on life

wind pushes at door
whistles its unhappiness
straw, wood, or brick built?


n.b. Humanity versus Nature, the constant struggle.

CLP 10/01/2023

on Iran

police shoot into protest crowds
Woman! Life! Freedom!


n.b. Forty days of mourning for Mahsa Amini has become a rolling wave of grief as other innocent school children (girls and boys alike) have been murdered by the authorities, with others who have committed the capital crime of calling out the repression of a brutal theocracy.

CLP 27/10/2022

on Ukraine

narrow strip of earth
turns into no man's land
time to draw the line?
a telephone rings
again? so soon? let me see
awkward exchanges
death calls at the door
its noose swings from naked tree
nuclear winter
who has the power?


n.b. It has come to this. Another conversation, the second in three days. Things are hotting up.

CLP 24/10/2022

on Ukraine

let us not pretend
a Russian life has less worth
deaths are not victories


n.b. War mentality dehumanises us all.

CLP 10/10/2022

on love

take the freedom walk
firehoses, dogs, prison bars
four girls as angels


n.b. Birmingham, Alabama, once the frontline of the hate line, a victory for love.

I studied at Birmingham Polytechnic in the period 1978 – 82. Coming to its namesake city has been an education. Real friendly place, as the locals might say, but do not walk down specific streets after dark they advise in all sincerity.

on Ukraine

sat in their silos
weapons of horrific strength
attention focused


n.b. Whatever my thoughts on this, writing them would only trivialise the seriousness of the current situation humanity now faces.

on Ukraine

Opening paragraph from ‘The Measure of a Man” by Martin Luther King Jr. (1959) Published by Fortress Press, Minneapolis.
ask "What was it for?"
"We are liberating land
without people on..."


n.b. The first quoted line, reported in The Guardian in the UK, are words of a citizen of a town liberated from the retreating invaders.

The second, (same source), from a Ukrainian soldier making his way through the ghost towns of the temporarily, but deeply scarred territory, briefly held by the occupying force.

The attempted annexation of Ukraine has again demonstrated the empty rhetoric of nationalism, the pointless slaughter of innocents and vile destruction of homes.

Are we not all African, brothers and sisters?


CLP 05/10/2022

on cash

I'll buy you a meal
but I won't just give money
you said you're hungry


n.b. Talk me through that again. Hungry means ‘food’ right?

A young man, in a desperate condition, scarred, nervous, tired and dirty asked for a dollar for food. I said I’d get him some food, (we were stood outside a hamburger joint). I checked what he fancied, but when I came out there was no sign of him.

A middle-aged woman leaning on a walking cane, asked me for help getting some food. I explained the situation and she was grateful for the meal and drink I had carried out for the boy, who called himself William.

CLP 26/09/2022

on Ukraine

they still have enough
cowards to push the buttons
heroes would refuse


n.b. Resistance to conscription in Russia is an act of great courage. For Russians facing the press gang, “Do you have a plan? Run; Hide; Fight,”

Which is what public notices in US railway stations advise in case an act of domestic terrorism develops where the public gather. I understand that this is advice in other public buildings too, particularly schools.

Of course, the press gang was once how the British Royal Navy recruited when a ship was low on matelots. Able bodied boys and men were simply dragged off the streets of the island’s ports “to serve” the King and country.

Ukraine’s war of independence is now being fought on two sides of the border. It is a Vietnam, with Russian domestic resistance to an unjust war being as critical to the outcome as draft card burning youths were in the early 1970s, when flowers were bravely placed in gun barrels. Resistance is not futile.

CLP 25/09/2022

on time

waving or drowning
it's hard to determine here
unfinished business


n.b. This marble sculpture, carved by Adelaide Johnson, was presented to the US government in 1921 by the National Women’s Party.

Deliberately produced as emergent figures in knowledge that work to improve women’s rights is work in progress.

The women represented here are: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Antony, and Lucy Mott. Rosa Parks is sat just along the line, “sitting so others might stand.”

I took a tour of the Capitol building led by a fantastic guide from the US Capitol Guide Service, which is maintained as a free service to educate everyone about the history at the heart of the USA’s national government. Educational, engaging and entertaining! An hour well spent.

The National Statuary Hall, US Capitol, (with brilliant guide).

CLP 16/09/2022