Paul Steffan Jones 1st


 

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Panic Station


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-08-06

How many pedestrians are arguably pedestrian?

how many drivers can claim to be driven

as the kilometer psychotically accelerates 

to that finite point when rust will return 

triumphant on the saddles of a troop of horses 

that will be the daddies and mummies

of the new heathen horsepower horde 

of carbon-neutral transportation?

flashing one's debit card in the twilight of plastic

in an era of multiple extinctions 

you could almost get a programme to aid 

a more user-friendly viewing of the shows

got Popol Vuh on the speakers 

Germans riffing to Mayan influences

how I like it how dead people still speak to us 

across the centuries of disease invasion 

and the most extravagant exterminations

I try to remember the names of people 

I used to work with

to stave off forgetfulness 

and the names of actors

I rehearse my new escape wings

awkward with still tacky glue

going around and around in circles before non take off

until I fall asleep my beak stilled on my chest

and birds fall on my garden their eyes bleeding

or did I just read about that on the web?

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Kill War Not Time


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-07-19

It's theatre on a dead planet

a candidacy lost in space

the life lessons you need

from a black girl's reading list

there's not a cloud in the sky

so I'm going to give you what I want

a quarry in the steeper side of a peak

abandoned unworked unloved

except by us in our hole in the wall

with raven flight feather we don't fly

as our legs and loads are heavy

and anyway we're enjoying the view

and the fact that no one comes here

on the more challenging side of the eminence

where paths are of sheep

and water oozes from the skin of height

a week of resignations

an ambassador

a footballer

my sister

good for them

there's life after a life

especially when bullies are broken

and exit in wheelbarrows

and no one any longer knows

where the bodies are

I have collected two birds that crashed 

into windows and died 

a finch and a sparrow I think

one was still warm when I first picked it up

its eyes closed its beak and claws small 

unthreatening and alluring

don't know what to do with them 

and they're starting to smell in the heat

the fragrance of decomposition

moving again in temporary maggot propulsion

but I have begun to gather stray feathers 

and took a fancy to theirs too

receiving my treasure as it happens

and not after the fact

someone painted a large erect penis 

on tarmac near a cattle grid in the hills

on the day I come up with the idea of a wealth cap 

the revenge of the benefit cap

the revenge of the underpaid

the oppressed and the short-changed

it's all connected

I don't like the modern world

but it's the only one they've got

having to pay to view redundant antique war planes

that our grandparents surely helped to purchase

through taxation and maybe through blood spilled

in operating them in campaigns they did not subscribe to

a bit like the money they charge us to visit castles

after they succeeded in subduing us

the massive watchtowers of the conquerors

still invading our pockets so give me what I want

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Field Marshal Me


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-06-30
Field Marshal Me

A collector

becomes commander

in his top secret militarised mind

a director

of virtual brigades battalions

and cavalry stallions

I revisit my childhood bedroom

its ceiling trailing plastic aircraft models

from drawing pins and fishing gut

how I made my own sky 

with dioramas of dogfights 

of Hurricane and Stuka

Flying Fortress and Focke Wulf

Spitfire and Messerschmitt

born of glue that got everywhere

until I gave them away to younger cousins

when I thought I ought to have outgrown them

(there were people who were still around then)

decades later I don decals

war paint and sloping armour

having returned to the wheat fields of Prokhorovka

amid the diesel and shell bursts 

of the battle of Kursk

sinking back into those earlier times

my 1970s reimagining

of the Great Patriotic War

the faces of my brave toy soldiers

of indeterminate racial representation

their frozen stances somehow

suggesting action

face each other in lines

their bayonets bent in the crush of packaging

loyal to me in outcomes I decide

never dying

I use part of my disposable income to rekindle

the fantasy campaigns of my childish days

acquiring  more solid diecast Panzers

half-tracks and anti-aircraft guns

in my camouflage under the radar

still at play in a world

in which my government is a supplier

of armaments that kill children

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-06-13

Tunes of vigour soar in that chapel

in the Simple Round-Headed style

raised by your great grandfathers

in a confluence of overworked meadows

and sparse whitewashed settlement

the Word and its compositions

its words verses and choruses

among friends and familiar worshippers

joining in with your sister at the organ

as Mrs Angel falls to her knees in her fervour

praying as tears escape down her face

while outside the minstrelling of blackbirds

the hymns of wind

the sighs of boughs

and the symphony of waves approaching

then breaking do their bit

as a tailor you earned your wages

in nearby towns and villages

while your mother wove quilts for her neighbours

and your aunts fashioned hats and dresses

your carpenter-joiner father

furnished the interior of his home

with the plane and saw of his craft

in that cottage you thrilled to listen

to the great composers and dance bands

on a wind-up gramophone

the endless devotion to arranged sound

the enjoyment of private moments

in a community way of living

you died of TB aged 27 in 1935

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

The Mothered


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-06-05

Those men who have lost their mothers

and who live like men who have lost their mothers

gather at a rock on a unclassified road

that dispenses warm weak grateful ale

and incremental amounts of confidence

as they rub shoulders with ascetics

and saintly aesthetics but still feel

inadequate in comparison with their forebears

among their number but standing somewhat apart

somewhere between the sugar and the salt

and consuming a more spirited beverage

is the monumental mason Tomb Jones

no relation

who keeps a creased miniature image

of his loved one secure in the treasury of his wallet

in common with his companions

he defends the memory of his favoured parent

in excited nearly unbroken English

and is always open to new tales of that time

before she decided she wanted him

he has convinced himself that he's escaped

the Rules of Obedience that were dreamt up

nearly two centuries ago by his former co-religionists

though he can't quite shake the unsteady feeling

that he is on a game board he is unable to see or get off

he strives to be traditionally meek but flares up at times

he looks around at the competition

they mostly wear glasses now

giving some of them a look of learning

that had previously studiously eluded them

and all of them the sense of owls

peering into a mid-distance that was

removed when no one was looking

sold by their elected representatives to American companies

that sell back to them documentary records

of their families' significant events

that in effect they have already earned

no one was looking

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

1837


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-05-05

Mighty mere of tears

the tears of migrants

the tears of slaves

the tears of the great whales

at the side of your pregnant wife and small children

so excited to be going on such an adventure

you watched your brothers friends and neighbours

and the coastline you knew so well dwindle

then disappear from view for a final time

horizons imperceptibly changing

never drawing near but falling away

your place of birth observed as though

via the wrong end of a telescope

doors closing as others opened

you sailed with hope and piety

and escaped the pity

and the poverty of your county

to settle in a land that for a time

would remind you of the language

and religion of your homeland

twenty years later you took your teaching and your healing

further west and put a necklace of fences

around uninterrupted grasslands

beneath unfenced skies

where your sons would experience

the resistance of the local tribes

at the same time as a civil war raged

the augmented savagery

the attrition of invasion

amid the convulsive nature of nation-forming

the letters home dried up

and your origins became clouded

as the demands of Capitalism became irresistible

enlisting you in the displacing and replacing

of a long-established population

the ways of living and thinking of all the participants

and their progeny changed forever

mighty mere of tears

the tears of fears

the tears of separation

the tears of those left behind

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Where Did I Put My Country? (Avalon)


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-04-22

Struggling to find the end of a roll of Sellotape

despite his best intentions for this not to happen again

he’s all fingers and thumbs just as he is when trying

to open clear polythene bags in a supermarket

the energy expended on the need to trim his finger and toenails

the time taken to get around to doing it

and feeling good when it is done

maybe life would be better in a kind of standby mode

only waking up when an act is about to take place

he deplores TV programmes like Britain’s Got Talent

the exaggerated melodrama of slightly delaying the announcement

of which hopefuls have been voted in or out of this week’s show

that pantomime pause a menopause by the men of pause

he thinks it could be replaced by something like

Britain’s Got Tories

Britain’s Got Troubles

or Britain’s Got Right Wing Terrorists

these would be much more sincere and illuminating

especially if the same selection method is used

television as the Tower of Babel that moved like a demented crab

into a box then a flat screen and into our gibberish conversations

he’d like to have been a highly-decorated warrior relaxing

in a highly-decorated lounge but this was not to be and is not

instead he obsesses about militaria though he is ashamed

of how his Government uses its armed forces to kill civilians

in his name funded by revenue he was obliged to hand over

it’s almost a point of honour that he is or at least pretends

to be strong enough to offer to help friends to carry heavy items

also denies that he is feeling the cold despite the fact that it is cold

though this is getting harder as age planes away the resistance from his bones

and he appears even more ridiculous when inappropriately lightly attired

he tries not to get too hung up about about demarcation

though he has a door a gate a fence a scripture of passwords

and a clear understanding of where his personal space ends

he admits he falls foul of the Trades Description Act

existing on a small island in the middle of a tarn

of sodium hypochlorite like they did in the legends

afraid to venture out because of the risk of corrosion of his disambulation

the box sets abound

the anniversary re-release of albums

the anniversary re-release of an anniversary re-release

so touching the need to commemorate

to remember to empty pockets at regular points

the demise of former versions of the calendar

too much material collected and not offered in sacrifice

with more on the way

the fads the short-lived allegiances

squeezed into under places

a vacuum-packed heir with not enough memory

for too many memories

too much of him even

he forgets his PIN forgets his sin forgets the hymns forgets he’s him

he can breathe he can walk he can talk when he wishes

he can sleep he can wake he can see he can hear

he can hope he can know that flight has thus eluded him

so all bets are off

he reserves a special enmity for the super rich and is motivated

not to urinate on them when they inevitably combust and their reign is over

though hypocrisy will never expire there’s enough of it to go around

and we will squabble squawk and skirmish over their loot

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Where Did I Put My Country? (Meteorites)


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2019-04-07

Acquiring useful things has become more important

in his later years of reflection and bigger pictures

as he unpacks the black and yellow hard plastic case

that conveys and conceals a Combi drill

pulls it out fits the battery into the hand grip

poses with it briefly pressing the trigger

a short whirr of the bit making him believe

he’s in a remake of Bladerunner

that he could some damage with this power tool

whilst considering how many of the current crop

of Members of Parliament could do with

an injection of honesty good manners and humanity

stored deep in an unremarkable darkness in his house

is a tool box that contains some of his collection of arms

those knives bayonets clubs and handguns

he keeps out of sight of the few visitors he receives

but easy enough to access should civil war break out

in the supermarkets at ATMs in hospitals and schools

on slip roads country lanes and in car parks

when the whole country gets acquainted

with how weaponized it is

and how much of it has an urgent need

to separate from the misplaced exceptionalism

of London and the south east of England

taking back control as they would have it

betrayal is a word bandied about a lot

in the hot air of the moment

but he feels badly let down

by much of information technology

suffering the buffering of streaming services

when he has at last sat down to watch something

he was looking forward to after a day of what he does

nothing works anymore there's so much junk around

the promise of home entertainment winds hims up

and he wishes he was back in the 17th or even the 7th century

he wrestles too with packaging

amazed and exasperated at how robust it is

when he tries to open it with implements

perhaps the manufacturers are collectively possessed

of a black humour and conspire to make it difficult

for their customers to break into their products

he realises he may be paranoid but could also be right

he's feeling a little uncomfortable even guilty

about his sincere interest in serial killing cases

because he's now learned that he should have paid

more attention to the mostly female victims

but he can't always remember their names

which kind of proves a point he is slow to acknowledge

he prefers his poets dead in the main

it's nothing personal nothing he wishes for anyone

that's how he's interacted generally for decades

the finite information the finite nostalgia

nothing to fear any more a line drawn

he gardens industriously and ironically

now that the UN has given the soil sixty years

he could cry letting his tears water his parcel of land

at least he'll be long in the ground by then

but he feels for the kids the birds the animals the fish

the insects the trees the flowers the forests the savannah

the oxygen the wind the moon the sun the stars

the sea the streams the lakes the rivers

the lovers and the possibilities

he holds his breath when neighbours mispronounce

his name and those of his parents and his house

he tries to smother a snort of contempt

for these are good folk they’re just like him

though he can understand when others complain

about thousands of strangers settling in their home areas

nothing is as it used to be

today his web photo archive provider sent him an image

to remind him of this date one year ago

a photo of an area of dampness on a ceiling

the reminiscing of an algorithm there's no contest

even if the robots will take over as it appears they will

he chuckles and recalls the word clusterfuck

that crops up in his newspaper rather often these days

tonight he waits for a meteorite shower to arrive

an honour though he's a little impatient

fretting that he's looking at the wrong patch of sky

he need not worry for this has been done before

and is still wonderful

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments
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