Showing posts from July, 2008


I wrote somewhere else that I may be the only regular purchaser of budget clothing in this country who doesn't have a t-shirt with Che Guevara's face on it. And I probably lean further to the Left than 75% of the people on the High Street, though my politics are more complicated and nuanced than my detractors would have it (I threw the only copy of the Morning Star I ever bought into a waste bin when I read something about the latest wonders of the Chinese Communist Party). Che's image has become a capitalist icon now, and principally--the irony is savage--at the budget end of this despicable, dehumanising system; those cheap Che t-shirts in Primark are able to be sold at such "affordable" prices because they're produced by exploited labour in places like India. What would the man himself had made of it? If his book "African Dream" is any indication he'd have been out in the country in one of those beleaguered nations organising revolutionary ar…

The Ice Cream Of Life & How To Lick It

Something tells me I have to start caring again. Send something out. Make a fucking effort. But the sun is shining and oh there are so many poets out there already, especially on the couldn't-care-less if-i-hadn't-been-a-poet-i'd-be-a-snake-hipped-gunfighter side, all toiling away feverishly to get their lidl poems into magazines and their chapbooks into your hands. The multitudes who read poetry (other poets) won't miss me while I go and hang out in the park for a while, will they? It's nice out there with the wind blowing your carefully brushed hair out of your pony tail. And all the women have vests on, dude. Now, that's what I call music.

Hughes And Plath: A Re-Evaluation

I'm reading Elaine Feinstein's 2001 biography of Ted Hughes.Another turnaround for me after my earlier re-education about Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis. But I dismissed all three virulently, as a younger poet and rampant uninformed ego, without reading a word any of them had written. I just hated them on the basis of a few statements they had made, and on my sense of what they "represented".
So Larkin didn't like Pound, Picasso and Parker (that's Ezra, Pablo and Charlie "Bird"). I disagree with him on all of them--though I like Picasso without much enthusiasm--but Larkin's own two novels are good books. His poetry still lacks punch, to me, but he didn't set out to write anything categorical, anything that revealed Truth (with a very necessary capital "T")--to Larkin that would have been unforgiveably vulgar. And technically his stuff is marvellous within the scope of his limited ambition.
Amis I used to see as another Establishment…

A Bruce Explains, For Anyone Who Cares

Hodder, man, quit grasping. You almost had it on Monday and then you let it float away again.

"This is the creature I am."
Nothing worth a shit culturally has happened since Syd Barrett went crazy.
"Come to the gym, Bruce!"
Oh no, thanks awfully, it's 1967 in my head, not 1987. If I want exercise I'll take my notebook and a sandwich and go for a walk in the woods.

****** offered me a massage the other day--she's qualified--I would have had to pay--and I told her I couldn't, I'd get a hard-on if she started touching me. "I'm not after anything," she said, laughing in a seizure of embarrassment. "It's not what you'd want out of it that concerns me," I said, pleased with myself for putting it so succinctly.
Is it any wonder no one likes me anymore? Can't go around telling the truth, Hodder.

Hippie asshole.

See, 'cause I read books and write poetry in this philistine age I'm sentimentalised as a nice guy; not some…

Interesting Dream: From The Author's Private Journal

Interesting dream: I was at the site of Westfield School on Brickhill Road in Wellingborough on a grey, wet day. There was some kind of living exhibition of World War II manned by soldiers and to illustrate it they'd knocked down most of the school buildings. I was with a woman (I don't know who) driving around and I found myself becoming inexplicably upset looking at the wrecked husks of buildings where I'd attended classes as a boy.(In real life, of course, they were knocked down long ago to make way for a housing estate.)
Later, still on site, we entered a room with beds and a shower that we were going to stay in and Brian walked out of the shower. I hadn't seen him since he disappeared mysteriously from work and now here he was. We started talking and I woke up.
That's the fourth old Zimbabwean pal who's turned up unexpectedly this week, albeit in my mind.

I walked into Wellingborough this morning to try to walk off the demons that too much work and not enough…


It amused me to hear the British Government saying that the American Government's use of waterboarding when interrogating suspects "amounts to" torture. Surely if something "amounts to" then it is? Or is torture a concept like the war crime--something that only applies to the Enemy?


Uncle Richard at my mother's funeral said "Nothing works," and sighed.

He wore jeans and left his shirt untucked to show his disrespect for death.


Short hair, skinny, he smokes a rollie by a white van on the corner.

Looks at me, passing, calls me Jesus and everyone around him laughs.

His eyes are glassy, like the surface of a lake when snow is coming.

bruce's answer

My hair is long.
My beard is thick.
Your waxy cropped
head makes me sick.


On the loo musing about Heaven, stones tickle my inner thigh hair.


for rebeccah

Such poise, such quiet grace, just being round you made my manners better.


Buy a razor! Look like everyone! That's real style! That will save the world!

I'm In A Film!

It's by short filmmaker Clementine Clarkesville. She quotes me beautifully too.It's fantastic to be a part of it...Cheers, Clem X

Sport and politics don't mix?

Tell that to the bloke getting beaten up by Communist goons and forced out of his house so Beijing is cleaner and quieter for Western business--I mean Western athletes--come the Olympics.
Our collaboration with the Chinese Government disgraces us.


She toasts his puny arse in a meat grinder, expert on survival.

Missunderstood, her mouth's talent for invective guards a fragile heart.

What weird game are you playing, Love, avoiding those who really need you?

She has a kind heart and fantastic lamps, but the Waitrose frumps find love?

Interesting, you smile, but your flushed cheeks say you're pissed off, Mystery Woman.

Portia's name comes up-- remembering the challenge in her eyes, I laugh.

Sweet days and nights side by side with Portia, dodging flying cups and chairs.


random thoughts from my journal, scribbled on the bus and in the benjo at greyfriars bus station this morning.

What does a kid with no money do in a society whose central leisure activity is shopping?

Hang around.

What is the same kid's main concern going to be in a society whose guiding principle is competition?


The gangs are capitalism in miniature.

But what the capitalists don't like is that the gangs are honest.

It's okay to push a guy to the point where he has so little hope he hangs himself. Then you can blame it on his own lack of moral fibre. "It's survival of the fittest in business, you know."

A kid who stabs another kid is no different from a boardroom exec who pushes a man to the brink of death.

But the suburban, Waitrose-shopping, perfumed, elegant frumps who support the system say that the kid with a butcher knife is an animal.



like dylan thomas

in a straining blouse and skirt--

the rotund, thick-lipped girl


riding the late bus home--

that black girl with her earphones

and her eyes shut hums out loud

Verse Written In My Head In A Post-Office Queue

The counter-culture is long gone,

but in my heart I still belong.

Hence my flowing hair and beard.

Weird's my normal; normal, weird.

The Gangs

The gangs that are running are town and city streets at night now need to realise that there is a difference--a very large difference--between respect and fear. Yes, we're afraid of them. Anybody in their right mind would be, given the number of people they've killed in the last seven months. Every night there's a new casualty on the tv news, or in the paper: he went outside to stop a bunch of kids throwing cans at his car, and in sixty seconds he was dead.

Yes, they are widely feared. But they're not respected.

I certainly don't respect them. You respect people who do things that you admire, or things you wish you had done. You respect people who do things that you realise must be difficult. Now, it would be difficult for any civilised person to pick up a gun and shoot somebody, or stab them fatally in the guts. But a civilised person wouldn't want to do that anyway. The kind of killing that the gangs indulge in routinely is behaviour normally associated only w…

For My Mother

Sometimes I think Steve Earle wrote the soundtrack to my life.

Sylvia Hodder, R.I.P.

Current mood: grateful

Today I'm remembering my mother Sylvia, who died twelve years ago on July 1st after wrestling with breast cancer for a long (but too short) time.

She was a latter-day convert to vegetarianism and communism, (preferring you not to remind her that she voted Conservative in the Sixties), and I learned my political engagement from her, though I was never very keen on our local Communist Party. The day she joined my mother was interviewed by the local party leader P*** C*****."You aren't joining us because you want to change the world, are you?" he cautioned her."Because we're not interested in trying to change the world." When Thatcher left office and the grassroots opposition in the country collapsed, the ever-pragmatic P. joined New Labour and got a seat on the local council.

There are a thousand stories I could tell about my mother and maybe I will; but not right now. It's early and I'm a little hungover. But I find myself r…