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#poetry Poetry

Cows are Ok

You watch the other children play late on the turn of the solstice.

The youngest almost naked scatter amongst the outhouses.

Their pearly skin returning the moonlight, terrifying the horses.

The witches miss their hour,

And the somnambulists stay in bed.

You grumble about bent coppers in a burnt-out trailer,

Surrendering what remains,

Paralysed in a state of an embittered stranger.

A black stream collects in the courtyard as it rains.

The courtyard where I imagined when I first read Animal Farm,

The courtyard where the pigs would address the square with the authority of crows at traffic lights.

I wondered why horses were the only animals to need shoes when they went running,

Cows have hooves and they seemed to be doing ok.

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Article

IDLES: Abbey Road Review

By Sebastian Lloyd

In anticipation of their new album ULTRA-MONO, IDLES covered The Strokes, Ramones and The Beatles in 3 live-streamed sets at Abbey Road Studios. On the weekend where IDLES should have been gracing Reading + Leeds with their liveliness it was a pleasure to have a show with such high production values as a nice change from Instagram lives.

Singer Joe Talbot admits before the final song of Set 1 that he is ‘inconsolably nervous.’ Mistakes on unreleased track ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ and ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ only served to endear the band further to the fans in the comments section. There was nowhere to hide in the rehearsal-room-like gig and the tension it created made for a very absorbing performance. The cover of Ramones song ‘I wanna be sedated’ lacked the punk energy of the original in a ballad version that didn’t work but as the band began to settle in the shackles loosened. In Set 2 guitarist Mark Bowen put down his guitar during ‘Love Song’ to sing ‘All You Need is Love’ and ‘Up Where We Belong’. Other guitarist Lee Kiernan snuck off to sit on the bannisters like a child left alone in a mansion.


Few bands have such a crystalline message as IDLES. When I saw them live at OnBlackheath in 2017 there were only about 100 people in the tent but the vehement lyrics and frenetic energy connected with me. They giggled at the middle class contingent of one-day festival goers who had stumbled across their rage. It’s remarkable to see how their music has connected with the nation since then and the best moments of the live streams were when they relished the opportunity for statement. In a rare moment of seriousness in set 3, Joe says ‘Long live the open minded down with the Tory scum,’ before ripping into a version of ‘Divide & Conquer’ which had the band in furious raptures. Even the usually calm drummer Jon Beavis was bouncing with frustrated zeal. ‘Danny Nedelko’ still gleams from their pack of irreverent post-punk cards as an anthem that doesn’t attempt to politicise punk through derision but through empathy.


The cover in Set 2 was a scrappy version of The Strokes song ‘Reptilia’ with lyric ‘You’re in a strange part of our town,’ given a new sinister screech by Joe’s vocals. ‘Model Village’ gives a interesting taste of a refined IDLES sound coming on ULTRA-MONO, but may be one of the few songs that does start to lean towards cliche a little. I noticed the slow songs they played including new song ‘A Hymn’ didn’t work for me apart from ‘Slow Savage’ which drones on a little. It’s saved by the self-deprecating lyrics and mournful melody. They’re a better band when they’re loud, proud and growling.


As guitarist Mark Bowen puts it ‘if the drums are really crashing then you’re going in with that, if the vocalist is really giving it stink you go with that. It’s all kind of about the feeling at the time.’ This isn’t an original approach but there is an authenticity about IDLES post-punk revivalism with a vulnerability at the core of their music. Before playing ‘Benzocaine’ near the end of the final set, Joe dedicates a moment to Guitarist Lee. ‘How many years sober?’ Lee replies ‘8’ before Joe says ‘Thanks very much for looking after us my man.’


The band wear their hearts on their sleeves and it comes across very endearingly throughout the sets. The fury is intense, the emotion is raw and I’m sure any impostor syndrome they had from being in Abbey Road was something that only made them more likeable to old and new fans alike.

IDLES exist as an example that a semi-professional band who have been around for years without getting recognition can break through into the mainstream. The bands closer is at long last a Beatles cover. They miss the first cue to come in and Joe yells ‘keep going!’ while the guitars one staccato note loops alone. Bowen evokes Paul McCartney’s opening scream into a disappointingly quiet mic before the band crash through with searing commotion. ‘Helter Skelter’ is an excellent choice and one of the highlights of the livestream. Joe curls up in the centre of the carpet and screams ‘you might be a lover but you ain’t no dancer,’ in the second chorus and it’s a gleeful crescendo.


The jittery nervousness that circulated initially broke into playful joy. Fans will have relished this pulled back curtain on IDLES. With almost their whole discography on show, it was a daring set-up for the huge sold out tour they’ll play when the curtain comes up on these restrictions. I have got a ticket myself for their final night at Brixton academy next June and I will be shouting for that ‘Helter Skelter’ cover again.

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#poetry

Golden Street

A man sits in his van on Langton way.

He flicks through the sun, squints in the ray.

Every pipe needing plumbing’s been run for the day.

Lets the radio play; Noodles lunchtime Bombay.

Happy feet underneath the seat tap to a trap beat.

Glad to meet the teeth of a big issue athlete.

Concrete below her feet selling sheets by the heath on the high street.

Bittersweet never discreet, job never complete.

With a style never downbeat,

Golden teeth smile that you meet.

Her story unrevealed,

8 years on the street battlefield.

Are these present-day gifts worth the rap?

8 years her big issue not repealed,

High street chains rattle when their dragged.

Coins barely drop from the city handbags.

Credit leaks on account of new price tags.

Same clothes entrap when the cold snaps.

Hope that your coat fully overlaps.

Booby trapped sleeping in a Santa hat.

Laying on the pavement in a lapse,

Deprivation makes homelessness into a weather map.

Its a speed trap at a camera gap,

Got to get some coins in the cap,

Lay them in the lap.

8 years on the street battlefield.

Are these present-day gifts worth the rap?

8 years her big issue not repealed,

High street chains rattle when their dragged.

She sits in an internet café checking her emails,

She still dreams about how she want’s to live.

Empty’s her ashtray before checking every detail.

Outside we’d walk past and watch the cars pass,

Talk about how we wanted to live.

A broken glass trail reflecting her golden teeth like eyes reflected in the sun.

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#poetry

16/05

You could describe the last months with reductionist name-calling

But things are going to change whether my attitude or actions are ambiguous to it or not

Today I take breaths to fill the world with life.

M a s sH y s t e r i a

Mass hysteria gurgles with laughter.

Growing fat,

it laps and licks the nectar of our fears, 

but the sweetest fruit bears the most potent poison. 

It’s insides are rotten, fed on gluttony and misinformation, 

it becomes grotesque.

Terrified onlookers weep in dismay

and cry out in confusion.  

“Was it not us in the West that championed ourselves as the keepers of law and order…

Why is this happening to us…?”

We don’t understand…

It was a ******* virus…

Why is it over here…

Please, answer us?” 

Mass hysteria tosses and turns its ugly head

and shrieks in a cacophony of voices,

“Toilet paper, we are running out of toilet paper!”.

@alexandersrage @aflat_white

Written by Jordan Labarr & Seb Lloyd

SYMPATHY’S REACH

We were punished,

the perpetrators of said punishment,

now find themselves in a similar position.

They were pitied;

Some things never change.

@alexandersrage

Jordan Labarr

@jaalabarr

God’s $$$

IMG_1540 (1)

but what about the value of monetary pleasure?

The irreplaceable individual,

Have you seen how low stocks are?

the way the most vulnerable in society are treated.

In times like these we must act with haste,

Or we risk a recession of humanity.

A time like this,

reflects those at the top,

and humanity; Well,

what about the recession?

2020-04-10

@alexandersrage

Jordan Labarr

@jaalabarr

 

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#poetry

SALT FLATS

Tender tendon string, lined with sweat beads from hot open palms, poring springs of sensory hand weaving roots 

Wrapping thumbs and fingers of warm bodies like woven silk in cotton sheets;

Salt flats , Heaven for a goddess

Exception to a rule, a paradigm shift; 

His eyes in a crowd, like staring up at dancing clouds of a million raindrops afraid to be a world of light

Hiding in strangers  

 

 

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#poetry

I Want To Write Something For My Friend

I want to write a little something for my friend

Something comprehensive rising from all the time we’ve gone and spent

A final singularity of grillings underwent, but questions still remain

With more willingness I look forward to more we ascertain;

I used to think you always knew the way,

And my confidence in you meant potential felt as easy as hopping on the train

but now I know I pointed too and guided just the same

From my point of view I never knew how much anger masked the pain,

Some of your stubbornness has almost gone and driven me insane

And god knows how many times I must have left you waiting in the rain, but I can’t wait to be back at vicarage and laughing all the same.

I believe in you

The roots are deep

There’s love in view

You’re the glue.

Your time has come and you’re coming through

You’re growing stronger still, we’re a team, an ever stronger will

A love no one can take, no one can kill

A glass so full I know it’ll spill

To a colder beat, a biting chill, a rising sun, it gives me chills

The thrills of life; the things I’ve thought of

I see you instil in a son or a daughter.

Her hair flows, it flows like water, at the alter

Your hands won’t falter, carrying her weight up on your shoulders.

Sitting on settees, with cups of tea, with the TV like a magic carpet

As the atlas sky holds up a blue, that dots her eyes with jet streams like uncrossed T’s.

A pupil of her potential to seize her exhaustion like supplicated knees,

On searches for alternatives to unforgotten dreams,

Digging up resilience like Tony’s Time Teams.

I haven’t ran up enough mountains to not be breathless at the peak of your esteem

Belonging to the present can still make you currently mad at its stream

Wear your heart on your sleeve and bare your flaws on your chest and love might just drive you insane at its best

Obsessed with what seemed the easiest test

Sometimes you suffer when you talk to you

Become a hanging mist over a beautiful view

I can be the lighthouse that’s beacon guides you through

I can be the lighthouse that’s beacon guides you through

An important day, a choice to take a better way, another pillar planted come what may.

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#poetry

3 Nails

When you are full of thoughts that you cannot suppress

Pick a simple pattern from which you cannot digress

Thoughts of the future, the past; long narrow corridors that undermine the art

On the walls of these halls so squalid and dark

They are questions to be answered, there to pick apart

We’re all part of a history rewritten to the convenience of a few,

Adapted by survivors of the wars that passed this knowledge to you

Reading epic stories about men who could part the sea for their people

In shock & awe, we must write our sequel

As we attempt to invade the media

As our own personal promoters in a haze of hysteria

We dig a little deeper, but history seems to repeat like a beat to the same meter

Hoping with our tongues in our cheeks on our letters that may never be read

Billions of words bottled up and thrown into the sea in our heads

Chanting in the street the few not left unsaid;

Our thoughts float like boats down paths marked by high vis wrapped cones,

As our bodies are stoned by those who have lost hope in our dream encrusted boats

But as long as you still float, don’t lose hope,

You could be picked up near the coast when, damaged, filling and sinking almost

You write a letter that lengthens, which floats in a bottle

You swear you will never return home for the fear you will sink to the bottom

Until a gentle wind comes to salvage the broken battered beams of your boat and its holy sail

If someone opened the bottle, they wouldn’t find a letter, inscribed with perfect detail

Instead they would read the words of artists, preaching pastors, farmers, martyrs;

Mothers and fathers of future teachers,

Words of extraordinary seekers of a country for as many speakers and believers

Who are demanding new meters from the drum beaters

Here to become leaders, who are poor feeders & not for the needless because its time to write our sequel,

You don’t have ages, life is just a turning of pages and your fingers will turn them

You are the thinkers and the barbarians that will burn them

It’s simple, this is your time.