Sunday, 25 December 2022

Christmas Day Poem: "My Christmas Wish" by Andrew M. Bell

When you’re sitting down to turkeys and hams, 

remember those in far-off lands

and even people in your street

who do not have enough to eat.


When your family is gathered near,

remember those who cower in fear

whose loved ones are lost or dead

as songs of war sing overhead.


When you sit with port and swollen belly

to watch the King’s message on the telly,

remember those hostages still not home,

chained in some far-off catacomb.


When your faces are aglow with joy

as child by child unwraps a toy,

remember the pain on the jobless’ faces

explaining how Santa had to skip their places.


When you’re frolicking afterwards by the sea,

I’ll tell you what my Christmas wish would be:

that you would set the glitz and froth apart

and love your fellow humans with all your heart. 

by Andrew M. Bell

For more information about the poet, Andrew M. Bell, see:

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "Beatnik" by The Clean in memory of Hamish Kilgour RIP

In memory of Hamish Kilgour RIP who was found dead on Monday evening, 5 December 2022. He was 65. Hamish was a co-founder of The Clean, a pioneering band of the so-called "Dunedin Sound", which was really just a convenient catch-all label applied by music journalists to what was, in actual fact, an explosion of fascinating and musically-varied bands coming out of a DIY ethos in Dunedin at that time.


He's a rebel, he's a guru, and he's a beatnik
He's a rebel, he's a traitor, and he's a beatnik
He's a runner, and he's in the race to be a beatnik
He's a mentor, and he's a traitor, and he's a beatnik
She's a pebble, he's the water, he's a beatnik
He's a preacher, he's a teacher, he's a beatnik
Come on! Alright!
1 2, 2 4, ma ma ma ma ma
Come on! Come on! ma ma ma ma ma
'Cos he's a beatnik
'Cos he's a beatnik
'Cos he's a beatnik

by  David Kilgour, Robert Scott, and Hamish Kilgour

For more information about Hamish Kilgour or The Clean see:

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Bells for William Wordsworth" by Dom Moraes

Today they brought me a message: Wordsworth was dead.
“My God,” I said. “My God. I can hardly believe it.”
“Just as you like” they answered. “Take it or leave it.
He has sunk into April as into the depth of a lake,
Leaving his eyes ajar in the house of his head.”
“Are you sure,” I said, “that you haven’t made a mistake?”

“Oh no,” they said, “not a hope. We knew him too well,
A gloomy considering bloke with the nose of a preacher:
A poet in fact, with a charming affection for Nature:
Milkmaids (you know) and the shadows of clouds on the land.
His work is carefully studied in college still.
We shall not forget nor forgo it, while colleges stand.”

And I said, “I grant you that Wordsworth lies chilly in Grasmere
And his bones are absolved and dissolved in the tears of the rain.
I grant he is one with the plant and the fossil again,
His flesh has gone back into soil and his eyes into stones
And the roots and shoots of a new life push each year
Through the sad rotten fragment of his bones.

“But although each Spring brings a newer death to the bones,
I have seen him risen again with the crocus in Spring.
I have turned my ear to the wind, I have heard him speaking.
I shrank from the bony sorrow in his face.
Yet still I hear those pedagogic tones
Droning away the snow, our old disgrace”

by Dom Moraes

For more information about the poet, Dom Moraes, see:

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brotherYou will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop outYou will not be able to lose yourself on skagAnd skip out for beer during commercials, becauseThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be televisedThe revolution will not be brought to youBy Xerox in four parts without commercial interruptionsThe revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon blowing a bugleAnd leading a charge by John Mitchell, General Abrams, and Spiro AgnewTo eat hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuaryThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by the Schaefer Award TheatreAnd will not star Natalie Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and JuliaThe revolution will not give your mouth sex appealThe revolution will not get rid of the nubsThe revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner, becauseThe revolution will not be televised, brother
There will be no pictures of you and Willie MaePushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead runOr trying to slide that color TV into a stolen ambulanceNBC will not be able predict the winnerAt 8:32 on report from twenty-nine districtsThe revolution will not be televised
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replayThere will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replayThere will be no pictures of Whitney YoungBeing run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new processThere will be no slow motion or still lifes of Roy WilkinsStrolling through Watts in a red, black, and green liberation jumpsuitThat he has been saving for just the proper occasion
Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville JunctionWill no longer be so damn relevantAnd women will not care if Dick finally got down with JaneOn Search for TomorrowBecause black people will be in the street looking for a brighter dayThe revolution will not be televised
There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock newsAnd no pictures of hairy armed women liberationistsAnd Jackie Onassis blowing her noseThe theme song will not be written by Jim Webb or Francis Scott KeysNor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny CashEngelbert Humperdinck, or The Rare EarthThe revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be right backAfter a message about a white tornadoWhite lightning, or white peopleYou will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroomThe tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowlThe revolution will not go better with CokeThe revolution will not fight germs that may cause bad breathThe revolution will put you in the driver's seat
The revolution will not be televisedWill not be televisedWill not be televisedWill not be televisedThe revolution will be no re-run, brothersThe revolution will be live

by Gil Scott-Heron

For more information about the songwriter, Gil Scott-Heron, see:

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Bars are Down" by Roger McGough

When I was a lad
most people round our way
were barzydown.

It was a world full of piecans.
Men who were barmy, married to women
who wanted their heads examined.

When not painting the railings,
our neighbours were doolally,
away for slates.

Or so my dad reckoned.
Needed locking away
the lot of them.

Leaving certain McGoughs
and a few close friends
free to walk the empty streets

in peace. Knowing exactly
whether we were coming or going.
Self-righteous in polished shoes.

Picking our way
between loose screws.

by Roger McGough

For more information about the poet, Roger McGough, see:

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Kubla Khan" by Chen Li

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
a giant, mobile pleasure
-dome decree.
“I don’t want fixed things. I am tired of

those regular rooms, of concubines who use the same perfume,

give the same moaning after standard procedures

though there are thousands of
Picking and calculating carefully, his Italian counselor, good at business administration,

arranged and combined those concubines into teams
 of six, three, or five,
three times per night, in different directions, in different formations,

to serve their emperor by turns.

Fine wine, opium, honey, leather whips,
globes, vibrators, the Bible, sex
-appealing underwear.
“I’ll ceaselessly move, ceaselessly feel excited, ceaselessly conquer,

ceaselessly reach the orgasm...”
But this is not a question of math,
not a question of military affairs, not even a question of medicine.

“This is a question of philosophy.”
Outside the palace, the ignored Persian traveler said,

“Time is the best aphrodisiac

that fosters change."

by Chen Li

For more information about the poet, Chen Li, see:

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Tuesday Poem: " [Excerpt from] -- Four recent poems" by Serhiy Zhadan

21 December 2021

Let it be the sign of the approach
this smoke over buildings
the smoke of winter homes.
Let it be a warning to us
with our light packs,
our corridors and our torchlight
to fill our journey.

I knew a thousand scholars
in this place
who carried in their pockets
the last lead type,
inscribed with the scattered wisdom of the city.
A draughty city, as starved of heat as a man is short of sight
its empty yards wheezing like lungs.

So she sees out winter, motherland
for all those gathering the family china
of their murdered
clots of porcelain groaning in the winter streets.

I knew
a thousand translators
who translated into this language
even when it didn’t have a word
for defeat.

And I witnessed how they brought
school primers to the city
in place of winter coal
looking for sense in the wild combinations
of letters, brought into line
like straggling soldiers after another rout

how will they survive this shining
that put out the eye of the Sunday sky
or welcome the birth of the new moon
the coming of feast days?

Let brightness be a gift to them
sprouting light as it breaches
catching on the short frequencies of dawn,
let it be a reminder of this:
the road is already travelled,
fear lies behind us, like a scorched field
and time is permeated by memory
as water is touched with the sun’s warmth,

the word for hope is tinged with the taste of lead,
the taste of winter grapes.

by Serhiy Zhadan (translated from Ukrainian by Oksana Maksymchuk and Sasha Dugdale)

Photo Credit: Hanna Hrabarska

For more information about the poet, Serhiy Zadan, see:

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Ballade at Thirty-five" by Dorothy Parker

This, no song of an ingénue,
     This, no ballad of innocence;
This, the rhyme of a lady who
     Followed ever her natural bents.
This, a solo of sapience,
     This, a chantey of sophistry,
This, the sum of experiments,—
     I loved them until they loved me.

Decked in garments of sable hue,
     Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents,
Wearing shower bouquets of rue,
     Walk I ever in penitence.
Oft I roam, as my heart repents,
     Through God’s acre of memory,
Marking stones, in my reverence,
     “I loved them until they loved me.”

Pictures pass me in long review,—
     Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender, and, often, true;
     Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence;
     Always saw what the end would be.
We’re as Nature has made us—hence
     I loved them until they loved me.

Princes, never I’d give offense,
     Won’t you think of me tenderly?
Here’s my strength and my weakness, gents,—
     I loved them until they loved me.

by Dorothy Parker

Photo Credit: New York Times Co. / Getty Images

For more information about poet, Dorothy Parker, see:

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Tuesday Poem: "I Did Not Tell Death Where I Live" by Brian Bilston

I did not tell Death where I lived -
But He has found me all the same.
I hear Him knocking on my door
And calling out my name.

My Snapchat settings kept Him out.
On Twitter I did block Him.
Facebook friend requests were spurned -
Yet still He keeps on knocking.

Court injunctions were sought and filed
But still I sit in fear.
Oh, my mistake. It is not Death -
I think my pizza's here.

by Brian Bilston

For more information about the poet, Brian Bilston, see:

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince Rogers Nelson


It's been seven hours and 15 daysSince you took your love awayI go out every night and sleep all daySince you took your love awaySince you been gone, I can do whatever I wantI can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurantBut nothingI said nothing can take away these blues'Cause nothing comparesNothing compares to you
It's been so lonely without you hereLike a bird without a songNothing can stop these lonely tears from fallingTell me baby, where did I go wrong?I could put my arms around every boy I seeBut they'd only remind me of you
I went to the doctor, guess what he told meGuess what he told meHe said, "Girl you better try to have fun, no matter what you do"But he's a fool
'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you
All the flowers that you planted mamaIn the back yardAll died when you went awayI know that living with you baby was sometimes hardBut I'm willing to give it another try
Nothing comparesNothing compares to youNothing comparesNothing compares to youNothing comparesNothing compares to you

by Prince Rogers Nelson

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits

A lovestruck Romeo sang the streets a serenadeLaying everybody low with a love song that he madeFinds a streetlight, steps out of the shadeSays something like, "You and me, babe, how about it?"
Juliet says, "Hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack"He's underneath the window, she's singing, "Hey, la, my boyfriend's backYou shouldn't come around here singing up at people like thatAnyway, what you gonna do about it?"
"Juliet, the dice was loaded from the startAnd I bet, and you exploded into my heartAnd I forget, I forget the movie songWhen you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?"
Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shameBoth dirty, both mean, yes, and the dream was just the sameAnd I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is realHow can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?
When you can fall for chains of silver you can fall for chains of goldYou can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they holdYou promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeahNow you just say "Oh, Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him"
"Juliet, when we made love, you used to cryYou said 'I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die'There's a place for us, you know the movie songWhen you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?"
I can't do the talks like they talk on the TVAnd I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to beI can't do everything but I'll do anything for youI can't do anything except be in love with you
And all I do is miss you and the way we used to beAll I do is keep the beat, the bad companyAll I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhymeJulie, I'd do the stars with you any time
"Juliet, when we made love you used to cryYou said 'I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die'There's a place for us, you know the movie songWhen you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?"
And a lovestruck Romeo, he sang the streets a serenadeLaying everybody low with a love song that he madeFind a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shadeHe says something like, "You and me, babe, how about it?"
"You and me, babe, how about it?"

by Mark Knopfler

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Tuesday Poem: "You Wouldn't Let Me Adopt My Dog" by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

A Poem for Ade-Juah

"Mom, you wouldn't let me adopt a dog in my dream,"
my daughter tells me. "Really? Go back to your 
dream, my child, and adopt that dog," I say. 

Tend to it, humor it, take it to the vet, clip its toenails.
Give it antibiotics and let it run wild on our lawn. 
Allow it to pull at the neighbor's flowers, let it dig
up their wooden fence, knock down other people's
flowerpots, give it a name, and let it
roll under your comforter. Let it eat out of your bowl. 

Tell the dog that its grandmother loves it very much. 
She loves it as long as it remains in the dream world
of uneven spaces, so improperly laid out, 
the dreamer cannot bring back into the real world
what belongs to the dream world. 
May your dog grow old and tired, beyond dog years,
and may it give birth to many dog babies 
to help populate the dream universe. 

I want to squat when I greet your dog, 
and let it lick my ring finger clean. 
I want your dog to linger upon my doorstep
while I stroke its head. I want to populate
your dream world with myself even as a dog
that I'm so afraid of lives and leaps. 
Go back, my sweet Ade, and tell the dog how
welcome it is, no matter what kind of dog it is. 

But let it know that my knees now hurt; my back
wants to give way after too many babies, 
and last night, my hip began to send new signals
my way, as if I were a bag of electric waves,
trying to tell the world I'm done.
Tell your dog that I do not have the résumé 
to tend to an American dog. Tell him I am still
African, in the way that my mother woke up
each day, wondering where the food
for us children would come from. 

Tell your dog that I love dogs, but I wonder 
if the child somewhere in my home village had
a bowl of dry rice and palm oil to eat this morning. 
Tell him my father still needs me to send money
to feed a house full of motherless children 
who have taken to living with him after the war. 
Tell the dog that if I become rich and famous, 

I'll let you cross over the threshold of the dream
world, into the real and bring him home 
to meet his new family, where his grandmother
stands over the kitchen sink, wet hands
and eyes, listening to Ade-Juah as if the things
that plague this world were not much
bigger than a dream, as if the life
of one small dog were larger than life. 

by Patricia Jabbah Wesley

Photo credit: Marissa R Carney

For more information about the poet, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, see:

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Tuesday Poem (Song): "Biko" by Peter Gabriel

September '77Port Elizabeth weather fineIt was business as usualIn police room 619Oh Biko, Biko, because BikoOh Biko, Biko, because BikoYihla Moja, Yihla MojaThe man is dead
When I try to sleep at nightI can only dream in redThe outside world is black and whiteWith only one colour deadOh Biko, Biko, because BikoOh Biko, Biko, because BikoYihla Moja, Yihla MojaThe man is dead
You can blow out a candleBut you can't blow out a fireOnce the flames begin to catchThe wind will blow it higherOh Biko, Biko, because BikoYihla Moja, Yihla MojaThe man is dead
And the eyes of the world areWatching nowWatching now

by Peter Gabriel

On the 12th of September, it was the 45th anniversary of the brutal murder of Bantu Stephen Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) by the apartheid regime of South Africa. This post is to honour his legacy and to honour how Biko and others like him never gave up the fight until the ugly, racist, oppressive South African regime was toppled.

For more information about Bantu Stephen Biko see:

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Tuesday Poem: "East Bronx" by David Ignatow

In the street two children sharpen
knives against the curb.
Parents leaning out the window
above gaze and think and smoke
and duck back into the house
to sit on the toilet seat
with locked door to read
of the happiness of two tortoises
on an island in the Pacific --
always alone and always
the sun shining.

by David Ignatow

For more information about the poet, David Ignatow, see:

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Call him George, or Neville (or the gunman in Texas)" by Leslie D. Bush

My character’s name is irrelevant
To my tale; it’s a tale with a moral
I place George as a British person
Living in Nazi Germany, at the time

Time of the book burnings, massive 
displays of foolishness and intolerance
And naked power. There’s a line from a book
I cannot find, that describes how George

Witnessing this desecration quietly celebrates
That he has seen his enemy; he has seen their
Behaviour; he is sickened and disgusted
You might think this strange, unrelated

With the conservative urge to ban and burn
It is a warning of where their behaviour is going
Ban and burn, ban and burn; has a beat to it
History already has heard that beat, it begins with books

And ends with people, getting banned, banished and burnt
In America? Not yet. Give it time. Will you, like George
Feel sickened, celebrate and say “I see my enemy”
When you see a family member or  a next-door neighbour

You can wait if you like; dip into your “thoughts and prayers”
(who are you praying to, if praying is the correct verb?
“Preying” is more like it.). Do what all good gunmen do
Kill children, shoot up schools. So I ask you, what will you do?

Will you, like George, feel sickened, celebrate and say 
“I see my enemy” when you can look into a mirror, see yourself
a family member, a next-door neighbour or a local politician?
Can you? It takes courage, it’s not for the frightened and the fearful

by Leslie D. Bush
© 26 May 2022 

Local Otautahi/Christchurch poet, Leslie D. Bush, says this about himself:

"My name is Leslie Bush. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was born here. Apart from a 34-year interval in Auckland; here I am and here I will remain. My love of language is eternal. My love of reading goes back to childhood and my writing poems goes back to my youth. Life is poetry; poetry is life.  I am a Poet, not just any poet; by nurture and nature; by the fickle finger of fate; by the perversities of chaos, chance and choice; I am unique."

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Tuesday Poem: "so you want to be a writer?" by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

by Charles Bukowski


For more information about the poet, Charles Bukowski, see: