Schneider

We had nothing but rags
Bags of old costumes
Piled in the corner
Of a dusty room
Discarded scraps
Of forgotten dreams
So I taught myself to sew
Building a tapestry
Of my patchwork life
Knees folded on the
Chilly bathroom floor
Its cracked blue lino
Like ocean waves
The tattered curtain
Tucked up over the rail
Learning to navigate
By feel and intuition
As I frowned
Squinting at my needle
Trying to get the thread
Through a tiny hole
In the mushroom-coloured dusk
At the awkward age
Of thirteen years and one month
I wore them out
My colourful creations
And people stared
Admiring and mocking
In equal amounts
When I grew
Good enough
That you could see
Design in my skilful
Manipulation
Of throw-away stuffs
I sold some
For coin, or bartered favours
Tailors can be born
And they can be made
I took commissions
If you could describe it
The perfect dress
I could draw it in my head
Then threading your dream
Through my careful fingers
Seam by seam
I could make it
Come alive

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

Can’t you hear the melody?

Taste the words to hear it play
They’ll teach you how to hum
Feel the sound that waves its way
To ears from tip of tongue
Balance rhythm on your nib
And flick the blues away
Scrawling rhyme to rock the crib
With beats that pulse and sway
Baby in her daddy’s arms
Can only coo and squeal
Taking in all worldly forms
She’s learning fast by feel
We watch her tiny fingers, toes
Exploring as we speak
And note her mastery that grows
Progressing with each week
Accelerate articulation
Let her tell us soon
What kick-starts mad coordination
Of her stars and moon

Perambulation

Surrounded by pushchairs, spoilt kids
Deep in nappy valley, Wandsworth village
Trendy boutiques flipping lids
For middle class to loot and pillage

The claustrophobia of pastel painted
Clamouring conversation-piece tainted
Opticians’ windows with ELC tat
To lure proud parents, “Daddy, buy me that!”

Averting eyes from tweenaged princess
Hide my face in coffee cup
My urge to flee a growing promise
(Get me out or I’ll throw up)

What happened to the intellect
Of parents’ educated class?
Did brain cells down aboard the jet
To twilight zone – kids’ yoga pass

For under fives and boring housewives
Mum’s career stuck in a loop
Of folic acid, UTIs
Her sex life reproductive – Super!

Men and women on the ladder
Treading upward, soon to seek
A loan for Jasper darling’s madder
School fees make them want to weep

And what’s it for, this quest for more
Advantage for their offspring’s start
In life upon a path so sure
No thinking needed, play the part

As you pass on to generation
All the same things you have been
Your name, possessions, worldly station
Nothing heard, nor said, nor seen

Redemption

I gave to you what you needed
At a time your need was great.
I promised you such sweetness
To wipe away all hate.

I willingly, not blindly
Devoted time and care.
And gifted you with hope for us
And things we both could share.

A kiss may mean a promise
A bargain there was met
I’ll honour it in fullness
But still I shan’t forget.

I took you on my journey
I helped you find your way.
I guided you through life when
Darkness was leading you astray.

And yet you do not see me
Do not know my name
For you were my redemption
And honour was the game.

And now the journey’s over
And you strong as before.
Yet my quest has not ended.
I must go on once more.

I’ll leave you now in sunlight
With gifts for you to give
I wish you well, but I must go
Another life to live.

I’ll kiss you as in parting
And point you on your way
Though you may fear your heart will break
Your strength will show today.

The kiss I gave, a bargain.
I did what I could do.
I now must travel my own path,
The rest is up to you.