I am not afraid of dying
I am not afraid of taking my last breath
I am not afraid of the end,
I am not afraid of death.
I am afraid of lying in the grave,
I am afraid of being buried with my regrets.
I am afraid of not being able to rest,
I am afraid of what I can never forget.
I slowly peel my body from the bus seat,
Like sticky, sweaty, sellotape.
My once icy bottle of water,
Starts to boil then evaporate.
My ice cream dribbles down my hand,
My flake seems limp and dead.
As the sun shines down mercilessly,
Burning the bald spot on top of my head.
“It’s about time you stopped bloody smoking,” the wife said,
“If you carry on a nicotine slave you’re going to end up dead.”
Even my daughter gets in on the act,
Asking, “is it true Daddy that your lungs are completely black?”
Trying to quit is something I’ve dreaded,
You see I’ve been smoking since I was young, on benches and under hedges.
And I’ve tried before, but only half-heartedly, to quit.
But just like my tries at dieting, I find it very hard to commit.
Mind you it’s not just smoking that can kill you these days,
Even life’s little pleasures can get you in a myriad ways.
You could go out for a quiet walk and find yourself run over,
You could go out for a quiet drive and plummet off a flyover.
Enjoy a few pints, get cirrhosis of the liver,
Feed the ducks, fall and drown in the river.
Sit out on a sunny day, cancerous melanoma,
Sit out on a starry night, surprise, pneumonia.
Life is just stuffed with bitter irony,
I mean look how some famous people died.
Killed doing what they thought safe or by their own inventions,
Marie Curie was poisoned by her own radiation.
Sid James dropped down dead while on stage,
Trotsky was murdered for what he put on the printed page.
James Hesselden segway guru, drove one off a cliff,
Jim Fixx invented jogging, had a heart attack while doing it.
Did you know you can even die straining for a shit?
So I think I’ll carry on smoking for a bit.
It seems I just can’t print copies of Diverse Verse 2 fast enough because as soon as I get them to Southcart Books they’re sold out and I have to order some more. I shouldn’t complain though as that’s more money plus what will be made this month in digital sales that can be donated to Cancer Research UK.
Part of this success story is due to Southcart itself, this is a shop that supports local authors, writers, musicians, photograhers and more. They have a local author table and shelves full of great works by talented folk from Walsall and beyond plus they hold a regular open mic. ( Last Saturday of the month but the next one’s on the 1st July.)
If you’re a local author, poet etc with a book or CD out then you can’t go wrong getting in touch with Scott and Amy who run the shop (firstname.lastname@example.org) and see what they can do for you. Even better why not pop along with your books to the next open mic and give everyone a taste of your work. You’ll be glad you did.
Hempen noose in a
tight knot binds
the unnatural blossom
to the old oak.
A foot twitches.
The lynch mob hold their breath.
Withered post-it notes pock mark any available space
Cryptic messages with no Rosetta stone,
Once as bright as daffodils
Now the colour of old weeds.
Here’s where ideas come to die
Headstone’s of dreams
Slowly buried under neglect and forgetfulness.
Their spark slowly worn away
Left to fade to obscurity.
If I was hoping for a rest after launching Diverse Verse 2 then it wasn’t to be but it was all for good causes.
Tomorrow I’m hosting Voices From the Shadows at Southcart Books in Walsall, here’s the details.
Voices from the Shadows is an afternoon at Southcart Books celebrating Walsall artist and poet Neth Brown.
Come and join us for a look at Neth’s art and a recital of her poetry.
We will also be hosting an open mic for poets and performers, so if you want to come and add your voice to the event please let us know in the comments section below.
Available for sale on the day will be signed prints of Neth’s work.
And because there’s no rest for the wicked today I was at Brum Radio recording a poetry podcast for release later this month with local storyteller Gav Young and poet Christina Thatcher.
It was hot in the studio but we all had a great time, thanks to Gav for the invite, Christina for sharing her lovely moving poems and Brum Radio for hosting. Now I’m off to the pub to relax before tomorrow.
The cars seem to be made of lead
Petrol tank’s gummed up with treacle.
The motorway’s smeared in super glue,
Like fly paper it catches people.
The vans look like bloated slugs,
The lorries seem to be oversize snails.
Straining so slowly forward,
Hands glued to horns, to no avail.
The M6 is stuck like a scratched dvd on pause,
While we turn the air blue and vegetate.
We’re fossilising on the motorway,
Trapped helplessly at Junction Eight.
I open the event with a reading of one of my poems in the book.
Yesterday the poetry book I’ve compiled for charity “Diverse Verse 2” was launched at Southcart Books in Walsall, and I’m pleased to say the event was a roaring success.
20 poets including myself turned up to read and with the audience that came to support the launch and enjoy the great poems at times it was hard to move. The book’s sales will support Cancer Research UK and yesterday we raised £115 and sold every single copy I’d had printed.
Here’s some photos from the event and after them I’ll let you know where the book can be bought from.
Paul Elwell reads his poem “When I Was.”
Carole Howard reads “Lesson from a Tree.”
Rick Sanders with impeccable comic timing reads us poems on snooker and Goldilocks.
Rick Sanders also wrote a review of the event on his blog which you can read by clicking this link.
Ian Henery reads to us about Walsall in the Civil War
Nina Lewis reads “Tidal mark.”
Al Lane tells us of the horrors of the morning after the work Christmas party.
Interestingly I first came across Al’s work online, click this link to go read his blog.
Scarlett Ward reads “Wordless”
Janet Jenkins reads “Umbrella Time”
Samatee tell us about the very last Dodo
Of course there were more readers and plenty more photos all available on Southcart Books page here.
These poems come courtesy of Elaine Christie and Scott Carter
Speaking of Southcart Books I will be having some more copies printed soon and delivered to the shop, keep an eye on their Facebook page if you are local and want to reserve one. Price will be £8.
Or if you can’t make it to the shop copies are now available to buy online, click this link here to take you to Lulu Publishing.
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported this book, all who sent in poems, Southcart Books for allowing me to use their open mic as a launch, everyone who read or came to listen at the launch and everyone who shared the book’s details via social media and more. Now to get working on my next book and who knows maybe Diverse Verse 3 soon?