Poetry Blog by Ralph Dartford

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Martin Elder on Holding Hands Through Hard Times (13 days ago)

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Wood on St John’s (after Van Morrison) (Tue, 26 Jun 2018 04:26 pm)

on St John’s (after Van Morrison) (Tue, 26 Jun 2018 08:58 am)

After Ian Curtis

In Manchester. A meal with my therapist.

And she said, I’d become a terrorist

to her thoughts of the unkempt heart.


But I only asked the question, ‘Will these

Oysters give me indigestion?

Or will the flatulence tear us apart?’

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Holding Hands Through Hard Times

Be careful of 

whom you choose,

but do it today.


Find one, interlock, 

it will help you.

If only for seconds.


For these are the 

days when the cat 

has our tongues.


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She Hates Shoplifters but Applauds her Employer’s Tax Avoidance

Please let them die,

put them inside.

They are nowt

but smack heads

and scum.


I love my job

scanning baked 

beans for pennies, 

as the rich shaft 

me right up the bum.

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By the River Don I Sat Down and Wept

And they say to me, 

these kind people. 


‘Come with us, 

we will relieve 

you of sorrow. 


For what you have

is a disease. 

A malady of the soul.’


I can’t do that and won’t. 

Because to carry is to own.


The things I did were not 

conjured by gods or devils. 


That’s far too easy.



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On Frenchman Street I Fell Down and Smiled


I notice that my shoe lace is 

undone as I sit down on the kerb

and listen to the street band

blow and pull faces of exhilaration.


I could tie it now or just smoke 

this cigarette as the sun sets sharply

over my New Orleans and worry 

about the consequences later.


I trip and fall to my knees often. 

It’s noted and laughed at by many.

But this city accep...

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We first met at a chemist in Hackney.

I had acne. You, a yeast infection.

Oh how we laughed!  Ha ha ha..


Bit on reflection,

I shouldn’t have mentioned

because it caused a tension

that love bite on your neck,

but what the heck, there

was something between us.


And as we walked to Dalston,

you were such a caution,

as you told me of your lovers.

A life liv...

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We Are What We Eat

What we are.

This Island?


Mutton dressed as lamb.

A grainy gravy

that tastes of

stiff upper lip,


and compromise.


The same as it ever was.

Short changed,

side plated with fat,

apple pie and custard.


Give us this.


a deep blue sea.


Where we 

discover pearls.


Others perhaps.

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Five Fathoms

On my own on the other side of

the world, the sky over exposed 

to gravity’s whim, to disorientation.


The locals here sneer at the English,

restrict oxygen to the indigenous, 

cannot understand the word, ‘generous’. 


And I’m five fathoms high with altitude 

at an all time low. The flies always

settling. I’m anywhere but home.


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Carolyn Cassidy Told Me

We pitched our tents at 

Big Sur and sat around

talking about freedom.


We slept under rainfall

and in the morning left;

trapped by all that jazz.


On the way back to Frisco,

you told me I made you lonely.

That freedom was for the birds.

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That Poetry Voice

As a man of a ruck-sacked

youth, I found myself in an

Amsterdam hotel room. 


Clutching the sheets in 

paranoia as the ceiling fan

threatened decapitation.


But although it felt like death, 

the fellatio of your vowels, render

revaluation a worthwhile cause. 



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Coiled on the verges of 

England’s old backroads 

in April’s pollutant sunshine

hiss a nation’s ancient snakes.


The occasional car passes, 

but it’s the others they’ll bite. 

The tired Shylocks and Muslims. 

The Romanians and the Golliwogs. 


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Donny and Marie Stole the Highlights

In a New Town hallway,

opposite the cupboard that

hid a menagerie of coats

with secrets in their pockets,

rested our technology.


Avocado in tone and mutant of trill.

It was the business headquarters

of a family facing the final third 

of the twentieth century with 

the optimism of post war spivs.


My dad with his greyhound 

tips and building site blackmail...

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