Ben Brinkburn May 2014

Dalmatia and Other Localities before the War
When we ate grilled fish on the floating restaurant
lording it on the Dalmatian coast

...mistaken for Party children- daddy must be an
official for them to have a motor bike like that...

how cool

when we stood on the quayside at Budva then later
stranded on that hotel island watching the causeway
slowly disappear beneath an unhurried sea

when detouring to Kotor to see the earthquake damage
imagining the earth move a dust shrouded town
staring through chained gates as if at a movie set

when I drove the Honda too fast skidding around
potholes and you giggled later drinking rocket fuel
local liqueurs in a bar with currency for wall paper

then when we strolled the leaning streets of
Mostar where soon there would be tanks
Then what of our own smouldering conflict

our own trajectory of spite filled ordnance
could you sense that it was coming?
a nurtured, carefully concealed attack

time worn sophistry
what of that when gun smoke
smarts your eyes.

From the forthcoming collection 'Mythopoetic'
May 2014 · 2.0k
Slam Ships
Ben Brinkburn May 2014

There is no honour where
thieves are concerned
skidaddling along Old Compton Street
pretending to be rich
striving to drink anything before lunch anything
on
the hoof
just so long as it’s over 40% proof
that’s important
or
drunk on the beach at
Playa Manzanillo
tumbling dice
touch of Midas
maybe the gold will rub off onto me
like pollen on a bee stuck to the legs
stuck to the fur
cribbage pegs
croupier blur
dealt a hand
relax with a mojito
hands clawed in the sand
cursing the might-have-beens
wishing for the might bes
chips one square out
90 degrees north
45 degrees south
the painted boats pulled up on the shoreline
Venezuelan Coastguard Launches
scouring the Windward Island monied coke lines
louche and free and slightly depraved
devil you do devil you don’t

and maybe

I should have done the dealing
instead of playing with what is dealt
career crossroad choices
casino neon
instead of
hot strand paper
Chinese lanterns many
spectral colours
remember Brazil?
‘Praia do Diabo!’
memories of London days
Oxford nights
Brooklyn JFK haze
Sao Paulo frights
chewing Samurai pizzas
watching a thunderstorm spewing rain
over Granada
on a boardwalk mozzarella sticky teeth
swordfish and octopus ink throw on
some red capsicum peppers
sliced like dragons tails
now that’s some pizza
dreams of blackjack and rum
high tail and lucky spots
working out my next move
on Isla de Margarita
remembering

what was the name of that bar
in Bayswater?

With the gambling room beneath-
old school, East Enderesque
not all are run by Chinese you know and
not that one run by Laotians from Vientiane either
no no no the other….one
and you wore that dress
covered in red sequins the one you slinked off
to the summer ball in Oriel in
the one in which
you shimmered and crossed dimensions
polymorphed through parallel branes
with legs to lick
breasts to suck
later limbs akimbo
in the good old days of propitious spots and slam ships
when the moon was less lonely
and the ocean had less reservation
and me, well
I had all the luck.

From the forthcoming collection 'Mythopoetic'
Apr 2014 · 357
Life Before History Began
Ben Brinkburn Apr 2014

easy days

How complacent the thought
When everything is trying
to kill you, and you are
trying to kill it.
I mean look at this city
or walk the prairie
or the moor
and wonder
and then scrunch up a piece
of newspaper and laughing
set fire to it with a match
and throw it to the floor
at the back of the bus
low flames, watch it
smoulder
hold my sides

easy days

Life before history began, when
the dinosaurs roamed the Earth  
innocent primordial bloodlust
before the toxic torture chamber
of the Great Now
where the land is a toy
and the sky is owned and
tied up with steel studded leather
straps
to be filled and abused
and tracked by vapour trails.


The air is still... as if waiting with
glee for an air-burst: the great
cleansing of the thermonuclear.

I need further terms of reference
as I wander around the bus station.
No attack today
damn world peace.

Apr 2014 · 685
Lots of Little Gods
Ben Brinkburn Apr 2014

It took less than twenty four hours
before Sanjeev knocked on my door
and asked to borrow an iron
I gladly obliged and he seemed like a nice guy
we went down to the local bar for a drink
all neon and deep sofas and young fools
who thought
having an unmanageable mortgage was cool
and would drink obscure bottled beers
and text fuck all
to fuck off people
all the fucking time
but I drank Stella and Sanjeev
drank Guinness
and he was lonely a long way from
his family
Mumbai far far away and
he couldn’t understand divorce
and why I was living on my own while my
ex-wife and kids lived
just up the hill
western lifestyle was clearly beyond him
the finer points
he clearly
would never ever get
but we got steadily more drunk and he grinned
and grinned
and he told me about his faith
about the Hindu religion
and it sounded really good
loads of little Gods running around
doing all sorts of things to each other
pretty cool really all in all
although I am sure my synopsis
doesn’t do it any real justice
but we wobbled home laughing
and he said that’s what he will call me
from hereonin
Captain Wobbly
and I like it
as I’ve been called things much worse
in my sorry ass time
so Captain Wobbly will do
for now
for me.

Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

so you've now got a glass eye
that's great
it really suits you
although
can't get used to you without
the eye patch that
gave you real character it was
really sorta you
y'know
and
mine's a JD and Coke
I know I know sacrilege but hell
hell what the hell
so what
and so here's a toast to the has beens
and might of beens and
the been's that still are
long may they prosper
in vulcan peace
well not really soon may their fall come
soon may they get it over and done with
soon may they suffer then swallow their pride
in a lake of rum
hey then they can join us in Alphabet City snuck away on
East 3rd a sparrow's erratic flight
from Avenue D
and this is not a great part of town
this is not hyper-cool urban angst
this is pay dirt and delusion and a hollow heart
yodeling in the gloaming
only full of words that
don't fit
and some times the bar is full of Belgians
sometimes Nigerians
sometimes English
some stray Chinese now
and then
clutching bottles
grinning ruefully about what might be and
what hasn't been
sneering
the days are for mooching and for flitting
for wincing and for teeth gritting
the nights are for hawks like you and me
feeling free
with darkness to cut
with
old world bravado
and neon to caress
with new world glass sharp
optimism tinged with the
smarts
of a hidden knife

Spare a thought for lost English souls in NYC
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

I dreamt last night of nebulae in my hands and dragons in my pocket.
Sleep cannot be trusted as new portals open and it is not always pleasant
or warranted what you glimpse through them.
The stars as grains of lost thought.
Maybe.
Trains of granulated think matter.
Perhaps.
I am a Spaceman and I stride through the ether talking to faeries dancing with sirens and berating the imps that wish to disconnect my air supply.
The light bulb is turned on, but there is nothing there.
When I was young I would walk cliff tops contemplating launches and teasing the gulls about their chains and plotting schemes of domination of the galaxy with the stoats frogs and squirrels.
Now I just carve out urban caves.
The dreams have gone.
The nightmares are friends.
Watercolours in the rain.

more musings on what it means to be a spaceman...
Mar 2014 · 920
Dirty Old Town
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2014

Off the job again and
secretly wishing I wasn't but
keeping the bravado crystal
and sharp
trying to stay cool
reading Beckett and
and  Fante
the suit isn't threadbare yet but give it time
whiskey flowers and
tequila headaches
and the roller girl shouted
'hey mac, get a job!'
broadside smiles
trying to stay cool
watching Bronson, Brecht
and  Bertolucci
looking forward to
the next drink
burning matches and seriously considering
setting fire to the curtains
dirty old town

Ben Brinkburn Sep 2013

The aliens are among us
they sit next to you on the bus
they stand next to you in the burger bar
they slouch in the shop a little ways away
looking at the handmade soaps
whilst you sniff the organic bubble bath
they are here watching
making sure you don’t put together enough rope
to hang yourself
because that is their job
and this self-destruct business
it’ll only happen
when they say so
so forget about free will and
self-determination
they have plans for us that involve the stars
but only on their terms
because on Terra
we
live in hell and there is a universal compact
to make sure it stays
right here.

watch your back...that raincoat may harbour a tentacle...
Jul 2013 · 539
Losing Your Head
Ben Brinkburn Jul 2013

Making love languid on a sunny afternoon
if you are holiday spend your money release yourself
The Big Hush
Astronology and people
advice on self-decapitation
walking through a graveyard
fantasising about having your head chopped off
when when when
crazy as the new normal
normal as the new whip
existentialist crap in my head
the analyst must save some money for the state
he sits there digitally ticking a spread sheet
looks at me and says
'these mental problems
are they all in your head?'
I say no they are in my feet
you have a sense of humour he says
you cannot be depressed
so
time to start busking in the streets

Jul 2013 · 573
Playing with the Spark
Ben Brinkburn Jul 2013

This is a test do not be alarmed
slow dancing in a burning room
drinking cheap cider around the back of the dynamo
the electricity zinging
small birds hopping about
playing  with the  spark
it rains steam rises and
Rabbit says he’s more interested in
snatch these days than tit
flicking matches into the air
throwing fire crackers at passing stray dogs
dreaming of torching cats but they
are too quick
playing with the spark

Ben Brinkburn Apr 2013

I sat with Billy in his caravan
buffeted by winds and squalls
and at other times
roasted by summer heat
scalding the tin roof
lolling in oven like conditions
as we drank luke warm beer
[the fridge only periodically worked
when hit with a hammer]
and in cyclical freezer like conditions we drank
supermarket smartprice whiskey
musing over edgeland legends
and urban decay
and towns with no cheer
which was always the cue for some
Tom Waits
[old record player/vinyl/much drunken sing-alongs]
the cheap liquor slipping down
a bin burning outside
ragged crows cawing
and Billy laughing saying
he has reached the heights of consciousness
he calibrates with the saints
on the level of spiritual vibrations and
he knows this because he’s done the tests
found a book in a skip
putting the world to rights with a divine glow
safe in his kingdom
slouched over vintage porn mags
in Billy’s caravan.

Apr 2013 · 3.4k
The Norwegian
Ben Brinkburn Apr 2013

Pieter is a Norwegian and he lives
in the ground floor flat and takes
the bus to work and sits in his window
on his Vaio laptop with just a bare
bulb lighting his room
and receives a lot of mail from
South America
and we chat in the corridor downstairs
sometimes he’d hand me a beer
always Heineken
never ever anything else
and he’d tell me he existed primarily on
a diet of bananas probiotic yoghurt
prime beef and eggs along with beer
and on Saturday evenings only
two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon
which he’d sleep off on Sundays listening to
recordings of his home town’s church bells
and he said he understood Norway better
than the UK
you knew who you were in Norway and
were always a touch away from a friend
or foe and there was no artifice involved
just icy mountains and clear seas and the release
of arctic breath
and one Friday night Barb came over
and we sat with Pieter on the stairs
drinking his Heineken and I caught him
eyeing up Barb’s legs and I didn’t blame him
no sir I enjoy an eyeful and more myself
but we got steadily more drunk
and I ended up asking him if he was
a drug runner for coke-crazed Peruvians
and he just smiled as if it was
not such a crazy question and he
said
no, just money for Nigerians
and we clinked bottles
and we laughed
park it into an account cream off your
cut and move it on
a piece of piss
nice work if you can get it and we drink to that
and I hope Barb is feeling as horny as me
and doesn’t want to go to the Beehive
before any Friday night genital work out
as its cold and snowing outside
and I’m not made
of Norwegian stuff.

Ben Brinkburn Mar 2013

A German firm makes wooden bow ties
A Korean one concrete clocks
I can buy Dutch knitted beards if I like
to keep out the biting winds
hurtling down
from the Arctic Reaches
or across
from the Siberian Marches
a global inspiration deep in my urban cell
sorry again for the joke card that never really
was a joke
a sad sorry friend and that’s
just me
flicking through a cyber magazine alone
a brain keyed into the universal consciousness with
blind spots and frequency disrupters
dialled up to the max
sick of sitting here in the kitchen
staring out of the window with
the radio on.

Mar 2013 · 659
Where
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2013

scribble something
on the back of an envelope
final demand
credit chaser for that
that cannot be given
laugh and set fire to it
with a cheap bic lighter
ten for a pound
is there any release for winter snow
spring clouds
autumn frowns
summer sex
look at the line of flex
see how it cajoles
and beckons
flecks of spent
diamond
inlaid in her stockings
challenging times
for the anti-hero.

Mar 2013 · 1.2k
Urban Edgeland Chaos
Ben Brinkburn Mar 2013

Trekking the fields studying
the grass and
sleeping in hedgerows waking
in the night to test your
knowledge of the constellations
and Orion tracks from south to west
and this pleases you although the
night chills can challenge the blanket of
recycled magazines and news rags
and old clothes daringly taken from
the Salvation Army’s recycling skip
and foxes run and stouts scamper
and geese call and ducks quack
and cows bay and horses neigh
and moles
are new friends
and you go through a Ted Hughes moment
you stare at trees and see the myriad
of life forms in the bark
with Hughsian drama you imagine
stalking rain horses
although only truly find
staring sheep
and the sky is cast with dirty cumulus
the track is covered in broken stone
and smashed bottles
cans and plastic packets poke out of bushes
old refrigerators scar the edgeland
watertight but
dangerous places to sleep
as you skirt the town a refugee
before your time
perhaps timeless
in the everlasting now of
rural vagrancy king of
the farm track and
the dog walker trails of
muddy puddles and scrappy corn
burnt out tree
rusted household appliances
random pieces of clothing
a focus point for camp fire drinking
gather up the splintered kindling
rip up the news on already damaged paper
laugh with a deep throated abandon at
the chaos in the world charted there
and watch the stars feeling captured by
the night
but still very much
alive

Feb 2013 · 450
Kitchen Conversations #2
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

‘Great big skies tumbling down to earth
it’s like that in Norfolk,’ says Barb.
‘That I understand,’ I say, ‘but where do you
stand on crying when your young dog dies?’
‘Been there and bought the tee-shirt,’ she said.
‘What about thinking of the human as a machine?’
‘I think of the human more as a ghost.’
‘And where do you stand on Easter Eggs?  Are they a travesty
of the most sacred of Christian festivals?’
‘I stand by Easter Eggs as the most glorious
statement of Pagan intent and will always eat them
naked, sat on a bed of ferns.’
‘For such is your want Barb, of that I am aware.’
Yes dear Ben, that is my want and why I like to collect
crystal owls.’
And in such ways, mysteries are solved.

Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

The debt collectors usually rang
about 6.30 and I was
always ready for them and
sometimes I would just ignore them
others I would squeeze a horn down the phone
at other times I felt like having some fun
last night I’d listened to the spiel
that inane spiel
yes, I was aware of my debt to
corporate mammon
then I asked the caller
what she was wearing
what colour lingerie did she have on this fine evening
then I explained that I was sat there
naked
the call soon ended as they
always do and
tonight I feel in the mood
for some more sport and
I ask the caller if he is happy to live a life
without shame
and he pauses
the line goes quiet
and I pause too for thought
deep in contemplation as the ether fizzes
and he says
‘I do feel shame it stalks me
in much the same way
as Lelantos stalked the parched groves
of Phrygia’
and I nod slowly then wince
as Stella upstairs throws a bottle against the wall
but the spell is complete
ah
a man of the classics I say
and I can sense a shrug
the matrix of the instantaneous universe connects us
for a brief slice of time
we all have to get by he says
and that we do I assure him
that’s really all we can do
all we can do
is get by

Feb 2013 · 1.3k
Metropolitan Miasma
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

Stained asphalt
flickering sodium lights
pavement art
ambulance chasing
motorway drone
crushed cans and ripped pizza boxes
kebab debris
scared cats
gum scarred concrete
burnt out rubbish bins congealed plastic
dripping
overflowing bottle banks
used condoms hung on a line
fox shit
streetscene collapse
bottles arranged along a wall one two three
one lone shoe
in the road
sealed up letter boxes one with a message
written in black felt pen on brown parcel tape
‘If you are bothering to read this
you a knobhead’
kicked in door
steel shuttered shops
burnt out wheelie bin one lump of plastic
very impressive
smoking employees behind the Co-op
one knows Barb thumbs up
I return the thumb
walking
a woman shouting at a priest: ‘But all he wants to be is
a woman’
torn pages from a porno mag dildos up arses
cocks in mouths
piles of brochures newspapers flyers dumped in a doorway
a few quid scammed can’t get the delivery help
these days
someone parking a Audi nice and shiny
looks up and down the street
wary
kids slumped smoking skunk outside the library
a derelict sat on a wall grinning fag in mouth
tells me I have a happy face and offers his bottle to me
I take it and have a slug
trudging
dog crapping in middle of wide clean pavement
someone walking past muttering
‘never in Peru’
I stand opposite my flat and think of bombs
and a cacophony of alternative universes
and small candles shaped like eggs
a bald headed postman drives up to the letter box
techno blasting from his little red van
Molly Upstairs shouts something unintelligible
before throwing a small package down
the postie watches it descend from the sky
and catches it
without a smile
these are the days of unwholesome atmospheres
but it’s all I have so I don’t mind
it’s better than being kept in a box
with the lid
sealed tight.

Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

Chasing Pegasus deep into the void
hurtling like Sagitta the arrow
Cassiopeia my soul mate
the depths of the Hyperion shallows
paradoxically gnawing at my
heightened perceptions and
out there I meet Neil Armstrong
I have a feeling we may be passing through a place
where souls gather and he tells me
all he needs is
information all he wants
is knowledge
and we connect and shake hands
[well as best as we can do being in
spacesuits, you know,
all things considered]
and then Elvis appears and tells me I’ve
come a long way
and I laugh and say tell me about it
and he is more interested in Old Earth
he tells me he could always sense he
had a affinity with Ancient Egypt it was something
that had preyed on his Earthly perceptions
dancing around his peripheral vision
like some demented djinn
then he told me
not to worry tell them all back home
when the right song comes along
I’ll be back
and the glories of Ra will be bestowed upon us
and everyone will be entitled to free access
to the best burgers
angel can produce
and everyone will live in a world of song and applause
everyone will have their own spotlight
and beds will be made of marshmallow
with rice paper sheets
just imagine
and I did
one arm over Elvis Presley’s shoulder
deep in space.

Feb 2013 · 1.2k
Whittle
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

Spin the stick in the hollow of my heart
light that fire of devotion watch the seagulls swoop
on a sand blown beach the dunes full
of vodka bottles and crisp packets and dirty
easy-wipes  the tankers plough the reach not too far
from shore
rigs bristle with impatient intent ready ready ready
they will tear and snap Neptune’s net
the arms of the Irish Sea not so much opened in glee
as distractedly numbed by the freezing breakers.
Fire up the grill with some stolen petrol
eyebrows singed throats torn with acrid smoke
impressive fire ball tactical nuclear assault on
pork sausages cider laughter Moroccan haze
keeps the midges away even in a refrigerated spring
they like to bite in sight of Liverpool
so crackle and combust and fry and grill
lest this not be the haughtiest of places
where upon my poor heart
doth spill.

Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

To chart the apogee of whimsy is to tie
oneself to the mast as the sirens call
and Babylon Sisters allure and the ale houses
sing
an ode to the failed politicians past
and I drag my broom behind me
imagining it is a sword furring the damp morning loam of Avalon
but it does not, because
I am but a stray
in a jaunty northern town
nothing less
nothing more
nothing lower nothing higher
nothing as the substance of being
nothing as a wet rag
held tight
as I rock myself to sleep
dreaming of galactic empires
and the moorland
where the widows of war
walked and wailed
and if only my lottery numbers
would come up
then I could happily deal with the enigma
of
Nothing.

Feb 2013 · 1.7k
Atom Spun Blank Staring
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

With space colliding
and consciousness demoted to
electrical charges
the beep of a car horn can

break you from a reverie of
spinning atoms and cracked coffee cups
in crappy cafes in
broken towns where

news of invasions flicker across screens
and disinterested teens discuss apps
and buildings collapse and governments
speak of

fascism being a dirty word something
decidedly non-PC
something slanderous
how dare thee

We are not Nazis
we are just looking out
for you

they know what’s best for you so
drink your coffee and
enjoy your technology
just don’t
say the wrong
words

Feb 2013 · 1.4k
Oppenheimer Blue
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

He walked briskly down the street matriculating prisms of light in the rhythm of the half-life gauging the calibration of the saints deluding angels with his card tricks keeping mediums amused with stories of Jewish cowboys in the old west towns like Tucson and Fort Smith El Paso and Los Alamos irradiated deserts and timber towers of purpose harbouring test wrappings and the allure of relativity the tease of light speed the promise of a new universe bore of a split nucleus of electrons freed and neutrons cowed sliding into a chaos of religious quest and the argument of philosophies both lost and found and true dichotomies and myths that excite but lie and serve sweet political purpose of mushroom clouds below home skies before they puncture the foreign and innocence lost on wide blue seas of dreams spiked with insidious isotopes walking the street wondering if he should forget should he discard and will we ever reach the stars

Feb 2013 · 1.3k
A Force of Nature
Ben Brinkburn Feb 2013

Japanese businessmen knocking back the whiskey
some solace in a truly alien land
there’s a meeting in the corner of fascists
skinheads denim jackets  snakebite pints
they gauge the bar wary
so insecure in their own land
someone saying it’s a crying shame a crying shame
a disconnected voice
and Chisel and Aldo are dealing in the toilets
Charlie K weed and E
complicated system of tariffs and loans and franchising
true capitalist skill at work
TV blur
body bags off the plane
totem to a pointless war people
lining a high street to remember those who have fallen
for the corporate cause
girl killed in the street for her iphone
forgotten
news as dirty linen
news readers as grinning cleaners of media
and Meat comes up to the bar and says
‘He’s a force of nature that bloke.’
Then just stands there.
I have no idea who or what he is talking about.
‘Quite’ I say.
And a young skinhead laughs nervously palming his scalp.
A lamb to the slaughter.
It’s a big club.

Jan 2013 · 709
Addendum
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

It is important to never trust a Rumazoid
it is important to remember
that to them lies are truth
and truth are lies
they reject Oneness with the universe
and embrace The Process of Rejection
their religion is one of disbelieve
their moral code a sin chocked chaos
of sneering laughter and sneaky murders
and love as theft.

This makes them buggers to play cards with.

Jan 2013 · 851
The Nuclear City
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Collecting pennies of majesty
putting hands in the after burn
the cobalt blue retro jets
the chop of helicopters flitting
from rooftop to rooftop
beneath a nuclear canopy
missiles in teeth
corporate value sought
within a new urban tranche
new green metropolis
downtown spires reaching to the sky
connected
networks
concrete fabric synapses
connected
by bullets in tubes
cities wilting while
others flower
new streetscape turning on a coin
jaded super heroes lost
spinning
a language familiar yet
foreign
let the people rule
but the money
talk.

Jan 2013 · 964
Taunting the Grid
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Don’t fail me now not before the bombs fall
words spoken then laughter in the restaurant
over Chablis and oysters, nerves of wool

Worry lines as a way of life across grimacing faces
pilot training as a suppressed experience, deep life,
steak for main maybe choux hearts for dessert

Destruction on the launch pad, the routine has been
impressed on the grid, the matrix of consciousness,
natural selection in the space of jostled neurons wondering

Whether there is any relief once in space, away
away, from this grid of streets, is it solid enough
to hold up our spirits high, untouched,

Blemish free draped in the flag, retro jet joy
and star drives invisible from the dark side of the moon,
food gulped down drink taken to salve the tongue

Burnt out hearts and molten faces set out on the grid,
falling from the skies like punctured Chinese lanterns.

Jan 2013 · 8.6k
Zodiac Schmodiac
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Capricorn is unsure of his place in the world
Virgo is a tease
Libra is world weary
Scorpio is barbed
Aries is a dreamer and an anarchist wishing for a world
of liberty and love
Leo is moody
Aqaurius looks on bemused seeing the world not as a rock
but as an oyster
Cancer likes ice cream
Gemini walks the streets at night at odds with the world
searching, searching for something missing
Sagittarius does too many drugs as does
Taurus who drinks excessively too but lives by the maxim
you’re a long time dead
Pisces practises Zen and just
Is.

Jan 2013 · 2.0k
Molly Upstairs
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Molly Upstairs was the first to greet me
as I moved in
immediately she showed me a new tattoo
she had just had done
upper left arm
it looked like a dart board
she didn’t say why but
within five minutes I had learned her father
had been abusive she had crap taste in men
always went for muscle over brains
her fatal flaw
and
how she paid for it oh how she paid
but
I benefited from the muscle as she hollered up
the stairs and a huge bloke in a grubby bat wing tee shirt
and denim cut offs appeared
grinning, calling me Chief,
and carried the rest of my gear in
without complaint and Molly Upstairs
told me a Norwegian lived on the ground floor
computer geek
worked for a software firm on the edge of town
renting cheap creaming his expenses
and a guy called Sanjeev lived next door to me
sweet guy from Mumbai always looking to borrow
an iron
and to go out for a drink with anyone at
anytime anywhere
another computer nerd she reckoned
and she was all legs and little denim skirt and a
pink tee-shirt that said ‘Fuck Buddy’
and blond hair pulled back in a black scrunchie
and offered to bake me a cake but she
assured me
it wouldn’t be a sponge one
know what I mean
the peel of crazy laughter from above
the sound of Red Hot Chilli Peppers starting up
pounding bass
the shower’s shit
the landlord’s a cunt
if you’ve got a motor
don’t park out the back it’ll get nicked
best to drink and smoke
to dull the pain
but always remember
to have a laugh

The world according to
Molly Upstairs.

Jan 2013 · 1.7k
The Postcode Lottery
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Forget the post code lottery
and go for some sort of
Middle England coterie
beware of the railway towns
and all they used to promise
avoid the light industrial towns
the ones that make biscuits
and plastic windows and trap your
children in call centres
the comfort of non-jobs
selling nothing to people who
are nonetheless convinced
they need it
and avoid cities with cathedrals
and universities
they are artifice personified they
have only one aim to debilitate you
with pretense and false hope
and sophistry deep in Middle England and
Do Not Go To Cities With Ports
they are as thieves in the night
forever looking for opportunity
eternally gazing outward beyond
the boundary of shores unwaveringly
scathing of convention and respectable
behaviour
And ignore dormitory towns exurbia and similar
designed only to eat and sleep in
and cut the grass although
the swinging scene
may have its diversions
and then those army towns cowering
below the shambling spectre of
beaten squaddie pubs concrete and
brick boxes with overflowing bottle banks
and what of flower filled market towns
with neat shops and bi-weekly markets
and Friday night louts and teeming
takeaways and broken windows but
you can escape
to a suburban bungalow
lock the gate feed the carp
watch wildlife progammes and
laugh
then running running running
you find
a suitable small mountain village
where you unwittingly
unexpectedly after stroking a
black and white cat
get run over by a drunken postman
in a neat
little red van.

Jan 2013 · 866
Elemental Anxiety
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

An update from the planet Terror:
Summer’s unpredictable, a case of another day
another personality.
Winter’s dark, complicated and
                an alcoholic.
Spring, well she’s dependable
                if naïve and
Autumn’s a hopeless romantic but
he can only feel lust
                for spring.

Together with common fears
such as
equatorial imbalance
cyclonic weakness
irregular solar activity
polar shifts
ozone variations
threats to the
optimum atmospheric gas mix
and lest we forget
the ensuing ennui
of calm
all of these are worries but
for the seasons who have seen it all
who carry burdens and hopes of their own
the general advice is
to just chill out
and have a smoke.

spare a thought for the weather...
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

‘They’re my babies
everyone of ‘em’ she grins
Barb is happy she’s released another character
into the world
Tommy Tickeroo the Angry Alarm Clock
and a publisher is interested
and I’m happy for her and
a bit drunk
more than a bit actually been in the Beehive
since it opened at 11 in the morning
and I’m flicking through the artwork
and Barb is drunk too and trying not to flick
fag ash on her brother’s sketches
of a red fucking alarm clock with googly eyes
and a little moustache
and I wonder about myself
and the book that’s proving a bugger to write
and the cliché of putting those authorly trials
into a poem
I am going to stumble home and write
a poem about a dragonfly instead
darting around on gossamer wings
or a pome as Barb calls it
let’s all write pomes together then have a sing and a dance
‘I’m genuinely pleased for you’ l lie and she grins
and puts her head on my shoulder
and I drunkenly go for the grope
down and out and pissed like a fart for The Art
in the middle of the afternoon
in Nowhere Town.

For all those who have sat around in the pub  thinking about writing but finding something else to do, namely drinking.  What a happy club we are :)
Jan 2013 · 489
Love is Property
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Imaginary shiny swords are all well and good
when you’ve had a few and fantasies about
being a gilded knight are easy to conjure
and believe and absorb
and the bar is a handy prop
like a public rail at some joust
and Gappy is talking about bottling fog
and why not
and she is pissed off
and why not
and she is saying
‘so far as I’m concerned Love is Property
do you understand what I’m saying?’
and I smile as I raise the glass to my mouth
and she says
‘and you Ben, you’ve just been evicted.’

Jan 2013 · 492
There's Something Out There
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Lock me up and feed me
through a shutter.
Devils in the carpet,
Wolves in the skirting,
Whales hanging from the ceiling

and:

I piss fire

and:

I crap boulders

And life is all about yesterdays
and tomorrows,
never about todays.
Time is not a line
It’s a rough cast brick- a
singularity of clay-
I am a clay man,
laden with a hod of
affliction and a weak
world view where
love is an abstraction
and affection a weapon.

Help me.

Jan 2013 · 3.9k
The Locomotive
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Come on do The Locomotive with me
Shildon smoky days with black sheet cloud
terrace rows
buy some cheap beef shank for the dog
open shuttered butchers smell of blood
sit at the bar peel the sheets soggy New Statesman
by the glass
started reading it on the toilet at home
had to get out
sink the pints eat a chicken tikka masala flavour
pork pie isn’t that an oxymoron? and humour
Gappy slumped at the bar no longer violent new leaf turned
collects shopping trolleys in the Asda car park
he’s got a badge and a green jacket waterproof
which is nice
so come on do The Locomotive with me
roadside boozer familiar faces though not so many
these days
faded glory days wall images of train filled
old days of engineering and purpose and place
the starting point of a world phenomenon a
phenomenon that brought global joy and death
in equal measure but sod that
Darlington and Stockton
got all the glory.

Jan 2013 · 3.6k
Please [I Love Car Parks]
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Is there anything left to do
or has it all been done
already?

Please tell me

I’m lying in the road
I’m walking the ghost
I’m kissing exotic petals
paddling through the jungle.
I am sifting through an interesting
range of small glass objects,
one of which is an owl
and I am now counting car park
Spaces at Morrison’s.
Oh yes I’ve found a new hobby
and I am becoming obsessive.
I am twisted into a sordid dream state
of integrated parking structures, of free
standing multi-storeys in multiplexes,
out of town malls, town centre Galleries
and other associated parking opportunities
[often free of charge with good maneuvering
zones clearly designed-in].

I write all these details down in a small
blue notebook, narrow lined with a
margin, from WH Smith’s.

The Numbers:
Morrison’s 420
Marks and Spencers 350
Metro Centre 1322 [still counting]
The Nag’s Head, Mitcham 26

[Remember thought that this is only an
extract from the journal]

Oh no

I’ve just discovered some
clammy doughnuts,
deep in my overcoat
the sugar congealed,
just how I like it.
Someone is singing
‘show me the way to go home.’
I say show me the way to Broom Street’s
multi-storey car park [NCP]:
State of the art entry and exit facilities
Token meters
In five languages
Please
Please
Please tell me the optimum size
of  European parking spaces and
what extra allowances need to
be made for American manufactured
motor vehicles although I realise
this is less of a critical matter now,
as Americans are going through
a culture shift
towards smaller cars
and standards are merging.

Please.

Jan 2013 · 573
The Danger
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

He was a substance boy
hard atoms
lava blood
brain hard wired to the moon
And she was a liquid girl
not much more than a pool
could evaporate to a speck
gold in the hold
hearts on the deck

skewered…

He lived in a town a
town made of gingerbread
a town called Sweetness
She visited once and found it agreeable
although she failed to see
what all the fuss was about
but the liquorice chimneys that was a nice touch
Gingerbread houses……
cool enough
until it rained because when it rained
it rained tea
she hadn’t been ready for that…
…and neither had he.

Jan 2013 · 476
Continuity
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Torn space through the prism of a legend
where the dogs run through confused light,
where the twisted fallen trees beckon,
where the tracks of an old route laboured
by miners snakes, stumbling over
the rusted iron stanchions of an old gate.
There’s a glade where nothing grows-
it’s where the aliens landed.
Lights dancing through the confused trees,
sprites of old, peering around damp nettles
and piles of dog piss wet leaves; let’s dance
around the place from whence I had the
calling, dreaming of a new life
amongst the stars.

Jan 2013 · 1.3k
The Wave and the Monument
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

The beach is a plate of
seashore glass, crescent
mooned around
the bay.
The ocean heaves:
azure
spume foam white
liner grey.

My back to the void
I look at the green park
beyond the grainy esplanade.
Beaten trees
mermaid sculptures
a dwarf dressed as a clown
children dancing
then the wave strikes:
it does not so much surge
over me, as I pass through it
like a stone.

I leave This Time and engulfed
in the water
breath aqua life and
ponder marine thoughts.
Give respect to the fish and
from whence we came;
paint the best painting
I will ever paint
write my opus
love my all
think beyond science
and see how we have got it all
so very wrong.

Then the loud water subsides.
Its kinetic energy fizzes in
illusionary colours around me;
its soda crackles in the slum
of my nose.
Somehow I have remained
standing as the ocean swirls
around my thighs.
River currents of potent calm,
synchronised,
the sun like a smudge of God.
The beach glistens in a shifting
veneer of trickling sea.
Maybe now it’s time to test
my nerve on the shore.

I focus on the monument.
It glistens and calms on the
hill beyond the park:
a free winged seagull perches on it,
staring out to sea.
At me.
I laugh and mutter
‘Up Periscope.’
Somehow it seemed the right
thing to say,
but what, what to do?

Maybe if I touch the monument
I will be told.

Jan 2013 · 1.5k
A Jester of Goodwill
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

A lot of addicts came out of the jungle
where the word atrocity was neutered
became a way of life
shine the silver globe
walk the streets of this city
score down by the quay where once

clippers berthed and later
freighters unladened their
fruit and spices and
even slaves but it’s now a marina
with cinemas and  fast food outlets
and bright rain-soaked lights

and maybe it is possible to
make it to Assateaugue Beach,
give it one more go photograph the
wild horses camp out in a glade
take plenty of insect repellant but
be careful not to sniff too much of it, hey,

Yoxall, remember him?  Blew himself up
his tent went up in a ball of flames
how Roxy had laughed how the forest
had frowned
how the surf had crashed where love
had faltered, mainly for personal

reasons; then the thought had occurred
to drown drink in the Atlantic.
Lightning had crackled on the horizon all night
it seemed romantic a Grand Gesture
but no one would notice, the only impact,
one less customer for Ronnie outside the

Old Dime, Friday nights, a busy time and
Roxy had laughed again she said she had
been refunded some cash on ebay, even though
there was nothing wrong with her purchase
[two grand’s worth of  porcelain elephant
she’d ordered for no other reason
than being extraordinarily drunk]

and the seller had
wrote her they would do it this time as
a one off, as a jester of goodwill.  
Now then isn’t that what we all need?  
No snap of rifle fire
no severed baby arms
no skewed bodies on many poles
no scooped out skulls filled
with another’s blood.  

Just give us all
a jester of goodwill.  

One each.  

That will do.

Jan 2013 · 625
Cold Space Parts I and II
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

COLD SPACE I

Things like fridge monkeys
can be sorted quite quickly
mustard’s the main thing
but make sure it’s
in the right place

centre shelf

Dijon’s good

or maybe American

wholegrain

organic of course.

maybe…

COLD SPACE II

The fridge monkeys are still there:

Damn Them!

the mustard is not working and
I must think of alternative
strategies

come on come on come on

A carefully peeled tomato?

There are yoghurts and soya milk
and small chocolate bears but they
too appear utterly useless ineffective
an ineffectiveness
akin to the intensity of distilled
vinegar mistaken for a pre-mixed
bottle of vodka and coke
[it happens]
grabbed drunk eyes spiral gag

I keep the fridge door open;
the light glows then
in time
turns itself off.  
Time delay mechanism.  
Clever.

I close the door and reopen it again;
the light has returned.

I try to trap the fridge monkeys.

This goes on for sometime.

Oh shit I need to get a life.

Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

A cross once hung there on the scarred
stone wall.  Its outline burnished like
the shadow of a nuclear blast-
did the wooden icon perish in fire?

Crumbling igneous walls quarried from the
Tees-Exe line, mulatto stone, time as no friend.  
Tumbling ancient brick, red lumps
and shards, no good for anything.

We pick through dandelion and thistle;
a ruined keep in waning time.  You my love
are the expert, a geological feature of certainty.
I am the temporary marker.

We hold hands in this pretty ruin, this old
box of death. Roof long gone as if in a grand
gesture of soul release, as lazy grasshoppers
scratch in the evening, warm and sublime.

Jan 2013 · 580
A Pocketful of Dragons
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

I’ve got this pocketful of dragons
and it’s doing my head in.
They just won’t stay still.

They keep roaring and when they
get really upset they breath this fire,
yes, bloody fire,
and it plays havoc with the lining
of your jacket.

But there are compensations; dragons
have had a bad press you know.

Although volatile and let’s face it
-utterly unpredictable- they tend to
balance this out with a world-weary
wisdom; an erudition that takes us back
to the dinosaurs, to that time
When They Ruled The World  
and although occasionally bitter
about their fall, they’re still up for it,
oh yes, and so:

I put them on the table in front of me
and sympathize with their woes and sigh at
the resigned acceptance of their fate.  

They don’t seem to mind

They just want to help

To contribute even  

But all they do is live in my pocket  
which hack’s them off to a certain extent
but after a few pints of diesel they just sit back
and relax, kick back and have a laugh
and slur ‘sailor vee,’ and eventually pass out,
at which point I gently gather them up,
and put them back into my pocket.

Jan 2013 · 238
State of Things
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

I sometimes
(well most of the time)
Think I  should have been
Born an American.
But if I had
What state would I be in?

Probably the same as now

But with bigger skies

Which would help.

Jan 2013 · 736
Spider
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

I have a spider in my drawer
in my cutlery drawer
and it’s cool
I like spiders
clean
like cats and
as bloody difficult.

It’s been there three days now-
scuttling about.
And I've tried to rescue it;
it’s obviously forgotten about
the way it got in.
But hell, can I help?
No chance.

I try a knife.  Metal.
Doesn’t like metal.
No way
I try my finger
tender exploration
hesitation
then it pulls back.

‘Hell!’ I curse, ‘I’m trying to help you!’

Then it scuttles down towards
the spoon section.

Idea

I try a spoon

Still doesn't like metal

I'm in despair

This cannot go on

but the little bugger needs at least
a fighting chance.

There’s some string in the drawer.
So I tug it out and the spider tentatively
feels it- backs away a little-
then feels it again.

I give it time.
I sense but do not know (exactly)
That spider time
may be different
from mine.

So I hang in there, wait.
And the spider climbs aboard
but I do not know for how long,
how long this will be for.

So I quickly put the spider on the floor.

And off it runs.  Along the kitchen length,
under the door.
To who knows where.

But, good luck, I say.  

Bloody good luck.

ah the joys of bedsit land... wrote this 12 years ago living on a hill in Swindon.  Still think of that spider n'all. hope it had a happy life.
Jan 2013 · 391
True
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

me broken
you something whole
me someplace
else
in a whole
dodgy parallax
who knows
who cares
hey there’s a small
pink
beetle on my desk
a toy
it’s true
take’s you back
it’s true
the love of someone
who owes you nothing
but
the truth
return of The Truth
but
not at this venue

Jan 2013 · 486
Dando
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

If dancing thrice around the split shield wasn't
enough, the bronze razor sharp the trident cracked,
where the legion whores picked across the dead, as
absent wives dreamed and sensed the worst.
Where glory tore through the heavens with the stab
of a torn standard, and Peresphone pretended to be free,
climbing out of a fissure in the earth, for another spring
of dance and glutinous, temporary glee.

Jan 2013 · 481
The Grunt
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013

Something grunting this way came
I had a feeling it felt no shame
as it shambled down the lane
I studied it carefully
throught the grimey
window pane.
It didn't worry me as I felt
it too
was not necessarily looking for fame
but more carried the air of being
the standard bearer of the lame
taking it to the brink with
its faux pain.
Get back down that lane
you don't fool me no fame no gain
I'm not that insane
you're all the same
all far too tame
I played the game I've a string
of victories to my name
too far gone for you
to worry me now.

— The End —