Author Archives: Ben

Sockedelia

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For Christmas (ages ago now, I know), I received no less than 25 pairs of socks. Many of them came in wonderful, colourful designs. This poem was inspired by some particularly mind-boggling socks. It’s also inspired by the fact that drugs are, basically, a waste of time. I want to clarify at this point that I’ve not actually ever taken drugs (beyond caffeine) but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think I’m missing anything.

I like to perform this with colourful socks as props which I place over my hands and use as sock puppets to deliver certain parts of the poem.

Sockedelia

I’ve never yet been persuaded
My perception could be better aided
By chemical agents

Not yet been convinced
To rinse my retinas
And see the absurd

Life is already bizarre
Far flung nations’ day to day existence
Is as alien to me as any drug induced vision
Standing up too fast when I’m tired
Inspires phenomenal out of body experiences
Besides
I carry my highs with me

My own toe twisting
Eyeball blistering
Rainbow fistula fallout

My own glimpse of inter-dimensional gyrations
Oh yes
I’m talking about wearable hallucinations

‘Cause I’ve seen shrooms
Vacuum packed into little
Individual snack sacks
Seen whacked out friends
Transported from their locked in heads
They said everything is just more UMMPH

And I’ve seen LSD
The temporary tattoo
Of hands tapping mindlessly
While eyes gaze at lights that are lighter
At colours that are colour-fuller

But I’m satisfied my eyes are well provided for
Why would I need Lucy in the Sky
When I have Susan Observing Clouds Killing Sumos?

No substances
No awakenings
No gurus please
Just allow me to demonstrate
My size 8, ambulatory, great illumination

Trigger warning: May cause flashbacks in the flower power generation

 

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Only a mild legal high this evening

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Let’s Grow Old Together

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I’m unsure as to what I should say about this. People worry a lot about getting old. They shouldn’t.

Let’s Grow Old Together

On his last day of life, his old wife had been tinkling
But hurried out crying, on spying an inkling
That shortly she’d wither and blither and crinkle
A sign of senescence, in essence… a wrinkle

Her husband awoke and he spoke to her sweetly
In mirrors he sneaked his own peek quite discreetly
And cried in dismay at the grey on his head
I too regret I am better off dead

They rushed to embrace and to face the cruel fact
They took off their gloves then, in love, made a pact
She cried This is it, we must quit! then, all told
They died where they stood, as you should when you’re old

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This rabbit is looking a bit long in the tooth

Leaving Me Is Easy

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This is certainly one of the more stupid poems I’ve written recently. This evolved from a jokey conversation with my girlfriend in which I said that the one downside of never having broken up with someone is that I’ll never fully understand Phil Collins. I asked if we could try a temporary, messy breakup. She declined.

This poem is about an obsession for understanding gone wrong. It is a spoken word interlude in my ongoing epic work ‘The Phil Collins Saga’. Other poems in this story can be found in the ‘Longer Projects’ category. I have placed links to the songs referenced in this poem at the bottom of this post.

Leaving Me Is Easy

Words

Words are little more than ordered sound
And yet, they touch

Reach deep inside
And wrench out tears
That you knew should have been shed
But never knew what you were saving them for

See words are little more than ordered sound
But so is music
And one man’s words and music
Reach deeper
Wrench harder
Rapidly dismantled
I can only whisper his name

…Phil Collins
…Phil Collins
…Phil Collins

Just a word
Little more than ordered sound
But so is music
And oh what music

I put a record on
Because I’m trendy
And the end catches the needle
So the record spins
And I am at the centre
And a song begins
And I am at the centre
And another record
Sound surrounds me
And I am at the centre
And another

Until

I’ve forgotten everything about you
Til someone says your name
…ur name …ur name …ur name
Words I know catch in my throat

These words are little more than ordered sound

Words I know but do not feel
Words I will not, cannot understand
Unknown pain
The first world problems
Of a man who’s never had a breakup
Let alone a messy one

I’ve forgotten all the reasons
I loved you
Little more than ordered sound and so
A phone call
Would you mind dumping me?
What? Why?
Just to try it
I need to know, I need to feel
I need to make these words real
Just for a while
A trial
A temporary mess
Dump me, make it bad
She says that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard

And those words? Now they hurt
They hurt bad and so
There’s no way out of this dark place
No hope, no future

Nah but really
Nobody’s that absurd
And words are little more than ordered sounds
But so is music
And they needn’t be owned to be known
And so I
Put another record on
Put another record on
Put another record on
Put another record on

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Even Phil thinks I’m an idiot

Songs:
If Leaving Me Is Easy
I’ve Forgotten Everything
No Way Out
Another Record (Genesis)

iMatter

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Without sounding like too much of a cynical, old man, I think that social media and the advent of smartphones has created an obsession with the self. People go mad over likes, retweets, and whatever other social media things call that stuff. Not only that, but it inflates people’s egos because it paints a strange picture of how much they’re appreciated and how much people value their opinion when they’re really just stuck in an enormous echo chamber!

iMatter

iAwoke to overnight notes from my enablers
A fresh fix from my Facebook feeders
Six likes and two ‘shocks’
On my Xbox live stream
And a c-lister retweet of my anti-trump grumbling

iknow when iGo out
I’m recognised
No, no, not famous
Just remembered
See my characteristic flat cap
And snap on wrist bands
Alight with neon branding
Unique look
I’m unforgettable

The girl at the till checked me out
And eyed me up as she did so
It was subtle but iKnow she did
One day I’ll ask her out
But not yet ‘cause, you know
Too busy

iWrote a paragraph
In a colleagues goodbye card
‘Cause iKnow it’s me he’ll miss
Man, he’ll say
There was this guy where iUsed to work
Just, wow

I’ve got a few youtube followers
Subscribed to my weekly drivelling diatribes
The brand is strong
And iHold the most stock

‘Cause if I’m not the main character here then who is?
And if my self-worth comes from numbers
People knowing my name, or at least my face
At the very least, my voice
Then what choice do iHave
When someone else takes the stage?

Experience has made it clear
That what iSay is well worth hearing
Besides, iWon’t be rude
Just cheekily endearing

This is it
This is mine
My moment
iDraw breath
iLook about
iShout
uSuck

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Never again have I matched the dizzying heights of 5 whole favourites on a tweet…

Octopus

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I go along to a poetry group every other Saturday where we discuss poems, get feedback, and do some writing exercises. One of our recent exercises involved picking one word from each poem that had been shared that week (not knowing what we would be doing with them) then using them all in a poem. This is the result of my attempt at this exercise. I won’t tell you which words I picked. Some will be obvious, others will not.

Octopus

An octopus lays in wait
Anxiously waiting
Nervously gesticulating in a mirror of discarded glass
Amused fish-eyes slide past outside
His own wide arms
Wing-span, diameter
Fill his cave
As he practises his lines

A disappointing pile of unflowering anemones
Decays in a corner
Were they a bit too much?
He is soaking a shrimp in vinegar
Because all the books say it’s romantic
But it’s apparent
That every inch of his near transparency
Is lost

And suddenly she’s here
So he octoposes
Flexes in octopostures
Fashioned to appear robust
But trust his luck
A bubble of air inflates his face
And she giggles

He takes in her smile
Her gentle dance
Her scuffed octoshoes
In the deep, blue light
And thinks
She’s a bit of alright

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The elusive, wall-scaling house-octopus

Perspective

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My Dad tells a very amusing story about his art teacher Mr Garrett. I’m reluctant to explain it too much in this introduction because I think the poem will summarise it quite well. Suffice to say, my dad and Mr Garrett didn’t really get on. As is becoming quite standard with my newer posts, this was written to be performed. At some point in the future, I’m going to try and make some videos of me performing poems!

Perspective

Where’s your perspective Philip?
Lacking something that should clearly be innate
Philip takes the berating again
The bulging Mr Garrett’s mantra like cry
Brings with it a beating
A bash in the belly
Philip… WHERE’S your perspective?

A London school, sometime in the Seventies
Philip – young lad – short, black hair
Departs the rooms
He and all the other guys are
None the wiser
As to what ‘perspective’ even is

Where’s your PERSPECTIVE Philip?
Another week, another art class
Another fast jab in the gut
An ever growing
Weak once, but now getting strong
Inherent sense of WRONGness

And as the classes roll by
Philip tries to forgive and forget
But as yet, repentance is not forthcoming
And his tummy turn purple with the pain and rage

And so the stage is set for vengeance
Where your perspective PHILIP?
There’s danger on the horizon
But Philip can’t see how close it’s come
Where’s your perSPECTive?

Mr Garrett turns away and bends
And here ends Philip’s patience
Rather than report this man
And face the disdain or disinterest of his elders
He will take matters into his own hands
His own…
Hand

Children squeak with alarm
As Philip winds back his arm
Which then disembarks
On a perfect arc
And end with a stark THWACK
Smacking Mr Garrett’s backside

Now…
Before he went into teaching
Mr Garrett had another name
Man Mountain

Yes, in case you haven’t guessed
He was a wrestler
Who packed it all in
To begin a career
Close to his heart
Teaching art

So, as we return to the seventies
Mr Garrett, no nonsense, ex-wrestler that he is
Turns slowly to face Philip
And, though he doesn’t know it
What Philip has now
Is perspective, of sorts
He can see everything leading up to this moment

Every criticism
Every thump
The lump in his throat grows
And he knows
That was nothing
That was nice
Compared with what is coming

Are you sorry Philip?
Philip?
Are you sorry?
PHILIP ARE YOU SORRY?
The problem is, he’s got Philip in a jaw lock
Blocking any apologies that might have been attempted

Ng sy, Ng sy
What? What did you say?
Are you sorry?
Ng sy, Ng sy

A London school, sometime in the noughties
Ben – young lad – long, black hair
Sits in another art class
None the wiser as to why his eyes
Are so hard to draw
Why the face he’s attempting to recreate
On the page before him
Comes out so misshapen
He’s taken so much care
Perfectly shading and curling the hair
But the shadows and the angles
Are mangled

Ms Evans leans over
No Ben, that’s not right
She obliterates three weeks work
With a borrowed rubber
Leaves unfased by the look of hatred
Growing on Ben’s face

Her parting words
As she turns back:
It was lacking something
You know, what’s the word I’m looking for?

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Craplo Picassno

 

 

Take Three

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Seeing as today’s other poem was a bit cynical and miserable, I thought I’d upload a sillier poem about another date with my girlfriend. This one was still a bit disastrous but for much more innocent and amusing reasons.

I had my arm twisted by a friend who worked in a coffee shop and ended up biting off more than I could chew.

This is only slightly fictionalised.

Take Three

The cashier heard we’d come to take
One piece of cake to fuel our break
He said Take three for goodness sake!
And so we did
A big mistake

And so I bought, not one, but three
A cup of tea (to make it twee)
My girlfriend raised one brow at me
But I was happy
As can be

The first: A sponge cake, as a team
We pushed through cream, the moistest dream
My girlfriend chuffed, I saw her beam
But things were not sweet
As they seem

Our second piece: A brownie slice
Ooh this is nice was whispered twice
We’d gambled and the rolling dice
Disguised our doom
As Paradise

Last of all, and with a sigh
We turned our eye to honey pie
We felt our organs twist and tie
And boil and burst
And fail and die

We sat unable to digest
Each lung hard pressed inside each chest
We fell to cardiac arrest
Were carried out
And laid to rest

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My health has desserted me