it’s a wide pen pinball person


chain link chinks of yer history pal,

we thread a good story through our fingers, pal

(there’s a lot of us I think)

and we catch you in your tale

bounce you in, broad berth,

watch you dance with the drink

I let my body be your house

your whole self

yearning through

your hard thin self.

hot rubber damp room thigh

and if not that, then what?

getting high in between and I think

I’m helping by pulling you in

floating limp blow eyed

you’re in the sky nonetheless

I pull you in

pull you down

But I want to let you go

But you’re too soft to hold

You’re skin’s the bouncy smooth

Of a three day old


And my hands are full.

with the chain, you see

we’re too busy holding sideways to believe

you see,

It’s a wide pen pinball person now,

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Being Poor


Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching…

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When Shameless is Shameful

Marketing met manipulation when the Freud family got involved. (Watch “The Century of the Self” which documents how citizens were turned into consumers deliberately by the relatives and disciples of Sigmund Freud). Before the 1940’s “marketing” meant – taking to market, rather than the application of slick psychology to create desire for profit.

Here’s a particularly dreadful example. I received a text on my phone today saying “We have been trying to contact you regarding your PPI Claim, we now have details of how much you are due, just reply POST and we will post you a pack out”. I was intrigued. I am not due any PPI claim, so I responded.


Within 30 minutes I had a marketing call on my mobile phone. The telephonists asked me for my details. It turned out they didn’t know who I was, it was just a fishing exercise. This is when manipulation turns straightway into lying. When shameless meets shameful.



Work and Honour

As you walk into Paddington Station in London you see a Victorian shield with the mottos of the Great Western Railway. “Domine dirige nos” and “Virtute et industrial”. Now it’s a long time since my Latin lessons but I’m guessing that is something like “the Lord directs us” and “virtue and work”.
It may have been true of Victorian Britain, indeed I have read that unlike the Dickensian depiction, poverty was substantially less common than now. In any event, is it true now? Certainly in the 1980’s in my early career contracts were built on relationships, fuelled of course by alcohol. (Working lunch by another name). The lubricant now appears to be greed and the cult of “winning”. Is there virtue underpinning British industry? A glance at the “rich list” in last Sunday’s newspapers features fortunes made by Russian oligarchs (whose money is that then?), property tycoons, landed gentry, gambling empires and hedge funds. 

All a long way from Brunel, that greatest of British inventors and engineers who was the inspiration of the Great Western Railway.


For my Beamish Boy on his 24th Birthday..

Smile and the world smiles upon you

In mirrored reflection of joy

Words weighted and precious as dew

From you then, as a boy


Supple-muscled lithesome and deft

Your kindness unfolding to strength

Your life an high arc-flighted ball

Both the speed and the length


Your mouth-curving happiness gifts

Quick flowing compassion for all

A tide-race of laughter that lifts

Smallness up to be tall


Rythmic and upbeat engagement

Your motto “We will, and we can”

Scottish Bass Rock protectively

Noble you gentle-fine-man








As we walked out that golden afternoon

Toward the lighthouse, brisk o’er skyward road

The isle arose from bed of cirrus brume

Haar-spun candyfloss of light bestrowed

Melting butter incense scented gorse

The watchful pines conspir’d in secrecy

Disporting hares’ balletic spring discourse

Construed your nature’s green-fused ecstasy

Stepp’d you light through dunes to surf’s samphire sand

Sun crowned halo loosed hair engarlanded

Sea-flensed bottle strewn sapphire scattered strand

Whence garnered sea -cleansed shells sleight-handed

My evanescent love, my April show’r

Foregathered here-by thy dominions pow’r