No Buskers

No Buskers

This was one of those signs that you really had to read twice.  buskers It’s on the gate to the bandstand down by the River Dee.  I know it’s possible to book a slot, to play, on the bandstand, though I’ve no idea as to the process.  But there’s no reference to that here, just this cold, hard sign.

I’ve written a quick email to the council.  But I think the sign’s really, well, sad.

So here’s a poem to offer the other view.

No Buskers

It’s a sign,
reflecting the whole,
if we’re not careful,
of something leaving.

No buskers.

The street is thick
with the national dream
pawned to us
by cheap grey suits.

No buskers.

You’re all in a rush
to be somewhere else,
chasing something
only you can see.

No buskers.

I can hear nothing
but piped music,
elevator music,
canned musak.

No buskers.

Words fail me.
A phone rings endlessly.
The sky leans in.
It begins to rain.

No buskers.

But there’s nothing
that can’t be fixed
with gaffer tape
and love.

Imagine a new sign,
tape and a distraction.
Your support;
all of us together.

Let the negativity
slip into the flow,
with the river.
Take away one word.



A tune, a voice, a chord
calls in the street
time waits patiently
for all of us.


So I forget who I am,
where I am going;
all my cares.
but you’re with me,
and this is where we are.


By Name

A poem; 21st June. It’s not for the Solstice either.

You gave me awkwardness, and a name;
that’s from Lebanon maybe,
or we hail from the south,
or Leeds. Who knows?
But you always
take the minority view;
because you can.
The name I keep;
to remember the rest.

You gave me stubbornness and direction.
You are the man,
who knows life’s not fair
and doesn’t get better.
I’ve a Savage grandma,
two brothers I never met;
the knowledge that blood runs thin
and our actions define us.

You gave me perspective; a first camera.
A skill with the technical,
a need to take things apart,
whilst wanting to mend.
You know all employers are bastards
and the good guy always loses.
That the night shift
was always brighter.

You gave me; contradiction and music;
endless nights of guitar,
always in the corner,
not the main light,
lyrics to rugby songs,
Sergio Mendes and Buddy Rich;
a belief that I must, above all else
keep going.


Bra Shopping

Bra Shopping

(or the Campaign for Real Women)

So a poem.  This one is a departure for me on two counts.  Firstly; it’s written for performance which isn’t something I’ve done that much.  Secondly; it’s supposed – at least in part – to be funny.

Genuinely looking for feedback?  Anyone got any thoughts on it?

Bra Shopping  (or the Campaign for Real Women)

So I’m standing, naked,
except for boots and knickers,
and the blond on my new bra’s label’s pouting.
She has full on Girl’s World hair.
In fact, I’m sure, all she ever read
were the shampoo instructions.

You know;
Rinse, lather, repeat.

Hairstyle’s not the question though,
I’m looking at her breasts.
She’s got the most perfect pair,
of inflated plastic peaches. Airbrushed.
To make them rounder;
and she’s modelling my new bra.

You know;
flesh tone, positive lift.

And I’m thinking, naked;
How come redheads, with acne,
moles, biopsy scars and a little attitude,
never get these jobs anymore.
Or even Dana Scully doing her bit,
for female scepticism.

You know;
“All lies lead to the truth.”

Maybe they thought: sex sells.
Well sorry folks, that’s not my type;
still wouldn’t be if my scale of she to he
were differently measured.
She’s lacking something,
despite the breasts.

You know;
I’d not stay for coffee.

My heroes are poets, writers, musicians,
friends, lovers, game-changers;
Not lifeless pink plastic dummies;
style-static, de-sexed, sterile; hollow.
So I’m pretty sure
she’s no model for me.

You know;
makeover magic’s skin deep.

On my next bra label I see;
something useful and beautiful.
A train map or my gran’s punch recipe,
the names of all the seas,
a set of chord progressions or
how to put up a shelf.

Or, you know;
a picture of you. (Or me.)





My Muse

My Muse

I find it a bit odd admitting to having an idea of who my muse is; it’s a bit like saving a seat for your invisible friend on the train.  But, for all that and without further delay, allow me to introduce “My Muse”.

(with apologies to Kaety Moon and her elegant poem ‘The Reluctant Muses’)


My Muse

My muse wears boots to bed
and wakes on a cold noon;
complains; he’s overworked and weary.
He never checks on me but says
I call hourly, intrusively; too soon.

Then, he is gender’s opposite;
holds my shadow’s light,
has fingerprints that map my days.
With me, in town, those hands steal eyeliner;
make black word weapons my sight.

His hand is warm as I fall,
and he laughs at pain.
I expect nothing, often, and find generosity.
He cuts open petals to see their flesh,
cries from the weight of the rain.

My muse; you use me.
Alone, I am a castle;
hollow, dark and waiting for war.
By these walls you grow daisies with thorns,
brew sweet wine in broken cups
and remain my safe path in battle.


Kaety’s poem, and her other work can be found here: