Who Am I?

who am I?
am I what others see
or - am I what they don't see?
...am I just something else?
am I a child running away from a parent?
am I that parent?
why are we chasing?
...I am the place we're re running to?

am I a striking teacher?
out for more pay
...is this us?
are we marching across a city
or maybe running through a wood
shrouded by a fog
...am I the darkness?
am I the galloping horses?
flared nostrils 
breathing heavily 
running! - running! - running!
...I am the horses heavy breath!

are we something at dusk?
something at the end of the day
so we're not able to give what is being asked of us 
...am I a church on fire?
am I an actor playing a forensic scientist 
not a scientist at all
not able to give what is being asked of me
just an actor?
...I am the script!

am I a skier?
can I ski?
maybe I'm the snow
are we a student marking our own homework?
or are we the curl of smoke rising from a cigarette 
abandoned in an ashtray
do we fill the room like smoke?
...I am the match!

what am I to say?
maybe I can't speak to anyone?
'No comment!"
...am I the silence?
do i listen?
do I cry?
perhaps I'm a suspicious character caught on CCTV at the shopping centre
...am not the shops?
I am the footage!

what am I?
maybe I'm the soldiers drinking in a pub
...am I the glass?
conceivably - I'm the beer!
could I be an old woman 
in an old people's home
knitting old knitting 
doing old crosswords?
...am I old? 
is that what I am?

who am I?

Not A Slam Poet

I'm not a 'slam poet'
my poems I do not 'slam'
I'm not a Taylor Mali
Nor a Sarah May
I perform my type of poetry
In my par-tic-u-lar way

They will not judge my poems
my poems they will not judge
it's not a competition 
a sweet po-ta-to 
to be awarded a red rosette
that says it's best in show

I'm happy that my work is good
good is work my that happy I'm 
...and I know no poet ever
a fortune at any point made
but that won't stop me writing it
I'll go on - and on - I'm afraid!

Perfect English Village

A perfect village
set back from the main road
down little windy streets
the perfect little cottages 
with the perfect little gardens
like the house that was perfectly squeezed onto a postage-stamp-sized plot 
(and then featured on the telly)
like the lady; upstairs
enjoying her perfect view of the river
like the boats in the dry-dock awaiting their relaunch 
like the church and the chapel awaiting a Sunday
like the gallery and the teashop and the 'homemade jam for sale'
like the little railway station 
like the well stocked village shop for the things they forget
like the electric car 
snugly parked in a private bay
safely behind metal gates
and the electric charging points arranged in the tidy public carpark
like the perfect little lane with tiny green cottages 
all in a row 
leading down to the river 
with a view of the sea 
all wrapped up in floodgates 
to perfectly protect their space
with a claxon to warn them should their river over-top
with the gentley 'lapping' of the water
and a choice of pubs
full with garden offices
sun-trap gazebos
and a number of garden clocks
(like as if time matters here!)
Perfectly English like...

...like tea on the lawn
like walking the dog
like scones and jam
like fish and chips
a Sunday roast
Buckingham Palace
and the tower of Big Ben

...this perfect 


To the teenager
in heavy make-up 
a short pink skirt
fishnet tights
and Doc Marten boots 
I say;
"keep being who you are
don't let life change you
...and don't loose that spark!"

If I Ruled The World

If I ruled the world
weekends would be five days long
and the working week just two 
lunch hours would be two hours long
and pay would be doubled - taxes would be scrapped
everyone would be entitled to two months paid holiday a year 
everyone would get a generous Costa coffee allowance
dull coloured cars would be banned 
and no-one would be allowed to be horrible to walruses 
getting out of bed before 9am would be illegal 
and the sun would always shine
(except in the night time!)

If I ruled the world...

if I ruled the world
...the economy would crash
and all would come to a stand still
...but it would be fun for a couple of months!


It blows into your life like an autumn breeze
...you suddenly notice it
you don't want it
or need it 
you certainly didn't ask for it
and like Autumn
it comes heralding change
it doesn't ring ahead and let you know it's coming 
authorities don't warn you about it's presence in your area 
there are no adverts in newspapers 
warnings on television 
daily ministerial updates
you can't wear a mask to prevent 'catching' it
or have a jab
or get boosted
and staying 2 meters apart won't prevent it - it just turns up!
then when it does 
...you can't take a pill
or put a plaster over it
or rest it for awhile
or rub it better!

it creeps up on you like old age itself
you can't immediately see it
but it's there in the eyes of your loved one 
you realize they are drifting away
you realize they know nothing of it
as they look right through you
a life-time is erased
all memories deleted
...it's a car crash - in slow motion!

it's no respecter of age 
it's not even the privilege of the very old 
look into their frightened eyes
their stumbling actions
their blank looks
their inability to keep up with conversations
all the madness within this madness
...you see they're drifting away 
disconnecting with the world around them
eventually you have to search for them
all those things you had together - gone
and one day you'll find yourself thinking;
"it's me - why don't you recognize me?"

then the questions start...
"Have I got it,
is my forgetfulness - my forgetting what I went into the kitchen for - dementia?
my not recognizing someone I meet in the street?
I'm of that age - do I have it?"

and what of the effects on everyone else
the extended family 
the dependants
partners - all notice the plodding decline
the slow departure 
the imperceptible crumble to an inevitable end
all the stresses and strains it brings 
the accepting the inevitable respite  time 
the heavy sense of failure that brings
the pain felt
all that professional help
the need for 24 hour support
the sense of loss 
the sense of hurt
and the giant hole that's left when the end finally comes
"could I not have done more?"
...a hole that cannot be filled 
but a hole that needs to be filled to cure the blight
that is 

(I dedicate this poem to my Mum, Dorothy who died in her early 50's from Altzheimers over 20 years ago)