........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Failed Relationship Plan no 1

I remember when sex in public toilets
was the only sex I could have. In my youth
I did it a lot, at times because it was illegal.
But I was as safe from arrest as everyone
I did it for, purely on the pragmatic grounds
that it was a place where I felt safe from society.
The most important reason I was not arrested
was that the profits of the pubs where men got pissed
would drop if their best customers were arrested,
and allowed out only when chaperoned by their wives.
A second would be that there would be public questions
around why such late arrests were happening
when the laws under which they were made
had been operational since Victorian times.
Finally there would be the shaming of the families
of the men who waved their willies in such forlorn hope
-too many shamed families and it would no longer
be newsworthy, the local press liked smaller shocks
with which to press people into to buying local news.

Since sex frequently proves unmemorable
after, and even sometimes during, the event
what I recall the best was the consistent grubbiness
of being there, which put off most people's interest.
Collective denial made it impossible to stamp out,
and unacceptable to mention, never mind
that it normalised hastily sought very bad sex.
What those who denied it also denied
was their contribution to its appeal-theirs
was the secrecy that bound the strange mix
of sleaze and glamour together, such that
nobody understood how they became combined.    

Monday, 30 March 2015

Reinventing Defference

Late in the 1930s the political talk
was of 'guns before butter'.
children's welfare was low priority,
compared with the need for arms.
But money to support morale still mattered.  
Beer was never rationed during the war.
Now with prolonged public spending cuts
the talk is of putting the wants of corporations
and the banking system well before welfare,
because 'the country owes the rich so much-
and even if it didn't, we need them-without the rich
there would be no country and they preserve
the value of our currency through their tax avoidance'.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


The art of topiary got fairly wild here....

Uncomplimentary Role Play

is what happens when we take actions
and issue instructions that trap the people
around us into acting out behaviors
that reduce our good intent to nothing
but a slowly grinding effort-fulness.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Liars Dance

The appeal of lies lives

in how the liar embeds themselves
in the lives of others, through their lies
being taken up as truths unawares.
The awkward part for those around the liars
is how they become agents for narratives
they did not intend to carry, as if the liar
is payed royalties for each lie
the carrier wearies in carrying.
In the short term the gain seems enough
for all, but the longer time passes
the bigger the gain will always be
to the person they carry the lie for,
and before they know it the profit
will become the long term loss
for others unprepared for the end result.
For the liar the the skill of it
comes in creating a continuity
though lies, and being more brazen
than other people estimate they could be.
That is when the culture backs them. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Failed Career Plan No 1

First came the summons 'I want you to do ---- for me,
you are the only person to do it and you don't need any help,
off you go then...   '. What was said came out in such a way
as I could not say 'Thank you, but no'. The task truly required
assistance but my adviser was distracted, advising people
like him in their choice of drinks and entertainments.
His lack of support left me 1-in the wrong to him,
as I saw it, and 2-in his debt as far as he would look,
since he had not got what he believed he had was owed.
The longer we did not talk the more the silence compounded
his advantage, trapping me tighter in his unforgiveness.
Finally when the help arrived that was mine by right
it was too late to be useful, the best help only works best
when applied to a cleaner slate than I could provide.
I was too tired, from being too much in debt, to be helped
by the support which would have helped me recover
were I better placed sooner. The ill intent
I was forced to accept was mine for the rest of my life.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Taxation and Misrepresentation

I can live with democratic misrepresentation
-that is predictable with the distance
our representatives live from those they represent.
What I find harder to accept is institutional
tax avoidance, as if it were an fixed obligation
to pay as little tax as possible, and if asked
to justify it say 'The state would only waste it
on welfare claimants anyway'. The active death
of a sense of civic duty towards society
has now reached the stage where the states
employees do not pay the taxes
they do not want to, to the government.
Perhaps when nobody pays any tax
because the law is nothing loopholes
there still be no such a thing as society.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Working Class Atheism

was built around the efficacy of alcohol
as a constant in the lives of the men
who laboured long in dirty factories,
rather than the power of positive thought
or some theological alternative.
That family life was as driven by it
as ever the history of religions
is a history of different rulers
going to war was is not the point.
The aim was for as many households
as there were men with dirty jobs
which could be self sufficient in fear.
The patriarch was the power point
through whom all life ensued.

Shame and hypocrisy cut their own paths
through family life, whether from belief,
credulity, or cynicism, but always preferably
they blackened other families more than your own.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Flavour Bud Living

In the first world we have the luxury
of eating so badly at such great expense,
and the further luxuria of being blind
to the cost of it all, not least upon language.
I would not mind but I have found
that with raw materials prepared fresh
and bought locally, my food tastes better.
The less that is done to draw out the flavour
the more it leaves the texture intact.

Spring Is Time For Art

Ernest Lindner (Austrian, Canadian, 1897-1988), Forest Rhythm from here.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Doomed Mission

A patriarchal world has made women
far more 'the fishers of men'
than any Gospel driven evangelist could.
Women in pursuit of good fortune
have to pursue fortunate men.
How knowingly they combine
war and wealth to malign end
is up to them. My advice
is that peaceable husbandry
whilst in pursuit of maximum profit
will always be impossible to keep in balance.

Sunday, 22 March 2015


an Englishman's home is his castle,
then his place of work is his war zone
and the pub is where life is remade,
nightly, to appear attractively cheap.
Family and home are the places
that can't refuse him, however much
he returns to mire those around him
in all the conflict from the world
that floats around inside him.
Something that for being 'kept'
they learn to deny the existence of.

Being Something Of A Pessimist

I don't necessarily like illness
but I admire how it is proof I am alive.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Death, Taxation And Misrepresentation

With its worship of weapons and militarism
through glossy videos the new militant Islam
makes the rhetorical patriotic fervour
of the USA seem weak, in media terms.
This makes me almost nostalgic
for a much cooler past-one that now
is barely understood-the time when Islam
meant 'submission' as much as it does now,
but for those born outside of Islam
(as many faith minorities were) a person
would have kept to their faith, and kept their place
outside The Islamic State, by maintaining
their place of worship and paying their taxes.
A faith is for life, Caesar's due is always limited.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Election Special

You will have a choice of parties,
 but the result will be the same.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


is by definition evangelical.
Given this, I just don't know
how the square peg of my humility
fits into the deep black hole
marked out faith, hope,
and all the other cliches,
without it being swallowed up.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

How Time Tracks Us

Before the first rail tracks were laid down,
the sailors standardized time through chronometers
which when combined maps of the stars
guided them through all the seas of the earth.
But where the sun rose and set on the land
light was natural and the measure of labour/rest.
But with enclosure in filthy factories,
the clocks slowed down as the machines
sped up, to extract more effort
from tired innumerate workers.
Then for the upper classes
the train stations standardized time
to keep destinations in pace with each other.
This locked villages into step with the cities,
rather than steppes they used to look out on.
Wrist watches were invented for air pilots
to read the time using no hands.
We have all lived faster since.
Now our sense of time stretching
with a task is reduced by radio, the phone,
and the internet. But still,
where the human body clock
is understood it says that time is like life
-more transient that we realize.   

Monday, 16 March 2015

Confession Of An Ageing Batchelor

Assuming that what I have done
can be defined and divided
with a 'me' left thereafter,
then only time will measure
whether the good I intended
outweighs the life of meanness
I exposed. For now
everything I say is short-term.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

How Did We Spell Schadenfruade?

In The Underclass the words were short
and humour had a bright and brittle surface
that masked a bleakness underneath;
shared avoidance was our biggest asset.
As long as we believed we were better
than other people we thought
we could be glad for ourselves.
Were this belief to be dislodged from us
then the future always held the choice
of somewhere worse, for us to fail better.

Even the lowest of the low believed this.   

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Mad Gods And Englishmen

Almost fifty years ago the graffiti went out;
'CLAPTON IS GOD' and many young men
believed in the purity of Eric's sound and volume.
But he was too modest and muddled to be a deity.
Hendrix did it better. Few knew how many pedals
he used but when the magic came nobody asked
-they marveled at how it flew from his fingers.
Jerry lived twice as long as Hendrix did.
With different bands he played near 4000 gigs,
and over 3000 of them were recorded.
He wrote and played many a tune
that nobody else would ever master.
Jimmy the magician toured too,
warping the ears of young men with a stadium
sound they could not believe. Grief quietened him.
The one still touring is Kieth who at over seventy
is present in spite of his history of recreational chemistry.
After fifty years of playing he has such mangled hands
that they are worthy of a plaster cast
in their own right, very different to those of old.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Putting The 'Me' Into 'Media'

In general is Modern Liberal Atheism......

1-a cod philosophy which is nearer
the older religions/social opiates
it affects to despise than it likes to think?

2-as incoherent as it is unhistorical,
because it is regularly rewritten
without reference to it's pasts,
the better to give believers
that sense of a perpetual life
in the present tense?

3-as racist or socially inclusive
as it is fashionable to be,
depending on the social climate?  

4- always middle class
and blind to it's own bias?

5-utopian in how it's hopes
rest so much on new technology?

6-as fractured as the old beliefs
are/were with all their shades
distinctions and different labels
which it's adherents choose?

The more things change
the more they stay the same.....   


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Domestic Spin

The images preserved in family photographs
are meant to be the clean version of life, 
the seconds when we are wrung dry
of all the crudity and pressure,
ready  to be frozen in politeness.

Monday, 9 March 2015

How Many of These Injunctions Could Be Applied Now?

Dear Lady Georgiana,

    Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have—so I feel for you.

 1- Live as well as you dare.

 2- Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature
 low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75° or 80°.

3- Read amusing books.

4- Take the short view of human life—no further than dinner or tea.

5- Be as busy as you can in something that absorbs you.

6- See as much as you can of the friends who respect and like you.

7- See as much as you can of those acquaintances who make you laugh.

8- Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely
—they are always worse for dignified concealment. Beyond friends
be selective who share your low spirits with, lest you be left lower. 

9- Enjoy the positive effects that tea and coffee produce upon you.

10- Compare your lot with that of other people.

11- Don't expect too much from human life—a sorry business at the best.

12- Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels
and melancholy sentimental people, they are all the sort of thing that is likely
to excite feelings or emotion that does not result in an inner active benevolence.

13- Do good, and endeavour to please yourself through pleasing others to every degree.

14- Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.

15- Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.

16- Struggle little by little against idleness.

17- Don't be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.

18- Keep good blazing fires.

19- Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.

    Believe me, dear Georgiana, your devoted servant, Rev'd Sydney Smith

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Yours And Mine For The Taking....

Whatever you take, apply it selectively
 but generously and it will regenerate more.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Collective Irresponciblity (1)

We have no need to fear
the idea of artificial intelligence
for as long as we produce
enough natural stupidity
to overwhelm it with. 

Collective Irresponcibility (2)

In my youth the word for heterosexuality
was marriage; there was nothing else.
Both the idea and the word disguised
wanting to be kept-projecting it instead
as the meeting of the needs of others.
When the lies convinced them enough
then people married, then the thin veneer
that held up hope was thinned some more
leaving the newly weds nothing to hide with.

Thus every child grew up by being told
'One day you will be a parent like us,
and you'll depend on a well paid job',
as if it were natural-more than luck
and more than the channeling of cliches.
In more coercive households
children learned through behavior
that the only escape from being bullied
by family was to become a parent,
and the head of a separate household.

Thus the next child to be reared in condescension
will be merely the latest repayment of a debt
which everyone denies is never ending.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Riches Of The Digital Life

We, the creatively unwaged,
tap away at our laptops-
daily doing the best we can
to chip away at the accusations
of sloth by stealth,
which the uncreative and wealthy
use to distance themselves
from the rest of the human race.

The Choice

between heaven and progress
is not that vast-with both
might proves righteousness
as wrong argues with right
through us to make the winner.
The aim is always to bury the lost
in the compost heap of history.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Immaturity Of Space Travel

For all our advances
we are as fit to colonize
other planets as a feotus
is fit to leave the womb
it can't comprehend
that keeps it alive.

The Lighter Life

creating debt is human,
cancelling debts is divine.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Many a family is poor, and of necessity
they inflict their poverty on each other,
not least to make sure they remain family.
Those who escape through second chances
will always have little left to share
with the families they leave behind, beyond
'We must have been gluttons for punishment
for wanting so much of the less-ness of life,
and for wanting each other live like that',
and the real trick is in hiding
the whiff of accusation
behind a sense of observation.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How Easily We Deny How Near Nature We Live

Recently my cooker had to be reconditioned.
As the workman took off the different casings,
he removed the cover from the transformer,
and found a nest of semi-fossilized mice.
With the cooker on and transformer warm
they had made their winter home there,
using insulation as bedding. They died there,
together rather than starved and frozen. Outside.
I took the casing and cleaned it out for the workman
and put the mice in the hearth-ready for burning
when I next lit a fire, whilst he spoke of the alertness
of the cats for vermin around his family's farmhouse.

With every news bulletin the media whispers
'Only in the First World are you free from harm'
as if the media are our insurance
against the idea of nature overwhelming us.
I don't believe them, the mice confirmed
what I know in my bones, that poorer
and ruder conditions continue to hide
behind the present facade of prosperity.

Dublin Bars

were famed in their time
for their lunches of Guinness,
bread and butter and oysters.
For the poor it was a treat,
the best of foods,
served in the best of places
there was to be had.
Such times are long past,
How has such food
become the luxury
it seems to be today?

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Comforts Of Kafka

Franz Kafka, the story goes, encountered a little girl in the park
where he went walking daily. She was crying.
She had lost her doll and was desolate. Kafka offered to help her
look for the doll and arranged to meet her the next day at the same spot.
Unable to find the doll he composed a letter from the doll and read it to her
when they met. "Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world.
I will write you of my adventures." This was the beginning of many letters.
When he and the little girl met he read her from these carefully composed letters
the imagined adventures of the beloved doll. The little girl was comforted.
When the meetings came to an end Kafka presented her with a doll.
She obviously looked different from the original doll.
An attached letter explained: “my travels have changed me… “
Many years later, the now grown girl found a letter stuffed into an unnoticed crevice
in the cherished replacement doll. In summary it said: “every thing that you love,
you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.” by Sierra, here.