Showing posts from March, 2009

sunlit morning no sleep haiku

the dead animal

on the path ahead

was only an umbrella really

Geoffrey Bellamy

(This journal entry from this morning was very difficult to write. But it felt good once I'd finished it, as if I'd brought something out into the open I'd been trampling down for too long. I reproduce it here not as a work of literature or some kind of failed attempt at prose poetry. It's just writing, free writing, first meant for what Ginsberg called my "soul's ear", now offered to my friends as some sort of partial explanation of my eccentricity, my anger, my anything that needs explaining. "This is the creature I am!" -- or at least some of him. I hope anyone bored enough to read it will forgive its imperfections and at least commend its honesty.)

While I progress slowly--and it must be slowly--through Blake I'm also reading the diaries of Harold Nicolson. He was the husband of Vita Sackville-West, you may remember. Nicolson's language is beautifully clear and precise. You'd never know he was a civil servant in those years of Wor…

Give Life A Chance

A friend of mine has been depressed again recently. Very depressed. To the extent that she has had the old thoughts about suicide returning for the first time in a while. And when I talked to her about it the other day I found myself in the uncharacteristic position of being the one defending life. Arguing for its virtues. Protesting that some good will come if she can only wait. I felt like Michael Landon in "Highway to Heaven".

But I have come to believe it, after all my battles with depression, all my loneliness, all those things that went wrong, all the mistakes I have made. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I believe it presently. Who knows where I am going to be or what condition I'll be in six months down the road?

The last year has been hard. I was living somewhere I didn't want to be, without even a tv or a telephone to connect me to the outside world, I was getting more ill by the month (or so it seemed), and depression had begun to consume me so th…

BEATNIK resuming business--submissions welcome

It's about time I started doing some work on that damn magazine/ blog/ blogazine/ magablog--whatever the hell it is--now that I've moved house and only have a few boxes left for Sonia to burn before I can say I've really settled in (she likes setting fire to things). So why don't you send something to me at and we'll try to fit it in there.

We've already published some fantastic contemporary poets and writers--JD Nelson, Yvon Cormier, Gerald Nicosia--so your stuff doesn't have to be Beat-themed. Actually, it can be whatever you want, even opinion pieces or a great story about your weekend, as long as it's good writing, at least insofar as I'm able to judge what good writing is--which may or may not be that far. But that's the risk you take with any editor, bunch of tinpot little dictators that we are.

I'm going to shut up now. If you want to have a look at the page first it's at


free writing: NEXT TIME

a blackbird lands on my garden fence
above where strings of prayer flags
are flapping in the morning wind.
it looks me in the eye a moment
through the gap between drawn curtains.
next time it might be a horse, a man,
and who knows what i'll be,
though something--i'm not ready yet
for the great launch into empty sky.
i blink. the blackbird disappears.
goodbye birdie, and fare well.
i hope those prayers the wind set free
help you find a longer, sweeter life.
now i'm off to the benjo
with a book about tibet.


It's no secret that I was against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I'm not sure what the British and American governments think they're achieving in Afghanistan either. But abusing returning British soldiers as people did in Luton yesterday is ridiculous, and actually, it brings the anti-war cause into disrepute with the larger population.

The soldiers went to Iraq because they were TOLD to go to Iraq. They are in Afghanistan because that's where their orders have sent them. And although there is suffering and abuse and violation of international convention on both sides, they're having a pretty awful time while they're over there. And I would imagine a good many of them believe they're experiencing and inflicting the horrors of war in the name of a righteous cause. For Britain. For democracy.

In other words, for the continuation and health of pretty much the same ideals those of us in the anti-war movement go on marches and write crap nobody reads on Fac…

talking to l.s. drinking stella artois

work your magic,
my poor, green, giving,
temperamental beauty,
until the world has ceased to be.

and then i'll sleep
clean through, and
undisturbed by dreams;

and wake up in the morning
fresh, as all drinkers
at your long neck do,

sure for once
a cruel universe
is giving me a chance.