Survivor

I am right there
Surrounded by cockroaches
Squatting in the ruins,
The wreckage.
Collateral, damaged
In the fallout
Of a truly
Decadent society
That looked up to its
Graven images,
Photoshopped.
Idols, now idle.
How they glittered
In their lame, sequinned
Lifestyles.
Just me – a bunch of
Bad habits
And under the rubble,
One drug-addled
Rock guitarist.
Perhaps if we put our
Heads together
We can try
To find words
To remember.

Self-Censorship

There’s nothing wrong with ‘language’, –
To communicate’s the key
So why restrict the ones vereicht
(For many words begin with C)
Come, clarity can conquer crude
Catastrophe of cant
Through substitution of a vowel
It’s obvious what’s meant
When ranting on the topic of
Her least-admired slot
The poetry of metaphor
Reveals what is not
So obvious an object, yet
With strong component parts
Even ingenue construes it too –
What’s hidden of our hearts.
Pray, do not scold our children
As they strive to master terms
Still unfamiliar to those
Well-versed in Chinese burns
The patois of the playground
May be where they first attempt
Expansion of vocabulary
Mastery of feint
And tossing out tame adjectives
Must call a tool as speyed
With far more sense of phrasing
They’ll be that much less afraid
Of talking through their tensions
And timing out their tries
To test the twists and turns of tongue
That trip us up with ties
Inherent to our thinking
The second we’re quite grown
Abandoned truth that stank of youth
We posit the unknown
To bore for Merrie England
While chewing over fat
Discussing nothing needlessly
In stultifying chat
Quite lacking in all substance
Exotic or uncouth
Consigning dreams and hopes and schemes
To corners, dumb, aloof

25 Glorious Years

I was only seven when
The world wide web was born
Helped nurture it as it did me
Though sometimes both were torn

Now controversy jostles next
To videos of pets
And governments are waking up
To cybercrime and sexts

They talk of regulation, laws
Protecting those who surf
Such optimism gives me pause
For who can claim this turf?

How would you try to regulate
Where speech is truly free
Outside the firewalls of nations’
Charted territory

They want to sell, or tax, exploit
The assets they don’t own
Regain the power to deny
Dissent has reached them, grown

A massive haul, this data mine
To use for good and ill
Through monetising yours and mine
They hope to profit.  Still

While youth retains advantage here
Technology will grow
Though moralists may phish to smear
They will not stop the show

Out-growing

Those long-hair days of wild and free
While young did not come easily
I grew into my genes too late
To benefit from youthful state

But learned the songs with all the rest
While others danced in pants and vest
As I kept covered awkward shape
They blossomed, trawling fashion’s wake

The skimpy morals of my peers
Confirmed my parents’ base-born fears
Thus all attempts to overcome
My shyness, foiled as they’d begun

No makeup, heels, short skirts for me
No skinny jeans or baby tee
The rare events I did attend
Kid sister came to shed each friend

As chaperone she proved effective
Showering with much invective
Any mate in whom she’d sensed
My interest, until offense

Was taken by so many there
No longer welcomed anywhere
I sought my solace by myself
Content to moulder on the shelf

In preference to company
For self-defence relied on me
Until the day I’d saved enough
To leave them all to guard my stuff

I barely spoke at home, it seems
While every thought throughout my teens
Was monitored by blood relations
All in hope of revelations

Youth began at twenty-one
As finally in search of fun
I left my childhood far behind
To see what joy there was to find

Opus Number 23

You tasted pure indigo
It was all I could do to keep from
Licking at my palms
Sounds so smooth
Like chocolate, unwrapped
Lickable lines and drowsy dots
Melting into my ears
The soundwaves soothing,
Soaring and dipping
Cleansing my nervousness
As these spidery fingers kept
Stuttering their way across the keys
Klutz-kissed Chopin
Blowing through the dust
Of an afternoon’s discipline
Lost in a chessboard world
Of whirling black and white
Sweaty digits writhing on ebony
Toe curling pages
With their yellow smell
And the dullness of Instruction
Her leaden pencil marks
Numbers above the notes
Winking hide and seek
Angular strokes slashing
At my tired eyes
Teasing me with their inflexibility
A rubrik for perfection
Joints wobbling under the weight
Of the deep, deep, blue
This was the piece
The memory and the melody
My right to the slowing
Feet poised to pedal
A passage in time
This ocean of indigo
That gave me that first taste
One bittersweet number
Nose crinkling at the
Orangey tang of
Fourteen-year-old failure

Anonymous

Heroes of my generation
Without name or even nation
Having fun with all creation
Terminals of botheration

Matrix, sleek and filled with toys
To exercise big girls and boys
Generating corporate noise
Delighting in the quiet joys

Creative juices flowing thickly
Plug ‘n’ play each level quickly
Conscience rarely feeling prickly
Navigating systems slickly

Operating under cover
Lurkers pinging one another
Forum flamers doused by Mother
Teasing Trojans’ backdoor lover

Wore that t-shirt as the prize
Ironic slogans catching eyes
That hoped for glory; in disguise
With lines of code and late-night dyes

Cracker chic was all the rage
During our screen-fed dance-club days
But rebels smart in other ways
Soon turn their skills to stuff that pays

We’re middle-aged and past our prime
And chose the red pill, every time
But now a life of cyber-crime
Is overtaking yours and mine

Words and Music

There came a point in my teens
When the sounds of the world
Invaded my palate
Until I was choked
With a burning desire; to speak
What I’d swallowed; to say
Everything possible
Tear myself open
Screaming words
The world could understand
But at the age of minority
People rarely listen
So I sang melodies
Whose complexity spoke
Of a simple beauty
And we became friends
One day, the words may
Overtake me in my music
And the whole world will hear

Kidulthood

This is written for all those among us who had to play two parts at once, that of the child, the so-called dependent, and the often contradictory role of the full-time carer.

I pity those people
Who never were children
Who never knew life at its best

When rules were unknown
All the days seeming golden
Decisions meant – wearing a vest?

Maturity settled
Like dust on their shoulders
Through circumstance beyond control

And taking the reins
In the place of one, older
They gave up this part of their soul

So small wonder, the faces
In various places
Seem aged beyond years on this Earth

It’s hard for a kid
Doing all that we did
While absorbing an adult’s self-worth

A fighting inheritance

Give me strength, my father cried
I as a child, of course, complied,
And to his will, this willow bent,
Not understanding discontent.
But now I’m grown, his mood I ken,
I ‘get’ the strops of gentle men:
Dissatisfied with what they’ve got
Yet little work to change their lot.
I hope in future my own kin
Will know enough, not let me win,
But challenge me in time of need
And push to overcome my greed.
I know myself, I know my power,
Yet hope my kids upon their hour
Of struggle, mine will overcome
That they may triumph, have some fun.
And in old age, their wisdom find,
Choosing then to know their mind.
Not seeking ever-young to stay,
But give the youth their precious day.