WHAT’S ALL THIS FUSS? (extended Batty edition)


tears in the rain

Batty edition….

All this fuss over Charles Bukowski
most of his life no one knew who he was
working in diners washing dishes
any work that he could get
living like a cockroach hid from society
except that he wasn’t
he wasn’t a cockroach
who felt things deeply
saw things some people never will see
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe
those moments will be lost in time
like tears in rain
at the bottom of the life chain
where he wrote about things
less than ordinary
he typed it out strangely and discreetly
from the bottom of the food chain
where he turned things upside down

All this fuss about Charlie Bukowski
who wrote his true self out on paper
as though he had nothing to hide
as if all he had were his thoughts
about the things he saw
the things he felt
things he liked and hated
they proved to him he was human
and not a replicant
like Batty or Leon or Rachael
or anyone else that he met
like himself in the mirror
while he was washing
occasionally shaving
strong meat
like the women he met and loved
and was not afraid to talk of
from the bottom of the life chain
where he turned his world upside down


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Diary of a Lincolnshire Sheepstealer


this Lincolnshire .. .
…   …   …

Those squashed, brown, glassed marbles
  worth as much as a big taw or a boulder
in playground exchange, much as a
  ten second glance at showy-girl’s nickers
and the old girl is making cow-eyes at me
  she, twenty others or more are passing by
they, are eating grass before fertilising
  in various colours, they all have shiny eyes
This is Lincolnshire, nothing special is it
  the rabbits on the hop, the hares and badgers
in fields, in different shades of umber or sienna
  some pale, some clay, some colour of trout
jump in the fisheries, wake the sleeping man
  one of life’s mysteries from Grimsby to Valhalla
where the River Lym babbles or in Somersby
  you may listen in to thoughts of Tennyson
They say an otter was seen by Stickney dyke
  a place I often trundle on my old push-bike
I have not seen it but heard a scavenger cry
  a family of four buzzard that day I spied
full three mile away over auburn mountains of hay
  farmers build a maginot line across the county
haystacks, a fine artist’s sketch to add to my diary
  think on local art tradition of Charles Haseldine
Across the fens stretched like prairies of Wyoming
  that might with bleaching sun resemble Serengeti’s
springbok, antelope, rhino, in place of fallow and roe
  they wander free within confines of loyal, royal
stately homes and parks, stole by grassy wolds
  prove the lie that spills, no hills are in this shire, yet
dale and briar, moor and marsh, coastal fenland
  columns of birdlife affirm it as an international wetland
If I were a rovers son, a fenslodger with musket primed
  two barrels of lead, a fenland barge hidden in reeds
to bag a catch of godwit, brace of ruff, a plump bittern
  dressed in waders, a calico coat, three cornered hat
I would greet thee of the morn, we set sale on our dykes
  the tides rushing in or rushing out, my partner in crime
hums O God our Help In Ages past, smokes a clay pipe
  til the birds flew – the gargeneye, mallard for the stew

Then the Dutchman arrived with instruments of drainage
  an engineer of craft, a boy to put his finger in the hole
myth and fact until arrival of John Rennie, labour of many
  with pict and shovel they dug rivers, trenches, sluices
drained the fens, slodgers departed, paid for their trouble
  economy of farmland, towns, new people to pay taxes
houses built, where once swamps, new roads and tracks
  Lincoln grew as Boston, Caistor, tulips, sugar-beet n’ tats
Of Stamford, welcome ruling classes, best we can garner
  central hilly parts where dart deer and stoat, carrs the moat
I lay me down to Percy Grainger, Aussie stranger who fell
  for folk traditions, his wisdom to assay a yorkshireman
Frederick Delius, his music, coloured in our market towns
  from Brigg, Gainsborough in the north down to the Deepings

O’ flat lands, your skies of wonder
                                         cannot hold the thunder of their birth
  yet hold such lights that fall hallowed
                                         through to land upon the earth
The sheepmarkets, Viking Way, Scunthorpe town and Brumby
  names with Yorkshire drawl who on their knees crawl west
thus farmers had sway, rich topsoil, not tha’ many wages pay
  except thou were ‘farm servant’, denied wife, much life at all
till military call or news of higher wages surfaced on the borders
  or across the sea to New England or Albertland, New Zealand
a colony of 1,000 departed, excited by the conquest of the free
  we drafted fenland immigrants a’fore any from the Balkan sea
Buttercup sways in the meadow, old Lucy, other mothers bereft
  male herd journeyed to the abattoir alongside sheep, lamb, pigs
when once we travelled to market towns at Alford, Grantham and
  Market Raisen, ‘we’ now feed the likes a Asda, still doft the cap
travell in multi-layered pantechnicon, narrow roads, no passing
  I’ll not bandy words with thee, should thou mardy, laugh at me
this Lincolnshire on the wolds, by coast, marshes of the wash
  I came here bandit on the run, more sheepstealer than a poet
I carry my palliass, cut the colli’s wi’ a borrowed machete
  I watch amazing skies settle on the slough-bog, colours blinding
In the evening mizzling where St Hugh doth splawder into view
  not being of certainty of truth, requiring cash to fix kirks roof
note chimes of St Botolph, the spireless church we ne’er finished
  the spires of this shire are many, settled in their gentle dells
stand agin’ the sutty mumbles of an indigo sky that passes by, we 
  ont’ dark side of tha’ rainbow wi’ rooster crow, black footed jay
I stand atop the banks, watch fishing trawlers line up to return
  the Witham, the Humber along with tankers decked with lumber
from Norway, Scandinavia, immigrants aboard, cheat custom man
  some’s pockets lined with stash, cocaine, I hear the ships horn
I stand atop the banks, white owl advancing, a hare is prancing
  I seen a parliament of owls at Hobhole, Hen Harrier at Scremby
Midsummer Night’s Dream at Casterton, Black Swan at Conningsby
  yet never have I seen a better sky than those of Lincoln’s county




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An Ode to a Bottle of Tullamore Dew


If thou being philosophical were an oil painting
    wrested of nazi crates, a stolen treasure
a carafe discovered, a hidden artefact
    one piece of art, the beauty of it’s naked shape
what discreet charm you full employ
    to speak of virtue by such stoic facade
your neck drawn haughty, slender as yon
    mystical okapi not lengthy like blonde giraffe
twere not an antelope nor elixir to travel so
    it’s Irish folklore carried through with history
skills of craft honed from within thy distillery
    uisce beatha taken out thy gaelic hame
by waters of the Shanon, the country lanes
    where the factory is built, in morning light
there falls the d.e.w. so pretty, a welcome sight
    lads n’lassies in their chatter, taunt n’flatter
off to thy work to earn a euro eu deux, it is a job
    that wee girl worth the fight for a night with you
the purpled sequins of the meaning we hold
    by Tullamore in Offaly in the Leinster valley
submit thy discourse by yon concourse,  take
    the tour, learn once more the unpleasantries
suffered, the tale n’dramas of Sir John’s barleycorn
    breath the aroma from copper stills ever warmed
and sip thy warmth by taste of malts preferred
    the sampling room is all you may have gathered
in your secret journey aloned by barroom thoughts
    Sir John won your tongue, leaves thee but naught
yet still remains a noble slake who double taunts thee       
    cares not how you spell your choice a’ whuskey
the rack, the burn, all connoisseurs addiction spurn
    around the teeth, thy gums, thy palette blessed
expunge memories o’ saddened, o’ manic depressed
    take the trains to Gallway Bay or roads to Ballyboy
Kilkormak, Clara, Edenberry I still hear you listening
    at the crossroads by Molloy’s Tinnycross Quarry
or in the glistening by the cement factory at Cloncollog
    a picture grows of a united Ireland, united in the north
at Giants Causeway through Tullamore all the way to Cork
    united dreams, o’ the apple o’ my emerald eye, fair
glas isle, where all disputes concerning sacredness of Ulster
    the complexities of faith are drownded by this holy water
from Cork to County Antrim, on to Tullamore n’silkie Donegal
    bring thy stooks down from thy mythical wagon
there winnow, sort an’ drowned then laid upon the malting floor
    turned to germination, baked in kilns then ground
mashed wi’ boiling water of this isle to cool, to wort
    with yeast thy wild congeners left to settle for a while
it waits the stills and distillation, till bound and gagged
    in stained barrels wound by iron hoops, there it stays


                                          ©edenbraytoday18.11, 2021


Author’s Extensive Notes

I read Keates ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’ and was inspired to write 50 lines me-sell .. . that is the story

This could as easily be entitled – ‘An Ode to my Green-eyed sister – the sister I never had – my Roisin – born from the land o’ my mythical birth where my bonnie wee grandmother earned her clogs and danced a jig for me – for evermore my Irish Grannie you travel now with me an this bottle of juice – this water of life – I lift the glasses arse to thee my Adeline who spread your legs an’ bore me’ father – who spread his seed and birthed this Eede – o’ donkey bray and o’ asses brain and my poetic confusion – edenbray your poet – I curtsey, bow and lift my Irish kilt high for thee .. ..

Uisce beatha’ – literally “water of life”, is the name for whiskey in Irish. It is derived from the Old Irish uisce (“water”) and bethu (“life”).


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by Benjamin Zephaniah



. . .



Who’s Who


I used to think nurses
Were women,
I used to think police
Were men,
I used to think poets
Were boring,
Until I became one of them.

Courtesy of Benjamin Zephaniah



.. .. .. So delighted to get this recommendation from one of my favourite Poets – THANK-YA BENJAMiN

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DICEROS BICORNIS – big horn nose

Diceros bicornis – big horn nose

durers rhino


rhinoceri, defy the ingrates
the people who should suffer
from sickness and diaorea
filched from your horns of plenty

walk the earth so pleasantly
my fairy-tale extravaganza’s
armoured tanks on the plains
your shoulder pads, iron boots

rhinoceri crash, a medieval army
these knights who prefer not to joust
a simple life alone while plucking
fauna, thy designed, engorged lips

draw up the drawbridge fast
brave armed men on the sentry
this war is war, if war is war
compatriots, armed as rhino’s

master humankind, nature-blind
cavorting blithely with the stars
our life on earth burnt, scarred
a heritage for children, uncarved

consensus bars white hunter’s
bandits, poachers, apothecary
of monstrous lies, the rhino dies
this power lauded by universality

rhinoceri, unleash the mythical
beast he runs as fast as an athlete
whose breath is fire and torment
is he not the mighty Behemoth?

hear his snort before the charge
his purpled thunder, battalion bred
gun-metal grey his pauldron, her faulds
bellied plackart, gauntlets and cuisses

knights at arms resign to Arthur’s table
with learned men, sign another treaty
as cop26 in Glasgee, too tired to talk
of endangered species who can hardly walk

rhinoceri, your beauty unheralded
your golden horn adorned by few
Dali did not acquiesce when recognising
it’s perfect, logarithmic, spiral

paw at the earth odd-toed ungulates
paw and show your true disdain
that creatures of best behaviour are
not determined by those of bigger brain



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who arrived like a creeping ivy
    stalking-leopard at the zoo
a Regents Park type break out
    changed our spattered disguises
aided by clearasil, germolene, chapstick
    while a nuclear threat was forming
the colour of your hair was running
    at football grounds from conflict
into Mary Quant’s quaint eyeshadow
    of glass, black vinyl and chrome

Branson, once a happy, hippy mogul
    through virgin skies we launched
Uri Gegarin, Tellstar, Maharajhi Yogi
    transcendent, guru masters of baloney
fish eggs, fish crap in heaps, fools caviar
    spaghetti bolognaise, tikka masala
Colonel Sanders arrived in white suit
    trucking around the US, Canada for a-while
sixties turns up, time to show some style
    savants, intellectuals agree

              it’s a time to be free
So I go to the Festival Hall, moody blue
    these are the days of future past, lead on 
Inna gadda da vida, sunshine of my love
    tambourines, krishna’s, eskimo’s, let it bleed
smokin weed, droppin acid, everyone is placid
    till Quadrophenia, skinhead boots and speed
politicians, plumbs in throats, Yorkshire drawl
  Tony Benn, Guevara, Khrushchev, man
called John from Brookline, Massachusetts
  he took a bullet for Democracy

               shattered dreams

tie-dye shirts, flarey jeans, wooden beads
    no bra women, so, we had contraceptives?
‘sexual revolution’, love the one your with
    some clung to marriage, it’s a magic bus


some to chillums, spliffs, n’brownies
    Billy Butlin holidays in ticky-tacky chalets
sonic screams in the court of crimson kings
    wind-chimes, mersey-beat, Stevie Wonder
Warhol’s plimsole, Lichtenstein, Tony Hancock
  stand up mother’s little helper

                 Social Drama’s 

cos’ revolution’s here, you know what i mean
  Steve McQueen, Bullitt, Thomas Crown
Great Escape good name for films a’plenty
  Hollywood’s copulating, inventing names
Hoffman, Hepburn, Monroe, Bardot, Newman                               
  currency of change, lies on the cutting floor
Lumet, Kubrick. Kurosawa, Lean and Wilder
  made their beans out of the masses
the sugar of molasses, the candy floss
  picture houses, palaces where heroes live

                   and die, Alan Ladd, Marilyn

popular philosophy, Orwell, Huxley emerge
  Jean Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Mao Tse Tung
Anthony Burgess, R.D. Laing, Tolkien, Jung
  no one reads Worlds in Collision anymore
the Politics of Experience, of Ecstasy or Jung
  the revolution died on a Summer Holiday
on an RT bus like Mahatma Gandhi on 3oth
  January 1948, with three bullets in his chest
the ‘sixties’ was a social revolution that died
  not just marajuana, the way we felt inside



rare author’s note:

I didn’t expect to write this piece – it just happened – did the six-tees happen at all? – I’m not sure they did – yet I was there and remember a certain excitement – we felt something was happening – and we didn’t know what it was – but in so many ways – it was better than what we have today! – I wrote this as a garbled flow of consciousness – as I remember it and things – as things were – as each day life was exciting – as each day was an ‘event’ – not a mundane existence – I wrote it as I sensed it – as I felt it and I didn’t use the word fuck once!

Screenshot 2020-11-14 at 11.12.55

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Naked and Unashamed .. .

I run free my pieces jangling
  run to the crashing sea
I run shouting unashamed
  my arms vainly embracing the moon
  the wind grazing my flesh
I run still wondering
  in my dreaming
  the sunned stones cutting into my feet
  running into the salt-spray stinging my eyes
I hear seabird cries they are crying
  as they are lost as I am lost
  naked and unashamed
  yet still not free of my adornments
My ragged coat of many colours
  my certificates of allusion
  my jock-strap fantasies
Hark, I hear maidens singing
  but they are not singing they are laughing
  they hold a jewelled oyster
They speak of pearls
  I speak of caves to hide in
  lie in, die in
  the potential to survive in
They speak of life not the death I carry
  in this jolly knapsack that dangles at my back
  you see I am not free but burdened like Christian
Like Raif Badawi, Malcolm X, Olatunji,
  I am like they would be
  if they ran naked and free
As those dear women
  whose breasts bangled
  as they ran in artificial pro-aryan races
  at the command of cruelty
  sordid inhumanity
  nazi masters whose hell
  they shared at the shoah
As young children running
  from the horror of napalms burning
  as anyone running in fear
As we are running
  from the honesty of our deceptions
  so naked, so ashamed
Then run, keep running to forget
  run round the corner
  through the tunnel of illusion
  through the valleys of confusion
  across the hills
  into the mountains
  running then on
  and into the sea



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Me and Walt Whitman .. .


me and walt

We grew out of Long Island, Manhattan
It is where my father died, I am not afraid
to speak of it, my father wrote of Watergate
me and Walt we wrote it down together

Walt and I we covered so much ground
the two of us wit’ a pair of dark lurcher hounds
Long Island is pretty skinny like those dogs
down the road to Nassau County and Ronkonkoma

I saw fishermen mending nets by Peconic Bay
it wasn’t Galilee or Gethsemane, the Peconic River
one guy called Peter he was a kind of rock
I thought I’ll write my story written round about it

another guy called John kept cropping up
he wore an artistic smock, lay his head down
on Jesus breast, out here that’s considered cute
it took me a long while to get here but I made it

I made it through to Montauk Point then out to sea
to catch a Bluefin Tuna out of Babylon in a schooner
I saw guys on the pier fishing despite what they knew
my brother was a sailor, a quarterback, a pitcher

You’re cutting the ropes Natasha, set yourself free
i’ll fix you a drink of long island tea on ice
he’ll settle down with a good book and a cocktail gin
Treasure Island, Tales of Ulysess, Moby Dick

I’ve really had enough of living on the land
I’ll live out on the sea as an old man like Hemmingway
Walt Whitman, me and Bobby McGee, dreamed I
made love to Janis Joplin in Saratoga, U.S.A.

I walked as long a while as down Jones Beach
where the sand is soft to touch, as a Kanthalloor peach
where people gather to stretch out, have fun, play ball
where multitudes gather in the sun

I walk with Whitman, Adeline, my sight hound, is a picture
I set her off the lead, she runs and runs, later she returns
there my uncle Art I see he is fishing with a lure for fluke
bluefish, blackfish, striped bass, he so better than my father

My father and Walt they never met, not that I ever knew
knew this or that, that hangdog moon, the august sun’s cravat
its hot as hell but Walt Whitman is a clever fellow
he tries to teach me words have value, they have rhyme

I’ll walk wi’ Whitman night or day he does not mind
he would take my arm when I have no sight, walk on towards the light
the sun above Patchogue when we are brothers
enjoy lunch at the Oyster Bar, dressed crab and piquant peppers

I walk with Whitman to my fathers grave we bow, we talk
we wonder, what gets upside a man’s head
that makes him act unkind, what demons live inside his mind
blinded souls, there are seabirds, herring gulls on Long Island

Life trips by, O the sadness of the human condition
the constant fight to wrestle down the bleakness of traditions
father took a journey to Manhattan west of Paumonok
he was following a dream that left us floating in slipstream

I been floating ever since around the headland
in a canoe with Walt Whitman and a Seatauket indian
indigenous and free as my father wished to be
the day he left our mother, Boo, the mockingbird and me



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Always begin again .. .



Have you seen the swifts departing or heard their solemn call
across the housetops, the smudge of bronze-brick chimneys
a hoar frost hanging grey, the scoop skin of ripe, wild blueberry
we had been dovecote lonely while nights prussian swallowed
hard the scuttle in my clothed throat I could not easily find words

I never dreamt of such regret, squeezing through scaled memory
faint illusions, ghostly demons with faces that I could recognise
who smiled inside my dread, rebounding from the sides nightly
left by the summered pathway of my long, interrupted childhood
those sober dreams were animated films driven, lost, fragmented

where I would wake silently the bleak sound of sobbing in my head
I was often on a schooner, in imagined tales, as a sharpened knife
as a skulking stowaway always troubleshooting escaping my anxiety
in the midshipman’s parlour, at their salted table, I read the stories
stains in the grainy, weathered oak, written with punishment of blood

the sharpest tales, the ones in the shadow of green, refracted light
confused the bottle with my life, I the priest confirming my own rites
the horrors of golden piss take control, I see the rats, gnawing teeth
the hill I climb always taller, leaning back, a burden I push on wheels
tracks are laid behind me, the blackened engine, honking, gaining

the contrasts of light, shade, beauty, lethal cuts from a blade of grass
trauma confused by grace should never wear a happy face or smile
always the sentinel, grim as icy water we wade through, explorers
who reach the island, a shot in the veins from a non-religious tract
a pioneer pamphlet, you write your seminal piece and I am pregnant

I am adorned with wraiths, seaweed of the deepest, blackest seas
where monsters gather, lamplights on Poseidon, ugliest of brothers
all this I feign carry on my itching, lashed back, turned against treason
I, once a small child with Marvel comics, sugar puffs, tooth fairies
stand a metalled man, a trophy of the Greeks, my cheeks blushed


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I wrote 34 lines on missing you .. .

I wrote 34 lines on missing you .. .

…   …   …

I want it all
I want the lot
I want it cold
I want it hot
I want it double, double capuchino
I want twins nestled in my cot
I want a double in my hand
to hear them live, my favourite band
I want the future, I want the past
I want that last biscuit in the tin
a never-ending bottle of gin
I want total absolution from all my sin
I want my hunny here with me now!
sitting softly on my knee
I want to kiss her, hear her say
tell you what baby
lets never go away, again
come back baby, come back hun
since you went sweetie
there ain’t no sun
or fun or any other rhythm
I even considered joining
that oddball schism
down the road
I want joy and I want world peace
want these nightmares to cease
so come back baby
come back now
I’ll rub your back
I’ll rub your feet
I’ll suck real hard on your teets
and we can carry on. as before
I want you baby
I just can’t love you any more


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