Friday, 26 June 2020

Tuesday Poem - Song - "The Disappointed" written by Andy Partridge, performed by XTC

The disappointed
All shuffle round in circles
Their placards look the same
With a picture and a name
Of the ones who broke their hearts
The disappointed
All congregate at my house
Their voices sob with grief
That they want me to be chief
Of the tribe with broken hearts
Once, I had no sympathy
For those destroyed and thrown away by love
Seems, your ring upon my finger
Signifies that I've become the spokesman of
The disappointed
Will bear me on their shoulders
To a secret shadow land
Where a somber marching band
Plays a tune for broken hearts
And day grows darker now
Everywhere, everywhere
The disappointed
Are coming in their millions
They're spilling from the bus
At a monument to us
Made of bits of broken heart
Once, I had no sympathy
For those destroyed and thrown away by love
Seems, your ring upon my finger
Signifies that I've become the spokesman of
The disappointed
Are growing every second
They blot the sun to black
At the bottom of the pack
I'm the king of broken hearts
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed
The disappointed

Written by Andy Partridge
Performed by XTC

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Were You Ever Great?" by Andrew M. Bell

Photo Credit: Andrew M. Bell

Today, along with my youngest son and his girlfriend, I attended a Black Lives Matter protest which gathered in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Despite it being a day of constant drizzle, what the Irish call poetically "a soft rain", a large crowd of people gathered to express their utter disgust at the murder of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Since the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016, the global community have witnessed a former global superpower which seems to be in rapid decline. Those Americans who never supported Trump feel that he has been both a catalyst and a fomentor of that disintegration of their society.

In response to this ever-escalating situation in America and to George Floyd's brutal murder which is just the latest in a long line of American police killings of African Americans, I offer this poem:

Were you ever great, America?
Were you great when the starving pilgrims
were saved by your indigenous inhabitants?
Were you great when the settlers pushed west
bringing disease and decimation
to the many nations who had been there
for thousands of years?
Were you great when you assassinated
the President who abolished slavery?
Were you great a century later when you assassinated
the President who advocated black civil rights?
Were you great when you dropped atomic bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Were you great when the CIA overthrew
Salvador Allende in Chile?
Were you great when Reagan funnelled arms and money
to the Contras to overthrow the Sandinistas?
Were you great when you defoliated
sixty percent of Vietnam?
Were you great when you invaded Iraq
because a President and his cronies lied?

You cannot make yourself “great again”
because you were never great.
Like the Roman Empire, you merely
possessed superior technology and
an inflated sense of your own importance
so you could bully the world to get your own way.

And now, like the procession of empires before you,
your corruption and decadence have grown
into a cancer that feeds on the venal and inane.
Fellow feeling has dissolved
in your grandiose sense of entitlement
and your outliers are emboldened, brazenly enriching themselves
by enslaving their fellow citizens.
A nation devoured on the pyre of self-interest.

Like a feeble-minded geriatric,
your memory has befogged your halcyon days
so that they lie shrouded in a mist of your own making.
Morality and ethics are but dreams,
once shimmering brightly in the darkness,
but forgotten on waking.

Once leaders of standing and character espoused equality
and the inalienable rights of all your countrymen and women,
regardless of race, colour and creed
to be granted "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

Your Praetorian Guard protects the elite
from imagined threats and suspicion falls always
on the proud descendants of the Nubians.
The world recoils as you descend into an abyss
where theft triumphs over generosity,
crime flaunts itself in the face of the law,
rampant egos crush communities
and murder is committed with impunity.

Were you ever great, America,
or were you merely lucky?
One day even the best luck runs out.

Photo Credit: Andrew M. Bell

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Tuesday Poem: "My Mother's Ashes Feign Disinterest in their Dispersal" by Tim Nees

Tonight a cradle moon.
The window on the low side of light.
Sleep scurries, hides round corners.
Come on, Sunday.
For one undeniably this much reveals a hollowing.
Fitting up the mystery eternal.
One false step you get done in.
Does that sound right?
John Donne and the Metaphysics eschew the eternal, way down below 
on shady lane.
A long worn life invests not in the promise of the eternal promise.
Is that the way belief circumlocutes itself?

    Where to find even more, with that extra step hampered by a 
drooping foot.
Time surely to complete another feat, appetite never replete.
Whether you land or take a tumble, nothing certain.
In this belief system what’s willed never happens.
What should be simple tasks toss and turn, become insubordinate, defy
being picked up and held struggling in the fresh streaming light.
In principle we should all be convinced.

    Meaning what, I wonder, when it was she who demanded the wall 
simply listen to reason.
There was a door but for her no-one would open it, not in her direction. 

Nor at her direction.
Rail and strike at stubbornness with tiny fists and her walker. 
Entranced for hours.
Banging away in her mind.
Gentle bumps, mind you.

    Protest shouldn’t have had to be a defence against the boulder of
Don’t bet on a punchline.
Insistence is no virtue but blame is a force uncalled for.
Step inside, love.
Not on her watch.
I figure she was avoiding in the back reaches of her mind the exit. 

The second man she loved never arrived.

    Reason is not simple.
Reason must first repair deaf ears.
Acquiescence is a retreat to be beaten.
The main argument once stated will be glossed, patience required to
release gravity.
We pray.
Effortlessly we pray as every fibre of our being shakes.
Until experience uncovers the truth without wishing for it, even though 
we realise this time we’re going to be pissing into our boots.

Do the selfless have interests?
The things we wonder, sunshine.
Sadly, the best-by date for wonder has long since expired.
Sit, smile and touch, smile and touch, sit.
Who’s to own this, this outcome?

    My mother’s ashes undignified in their container.
Disdain comes to mind.
Disdain is a word she’d turn her nose up at.

    Birds fly all about but no-one hears them singing.
No one hears them.
No one at all.
Will one to come brighten the room.
One needs to do one’s best in order to tolerate what one finds in others,
and give a little bit, otherwise one will end up with someone else’s
uninvited hands handling one’s spoons.
Toleration served with a grain of salt.
Too much to have been serious.

    The circle shrinks again.
Well that’s alright, maman cher?
Nothing done will make it right.
My mother’s mother fell in love with Elvis while my mother fell in love 
with Charlie Rouse.
That says something significant and a half, though what wasn’t said in
between dry facts was a bundle and the other half, too packed in to 
begin to unpick.
Little more than a flush.
Can emotional states even be facts?
Any old way you do, do now.
God how she hated that fact word.
Few left to review, and too late to stop.
Which is just fine seeing no-one listens to no facts no more no how.
Fine and dandy, fine and dandy, fine and dandy handy Andy.
Ever ready with a twinkle and a misdemeanour.
Don’t care even if you blow my top, but keep on going.
Keep on going.

    One memorable occasion, a blue Imp transporting a grand get-up 
topped off by a black gold-tipped Sobranie.
Okay, that much is true.
Regardless, she would have preferred a carnival in cocktail colours to 
jive through her saloon, except Russians don’t do carnivals and 
Latin Americans don’t smoke Sobranies.
Not in her world.
Conflicting interests party with absurdity.
Just don’t expect her image to be verified by this type of occasion.
Fall back on dignity.
Give her some teeth.

    Cigarette ash settles on her lashes and her front.
Shine on warm freckled enfolding diamond.
My mother’s freckled ashes.
My mother’s gin and tonic ashes.
My mother’s Brebiesca fingered ashes.
My mother’s ashes won’t brush off this time.
Fitting up the stubborn conundrum for good.
Sleep scurries, hides round corners.
The window on the low side of light.
Tonight a cradle moon.

© Tim Nees 7 May 2020

Tim Nees is a Christchurch-based writer. He has a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) with Merit from Victoria University of Wellington. In 2009 he attended the Iowa Fiction Workshop,  the Iowa Poetry Workshop and the Short Fiction Workshop at the Institute of Modern Letters, VUW. He has had poems published in Poetry NZ, was a Runner-up in the 2009 BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition with his story “Cartography” which was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize (USA). In 2008, he was a Runner-up in the NZ Post Wellington Sonnet Competition.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Places Becoming Lonely" by Andrew M. Bell

Photo Credit: Andrew M. Bell

Not a name on a marquee,
but a firmament in which a star could shine

this solid Earth, dependable unless we forget
the hard lessons of gravity

understated, not showy, he knew the places
his eyes could take the audience

there are more of us now and they say
we are more visually literate

and the images multiply daily
and yet there are more

places becoming lonely

by Andrew M. Bell

For more information on poet, Andrew M. Bell, see:

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Fear" by Charles Simic

Fear passes from man to man
As one leaf passes its shudder
To another. 

All at once the whole tree is trembling
And there is no sign of the wind. 

by Charles Simic

For more information about poet, Charles Simic, see:

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Not Syria" by Andrew M. Bell

Photo Credits: Andrew M. Bell

Not for us the swift savagery of the strafing jet
or the murderous melée of missiles,
but the slow and steady creep
of ignorance and neglect.
While an empire rises inexorably 
from the Central Business District,
the small voices of the poor and vulnerable
cry out unheard. 
The 92-year-old widow has her third hospitalising 
bout of pneumonia in the third winter since
Rūamoko shook himself enthusiastically,
like a dog emerging from the Avon river.
“I just want my home fixed before I die,” she says.
Not much to ask for

like peace in Syria.

by Andrew M. Bell

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wrote this poem, as the text indicates, three years after the Christchurch earthquake of February 2011. As has been well-documented, this natural disaster devastated large swathes of Christchurch city central and surrounding suburbs, particularly those suburbs in the eastern part of Christchurch where the least economically-advantaged residents lived. It has taken many, many years to return to any sort of normality, but, even 9 years after that disaster, there are still buildings and areas of land that bear the scars rendered on that day. The above photographs are of a building, not far from my home, that was badly damaged and sits neglected, across the road from a beach simply called North Beach (goodness knows how many beaches around the globe are so prosaically named). Some vandal or vandals have recently gutted this building by setting a fire.
It occurs to me that this global Covid-19 pandemic has brought back to the residents of east Christchurch a strange echo of the eerie, post-earthquake surreality that coloured our lives 9 years ago.
For more information about poet, Andrew M. Bell, see:

Monday, 27 April 2020

Special Covid-19 Inspirational Poem: "Invictus" by William Henley

Out of the night that covers me, 
   Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
    For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
    I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
    My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
    Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
    Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
   How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
   I am the captain of my soul. 

by William Henley

For more information about poet, William Henley, see: