Poetry Blog by Ralph Dartford

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Martin Elder on Antes de la Bahía de los Cerdos (Wed, 20 May 2020 05:30 pm)

Jasmine on Breathing Lessons (Thu, 14 May 2020 10:27 am)

Paul Sayer on Jesus Drives a Hyundai (Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:36 pm)

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Brian Maryon on Serotonin Rag (Tue, 15 Oct 2019 09:18 am)

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Ralph Dartford on The Stigmatisations (Mon, 30 Sep 2019 01:21 pm)

Cynthia Buell Thomas on The Stigmatisations (Mon, 30 Sep 2019 01:17 pm)

Come Sunday

While you
your kitchen
on Sunday morning
an old woman tapped
at your door.
She’d moved
here yesterday
and had made
you a pie of apple
and blackberry.
She did this 
to say hello.

She did this
to calm her from
loneliness and fear.
But you
missed her.
Your powerful
Headphones played
‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’
by the Stones.
Your crystal

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To Recover


In hindsight, he should
of known that he would
not travel so far.

There are only partial
truths in jangled guitars, 
bruised jackets and boots.

Those affectations of love
for the West Coast - some
kind of young America.

With its spangled freedoms
and literature ordering 
him to go, go, go baby! 

Man. He could talk a storm,
cause riots in snow domes,
shake moments down to...

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She found it by her pillow.

Perhaps with inflation

this was the new rate 

that tooth fairies dispense. 



she heard old frying pans.


“I’d willingly exchange

a penny for his thoughts”.


But concluded that punches

to the mouth are fiscally

just small change.

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Yes. Let’s take it!

Let’s steal this day

as if we’re delinquent, 

gobstopper sugared 

sucking kids.


Let’s run through poppy

filled meadows, tie daisies 

into each others long gone hair. 


Let’s hold hands, 

skip and sing for it.


This day!



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Antes de la Bahía de los Cerdos

Warm beer and rosary beads,
clutched for nothing but comfort.
This buttoned up man is undone.
He two 
           the boardwalk

as if dancing to Basie.

Clues thrum his head-
a persistent moth

      that finally
       on a back-bicycle wheel.

Where it spins.


The road melt, sticky
back June day of 1960.

Riding wit...

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He speaks to the nation through the night-time 

networks of treachery. The wants he peddles

are shiny, grimy, repugnant and ugly. 


And now people will die.


He screams for Ice Cream. The Muslims, 

a Chinaman, the lazy of Louisiana. 

He’ll burn the blood of every creed. 


And now people will die.


It won’t be in a year, next month, tomorrow, but today. The j...

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Breathing Lessons

Realisations can choke.

The empty biscuit tin, the final scrape 

of butter. The dirty penny from the jar.


Breath, when taken deeply, 

can dislodge truths that are stuck

and locked. If only I could exhale 


the men who held me down 

and entered me that night. 

That time they said they loved me.

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Dawn Call Late

Spring, 2013.

On a bench with
Gladys Bettess.
Overlooking the bay.

Above us,
a kite,

The disappointed
pilot winds up
on a wind.

He sighs, releases again.

It soars to settlement
as if on surveillance.

The sand bites
dear Gladys and I.
We squint and sting
in the sunshine.

Behind us,
an afternoon Lar...

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Whilst Reading Anne Tyler

I was something else

sometime ago.


I know that if I wanted, I could

climb the twelve stairs,


open the battered case and pull

out that day on Venice Beach.


The photo with the Arab skateboarding,

playing saxophone - digging a scene.


I was leather jacketed, Kerouac and shades.

Sitting on rail tracks preparing my cheap


reasons for the years. Needl...

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Listening to Mingus preach.

His fingers and thumbs a sermon. 

A lesson from a teacher learned 

but rarely practiced. That of trajectory.


Today, there is a refusal of Spring.

A dirty pillowed sky, creased and still. 

There are pulled up crocuses, a silent 

Mosque. An absence of the revelatory.



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In Childhood

Don’t step upon the cracks.

For that is where the fingers

lurk that will pull at your shoe,


loosen your lace and force 

you to flail face down onto 

the cut glass path.


It’s here where they will turn

your ankle, snap it to the moon,

let the rats wish at its bone. 


Clicking, they will unscrew your

tin leg, leave the day to the wind.

Blackened, blood...

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A Dance in the Pub with Carlos Alberto

Without doubt, mate,

it was about the density

of the Rediffusion days

of colour television

and the merging

of two decades.


A beautiful game

played in thin air,

keeping me in sweat,

breathing in staccato

for nearly fifty years.


Mate. That

last pass

against Italy.


A simple, sweet Samba


                   on a beach li...

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