You look straight through me
As if I wasn’t there
I walk straight past you
As if I didn’t care
Two bodies easing past each other
Both waiting for a train
One heading for oblivion
The other bound for Spain
Sitting on his three-legged stool
His pail clamped between his thighs,
He caressed old Daisy’s belly with his head
And sometimes sank his fist into the wrist
When she lashed out
The sound of milk hitting the pail
Was like rain dancing on corrugated steel
He could hit one of those flies
At three paces with one long squirt.
Sometimes he practiced on me.
all my books are available @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent
ACCOSTED BY JESUS
They form a fluid line
Near the entrance to Specsavers
Suited, polished, hair slicked to neatness
Smiling gravely as I approach.
One is proselytising,
Before alternating with another
Who steps smartly to the fore.
Yet another, partially hidden,
Goose-steps almost jauntily
Into my space
And proffers me an offering of words,
Printed of course,
Trying to catch my eye.
Avoiding him is momentarily difficult,
His hand hovering hopefully.
Then I swerve deftly by him
Leaving Jesus still firmly in his grasp.
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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.
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
BRENDAN BEHAN, seen here with Harpo Marx, often said ‘ I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem’. His brother, Brian, saw it slightly differently; ‘What Brendan really was was a painter with a writing problem. No matter in what country of the globe he resided, or how many luminaries he met, the would always be a painter in his soul . If he had remained one for his livelihood, he could still be alive today’. In other words it was the fame that killed him just as much as the drink.
This is a poem that Dominic O’Riordan wrote about Brendan
I remember him riding the air
A mixture of Puck and the goban Saor
With ruffled shirt and hair astray
In Grafton Street on a gusty day
Respectable gents and maiden aunts
Held tightly in their briefs and pants
Lest their bowels might be disturbed
Hearing genius roaring by
Language of love and obscenity
The words he uttered were very simple
“Your mind is as small as a knacker’s thimble,
Scarperer,joxer, fluther, brother
Hold your hour and have another”