Philip Roth .. .

Philip Roth .. .



Sometimes it happens. Sometimes I’m a writer and sometimes I’m a liar. You can’t pick up your life and live it for two hours and then put it down again. When Horowitz or Henry, Patrick or Marlow decide to paragraph their upbringing or record detail that would shock your closest friend or possibly spoil your reputation with your mother’s. That same lady you used to call your Auntie but she wasn’t, then you realise you are stepping over the divide. Finally saying something that makes your nipples stand on end and moves you down below.

When women meet together, to lunch, they want to know things. Personal things, but to reach deep inside to those things they have to find a reason to talk anyway as though they were discussing their shopping or possibly today’s weather, not their fathers embarrassing prostate problem that they understand about completely. Then, it becomes just matter of fact. Men can always subvert it because they are not afraid to lie or at least exaggerate things. This way you can hide the detail and bring it back coded. The detail and the fact are kind of rolled together like you are making pasta or kneading dough.

That’s what a writer is supposed to do, right? To write and unfold things, unpack stuff, important stuff as natural as unrolling a carpet or rolling a spliff. You don’t have to write to shock, only to find your level.


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My Apex Window – London Bridge and the Odeon, Leicester Square

It’s falling down, it’s falling down
the world we made is falling down
down into a hole named Abi-synia

Desolate mountaineering
when the guides have all gone home
you can’t reach them on the phone

Or the pilots, or the guppies
Lost and lonely, can you phone me
I am your Dad, your one and only

I am your father lost and lonely
The world and all its feathers phoney
I picture you smiling, making happy face

When I was seventeen I had a dream
Of what my life would be like
And it was nothing like this, no not at all

The Bridge over the River Kwai
the film in which Sir Alec Guinness dies
guinness and champagne relieves the pain

London Bridge 1973, went box-girder
replacing stone-arch bridge that replaced another
this stood 600 years, witnessed medieval murder

Before those bridges they were made of timber
before that Roman order saw them cross our border
Pontem Londoniarum falling down to find a singing game

At Leicester Square I watch from my small apex window
above the rush of celebrities and classic films, they arrive
chauffeur driven, lead-lady smitten, director bitten

Stand by your beds watch out for the reds
Holly GoLightly and the things she said, Audrey Hepburn
sophistication on the big screen became a kind of queen

Our cultural history caught like stranded wildebeest
gnu savaged at the crocodile river in the blistering sun
our sweaty horses set, our race-start gun, the finalé run

Attenborough pass the gauntlet, pass the baton on
and on. Greta Thunberg, pass to Xiye Bastida, Xiye
pass to Lesein Mutunkei watch Antarctic’s setting sons

Come daughters of the revolution and Tyrannosaurus Rex
who birthed a notion with their elemental child, their suffragettes
before the electric storm or even Greenpeace was born

All allegiances, all loyalties sworn, Sally, Sally Greensleeves
don’t ever leave me, pride of our alley, yes you mean the whole world
and all its tiny houses made out of ticky tacky

El-awrence fought for Brit-ain on the silverscreen, David Lean
upsides Arabia, Boadicea fought the Romans not for the black oil
Welsh Queen Buddug, Tee heE Lawrence, hero or agent royale ?

Polanski’s creative energy ran out much too fast
Hollywood has its demons tied to HMS Bounty’s mast
LA cinema viewers their mouths aghast

Down on Sunset Boulevard, their fifteen minutes in the sun
William Holden, Gloria Swanson their glossy tile review its in history’s can
cinemagoers view the reality of earths sadnesses, O’ the horror

Apocalypse Now bled from a heart of darkness
Joseph Conrad sat at his typewriter, tippety tap, ‘all work and no play’ ‘makes Jack dull boy’ the moon still ‘shining’ for Kubrick and King

Sydney Pollack sang a song of Af-rika, of Mozart strains and aeroplanes
Runnaway Trains, Jon Voight searching for Nazi stains in Turtle drains
Eastwood on the High Plains a Drifter moseying on down, nosing around

The starlings are in a murmuration high above the Leicester Square
Just hours before the Premiere – Judy Garland, Fred Astaire
The trees are bare where the starlings and the people stand and stare

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A black sun sets on the yellow sea, splashed golden
  trees whistling strangely, pyramids the grey mountains
this mauved sea, twisting and turning, a whore at her work
  turns men’s minds puce awa’ fray the words a’ King David
these worthy anglers abate the falling, flaming arrows titian
  ever the black sun steps out coldly of his argent skies
my alma-mater singing urgently the purple clouds of warning
  I hear the shepherds green who stand in lightening storms
kissing hoary clouds of which many may fold me in their arms
  carry me from this white hole of death, lay me fleshy grey 

                                                                        © edenbraytoday15.05.2021

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The Invasion of the A.M.A.T.E.U.R.S

DEC wardrobe

                                      War we always have with us…

West of pier point on the cusp of Ben Hazi
the guerrillas set up camp
the sound of gunfire in the east
and on the west silence
interrupted with the horror of explosion
as a barred pony wanders onto the Brick Lane
which had been mined
halt the rebels incursion
the war on hierarchy and the status quo
in the underground
on the overground beyond
the sound of rushing water
behind enemy lines
we nestled in to watch the slaughter
of our innocence and candour
the bunker was so crowded
the noise of artillery and gunfire
the wetted, red bandages of the lost and fallen
lips dry and swollen
were it ever sweeter
fighting for the homeland
for my inch of intelligence and space
my cabbage patch
scratch the itch, lacerate the underbelly
drive my fence stakes
still deeper into the dead and lifeless
mention me in despatches
remember me on the hill
when the blackest black flag is still flying
the weaver is weaving certainty
when the piper is drumming
and the ice of a diamond frost
bites my blackened fingers off

Over these hills and far away
Johnny Corporal shouting the loudest
the longest, he even screams
words I hear in nightmares
my nursery, belated dreams
Jon shouts the enemy out
we are making inroads
inside the turrets of anxiety
the flabby dykes so drowned in crimson
that it streams oozing
soaked in it’s own mud and shit
my philosophy lies face down
ebbing life’s richest pageant scorned
an errant horse stumbles on it
kicks the hell from it
its breathing like an anemone
at the base of the clearest sea
o philosophy sit thee here upon my knee
so I may strangle thee
call out in the daubed night
cries of lostness and alone
where lies the gurkha
where lies his Cintamani stone
his Fashi feels the bullets raw
his followers light a watch
at the approach of night
distilling calmness from the still
sending thoughts of light and steel
hearty band of insurgents
dotting i’s and cutting trees
the labour of their grief
the murder of the sea
the imam, the punjari and the rabbi
you are now alone my brother, sister, brother

© edenbraytoday 20.05.2021

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I bought Bukowski

I bought Bukowski .. .


I bought Bukowski
I bought White Stripes
seven deaths on Lincolnshire roads
where I live
the rain still falling
on the window ledge outside
sexy as suck

I bought into Bukowski
I bought into Seamus Heaney too
my boots not made of leather, ardent
ardent just as you
I compare thee to a shoe
which fits around me, a fenny glove

I bought into the Charles Bukowski thing
and Shostakovich, Frederick Delius too
culture bomb
internecine implosion
the creative mind set free
laid out on vermillion pantyles
dappled, a splattered roof
not blind except
by reason of conformity
when owls and savants meet
another Lincolnshire Posy

Cultured Frederick D.
met the Aussie Percy Grainger
near Brigg Fair
in pre-war-one sun
before the world turned
in full circles since 1903
I travel across the East Fen
on a bicycle with spokes
that roads so full of cheese
of Stilton, of Maasdammer
upon this reclaimed land
so damn holey moley
the Dutch masters taught us
to stick fingers into holes
O’ my forefathers in clogs

I bought White Stripes
and Death of a Naturalist
to add to my august road
going nowhere
Dmitri S. walked a matted path
to prove he were a Russian
befriended Jewish folksongs
turns out he had much to lose
his friends were shot
family members murdered
creative minds analysed then herded
announced he was a communist
announced it far too late
I announced it in 1972
I wouldn’t have had I known
about Stalin’s ‘creative’ list

I bought Bukowski
and I bought Miles Davis too
a Touch of Blue
I’d bought into things before
I will again
my creative brain
both my pleasure and my pain
I bought into Miles Davis
Alicia Garza, Rosa Parks
Ralph Ellison
Langston Hughes
heroes every one
I bought into Charlie Bukowski


                          © edenbraytoday08.05.2021

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Copyright and Comedy .. .



I, a radiohead
hear voices
I hear peoples screams

live peoples nightmares
water board cruelty
splints under nails

humanity is not holy
it has no compassion
who can own a feeling?

I am a charlatan
making crazy rules
stealing what should not matter

who sells emotion at the door
artists freedoms
rhymes, schemes, seasons?

I am an oasis
in the crumbling desert
a pack of well-thumbed cards

water collected in a butt
a crystal stream
on a craggy mountain top

I am caravan
hired out cheap for the day
shared with my lover

where the crows now gather
on the rivet roof
we are fully woke up

I am rolling stone
always moving on
the name I use already chosen

names cannot be swallowed
no credits given
Pubilius Syrus was here in 1023

I, the pumpkin smashed
lies empty on the floor
the festival was here long before

everything it seems is fake
nothing is what it seems
who would pay a bent cent for their own dreams?

                                © edenbraytoday29.04.2021

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Britain Has Its Biscuits .. .



Alongside the apothecary of jars and potions
the baker’s biscuit designed to aid digestion
was accepted by the nation not bicarbonate
but by skill in appropriating diffused libations

In this regard it waits in line behind Rich Tea
as of the absorbent qualities of les bis-cuit
each regional recipe, an axiom of alchemy                                         
that augments the modernism of our history

The character of style and taste preferred by
members of the ruling class, the Tea Biscuit
stirred in 17th century, t’was a York-shire treat
biscuit tale unwrapped t’was far from complete

Cornwall like a British daughter back in1886
began exporting its famous ‘fairings’ to order
wi’ added spice, an eastern sparkle they would travel far
across the globe, ‘gingernuts’ became a biscuit star

To celebrate the exploits of a revolutionary leader   
we baked a ‘garibaldi’ – ‘dead fly’ sandwich, modelled
loosely on the eccles cake as seven years before
Guissepe visited our broken-biscuit isle in 1854

Early in the 20th century came custard creams and
bourbons, a touch of baroque with a chocolatto cloak
to steer us to Biscuitato Heaven with butter cream,
vanilla or cocoa powder, Victoriana met Mr Bojangle

This Island of Brittish Biscuit Makers creaks
many biscuits here wish to speak, have their say
double-baked and famous in their traditional way
the likes of Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers queue

They wait for their moment, a sight they are to see
lined up with purpose beside a nice cup of tea
O Britain roll your banner beat your drum, dip your t.bag
your moment for deciding is later than you think

At the behest of yon’ apothecary the nations roots
were laid amidst fair sweet potions for our potentate
like Kellogs flakes and Pepsi Cola the digestive biscuit
was created to sit on shelf twixt honey and molasses

Behind the highest spires of Britains pomp and fire
there stands a humble biscuit to whom we may retire
for while the people murmur and complain of much to do
there is loyal hobnob, sweet digestive to dunk in our brew


© edenbraytoday23.04, 2021

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The Amateurs


Two sportsmen were approaching, followed by a three, a five, a six

This band of amateurs coming after me to carry me home
on sweat-soaked shoulders, shirts cotton, buttoned down

Hooped, green-yellow; striped red-white, fearsome sight
On cold community playing-fields, under glaring floodlights
Brothers a-rated, know their strengths, ready for the fight

Ruck, reverse ball, thrown past his bloodied head
full back takes ball, drives on, punts, to make it fly
line out, jumps high, catches wet, the ball of lead
knock-on, scrum, put-in, then winger scores a try



                                       © edenbraytoday17.04.2021

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Boxer, can you see through bloodied vision?
this conflict born from all of Adam’s sons
subterfuge meets necessity in life’s arena

He stands alone who thinks alone homeless
who battles indecision and oppression
or who stands for his own valour

In the clearing where all men may fail,
fearless David feigned his madness
only fighters know full share of sadness

Here carrow poets gather to boggle die
itinerants in verse they gamble words
authors of the sounds of silence

Renown inflamed can be an awkward ally
these two as brothers sworn opined
to consider well their theory, write it down

Notes, chorus set to theme as Scorcose’s
who imagined another story re. boxer glory
their song ignites the page, it lights a stage

Duo-artists, single spot, plaintiff, almost holy
Just a poor boy, a story seldom told,
a pocketful of mumbles, railway station cold

This tragedy of ecstasy it hits emotions hard
A song, a raging bull of Marciano harshness
Our boxer boy beds down in ragged darkness

He, just looking for an honest workman’s wage
as these lyrical masters, harmonies so sweet
who surely knew the lonely times they declare

Song, the Boxer stands on mountainous terrain
in verdant, lonesome valleys, a homeless refrain
it stands me up, unifies courage, confirms our pain

Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie, la la lie la lie



                                                                      © edenbraytoday11.04.2021

glossary; a carrow is an Irish word (I am part Irish) it means
– an itinerant gambler

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A View By The Sea


littlehampton 2


The dead die young Ernest Albert Bett
your concrete grave is a trough
with no pigs yet in it
just convolvulus and ivy

I stepped across your withered torso
the silence of the dogs I walk
death in spades around me
shadows of oak walk past me

Gravelled path tidied by perspective
runs a silent brook so ghostly
wrought open the iron gate
kept after school, the bony lonely

Ernest Albert Ball where would you live?
by limestone cliffs and fulmar nests
moonlit waves that cannot sleep
my mother’s grey ashes cascaded

© edenbraytoday09.04, 2021




#Authors note – my brother and I decided not to bury our dear mothers ashes beside a sad memorial stone but to scatter them on the cliffs, by her favourite view – my mothers free spirit now flies with the gulls and the fulmar petrels .. .

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