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Today, I’m well.
Yes.
Good.
I’m good,
I should say.
God?
God, no!
Good God!
Good.
Up-welling of wellness.
Bow tied:
A bow-tie-kind-of-day day.

Sun furtive.
Won’t be long.
Shouldn’t expect she’ll be long.
Yes, she.
Ephemeral.  
Resplendent.
Sheer she-ness.
Just a Walkers crisp of a bit longer.

It is possible, I might add,
She’ll appear a fraction different
To what one can reasonably be expected to remember.

Good!
I’m good.
That is how it is said, in these parts, isn’t it?
Are you good?
Are you…
Competent?
Up to the task, I mean.
Fit to fly.
Work-ready.
Which sort?  
Wearing odd socks, again.
Accentuate the good.
Try to.
Left and right; or the other way around:
Right and left.  
Or could be both… fancy that!
Cream and chocolate, hey, superb!


Today is a wooly-hat-kind-of-a-day day, is it not?
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Lest there be gales.
What? No! Disaster!
Now, wouldn’t that be…
Wouldn’t that scupper things?  Do you think not?

I love my wooly hat.  
He’s got a name, you know.
Ru-pert.
Stitched with love.
Pompom-topped.
So warm, it is.
Ready for jaunts.
With Rupert.
Up Horsenden Hill.
Too hot, soon.
Best to toss it in the bushes.

                        -------


Perhaps I am under-dressed?
Am I?
Hard to know.
I’ll wear my bow tie again.
Yes, I’ll wear my bow tie when, that is to say, Assuming
The rules permit it.

God permits us
To revel a bit. Kick back.
Do you think God likes to laugh?
God, grant me the gift to laugh.  

                        -------

Oh,
Now,
Did you hear that?
Heating broken,
Not a peep.
Closed valve cylinder, limited warranty,
Manual unfathomable.

But,
No viable option.
‘Northfields Community Library Welcomes You.’
The toilets better be warm!
I watched a wonderful production of Samuel Beckett's 'Happy Days' before Christmas and this poem, I think, has that feel.  I've tried to root it in my local area and capture something of the absurdity of conformity to abstract 'rules' that seems to be increasingly contentious and divisive in this Covid pandemonium
Nov 2021 · 100
I shall sing again
Simon Piesse Nov 2021
I sing again,
‘Though stone conceals  
The way you laughed
The day we met.

I sing again,
‘Though stone’s defaced
Your wonky smile,
Your honey lips.

I sing again,
‘Though stone forgot
The tunes you made up
Just for fun.

You ran away
To war, they said,
Without a kiss,
A little death now etched in stone.

Memorials in stone are dead,
Ill-equipped to help or heal;
Instead of poppies, stuttered words,
I
Shall
Sing again.
Memorials mask the raw emotion of human loss.
Nov 2021 · 301
Dear Mr Tree
Simon Piesse Nov 2021
Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?

Do you rate my life
Do you like my wife?

Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?

When you put on blossom,
Do you think 'hello, handsome?'
Does your buxom bark
Contain some private mark?

When you drop your leaves,
Do you laugh at me?
As I stoop and scrape,
With bag and rake,
What difference do I make?

And when I'm old and mad,
Will you testify
You know the truth,
Or tell a lie?

Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?
Each year I spend lots of my free time underneath the Japanese pagoda tree in front of where we live sweeping its leaves.  It's self-confidence sometimes jars with my self-doubt. Anyhow, today I went into reverie and was inspired to write this light-hearted reflection.  I hope you enjoy it.
Oct 2021 · 1.3k
Cop 26 (After Auden)
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
Stop all the cars.
Shut down the coal.
Prevent Big Oil from dumping its ***** load.
Shake up complacency
And pull out the stops:

Let our leaders lead.

Nature,
You are North and South and East and West;
Our sanctuary
At God’s behest.

The time is now to transform our ways,
So warming ends,
Now and always.

Simon Piesse
I was inspired by the punchiness / gut-wrenching-ness of W H Auden's 'Stop the clocks' poem.   It seemed apt to transmute this tone for the make or break climate summit at Cop 26 that starts today.
Oct 2021 · 58
Birthday Shave
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
I lay on the counter:  
A coiled snake.
Are you here on holiday?
Matted clumps of hairs sprouted from every angle –
Part yeti, part buffalo.  
Adil put on ‘I am the One and Only’.  
Hope you don’t mind the music?
Adil grinned and then lunged forward, picking me up off my perch.
Where are you staying? Butlins, yes?  
Adil was really making an effort, here.
He swapped me for the electric one, bumping around on his face, as if I were in 007’s Moonbuggy.  Preparing the ground.
A dislodged crumb dropped like a stone from his top lip.
Crank, crank on the chair.  
Head back, please, Mister Bond, bit more, perfect!
Foam mushroomed onto the brush and, with it, Adil turned his face snowdog.  
Temperature ok, boss?
Still, nothing.
Adil crooned the chorus:
‘I am the one and only
Nobody I’d rather be.’

He shifted his weight on the chair, breathing heavily.
Eyebrows tensing, Adil plunged me into the molten water.  
With my exposed side bristling, I engaged the north edge of his chin and went for it.  
Did I slice through his Adam’s Apple?
‘Don’t tell me I know best
I’m not the same as all the rest.’

The pop beat kept me going.  
I carved out furrow after furry furrow
Till all his skin was as pink as a baby’s bottom.

Sweaty and weary, now, Adil held me in his left hand and, with his right, flicked the chair round to face the door.

A girl in a dress stood there, holding a bright red balloon.
Is that for you, princess?
No, it’s my uncle’s. It’s his birthday today.  

The air was rose water and streamers.

Thank you, my dear.
Thank you so much.
Thank you.

‘You are the one and only you.’
This was inspired by my first ever wet shave in a barbers in Redruth.  The barber didn't speak so I re-imagined the scene from the perspective of the wet razor.
Oct 2021 · 62
Build Me Up
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
To Ed  


What child were they
When piercing squeal
Grabbed the foreman by the *****?

What child were they
When putty tears
Smeared and blobbed
On the sheeting?

Running from
The construction pit
The thrill of sand and truck
Implodes.
Metal **** makes decent scar
That keeps the girls’
tongues a-wagging.

‘Always heed the ‘Keep Out’ signs,’
The stony man booms at the boy;
‘I told you not to wander where
Granite pavement yields to digger.’

Years ago, that child, was I and
Diggers now are doors and roofs;
Then here, one day, my own boy falls,
And blood comes oozing from elbow.

Running from
The construction pit
The thrill of sand and truck
Implodes.
But, how should I, with damaged tools,
Be the  
Grafter Dad
He’s seeking?
This recalls an incident from my childhood when I was playing clandestinely on a building site and went running and crying in search of consolation...
Oct 2021 · 540
7.41 @ Gate 5
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
Open and Shut
Open and Shut

Shut

Binary yesterday

Re-set

Today

The network is pregnant again

Open and Shut
Open and Shut

Open
This is an ode to hope, to travel and to poetry on National Poetry Day 2021!
Aug 2021 · 54
Afghanistan Fly
Simon Piesse Aug 2021
My undercarriage hangs open,  
Evacuees swell my bony fuselage 
To occupy their seats. 
My rubber legs skirt   
The char and ash of little fires, 
Fires that burn in Helmand. 
My jumbo wings buzz into life,
Before the clock ticks down. . .
This poem was inspired by the plight of the Afghanistan people,  who have been abandoned by the West and by their feeble attempts to airlift out those that fought alongside them.   I was also thinking of Kafka in the metamorphosis of the aeroplane into a fly.   Comments most welcome!
Jul 2021 · 342
Walk Home
Simon Piesse Jul 2021
Walk in familiar slippers
Walk when walking’s spent
Walk on hollow highway
Walk in a birthday dress
Walk under frigid stars
Walk with ancestral song
Walk with right
Walk with wrong
Walk in spite
Walk in pity
Walk in the backstreets
Walk in the news
Walk in borrowed city

Home is leaving
Home is a journey
Home is coloured pencils
For a distant classroom
Home is a wilderness
Home is an army
Home is inquisition
Home is another way
Home is a haven
Home is a promise
Home is a rose bed
Home is tomorrow
Home is hard
Home is good

Simon Piesse
This poem is inspired by the continuing ill-treatment in thought, word and deed, of refugees in the UK, notably children.
Jul 2021 · 762
The Flood
Simon Piesse Jul 2021
No service to all westbound destinations due to flooding . . .


At Ravenscourt Park, it rained apocalyptically.

Then, God said:

‘Let go of point-to-point.

Paddle properly, like you mean it.

Hear the gentle song of the hummingbird.

Sip the sweet cup of the orchid.

Steer clear of the piranhas that are possessions;
Swim away from the caiman, who can drag you under.  

Take it stroke by stroke.  Do not splash about.

Go with my flow.

When your meanderings meet the mighty ocean of my love

Be ready.

This is just the beginning.’
Jun 2021 · 72
Pasty Run
Simon Piesse Jun 2021
Bashing
Crashing
Smashing
Clotted-cream tongues
Lashing
Cathedral hulls
October’s chop
Out to get
Lifejacketless him
Cityboy him
Neither’d gone beyond
His breezy smiled
Awrigh’ my lover
Up to their eyeballs they’d got now
No chance now to break
The awkward ice
Outside the breakwater
Never ought’er  
Hunker down
Turkeyland yelled
Ride the swell
Cradle orphaned beef
And if you don’t  
Incubate the rough
Earthed nests of wine-drowned potato
And proper job swede
And if you don’t
You won’t make it


*


Oggies  
Never take’em to sea
St Anthony’d decreed


But Master Herd, he hadn’t heard
And he’s too emmet to question.
This is a poem from my next collection, focused on Cornwall
May 2021 · 249
Beef with Rain
Simon Piesse May 2021
Schizophrenic Rain
You hurt my brain
Please refrain from staking claim
To tiny changes in the blame
I’ve won for myself
To tame
The cats and dogs that
Preen and scratch in my outrage
Spitty spots of ***
Blushes and rushes of blood to the tips
Of fits of that’s so unfair

Rain

You foist your stubby fist into the tryst
I’ve got with Him upstairs
He hears
The sacred notes of ‘who actually cares’ if I’m
Low or high or mashed or smashed
Some sorta daughter-enforcer
Your pifflely drops
Tingle my locks

But  

What starts and stops,
For missy chubby chops
I’ll say  
If today’s tides subside,
Or turn me flip flops
Insane
Rain
Inspired by our very violently changing weather pattern and working with teenagers.  Who knows what's going on in their brains or in anyone's brain, for that matter?  Who are we to dictate?  Happy Monday and stay dry!
Mar 2021 · 783
Revolt-on-Avon
Simon Piesse Mar 2021
The ***-bellied Mercedes squealed
As Meursault withdrew and
Marvelled at the flames
Licking
The air
Like marigolds on Ritilin.
'Raymond would have no reason not to admire this act.'
He stopped by a shimmering sea of Ubers.
The scrape and drawl of siren made no impression on him.
Leaking smoke reminded him of
Snow White’s Cottage
Where he had taken Marie when Lucie was born:
The place where he would go out at dawn to chop wood.
He liked the way her roses played
With the restlessness of children.
Then he thought: 'if only mother could see me now.'
Inspired by Camus' searing sense of injustice in The Stranger, which I'm studying with my class at the moment and by the riots in Bristol, UK
Simon Piesse Mar 2021
It’s beautiful, Beta
Such beautiful flowers there
Excellent place, five star hotel-kind of  
You don’t want to know how high it was
Such a kind man helped me come down
My legs were hurting too much Bita
That gadi no good what did I tell you  

Ha Mummy
(lips spin into jalebi smile)

Whole new world open up,
Baaji so tired
You would not believe me, he did it didn’t he
Yes, took Baaji a lovely cuppa tea
Just the way I like it
You know I didn’t have no cake because of my medications

Ha Mummy
(cheeks go RAC orange)

I must go there again Beta
Go on
Book it for Baaji
Go on  

Ok Mummy
(cheeks go coconut burfi pink)
Written on our summer trip to the Cotswolds only to break down and be taken by RAC breakdown lorry to the hotel
Feb 2021 · 173
Richmond Hill Valentine
Simon Piesse Feb 2021
You and me
The absurdity
Me a scallop
You a lark
You a grin
Me a chasm

You and me
The hypocrisy
You sensing
Me judging
You sauntering
Me nudging

You and me
The opportunity
Me pushing
You pulling
Me biting
Me grating

You and me
An anomaly
You the poet
Me a mastiff
Feb 2021 · 188
Northwick Park
Simon Piesse Feb 2021
The doctors said you weren’t allowed
To see Mum in her final hours;
It wasn’t safe to will her on
Nor wet her lips with stolen snow
In case the virus you’d bring in
Might claim asylum on the ward.

Behind her mask Mum couldn’t tell
The story of her party trick:
Apple Pie with packet custard
Baked to death and turned to cinders,
Fed to Dad with stoic humour.    

No doubt it’s best you hadn’t seen
The carnage of the resus room
The febrile pumps of hand and nail
The gasps of good-intentioned strain
That reached a pitch at ten to three
And then from shrill went monkish silent.

On Barn Hill snow is falling thick
The Gaderbrook is filling up
The numb routine the porter starts
Now takes disfigured life away
And Northwick Park can breathe again.
Jan 2021 · 294
Northala Fall
Simon Piesse Jan 2021
Forty yards from Haribo Heaven,
They took flight,
Mocking the clouds of traffic:
Faster and faster,
Faster and looser,  
Faster and freer.

But then the Saxon ground
Came out in revolt,
Saying
Their covenant with gravity had been violated.

All sound was muted.

Heads struck at thirty-three yards;
Backs cracked the soil at thirty.
In his heart,
It was her finger that he felt,
Arching over the G string of her violin,
Like the neck of a flamingo.  

He mused:
After the sound came back,
Would she play a gigue or a dirge
To accompany
This ignominious moment?

When her sullied, muddied, mossy eyes looked away from him,
To her, had he become a lesser man?

Faster and faster
Faster and looser.

Had she now glimpsed a father’s struggle
To piece together what he thought he knew?
Inspired by a lockdown trip to Northala Fields
Jan 2021 · 162
Incident in the Abbey
Simon Piesse Jan 2021
To Rico

11th hour
11th day
11th month
All units from Tango Charlie 2
Urgent assistance required:
1x IC2 male: white surplus tie
Scholars’ best
Suspected faint
Tomb of the unknown solider
Heron gowns swipe  
1x nurse in attendance
Rose hair Bisto heart  
Male unresponsive nurse giving kiss of life
Cindy Crawford dorm
Tango Charlie 3 be advised
Epaulettes flurry Jerusalem Chamber
West Door now open
Dignitaries' B minor fugue
Poppy air bite
inspired by my friend who fainted and was rescued by a nurse at 11am during the minutes' silence to remember the war dead in Westminster Abbey by the tomb of the unknown solider.
Simon Piesse Jan 2021
Said the gull to the Helter Skelter:
‘Did you know, when the oak was felled
You would, one day, delight a girl
With raven eyes, who’d lost her way
And wound up starting fires?’

The gull went on:
‘Did you know, when the oak was cut
This wayward girl would grab your mat
To climb the stairs of our own prayers
To outshine all the spires?
And, did you know, when boards were made
A dusty offering to the lathe
You would, one day, tease out the sap,
The wildwood sap within her bones
Confounding all the liars?

So, you should know, when planks were bent
Twisted, slotted, primed and painted,
That this lost girl would one day jump
Up higher than high flyers.'
Simon Piesse Jan 2021
I’m your addiction
Strength 3
Get real
I’m stronger than that
Robusta
Strength 5000
Breakfast blend         
I’m your one cup cataclysm  
Though you plucked me
Though you gouged out my fruit
Though you drowned me and dried me out
Though you packaged me up, purchased me
Compressed me
Boiled me alive
I seep into your skin
Defibrillate your heart
Fair-trade
Overthrow your brain  

History will absolve me before Loose Women
Jan 2021 · 232
Ave Snowdrop
Simon Piesse Jan 2021
Not for you
Winter's truculence.
Unlikely extrovert,
Up you ******  
Into
The jagged air
Defiant
Yet
Gentle
Anthropomorphism
Of  the
New.
Dec 2020 · 307
Equator
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
Take me back to that place
Where dichotomies of
North or South
Right or Wrong
Become
Translucent
Ground Zero
Equilibrium.
Dec 2020 · 175
B A R C O
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
¡Ya!
Prepare the barco,
Empújalo through the scrub.
‘It’s not much further now,'
His voice sugar-coated with expectation:
The flap of the jib, the slippery release into
El agua negra.
Summer sun has baked the avenue of grasses
Into wiry nests.
‘Do not open the gate,' he fulminates.

Waiting for the tren to pass
The gaze of the pasajero
Picks him out against the lights.
Wait, cross, check, shut the gate like you kiss
A un niño.

She pulls truculentemente against his bodyweight,
The smell of greased wheels
Mixes with the **** of ducks and burgers.

Canta ella:
‘It’s many the time I’ve sung this song,
Though the wind blows like a gale’.

How many more times can he set sail?
Before he is buried in the fango
And the sea shanty disintegrates
Into the
Trees?
Dec 2020 · 357
Zero Sums
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
Adults turn schools into fortresses.  

Children frolic on the rooftops.

Adults tape off the playground.

Children dig underground hide-outs.

Adults build moats round their friendships.

Children have fun in the water.

Adults dragoon them into bubbles.

Children salsa with fairies.

Children blow shapes out of laughter.

Adults **** out the future.
As our government procrastinate and prevaricate over plans for schools in the new year, I wrote this, inspired by children's propensity to find play, joy and creativity in every situation.
Dec 2020 · 205
Charity Dance
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
‘That would be nice,’ you say,
So, we cross the quicksilver city.
We step, like tipsy teenagers,  
Into a basement of Kisii and Kikuyu,
Sunshine dresses
Swaying to the Benga music,
Like cruise ships.

Oh, exuberant one:  
The fire in your heart spills out sparks
As you spin and turn across the floor.
‘Dance for the children,’ you say,
‘Dance for the future’.

Magnificent Mercy,
With your intergalactic smile,
You make all the sense in the world.
I once was invited to a Kenyan Charity Dance by my former colleague and friend, Mercy.   This is a tribute to that experience and that wonderful person.
Dec 2020 · 72
Portoviejo
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
Portoviejo
Puerto Muerto
Lowland Laggard
Salsa eco
Trato hecho
Sweaty ****
Covid Carcass
Social trecho
Bloated pecho
Rented lecho
I laid my head
En Portoviejo.


Simon Piesse
Dec 2020 · 59
Drifter
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
After the beer-can disappointments
Had foamed into
An effluence
No longer traceable
She drifts,
Ballasted by
Thin fragments of DNA
Lodged in the brain,
Like pebbles.

Who? What? When? Why?
The dissecting guilt of
Foreign judgements;
Intravenous drip, drip, drip
Of others’ expectations:
Expunged.

She looks like a Peter Doig painting:
Caked in paint as thick as tar
Peering into a lake that echoes its own
Emptiness.

Where is she headed?

The Kingfisher sun
Bobs and re-bobs its head
Into the rusty waters;
Yet, she
Drifts,
Taking soundings from
The bric à brac of
Homeless and factory workers,
Whose zero-hour cigarettes
Smoke up the factory stacks
As voluminous as pipe organs.

Don’t turn back, now, Drifter,
Don’t fall for the life
That clogs your veins and numbs your breath.


©Simon Piesse
Inspired by walking the riverine backstreets of major cities
Dec 2020 · 75
Intruder
Simon Piesse Dec 2020
A brawl
A curse
A bone
An axe
A briar
A slit
A stump
A ruse
A scam
A scab
A slap
A shattered, battered
Song, that's  
Wrong
And limp
And bad
And so
With dirt
And sweat
You get  
You filch
Your stench
You stamp
In tears
For years
A dearth
Of love
Of hearth
Of hope
Of home.

Simon Piesse
Inspired by experiences of burglary as a child.

— The End —