I feel like I’m on a mortician’s slab lying here in my bed,
unable to sleep, yet rattling with my tablets and meds.
Seemingly stuck in a half-life, feeling neither alive or dead,
while this poem’s like a cockroach trying to burrow out of my head.
It’s the ultimate earworm, eating my brain while creating this rhyme,
there’s a pain growing rapidly behind my eyes.
I won’t look at the alarm clock, I don’t need to know the time,
all I know is I need to use my pen to cut this poem from my mind.
You see I never realised and other poets never told
poetry is literary haemophilia, it’s hard to stop its flow.
You can try to sew your mouth shut but if the truth be told,
writing is just another scar you’ll carry until you’re old.
You realise you see fucking poems fucking everywhere
it’s like poetry is tattooed on your eyeballs, it’s everywhere you stare.
It feels like an itchy scab at which your fingers long to tear,
Poetry fights against you in your brain, pure biological warfare.
So here I lie still feeling like I’m laid out for dissection
thinking that if I took my pills I’d get cranial contraception.
Not some bullshit words, an immaterial conception,
breeding and multiplying like a bacterial infection.
I’ve been thinking too long the sun’s up there’s a new day ahead,
and I can’t move from this slab, my bed.
I reckon I’m still alive, it’s just my feelings that are dead,
and this poem is still like a cockroach trying to burrow out of my head.


The Truth is Out There

Something was gnawing away at me
something long-forgotten now returned,
demanding my attention as it
dug its way out of the dark hiding place
I thought it would never escape from.
So it was free at last,
free to demand answers from me,
free to demand the truth.

I had no idea where to begin to look so
I stared at the television news until I nearly went blind
flicked through the daily papers until my fingers were stained black
and trawled social media until my phone and will to live nearly died.
But none of these contained the truth and probably never did.

So I re-read the incomplete chapters of the book I had tried hard to write,
examined the scruffy lines of poetry I had set aside
then looked hard at myself in the mirror.
I asked my reflection. “Where is the truth?”

My reflection stared back at me
then said. “You do realise you know where the truth is.
It’s still exactly where you buried it,
I know I helped dig the hole
and we both knew this day would come,
when you would ask me where the truth was.
But don’t you remember,
you made me swear on my life,
that I should never tell you.”

Early Riser

When I woke in the early hours of the morning
you were quietly lying next to me,
and in that brief moment between your breaths
it felt as if the world had stopped.
No sirens screaming as they fade into the distance,
no branches shifting to the wind’s command,
no couples sneaking home rustling chip papers,
no television static crackling through a dividing wall.
Then you started to breathe again
and the world inhaled with you.

The Brook

We have all travelled far to get here to
this place of straight routes and regimented trees,
this place where you greeted us by
vainly trying to tame our twisting path
with your solid stones placed around and over us.
We laugh at this futility as we flow forward,
while our many mouths froth
chewing on muddy banks
tearing down plants
root by branch by twig.
Our chatter attracts inquisitive beaks
seeking what’s hidden in our silt,
muddying our clear surface
releasing flotsam from its sediment prison
that bobs and clogs as we push it along
that impedes and interferes as we try to wash it aside,
but nothing can stop us,
not even the teasing chill of
winter’s freezing breath.
So we must push on
thank you for listening to
our story, we are sorry
we cannot stop
and listen to yours.


Today words are slowly
drifting from my pen like
dead leaves quietly spiralling
to the ground, where
they add to the discarded
carpet of poetry at my feet.

Ideas are crumbling like
ash dripping from the
end of a neglected cigarette.
I watch the ashtray fill
with spent verse that
waits to be lost to the breeze.

Inspiration should come
naturally here.
but nothing stirs except
inquisitive wasps keen
to sample the dregs
in my beer bottles.

I feel I should put down roots here,
join the brotherhood of trees in
their silent contemplation.
But I know if I was to stay here
for a hundred years,
I would never capture the
beauty of this place.

Funeral for a Crow

Descending like a pair of dark angels
the vanguard of the cortege
settle around the deceased.
Always clothed in black
though not here to mourn as
white camera eyes swivel
scrutinising their fellow all splayed out.
As thoughts finish the scolding starts
attracting the rest of the cortege to the vigil.
They join in screeching their remembrance,
wailing a warning until
silence falls, wings flap
the funeral is over.

Carnac Stones

Written after a visit to Carnac Stones

Irritable Vowel Syndrome

I wanted this poem to be an act of rebellion,
I wanted to speak not as an old fart but a young hellion.
This should be a rant against the straitjacket of language school put me in
Or a rail against the ill-fitting skin I clothed myself in.
But my words have turned into pretension
highlighting failed aspirations
and I’m not rebelling
I’m just a madman yelling
while my brain is telling me.
“Why did you write this poem, it’s shit.
No audience will want to hear it
there is no heart or wit,
your words don’t fit
quit you stupid bastard just quit.”
And I wonder is there an actual solution
to this internal pollution
any possible resolution?
Why can’t I just push a USB stick into my head
to try to get this unlimited supply of bullshit downloaded
and finally get some peace from all my brain said.

And then I thought brain you say I’m no good at anything
but I built this poem.
me whose English teacher wrote on his report,
Richard struggles with poetry.
Actually with the benefit of hindsight that’s probably right, but
on these rickety foundations I began to build and I built well..

I built this poem from scraps of leather and brick
forged it in the white hot heat of love and relationships
I wrote these words while in the park or down by the cut
Inspiration flowing like the smoke from my cigarette butt.
These are words that came to me on the bus or in my flat
I wrote them down late at night on the wrapper of my kebab
I took words from literature and scrawl from toilet walls
I took everything I loved and etched it deeply on to my soul

So it’s my brain
and it will do what I say,
or I’ll take its meds away.
Because to be honest my brain does piss me off,
just like me it’s got a big gob
and me and my brain will probably argue until the day I drop,
I’ll win sometimes and also lose but I won’t stop.
And I’ll continue under the guise of poetry
to publicly wash my dirty laundry
this moth-eaten well patched thing I call my story.
Why? Because I’m a poet, this is my therapy.
So I never was rebelling
I was just a madman yelling
that if you have any doubts telling you
that you can’t do what you love to do,
you know what to say to those doubts. Screw you.



This is the title poem form a new collection I’m working on with the talented Paul B Morris, hopefully out at Christmas

The Intolerant Cow an interview with poet Marianne Burgess

It’s always great news when you hear one of your favourite poets has a new collection out, so when I heard Marianne Burgess was launching her new poetry book, ” The Intolerant Cow,” not only was I very excited but I thought it was the right time to fire her a few questions about her poetry and more. Interesting fact I met Marianne through her husband Scott who I once had the pleasure of working with a few yeas ago, more on him later.

Marianne will launch her book at the Café Grande in Dudley on Wednesday 31st, now on with the chat.

Q. Can you tell readers more about your new book the Intolerant Cow? Where did the title come from and what poems can folk find inside?

The Intolerant Cow’ is a great title don’t you think?! I was having coffee with my friend Jill and she was having a bit of a moan , about how as she is getting older she feels she is becoming more intolerant – she turned to me and said ‘I’m such an intolerant cow!’; voila! The title was born! It is a collection of my funnier poems.

Q.You write a lot of poems about your husband, does he enjoy them and what’s your favourite poem you’ve written about him and why is it your favourite ?

Yes Scott, bless him, takes a lot of flack from me ! I think he secretly likes the attention to be honest – and I always run them past him before I ever share them with an audience.
I think his favourite is ‘Vampire’. This was born from the fact that he favours staying indoors even when it’s a nice day; he has pale skin and I once joked that he must secretly be a vampire! I mean coupled with the fact that he absolutely hates garlic and can smell it from miles away….there may be some truth in the poem after all.

Q. When did your love for writing poetry start, how was your journey from writing to performing to where you are now?

I wrote my first poem when I was about 8. It was a simple ‘Roses are red violets are blue, I love my Mummy and she lives me too!’
Poetry has always been a very important part of my life. I write to highlight important events as well as every day stuff – I even wrote poems a few hours after the birth of my children!

Q. Life can be cruel imagine you are stuck on a desert island and have only one book of poetry with you. What Book would you take and why?

Just one poetry book…that’s hard….I guess it would have to be either John Cooper Clarke’s, ‘Life In An Open Necked Shirt’ or a collection of Pam Ayres work….or ‘The Toll’ by Luke Wright….oh dear thats 3……sorry!
I met Pam Ayres after her show in Scarborough around 6 years ago – she told me to never give up on my dream. She was lovely and very down to earth. She is probably my biggest influence.

The fantastic cover to Marianne’s new book

Q. After the launch of your book what are your future poetry plans?

After ‘The Intolerant Cow’ I would like to concentrate on the performance side as well as writing poetry aimed at Primary School age.
I think the best thing you can teach kids is self esteem. The highlight of mental health problems currently shows that many children unfortunately do not possess this…I think pressure from social media has a lot to do with this. My ultimate aim would now be to take this kind of poetry into schools to support children’s well being.

Q.Where can folk find you online and read more of your work?

I do have a blog – imaginatively called ‘Marianne Burgess Poetry Blog’…although it is not really up to date. These days I put some poems on my Face Book page; ultimately I would like people to read my poems through my books which are available on Amazon, or to come and watch me perform.

You can buy Marianne’s book by clicking here

The Intolerant Cow is published by Burdizzo bards

A big thank you to Marianne for taking the time to answer my questions, if you enjoyed the video it as part of The Black Country Broadsheet project from the talented minds of Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists, check out more great videos here.


This interview was carried out by Richard Archer for his blog Poems and More. If you copy and paste this article into another blog site please have the decency to leave this sentence in instead of reposting it as your own work.

Do You Want to Live Forever?

She asked me.
“Do you want to live forever?”

“Interesting question.” I said.
It’s a tempting offer.
What if you did make me immortal,
able to defy death,
outlive everyone I hate and dance on their graves.
Happy, until the time comes when
I see my wife die, then my daughter die, then her daughter die.
At what point I wonder would my feelings die?”

She laughed then said.
“You could see Empires fall,
civilisation crumble and this planet crack and burn.
And you worry about three people.
One day you will stand at your families graves
and you will struggle to remember what they looked like and
who they even were. You will walk away
unsure of why you have a bunch of roses in your hands.”

“You say I could see this planet crack and burn.” I said.
But if this world remains as shit as it is now
that is going to be a long wait.
And you say I will be uncaring| just staring at the stars
while around me injustice spreads like cancer.”

She slowly smiled licking her teeth.
“You will have power, you could be the force that changes it all.
You could feed on the rich, pull them down screaming
from their ivory towers, bring justice and liberate the poor.”

“Though once the rich are gone. “I replied.
“All that will be left to feed on is the poor.
Can I still make this world a paradise then,
and what paradise has ever welcomed monsters?”

“You asked me if I wanted to live forever.
Putting my life on pause while the world carries on around me
where memories become sand I can never hold
the king of a broken world sitting on a throne of the dead
Only wanting to be a saviour but never able to shed the name monster.
I think you know my answer.”