Month: March 2017

Derelict Zones and Jazz Bar Blues



During hot summers

they used to walk through the neon lit streets at 3am.

They were seduced on freewill

falling in and out of basement jazz bars

in derelict zones.

Music in their souls

and abstraction in their minds.

Never short of courage

sipping whisky neat

drinking hours away

running out of days

feeling abundance and horizons infinite

whilst walking straight towards the heavy hearted bonfire of destruction.

They traced their path to nirvana

inventing their path

away from the banal.

Searching for the reality that both attracted and repelled them.

The novelty of everything was unexpected and effortless.

Life stretched out everlasting

and truth tempted their souls off the narrow path of the paradox

towards the only truth that they wanted

mysterious and inexplicable

the truth which they couldn’t put into words

which couldn’t fit into a single story.


The Bardo-State Man


He is a fortunate man.

The waves of life fall off his shoulders.

A clean path spans his vista.

The bland but dutiful and pretty wife dishes out his middle-england suppers.

His children are primed with the winning edge.

He is a fortunate man.

He ticked off school, university and aced that graduate interview.

His job brings in enough dollars.

His pension pot and private medical care are carefully topped up.

He respects wealth and power.

He is a fortunate man.

You’ll see his shiny white teeth telling jokes at the dinner-party on Saturday night

or you might see him picking out paint in some faceless store on a Sunday morning.

He is a fortunate man.

He strides though his linear path in life with the

promise of becoming a better human being

or being a better person.


But he doesn’t raise his head above the surface of life.

He exists and he keeps on existing despite his hour glass running out

and the lack of mystery in his future unfolding.

He hovers in a banal-bardo state.

There isn’t a moral story here.

Nor is there any resolution.

Concrete Yorkshire Dawn


Each morning

I walk from a car park

through an underpass

and past a man who sleeps

wrapped in blankets

under fluorescent lights

on a cold concrete floor.

Some mornings, I see his hands poking out from beneath the blankets

nails blackened

cracked calloused skin.

Other mornings, I catch a glimpse of his frost-like illuminated face

ruddy hollow cheeks

eyes closed. Always.

I’m invisible to him as I silently slip past.

He thinks he’s invisible to me. And to society too.

But I see him. Even in the darkest dawn.

The tatters and the poverty.

The weary slum of his solitary decades and the impossibleness.

Screwed out of Heaven.

No comrades to walk the road with.

I sometimes want to shout to him what’s buzzing in my head and to tell him that I see him, that he doesn’t escape my view.

I want to tell him that I do think about who he is

that I do think about where he’s come from

that I do think about why he’s lying here, in the crack of the pavement, each morning

that I do see a human being before me.

Instead I keep my mouth shut

and I walk on past

silently saluting him.


Beyond Angkor Wat

Travel beyond the town


which serves Cambodia’s gilded temples


and you’ll find


dusty terracotta paths


which will cake your lips in their crumbs


spanning endless horizons


across lands parched


where the landscape is frank.


Painted wooden houses



perch perilously on sticks


and women crouch

in the midday sun

sifting shrimp

for a few dollars


whilst their bare footed children

wave when I tread through their village

or who I find working (in muddy pits).


I searched for the signs of  development


in the dusty paths


and in the swampy fields



and I wondered


why it is


that the wealth in all the tourist dollars


that sieve through


Angkor Wat’s templed paths


and Siem Reap’s backpacker filled streets


but a short journey away


don’t drip their fruits

this way