67 – A collection of 71 poems

2nd edition now available on amazon; paperbook & ebook

LONDON HIGH-RISE

The graffiti spreads like muck along the walkways

In the lifts and on the stairs;

BOLLOCKS TO THE POLL TAX

TANYA SUCKS and CORINNE FUCKS

The stench of urine everywhere

This calcified menagerie

Bakes hearts as hard as concrete

Solidifies old attitudes, buries hope

Deifies ignominy

Here, echoes of hollow laughter

Ghost through the floors

Children play high-rise hopscotch

And stilettos click rhythmically

Along tuneless corridors

Another circus of misfits

Adrift in the maze

Cocooned in captivity

In this graceless legacy

Of the stack-em-high days

****************************

PARTING

The sun also rises over concrete

Over this puff-adder sky

And the pricked-up chimneys

Looking like piss-horns in the stark morning

There are no shadows yet

On this marbled plain

So tender in years

But so sparing with love

I shiver at the bus stop

Admiring this proliferation of granite;

So cold, so hard,

So like you….

THE ROUMANIAN

THE ROMANIAN

 Kostas vendored hot air along with hot beer

In his kingdom ‘Ye Olde Crown by-the-sea’

His tales, though tall, always plausible

And intriguing to many more than me.

He had flown Russian Migs, no less

In Ceausescu’s secret armies in the past

Doing deeds that were less than chivalrous

Before the dictator breathed his last.

Sometime later he fetched up in London

With a wife who was other than great

And who spent his less-than-hard-earned money

At quite an alarming rate.

He took to his own devices

with his hostelry by the sea

and feathered his puffy nest

helped by others as well as me.

He repaid us with roubles that were rubbish

And dollars that were chaff

And then headed off into the sunset again

Leaving behind nothing but his knowing laugh

 

 

NOT WORKING

images

NOT WORKING

‘Not Working’ doesn’t sound too bad
Except on Monday morning
When the long weekend has overslept again
And you try to think of something you might do
That hasn’t already been taken care of

Like an old clock you chide me;
‘Not Working’; analogous to some
Broken-down contraption whose time is past
Well, nothing lasts forever
Tomorrow’s SUN may be the last!

‘Not Working’ means all rusted up
Out of action, unable to breathe
Useless, finished, dead
‘Not Working’ is in one’s head
Not a place in the unemployment queue
I won’t stagnate. Will you?

WORMWOOD

WORMWOOD

Wormwood isn’t here

The sign said, rather waspishly.

It wasn’t the Wormwood I remembered;

Scrubs Lane on a wet Sunday

The outback in West London

No buses, no cars, no people

Just limp grass, acres of the stuff

And, oh yes, the finest redbrick edifice

Victoria’s henchmen could construct.

No rotting bodies in here, my friend.

Not Newgate, not by a long shot

Though debts must still be paid

And some may still get laid

 

Lord Alfred Douglas lay here,

As did Charles Bronson,

Keith Richards, Leslie Grantham

And  George Blake

Scurrying along in his traitor’s gait

Till the day he pole-vaulted to freedom

More or less

Before waving goodbye

To his English life,

 His liberty and his wife

And all those Wormwood scrubbers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings

 

Maya Angelou has died. Poet, activist, actor, writer,dancer, cook and much more besides. She joined the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950’s, where she met her friend and mentor James Baldwin. After hearing Dr. Martin Luther King speak for the first time in 1960 she joined the Civil Rights Movement, and later worked for Malcolm X.

Maya wrote seven volumes of autobiography, starting with I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, and described her writing process as ‘regimented’. She would get up at five in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff had been instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She wrote on legal pads while lying on the bed, with a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget’s Thesaurus and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She averaged 10–12 pages of material a day in this manner, which she then edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Tough going!

Maya is put here

 Who will sing the praises of the poets now?

who the deeds of men?

with Maya dead the muses are silent

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird sings of freedom