Poetry Blog by John E Marks (2019)
Nicola Beckett on An Irish love poem (11 days ago)
The sky was pink that evening
Blotches of an adamantine brittleness
Spread slowly all over the Cheshire plain,
All over the acres and acres of rich pickings.
The quarter moon is waxing to the right
Behind my back and out of sight and mind
A grove of black, spidery trees skeletal and strange
Put me in mind of a MR James story
Of an unrequited remonstrance
That stands on...
Tuesday 31st December 2019 11:55 pm
The unpurged images of day
Will not give me away to complacency
Even after fifty years of Chinese
Occupation we Tibetans continue
To resist, especially in mid-winter
When we picture our rose garden,
The secret garden of our soul,
A place where all that is, is good
And all that is, is fine
Is writ in large, in watery wine:
Written in a tender-script divi...
Tuesday 31st December 2019 9:04 pm
One thing turns to another thing.
This is the story of continuous change
Nothing remains the same.
The sum Is always greater than the parts
And a metamorphosis of hearts
Occurs when we know that
Plots the rates
At which things change.
However, the total always remains the same.
E = mc2.
Energy equals mass
Times the speed of light squared...
Monday 30th December 2019 7:40 pm
We have eaten rats during this seige
These Goths want us acquiesce to Christian suzerainty.
They never tell us why we should do so
We have our music, poetry, wine, gardens and our beautiful women.
And beauty gives lights like lamps to one travelling in the dark.
The nearness of death makes one wake up, notice a sparkling jewel,
A pearl from the deeps of a distant ocea...
Monday 30th December 2019 12:00 am
Sometimes, I lack command of cadences and tones,
Sometimes, words tumble from my mouth like grain,
At other times words are pulled like teeth.
I sat down by the Manchester Ship canal,
On a cold grey December day,
I wept because of the curse I carry:
The curse of a glint of a light from Elysium
Or Zion or heaven-knows-what-you-will.
I cannot sing the songs of the Lord,
Sunday 29th December 2019 11:27 pm
You were lonesome and blue eyed
And so special to us
You should have taken a long break
Instead of a long drop from a high place.
"That Year" by Brandi Carlisle
More than five rugby teams' worth, of men, every week, dead by their own hands,
In these islands.
Young men mostly, three times as many men as women,
Nearly 6000 a year, 60,000 over a decade and....
Friday 27th December 2019 11:07 pm
In Latin or in Portuguese
o sentimento de amor
Is just the same:
The sentiment of love
Can quickly catch aflame.
A lack in the discipline
Of the eyes breeds
A brooding wish to exercise
Or exorcise, a fire that re-iterates
The eradication of disguise
Leaving us contemplating the irreducibility of fate.
Extending the same disregard for grammar:
Friday 27th December 2019 12:52 am
Away with the moon
with her shadows and all
those sturdy penumbras
you saw in the ball.
Forget you, forget you
I fall out of bed
and all you beget
is so-suddenly dead.
She’s tousled & sleepy,
this edge of the moon,
Angus, dear Angus,
just walked out the room.
His pool-side of shadows
is living alone,
with ginger-nut biscuits
and large gulps of...
Thursday 26th December 2019 8:42 pm
Once I knew you,
Red hair blowing free,
Catholic and wild:
The young banshee.
A Jacobite, like me.
The moral guardians condemn us:
Say we are transgressors,
The breakers of the law.
So then we ask each other
What is life for?
It’s the wildness that’s within us!
Our spirits roaming free:
The accomplishment of nothing
That is you and me.
Thursday 26th December 2019 8:05 pm
In this mild mid-winter breeze of splintered selves
The trees blend into silhouttes; and I see elves
Whose shadows transform perceptions
Into creation. And all the world of
Getting and spending grinds to a halt,
For one holy day. Death may be far away or near
At hand, we have no crystal balls. We must put
All our heart and soul into conveying the simplicity of love
Thursday 26th December 2019 12:13 am
At this turning of the year
We confront an unholy nexus of fear,
Solstice: the apex of the year,
ride the crest of a wave of darkness
The drunkard's Christmas kiss
As the sun squats on the horizon
Of his squandered life
Fear you can cut it with a knife
transforms the frosty night owls of winter
Into a travesty of this lack of light.
Beneath this peak of dark
Tuesday 24th December 2019 11:37 pm
Don’t let the fat white males into your land
They have no concept of stewardship
They think they can own the air and the land.
You watched them massacre the holy bison:
The white buffalo are dead
Their bodies rot under the holy sun.
These bastards have no respect for themselves:
They are rapists and child-killers.
They love watching sadistic pornography.
They spoil all t...
Sunday 22nd December 2019 12:04 am
Redemption comes at such a cost
Freezing winds off the Irish sea
Blow me away from hearth and home
At such a cost - loss pressing on loss -
Yet still the winter-birds sing,
Seemingly, so carelessly,
And we know it costs them their whole life
To fly this way and sing and eat and build and build.
Yet still this merely human, framed of earth,
Cannot scrape away the curse of discontent:
Thursday 19th December 2019 11:34 pm
The grey skies of Manchester,
Designed to oppress,
Yes, my head is in a mess.
This place of the bee is home to me.
Old boys return blisteringly unaware
Of the significance of a long, cold stare
Lost boys don't even mention the drugs.
In a chapel-of-rest or a public bar - don't wander far.
Out in the street, a mass of metal and rubbish
Outside the flats, wrecked fridges, torn up sofas;
Thursday 19th December 2019 10:57 pm
With an abiding glint of love in her faded eyes,
Brown eyes that inhabit my dreams, spark my memories,
My mother has dementia, a cross for us to bear
So saith her silver-tinted hair. She laboured for our family.
With her handbag gripped in her laughing lap,
She still smiles at my silly jokes and repartee
We share so many ways yet she's the opposite of me:
Freer, grander, more baroque, a h...
Monday 16th December 2019 11:50 pm
"My son Brandon died 9 years ago. I have returned from Indiana to Texas where he was born and mixed his ashes in with my garden. I have brought my child home." YOUTUBE comment on 'Into Dust', Mazzy Star
I knew from the very beginning
The sun would rise
Teaching me to cast my eyes to heaven
Cloudy days are like sacrifices
To compensate ...
Monday 16th December 2019 10:09 pm
Homo sapiens have out grown their use. Billions
Long in the tooth but not sharp at all
They snarl at each other
As they queue in the supermarket
For the bargains.
Humans defame the dignity.
Of the wild animals
They abuse, flay alive, eat.
Monkeys, lions, gazelle.
Any living thing
Is worth more.
Homo sapiens have no shame
They seek to inflame each other
Sunday 15th December 2019 10:40 pm
Christmas roses bloom in the dying of the light
But it’s not a rose it’s a beautiful buttercup, slight
Like the golden marvels we used to decide
Which side our bread was buttered.
Do we like butter or not? Was the yellow
Reflected on our chin? These flowers resemble
The wild rose – poisonous to humans –
Helleborus niger macranthus –
Enough to tangle any tongue.
Saturday 14th December 2019 11:55 pm
Wild is the minute and clear is the sky
A world of smell and sight and sound
The portals of discovery all around,
We enter this world, this newfoundland:
The sheer vividness of colour,
The all round visibility of sound,
Flesh and blood, all the half-created
Epiphanies of cloud and sky and sun,
Enter the mind and fly from the eye -
Into the kippering sky, clouds come rus...
Saturday 14th December 2019 1:09 am
I saw her in the street
We were polite, random, neat.
Forgetting what drunkenness
Created in the way of becoming diabolical
Divine Tabula Rasa – blank slate.
Once one, kind, sweet woman,
Polished floors with rage
Arms red and fleshy –
The dark memory of her soul is not pale;
It was late, near the Spaniard’s Inn,
The full moon was shining,
With all the sol...
Wednesday 11th December 2019 8:02 pm
Sitting on the apple tree
Purloining space and time
A wee robin redbreast
Doing what a robin does
Pecking as it ruffles its feathers
Scattering rain drops all around
The robin expects nothing, except luck
The luck of the draw
The cock Robin
Has a hen Robin and sings to her with glee.
Even in the soaking rain
Such sights and sounds astound me.
Nothing is as iridescent as this robi...
Tuesday 10th December 2019 10:51 pm
It is the year's midnight, ye old gods have gone to ground,
Their acolytes burnt, stretched upon the rack, hung, drowned...
For century after century the druid - the knowing of the oak -
Was driven out of place, trapped and yoked into subservience
Come! walk with me in the freezing mist of a December night -
Don't be squeamish, don't take fright -
See this land under the moon's m...
Tuesday 10th December 2019 12:44 am
We walk a steep and slippery way,
Mixing senses in synesthesia's way,
It seem as if I am a chorus in a play.
We feel by measures hidden from the eye
Time borrowed, days wasted, time goes by,
I choose to walk a steep and scattered way..
Winter seeps me into sleep, as my soul flies,
To the gist of an art unborrowed from the eye;
Monday 9th December 2019 10:50 pm
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.”
Open your heart to the misery
Of those who live without hope,
Learn to walk in another’s steps
To learn to extend your scope
Learn not to avert your gaze
When the world is set ablaze.
Give all that you have to give
And expect nothing and you will see
With the eyes of a child....
Saturday 7th December 2019 6:56 pm
my friend, Ian Kevin Curtis
(15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980)
strode up those stairs, so long ago,
and still, your voice pumps out
in all its brittle beauty
leaving the depression
and the epilepsy behind
telling us what love will do
how, precisely it will tear us apart
some will listen and never know
the man you were
me? I cannot abide the way
you hid the man you wer...
Saturday 7th December 2019 12:25 am
A sliver of a moon highlighting
the stone house by the river
full of young people, rushing
hither and thither, a cascade
of sound, a highlight of laughter,
a blaze of eyes. No disguise
but so many discriminations:
of face, of education, of class
we knew it couldn't last.
I retreated for forty years or more
but I always knew I'd come back
to settle the musical sco...
Friday 6th December 2019 10:51 pm
He'd despise with his eyes those alive in sackcloth and ashes
The weaponised clones of a myopic dwarf did not do
As they were taught. They denied themselves the water
Of life. They inherited nothing.
No morning maniac music
Shaked them awake.
Those who'd once brought hope
Now mired in hate.
Over the mountain, clouds scud
Blood on the floor
And mud on the faces.
Thursday 5th December 2019 11:27 pm
Calling time on the cinema queue
We let our dreams come true
It was the evening of the day
At least, I still had you.
Giving up on our one chance
Of silence, it is true,
Who knows where the time goes
And, so,we wound up
Like I knew we'd do:
Bruised black and bruised blue
Back in the cinema queue.
Wednesday 4th December 2019 9:49 pm
the sadness of sundays
reds, yellows, browns and golds
of stormy autumn
and as I walk
I have in mind
the fragility of your veined
so who am I to resist
Wednesday 4th December 2019 9:35 pm
Angels alight, a slight, feathery goodnight kiss,
behind her eyes her guardian angel sighs.
Listen! to the whisperer behind the song,
misfortune exorcised by fluttering fugues begin again
to sing a song in a minor key,
a longing to be whole and free.
Let'so roll away the stone:
for on this seafront there is a stone,
where, in the creamy moonlight of romance,
men and wo...
Tuesday 3rd December 2019 8:41 pm
In this land of loughs and dry burials
The invisible forms itself into visibility
In the dialect of words – tattered,
Stained, inadequate – visceral words
Spew like blood from a gargoyle
Into this mist-ridden air where these
Burrows hide the dead inside blessed
Earth where dogs still dig for bones
And where the music of the very air
Is lacerated by the explosions of ange...
Monday 2nd December 2019 8:17 pm
Dried up, shrivelled, weather-beaten,
Rock- hidden fossils set in stone,
These evolutions of Medusa
Afflict with a petrified decay.
And all, all she gazed upon
Can never be rubbed away.
Stains dry and calcify
Deep in the bogs, in a quagmire,
A swamp of guilt, regret
Spilt water, wine, I forget.
No transubstantiation this:
Yoked, ploughed, dragged,
Sunday 1st December 2019 9:47 pm
Sanskrit sati (“good woman” or “chaste wife”), a Hindu custom of a wife immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband
Moths fly high
this cold delight
of a summer's night
their wings sing,
but my mind's not right;
see the showers spark high
like flaming air
sizzling on the water
blowing in her hair
and the women heap wood
on the fragrant...
Sunday 1st December 2019 9:28 pm
Fresh water suits my watery nature.
I squint at the ripples of redemption,
Watch the ducks glide beside me
Keeping me on the straight and narrow.
The call of strangers splatters across
The sky and I choke on what I know ,
And cannot even whisper out, or sigh.
Mountains and sky reflected in water.
The ordinary has become extraordinary
Saturday 30th November 2019 5:35 pm
My love didn’t come from nowhere.
My father was a bastard, a sailor on the seas,
My mother just a peasant
Spent her life upon her knees.
The noblesse oblige:
The drinking and the drugs,
Was countered by Intelligence
And a tingling in the blood.
We were the late Romans
Much diminished and now, finally, gone.
For since the death-stroke of 1453,
Friday 29th November 2019 11:48 pm
The red glow of our one-bar electric fire
Reflected on our hardly bearded faces
The multi-coloured music of curved air
Synaesthesia rampant, the sweet smell
Of burning Lebanese hashish everywhere
That thick and smoky sweet sweet air.
And young Nick Drake still alive amongst
The flat-fen-lands of Cambridgeshire
Five leaves left a common currency
And me the lad from the ...
Friday 29th November 2019 11:31 pm
Rose, the loveliest of pagan namings,
She said she can see clear to another day
1967 and the happy trails I followed
That landed me plum in Golden Gate Park
Then Palo Alto in the pacific sun
Looking for a revolution
And this is it:
No empty-headed technologies
Still no silicon in the valley
Just a box of rain.
It's a long-ding-dong time to be gone.
Friday 29th November 2019 11:08 pm
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? Robert Browning,"Andrea del Sarto", line 98, 1855.
Kicking off his work boots on a day of lazy gooseberry bushes and old Daily Heralds
Jack's eyes slowly rose from the mess of laces squirming around his fingers,
(memories of the front, the hot metal of the gun, fingering, lingering);
His eyes rose past the d...
Thursday 28th November 2019 11:46 pm
Stand here in your own blood,
My brave heart,
Your shadow and I spy
Firm, thick wood.
The dark lights of Christmastide
Red and green sunset drops
Create an awesome flicker
Of candle-light and in the mean time,
We mark the end of the hologram-life.
All begins with grief,
Such great wordy statements
Fall through the looking-glass...
Thursday 28th November 2019 9:18 pm
The woman time forgot
Is beautiful today
Moulded in clay, frozen
She will tear you apart
With a look, or, maybe, a knife.
This lake by which
She lives is frozen.
Dare we skate
On such thin ice?
And water haunts the air
Birds migrate and block the sun
And, still, we have not fled
All that we once remembered
Thursday 28th November 2019 8:14 pm
Not fit for purpose
And all their other clichés
Batter down the airways
Assuring us that greed is good
That we can borrow and never repay
Seeping this repetitive, lying shit
Deep into the soul of the nation,
Leaving me marooned
Growing old with the weariness
That travels through the blood:
As I try to pass by these nets
Of race, nationality, class, religion
Wednesday 27th November 2019 7:17 pm
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. Revelations 20:4
All across the Nineveh plain the lights are going out
Crosses driven into the hearts of the last of Mesopotamia’s
Christians. These Assyrians, speaking Aramaic, the language
Of Christ, have been loyal throughout the long centuries
Of subjection t...
Monday 25th November 2019 11:39 pm
His denim shirt ripped
It was such a shame
Mick was a dealer,
A user too;
Smoked what he sold
And sold what he grew
But County lines geezers
Had swamped the north
With the Psychotic stuff,
Packed full of THC but also:
White Nurse, White Stuff, White Junk
Skunk caused, Horse delivered
Caused the pain
Monday 25th November 2019 10:32 pm
And I live on a dark star
On the edge of a black hole
Which I will fall into any day
Now there is a singularity of night
An utter absence of light.
The colours leached away
When I wasn't looking
And now the music is silent too.
What should I do?
The speed of light
Insufficient to escape
From this orbit of gloom
This reconnoitring of grief
Sunday 24th November 2019 12:35 am
It was an ordinary, wet north Manchester night
Of solid rain, unremittingly wet. And cold.
When, suddenly, all the rivers in all the world stopped flowing
And all the summer colours leached away and never returned
And the wind it is so cold and it still stings like hell
And the sky descends into the air
And, all of a sudden, you're not there
And the blackness is...
Friday 22nd November 2019 11:18 pm
squirming with words,
reeling with words
sore with myself.
so sore with myself
a world of regret,
this absence of you.
O! I wish I could turn words into wishes.
O! I wish my days would fall into line
my eyes could rise for you
without the slightest disguise
Evening is so heavy, the rain has been & gone,
Friday 22nd November 2019 5:34 pm
Quietly, she spoke of tea, toast, the faint after smell of cigars,
Let us say we met in a room: curtained, peeling, private.
Briefly she consulted the winter afternoon,
Reviewed the deadening, leadening sky.
All was discreetly done.
No presences danced beyond no lifted curtains.
Darkness had silted us away.
Words, like spoons, stirred the air.
We slipped into a net of inquisitions.
Friday 22nd November 2019 5:01 pm
Emotion recollected in tranquillity
never did quite do it for me:
I see the river Thames,
I see the people flow,
all kinds and conditions,
in rain and sun and snow.
the Green man in Kingsbury,
a pub which abhors the National Front,
or, you may wander in Kew Gardens,
or, you may sometimes have a punt.
Westminster traitors to the north 88
Brixton dreads to...
Thursday 21st November 2019 11:05 pm
Ordinary life creates
These empty spaces
Inside of me
Composed of God-knows-what:
Certainly lacking in originality.
On a snow drop face
These empty waiting rooms of the heart,
Set to tear us apart,
These ventricles of the brain, never the same.
Into fond recall
A dry-stone wall,
Wednesday 20th November 2019 11:31 pm
In the apple market
your south London twang
accompanies the many undulations
Your wild androgyny
mirroring the mirror
skimming off the water
like a shaking dog.
You lit up, spot-lighted,
an iridescence of sound
Your songs were the water
Your terse verse
Wednesday 20th November 2019 8:04 pm