Tag Archives: austerity


The lights change

traffic crawls past

the discount stores

the charity shops and tanning salons,

off-licences and bookies,

the barbers and Greggs;

Another bleary-eyed morning

drab and dreich,

the cityscape wears the weather

like a mourning veil

pulled tight across its face;

Shuffling off their coils of ennui

in dribs and drabs

the denizens answer to

the day’s tolling bell,


looking the worse for wear.

Notes on the disaffection of an Intellectual

We know nothing worth knowing

and were it worth knowing

we wouldn’t even know that

we didn’t know whether or not it was;

Knowledge is the sum of all

the emptinesses gathered in a vacuum,

we articulate acquired knowledge

in the way those blind from birth

might describe colours;

We grasp at phantasms

and draw shapes with our fingers

in the still air of a morning

on a battlefield occupied by silence;

Our role in history is as relevant

as that of dust mites in

the Palace of Versailles.

Kirkgate Station,Wakefield

Corteged coffin-like
commuter trains call
at Kirkgate,where
from unwashed windows,
faces tight as
drawn curtains,gaze out
at the snow lying
thick as mattresses
over the gap-toothed pavement,
hiding its treasure trove
of detritus,origin unknown;
A funereal sky,
certain of its purpose
snares and guts expectations
of the lacklustre kind,
the kind that carries
shoehorned stick-figures
scurrying across washed-out
vistas endlessly reflected mirror
within mirror,within mirror,
as the day progresses,
snow deepens and optimism
is put back in the
cupboard alongside
rarely seen rainbows.

The Beggars’ Waltz

Certainty crumbles into dust,

the meaning escapes from our lives

like air from a punctured balloon;

the last of our threadbare hopes

tears asunder,

leaving a gaping hole

that we patch with

remorse and desire,

repairing outward appearances

so that others might

see us differently as we

in turn see them,

and they too are torn;

and so begins again

the slow waltz of beggars,

prying coins from the

feeble grasp of Tomorrow’s largesse;

undermining its certainty

until certainty is gone,

and with the coins we’ve pried

we purchase our next

punctured balloon.


Broken Horizons

There he sits every day,

whiskey and cigarettes

daytime T.V.

shoe leather’s gotten thin,

needles in the hallway;

the accoutrements of ennui,


There they sit every day

images of unattainable dreams,

missed opportunities,

bad choices


the architecture of bitterness,


Badlands Breeze

Badlands breeze

blows hard, blows mean

spitting time back in our faces

burying our dreams all over again

beneath oceans of dirt;

We waited for better days

that came and went,

while we were barely awake

ghosts of a hundred factories

ghosts of a million Tom Joads

marched into the long forgetting,

where places and names are tossed away

with the crumpled old maps

they were written on;

And the new geography

with their digital maps

don’t mean too much to anyone

their places and names are nowhere

anywhere near here,

Here the Badlands breeze

blows hard,blows mean

where all we inherit is

an empire of emptiness

a kingdom of sand.

An Exercise in Disappointment

We waited so long for answers

years went past like trains in the night

lights on, heading somewhere;

Back at the station ticket in hand

we waited till the memory of our

waiting decomposed in a lights out

going nowhere rustbelt town;

Our prayers for answers wore out

in the empty spaces between pews,

our hopes got outsourced somewhere else

where lights were on and years passed like trains;

We wait in line,

we observe the rituals

with diffident demeanour,

and the ticket in hand tells us

there are no answers.


In Vino Veritas

Opportunities like seagulls in flocks

have flown by ,

precious moments and chances

whipped away suddenly from our grasp ,

sent whirling skyward

into ethereal anonymity ,

revealing an emptiness

of purpose

exposing a hollow shell

cracking at the seams ;

whispers shall be our deliverance

but not for a while yet ,

and the mists of morning

accompany us with their dull cadences

which we often mistake for unwarranted approbation ;

there is neither failure nor success ,

neither defeat nor triumph ;

our gilded shields and splendid spears

have rendered nought

but an inheritance of tears ;

Somewhere in the drowning stream

as the Sun sets and encroaching night

begins its long slow asphyxiation

of what we thought was our day ,

a solitary flower is placed carefully

on an unmarked grave in a church yard

at the edge of the coming Storm .

The Big Short

Did they offer you a thought

for all your pennies ?

did they want your gold

in exchange for a goose’s egg ?

did they swap your silver linings

for a sky full of clouds ?

Would you trade your last dollar

for their word of honour ?

Do you keep all of their promises

in a jar ready to use on a rainy day ?

and all of these things

they saw but they did not see ,

they heard but they did not hear ,

and they knew ,

they knew it all

but still they tried not to know.

Footnote: –

” The Big Short ” both novel and current motion picture release are about the events that triggered the Financial meltdown/Banking Crisis in 2008.


The Scene ;

Shuttered windows
and a locked room ;

floors garnished with
detritus from Ages passing
in front of you ;

their cortege of phantoms
of possibilities withered
into ineradicable regret ;

their bouquet of bitterness
rendered inert on your palate
that tasted too long
too much of their vintage ;

your hurried departure
on which so few commented
has now regressed into dormant
ephemera sheltered in the exile
of inaccessible memories ;

and somewhere in your future
a once familiar hallway echoes
with the cadences of your absence .