will allow, requires full brain rendering and resolution. Immediacy. Swifts in the skull. Nor am I immune to the dilemma of another, but am, simply, sparkling turquoise eloquent, and yellow. Full brain Brahmin. Silence saves the raft from sinking, so we must be silent.

A picturesque carnival prohibits sleep. Creeping alien entity. Bone chill. Corridors, highways, and a speeding van. Previously, in dreamtime, I’m on an open road, carefully sifting ambiguity through my fingers, wilfully blocking dissent, even at traffic lights. I challenge a vertical motorway, power at its limit, but up, and over, into a nightclub, glamour girl splendour with a hint of doubt, a tinge of moral uncertainty. She’s there. Short blonde hair. I’ll come back to her.

The entertainer, one Alphonse Capone, sidles up with song, challenges choice, tells me I’ll fly but governments lie. It’s a cover up. Exit blocked by threat of disabled children closing ranks, growling from metallic wheelchairs. Outside the road is shining ribbons. Clarity, more liquid than infrastructure. The problem resolved in purple light.

They give gifts of lilac and parsley
strung on ESP bubbles of cold mouth.
Oriental fragrances are used as
optional palliatives against torture.
Too late to sink the stars in tears,
their eyes are ice floes watching.

They want to study orgasm, tell me they are love. So we simulate sex in a psychic vortex, as we’ve done for a while now without their attention. I knew I’d come back to you. You are my co-host, my radio love. Let me ask you now, do they nurture bliss?

Creeping meat dreams prefigure flight, endless stratospheric swoop. For the moment they remain unseen, gauging reactions from the shadows. I am infinitely versatile, a lover, a runner, a boxer championing Jehovah of Hosts.

Complex puzzles are presented to my eye on waking. I am sleepy and determined to resist. Morning is a labyrinth of dream memory. One door opens on a landscape bursting with cartoon colour, as vivid as 3D war games. Lasers zap across the sky, jets attack UFOs, energy globes circle and pulsate. People on the ground scatter and flee but are caught in galactic crossfire. I have a family I must lead to safety through a boyhood memory. No one escapes the stellar blaze. All this is a test, a monitoring of mental responses through varying states of consciousness. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed. Totally blasé. My day will be as pallid as bureaucracy.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Ear Drops at HOAX

Here's a visual poem of mine at a great new journal called HOAX.

Thanks to Lulu!

Birthday Haiku

bamboo beat of water
I buckle a knee
              climbing the bank


swarm of flies on rotten pear mash
                               restaurant booked for 8pm


ripe plums in the orchard
butterflies decorate
the birthday cake

Wednesday 28 August 2013

For Jhana

Bright birds win

g olden sugar swoon

of witch jout.

Naked toe scoops

undressed anus fizz


Thursday 22 August 2013

Punk Mark Grave/Mother Unknown

What marks the year. This candle. This procession. Dazzling sun clusters. Smoke at the altar. Waves of incense. Incensored. I held her and kissed her, drew the poison from her belly. Up and out and up. To air. One cheek. Then another. Insufficient. How calm she was! How sensitive to the damage! We regard the seasons cheerfully. Cruel fingers mark her mother like a passing.

An idol day. A high day. These things I have to attend to. This office. Let's concentrate on getting through. A female form within me. Her embrace is velvet. She asks me to heal her. I tell her I've tried. Embers at the altar. Voices in the kitchen. An altercation. There are horses in Mongolia that heal with silence. Gentle. Insouciant.

A blend of spiritualities shoots an opening through my veins. An aperture where the horses graze. Rapture. Too young to suffer torments. Too unknowing. I've found a field where we can go and watch the spinning. Our arms are full of offerings to forbidden deities.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

SLAMB! - Review of Crunk Juice Remix by Bobby Parker

Just when I thought I’d gotten used to being smacked on the chops by the poetry and art of Bobby Parker – SLAMB!

Parker is the hip priest of high jinx remixology. Responding to an invitation from Steve Roggenbuck to rework his book, Crunk Juice, and a New York Times article referring to Roggenbuck as a “prophet”, Parker shredded the text and drenched it in lamb’s blood acquired from a local butcher. The result, posted at his blog, is a visual slaughterfest with a nod to Hermann Nitsch and the Old Testament Levitical priests.

Here, the word becomes flesh, ink is mixed with blood, paper is saturated in liquid life force. Are we to surmise that Parker is sacrificing his life for art, or offering his art to life? The poet is sacrificed, then sanctified, words and pictures are ripped up, soaked, made ugly, in order to acquire that whiff of absolute holiness. I thought about the countless sacrifices offered to Jehovah of Hosts, Quetzalcoatl, the mad frenzied processions of the Bacchae.

This is poetry as religion, not theological, philosophical, or wearily evangelical, but visceral; a spirituality of body, blood, flesh, and form belonging to the ancient Hebrews, the Druids, the Roman warrior cults. Or is it something purer? Are we to imagine the poet as Lamb of God, the poem as crucifixion?

Visually, the fragments of text, the torn paper, are smeared, smudged, ruined by blood, and so we witness the simultaneous destruction and salvation of a life in full blown ecstatic art ritual. There is a whiff of flesh, a stink of blood, an aftertaste of carnage, but still a purity, a cleansing, a washing away of sin. There is immense beauty in destruction.

It’s well worth working your way through the whole blood stained text, and remembering Parker’s written work. The elements of his poetry inform this work conceptually because we know what stains are being cleansed, what sins are being purged. I imagine this was an exhausting act of atonement for Parker. I imagine a clean heart and washed hands. I see him now climbing the holy hill to art paradise, with a sacrificial lamb on his shoulders, a poet, a prophet, hip priest for a new world.

“Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.”


Thursday 1 August 2013

Crystal Minimalism

hair smokes crystal jam

quartz log of Moses

amethyst historian

nope, opal hip hop

jazz jazz jasper jazz

I spy with my lapis lazuli

carnelian choke quiver    

salamander aqueduct         blue lace agate


Tuesday 30 July 2013

YesYesY Reviewed

Review of YesYesY at Hix Eros

Here's a really fine and generous review of my LRL Textile Series chapbook, YesYesY, by Luke Allan. Thanks to Luke and the editors Jow Lindsay and Joe Luna. You can get a copy of the book by clicking on the image at the top right hand side of this blog.

Friday 5 July 2013

YesYesY at Tonguefire


Here's a lovely review of my latest chapbook from the great Scottish poet Andrew Philip, at his blog Tonguefire.

Thanks, Andy!

Sunday 16 June 2013

Wise Ys: Stephen Nelson's "Dance of Past Lives" | Jacket2

Wise Ys: Stephen Nelson's "Dance of Past Lives" | Jacket2

You might want to check out Gary Barwin's innovative feature on some vispo of mine at Jacket2.

While you're at it, have a look at previous posts on the work of Mike Cannell, Christian Bok and a few other great visual poets.

Many thanks to Gary for a wonderful series!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Summer with Shakti

                                                             bench marks
                                                            where the air
                                                                 is I am

                                                a crown allows a lady's rising

                                                              bird bath heart