Friday, 22 October 2010

Slumming it Again: The Mythology of Leadership

Birthday weekend coming up. 39 years young on Sunday. Aye Ole! The car is packed for a trip up North to the parents and extended family in the fine old town of Stamford in Lincolnshire. I'm cooking Sunday lunch - Elgar and Charles Mingus on volume 10, Wine in Goblet, Chocolate puddings..and you are all invited! (better ring ma)

The above snap is to show the squalid conditions i am expected to teach in. A day on 'the Mythology of Leadership' at the Ashridge Stately pile outside London. its tough but i am recovering. Co -lead with my good buddy Matthew Burton, Director of the hit west end play 'the Dumb Waiter' and just given the job by Faber and Faber of assembling and editing Harold Pinter's letters. Good luck with that sir!

Meet tuesdays, 8pm, Twice monthly. Bring work you are doing or are excited about. No passengers. Don't invite anyone along unexpectedly. Don't be shy on buying a round. If you absolutely cannot stand Tweed you can touch the hem of a Harris Tweed someone in the group has, and that will do - otherwise get yerself one. Force yourself to have another go at Robert Graves's 'The White Goddess' washed down by some poems by Sharon Old's to recover. Be free to be grumpy.Write with a Quill. Pay for your veg with lumps of gold. Resist pornography and embrace the erotic (specially for the boys). Allow more privacy in your life. Buy wild antiques for next to nothing. Patch old levis. Love hounds and nutty cats. Practice scowling at young people. Take up fencing.Never bring a child along.

Unless its Dulcie.

Hah! breaking the rules already!

I will prepare a more resilient manifesto soon. Visiting Cinderbiter Coleman will be sending a poem each fortnight - why not contact a poet and ask them to do the same where you are. If you do form a group, please drop us a line at the e-mail to the right of this blog. Certain themes would be good to explore internationally.

More soon on this wonderful, low key emergence as we move into the autumn......

So this is a first draft of something after feeling the autumnal pull up to the rivers of Dartmoor, and the thought that the rocks are impacted ancestors. Behind our house is a big lurching hill that leads to the crested Tors, so there is always a desire for heading upwards, and a weird kind of privacy. They are not great work but its good to let fly near a birthday without much worry of its shape!


there are slow black stones underneath the water
great brains of wetness
and green old currents like raggedy blades
blades that are curly uncles
that are drunk children
that are magical opinions
that terrify my mild hands

i leave the tired house of opportunity
and haunch the fields
two at a time
to sup the briny sleet
in the rough cup of god

This glowing world
is truest in the orphans mud
in the shattering bite
of the hard eyed ram
that refuses to be cut from
the barbed wire fence

I boiled under the Hunters belt
mad fistfuls of language galloped past
The Devon town underneath
my seeing
grew indistinct
almost gone
than flared up again, fought back
with teeth not made of bone

This autumnal privacy desire continues with something scrawled a few days later. I'm sure we know this feeling, whilst cherishing the beloveds we do have....


We need a hooded life
i reclaim boisterous peace
and the good Lion in the word No.
Baba’s hut always stays east
no matter how the chicken legs turn

My fierce entry into conversation
after a lifetime inside
is causing trouble with the old growth forest
Brugels postcard of the hunters
floats off my study wall

I don’t need dramatics
or the eye wrenching hurt of the mountain fast
only to know that certain slow notes inside
carry my fingerprints only
that some golden cup has been stolen back
for the adders delight
that my chair is empty at the town meeting

we have made too many friends

Avaunt beloveds - see you in my next year x

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Ok i admit it. Six harris tweeds maybe a little excessive. But the leaves have gone orange and are falling from the trees at a wild rate, surely now is the time to wear them. Still, i suspect Cara has a point. But i'm talking the kind of jacket that has a baby fox in one pocket and some Spanish erotic poetry in the other. Moonbeams, Cutlass and hordes of Peruvian Gold in the secret pocket.Missing a button, dastardly and suspect, a Bandit Queens perfume on the sleeve. C'mon at least have a quick look in your charity shop/thrift store. Nothing sexier. Well, at least for soon to be thirty nine year old Devonians anyway.
Jet lag was a four day trip to dreamland this time ( do you get liminal dreams?) - and then a super wooly weather weekend on Dartmoor with my little nephews Paddy and Finn - the old gods threw shedloads of weather straight into their shining little faces, but they took it all with good grace (eventually, at home, with a hot towel and steaming mug of warm chocolate). A little too young for the rites - of -passage thing i must admit, but we all saw glimpses of each others inner - wild Celt, which was rather delicious.
I barely had time to hit the books before i was off to Kent to teach myth to a hundred clinical psychologists. A rowdy bunch of brainy hooligans too - it was fun - ENORMOUS feckin fire in the woods (so large i started to wonder if they were going to produce Klu Klux Klan masks), and all sorts of good things happening. This weekend is the beginning of the UK year course up on Dartmoor - we have a good group forming -last places at 01364 653723.

THE CINDERBITERS: the olde pub, the battered text, the wild word, the red beer, the glowing fire, the rain on the window.

Work has begun in earnest on a new book. This is giving me great, great pleasure. The pain will be in about a year, when the editing and scalping of the antlered words begins. I may drop in chapters and ideas as i go. I'm being smart and asking for a bit more support this time round - in the shape of a group of lovers of language and fine old pubs and yes, Harris Tweeds. A rainy Tuesday evening group to gather by the Inn's fire and share whatever we happen to be working on at the time, or thinking about, or some mad sprawl of poetry we love. This group will be called THE CINDERBITERS. And by invite only. Boys and girls. When i have a little more mustard in the roll i will post up the manifesto. The good news is that you could form your own group - in Idaho, or Birmingham or Japan. all you need is ...yes, i'm afraid so,,,,,tweeds (has to be Harris and you must send photographic evidence), three invited visiting dead teachers from the last 10,000 yrs and a love of the hostelry.
In case you think this is all hyperbole, i must inform that my small groups long distance member is none other than Coleman Barks - over in Athens, Georgia - but is swearing to commute to the meetings. I kid you not - he bought a tweed in Point Reyes especially - i have the photo to prove. Please read up on C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkiens INKLINGS group at Oxford to get more information about the general idea. Throw Patti Smith, Aretha Franklin and Georgia O'Keefe in the picture too and it all gets much fresher.
Ok. I have written far more on that than i planned this evening - more soon.

new poems from Thomas R. Smith 'The Foot of the Rainbow' - his rockin new book. he lived with punk squatters in London once, and saw Jonny Rotton at the dukebox- (at the George Robey in Finsbury Park i think). Soon returned happily to the midwest.

some of that.... (on scotch and illness, thousands of miles from home)

in the tube,
feverish, my throat
sandpaper, i cuddled
the bottle as if it were an infant, hugged it
home to the abandoned
tobacconist's where i
nested on the third floor
alone. Early evening
snow glittered the lit
vegetable stands with
their earthen wares...

find the rest of this great poem! good night!