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Barry Woods

Updated: Tue, 15 Mar 2022 01:13 pm

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Barry Woods studied creative writing with the Writers Bureau and settled on free verse poetry after that. He was tutored by award winning poet Alison Chisholm who guided him into publication in 2002. He moved on to explore performance at Liverpool's Everyman Bistro, a regular gathering for poets and playwrights. He's had over forty poems published and performs occasionally at spoken word events in Liverpool/Wirral. He edited the anthology 'The Quality of Mersey'. It was performed as a live poetry relay on National Poetry Day at Liverpool Central Library, 2018, and toured Merseyside throughout 2019 ending at the Museum of Liverpool Life. He received a Poetry Medal of Honour from Wirral's John Gorman for work on this project. He curated 'The World in Lockdown People's Poem' (Facebook), which was accepted into the RLB360 Capsule of Culture, a time capsule for Liverpool that remembers the year 2020, with contributions from over fifty Merseyside poets. The time capsule is kept inside the Royal Liver Building. He has volunteered with local councils organising groups of poets to perform their work under Luke Jerram's Gaia at Liverpool Cathedral, and Museum of the Moon at Birkenhead Town Hall.


Where Did All The Punks Go? They hide behind white picket fences unable to grow Mohicans in middle age; they sculpt neat hedges instead of stiff spikes. Punk politics got mortgaged to a desirable neighbourhood, Brothel Creepers replaced with tennis shoes, and they shop at Sainsbury's for organic food. I see them fill their shopping bags. I never thought they would pop vitamin pills or walk the Shihtzu; or drink herbal tea with a hint of pomegranate to stay caffiene free. Once they rocked dog collars, spewed anarchy onto the street with bondage gear. They safety pinned an attitude to Union Jack, screamed guitar in the face of our Queen. Their DIY ethic did not include a greenhouse; they were supposed to shatter glass not grow tomatoes. Saying It Like Johnny Never mind the bollocks say it like it is be an anti-establishment anarchist for speaking your truth. They'll see you with spiky hair, ripped t-shirt and skin tight leathers if you make them wriggle in seats. They'll see you with substance abuse, unclean, untamed - a Sex Pistol while they stay pretty, oh so pretty, virtue signalling. So, say it with spunk. Say it with the volume turned up. Say it like Johnny Rotten. Daredevil We climbed trees and you'd always reach for that furthest branch; a crack of wood, a crack of bone was adventure to you. A broken arm would mend, smashed National Health glasses could be taped at the sides. No problem. And rope swings were best, flying us into a spin as ground dropped away - a freebie fairground ride on a heath that had a windmill. You told me you were gonna be a human cannonball or a Hells Angel as you picked at scabs on your knees. Stunts were getting dangerous, scrapes cut deeper into your skin and I didn't have the stomach for it. You wanted to ride a motorbike through ring of flame without a crash helmet. I believed you would do it. Trying To Believe David Icke I want to believe David Icke when he says we are controlled by elite families, that politics is one beast with many faces and secret societies plot the future of human kind behind a mainstream media screen. I want to believe Alex Jones when he says chemtrails are crisscrossing our life expectancies and we don't have a clue what we are breathing in, that Masonic Temple whores lead a dance of destruction among our youth, rapping evil into their subconscious dressing as porn stars and pimps. I want to believe the conspiracy theorists when they say war is good business and weapons can be biological, psychological. Vaccines might hide nanotechnology inside syringes, and we could all be micro-chipped in this Brave New World. I want to believe that Big Brother is watching through our mobile devices, that aliens walk among us and that the moon hides nuclear weapons. I want to believe it but I can't. It would just turn me nuts. Yemen Boy Let this photo go viral Let the world see me Pulled out from collapsed concrete A rag doll Covered in dust and blood Red stains my eyes Red scrapes my legs And my shoes, were lost in the blast I am just a child A child torn from home Caught in the rubble of your air strike Deafened by noise Of your big boy war game I cover my ears but still hear Screams from my family I have speckles of them on me So let this photo go viral Aim your camera lens right into my face As I sit emotionless in this ambulance Obliterated Numb Volcanic (Drone footage from La Palma 2021) So this is what Hell looks like in real time; exploding magma spews orange and gold into night sky. Lava bombs and lava streams harden into a black rock monster that creeps over houses and roads, crushes walls and flattens roofs. Anger from Earth’s scorching chambers crackles and steams its way down to the ocean. Postcards From Mars To observe Mars in high-resolution seems like science fiction. A world of iron oxide captured by our Curiosity and Perseverance; the team at NASA are cheering. A crater within a crater, a teal ridge and mountains that fade to orange. Martians have long perished and there is no red weed; no three-legged tripods to harvest humans. We are the alien species here landing rovers onto surface, studying and sampling with remote arms – we are the ones who invented heat ray. We've navigated many million space miles since days of H.G.Wells; now our robot eyes see each scattered rock close up. And as wheels roll on we hope to find evidence of creatures that once swarmed and multiplied in a drop of water. London Bridge Your hateful blades wound us and we don't have time to protect our bodies. A trick of sudden terror, a martyrs' game as tourists watch city bleed into night. On the bridge, in the bars you have your target crowd. The Tyrant Of Tech From you I get a whiff of gunfire, a salute to profit and suffering. Uniform hides a network of fear, a body once shell shocked now stiffened in hate. Your ambition shoots methodically from finger tip to keypad, propaganda convinces with smiley faces. So you want to divide and rule with barbed wire, place observation towers on each corner of your insecurities. You might just succeed. Birkenhead In Pounds, Shillings And Pence From the cobbles of Bentinck Place to the green vision for future Birkenhead, there’s a plan for old and new side-by-side, old brick of two-up two-downs and the new builds, new neighbourhoods. Shops are replaced but history remains - the iron claw cannot pull down the structure of our memories here. And some of us remember... the old market; the polished wooden staircase of Robbs department store. Some of us remember Saturdays buying Pick and Mix from Woolworths, magazines from WHSmith on Grange Road. Some of us remember a drink at The Milton pub . None of us forget the grit that keeps our people proud. The Man In The Bottle He looks tiny inside there pressing hands against glass, mouthing words that we cannot hear. He is no genie, he cannot grant three wishes as I think he drank the lot, a routine binge that blocks out life; and he curls up inside distorted reflections. Cheap to buy, easy to drink; so easy to fall asleep, let the sickness pass and start all over again next day. He is a long way down. He needs a lengthy rope to haul himself out, boots with a grip on this sobering world. He must let go of friends who attempt to pull him back and break his spine in this alcohol soaked chasm. Eden With A Geofence Planet Earth, nobody owns you; these are your lands, your oceans and your skies. The spirit energy of every living thing that grows on you shall not be bought, controlled or genetically modified. It goes against nature. Now the human footprint is more lethal than a dinosaur's, evolving with megabytes and gigabytes, dictators and deceivers. What can we do? We hear the serpents hissing around us as Adam and Eve connect their laptops to Wi-Fi. Temptation grew from the biting of an apple to the biting of a planet, and it tastes so bitter.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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