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Blood of the Past

All the many corpses begin to speak

What ignorance is cannot be argued over anymore

It is too late for pleading white picket dreams

Print you off, the shemps, the world is shrinking

Rooted in a trivial concern, in interconnectedness

In the need to make face and keep up

And drown out the many voices within

Imagine a culture that has, at its root

A more soulful connection to land and to loved ones

But I can hear the lie before you speak

There is nothing but progress to eat

And we are so fat and so hungry

And the black wrists are cuffed in the pig van

While the white shirt and tie in the tube car, distractional picture

Pictures of beer and guilt about urges

Sexual distrust and abandoned to nothingness

Give me something I can nail myself to

Give me a sharply-dressed talking head

Who has something about them I trust and despise

And what of it, anyway? These windows don't open

They were designed to stay closed

Shower, smoothie, coffee, commute

Check the internet, never stop, never stop

There is a scar on the soul of the world and it needs you to look

The blood of the past is here, it remains

The blood of the murders, the bodies like sacks leaking brain

All stacked, chest aback on the planes, it remains

To acknowledge without guilt, to accept without condition

And to listen when other people tell you how you have behaved

Truth is, it’s for us to feel and be moved

But I hear the clatter of bone against steel, it is coming

It will not be stilled, it is there

In the air, scorched white

The reflection of sunlight on glass bouncing back into sunlight

And glass bouncing back, industrialized

Denial, business as usual

So roll your eyes, shake your head, turn away and call me names

I'm okay with that, too proud

Unable to listen, we keep speaking

Moted by blood, unable to notice ourselves

Unable to stop and unwilling to learn

From ‘Brand New Ancients’

See - all that we have here is all that we've always had.

We have jealousy

and tenderness and curses and gifts.

But the plight of a people who have forgotten their myths

and imagine that somehow now is all that there is

is a sorry plight,

all isolation and worry -

but the life in your veins

it is godly, heroic.

You were born for greatness;

believe it. Know it.

Take it from the tears of the poets.

There's always been heroes

and there's always been villains

and the stakes may have changed

but really there's no difference.

There's always been greed and heartbreak and ambition

and bravery and love and trespass and contrition -

we're the same beings that began, still living

in all of our fury and foulness and friction,

everyday odysseys, dreams and decisions . . .

The stories are there if you listen.

The stories are here,

the stories are you,

and your fear

and your hope

is as old

as the language of smoke,

the language of blood,

the language of

languishing love.

The Gods are all here.

Because the gods are in us.

The gods are in the betting shops

the gods are in the caff

the gods are smoking fags out the back

the gods are in the office blocks

the gods are at their desks

the gods are sick of always giving more and getting less

the gods are at the rave -

two pills deep into dancing -

the gods are in the alleyway laughing

The man Tiresias

It came out of nowhere.

All teeth and tussle.

Shouting like huge crowds behind him.

It stamped on his bones.

It shovelled his muscle.

Alone in a clearing where no one would find him.

He writhed in its jaws:

his lovers flashed past him.

The routine, the dinners, the dishes.

He felt the dense forest

close in and enchant him.

Cleansed of his longing for kisses.

He rose like a wreck on a winch.

Swaying and derelict.

Suddenly boy again. Soon to be man.

All of his grief was a burden to keep

deep down in his guts.

And he turned and he ran.

Fighting with shadows.

Swinging at birds as they laughed.

Too shaken to hate what had happened.

All that he'd learned to be true

fell to pieces.

He stared at the sun till it blackened.

Watching his body like it wasn't his.

He pushed his new shape

to the edge of the clearing.

And found the red road

that led out of the city.

And screamed until no one could hear him.

He journeyed for days,

until he was purified.

Feasting on tree bark and roadkill and petrol.

Macho man; ate cars for breakfast.

Natural man; skin the same texture as cactus.

Hands grew wild and dextrous and flew at his side like two kestrels.

His feet became tougher than limpets

his eyes became keener than knives,

his breath melted padlocks.

He heard a leaf falling

from five miles away,

and he moved like a dog on a ham hock.

All knowledge was his

and he learned the old words

for the things that he saw. He spoke out their names.

He learned to forget

his hurt and regret

he walked on his own, legs like two flames.

He grew dirty and tired and thirsty,

at the next town

he decided to stop at the bar.

And he saw then: no matter how far you have come,

you can never be further than right where you are.

People's Faces

It's coming to pass

My countries coming apart

The whole thing's becoming

Such a bumbling farce

Was that a pivotal historical moment

We just went stumbling past?

Here we are

Dancing in the rumbling dark

So come a little closer

Give me something to grasp

Give me your beautiful, crumbling heart

Another disaster


Another half-discarded mirage

Another mask slips

I face off with the physical

My head's ringing from the love of the stars

There is too much pretence here

And too much depends on the fragile wages

And extortionate rents here

We're working every dread day that is given us

Feeling like the person people meet

Really isn't us

Like we're going to buckle underneath the trouble

Like any minute now

The struggle's going to finish us

And then we smile at all our friends

It's hard

We got our heads down and our hackles up

Our back's against the wall

I can feel you aching

None of this was written in stone

There is nothing we're forbidden to know

And I can feel things changing

Even when I'm weak and I'm breaking

I'll stand weeping at the train station

'Cause I can see your faces

There is so much peace to be found in people's faces

I saw it roaring

I felt it clawing at my clothes like a grieving friend

It said

"There are no new beginnings

Until everybody sees that the old ways need to end"

But it's hard to accept that we're all one and the same flesh

Given the rampant divisions between oppressor and oppressed

But we are though

More empathy

Less greed

More respect

All I've got to say has already been said

I mean, you heard it from yourself

When you were lying in your bed and couldn't sleep

Thinking couldn't we be doing this


I'm listening to every little whisper in the distance singing hymns

And I can

I can feel things


But it's so hard


It's not enough

To imagine we'll be happy, when we've got enough stuff

All this stuff is blocking us

I'm neat with no chaser

I'm all spirit but I'm sinking

Beause the days are not days but strange symptoms

This age is our age

But our age is rage sinking to beige

And yes our children are brave

But their mission is vague

Now I don't have the answers

But there are still things to say

I stare out at my city on another difficult day

And I scream inwardly

When will this change

I'm beginning to fade

But my sanity's saved, 'cause I can see your faces

My sanity's saved

'Cause I can see your faces

It’s hard



It was Grace

Stunned by the last light of the sun

We were swimming in a green sea, as deep as a drum

There are things I must record, must praise

There are things I have to say about the fullness and the blaze

Of this beautiful life

The beloved watched the world on its knees with an infinite degree of separation

That was something to see

And my friend told me death is like taking off a tight shoe

And when I stopped looking for me

I was able to find you

Right there where everything is, transcendent

I can feel myself opening up, getting closer

No hope is enough

I've stopped hoping, I'm learning to trust

I came to under that red moon

I was completely crushed

Please use me

Please move through me

Please unscrew me

Please loosen me up

Make music with me

Make everything stop

Make noise and make silence with me

Make love

Let me be love

Let me be loving

Let me give love, receive love and be nothing but love

In love and for love and with love

In love and for love and with love

Surrender, I do surrender

Move through me and feel me get out of the way

And tune into something more deep and reflective than what's to be achieved

Or perceived

Or affected

What's my problem?

I'm always drawn back to that wrestling match

Ten thoughts in the ring of my mind playing catch

I can't live for the noise in my head

I just want to dig a big ditch in the soil of my breath and bury my brain there

But love said

"If you bring forth what is within you

What you bring forth will save you

But if you do not bring forth what is within you

What you do not bring forth will destroy you"

It was Grace

Stunned by the last light of the sun

Swimming in a green sea as deep as a drum

There are things I must record, must praise

There are things I have to say about the fullness and the blaze

Of this beautiful life, of this beautiful life