More new poems

 

When you open a book

When you open a book
You open a mind.
If there are many open books
Then minds open
Like flowers,
Tremulous, contrary,
Rebellious, enquiring,
Reckless, wise.

If there are many open books
People kick at doors
That are closed,
They tug at cases that are shut,
Ask questions about laws
That are unquestionable.

For that reason some people
Would rather a book
Stays closed
Like a door.

In Brent they came
With boards
To turn a door
Into a wall,
A wall
Into a final chapter

But people
Arrived with open minds
Instead of hammers and nails,
With angler’s chairs
Instead of hammers and crowbars,
With questions
Like flowers,
Tremulous, contrary,
Rebellious, enquiring,
Reckless, wise.

While the libraries stay open,
The books stay open,
The minds stay open,
The final chapter
Is still to be written
And the first chapter
Is still to be thought.

Alan Gibbons
Nairobi
October 19, 2011.


 

I often get puzzled looks from people at events when I tell them that I live in Liverpool but support Manchester United. It isn’t that complicated really. I married a Scouser but by then I was a firm Man U fan. That came about when I was a student at Manchester University in the Seventies. At that time we were overshadowed by the great Liverpool side of the era.

This is my poem about Manchester United’s victory over Chelsea in the Champions League final.

The Flowers of Manchester

This is the game of games,

this is the night of knights,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the night of rain,

this is the night of Charlton, of Giggs,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is back in the USSR,

this is the red tribe in Red Square,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the headed goal of Cristiano,

this is the penalty miss of Ro-nal-do,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is a home game, a stadium of Red,

this is the fans late to bed,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This the power, the glory, the pride,

this is roaring, cheering your side,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the extra paint on the post,

this is the team that wanted it most,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the moment of Terry’s slip,

this is United getting a grip,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the red card shown to the Drog,

this is the end of a season’s long slog,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This the hand of Van de Sar,

this is the shot that hit the bar,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

This is the anniversary of fifty eight,

this carries the echo of sixty eight,

this is for the flowers

of Manchester.

Fightback poem

They want your legs

so you can walk

in the direction

they want to go.

They want your heart

so it can beat

to the rhythm

of their drum.

They want your tongue

so it can tell the stories

they want you to tell

to our children.

But remember,

they are your legs.

It is your heart

and your tongue.

There are always

other directions

in which you can go.

There are always

other rhythms

a drum can beat.

There are always

other songs

a tongue can sing.

So find your own directions.

Beat out your own rhythms.

Sing your own songs.

They will still need you.

Maybe you no longer

need them.

Kinda love poem

kinda want you

kinda need you

kinda love you

get this kinda feeling

when I’m with you

get this kinda feeling

when I’m not

kinda crazy like that

kinda want you

kinda need you

once in a while

kinda hate you

but all in all

kinda love you

kinda

Berba-top

Berba-trap

Berba-dribble

Berba-twist

Berba-soul

Berba-header

Berba-goal!

Berba-challenge

Berba-run

Berba-tackle

Berba-fun

Berba-slick

Berba-control

Berba-bicycle kick

Berba-goal!

Berba-rescue

Berba-brilliance

Berba-grit

Berba-wise

Berba-movement

Berba-rise

Berba-nod

Berba-goal!

Berba-one

Berba-two

Berba-three

Berba- hat trick

Berba-win

Berba-adulation

Berba-joy

Berba-top

No Berba-flop.

 

The blade

I am the six inches of steel

that carve the headlines,

the serrated edge that glints

in the imagery of the evening news.

I am the steel that stiffens

the politicians’ protoplasmic spines,

the curving channel that guides

innocent blood onto the streets.

I am the easy parliamentary platitude.

I am the professionally shaken head.

I am the groans of why, why, why,

I am the beast you try to deny.

I am the living, tortured blade.

I am the voice of the inner city damned

that squeals through living flesh.

I hiss. I spit. I twist. I end lives.

I am the piss-stained stairwell,

the shadowy figures beneath the street lamp,

the urban myth, the legend of the streets,

the primal pulse beat of the night.

I am the excluded, the bitter, the lost.

I am the antithesis of righting a wrong,

I am the future thrown out with the trash,

I am death come to make off with your cash.

I am the broken fence, the peeling window frame.

I am every squealing tyre, the acrid stench of each night fire.

I am the boarded door, the steel window grille.

I am the vastness of night, the heart of despair.

I am the marchers for peace, the funeral oration.

I am the national psyche, the social code.

I am the tribe, the clan, the home for the homeless,

the posse, the place you belong, love for the loveless.

I am sweat and tears and pain.

I am rage, revenge and shame.

I am filth and neglect and shit.

I am weak but everybody knows my name.

I am the pock-marked fist

that will crush your sentimental heart.

I am the distorted face that watches

behind the rain-dimpled window pane.

I am the door that closed.

I am the good day that never came.

I am the absence of love, the betrayal of hope

I am the waiting blade. Passer by, still think you can cope?

Copyright Alan Gibbons, 2008

Nailing down the lid

Poems on Margaret Thatcher

*****

No such thing as society

By Alan Gibbons

There is no such thing as society

You said, and lo,

There were no mines.

You looked upon the shattered landscape,

The twisting skeletons of rusting metal

And it was good.

There is no such thing as society

You said, and lo,

There were no jobs.

You looked at the young people

Sheltering in doorways drinking to a future

That seemed further away with each passing day

And it was good.

There is no such thing as society

You said, and lo,

There was no rented housing.

You looked at the sink estates,

The burned out cars

And the broken fences,

You looked at the homeless

On the street

And it was good.

There is no such thing as society

You said, and lo,

There was great rejoicing in the City

And the steel and glass temples

Rose into the sky

And it was good.

There is no such thing as society

You said, and lo,

The rich grew richer

And red turned to blue

And you gave birth to a son named Blair.

At last, after all these years,

Thanks to you and those that followed you

There really is no such thing as society

And it is not good.

 

How to bake a Thatcher cake

By Alan Gibbons

Ingredients:

A pair of barking mad eyes

A nose that could skewer fish

A withered claw

A son who sells helicopters to terrorists

250 grams of class hatred

100 mls of small town malice

One (rather small) imperialist adventure

One emaciated economy

Several million wrecked lives

One miserably ineffective parliamentary opposition.

Method:

Take your ingredients.

Bake in a hot oven for eighteen years.

Garnish with lashings of sickeningly

Good luck.

Finally, seal in a coffin and bury.

 

 

Do yer?

 

Do you spend the night

Gagging for a fight?

Well do yer?

I mean, do yer?

Do you get your kicks

From your nasty, little tricks?

Well do yer?

I mean, do yer?

Do you dream in bed

That you’re standing on my head?

Well do yer?

I mean, do yer?

Do you have a dream

That you’re jerking out my spleen?

Well, do yer?

I mean do yer?

Do you love those tears,

Your victim’s fears,

The adrenalin rush

From the crap you push?

Do your senses quiver

when some poor kids quiver

or hide in the bog,

you contemptible hog?

And those zombie turds

That hang off your words

Like you’re some real big hero

Do they know deep inside

You’re worth a big fat zero?

Well, do they?

I mean, do they?

Do you know things turn,

The big men crash and burn?

There comes a day

When you’ve got to pay

For the hurt and the strain

And the fear and pain?

So do one,

Just do one.

Gutted

It should have been my day of rest,

A chance to get stuff off my chest.

It should have been United’s day.

But it didn’t turn out quite that way.

So I was gutted, gutted

The bathroom wall I could have butted.

I was gutted, gutted

Next door’s dog I could have nutted-

Yes, I was gutted!

There were warning signs in the first forty-five.

United looked more dead than alive.

Berbatov went walkabout

As for Ferdinand, he did nowt.

So I was gutted, gutted

The bathroom wall I could have butted.

I was gutted, gutted

Next door’s dog I could have nutted-

Yes, I was gutted!

Nando Torres latched on the pass,

Went past Rio, stepped on the gas,

Went in on goal

And destroyed my soul.

So I was gutted, gutted

The bathroom wall I could have butted.

I was gutted, gutted

Next door’s dog I could have nutted-

Yes, I was gutted!

We had a go, we pressed it hard

Then Vida went and got a red card.

Ninety minutes gone, oh no, oh no

They’ve scored again, it’s David Ngog!

That’s it then¦

Day ruined.

Humiliated¦

Pig¦

Flippin¦.

SICK!

So I was gutted, gutted

The bathroom wall I could have butted.

I was gutted, gutted

Next door’s dog I could have nutted-

Yes, I was gutted!

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