Lockdown Poetry

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I thought I’d share some poems I’ve written in lockdown. I’m not sure they signify a state of mind – then again that’s exactly what poetry does. And all the time. Anyway, here are some of the newest poems I’ve written – across the last couple of weeks:

Two Fires

The first dream was simple, we were getting a tattoo, we both
agreed it would be a slight twist on the Margaret Atwood quote.

On our wrists it would read “Two fires informed us…”
The second dream was split neither part at all pleasing.

First I discovered our letterbox filled with vermin. Tails matted
to form the ratking – they were writhing and screeching –

I woke to pee. Returned to sleep and hours later the dream returned,
I crept to the mailbox to see if they were alive, or were they even there?

My brother was grabbing them out, in handfuls – dropping them
into a sack. He was laughing as he clubbed them with a bat –

each efficient scoop completed with a baseball thwack. ‘They won’t
be back’ he called as he left. Swinging the sack over his shoulder and
leaving like a Cut Price Santa. He threw a match to torch the
letterbox. ‘You can’t let them nest. Burn the rats or they’ll burn you’.  


Bill Conti Scores The Great American Novel

People talk about The Great American Novel
like it’s a thing. It is a thing – but it’s not a book,
and it’s never going to be. Bruce Springsteen

probably thinks he’s written The Great
American Novel. But he just dragged
John Steinbeck down into rock’n’roll.

There are many photographers that have
taken The Great American Novel and made it
the mythos that informs their work. These days

TV is The Great American Novel. Which means
you can name The Sopranos or Breaking Bad or
basically pick your poison. But the Great

American Novel cannot exist – because it could never
be truly and always great. That’s why the
Rocky franchise of films is the closest to that truth.


On The Dreams We Had As Children

I just wanted to play drums and write
and I’ve done both, and though not
to the level I had probably hoped,

it’s possibly been close. (One or twice
anyway). And I’ve even been paid for
both – and if not all the time, more often

than I might have once guessed. Some
people never get that far. Or live that
long. So, this isn’t bad at all.


So Proud. So Very Proud.

We watched that West of Memphis
documentary recently; the one that
Peter Jackson financed. Eddie Vedder’s

in there, the Bono of grunge. And he’s
all this and that about atrocities and
injustices and then up with an acoustic guitar

to offer his own injustice and atrocity, barely
covering Bob Dylan and doing to the song
what should only put you in jail. And given

the film’s subject matter, about the unfair
jailing of three young men accused of
crime they likely did not commit, it was

my wife who was out with the line quick-smart,
as soon as Vedder strangled a lyric and
mutilated a line. “They should fuckin’ lock

him up instead”, she said. You know I’ve never
been so proud in all my married life. I wiped
away a tear. So proud. So very proud.


Gig / Economy

I saw so many shows, more than most, more
than just about anyone I know. And if I stop

to think I can name dozens that meant the world –
but it’s also easy to think of hundreds that were

not up to much. This isn’t the wiring of my brain.
This is the curse of such privilege. It was an honour

to see so many shows – back when we had shows and it
still shows that I think of them. But we won’t ever

have shows like those again. They’re gone. All that’s
left is memories. Preserve them now – they’ll be all

that’s left. You’ll see.


Localised Distribution of Feelings

You may now click and collect
your feelings, gather yourself

and go find that thing you never
needed – but couldn’t be without

for the last interminable fortnight.
Once you’ve clicked, you’ll feel

a hit, after you collect you’ll return
to neglecting it – or at least within

a day. But hey, your feelings
just want a tickle, they just want

a wee scratch. Hiding there down
under the keys. Sprinkling themselves

across many browsers. Support
localised distribution of feelings.


Average Perceptions of Time

it’s never too late –
until it is.


soon, she said –
but really meant now


back in my day –
was how it started


tomorrow is a new day –
though not always


see you later –
terrible last words



There’s a lemon essence to our existence
on the days when everything is crisp.

Slow days come with the trudge of bewilderment
and they hurt like a slap in the cold.

But when we walk together, when we work
together, it’s a heart-rush of satisfaction.



You can microwave your coffee, but you cannot
re-heat tea. This has always bugged me, so much
so that I believe it’s why I moved to coffee almost
exclusively.  I’m trying to steady myself back
into tea – because I like a good  strong cup, dash
of milk. And also I quite like the herbals (most of ‘em).
Though never sure I get my money’s worth.

So many cups of tea down the drain, like dreams, like
job interviews, like failed paths – ones I never walked.
Whereas coffee sits in that cup knowing I don’t have to
work hard, will always return to heat it up. Coffee rewards
my laziness. Tea wants me to be more on time. I should trust
tea. But it’s never trusted me. Coffee knows I’m good for it.
And so, has me believing it’s good for me.

Okay, it’s pretty clear to see there are some lockdown themes and references there.

National Poetry Day was postponed because of lockdown so I made an e-book of poems which you can still get by clicking on that link there. Just $0.99 US. It’s got poems from 2020/2021.

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