Tuesday, 31 March 2015

the Football issue

In the world where death stalks in myriad forms,
were bombs kill children and starvation hangs off the bootlaces of people so rich
they divide nations as spoils,
it pays little to care about football
and when that game is no longer a game
but a business
and the powerful stride the field not for glory
but for profit
it matters less —
or perhaps it’s just about growing up…
we children of the fifties and sixties,
we longhaired gits who watched Jezza soar —
our hearts rising up also as if we too could fly out of our suburban backyards
and into somewhere else...somewhere colourful and sun-filled—
so that the front yards of tired houses a thousand times over
were filled with kids climbing upon each other and crying, "Jezza!"

Who did not feel the ground tremble after Big Nick’s fall
and understood even the gods could fall (not knowing
the gods were simply merchants selling us all).

As children (our innocence a lure to the old men
who fear their rotting teeth and aching bones
and so draw the young through the gates,
the way the spider draws the fly) we watched
with our childish eyes…
watched with wonder and thought,
“Oh the glory of it all.”

What glory?
What feats?
What folly!

Youth is always sold out by old men who seek money
to pay the ferryman for someone else’s body — faceless bodies...
we call them the poor…
the untouchables…the scrapheap of humanity—
and while the ferryman takes the cash we turn away and look at our ovals
And pretend everything is right in the world.

Perhaps it's time we accepted we have aged
and the world is not

and never was
for the innocent.

I will still talk football, but sadly now,
the way I speak of old friends already gone,
or old haunts now lost to concrete,
full of the knowledge that the dream
was just that, a mist the eyes of childhood perceive and we adults
foolishly keep with us…

the blanket of words soothing
the song a lullaby
the cries at the ground a call back to our childhood.

I have stood still in the shrinking cell of age
and I have watched the great game roll over and expose its maggot-ridden underbelly
I have seen the death of the past
performed by the hungry men who want their blood kept young
by draining us of ours

and I will watch sometimes
and talk about Carlton sometimes
but like the reality of my own approaching mortality
I know the truth…

Was there ever such a thing as sport?

Probably not…

and if there was
it cannot be found here…in this Land of Oz…
in this junkyard of disposable morals…
where the only message spoken is
“Save the game at all cost!”

And we wonder, do we not
why our young
seem so reluctant to follow us?

They see the lie while we still look behind us!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Drowning (II)

If the sand
could be swallowed
would that empty place within
find itself curving back into a solid
and home, that recedes in the light of day,
be finally re-found?

If the night,
that hollow we step within
and try to hide all the damage
we have done,
could be devoured and made to turn again
into light would we feel the sun run free
in the tired rivers of our veins?

And if my hand could hold the right pen,
if the ink ran into all the proper places
and the lines between remained balanced and sober,
would I finally find all the images and sounds
might fall still - the way a leaf
tumbles down to the floor
and creates a sea of silence for the many lives
of the creatures that burrow and scurry
beneath the ocean of trees?

Might I, finally finding my inside
had been turned out
and drowning then in the sight of what should be hidden,
be set free?

Friday, 20 March 2015


(for Grace Paley)

this is how the camel I am drowned

under a vast sky, painted with the hand of
an artist so blue
the heart’s red earth shatters
in clouds of words

a vista of rolling waves
that capture the wind
curve first this way and then
in the waves, footprints, turn first this way and then
and distance is measured in tears shed

drunk at night
a treasure discovered in the depths
of the hidden cave
then the words and glory
turn to sand
fill the throat and mind

the tongue
a trout landed
and drowning in air.