Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How You Keep It Going

I'm currently watching, to keep the creative juices flowing, the 1967 version of "The Taming of the Shrew" with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Ah, wonderful stuff! Liz reminds me of my mother, in looks if not in temperament; and probably in that as well.


Writing continues at an uncharacteristic pace, and some of it is good, though since discovering a certain caution in exposing these things to the light of public critique I'm finding it hard to "declare nada mas", as splake would say, and let them go their way into the world.

Well, maybe that's no bad thing, since for a poet of decent (though regrettably not towering) abilities I have a rejection record longer than a tall man's arm.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Not much to post here because I've been writing for the OUTSIDERS website these last few days. I haven't been submitting for a while, but now I think I might get into it again, see if the discipline of knowing an editor will have to critique my work helps to sharpen it up for me.

I've also been theorising with getting a video uploaded, since a visual element to your work helps raise awareness of who you are, fix an image of you in the public imagination. Look at the success splake has had with that, though he's a born myth-maker anyway. (In fact, watching him in THE CLIFFS and LE METROP and A DAY IN THE LIFE is what has got me thinking in this direction.) But no definite plans yet; and like so many of my plans it may fall by the way as the course of my energy changes.

Anyway, the poems will be presented here once they've either been a) published, or b) spat on, by those delightful people at OUTSIDER WRITERS. In the meantime, do you want to talk about football?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Another *Ahem* Success (How Soon The Fall Must Come)

I'm going to start boasting about my poetry successes now, just so you all know what a big cheese you're dealing with here (ha ha).

Latest one is placing a poem with those inestimable men and women at OUTSIDER WRITERS. Don't know when it will appear, but should be soon.

Are you familiar with the OUTSIDERS? They're the cream of what used to be the ULA, which fragmented after some kind of internal dispute. Among their numbers they boast Pat King and J.D. Nelson and Marissa Ranello. I like 'em. Always did, actually, but I especially like 'em now they're publishing my poem.

Follow the link on the right and have a look at what they're doing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

After Hearing About The Latest Kid Being Killed On Our Streets

I was listening to an "expert" on the radio this morning, and mulling over Tory leader David Cameron's claim yesterday that the streets of Britain had been lost to lawlessness and youth violence, and in a blue fit, drinking strong black coffee, I wrote this in my journal. Thought I'd share.

*"Facilities" & "things to do" wd. stop kids from stabbing & shooting each other on the streets? BULLSHIT! Stop taking all the classical spiritual-philosophical-existential elements out of education & replacing them w/ vocational courses. The man is MORE than what he does or will do for a living. Wd. you drive a car over the river before you'd built the bridge? The anti-intellectual attitude of mainstream adult society, from government down, is causing kids to hate everything in them that is vulnerable & tender & compassionate & imaginative & creative. It allows them nothing except the aspiration to be bigger & better than their contemporaries--because competition & elevating yr. ego while doing down yr. neighbour is all capitalism really has to offer. (Which is why it is so unsatisfying to people of intelligence.) & if the kids don't have any prospect of elevating their egos w/ money, they'll do it w/ violence because violence is the reductio ad absurdum of competition*

I had to take a piss break at that point, so I couldn't continue. But I'd like to add, a few hours later, that this paranoia about the younger generation and the level of violence in the streets is probably bullshit anyway. I know a lot of younger people and they actually see things with greater clarity than most of us crusty old folk. They watch what people of my age are doing and wonder how on earth we could get so lost, so cynical, so compromised.

At the bus stop the other night with kids swarming everywhere, shouting, swearing, laughing at passers-by I suddenly heard this beautiful music coming from somewhere. Lazy rhythmic strings in the darkness. I peered around to see where it was coming from and there's a long-haired kid sitting on a fence a few feet away playing a fucking dobro while another kid recounts an ecstatic experience at a concert a few nights before. While a scarlet-faced old man looks on with his face contorted by violent disapproval.

Nothing is the way it seems, ever. But if Tory politicians and the newspapers are telling you Britain is on a fast road to Hell it almost HAS to be a lie.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Counselling With My Best Friend

she said, we were discussing how
i could get to know more women, she said,
my best friend, wear longer t-shirts,
they will cover up your fat belly. and
i'll introduce you to dave, my other mate,
he's got ten or fifteen on the go.
it's how you talk to us. he'll teach you,
if you keep the lager flowing, and he's
not good looking either, so it works.

by the time she'd finished helping
me, i was ready for a high bridge,
and sure that if i jumped off, i'd survive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Well, I've tried manfully to convince myelf I don't care, but today I held the Cross+Roads Press anthology OTHER VOICES in my hands today and I'm so proud to be in it I am close to wetting myself. Haven't read anything else in it yet except the poetry of my old buddy Ralph Murre, which is predictably intelligent, mature, wise and technically adept. There are a lot of writers, but I keep going back and looking at my own pages, marvelling at the fact that that guy called "Bruce Hodder" is me. In my journal this morning, after texting everyone I knew to say I had the book, I wrote triumphantly, "I have finally fucked Death in the gall bladder. But the Fear will come back tomorrow." Which pretty much sums it up.

If anybody wants to know how to get the book, drop me a line.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

charles bukowski would have hated me

every time i have sex--
which isn't often these days--
i get anxious. i worry
i haven't measured up.

i fall asleep sometime between
the third beer and the fourth,
and i feel rotten when
i wake up in the morning.

i don't smoke. i'm scared
of cancer, and i don't
understand the act:
set fire to a leaf, and
suck it? why on earth?

i've only ever hit
one man. a lucky shot.
i hate violence of
any kind, it's stupid.
i'd like to see all guns
melted down; their metal
could make beds
for the homeless!

or cheap cars to ferry
all the children on the streets
to school. i'm a fan
of schools, and learning.

all a kid learns
on the streets
is how to shout, and spit.
that's my opinion.

charles bukowski
would have hated me.
but eliot, now there's
a man i could have
gone to tea with!

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Add To Links

Sharon Auberle's blog "Mimi's Golightly Cafe". I've been meaning to add this to my links list for months. But I never seem to get around to anything that is actually worth doing.

Sharon's a fine poet and a great visual artist. Something in her vision as expressed in both mediums warms and encourages me, not only as a poet but also as a human being. Maybe a few of you will have the same reaction, if you don't know her work already. Have a look.

progress report

after so many years, still a crusty old beat,
not believing in the phantasms
of money, power, success.
despite all these adventures,
all these voices that urge me:
join a gym! cut your beard!
get a recognised vocational qualification!
coming out in the morning
with a secondhand Dante's "Paradise",
and a notebook for poetry,
entering haiku of pigeons, rain,
sunlight through veined leaves
of trees at the bus stop.
surprised and delighted
to find myself still me,
despite all of the years, despite
my jellyfish spine,
one constant in a maelstrom of change.


I am a hypocrite. ("NO!" you all shout in unison.) Last night a friend told me that a mutal acquaintance of ours opined that I was "scruffy". Which I am. And I was so offended I said I would deck this bloke the next time I saw him. (Which I wouldn't.) But in the middle of this seizure of righteous indignation, I forgot I had referred to the same man, in conversations with other people, as educationally sub-normal and a knob.

Who is being the more insulting? Well, neither of us, actually, since mine was also an accurate description.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What The Hell Are We Becoming, People?

I was walking along Abington Street in Northampton this morning--it's the pedestrianised main shopping street in the centre of town, for those of you who haven't had the good fortune to visit--and suddenly I heard a disembodied voice, appearing to come from all around me at the same time, announce: "It is an offence to drop litter in the street. Those who drop litter will be prosecuted.There are twelve public bins provided along Abington Street. Please use them to enhance everybody's experience of shopping in the town centre."

It was something like that anyway. The message had no doubt been transmitted through invisible loud speakers from Puritanical Busybody Central where impotent middle-aged men sat eagerly in front of closed circuit tv cameras eating pre-packaged lettuce and tomato sandwiches and watching for transgressors.

Just think: a couple of hundred years ago they used to race bulls along Abington Street. Now you can't even flip a cigarette butt while thinking of your girlfriend's ass as she pulled her jeans on in the morning light.

(By the way, the loud speaker warning wasn't directed at me. I'd like you to think it was, but no. I'm not one for overt displays of rebellion against the established order.)



I could be working long hours in great shoes.
I could be eating in a Chinese restaurant
served by some harried Chinese girl
I'll proposition after one more beer.
I could be walking with my ipod on,
or getting compliments on my Hugo Boss.
I could be reading a sunday paper,
waiting for the football on tv.
I could be watching Man United
with dark rings underneath my eyes,
up half the night at the casino losing.
I could be discussing Paris Hilton
with bimbo blondes and ageing beauties,
impressing with my new blue jeans.
There's so much I could be doing, so much,
instead of sitting in this golden light
with fat gut meditating on my empty mind.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Vices

The Vices

A couple of people have very kindly invited me to join them at the local gym recently. Unfortunately when they did I very unkindly laughed in their faces. To one I said, "I'm devoted to ruining my body, not building it." She looked rather concerned at that, as if it were a public admission of some private pain. A cry for help.

No. I am just a passionate believer in the vices. As Hunter Thompson said, more or less, "I don't mean to advocate alcohol, drugs, insanity and violence, but they've always worked for me."