I’M NOT SURE HOW MUCH MORE I CAN TAKE (minimum-wage hero)

featured in the poetry forum July 11, 2020  :: 0 comments

Another week done and i’m just about
Done, done with all this nonsense of a
So-called lock-down that means people
Can come to my shop not just the one
Time but two times for all their bottles
Of wine, their bottles of gin and hell
In one case today a guy who stole a hell
Of a night self-isolating. Two
Four-packs of cold beer, a pizza and
Some dead animal meat and all paid
For with a spit right onto my, own
Supplied, protective face-mask the
Boss had told me i couldn’t wear at
The start of my shift.

‘No way,’ i said to him, ‘there is no
Way i’m going on those check-outs
Today without one,’ and with that
There was nothing he could do or say
And all i can say is thank fuck i did
Stand my ground as i really don’t
Fancy getting infected by something
That can ultimately kill this poor
Minimum-wage hero. I hear that
A lot at the moment, ‘oh,’ they say
‘you’re doing such a great job’
‘what would we do without you great guys?’
To which i think, well it’s simple
You’d all die of starvation or just
Order online or shop someplace
Else.

I so wish they would as just two
Weeks in and talk now of this going
Six months longer and all i can
Dream of is writing imaginary
Letters of resignation again as chaos
Beckons out there as soon as they
Realise their plan ain’t working and
Even more drastic measures need to
Be taken. Come that day this town
Will surely go insane as limits are
Imposed on everything from bottles
Of wine bought to minutes spent
Outside in any one day and you
Know what goes down then will
Surely only conclude in chaos
Madness and the always threatened
Street violence.

editors note:

As they push the limits, gotta find your own. Keep peace, if you can. (Read another mad missive from Bradford on his page; an alternate approach to distance.) – mh clay

SOCIAL DISTANCING (a unique take on keeping everyone away)

July 11, 2020  :: 0 comments

During this so-called time of lock-down i’ve
Devised a cunning ploy to distance myself
From the maddening crowd of everyone else
Out there who stalk the streets of the soon to
Be dead. I ain’t washed or changed my clothes
For five long days now, slept in most of it
Too, and surely now with the added aid of
Using no deodorant for all that time too no one
Will want to come near me, not even a beggar
Asking me ‘spare some change?’

editors note:

Can’t spare it if you haven’t done it. – mh clay

CONTEMPORARY POETRY 101

featured in the poetry forum March 7, 2020  :: 0 comments

Hey J, hope you’re good and doing
Well and happy, at last, to see a response
To your question about the contemporary
Poetry scene. You said you have some
Words you’d like to see out there and so
I thought I’d outline the stars of the lit
Underground as I know it. These are
Poets who don’t like regular big-time
Writing houses and almost all are true
Rebels, punks and outsiders. Perverts,
Drunks, you know my kind of people,
They are all here and if you’re ready
Well here’s some to get you started.

If you’re feeling bold, feeling confident
Thinking this poetry lark is an easy
Deal cos there are so damn few of us,
Think again when you send some words
To Modern Drunkard or Neon my friend.
Both have high standards and publish
Only a few but, as I said, if you feel
Good, then why the hell not start out
Shooting for those stars.

If those 2 fail, don’t despair, all of these
Have even published my words, so the
Chance for selection is obviously just
A little bit higher. These guys operate
Underground but if they do give you a
Go you’ll get one of their great contributor
Copies. So, look around at these greats
And take a giant step towards immortality;
Paper & Ink ran by young Martin out of
Hastings, England, is a corker and usually
Themed. Alien Buddha is a madman
Who always seems to pull together the
Right people to make every issue so so
Cool. Concrete Meat is Adrian Manning,
A legend, a hero of this here UK underground.
Into Mudhoney and Tad and a damn fine
Poet he’ll certainly read your stuff if he wants
To. HST was born outside Melbourne,
Australia but now comes out of Salt Lake
City and is headed by the degenerate pervert
Arthur Graham. I say all of this with a
Love for his words and his downright lust
For life. Razur Cuts is Derek, an old
Punk from Falkirk, and he’s done 7 issues
Now and everyone is brutal, dark and just
Really great. The Chiron Review is a
Thing of legend, published Quentin Crisp
And Charles Bukowski in the past, and if
They want to publish you, hell yeah, I got
Drunk for a week after they accepted 1 of
Mine.

Then there are those who act like a loud
Speaker allowing you to get your words
Out to the world. These are all great great
People and have published some of the
Best around; Rusty Truck, Empty Mirror,
Ramingo’s Porch, Bareknuckle Poets, Rye
Whiskey Review, Dope Fiend Daily, the
Beatnik Cowboy, the mighty Record ran by
The wonderfully friendly Godfrey from
Downtown Chicago and then finally the
Home of the crazies and the first to get my
Words out there, the glorious madness of
Dallas’ Mad Swirl where I still dream of
Reading at their open mic.

editors note:

A call to rebels, punks and outsiders. Thanks, Bradford! Come read with us… – mh clay

ONE MILLION LOVES

featured in the poetry forum December 2, 2019  :: 0 comments

I’ve been in love a million
Times; sometimes, rarely, for
A while but often times it’s
Been that brief magnificent
Glimpse of hope. Take this
Last Saturday night, there
I was sat at my usual spot.
Bored
Alone
Until 2 people i know walk in.

We sit around chat for a bit
And still i remain mostly
Bored as they talk of vegan
Food and the end of the
World. After a while they
Start in on me,
Do you want to leave?
Maybe we can go to yours?
They ask but not right
Now as god sake i need
Something to feast my eyes
On and drink until that
Moment when i know i
Will have had enough.

This night though they seem
Adamant, they don’t like
It here and as soon as one of
Them says we should leave
I stand and grab my drink,
Draining it swiftly just as
She walks in. A stunning
Beauty i’d waited a whole
Damn lifetime for but soon
They were dragging at
My arm, saying
‘Come on, lets go!’

editors note:

Phantasia interruptus. Oh, but, she could have been… – mh clay

JAZZ SMOKE MADNESS

featured in the poetry forum September 20, 2019  :: 0 comments

It was Monday night and I was out on the town
Reading some poems to the enthralled masses
As the magic takes hold, the weed tonight is strong
Leaving me just drinking beer as anything else
Would surely send me insane, unable to read
And no one wanted that, not tonight.

The show grooved on down with talk of old times
From one of the greatest old voices I can ever
Remember; Princess Margaret, Spike Milligan and
Dizzy Gillespie have never all featured in one piece
Before and I riffed along with Salt Peanuts as she
Sat reading her piece my mind delirious with the jazz.

When I got up to read I saw a few old faces dotted in
The crowd and so I began reading one from the first
Book after a London introduction to a New York bar
For a Brighton crowd and finally four poems later I
Was done and returned to the bar to carry on
Drinking, thankful that people seemed to like it.

At the end of the night I got waylaid and eventually
Found myself at the home of another poet, we talked
Shop, we talked football, the return of Timmy Cahill
And about our plans all whilst drinking and chain-
Smoking this insanity. I remember at one point
Shortly after arriving I managed to roll four one
After another and we passed them back and forth
Whilst drinking our high-strength lager before I
Nearly died of laughter, five whole minutes of out
Of control wailing, laughing at something I really
Can’t remember right now confirming to all that
The edge had now finally arrived and beyond,
Well who knows? Will it mean that my mind is well,
How can one say it, fucked?

editors note:

F’d, indeed. It’s enough to be it, let alone, say it. – mh clay

A LONGSHOT BET PAYS OFF

featured in the poetry forum July 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

We had a camp outside our shop
A camp for the great unwashed, those made homeless
By our crazy rental prices
They’ve got problems that’s for sure
As rumours circulate about some very bad stuff being done
Because heroin and vodka is never a good mix

Then one day last week I was stood on the check-out
When in walked one of them with a fresh crisp brand new
Five pound note in his hand
He walked right up and ordered a scratch card
All his money was going to go on what generally works out
To be nothing but a waste of money

But this time he won, only his money back but to put it mildly
I was happy as I couldn’t understand why anyone would spend their last penny on such things
He then shocked me to my core as he ordered another one
Before again disappearing outside
As he scratched away a cheer went up and he walked back in

The most recent card returned almost a week’s pay for me
And at the end of my shift as I walked on out
It was clear what it had been spent on
A gaggle of homeless asleep, nodding out whilst all around chaos screamed through
Sirens wailed as they got strung-out, resting at last

editors note:

A desperate double-down derives delightful delirium. – mh clay

MOMENT OF CLARITY

featured in the poetry forum April 5, 2019  :: 0 comments

I’d been drinking again
Days lost leaving me feeling like death again
And out of the midst of my mind
Comes a memory that tells me I’d been
Overdoing it again.

I was sat on my stool at that bar
Yes it’s got that bad that
I got my own stool
Me and a couple of other old-time regulars
When one of them turns to me.

She begins to explain who someone is
I’m sure I don’t know them but
Feign interest anyway. At the end she
Realises I ain’t a clue and simply states,
“Christ, you really do drink too much!”

Now this person is a legend of the scene
Treated like royalty in this pub for years
Even having their own glass which gets
Wet almost everyday apart from those when
She is drinking on holiday.

editors note:

Just cuz Pot said it, doesn’t mean Kettle can say it isn’t true; mirror me, mirror you. – mh clay

NO INSPIRATION WITHOUT SMOKE

featured in the poetry forum January 7, 2019  :: 0 comments

I stagger upstairs on another boozy night
Two reds down and a tinge of nostalgia clouds the air
As I know tonight there are more words to come
From this drunken pen
This drunken mind
But when I get through all the way to my room I realise
Oh shit the damn blasted ashtray has remained downstairs
So down I go knowing no words will get written without any smoke
Not tonight
Not any night
Certainly not in this lifetime anyway
So on I go staggering down then up and now I’m back and damn it
I forgot what this poem was meant to be all about!

editors note:

Sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s no fire. Damn! – mh clay

MY TRUSTY COMPANION

featured in the poetry forum September 18, 2018  :: 0 comments

Another Friday night and home alone
Beer by my side whilst my mind contemplates
Just one more smoke as tonight don’t feel
Like one of those nights; It’s too bright
Outside as solstice means it’ll stay like this for
At least a fair while longer and I can’t be
Dealing, not tonight, with dragging my
Weary old body down the road to get a
Drink on so tonight, I sit home alone with
A beer by my side, my trusty companion.

editors note:

If you can count the friends you have on one hand, holding a beer guarantees at least one. – mh clay

GOTTA LOVE THIS TOWN

featured in the poetry forum July 21, 2018  :: 0 comments

The other day I was due at work but in town
A nightmare awoke and stalked
Me all day, a nightmare of insanity and it all started
As I walked the usual walk I
Take, bored of these streets
Knowing every other beggar out there
And every other thing I pass
That was until when I approach my
Regular for a pre-work caffeine blast
When I see a guy lying prone on the
Pavement and he don’t seem good
As the hordes walk on by I simply
Approach and check his breathing
It’s slight so I reach for his pulse
And it is weak, so so weak and as
I look around the people keep on
Passing, ignoring this poor guy’s
Plight, near death and none caring so
I call an ambulance and sometime
Later it arrives and they wheel the guy
Out as the people continue to pass,
Simply ignoring making me think
Can I really love this town?

I got my blast sorted and was
Blazing away on my last nicotine
For a few hours when a homeless
Mad woman saw me enjoying the
Last moments of freedom I was to
Experience and simply shouted
‘Give me a fucking lighter!’
I look nervously over, our store has
Previous with this demented she-devil
Who’s into the really bad stuff and
Has called the pavement outside my shop
Home for at least two years by my last
Reckoning, I only noticed because at first
I thought her a bit of a looker, a good-looking
Near beautiful dyed red-head, I
Pass the lighter over as she scrunches
Over hiding the last remnants of a
Previously disposed cigarette butt
Desperate for the nicotine to take
Away the desire for her next proper
Fix, the one that is seeming like a
Lifetime away as she sits cowering
Coming down as she finally gets a spark
She passes the lighter back and I
Hurry on in to work for the first time in years.

The first couple of hours pass quietly until
Some tough guy turns up with two really
Tough looking guys in sunglasses and the
Same matching outfits, and the square-off starts as
The tough guy, quietly at first, discusses
Business and I can only guess that this here
Is pure and simple, Mr Big, the boss who
Runs those distribution lines, and suddenly all
Hell breaks loose, it’s like a fight scene in a bar
From some old cowboy movie as bodies are
Pummelled, no one screams though and
Soon we are left with one against the two
Toughest guys and unbelievably they back
Down and go on home. The police arrive
Eventually by which point everything is fine and
The deal has been done and they’ve gone off
To the shooting gallery around the back.

Another couple of hours pass peacefully
Enough and then, with half the road outside
Shut whilst they re-build it again a lone
Homeless derelict drunk in the middle of the
Street, he wasn’t alone, there he was frolicking
With his dog he blocked the traffic up for the
Rest of my shift and I have to admit it made
Me smile, reminding me of the wild freedom
We had not that long ago before we got trapped
Here in this damn gentrifying town, in this
Damnable horrible room in this terraced
House that no one would ever want to find.

editors note:

A day in the life; your life, your town, your difference… – mh clay