Saturday, March 19, 2016


I know what it's like to be a stranger,
Frequently feeling endangered,
Picked over by predatory cultures,
Thirsting under circling vultures.
Life’s autumn brings dread and no respect,
Scorn meted out by the usual suspects,
Every disease, changed up into overdrive,
Street racing a futile will to survive.
Living forever is just a way of wanting more
Than grace’s gift of ten years plus three score,
And the rest of the world whispers leave us,
We don't want you here, old white men grieve us.

The photograph shows El Beso de la Muerte (Kiss of Death),
a sculpture located at Barcelona's Poblenou Cemetery.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Our fathers smoked
During the wartime years,
Grandfathers drew back
With toddlers on their laps.
At the football
Tobacco filled the air,
But it dispersed
When the crowd chose to clap.
And I lie here cut up,
Floating on pain,
All wounds bleeding,
Fiercely pierced,
And throbbing,
Each of them
Waiting their turn to exclaim
While my head swims,
Then sinks,
My brain bobbing.
Protect me from myself
And ease my hurt?
I dare you all,
You bands of smug wowsers,
With your sticky hands
In every pocket,
Your slack mouths
Sucking at petrol bowsers.
So put the sun
In plainly wrapped packets -
You stooges of post-modern crime’s rackets.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Soon the road tapered
And became little more than a jagged trail -
Parallel twists
Of bare ground
And traces of tyre tracks
Made by wandering wheels.
Then came the hairpin bends,
With no guardrails
To curtail a careless cartwheel’s
Descent into the deep valleys below.
It was time to stop.
Instead of steeply sloped hills
There were stepped strips -
Terraces etched into the tough terrain.
A village punctuated the panorama,
Its creamy mud structures set stark
Against the ambient abundance
Of poplars, maple and cypress.
Houses and overstocked stores,
Shelf-stacked above each other
In countless contours,
Ascending the hillside
Like building blocks
Placed by a gifted child.
Each footpath was a mesh
Of tarmac and timber,
And also a rooftop
For the humble home below.
It seemed enchanted
And, possibly,
Full of tales of simpler, happier times.
But for this supposition
There was no evidence,
Except imagination.

* Masouleh is a picturesque village in the mountains of Gilan, one of Iran’s Caspian Sea provinces.