You must know Burnley to see it’s beauty,
Twix’ Hameldon & Pendle where she lies,
Thou fertile region of the North Country,
Of bingo halls & market stalls & pies,
Of cobblestones & Bovis Homes & lanes,
Of working men & the working men’s pride,
Of balmy days & snowy greys & rains
& blatantly the world’s best football side.
You must know Burnley to see it’s beauty,
The arches & the chimneys & Turf Moor,
The stately halls of Gawthorpe & Towneley,
The station & the bus-stop & mi door –
You can keep yer New York, Delhi & Rome,
At th’end o’ day, pal, there’s no place like home!
I breeze in, kiss mi Mum, butter some bread,
“A phone call, letter, we thought you were dead!”
“Mum, chasin’ destiny, I do great feats,
But you treat me like Abbey treat Keats!”
“Yer no son of mine get a proper job
Yer nowt but a no-good, bone idle slob!”
That same old twitterin’ in mi ear lobe,
I shit, shower, shave, raid mi Dad’s wardrobe…
Down Burnley Miners where men dodge their wives
Best bitter’s well cheap & bonhomie thrives.
“Oi thats mi shirt!” “Owdo Dad? “Owdo Son!
“How was London?” “Funny!”
…when we were done
Back at the ranch Mum’s cursing lotto numbers,
Dad’s snoring through his twelve bitter slumbers.
Yes, I’m really glad yer mi dad, Dad,
Yer the best that a young lad could have, Dad,
Far better than the king o’ Baghdad,
Yer mi dad, Dad!
Aye, I’m really glad I’m yer lad, Dad
Cos I get to crash in yer pad, Dad
& chat to yer when I’m all sad, Dad
Yer mi dad, Dad!
Yer always so bloody well clad, Dad
& make the best eggs that I’ve had, Dad
But yer brews, bloody ‘ell, they’re so bad, Dad
Yer mi dad, Dad!
& better still, yer mi mate, mate
& I love yer, an that’s fuckin’ great!
I was a six-year-child when first I felt
My soul entwining with the fairer sex,
Em’rald-eyed neighbor, who, one starry night
Said, “Have you ever kiss’d a lass before?”
“Of course!” I yelp’d, but grandmas do not count
& as we kiss’d she giggled at my lips
Closed shut & clamp’d by frigid innocence,
& said, “No, not like that, ya kiss like this…”
& show’d me how my mouth should act a fish.
Soon sprinting home, embarrass’d at the deed,
That never was repeated I believe,
For looking back, I was, in tender days
Contented with the kisses of grandmas
& nee-owwwwing with little Corgi Cars.
I learnt to swim right at the top o’ Rosegrove
& got a ten-meter badge for mi speedos,
I was seven or so, & two years later,
Went off wi’ mi class to the baths, n’ that.
So, as I’m sat down wi’ mi mates on the bus,
A poo started moving, a real turtle-head
& instead of rushing straight to the toilet
I thought that I’d get changed first, n’ that.
Then, lo & behold, on mi cubicle floor
That self-same poo plopp’d down all goo & stinkin,’
So mi teacher made me clean the buggar up,
Then sent me to sit in the stands, n’ that,
Where I waited mi teasing classmates with dread,
But never, to their credit, was one word said!
LOSING MY VIRGINITY
One night I saw her bra all pink & soft
& underneath, a bosom good & large,
& I began to kiss her on the neck,
Lips bobbing like a robin in the snow,
A dilettante before a women’s walls,
She commented upon my tenderness,
& led me to the lands of the undress’d,
Slipping a condom on me, & aspar
Her legs invite me in, a thrust or three,
& we were lost in rhythm, groans & gasps,
Until I came & there a man became,
Up standing before a full-length mirror
I gazed upon my body, athlete-lean,
& knew, right then, I was for fucking keen.
As a poignant time-lapse of the soul
Removes my child-hood street-by-street,
I brood upon an artificial meadow,
Where recently dilapidated terraces
Were brick-by-brick demolish’d, levell’d low.
Once, with life, these districts resounded,
But all is fading now, like fallen flies;
Grandmas, Grandads, Cousins, Aunties, Uncles –
A generation bounden in photographs –
Back then they laughed & cried like me & you.
My own street seems to have survived the cull –
But for how long? If others of its ilk
Were deemed ungodly, surely snobbish time
Shall banish mine beneath some grassy mound.
With a vigour that hordes the squirrel stores,
Fair sommer’s morning drives us to the moors,
Twix’ scatter’d wracks of industry’s decay
‘Tween Leeds & Liverpool made fair way,
Then to some heathen sentinel upwind.
Treading rough fields, forgotten roads behind,
Shelt’ring from northern breeze I lounge supine
On whale-back’d peak, thou solit’ry pennine,
All in the misty vale an entity;
Those auld terraced rows of Pendle City,
Whose galaxy of lights shatters the gloam,
With one of them the hearthstar of my home,
Forever, there, my spirit shall abide,
Fair feather’d by this precious countryside.
SIR NICKY STOWELL
Nick, ‘diddliddling,’ my bestest friend,
Do you remember our eighteenth summer,
It felt that the good times would never end
& Barry Island the only bummer.
That Ynnysddu flat, weed, laughs & wimmin,’
‘Blowin’ a reefer on Salisbury plain,’
Seven chicks in Newquay, soapbar, swimmin’
Our first Glasto – you gotta go again.
Saw… Bjork’s Debut, Newport’s Supersonics,
Peer Gynt down Stratford, Burnley rule Wembley,
Massive crowd in Brixton for the Manics
& that mad, May night near Monmouth, where we
Sat with the Roses and their album new,
“Don’t think it’s as good as the first,” said you.
RIKKI DEE’S TABLE
Dick needs a table
Over the tops at Clitheroe
& its car boot country sale
Prams * jigsaws * suitcases * mothball suits
Settees * lawnmowers * crap coats * comics
& finally, a three pound table
On a wood to coinage ratio the real deal
‘Made in Czechoslovakia’ stamped underneath
Looks a bit like a bench
We bus it home, the smash & grab complete
Walk up to Healy Wood, steep from the station
Chillin’out frequently, perched upon our ‘bench’
Gazin’ on Burnley, & Townley & Pendle
Then finally home to a perfect fit!
We trawl the long-haul of the motorway
& pick up more pot-heads past Birmingham,
Jelly wobbles on the waves to Calais,
Mojo pukes in the lowlands near the ‘Dam.
We rush to relax in the smoky cafes;
Try Purple Haze & buy Sensemelia,
Each stella & space-cake skanks up the daze
Of a mushroom-gilded psychedelia.
We tram through ‘Dam to the sleezy district,
Pluck up Dutch courage for ‘Sucky Fucky,’
Crack head whores slink at doors, wink’d to be pick’d-
Its a shame when you pay to get lucky…
Skunked-up, smashed to fuck, zombie bus, bongtubes,
Grass stashed up Nicky’s ass, Richie’s itchy pubes.
“Reyt, where’s next?”
“West Bams on at the Orbit…”
“…Nah man, too late…”
“…Nah, the beers shit…”
“…Sankeys…”“…Nah man, it’s closed down…”
…Nah, man, their stellas are well properdear…”
“…Lets hit Blackpool, find a cheap B & B,
& pick up some chicks from a Hen Party…”
“…Nah, bin there, worn the crap hat, c’mon team,
Let’s go unleash these libidos down Cream!”
Razzin’ the freeway, babblin’ ‘bout the Dam,
With techno bangin’ Bam-Bam-Bam-Bam-Blam!
“Mint mix, Richie,” “Yeah, Angels ninety-six!”
”…Ee-yar Damo” “…Ta Mojo, Oos next”… “Nicks!”
We park near the nightclub,
Floozies cruise by,
“Hey cuties, nice asses!”
SAINT PETER’S FIELDS
Twyx Peterloo and Amritsar are passed a hundred years,
Islands of violent massacres, from oceans made of tears
They rise on rocks of dignity:- love, liberty and pride,
When desperate humanity despotic thugs defied,
When blunt and drunken yeomanry shed mothers’ blood, with child,
Saints of seditious tragedy society restyled,
Their murders ever worship’d in the wake of centuries,
Deep fervours hangin’ off the walls of holy galleries.
Not Shelley, even Ghandi, ever had our age foreseen,
When strange evolving tyranny still keep the laymen lean,
When opioids are funnel’d in to feed the phrenzied rich,
When soul restraining mortgages wounds struggle us to stitch,
While poverty’s addictions yet afflict the wider world,
The masses work is not yet done, let banners be unfurl’d.
Its High-Midnight… Dirtytheivinscouseland,
We swagger four abreast, wild North-West band,
Slip to the front of the coach-loaded queue,
“We’re extras in Hollyoaks!”
& slink through.
Bass boom, big beats, laser lights, neuro-surge,
‘She’s fuckin gorgeous!’…satyrian urge
Sails me thro’ a sea of juicy bootie.
“If I said you had a sexy body….” *
Fate plays a Soul Mate, our ships run aground…
I touch her silky hand,
Storm-lightning crackles, at long last we’ve found,
The key to life, in this we understand
The machinations of the Gods above….
A kiss, & in one moment fall in love.
*… would you hold it against me
ON COMING TOGETHER
I’ll never pass another night
As sweet as ours was yesterday,
When all the world was set aright
& Angels play.
Tingling, romancing, dancing tongues,
Went tender twisting, while your eyes
Contentment shone, we heard the songs
The Seraphim devise.
When like the running of a race
We reach’d the rope, there souls unpent;
& stroking trembling thighs, your face
Show’d passion spent!
Aye, lass, we set the world aright
While Angels play’d.
THITHER THE ABOVE
O knightly lights of heaven, star on star,
You never shone so beauteous, we are
The work, perhaps, of some astral being,
Or am I him now I am the all-seeing
Acolyte of the lost art of the skies,
Painting Orion & the Geminis,
Musing upon those long, eternal days
Soar shooting stars, trailblazing my amaze,
Mix’d with the phantom-llumin’d Milky Way
I saw, I swear, the Seraphim at play,
Dancing between the planetary kings;
Lord Jupiter & Saturn’s eerie rings,
Venus is beaming streaming dreams of love
Sweetheart come hither, thither the above.
My love, as our love is spreading wider than the morning
Together, with waking day, in the wake of night
Let us settle in silent ecstasy
Observers of cities below Watching
From this high advantage Developing
On heath, up hill, Enveloping moments
As one For like a flight of swallows lift
On ocean winds, above the isles We touch
Soft spirits sail higher Eyes committing
Pleasure beckons Mercurial kisses
We smile As kitten paws a mellow mouse
The lion roars inside these feral souls
& we are born again, the music of the morn
Accompanies these energies love’s mysteries supply