By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-04-03
Build up herd immunity
selves as cattle
livestock locked down
in slaughterhouse towns
protect the NHS
and save lives
protect and survive
taking back control
the language of our various crises
the slogans of our desperate times
the litany of avoidable lunacy
an opportunity to inform on those
who veer from the restrictions
of the pandemic's regime of new laws
with new rules to learn
the requested change of behaviour
of travel and purchase patterns
the twitching net curtains
betraying an increased interest
in the essential comings and goings
of one’s dear neighbours
funny how we find our true place
when we’re all in this together
and there's no let up from spam
its faceless operators still having
to steal a living as thousands die
may these gangster spamsters
be eaten alive by their hamsters
as other life forms colonise
the polluted human settlements
and the air is cleansed again
there’ll never be a Spring
quite like this one
until the next time
the lemming army of hoarders
is marching over the cliff edge
of dried teats and no deals
with their gluttonous supermarket trolleys
and who’s profiteering from
Personal Protection Equipment
ventilators and medication?
who actually is in charge
of the looting the delays
and the half-heartedness?
my grandmothers could have done better
they were not hampered
by feelings of entitlement
but knew from real life drama
what urgency demanded
where to start in Ravi Shankar’s back catalogue
now I've got the time?
now wash your hands
there’ll never be a Spring
quite like this one
until the next time
PoemsBuild up herd immunity selves as cattle livestock locked down in slaughterhouse towns stay home protect the NHS and save lives protect and survive taking back control the language of our various crises the slogans of our desperate times the litany of avoidable lunacy an opportunity to inform on those who veer from the restrictions of the pandemic's regime of new laws with new rules to learn the requested change of behaviour of travel and purchase patterns the twitching net curtains betraying an increased interest in the essential comings and goings of one’s...
Read More2 CommentsHerons explore new flood fields red kites patrol the hearse road up Suffering Hill old and young the two tongues kin and friend at the end crows cosy up in creaking conifers to watch the never ending pantomime the rise and the fall of the curtain of life the labour of lowering the strain of the load released the denizens of the soil will accompany you on your journey from person to depersonalisation our endless recycling our cheated Valhalla of heroes without faces of valour without bloodshed later when routine resumes a surprised mouse looks up from...
Read MoreI hope I don't grow old and declining running out of ideas running out of running out depleted of free will knowing that I will depend on others burdened with unreliable memories irredeemable consolation prizes and an unreachable hole where I used to be with people who have since left there's little certainty a leaf lands where it falls then is moved by a breeze or the industry of insects the tramp of shoes I am but a leaf from a great tree called family I will land where I will fall
Read MoreIt was always night would always be so to him how it crept to become his friend after childhood dread tonight with axe and hammer (or bwyell and mwrthwl in his language somehow sounding less edgy and threatening but almost comforting) in that tongue in their hands choosing the longest spell of blackness cold clear close to Yuletide they began their work Thomas David Jacob and Joseph trusted masons and joiners from the scriptures timber and thatch nails and planes saws and chisels grinding gouging grunting cursing as bats reconnoitered low he knew that David...
Read More2 CommentsThe amnesia of politicians the mule refusal to learn from the past the expensive studied ignorance leads to the bonfire of billionaires and reparations for the original Americans and those of us driven from our lands for any reason and all the silver gold coal wildlife wages spaces and hope they made us help them steal from us in ongoing plunder featuring in blockbuster movies for which we receive no royalties and this despite the proliferation of information or perhaps because of it the overload of data required to thrive or even survive nowadays I drive in the...
Paul Steffan Jones AKA - @paul-steffan-jones2
15 Nov 2019What is the story of a bra jettisoned on the white lines in the centre of a road eyed by a bevy of starlings on a telegraph wire while green wheelie bins line up on a mucky grass verge like recycled squaddies at ease or lazy cut-price Easter Island statues? our parents used to exhort us to always wear clean underwear to spare our blushes in the event of emergency personnel having to intervene when some inattentive motorists unseated us from our bikes bish bash bosh if you're free a week Thursday afternoon why don't we start to dig up the clogged-up motorways then...
Read MoreA place of former habitation now degraded disregarded and unguarded its garden a tangle of bramble a battle of nettles forlorn thorns and overthrown lawns what enigma is hidden beneath its heavy ivy overcoat? what tale of abandonment will be revealed? maybe its interior is derelict unsafe and claustrophobic its rooms shrouded in a gradual accretion of dust a pinafore hanging on a door places set at a table the trouble taken over a meal never taken toys sombre after childhoods of excitement and exploration curtailed by the games of adults by the mystery of...
Read MoreOn my cherished isle of rainbows flecked with words that were meant but not said the loveliest in all the tides salmon-swept and seal-circled-sealed I nurse my wounds in my Savlon non-Avalon an eminence in a deepening ocean whose delving trenches are becoming an even greater mystery a friendless dwindling rock where I can play king so bring me my dynastic sword forgive me but I can’t read the small print any more and those untutored minstrels of my language of 40 years ago where are they now? they burned brightly but briefly fireflies those guys and girls I...
Read More4 CommentsThe sun returning after churlish paltry rain people wearing cagoules in humid heat the end of summer tiding with the advent of autumn the shortening days of strengthening shadows the perpetuation of the population is the bar going to open? a radio is on but I can't quite make out the voices though I recognise Walking in Memphis the sea is close I can see it through and over railings why do they have to culminate so often in spear points? a hotel employee vacuum cleans after a lunch or an afternoon tea the sky a faint blue cloud seagulls glide about their cries...
Read MoreHow 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...
Read More2 CommentsIt'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...
Read MoreA 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...
Read More2 CommentsTunes 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...
Read MoreThose 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...
Read MoreMighty 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...
Read MoreStruggling 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...
Read MoreAcquiring 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...
Read MorePete Shelley and Mark Hollis from Leigh and Tottenham the very best of England die in their early 60s older than me I looked up to them especially when I was a youth aware that they too were young a little like elder brothers I never had lost in their post-rock sounds making me meander in fever contemplation and fervid word formation I accept it’s OK to cry it’s OK for your upper body to quiver and convulse it’s OK to feel it’s OK it’s OK to be you accept the gift the warrior puts on his socks in the hushed pre-dawn camp he’s unable to see what he’s...
Read MoreA pound found on the ground on which he'd parked the car he spends it or 99p to be precise in a charity shop on a Fred Astaire CD for his mother in law the remaining penny goes into the collection box on the counter in the dwindling town centre still warm with coffee and giving he is happy with the symmetry of the day the chance findings the changing hands his changed needs a different sort of payday his changed self recycled now like everything that once existed exists now and is to exist
Read MoreMy tribe my place in it the island of our existence and patriarchs entitled John John David David Evan Evan Rees Rees Owen Owen Thomas Thomas they did not have many names and never questioned why it was so long ago when there were fewer words available to be connected to people who had no names who were our ancestors Dylan Marlais Thomas they forget the middle name in the land where you need three names to be identifiable from the next Thomas the next DT somehow there are two suns in the same sky the primary school yard is overlooked by a house in which I...
Read MoreThe fear of Christmas of the retail hell we've made it and dying in a giant impersonal shop-hangar wearing unclean underwear after discovering that a product one has just purchased was cheaper elsewhere the anxiety of missing out on a bargain of losing a receipt of not finding a car parking space the tyranny of opening and closing times of time itself inching forward unstoppably impudently fretting about leaving items in hotel rooms letting a fire go out and not having funds for unashamed continuous consumerism worrying about saying the wrong thing and forgetting...
Read More3 CommentsWhat you wish for is not always careful a glib handover in an ambient Tiger tank in shadows of oboes on an European coastline you know so well a meaningful vote devoid of much meaning not the kind of leaving you had in mind when you let that paper drop into the aperture we’ve been mis-sold overblown oligarchies and demoralised democracies so let’s invent pop up monarchies and subvert history as it is all made up as it stumbles along or at least that’s what the fecklessness of many of our leaders seems to suggest and remember to schedule a tour of our shiny...
Read MoreAt a dinner party after about a couple of glasses of Rioja he spills out what he’s been thinking for some time suggesting that everyone should return to the place in which they had been born his own birthplace approximately 436 metres from that table according to Google Maps eyebrows are raised accompanied by upward glances sighs and uncomfortable virtual jokes about racism he smiles expecting these reactions he finishes his dessert thanks the host and leaves for home 301 metres away a fortress mentality was how a parliamentary committee had described...
Read MoreKnut Madsen bad lip cop dressed his bride in a brick wedding dress thinks he recognises people he used to know in how total strangers look in far-removed locations lip bad cop black electric vehicle hybrid hymen hymnal chasing all the flies around the effluent that attracts them sticky on his wheels round and around still can't shake off those pony tricks and scrotum athletics in an inner sanctum in a jam an electric eel gets an electricity bill wrongly addressed bin credit rating predicts no future cop bad lip what's for dinner? breaking out of his...
Read MoreI pledge peace not knowing where it is as fighter planes roar through the valley I am deaf beneath behind their slipstream their scorched air feel the change inside don’t know if it’s going well it’s too stony for me to cry keys fall down a drain fast-moving mountain streams flow back on themselves the commodification of the remembrance of our war dead the steely eyes smart uniforms glinting bayonets the choreographed floral tributes one of the things we do best the massive architecture of cathedrals oppresses with displays of power the building blocks of...
Read MoreMORE FROM PAUL STEFFAN JONES: CLICK HERE The river flows the river always flows the villagers earned a living of sorts hewing anthracite separating the hard coal from the damp underworld below the restless bed of the Black Cleddau that seeped through the mine walls and into their concerns flowing haughtily past their daily lives they shuffled with deeply felt reservations into that space that afternoon after they and their protests were turned back by their employer ruthless rising water penetrated the...
Read MoreThe Great War had not shaken them from their faith had not deflected them from the path they had followed more assuredly since the excitements of the latest Methodist Revival if anything the conflict and its aftershock had helped them make sense and come to a sort of understanding of the new world order that now came looking for them in their previously unknown collection of fields barns and cottages they still respected the word and feared God's judgement remembering past transgressions while processing current discomforts there had been talk in the vestry the...
Read MoreLet rage ride a ragged pony around the fenced-in final Site of Specific Scientific Interest its legs buckling under the combined burden of foaming resentment short-lived joust-tirades and knee-jerk dismissal of potentially good things but when you’re born you get a life you get a name you have to live with that name that life with all of its expectations its meanings fortune and misfortune I am almost alert and will not sleep as long as the death watch beetle holds me in its sway reminding me of the terms and conditions of worms and munitions and the hum of...
Read MoreYou seem to have featured in nearly every photograph taken in your bypassed village in the years following the Second World War you appear bemused as though surprised that you have survived still strong in the weakening that old age invites in getting used to a world that has changed and people no longer being around you have white hair black eyes a black suit for weddings funerals and snapshot opportunities an unconscious caricature of film negatives and the light and shade of the photographic prints of your era sometimes you are standing at the side...
Read More2 CommentsA wedding of the unknown kind of them to have invited us drunk next to the River Avon or Afon Afon as we’d have had it river river dancing in the humidity of marriage and the hurdles of obligatory congestion of most journeys we insist on making I got a Kurdish haircut in the town that's nearest to us a place where Gruff Rhys was born and Suggs spent some boy years no sign of boyars in the land of xenophobes Xerxes unwelcome here sell out sell you sell laptop speakers to Flemish speakers no need to thin out the population they willing self-destruct through...