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I've written a lot of poetry and more surreal pieces over the years and I kept them private for a long time. Then I started posting a few to Facebook. I'm not so active on FB so I decided to put them here, in a blog.

Feel free to relax here, with a coffee and a decadent cake... it's like reading the papers in your fave cafe.


  • Nikki Iles Orchestra gigs
  • 14/10/21 08:28am
It's always a beautiful thing to play music
that has been loved into being, as this set of pieces has.
Elegant twists and turns throughout and and a familiar
face at the door of a house of warm stories, and longing,
and risk, and an open invitation, to add flavour to the food.
I've known, Nikki, almost 40 years, from early college teaching,
through various ensembles, Park Hall dances, dark green too fast, Astra's,
rolling white VWs, church scraped vans, knotty harmony made balletic
by new, familiar melodies.
Lovely concerts at Leeds, Sheffield, Scarborough, and the Sage, Gateshead.
Such a pleasure to catch up with Ianto Thomas, who sculpted a path through
in a beautifully musical way.
Thanks to all the musicians, old friends and new,
and to Nikki, for wonderful music, and unwavering friendship.



  • A quick note for communication
  • 21/07/21 09:21am
Are you consistent?
You're direct and honest on social media,
even a little caustic, when the time warrants it,
dare I say, a little cruel, on occasion.
But are you consistent?
Do you use the same language, epithets,
when face to face with your interlocuter?
If you don't... why don't you?
I don't think I've ever known a time where
people have relished snatching the chance to
be pissed off at someone who made the mistake
of thinking that our communication used the same language
as it did a couple of hours ago.
This will to snare a passer-by who's wearing high heels
on sneakers day, will implode.
At least be brave, and say what you'd say, online.
And then show real courage, and listen to the answer
without interruption, without screaming them into submission.

  • What has happened to having a simple opinion?
  • 01/06/21 02:31pm
"No-one should be inheritors of collective innocence
or collective guilt'. Bari Weiss

"Some proactively shun the counternarrative".

"That white, middle aged, schizophrenic, homeless guy -
where does he rank in the heirarchy?"

Has online media, social network sites and the like, spilled onto the streets?
People used to say don't believe everything you read in the papers -
don't get sucked into Twitter - it's just anonymous people having a rant
or just trolling to make their day a little more palatable.
But now, it seems that these reactive, often incendiary
online interactions are stunting our growth in everyday life.
We just can't agree to disagree.
Hate comes into play way too easily.
I have a slightly different opinion to you, suddenly I'm evil?
It's all a little scripted, and people seem to be waiting, with baited breath,
to read you their script. And the laws of social media, seem to bypass
actual laws.
Where will it end? You want to live in a world where all those around you
either agree or pretend to agree with you?
That's the world you want?
People, no matter their creed or colour or persuasion, will game the system.
It's a human thing. Go figure.
To watch Twittersville and the like, spill onto the streets,
denigrating individuality, whilst somehow infringing upon
the rights of certain groups that don't jive with their world view,
is confusing and worrying to say the least.
How do groups live together without imposing their preferred way
of living onto the other group? And how does this play out
in the libertarian world?
What a desperately uninteresting world it would be, if one group
dictates the parameters of discourse always
to the drumbeat of their own agenda.
That's been done before, of course, to disastrous ends, and, invariably
those particular regimes set laws for the people,
(for the people's own good, of course) whilst at the same time
choosing to live outside those laws.
Hint: Don't ever point this out to the regime - you're going to get
some particularly toe-curling, brazen, frankly bizarre excuses as to why
they are exempt from these laws, and you'll be deemed a bigot for
pointing it out, then shamed, cancelled, and in certain regimes
you will pay the ultimate price.

For me, one must align onself with one's core,
and not get swept up in the raging river of the madding crowd,
maybe meeting each other at the cente of our respective cores,
bringing them together in mutual respect.
Just my opinion.

  • Lesson tip.
  • 23/05/21 09:33am
Stop moving on too quickly from something you are learning.
Stay with it.
Studying triad pairs? Make it a year then, not a week.
All you do, when you move on too quickly, is make a habit
of digesting something for the shortest time, so that it makes
absolutely no difference to your playing, whatsoever.
In other words, a total waste of time.

Someone, a student, said to me recently, 'I can't swing...
It doesn't feel natural to me, I just don't feel it and I don't
think I ever will'.
'Ok' I said.... 'Let's find out whether that is true'
We hammered swing for 3 months. No prizes here,
but he's swinging 3 months later.

So stick with it. Let it make a difference.
Then write something that contains that difference
so it embeds itself into your playing.

Do it.

  • A New View
  • 23/05/21 09:24am
When I've been in conversations that allow me to share my view,
shared dialogues that encourage me to speak, as I encourage them,
I walk away fulfilled.
To hold an opinion is not to guard it with your life. It doesn't have to define you.
The willingness to have that opinion challenged, no matter how universal it is,
is a requisite of shared meaning. I want to think my way through your ideas,
and I want you to think through mine, and in doing so, we open up the possibilty
to create a third 'us', one that leaves with a more informed opinion, or a better understanding.

That understanding, if we are true to ourselves and not the madding crowd,
can change our opinion for the better, and therefore our lives for the better.
We grow.

As a child, I spent my time alone. I was not easy.
Creative, impulsive, fearless, lacking in social skills, unempathic, risk addicted, feral.
I burned the house down. It was an accident.
Experimenting with cooking. 10 years old.
Only me in the house. Eating chips I'd just cooked in oil,
I noticed smoke coming from the kitchen.
I investigated, to find the oil pan on fire and immediately opened the back door
before grabbing the handle of a flaming pan and moving toward the door.
As I got closer to the door, the wind banged it shut, and I dropped the pan,
which spilled the oil across the floor, taking the fire with it.
So that was the beginning of the end of that house.
I remember my Mother running toward me.
I feared the worst, as her house went up in smoke, with all her possessions,
such as they were, clothes, furniture, cherished photographs, etc...
scarred black or burnt beyond hell.
When she reached out her arms, I flinched.
She scooped me up and held me awhile.

For a long time, I was a loner. A maverick of sorts.
My history had molded me into an individualist by design,
not desire. I didn't have the temerity or the care for it to be by desire.
I had no ambitions. Well, maybe one. When I told the careers officer
I wanted to be a stunt man, he seemed unconvinced and pointed me
to the Fire Brigade. I didn't point out the irony.

I realise now that I craved isolation. It's what I new. A safe place.
I took this right through my adult life, even after I became known
for playing guitar, and teaching music.

I never really understood before, but I came to understand
that there was something aloof about this craving.
Like I knew more than others. I certainly had experience of many things.
But it was an oddly out of whack experience. Not conventional.
This came to light, starkly I would say, when I was training to be a counsellor.
On one session along with 22 others, we were asked to write our name
at the centre of a piece of paper.
Then we were to put our immediate loved one's,
those who meant something to us,
around our name, then friends, then associates etc
so that we would eventually be the epicentre of our world.
After five minutes, everyone scribbling away, my paper was blank.
I did not want to engage with this exercise because I thought I was above it.
I'd done this kind of thing years before. It hadn't revealed anything then
and it wouldn't reveal anything now.
And then, I got a view of the situation. A new view.
I saw beyond my ingrained knee-jerk comfortability and I wrote
a single sentence at the top of the page:
"Why am I resisting?."
That one sentence changed everything. And the fact that it was staring up at me
meant that I couldn't jump to self-regulating biases in my head.
So I did the exercise. I went against type. And I learned something in the process.
I won't say what I learned here. It's not relevant. The process is relevant.
The fact that I allowed myself to see my own self-script,
writing inevitable outcomes that my history had deemed
the only story worth telling, was revelatory.
I've never been one to ride the train of popular opinion.
I tend to dig in to both sides equally and come up with
my own idea about what's happening.
But my willingness to ride my own train, without questioning long held beliefs,
is something that I'm now careful to address without fear or favour.
Nuance says I'll be wrong a lot of the time. But I can be a little less wrong
if I remain open to other possibilities, open to new views, open to seeing
past the madding crowd.

It's not easy. Especially when you meet someone who is hell bent
on shaming you at the point of entry. They're eye-rolling your second syllable
and are eager to share a rehearsed checklist no matter how irrelevant it is to
the conversation at the time.
It's tough when you realise that you're not there to have a conversation.
You're there to learn. To learn things you've always known,
but maybe that you've know in a slightly more open, nuanced way.
You're a notepad for their joined up writing, and nothing more.
They see you as a conduit for their ideas, their dogma.
And you'll have the feeling, no point in engaging, time to move on.

This is happening within families, between partners,
between children and parents, and long time friends.
And often it's happening based on tittle-tattle,
because the opiate that is perceived just-cause
is just too strong to resist.
So a meme based on another meme based on assumption and the need to
be wronged makes someone cast out those they love.

If you want to get nuanced, find out if the media you're reading
is invested in the story, beyond imparting simple information.
In other words, do they have shares in the company they condone?
It's not easy to get to that information. So much disinformation
exists to put you off the trail, and the truth that simmers just beneath the
'facts' you have come to unequivocally recognise, is often uncomfortable.

That's one thing.
The other thing is you'll often find yourself being shuffled into positions
you're not really sure you hold. You won't be alone. In fact some of those
doing the shuffling are not as sure as they would have you think.
You may find out some interesting, long submerged, opinions surface
at the empty end of a vodka bottle one night, when all is still,
and the crowd is sleeping, all claws withdrawn (tipped hat to Joni).

Be open to a new view. Or shout with the mouths of others.
Don't ignore that brief aperture of light that catches you off guard
and provides such a view.
It's all too brief and not easy to catch, but it can be gold if you do,
life changing even.

  • I'm Having a new guitar made 1
  • 09/05/21 09:31am
I tried a guitar last year. My guitar tech, Ged Green,
who I've been with for years now, also makes beautiful guitars that are gorgeous to play.
I was having some work done on my 335 and he showed me a Telecaster he'd made.
The neck was just wonderful and I took it home and played it for a few weeks.
Sat down, it all made sense. I could hug it into my body if I raised my leg slightly.
The problem was standing with it. I've had my 335 since I was 17 so i need that body under my arm.
So, despite it being the Anne Bancroft of guitars (I was besotted with Anne Bancroft) it had to go back.
Talked to Ged, and we mooted the idea of someting similar with a bigger body.
That guitar, is being made now, as I write this.
Ged is starting to send me pics. We're talking about it as we go.
I think it will be special. I'll share the pics as we progress.
Stay tooned.

MJS




  • I'm Having a new guitar made 5
  • 09/05/21 09:30am
Control
These pics have been coming in steadily over the last months.
I'm posting where we're up to pic by pic. I suppose i could have
done it one longer post but I'm not sure how to do that in this website format.
Ged suggested we have a basic control layout that didn't interfere with face of
the body (the face of the body!!!???) too much and I agreed.
He went out of his way, and waited a long time, to get the woods he wanted
and it seemed fitting to have as much of it intact as poss, whilst having access to
all the tones through a 4 way switch.
We discussed where the switch would be, and I preferred the volume next to my pinky
with the switch on the outside of the tone control. I tend to swell a lot
with the volume control so easy access is a must.




  • The silence of doubt
  • 09/05/21 08:59am
Remember when friendship welcomed different opinions?
Lost in the rage, there's a friend, reluctant to remember.
Stay strong in your glorious doubt, be brave, hold fast,
they will, eventually, see nuance through the fog
of their intractability, unfettered from their sure opinions,
tired of the lonely life of the righteous.

I love the phrase 'I'm not so sure, let's explore'.
It's the green light to get into the weeds and
dig a little deeper than what fuels the media
to get you fired up. Or just fired.

Doubt has backed into the shadows, safe behind
closed doors. Many are nodding, meaning no.
Foresight is fading, hindsight on the up.
Hindsight is the new crystal ball.
You should have seen this coming even though I didn't.

And then the wave. The wave of opinion. As though it holds a truth,
because it's a wave. While the rest of the coast is calm.

What happened to doubt?
It became dangerous to express it.
At some point, certain media will back track,
they'll change the story, blur the lines because
it's in their interest. The wave of opinion
will no longer hold sway. Then doubt will start
to move into conversation again.
And those screamers will be left with the reverberations
of their righteousness echoing off the walls in an empty room.

I never thought I'd see the day when it was actually dangerous
to disagree, and even more so, to be unsure.

Be brave. Slurs don't hold truth by default.
The ease in which they are hurled, or snaked into
conversation, is a desperate measure to shame you out of
your doubt and into their thought-prison.

Laughter is key.
Feel your doubt. Explore it.
Then take that monumental step (my god, it became monumental!!)
and air it. It's ok.
All will be well.

"The real enemy is the person who tries to mold the human
spirit so that it will not dare to spread its wings".

  • The shedding of the telly
  • 30/04/21 07:33am
I tend to keep things for the future.
When the future comes, they sit there still, unused.
I realised this the other day. A big fat B&O telly in my bedroom,
ya know, to watch in the future? Except it has never been connected
along with a DVD player underneath and another contraption that I cannot
even remember the use of. It did something fancy 15 years ago and I
haven't a clue what that was.
I have a telly in the living room. A good one.
The fatty telly in my bedroom has sat there for at least 12 years.
So I've been on this shedding trip. I've been slowly getting rid of
stuff that stares up at me from draws I rarely open.
They stare up at me like a dog that thinks it's going to get a treat
or go walkies. That frozen, held excitement, the anticipation of
a delirious soon to be happiness. Then I close the draw for 3 years.
Now and again, I see myself partake in crazy behaviour and I change it.
I think, 'what are you doing, you utter clot?' or similar.
This happened the other day.
So I got a load of garden refuse sacks and went to work on my draws.
I went to work on clearing things. I threw shoes out. I realised I was
a bit Imelda Marcos except my shoes looked like shrivelled raisins
but shrivelled raisins as big as size 13 shoes.
I stuffed clothes in the refuse sacks. Horrendous clothes I'd never wear.
Why do I have that shirt and what possessed me to buy it in the first place?
Moth eaten T shirts, clothes I feel I must have bought blindfolded or on a dare
from the school of mockery.
As I was clearing this stuff that had slowly closed down my physical space
which in turn encroached on my thinking space, I stopped suddenly,
and I looked at the telly.
I do put feelings into inanimate objects. This is true.
I talk to my car. Congratulate it on getting me where I need to be.
I pat the steering wheel with, 'well done, you'.
So, I must admit some resistance when I stopped and pondered
the shedding of the telly.
I loved that telly in it's day, and it had been with me 25 years.
I remember seeing it, in a shop window on offer, shop soiled.
So I felt, at that time, like the rescuer.
And now, I was contemplating my new role of executioner.
This was difficult.
I waited.
I turned to books instead. I usually have about 20 books
either side of my bed. They sit there having been read,
or waiting to be read. Why do I do this?
It's something to do with the Great Perhaps.
I don't mean God. I never had that gene not even as a catholic
child and I was horrified when the priest lunged over me with
a wafer and said 'the body of christ' with a view to putting it in my
mouth which would have been agasp had I not had the forethought
of sealing it shut as I saw the tortured looks of the other kids.
I never did take in the body of christ.
I used to pretend I was wearing glasses when taking confession.
Father Mulholland would be looking away, staring at the floor
or a daily paper, absolving me of sins I'd made up and I'd
circle my fingers and thumbs and place the circles over my eyes
like glasses. This made confession much more fun.
Father Mulholland once came to our house. I was about 9 years old.
When he sat down he fell right through the chair.
I see it now. Mortified Mother, child laughing covertly into his sleeve,
and a priest with a look on his face that said 'what fresh hell is this?'.

I digress. I do that sometimes. Digress.
What a funny word that is. Di...... gress.

Having cleared away books, thrown some out, boxed some for Oxfam
along with clothes I hilariously thought some fool might wear, perhaps
to commit unspeakable crimes, I turned once again to the telly.
This time, I made a move. A tentative move of detaching wires
so that it stood completely alone, unfettered and moveable.
It's heavy. An old analog telly as deep as it's wide.
I embraced it. I lifted it. I moved with it. I didn't ask questions.
I moved stealthily, with purpose, through the quagmire of my doubts.
The stairs were tricky. Slowly, one at a time, and down, down, into
the kitchen.
The move had been made. The deed was done.
All the electrical sundries that had lived underneath it for 12 years
were placed directly in the car. Then the telly.
Driving to the tip was a solemn affair. I thanked the telly for its years
of service (i didn't thank the electrical goods.... is this a size thing?).

When I got back, I looked at the space it had occupied.
A space fat with unwatched telly.
I left it a day.
When I woke the following morning I had a feng shui moment.
Things were clearer.
Because of the shedding, I was able to see other things that needed to go.
The top of the wardrobe thick with god knows what.
I cleared it. Found pictures I hadn't seen in years.

I'm still on with it. Shedding.
New horizons beckon.
Clutter free.
And suddenly, I remember, as a child,
lying down in the long grass of an empty field,
and the sky, an ocean.

  • Social Media is Amazing!
  • 24/04/21 02:40pm
It manages to inform you whilst disinforming you.
And whether time is pressing, or you have all the time in the world,
it will provide you with the wrecking ball you need to muddy the waters,
or sully a reputation, or drive a dangerous ideology underground,
where it's more difficult to spot, but carries on regardless, quietly recruiting.
The name you're told, ordered, to use in your bio will become tomorrows slur
and you'll be told, ordered, not to use it anymore.
So, live and let live is quickly falling out of fashion.
You can't be you, but they can be whoever they choose.
You can have diversity of opinion, as long as it aligns with their world view.
I left social media. I don't find it, on the whole, a very giving place.
I like the connectivity, especially for lonely, isolated people.
But the conflagrations of outrage that virus themselves into topics
as innocent as cake or knitting became tedious in their predictability.
I was on Twitter for a while. It didn't take long for someone to
school me in my inherent racism. It's not an intrinsically bad thing,
you understand, but it's always there.
I asked them if they had it too, and they said yes.
I asked how they knew, and they said because
when they see someone not like them,
they clutch their bag tighter. I said I'd never felt this in my life.
'Never!!?' they said, 'I find that hard to believe'. I found this genuinely shocking.
And then I got it. That person was telling me about their inherent racism, not mine.
The bigotry they see, is a mirror they look into. They're taking a selfie.

The scramble to blame, to castigate, to demonise,
has become a way to earn points,
likes, validation, and, (dangerous beyond belief), money.
People game the system.
I hope it's a phase. When money is to be made from finding witches,
the tendency is to find witches at all costs, in all corners,
until the finders themselves are accused.
People start to prove their innocence, through accusatory swipes at others.
It's happened in every dictatorial landscape since history began.
This is the way to be. Why are you not on board to our right way?
Hey look everyone, that person isn't on board!
They're doing their own thing, which isn't our thing, so let the ridicule begin.

Life will get in the way at some point, and the dogs they set on others
will turn around and come for them. It's what happens. It's what has always happened.

When we spin the tale that people are a mess because of the world,
because the world is to blame for our sorrows,
miscalculations, bad decisions, life problems, etc
it gives us an excuse to point at someone else, someone in our sightline.
We, conveniently, can't get into our sightline, unless we have a mirror.
If we don't choose to hold up that mirror, and continue our blame,
we lose our autonomy. And we demand that the world
change around us, rather than meet the world as it is,
and work to change aspects that make it better for everyone.

At one point, this tucked away post, would have been an easily ignored opinion.
And we could talk it through, over coffee.
Now, it's a risk.
Hey ho.



  • As if I was you.
  • 22/04/21 08:45am
2019. April 27th.

Last night, we played a wonderful gig in Frankfurt. Dear old friends, and some new soon to be old friends.
After the gig, I went outside and talked with a local man.
We spoke for quite a while. He told me many fascinating stories. ‘I don’t get a chance to speak this way, with time to unfold my stories’ he said.
He told me one story, dear to his heart, and at one point, the meaning of the story, was caught in his throat, and he couldn’t speak for a second, ‘I cannot tell it without....’ he said, but by that point, it had all been said.
And his story, was stuck in my throat.
We are, to put it mildly, as delicate as stone,
and as tough as smoke.
Go easy with the shouters, the screamers, the constant moaners. Their claws are brittle, their hearts beat like swallow wings and bruise under bright light.
In the middle of the night, they wake up to themselves, and try to turn away.
It’s worth remembering, I think, that when they snap and spit at you, for the smallest indiscretions, the points that prove you all too human, they are giving you a glimpse of their history, and the ache that remains as constant and universal as loss.
Listen to her stories, be heart deep in his tales, as though they were your very own.

  • The importance of space.... In Ikea
  • 22/04/21 08:20am
I would like to relay a tale.
This tale involves a Fake Fig tree that my sister said I simply must have in
my bedroom if I wanted to get with the 'in' crowd and also set the right
mood along with an incense stick and a fat candle and go on joke all you like.
Well, this Fake Fig tree was planted but not literally planted in a
10ft square space in Ikea. It was a Sunday.
Sunday in Ikea is like food scrap day in maggotsville..... It's dense.
And it's dense in all senses of the word.
Dense in all senses.
So parking was the first bizarre event.
I keep very calm, almost too calm, some would say, in such situations...
blue birds happily tweeting, when tweeting was tweeting, around my head.
Not so, for many, with big anger smudged faces.
And some are resigned to staring into a space that will never be theirs,
as drivers reluctant to let them through, or past, or out, or first, command spacial respect.
Tripping over a miracle, I bag a space. I try to stave off smug but it's useless.
Walking into Ikea I spy one of the spatial respect commanders stuck
in a queue mouthing his disgust at other spatial respect commanders who won't let him out.
In Ikea. It's actually Bedlam and I consider going home and getting in bed
with only insence and a fat candle and go on joke all you like.
But I'm made of sterner stuff so I march on.
Well, I have never seen so many people stressed about spoons and colanders.
The kids were bored into the floor, exasperated at having to
stare at a yellow cheese grater for literally minutes.
It was absolute carnage. The crowds around the dishcloths appalled me.
I found my Fig Tree. It's remarkable.
When I got out I cried freedom like William Wallace
and eye-swallowed the good clean light of the world.
The Fake Fig tree sits well in my bedroom. It's about my height.


  • Feb 2020 A lovely thing
  • 22/04/21 07:47am
Just played a beautiful gig in Edinburgh with Kit Downes and Norma Winstone.
Instant composition. A dance of silences entwined with improvised non-silences... that sounds clumsy but I'm struggling to plant it.
It was a joy and why I play music.
When I checked into the Ibis, Edinburgh.. I had to go through that shenanigans of answering a 'how did we do at check in?' survey in order to get wifi in my room. Out of 'terrible, bad, Ok, Good, Amazing,' I put 'Good'. Then it takes me down another rabbit-hole because answering 'Good' isn't good enough.
So I have to give pointers to how they can improve the service.
So I put something like 'There should be Dark Salt Lindt Chocky on arrival in the room. There should be some books. Maybe, Hemingway, to get couples of all persuasions into the Hemingway debate. There should be a map to the heart of the woman I'll fall in love with.'
After the gig, when I got to my room, there were two bars of Dark Salt Lindt Chocolate waiting on my table with a Card.
The card said 'Fun Times Ahead' and a hand written note inside said... 'Unfortunately, we couldn't get Hemingway's books, however we got some salted chocolate. We hope the performance has been awesome'.
Reach out, you never know what beautiful things will come your way.
Mx

  • Pandemic poems and funnies over 2020
  • 22/04/21 07:32am
The wonderful fall of my certainty.

Every time I do a thing that's lacking hip
Like go to bed and let the candles die away
or leave the washing in the washer wet all day
or venture forth with toothpaste on my upper lip
I fathom out the fool that flunks first base
has always been a traveller in the race
and not the skipper of the ship
This gives comfort to be sure
relieves the conflict at the core
But the bolthead is the dolt that thinks the fool
is the exception, not the rule.


Pandemicemonium (March 2020)

Excellent that the big stores
are rationing goods.
Nowt in the Tesco when I went tonight.
People getting around the rationing by taking all family members and they each buy an item...
couldn't believe a 3 year old child could get a
12 pack bog roll onto the counter without help.
All the wigs had gone.
There was no lip gloss.
Conan the barbarian vids all gone.
What to do..? I thought.
I know.... I'll take some comfort
in a late swoon with the great
dance troupe, Boney M.
Guess what? Not one single CD
left. Loads of Sinatra, loads of Jazz Rock,
loads of Experimental Improvisation Troupes
but Boney M ?? Nada.
Is that how you spell 'Nada'? I keep hearing it
in direct replacement to the old word 'Nothing'
which I thought was useful enough, but I'm in the minority.
Well, let's get a book. That'll do it.
Every single copy of 'I don't give a F**K' had gone.
'Bums' ...? Gone.
All copies of 'After You' 'A History of Empathy'
and 'Longitude' completely safe, hugging the shelves.
We'll meet again, don't know where,
but I know.....
some sunny day....



Your last song.

What will be
the last you see?
A loving look
a closed account
an owed amount
a book
about a dying tree?
Could it be the thought
of what you might have been
or would have seen
had you held on
or let him go
or let her know?
Or maybe it will be
another quiet scream
a hushed regret
that slips you into dream
and all that is beyond the final breath......
the last that brushes past your lips
as it did mine
and more often than we care to dwell
and sooner would forget, or redefine
and yet, to think on this,
of sinking ships
and tales too cold to tell
and lips you could not kiss
of winters waiting in the wings
of kings that should be queens
and queens that should be kings
and all that we demand
that must be true
to think on all these things
gives us a chance
to tune the dance
refine the view
and when we do,
oh how my heart sings.


pandemime

Well, what to do. ?
It's a Sunday.
I woke early. Stayed in bed till 7am.
Then I made porridge and redbush tea (non caffeine guy)
then brought that back to bed.
My bed is probably the best bed in the universe.
Better than the Queens, better than a Movie Star and better than yours no use in denial.
I have a canadian goose down duvet that was scorchio expensive even at half price which I got when I was flush
which I'm not now with all this shenanigans going on.
A woman gave another woman a right old disgusted look
because she was wearing a mask in the Tesco.
This is only a week or so in.
What'll it be like in a month?
For those of you isolating in families or couples, here's some tips.
Invent games. Of course there's the usual board games,
Monopoly, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Kill the Scone,
Daft Get, etc etc.
But you can add a little piquancy to the jolly affair, especially for you competitive types that pretend a smile when you get beat and can't stop thinking about it through clenched teeth.
Stress Chess is good. You basically insult the other person
during their move which causes a stress response and sometimes leads to a fight with pulling hair etc but it's really fun and it costs nothing. The kids love it when Mam and Dad play because there's always a point where Mam tries to pull Dad's hair but he has none, and she realises mid-fight and the kids are in tears, but happy tears of laughter.
For adults there's Naked Monopoly. This involves setting up the board in the usual way, then getting naked, then going to bed.
Another old game with a new twist is Snakes and Bladders.
You play the usual game but drink loads of water throughout
but try not to wee. I used to spell wee 'wea' but I've learned
and that's what life's about.
Reverse strip poker is one of the best. Try it.
I used to do this with my kids and Sisters kids.
Eve
and Ruth
were about 5 and Jack
and Mike
were about 7.
We played pontoon (21) and whoever bust first had to put on an item of clothing.
As Charlie Brown used to say 'Good Grief!' it was sooooo funny. What was especially funny was as they accumalated more and more clothes, they found it more and more funny.
And, they were ALL MY clothes. 😂🤣🥳🥳
They had to pick them out without looking at the item.
Ruth kept getting socks so her feet looked enormous and bulbous.
Jeez, that was hilarious.
Ok, where was I.
If you live alone, there's much fun to be had.
Try this:
Walk upstairs - pretend you're wearing a skirt or kilt or better still, wear one, and very quickly show your bum to an imaginary person behind you. Now, reading that might not give you the incite needed for such an experience but trust me, the fun is in the doing.
Most folk who spend time on their own, have full blown conversations with themselves and you can use this to your advantage.
Essential; Buy a wig. Conversations take on new depths.
Wig off: 'This pandemic has caused pollution to diminish'
Wig on: 'Yeah, but don't get comfy, it'll come straight back when it's safe to pollute again'
Wig off: 'Well, let's enjoy the clear landscapes while we can'
Wig on: 'What's the point?'
Wig off: (thinking) 'What am I doing with this sad clown?'
Wig on: (thinking) 'I want to poke you in the eye so bad'.......
Anyway you get the picture.
You can always stare out the window of course and wait for stuff to happen.
But you can also happen to life.
If you're not confident enough to make a suggestion, do this:
Write your idea, but in disguised hand writing, on paper or a piece of bread if there's any left at the Tesco.
No one will know it's you.... feign surprise.
If it's accepted..... you're not as lame as you think
If it's rejected...... you are as lame as you think but no-one knows... happy days!!!
Lovely day today so I'm in the hills ..... done my weights now gym is closed, and I'll be writing music and words after the walk. Made soup last night for later.
Get creative, there's a long way to go yet and we don't want to be spending it moaning and procrastinating and blaming all and sundry. How do we make a difference to our lives in trying times? How do I make a difference to yours?
Posting funnies and poems, maybe?
The terrain changes, and we're forced to navigate it in a different way. We'll go crazy for a while.
But let's go good crazy... Imagine living just one day,
learning how to spit good.
Or this: Write on 100 large labels and go into the Tesco or local equivalent, before the mad rush.... and stick them on the Loo Rolls.... or Bread, or whatever...... "RESERVED FOR NHS STAFF'.
I'm gonna do it.
Never, ever, give up. Mx

Housebound creativity

Well.... I never.
I did, but that's another story.
I'm hoping there isn't an album coming out called 'Social Distancing'... or variations on that theme.
I'm even standing two metres from the mirror when I'm brushing my teeth.
The cable to my computer snapped last week so I've been offline for a while and I couldn't finish some writing I'd started on Sibelius. I don't use it that much for writing.. I usually put it in afterward then flesh it out, but this one I actually wrote away from guitar. So I was desperate for that lead.
I cleaned out the cupboards. I found a marinade from about 1920 and the only thing you could marinate safely now is a 9v battery.
I did some jobs around the house. I moved the celery over a bit in the fridge. Plumped a cushion. Stuff like that.
I was gonna paint the kitchen but when I really eyed it, I decided I could get another 20 years out of it.
I've started doing odd things like seeing if I can get from the kitchen to the living room but walking backwards with my eyes closed. It's sooo exciting and what a cheap night out!!!!
Those who mock the dance, don't feel the music... that may have been Nietzsche and I'm paraphrasing.
I'd have been mocked royal today doing the dusting.
I decided to see if I could get as many jumpers on as I could. One over the other. I did about 20 jumpers and looked like Pavorotti .... So I decided to do the dusting like that.... I did it to Motown but it was hard to bend down and difficult to move my arms.
So of course there's a knock on the door and lord help us if it's not the postman!!! And he leaves the box (it's my cable) on the doorstep but looks at me, from 2 metres away, trying to pick it up and contemplates coming back to help me but then decides against it.
I'm not a religious guy... but you have to wonder...
what f#ck#n channel am I on, on God's telly?
She's 'avin a laugh innit!!??
Selfolation... a chance to do different.... Mx


Flower in the Rain

Stand in your heartbreak
A new life waits
just out of sight
it waits
for a wrong turn
A risk taken
A fear overcome
It waits
unhurried
by your impatience
Your sudden insight
has been waiting
For you to stop knowing
It’s been waiting
For the fool in you
To meet my own fool
to begin the glorious collision
of our mutual doubt
where new views wait
And sure paths
fall away
Sodden with mistakes that we must make
If we’re to live
If I’m to live
If you’re to live
you must
Stand In your heartbreak
A flower in the rain.

  • Sleep
  • 01/04/21 05:26am
Every night/morning for the past week, I wake around 4am. I lie here, for about
an hour or so, changing position, sifting through various techniques
I've acquired over the years to melt me into dream, to no avail.
I go years without a problem. I sleep fine. Always broken, but drift off again
quite easily, with minimum disruption.
When I was much younger, I was a periodic insomniac,
sometimes going days without sleeping. I dropped caffeine and alcohol.
Things improved almost overnight.
For a long time I had no problem with sleeping.
And then it crept back in. So now I get bouts of restlessness
and a few weeks at least when I wake in the early AMs.
I suffer with restless legs. One in particular drives me nuts.
It's like there's a leg, bigger than mine, inside my leg, and it wants out.
I've recently discovered a certain magnesium tablet and it helps
but it still gnaws at me when I wake up around 4am.
Sometimes, I do this; I write. Middle of the night/early morning musings and
three beats in and my eyes get heavy and I close them for a few secs
and then something kicks in as If to say 'Oh no you don't' and I rouse
and that brief heaviness lifts and I'm as fresh as a daisy again.
So, this is 'Sleep'. Nothing too fancy or surreal. Just a plain document
without linguistic thrills (would that I could) that sets down the mundane
slop that is sleeplack. There'll be a 'Sleep 2'. It'll be a series.
I'm going to try and break the pattern today. So no napping in the day.
If my body says get up after 3 or 4 hours then it's going to damn well stay up!
My assault starts now.

Hugs, from a distance.

Mike.

  • Allow yourself your own song
  • 31/03/21 07:37pm
Wait. Wait to find out what you feel.
Wait to find out what you want to say.
Put a distance between you and your initial thought,
to see if that thought carries you across the threshold of a new view,
maybe a better opinion of the one you held yesterday, and the day before.
Years ago, I remember something leaping out at me from a book I was reading;
Cultivate a space between stimulus and reaction.
That stayed with me.
It's necessary, so that you can see what you really mean
before you oil your own water with things you may not really feel in your soul.
Learn to see that regret ahead, rather than on the glance back over your shoulder.
And keep that regret in sight, always.
That regret, hasn't happened yet. You haven't danced to it's tune,
or the all too familiar tune of your history.
You're writing a new song. Your song.
Allow yourself to. You may surprise yourself.

© Mike Walker 2021