They talk a lot of rubbish.
They don’t clear the streets quick enough when it snows,
And get out of hand if you are not in it.
Short, fat, bald, and smoking a pipe,
Under a street lamp,
I wear orange trousers and plastic,
And I think I have the answers to poor
The Indian before me has,
Wooden beads around his neck,
And thick toes
Sticking out from open leather sandals.
The other has greasy hair,
And is very hairy,
In a turban.
They may have better ideas.
None of them are women.
A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia.
He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends,
Lets establish a code.
If the letter you get from me is written in blue ink,
it is true what I say,
if it is written in red ink,
it is false.
After a month his friends got the first letter.
It says, this letter: Everything is wonderful here,
Stores are full of good food,
Movie theaters show good films from the west,
Apartments are large and luxurious but,
The only thing you can not buy is,
This is how we live.
We have all the freedoms we want,
But what we are missing is red ink -
- the language to articulate our non-freedom.
So then I was moved.
The pink and yellow bundle in the mothers arms,
Cuts three figures though the barren concrete landscape,
Son and wife and finally mother,
United in South Korea.
Frost in every breath,
A tight escape.
Warm soup around the table because,
Only mother know the pain of birth.
The raft did not fail this time and she showed up in a,
Mother will be happy to learn the new ways,
Of feeding children soup.
I’d like a BMW,
With leather seats,
And seat-belts for my Yorkshire Terrier.
A Bugatti is impractical.
I would like a Mercedes,
The CLA is a bit too small.
I’d like a Volkswagen,
With alloy wheels,
Satellite Aided Transmission.
I’d like some justice with my land rent,
And slippers for my feet.
And so, health.
And the discussion with mum’s friend,
Who has survived beyond her,
Turns to the evolution of mattresses,
Luxurious but bad for your back,
Sometimes current but initially,
Has silver hair that frames,
Her ice blue eyes perfectly,
And deep wrinkles around her mouth,
That light any room she’s in.
Ripe fruit can be determined by the smell of it.
At the right time,
Will flood a kitchen with aromas that colour,
The entire house,
Dispersed into cupboards and,
Dispensed across living room sofas,
They can make you forget what you are doing as you,
Raising smiles in every nook and cranny…
If we live long enough,
Aliens may bring fruit,
That excites Amygdalas,
And titilates glands,
Caressing more than nasal passages,
Creating new sensations.
Out walking this morning,
Healthy and feeling good,
I remembered my sister and her fight with cancer,
And the frustration she expressed,
Not with the pain,
But with the body that would not allow her,
To spend time the way she wanted,
Time with her mother,
Out walking I was thinking,
A million dollars can change everything,
I feel now though that,
I’d be happier with health.
It’s a revolt.
And in the name of God, they are building
And delivering doctors,
Door to door.
They are conveying the message that,
And no one is forgotten.
Assistance is distributed fairly but cameras,
In some areas,
Are not welcome.
Someone hoists a burning American Flag that,
Must be made from something other than cloth,
Because it melts,
And the smoke is acrid,
And the sputtering fireballs,
Showering the crowd below,
Will scar beyond repair.
The woman who does not want to talk about it,
Has been warned.
She has been told,
And so, she must shut up.
And Tunisia, and Egypt, and Syria, and Libya,
Will have to keep hoping,
Is not a man in uniform,
The place I used to visit,
On bad days,
With yoghurt and spoon,
The leaves are raked,
Into a neat pile,
By the bench,
And except for the newspaper,
Blowing about in the wind,
There is no-one here.
The river beyond,
Is a murky brown,
Same as it’s always been,
Over the concrete wall,
On the sandy bank,
Is a briefcase.
Is it yours?
My name is Henry,
And I’ve been disappearing for years.
I can’t seem to find my way home.
Do you remember
short or not,
shall we not?
Remember the trip up,
can we not, did we not?
Remember fooling around,
In that old farmhouse,
will we not, sexy tot,
love my hot
Let him have the car keys dear,
Let him go to Longonot.
I squashed a cockroach the other day.
A big, Fat, Cockroach.
It was trying to get away and I squashed it.
Not that I had anything against that, Particular cockroach but, I was bare-foot.
I had tea, And biscuits, And was bare-foot when he made his dash across the corridor.
It took some time to calm down and, Fetch another tray.
When I returned, The cockroach had moved.
A thick, white streak, Of substantial viscosity, Ran right across the floor and, Straight under my door.
Her gartered leg was up on the table.
She removed a delicate silver pistol and, With his back turned, Fired a single shot.
I used a shoe this time, Like a maniac,
And then, Framed by a single, Swinging light-bulb, Waited for the detective.
Damp heat and talk,
Drifts to halcyon days of,
Seventies groove and Afro's ruffled,
In the political funk of,
Freedom fighters and platform shoes,
Smooth and languid,
Dripping off honey colored lips like,
It's a card trick,
And we are mesmorised by,
Over fanned cards,
Fascinated by the sleight of hand,
And the afternoon light,
Our soft voices and loud giggles,
Caught in a trick of time,
Heavy with love and breakfast but,
One will not survive.
When you are born,
You know that you are,
Here to change the world,
And it is good,
And it’s alright,
To do your best.
You’re checking the curtains,
Just in case,
You run out of sunshine.
He is munching on nuts,
Utilising the muscles he has.
He has wonderful eyes,
Wide set and is,
Now eating a banana with a plastic spoon.
We both have motioned for a waiter.
He is masticating on a blob of Almond paste that he,
Has scooped from the glass jar in the,
Center of the table, by the ash tray
With his middle finger,
Nibbling like a squirrel,
And there is something askew,
As he rushes,
To the aid of a woman carrying,
Four heavy bags.
He leaves his own where it is,
I wonder if he’s on drugs, or
Just a tourist,
High on Africa,
A white man free to do as he pleases.
I wonder why the other white man on the table next to ours,
First asked him to mind his bags,
Whilst he used the toilet,
And never came back.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it,
I am a black man preparing to fly, and
Have been informed about bags,
The broom slices across the floor,
Cutting a precise path through the mess,
Clean swathe through the valley,
Creating mounds of discarded,
Returning slowly to their original state while,
Still holding plastic memories of the night out,
-whether or not they resulted in a steady boyfriend,
Or a hang-over-
A strong attempt at cleaning up,
A fine start.
A wayward sock appears on top of the
Crest on the
Freedom has come at last.
The lush valley,
Though it took years,
Has been traversed.
The mannequin operating the broomstick,
Is creating life at last,
And as was written,
The cockroach was right.
When a window is shut,
Somewhere, a door will open.
There are no terrorists here,
Says the classic bold type,
On the FullScap paper,
In the folder on the dusty desk,
Of the Satellite police station in Isiolo.
The drilling rigs will make no difference to,
The cows or the goats or the lives of the people,
Who do not live here.
The construction does not impinge on farms,
And will be manned by machines not capable of dying,
So there is no need to worry,
The oil will be distributed fairly,
According to the percentages,
Agreed to in the constitution.
The matter of people living
In Isiolo does not come into this.
There are no people here.
I wish we had played on all night,
African cowboys with not much,
Else to do,
I wish we had challenged the fish in the sea and,
Called out to the Bison,
My father and his band,
-strike while the iron is hot-
Johnstone, his brother,
On the drums,
Kicking up a riot,
Sarah the lead,
Crooning about her rescue from a,
Very bad man,
Flinging in the,
A doctor dying of AIDS,
Breathing life into a tin-metal harmonica,
Rocking the old man at the end of the bar,
And the couple at the table, fighting with their lips,
I think heard it coming when he fumbled the line,
And I wish we had played on all night.
They removed the thermostats,
And made us pay for every cup of water we used,
I was standing in the rain,
With a white friend and a Servant.
We marveled at the homemade architecture,
Hopped the rivulets of grime,
And heaved big sighs.
I asked him why there were,
Water tanks with signs that read,
Twenty shillings a litre.
They sell water here too.
Scottish men protect,
Single malt whiskey,
The language they speak,
My Palestinian friend once told me,
dismantle life this way
and bear no burden?
the lone yellow pebble
bore witness to the
abduction that took place at midnight
the man was gagged
and led away as women wept
keep me out of this one
a bear needs
twenty seven square miles
keep me out of this one
the woman cut the balls off
the man who raped her
keep me out of this one
Never mind steel,
We are creating new materials,
Carbon nano-tubes, poly-ceramics,
Twirl a ball above your head, we are
Building elevators into space,
Stringing massage parlours around the earth,
We are engineering ourselves,
Computer worlds and,
Selling real estate, we
Are leaving the old people,
Stained curtains and they are,
Walking into forests,
They say that Africans,
Will have to fight for a place on the bus,
So I am pulling out all the stops.
I am burning incense and,
Turning out closets,
I am fumigating my life,
Throwing out old clothes and,
Trying to curry favour,
-surely children were not meant for the streets,
Nor nations meant for war-
I have found sack cloth and ash and I,
Gouge flesh with home-made irons
Flagellate until I bleed sin,
All over the carpet.
There will be gnashing of teeth,
And great wailing,
-effort must be made-
I shall identify,
Church pews with nails and,
But the spotlight keeps missing me,
And I manage only to elicit,
Splendid chuckles from my nephew.
Here I am,
In a long, low, valley,
On a horse, under sweltering sky.
A single trail runs East to West,
As far as the eye can see.
The sheep-skin bags,
Strung low off the saddle,
Bandits rode into town last week,
And made off with a couple of dreams,
Now I must know,
Which way to go,
I am the Sheriff,
Living on the top floor,
In a cultured,
With cool, kitchen kettles,
You are not visited except by cameras,
Or people taking your children away.