Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thursday 31st July

Shows : 3

Poetry is indeed something divine… it is the perfect & consummate surface & bloom of all things

Shelley

My day begins with showers & the sun
These ways of Poesia’s best begun
As I await a catalyst or two
I taste a leaf-tip plasma-drip of dew
Taking a stroll down South Fort Street, & then
Bare left down Ferry Road, bare left again
Up Bonnington, as through me verse-force flew

Lets go, lets go, listening to Disco
Grooving to the music up Broughton Street
Past John Lewis, a better class of ass
Has bobbl’d into town, appears the rears
Of prancers from France, Dutch ballerinas
Young highland dancers, thin senorinas
& well-nourish’d babes from Kensington!

I meet a mate, sweet Dave McMenemy
He’d fallen for the Mumble twelve months past
A Fair Trade dealer, time upon his hands
He loves to ride his cycle into town
& there embrace the world with his wise words
When as we share a beer down the Pleasance
We meet a handsome chap from Bournemouth borne.

His name is Tim, a twenty-two year old
Who’d overtimed his way into a room –
East Claremont Court – & started to review
The shows he’ll see, some uiversity
Of all that rolls bohemian thro life,
“Welcome aboard!” I offer him the keys
To all this city’s culture, Mumbling free

The Pleasance empire spreads oer the Southside
As up to Bristo Square I surge thro sun
& take a seat in the Grecian Queen’s Dome
To see three student players do their thing
Jane Upton’s Swimming, to a sea-swell sound
We sail into a funny beach-shack world
Of pretty workers struggling thro life’s tides

I loved the chat, oploaded with aplomb
The street-slang of this ever-cocky land
Of nigger babies in a white girls pram
Of masturbation blistering the hand
Of tits & minges, sucking cocks & crabs
Of little lives bounden by teenage ties
For this is real life in a compact guise!

Time swung & I cruised up onto the Mile
The traffic stopped to serve the grand Tattoo
& there met two new Mumblers, Jess & Derm,
They’re working on their own show this August
Spectrum – a moving play on Autism
On every second day, & inbetween
They’ve joined my team, & keen I am theyre here

We went into the HUB, the EIF’s
Magnificent castle that towers oer
Edina’s gorgeous stresst, & fields & hills
& there we met the Press Team, who met us
With cocktails quite delicious, passion fruit
Syrup swirling on the tongue, as talk
Refined, defined, our Mumbling yet to come

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& what a bag of goodies gave they us
A whiskey bottle, pens & notebook too,
Fudge quite excuisite, tickets for two shows
A splendid Christmas stocking for the press,
& thanking them we went off once again
Into the evening air, to Fountainbridge
Where No Fit Circus, too, were welcoming…

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… We press-types to the launch of their own show
The baroque swirl of acrobatic feats
They’ve monickered Bianco, vibrant feast
Of moving cages & a tight, slick band,
Conducive to a wonderful array
Of thoughts in motion to sensory gusts
Of theatre, spectacular unbound!

As soon as the booze ran out, I did one
Happy that I had two happy guys
To write the review, Jess was scribbling down
The highlights that Bianco had inspired,
The handsome, muscular tightrope walker
The spinning black girl arching like a worm
& that band, supreme as music’s muse enjoys!

Wednesday July 30th

Now, primed on Lear,
Milton, Gibbon, Wordsworth, he’d set himself
to re-imagining an epic grandeur

Amy Clampitt

The morning sun streams golden in my head
‘An extra hour…‘ I whisper in my head
For after that there’ll rare a respite be
From parties, shows, reviews & poetry
An extra hour… & with my slumber done,
I set off with replenish’d energy
In search of everlasting fame & fun

They saw it from a distance, as a speck,
Now Arthur’s Seat towers oer mind & soul
With staff IDs enribbon’d round the neck
They step within the never ceasing squall
That drives this festival, a young lad lost
Asks for the Pleasanace, late for his first shift
I show him paths, then dreaming on I drift

I headed into heap’d up Bristo Square
A pretty frauline avalanching hair
Stands handing out free tickets for a show
Some play about the life & times & lies
Of Howard Zinn, of course I can but go
So let the Games begin, the Gilded Balloon
Gives birth to golden meanings in this mind

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Los Angeles, far land of teeming dreams,
Where actors, singers, sportsmen, models, meet
With gangsters, dealers, gimpsters, pimps & molls
& from its ferment rises monstrous art
No quiet troupe of amateurs from Kent
But thought-provoking history of when
The Allies bomb’d wee Royanne, near Bordeaux

“Burning hospitals is a crime!” these times
See missiles stripping Gaza of its pride
As outside in the Square a protets blarees
“Killing children is genocide!” the cries,
Israeli-funded theatre the cause,
Which inbetween the louder narratives
Disturbs our auld Euripedean flow

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The point of this smart play is how can man
Terror destroy by using terror too
Of how militaristic men surge on
When wars are won & foes are sick of war
As through this, from outside, “Free Palestine!”
Seeps onnto stage, til with a final bow
My muse, this globe & robed Apollo stand!

There is a swiftness to this happy vibe
A press launch at the Caves, a comic feast
of Vixens from the stars with disco lights,
Magicians pulling jokes out of the air
& Blackpool comedy from Mick Ferry
& fifteen other acts, upon the stage
For just three minutes of their hour-long shows

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I meet a pal, Assembly’s garden grand
Four twenty-five a pint of Heineken
Or Fosters for three-eighty, three cute girls
Excited by the Mumble’s burgeoning
Give me their emails for reviews to come
Then tanked up on free booze downed at the Caves
I lurch towards my first official date!

So… Benny Boot, London comedian
Altho distinctly antipodean
Launches into his quirky diatribe
& smiling thro a slightly awkward vibe
Drags smiles out from a year of famine fun
With his slightly surreal observations
Delivered with a nervous afterthought

His best joke was a story on seagulls
Of how them stealing chips is ne’er rebuked
Those ballsy birds, amusing to a tee!
& as I scribbled down these antic lines
I senses he sensed I was reviewing him
& placed a pretend seashell to his ear
& called the sound crab-gossip, & I laughed!

An English lass trips off to Santander
She’s kinda cute, quite buxom, straw-blonde hair
& squeals, “The money’s different!” “It’s real!”
I quip, then trundle into George’s Square
Assembley One awaits me, & a show
Tis Vitamin, I only just oer there
Pick’d up the ticket yesterday, let’s go!

A comic clown arrives upon the stage
His brown eyes shine with continental smirk
That diamond sparkles us to warmly greet
This pleasant chap sweet Scotia has drawn here
Who bids a stranger perch upon his knee
& reads us all a story, as we hear
Into his fun-filled phantasies we delve

Expressive movements & accordians
This is an ancient craft, brindisi born,
Hypnotic stories spliced with hum’rous song
& iced with Catholic memories confess’d
He plays a worm, & with an, “It was me!”
Becomes a jogger cruising Normandy
Ah me! imagination needs fair foils!

Its time to drift down to the Three Sisters
& the Laughing Horse’s festival launch
The free fringe of the former fringe-like Fringe
The latter now a massive moneytrap
Far from the ethos of those fifties folk
Who ilked a good laugh, banter, & a smoke

Middle-fingering the Establishment
They found eight pubs round Reekie’s hamely streets
& forced their comic turns into the mix
With high-brows getting higher at the cheek
But roll on fifty years, these had become
Some chavvy lad from Leytonstone, who’d made
His name & fame & money thro his feet…

…when next to Balmoral this Beckingham
Palace of performance, rudely shuts
Its gates to those who shunn’d London agents
So Laughing Horse would find its own eight pubs
& said, ‘Pay what you like!” & so we did
& soon this new fringe on the old Fringe fringe
Goes swelling ever larger by the day!

I meet up with my old pal, Victor Pope,
Three years on from Infinite Delusions
He’s back to wow the world with his unique
Take on life embedded in his song
While on the stage his ain brother stands tall
Paul Vickers’ Mr Twonkey, what a laugh!
Their mum’s should burst with pride when she heads up!

Tuesday July 29th

As I was reflecting upon what I saw, I heard a Voice in the Crowd, bemoaning the Condition of Mankind, which is thus manag’d by the Breath of Opinion, deluded by Errour, fir’d by Self-Conceit, & given up to be train’d in all the Courses of Vanity, till Scorn or Poverty come upon us.
Richard Steele

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A guy was in my house the other day
Canadian & Indian, he had
Yearned to see the Old World since a boy
& now, arrived in Edinburgh, was he,
Yearning to drift as far as Sicily
& so, before he left, I made a gift,
A map with the three Aegadis encirqued.

This global world, at Scotia’s beckoning,
Arrives into these vast Edinads
Where fortunes & good reputations made,
For one long month of living, cultures blend
Into a cauldron soup Parnassian,
& I, sat at its heart, midst Pilrig Heights
Attending to its capturement through words.

The MUMBLE is my bairn, a second year
Of technical refinement prospers well,
Built on a reputation fairly won,
A site more slick, reviewers trebling,
All of us set this gargant to review –
Thousands of shows, but just a lucky few
Can be reflected by our canny pens.

This city stole my soul & there she stayed
A decade since I settled midst her streets
Ready am I her to graces to return
& all her welcome actors celebrate
To meet their wondrous energies with words
They’ve practiced, aye, nigh every day have thought
Of how the world will feel their opened hearts.

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I take a pleasant walk about the town
The first few posters reach the Royal Mile
A student girl sits talking on a phone,
Besides the Meadows where the Ladyboys
Start to erect their world, the student says,
“Six pounds fifty with tips, its not that bad,
With the hours I’ll work it’ll soon add up.”

For these past weeks I’ve been networking hard,
& pulled a host of shows from here & there,
The first of which must on the morrow bide,
Its ‘Vitamin,’ by Carlo Jacucci
As on my walk its ticket I collect
Assembly’s office shining bright & new,
First chance to whet my words upon the calf.

Assembly Press Rooms

Returning to my den by Pilrig’s graves
I pass long hours in salad-dappled work
Preparing press releases for those acts
Offered to us by PR companies
Plus shows I choose to temper the wide net
That is this well-paid publicist’s demense
& vast array of talent for my team!

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On the Criminalization of HIV

Since finishing my transcreation of Y Gododdin back in 2012, I have rarely plucked poetry from the aether. In that time I have composed only about twenty sonnets, most of which were written in India last winter. This was, to all extents & purposes, a fallow period, a resting of the bedsoil of my artistry.

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In the past week, however, I have been gushing words onto the page concerning that most interesting of topics – the criminal culpability of HIV transmission. My reasoning behind such a choice is perhaps my age – 38 – a time when a man should be all grown up & working at their intellectual peak. This, combined with the natural instinct that a poet is, above all, a teacher – I have opted for a poetic period of rather more serious subjects in order to highlight some of the newest elements of society.

I would like to herald my entry into a new poetic sphere by printing the complete text of my new poem, entitled;


On the Criminalization of HIV


Everybody loves a winner,
But when you lose its just you
And the partial view out the hospital window

Tory Dent

A new & deadly virus strikes the world
That has a place in all our minds this day
Whether a wild, wild storm whipping the sea
Or dark cloud on a felltop far away
HIV is crucially increasing
The state’s coercive power over life
For now to spread its terror made a crime

To be guilty of this lawbreak
One must first possess the virus
Then foresee potential harm may come
To those one cares to sleep with
Inducting lovers to the spectral glade
That soaks them in the social aspersion
Attached to this lonely Dantean clique

The epidemic broke in the eighties
A puzzling & frightening condition
Knowledgeless, we bluster in the dark
Anxious & hostile to the unknown
When possibilities of contamination
Spreading surface-to-surface
While prison wardens strange suits space-age don

The disease sleeps in bodily fluids
To pass around from host to host
Thro sex unprotected
Via a dirty syringe,
Or two young lads in cornfields
Slicing each others palms
Commingling them in a blood brother clench

Haemophiliacs, Homosexuals, Heroin-users, Haitians
Cast as core groups from whence AIDS should not spread
For fear of upsetting the Woman’s Institute
Four marginal & disadvantaged communities
Where all who wallow in this misery
Must sexual or social deviant be
Discriminated by a widely spreading prejudice

Abnormality modernity denies
All that we know or care to know of AIDS
Was shrouded in great silence, shore-to shore
The core of all this brutal suspicion
Must come from Afric’s auld, primeval mind
When sorcerers & witches scream revenge
& cast accursed illness on their foes

‘They use illicit drugs, y’know,’
‘They sleep with one another AFTER DARK!
In seedy alleys next to throbbing clubs,’
Those, those, those… GAYS!’
O how the word spits off the tongue
Of those who seem to have simply forgotten
It is not who is risky, but what!

But when the virus better understood
Routes of transmission painted in light
The message reached us all
Be safe in sex, be safe in life
Else slow, if not reverse, the human march
That brought us the beauty of Nureyev
Dancing his sceptered ballet in Paris

hiv-aids-symptoms

Human immunodeficiency virus
Attacks the body’s natural defences
Like a thief in the guise of a cleaner
Rifling through an octogenerians’s flat
A little bit here, a little bit there
Til one day the old woman’s grandson
Notices all of her life savings have gone

Polemic, politicized, problematic
We speak of HIV like some folk ghost
Haunting the fields about the whispering farms
This is the wyrdest of all our diseases
It’s delayed symptoms difficult to grasp
Our mighty & once cherished immune system
Unable, now, to handle such a war

One may live with the virus for years
Feel completely well, suffer no symptoms
Then late in the day arrives the unforgiving
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
When tailcoat turning, snow-white CD4 cells
Start to copy HIV in droves
Instead of combating those morbal swarms

Most elegant redresser of man’s sins
From thee, the threat of early death upsprings
& brings a sense of life’s uncertainty
As clinging to their own mortality
Go those who should be giggling upon swings
Beside irriguous meadows, instead
We fear the serpent sloppy lovers spread

When you sleep with one person
You sleep with everyone they’ve ever slept with
When after losing at Russian roulette
AIDS becomes the steady killer
Breaking down inbuilt immunity
Opening one’s corporeal chakras
To any bug that cares to come your way

Dying means you are dead already
The walking dead, the talking dead
When death becomes an experience
No random moment in a soldier’s war
But extracted & tortuous,
Interactive & cancerous,
Foul scourge of days & weeks & months & years

To live with HIV
Gives life a strange complexity
When our bodies social beatings
Made relevant to all
& then, to pass it on,
Thro passion’s reckless moment
Quite unwelcome in our land

When to give it to a stranger,
Or even worse, a loved one,
Is answerable quite bluntly
With a lengthy imprisonment,
But surely sex & sexiness
Could never be tamed by dictates
By old Westminster made

This is our proud, old land
Whose legislative assembly
Wants to control, controversially,
Our long-loved sexual activity
When taking risks deemed illegal
The sick plunged in criminality
If ever they give into their lust

Essentially, this sub-group demonized
By brainwashed minds deserves its fading fate
As if them destined to self-immolate
& if they dared their lust to share
& impregnate their burdens
They must be culpable, a weapon barb’d
With deathdom dripping from its vicious hooks

In the context of infection
Such pan-social perception
Personifies the demon
That draws a being’s essence out
Into its skeletal twilight
& serves it human justice
Within understandable social frameworks

Incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, deterrent
These are the mainlines of criminalization
But how can these four pillars e’er bypass
The sheer necessity of man’s first thrill
While those with HIV, & most who care
Despair at such a clinical perception
Raising the join’d voice critical in vain

Conducting our conduct, this grandee state
Aims to shape & regulate comportment
Broadly guiding thought across the boards
To rationalize the national livery
As worn by we, its web-like apparatus
& thinks that health-related social norms
Should be affected by the way we live

The consequences of knowing the consequence
The deliberate deceit of sero-positive status
Omission, non-disclosure of the truth
When that dreadful day of diagnosis
Is locked away inside the dungeon mind
As all it takes would be a little condom
To castigate this queen of STDs

Now ultimately the responsibility
Lies with the chief infectious
To ensure proper safeguards are in place
Secured throughout all acts of penetration
Even if partners shun the rubber sheath
Preferring the most purest passion,
Lust dripping, sweating, from panting pores

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Then comes the narrow line twyx life & crime
When only if the virus has progressed
& only when the risk achieves fruition,
Can we label the moment illegal
Tis but a surreal lottery
That reckless lovers play
As in bosom heat they lay

You point a dagger at a persons heart
For this you can be prosecuted
The threat is all that matters
But if we lie abed with one diseased
& spend all night in blissful, soft embrace
To wake up with a picnic in the park
If you still clean, them free to chance again

A man in Glasgow caught the thing inside
Glenochil nick, with all its parasites
Injecting drugs, sharing the dirty spike
& when outside went creeping unprotected
Within Anne Craig, & as he did he lied
So Stephen Kelly’s ‘reckless injury’
A firm, prudential landmark of the land

Feston Konzani from Malawi
A chancer & a dancer
Took three women in his chamber
Joined three women to his danger
Tho one of them pleads leniency
Evidently becoming aware
Of some past consensuality

There was a woman once in Wales
Who loved her man so much she pursed her lips
Daring never to declare to him
She was a victim of a social sin
Who hoped & prayed, asking all the angels
He would not catch it, but upon foul ears
Fell these fair words on fallen angels cruel

When the smoking gun discovered
‘I simply want to get even,’
‘I want to show them just what they’ve done,’
A swirl of incorporeal feelings
Angry & shocked, betrayed & disbelieving
In a damaged future
Trust lies broken in the mind

Now the newly infected
Unburdened by governmental approval
Are free to seek revenge after an act
In which they shared complicit intimacy
& partnered irresponsibility
Aware of all the risk that this entails
Deflecting blame onto a soul once loved

But on what good could such a course attend
Spreading blame through a culture full of blaming
Shifting burdens from society at large
To he or she who carried first the virus
Away from the legally aggrieved
Who really should be just as full aware
Of such high risks in this evolving world

In these our modern times
It is assumed, even expected
That all our personal behaviour
Should be conducted in a shared attempt
To minimalize the threat to others
Group management of risky situations
Like driving sober with our sober peers

It takes two to tango
& two to trasnmit HIV
Such laws exacerbate social stigmas
Weakening the message that sexual health
Attributable to both partners
Breaking rocks of collective consciousness
On which solid society must stand

Friends, let us educate ourselves
The minds of peers imperfect
& draw up long-term strategies
Encountering, holistically,
All aspects of this HIV
That wrecks our fate relentlessly
As if struck by desert thirst

hiv-patients

Lets learn of hopeless suffering;
Eyeballs choked with soot
From the ashes of the souls
Of those too incredulous to despair
Beneath the blanching white-hot stare
Of an unreal, uncaring sun
Marble eyelids boning dry

Life yanked away like babes from junkie mums
They approach the omniscient threshold
Seeking rapprochement with Christian gods
Listening to the drip-drip of their miseries
Refocusing perceptions & agendas
Paralyzed by the sheer weight of inability
To play one’s fate-strings & a harpsichord

They must leave us soon
A past unsigned for, & a future sure,
As into the dark misery of tears
Of loved ones fading day-by-day abed
We stride helpless while rich men discuss health
& search for some deliverance
Distraught at all her senses’ dwindling

Through dismemberment of the future
The skeletal wasting of our once happy body
Brings visitors to tears, the milk turns sour
Shared memories too rotten to invoke
Tho them once full of beauty
& all reduced to childhood once again
Before the glory of our natural laws

The dowerness of daily routine
Made banal by the latter days of AIDS
Estranged from all we socialites call life
Just drugs & hugs, long bitterness & pain
Until, at point-of-death, that pain shall cease
Then nothing… for this host has realized
This last breath is their last, & exhaled, dies

For them, let us foster & enable
An environment of true compassion
Let those infected live openly
Breathing shared air without reproach
& assume that those who dwell with HIV
Will carry out the safest possible sex
If ever by the gods of lust them borne