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Showing posts from 2022


2022 WILL LIKELY BE REMEMBERED by historians for the Ukraine War, the ongoing climate emergency, the deaths of The Queen and Gorbachev, the three UK prime ministers, and the lingering pandemic and economic fall-out; maybe the Bitcoin collapse, as a 7th. For me, it was the year of recovery, after nearly dying in hospital last Christmas - taking 4 months off, getting a defibrillator implant device, and taking 11 pills a day for my chronic Heart Failure. I want to express how grateful I am to the doctors, and nurses, and those who helped me stay alive this year. Grateful to God. I want to thank my friends, my family, my partner. And say how glad I was to spend time with my brother, his wife, and my godson Alex, this summer, in Spain. I want to thank those writers, poets, colleagues, and patrons, who helped me keep BSPG functional in a challenging year for small businesses. Please may you have love, peace and light this Christmas time, this season of holidays and the solstice.


The secret is not to have a secret The magic is to be magicless The trick is to go without the tricks The plan is to be avoided The path is to be downtrodden The lie is to be forgotten The carnival is to be inverted The lamb is to be converted The killer is to be caressed The dress is to be undressed The cure is to be lost The time is to be mis-told The crime is to be lawful The beauty is to be awful The secret is to speak widely The magic is to turn the tables The trick is to be born in the stables The plan is to go to shambles The path is via the brambles The lie is to stand in the open The carnival is to roll the king The dress is thorn this season The lamb is the feast for a reason The birth was clearly at night The death was notably during day to day This means something about lighting Between the cracks, between the shrugs Between the thighs, between the thugs, Between the shimmering royal displays, Comes a meagre passion


This wouldn't be an Eyewear blog without a review of a Simple Minds album. In rear-view, none of the recent, critically lauded comeback LPs have been truly as great as that run from the 1980s - but usually as pompous, majestic, grandiose, religious, and shimmering. My love for this band is in their sure-fire surges of greatness cranked up to 11, and utter refusal of irony - they are the sincerest, and most engaged of bands - emotive, political, passionate - lacking nothing in the way of conviction. In terms of launching into the crowd with dedication to songcraft, pulse of inspiration, and faith in a better future - this is maximum uplift. Now, 40 years after 1982's New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84 - the greatest new romantic/ new wave LP of the 1980s, tied with one by Echo & The Bunnymen maybe; and arguably one of the most romantic and religious works of Scottish poetry and music ever composed, their latest is back - more bombastic than ever. In terms of grandeur, and rock dr

new poem

  eyewear because you see through it     i can indent with the best        of them but the curving lens is housed ultimately              by an acetate formal design as shapely as a Hart Crane bridge                   slung between failure and visionary        which is where love & desire want to be    ,     in defence         of all short-sighted crests waving coke bottles at light


  In Memoriam   The storm has taken down the tree, which stood seventy seasons by four, to leave the arbour restless, without a roof’s rising crown, almost without a floor, so skittering leaves flood about, revealing lost acorns; the forest is aghast, forlorn; a tossed tempest grown out; it is horrible emptiness. There is a legacy that lasts past loss, the quick torn apart - roots only deepen to be flown.   September 8, 2022

New Poem

  NEW POEM.... On Circus Road I sat down, in NW8, so I knew what I was doing with a resonant trope, circling the tightrope tighter, after seeing my heart doctor, not my heart’s desire, no, on the six month anniversary of the cardiac implant for a broken heart; we cope, when we do, like Wendy, taking cocoa; or like Yeats, lamenting the circus animals who got away. The young actor from Mad Max: Fury Road cycled past, a baby strapped to his chest. I was happy to see him ride. I have eight years maybe, or thereabouts, to keep on going. To make a go of it all. Standing up to endure feathered stallions on a curving weathered saddle, as if starring in the big show. Or not. No point in acting up, just to make a symbolic exit; there’s time left to write more, if not better, and finally grow adult enough to love-glide, part barker, part swan, all heart. SEPTEMBER 5, 2022


I am back here from some personally challenging times, health-wise, including having a three-wire device implanted into my heart, a large blood clot on my heart, heart failure, and Covid twice in past two months. But enough about me. Recently I went on my first family vacation since the pandemic, and it was truly wonderful to see my brother, sister in law and godson. To swim. To even sip a bit of sangria. Anyway, since I have been gone, the Ukraine war has increased in ferocity, and tens of thousands of people have died in the battle between Western liberal freedoms and the alternative autocratic vision; we have a European drought the worst in 500 years; polio back in London's water; Trump a martyr to the FBI and likely to be the next president; a China threatening Taiwan; and the worst economic slump in the UK in over 27 years, leading to severe fuel shortages, and a crisis for families trying to pay their bills, with inflation at 10% and rising and 5 quarters of recession on the

Poem day before my 56th birthday

Poem day before my 56 th birthday   The perfect poem is out of sight, around the bend, Part optic fibre cables being laid underground, Part cherry blossoms staggeringly impermanent, Outrageous as Stravinsky music in the air,   Part finely shattered, gold-re-joined, Satsuma vase, Part so-brazenly broken national laws, Part of the world as it moves around other worlds, Part so personal it embarrasses even itself,   Part cruelly stern as a witchfinder general, Part wonderfully iconoclastic as a witch’s brew, Part cat sleeping, part cat leaping, part paw, Part mouse that got away; part all the pain   We ever knew, and then some, and then some more; The treasure under the floorboards under the stairs, Is being written for someone else’s birthday, By someone else; won’t ever be written, to be true,   Because perfection is the enemy of any friend To what is troubling to imagine, harder to rephrase. That won’t stop me from summoning this one up, Stolen from the mystery shelf where languag


  Snow   In Hampstead for Warfarin blood tests I meet a lady with a cane at coffee after who lives near Keats' house, whose mother knew Louis MacNeice;   whose husband, post-pacemaker, jumps from helicopters to ski; and I recite to her the poem 'Snow' about the sudden world, particular,   indivisible, and we speak of books, how at Easter, she hides them in her garden for her grandchildren, like chocolate eggs; and then she leaves;   and I reflect on the world of strangers, the world of blood, atomic, riven, how this April the coldest winds are being driven to us from Russian forces;   how the white snow looks like surrender being torn up into a polyglot roar of refusal, anger, and civilian defiance; how I am thankful to the invisible maybe   of creation for more hours in this flurry of experiences, talking, being vulnerable, less dead than I could be, than others are, as snow unseasonably becomes real.     Ap

new poem

PRE-OP SPRING DAY IN MARCH 2022 It's been too long till spring -     is false. It's here, in time. just as it always was, a thing     like a wheel or a poem, rhyme; that is, it has its schedule,     takes its turn, happens as it does. Still, the sun climbing trees, I'm full     to bursting with light's to and fros. All is event, like thought, argument,     war or love; like a pacemaker device, implant I fear to have, spent     hours returning like a general to their tent. It's life itself that surveys     maps, terrain, future battlefields. Nothing less than this glorious day     of impractical miracle-sun, big yields, obliterates memories of lockdown, shelters     underground, darkness that preys on mind and heart-valves, those skelters     that turn about like unlovers, May's dancers around the burgeoning pole.     I'm alive, for now, pre-op, thoughtful, re-reading The School of Donne , again,     to be reminded of a deceased friend to look at a brilliant


I have remained silent at my blog about the terrible invasion of Ukraine, because I have been ill, and also didn't want to say anything useless, as if my voice or opinion on this matter had much sway. I am now going to try and compile a fundraising anthology of poems, because I have experience of doing such things, and it seems a small way to raise some money, and perhaps print a few good poems that may inspire others to also help a refugee, or give some money or other material benefit. This is obviously a very dark and troubling time in our history, and I am worried of escalation to atomic weapon use, or chemical and biological weapons. I light a candle for Ukraine in my window. I will write more about the anthology soon, after my operation. Hopefully the peace deal will come soon.


My report will be brief this year - I am grateful to be alive. 2021 was a very tough year for a lot of people - and 2022 looks to be also very challenging. Up until December, 2021, I would have said the best of the year was keeping the Eyewear publishing company going so it could reach its 10th year (2022), and therefore keeping a small good team in work; and 100s of books in print. Personally, hiking in Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland, and doing wild swimming, and training with Al Beard, and Wimbledon, would have been summer highlights; plus great sporting events, and the English almost winning the Euros... Then, a few days before Christmas, I went into the hospital for heart failure; I have a large blood clot on my heart, and my heart was only working 17% or so. Now it is up to 22%. I am off work, and still seriously ill, on 15 or more tablets a day. My family is worried, it is a super worrying time. I am focused on recovery, doing what must be done, staying calm as possible. I