Grand Vizier at Flapjack Press which is responsible for some of the most vibrant poetry collections about from its unstable stable of northwest poets, inc. Ben Mellor, Rosie Garland, Gerry Potter, Jackie Hagan, Dominic Berry, Helên Thomas, Dermot Glennon & Tony Curry. Brink is author of Get Down, Git on the Downs [poetry], co-author with Dermot Glennon of Occam's Blunt Instrument [short fiction]; recent small press appearances in Staple, Citizen32, Unsung, Transmission, Dark Tales; online with Secret Attic, Geeek, Drabblecast; anthologies inc. Best of Manchester Poets vol. 1, Beer Gardens Bulimia & Bullshit, The Art of Violence, Running Away from Bus Stops, etc etc. Used to co-host Per Verse in its foundling days and was a guest at Write Out Loud Sale in 2010 but didn't turn up, so probably not worth the risk booking to be honest. He is also an illustrator & exhibiting artist (see www.mucusart.co.uk) and is a great admirer of stuff n nonsense.
COUNTDOWN tell me about when the stars coalesced all the anxiety you’re keeping suppressed the very first time you went and confessed why your ex-partners are all so obsessed tell me about the existence of souls all your perfect plans but unfulfilled goals analyse why goats don’t get on with trolls and why Doc Marten’s are better than Scholl’s tell me about all the drugs that you test the love of your life who wears a string vest how you can quell society’s unrest why you still subscribe to Reader’s Digest tell me about dancing to rock ‘n’ roll working full time but collecting the dole convince yourself that your heart’s not a hole or play join the dots with your mother’s moles tell me about not becoming upset your closest secret and biggest regret how to remember and never forget if you think spiders would make a good pet tell me about all the problems you solve how when you’re possessed your head’ll revolve show me a sinner whom you won’t absolve and prove that Darwin’s theories don’t evolve tell me about your last three rearrests why cuckoos lay eggs in other birds’ nests how you love to suckle on hamsters’ breasts and keep spare body parts in old toy chests tell me about never paying the tolls being miles ahead in opinion polls explain event horizons and black holes and your rhythm method of smurf control tell me about the last button you pressed the letter you sent that wasn’t addressed how best to cope when you’re feeling depressed where I should look when you’re getting undressed tell me about Elvis in King Creole teach me the art of your selfless-control describe Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole about to feed two voles a sausage roll tell me about who you’d like to molest making a brew for an unwelcome guest those in your life who you fucking detest why arguing’s great but making up’s best *********** IT TASTES OF TEARS It tastes of tears. Metallic, salty, childhood and confusion. Awe and some dream of this ancient place that you had forgotten. A blanket-covered memorial of same as ever boredom and blamed on incomprehension, an unexplained reason always thought you could not hear, and the irrelevance of an interest you stoically denied. You can not touch it now. They will not let you. So unfair. It rankles. Bites. Feeds your anger. They like to tease, make you wait. Patience with no virtue. Ponder and confuse you with the doubt you can not control, laugh behind your back with such blank faces that can only wink when you think they do. An invisible paranoia that each sarcastic breeze whips around your ankles, binds your legs, and fine-line snaps your spine. Crack. So quiet you never realise. Your mind’s eye, denial and disgust. The base and baseless scent of what was never meant and all you ever heard. *********** TALKING TO GHOSTS Just beyond shame and a non-event horizon skulks doubt, talons embedded without reason, waiting for an eyelid’s flicker or the shadow inside sleep. And somewhere (before a fireball froze, somewhere between then and now again), this time and doubt dug deep, misaligning empathy with guilt within some forgotten dream, twisting tight and tall as a Suebian knot, weeping snowflakes into steam. Basking in eyes of altered thoughts, run from somebody else’s fear, laugh at somebody else’s fear, cry crocodile tears whilst freed by this exorcise and lithe to senses. Taste. Touch. Taste this touch of tongues’ caress on altered thoughts, touch this nerve and tip. Hear it cry. Here to linger. To dwell in a world of vague pleasure before desertion, crash of fear, guilt, recompense, and altered thoughts twisting away from self, overwhelmed by the inaudible introspection of joy: that taste unknown to idle senses. Recede and settle once more to play in the other yards. Baseless and attached to a misguided premise, these crocodile tears are an injustice: a never altered state. An unhalted cascade through the supposed and the diagnosed, lends whatever it can take. Knowledge can not taste the part once so sickly, now so . . . Safe in the unrecognised. Basking in eyes of ignorance as if they are reflections, translucent cut-outs smothering heart in fake. This doubt is weathered, costume-feathered, layer over layer clad enveloping in formless rags, uncertain with a scarlet fear; a too-comforting embrace. And when the void sings white noise of frantic lunges from beyond a narrowing ledge it wakes in panic, recognises itself, and another way, then leaps. *********** UNNATURAL PRACTICES OF COUNTRY FOLK Berate a badger, Cup a squirrel’s ‘nads, Poke an owl and Slap a stoat: For these be the ways of country folk. Goat punchers and geese goosers Who are more than happy to Fondle an unsuspecting duck Tickle a cow or Nudge a pony When they want to push their luck. Such quaint ways - But it’s tradition, they say. Like hunting foxes for fun and Shooting at things With a fucking great gun. Still, that’s what you get When your sister's your mum. ************ SEVEN WONDER(WHY)S The golden arches of Giza The hanging gardens of Monty Don The corporate hospitality at Olympia The diversified portfolio of Artemis The Lady Di memorial fucking fountain The missing-the-point widening scheme of roads The Pink Floyd light show at Alexandra Palace *********** REFLECTIONS Copy this light and tight over rough Rizzla touch, where once (long ago?) they say fingerprints and sense held sway over a dominion of possibilities. Too late for reflection, too late for reaction, too late for reconsideration and you ran (yes, you ran) the risk, like the last bus leaving early, as coordinated as a club-footed zimmer. (Ha! You can’t kid a kidder with your twilight eyes and unfocused stare. Sometimes you have to let it go, delight in the freedom, and, stripped bare in the chaos of rhythm, decadent and glowing raw, just dance.) This chaos is too vain a mirror, and, trapped between two, your cracks are showing. ********* BASKET WEAVING You cut off your mother’s face and stitched it onto the cat? I shuffle feet and pull a George Doubya face. It is too cold in here and I want to shroud myself in tight arms, but know this is a game of body language: I have already moved my chair so that you are not a silhouette. Now, I wonder how you view yourself; whether you really exist or are just the end product of compulsory training courses, laced up and wiped down like some token gesture I’d recommend you keep the receipt for. Your tedious rote will be cheaper when the paperback comes out (I hear pages turn as you uncross your legs and sigh whilst my thoughts get lost in a cul de sac). My smile is “encouraging”. Time and sun have moved on and back to square one, I am squinting like a sun god with a hangover. Still, if I could see your expression I probably wouldn’t care. I rub sleep from an eye and try to recall the day I got old: my skin feels loose and puffy and I want to help you with your homework. I’m going to recommend we try you on a new course. Your certificates say you have completed them. ******* ARCANE click click ignore they arcane they told me, concentrate on what is click future mentioned it to my mate Pete over a pint and a packet of skinned pigs. whatever he said was whatever I thought, not so much symbiosis as following a lead from the teacher’s bridge analogy, knowingly and without shame, since ease is actually that easy, and who wants confrontation these days? Finding that moment between attitude and opinion that should simply be a conversation. Yeah right whatever, you’re always gonna dislodge a bit of scree on the ascent I’d been warned, still nice to know the memory nags, but the context was so vague that I’d applied it to almost everything, even to whatever - the watchword - and I never minded sharing; hidden within like-minded without the protection of imagination, watching myself aimlessly wander and annoy that easy option. click click I went to the bar with a child-proofed future.
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
Jackie Hagan at Edinburgh Fringe Festival (14/07/2011)
Isle of Arran Writing Retreat (21/06/2011)
Blog link: https://www.writeoutloud.net/blogs/brink
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