I WAS LISTENING TO NEIL YOUNG ON THE RADIO                                                                                    

I was listening to Neil Young on the radio,

In his burned out basements smoky gloom,

As voices echo from far away, saying,

‘Come with me to the Poetry Cafe’.

In the land of Mordor, where the furnaces roared,

And the grass was blasted black,

You can sit on a hill that looks out to the Urals;

Toward Tolstoy and Pasternak.

The ghosts of industry haunt the museums

And the town shuts down after dark,

Where black is the colour of the afternoon sky;

At night it’s ablaze with red sparks.

Black-Country bards breathe tortured vowels and

The letter H is superfluous,

As volumes of verse are prescribed by a nurse,

Whose desirable looks make me nervous.

The waiters serve prose as cocktails, by intravenous drip,

Replacing clauses with seductive pauses, while injecting apostrophes.

Arrows take flight in the pitch-dark night,

Finding their mark with a groan,

While homeless bodies lie dead in the street;

You steal the idea for a poem.

Lyrical licentious streams of consciousness gather dust on shelves,

You can model yourself on whoever you like

And sing a song of myself.

Whitman and Wilde speak of heavenly bliss,

As they lie on leaves of grass;

But the Judas kiss of Lord Alfred Douglas will eventually come to pass.

Ezra Pound stands accused with his modernist muse

As we serve up his head on a platter,

And Eliot reflects on his mentor’s neglect;

What happened in Italy still matters.

Discordant diversions make familiar assertions

That come true in the fullness of time,

While the ghost of beat culture feeds like a vulture,

On the carcass of meter and rhyme.

Young men howl as their minds are destroyed

By nightmares in peyote dreams;

That tells of a future of furious fire, while B52 engines scream.

Newport, electrified, retreats petrified – ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ is let loose.

If Dylan’s visions could only be seen,

They’d put his neck in a noose.    

The black-petty bourgeois don’t know who they are,

So they answer to slave-owners names,

While a life time of schooling teaches their children

Lessons on the right to remain.

You have nothing to lose but your vanity,

So step up and have your say.

Just bare your soul; let your story be told,

Down at the Poetry Café.                                                                




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keith jeffries

Tue 5th Mar 2019 22:31


I read this with a quickening pace to an almost breathless finish only to read it again. It is masterful with a mountain of thoughts for the reader left to cope with. It mingles the calamities of life in a rich vocabulary across a landscape of some magnitude.

Loved every word. More please.
Thank you

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