reading

All in this moment

 

Coming through the city street,

I see a gutter flowing with brown water, the drain clogged with rubbish.

The flow reminds me of a year ago and purer waters,

when I walked Flowerpot Mountain.

 

The trees were green and heavy with leaves,

yellow flowers grew brightly on the dark forest floor,

animals darted about between cover

and birds haunted my ears with their song.

 

Around me now the smell of diesel,

and opinion after opinion,

I see the selfish thought and act.

Standing for a moment, I remember sunset over Shenandoah Valley.

 

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Support my writing by buying The Bomber, on sale here.

On asking an old man directions to the nearest men’s toilet.

 

To Bob Dylan and the person who wanted me to be more accurate with my titles.

 

Standing outside the supermarket

An old man reflected on this part of town.

“The one in the park is good,

They’ve recently put some money into it,

But the toilets by the railway station are not to be trusted.

They stink, the drug users hang out there,

Men blow each other and all the depraved shit in the world goes on there.”

The old man bit his lips as he spoke and went a little red in the face.

He folded his arms and sat down on a bench. The timber slats creaked under his weight.

I looked around the streets

It was quiet; a few cars moved about in the distance,

But here, where we were, no one moved.

 Being still early in the morning,

The sidewalk was wet from where the shopkeeper hosed it.

The old man looked as if he had just crawled out of bed,

His clothes were stained and crumpled and a warm smell

Of sweat and urine radiated from his body.

He was settled in his place now as if he intended

To be there all day.

“I used to sit here with Jack,”

The old man went on and then spat into the gutter.

“But he died last year.

We used to be close friends but now I don’t have anyone to talk to,

It’s changed my day a lot; I do so much more thinking now.

And I don’t come here as much,

Only three days a week,

I go to the library instead.”

I thanked him for his advice on the toilets

And I headed across the street to the park.

In the men’s block, I find a young man collapsed on the floor.

A brown bag underneath him

As if he is hugging it to him on those cold tiles.

He wears a hood over his blond hair, and his face is pale and marked with acne.

I talk to him, but he doesn’t move, I nudge him with my foot,

I wonder if it’s drugs.

I call the ambulance, but don’t wait,

I leave those toilets and go back to my car.

Looking back to the supermarket, I see the old man,

and wonder what he’ll make of the excitement to come.

 

Buy my new novel here: Anvil Soul

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That Queen, The Moon.

She started to stay away,

That beautiful woman,

And she didn’t share with me those sweet secrets she used to,

So the terrible feeling crept in like winter wind under the door.

I set out to a friend’s farm to keep away for a while.

I would lay awake in the morning, watching the sun arrive

Pressing against my open window, putting a foot inside warming what he touched.

Early, early, I would set out across the dew-wet grass,

toward the mountains, toward the pine forests.

Even as the sun rose, the moon still sat in the sky,

Like a queen, not moving, not being told to leave,

But pleased herself to walk in night dripping with diamonds

And to stay in the day, watching over that fool, the sun.

Slowly she would leave, unhurried, in her own time

To sleep in her private chambers over the hills.

In the forests, I could breathe, rest alone and witness the forest animals,

Like spirits

Dancing across the fallen logs and up the sides of ancient trees.

I listened to the silent streams and watched for fish.

I knew that without her life continued,

And no one is irreplaceable. 

Except for the moon, the moon alone is unique.

The heart opens to failure

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There are no words

No poems

Sad enough to describe

This change she said.

It is true

I am too sensitive

I am too full of self-doubt

My joy is secret, untouched, unshared

She does not want to be seen with me.

But I still have legs to go on with

Eyes to see by

And I thank God.

Someone more confident, certain of themselves

With a brighter face and keener wit

Would suit her.

Someone who never doubts, never worries

Happiness is different depending on the person

It has to be this way, so everyone gets some

At least once.

Wounded and dying

Do not add tears to parting

What good is crying?

There are women who inspire poems

And those who stay to see you write them.

 

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Lines written in the Dome Reading Room

Glory in the architecture

Splendour in the light

A book, pages open

A love, a journey, a fight.

 

The king is victorious

He is returning home

To his castle on the hill

Under the golden dome

 

I wish I were as lucky,

But I have no one to love

A pocket full of wheat

And a cooing turtle dove.

 

Around me centuries of books. Collected and stuffed into shelves

To be looked at and photographed by tourists.

Young women sit by their computers falling asleep,

They must study because their education is costing more money than their grandfathers ever knew.

The sun shines in through the dome; the light falls on the marble

Where etched are the words

“Glory in the architecture

 Splendour in the light.”

I sit in a timber chair and lean backwards, the chair moans

The sound echoes around the library.

I watch the nearest woman over her computer

Her black hair shines as it presses behinds her ears

I think of silk and the smell of vegetables, the names of which I have never heard.

It has been eighteen years

A lifetime for some

Yet it feels like weeks only,

That meal you made me was delicious

I ate too much and felt sick.

What I wouldn’t give to have one more night with you,

Your black hair shone like dreams,

Dreams fade.

Book covers

I love good book covers. I adore good record album covers. I love great art.

The Beatles were geniuses in creating great music but they also created great album art, advertisers know that great images sells products, If I see an advertisement featuring a beautiful woman or another desirable image, I will look at that advert more than a plain simple one.

I have been thinking about book covers recently. Soon it will be time for my debut novel, THE BOMBER to have a cover designed for it and I am anxious to ensure that the cover is something a person would happily look at for at least thirty seconds before they begin to read it.

It is something I love to do. If I buy a new book I like to sit on the train heading home and spend a few moments looking at the cover and if it is interesting enough it will engage me for the small amount of time I spend looking at it before I dive into the words within.

A book cover has never influenced me to buy a book alone- but it has made me feel better for buying a book. I buy books because I am interested in what is between the covers, but if the cover is spectacular I feel much better about the money spent. What I mean by saying that is, if I am looking for a book and I find two of the same novel BUT with two different covers, I will go for the novel  with the cover I prefer, even if it is about two or three dollars more expensive. (Any more expensive than that and I will buy the cheaper copy.)

A beautiful cover on a book makes me feel happier to own the book. However if I do not like the story within no cover could ever be good enough.

So look at these beauties….

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Oh yes beautiful design, is it a novel of terror? Is there love and sex? Who is that beautiful woman and why is she being watched?

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I know all about Moby Dick, but this cover transcends beauty and gives me the direct truth. The lonely sea, the hunting vessel, the giant god-like white leviathan… yes I would pay extra for this book and it’s cover (although I own three copies of The Whale already)

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Light of my life, fire of my loins… These covers are beautiful and shocking, perfect for one of the greatest novels of the century…

I much prefer the first on the left however.

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And then suddenly No. Horrible. Misplaced covers. Nothing to do with the work, reflecting nothing of the literature within. Who are these grown women and why are they naked on the cover? Lolita is the examination of a man- a monster- and the tragic and abused butterfly/child that is Lolita. These covers would have made Humbert put down the book and leave the store. Wrong.

Books covers of course are as open to opinion as anything else. What I like may not be what you like. Perhaps publishers like penguin have it correct with their simple paperback design with no picture, perhaps all books should be plain to give the reader no images at all. If you have any views on book covers or on what I have written above please let me know in the comments.

Writers group

I went to a writers meeting last night. I am starting to hate writers meetings.

The meeting room was beautifully decorated, lights hung about the walls and ceiling, art work was displayed  and there was wine and food. There was a flu moon and a heavy, greasy smell of the slaughterhouse which is across the valley from the university.

Last night’s focus was on emerging writers and three writers had been picked to read from their published work and then the microphone was thrown open to people to come up and read something of their own.

The three emerging writers that were speaking are very nice young people with very promising futures and very happy outlooks. The problem I had however (and I may have a chip on my shoulder in general) was that they had a lot of confidence. They were able to speak well in front of the crowd, they were funny, engaging and gave across the feeling that they were assured of greatness in the next few years. I hate that.

I like the writers who are wracked with uncertainty, self-doubt and insecurities. I like the angry writers the lost people, the people with a problem who turn to writing to sort these things out.

The emerging writers had written books on various but similar topics. One had written about his time cycling across Mongolia, (something I think is incredible) and another had written a collection of short stories about Cambodia.

They were crowd favorites.

But the work, (what I heard of it) was plain, boring and not great. I did not like it, it was ordinary writing. But they were so confident it was sickening.

It was a great night however and these people gave up their time to come to the group and it was wonderful. I met a nice person at the end of the night who I spoke with and she is becoming an english teacher. You always meet the nicest people at writers groups.

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