A Hanging Leaf

A hanging leaf puts its heart on the line to be noticed. 
We’ve only made eye contact. 
Soon to touch. 
I wouldn’t dare to try and save a hanging leaf.
Soon to fall…. 
Please don’t watch.

Gallery

Inside. You are an outsider and the room knows it. You do not belong to them. The walls stiffen in defence of the inflammed human heart that is present. You will never be of them. The wall knows this fate you bet your fears on. Too swell. Tooth picked. You tilt your hat before they turn you down. You haven’t asked anything of them. Yet. The floor sucks on the sole of your swift footed analysis. Daring you to overthink the feeling that is stirred up in the forest of invention. An idea. What is an idea? Just like us. And nothing alike. 

Wet of eyes, the paint sounds the welcome. They despise her too. And her ghosts. Colours come for real. Want all the sparks. All the action that imagination can fire up. They want you to want them too. And you know how they like it. The thickness. The trust in the thrust. The oh so bitter sweetness of us at our worst best. You would buy them if you didn’t already own their desire to have you or the image they paint of you in reflection. And what are you?

Outside. You are an insider with no throne room for Benin’s bronzed hypocrisy, but space for double bedded love making with case sensitive words for a thousand books and one. You make the way, they see through you, what they think you are and never were. Rust of Scarlet, blood conscious to a fault, who would have doubted the waters that ushered you into this world? If you were I and I knew how to speak, I would not paint you into the absence of mind that silence suggests. You haved loved loudly in your time, and the ground will not forget, even if you are never spoken of. All love is memorial but all is not lost. Except to time, when bound to art and held captive by the memories of those we have longed for. And have hungered to know intimately, the internal walls of our lover’s throbbing heart without the shades on. 

Breaking through to be inside of you and all you aspire to breathe out into damnation when you dreamed us into the merciless canvas of mortal life and the infinite glory of Agape. How cruel, the truth convicts the dead as though they were sentenced to life in unfinished paragraphs. We have only fallen in love with ideas and risen in the acceptance of our fallacies. The multiverse. The continents. The ocean of oceans that we are. It carries all the Hell and Heaven that resides in us. With us. For we are hung up in the awakening terror of love’s gallery for the broken and torn apart. 

Yours

Your opalescent eyes drown in the silent brown of his evacuated skin so that he wears your melancholy like the second hand clothes of a new born. He is as much of you, as you are of us. His language is caplocked yet without sound. Write him into the fire of your existence, for he has burned in waiting. You know how to sign. Yes. No tie for a native tongue that a Cinnamon sweet kiss could not release.

Honey of truth, blood of your soul, you’ve always known him. Remember how he held you once for what was forever. You embraced him and erased Gregorian time. There’ve been other lost boys but not like this one, swimming in the rivers of your fertile subconscious, and climbing your mountains of longing.

Woman of substance and sequins, find him in the seven caves of your intuition. Reveal him. Paint him as you know him to be. As if he was made of wonder and sacred flesh. Your fallen man of mirth and unusual incense, broken into pieces of love to fill the cracks in your labyrinth of secrets and hurts. You wear his deathless life, like a vintage dress of freedom. Shadow lover, he is yours to claim in the Moonlight of day.

Windows

While I was tinkering and thinking about whether a Blues guitar solo should share amicable space with an alto saxophone on a number, I was captured by this captivating photograph of Tsehai Essiebea Farrell which led me on a great train of thought for the lyrics to come. Ethiopia had been on my mind recently because of a conversation I had with a great Ethiopian Artist about an awakening he had. A revelation about his place in the world, his vocation, and the micro of the worlds within his wider perception. So much of the telling if not the toiling of life, both in our written past and living present, has much to do with our vantage point and the dubious nature of our muscle memory where matters of the tender heart are concerned. Uncomfortably numb but our eyes never tire of seeing and being seen. Or do they? Do they know? Do they look in on us and play our hand against better judgement? Our windows remain the seducer and the seduced, for perpetuity. It can seem that way. And what is seen is unseen. What is known is a mystery as I am to you. Always the stranger from eye to eye. Yet familiar in some kind of way. Never fully known.

Phillis, A Poet

On There’s A Riot Going On, Sly Stone sings with ancestral depth about his vocation. He declaritively sings that he is a poet. There is the poetry of rhyming words. But there is also the poetry of a life that reinvents itself or endures something which is far more profoundly poetic than the rhyming of words. Verses so lived in, that survival is not even the monument. A Poet who not only survives but thrives before words are accorded to her voice. We may never read her words, yet she existed.

How Long

The double drummer accents the beaten heart. Take a deep breath and inhale. Perspiration crawls out our eyes for what we have dared to see, enduring the years locked in a moment. Not of wonder. How much better to survive even when you cease to be necessary. Father’s words were never mine to keep. She turns the head as he learns the hard way home. Never cease to be necessary in the bullsweat of silence. Enduring love holds you hostage to freedom. A twinkle of an idea that winks at your foolishness. You earned it too. Your coffee is late. 

And Speaking Of Hands…

“As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.”

– Walt Whitman

It has been noticed that I sometimes hold mine as she does hold her own. I wasn’t aware of that until it was pointed out to me. However in my case it may have more to do with the sack of fluid pressing on the nerve which restricts the fingers and forces the hand into a mildly clenched form when not active. Or it might just be that I am my mother’s son and have inherited a physical trait of hers. 

Last December she told me that before I was born she prayed for another boy. She had read an article in a Reader’s Digest magazine titled ‘If your dreams came true’, and that was her dream. I was her dream come true. I was a little startled when she shared that with me. The idea of being someone’s dream is rich food for contemplation. Naturally I was destined to disappoint somewhere years down the line. Lawyer was not becoming of me with my head high up in the clouds. And there are some other things on the vicarious life through your children box that I didn’t tick off. But the hands have not failed to live up to the weight of dreams if not expectations. I’m not the baby in the picture and I’m not the differed dream. Just the dreamer still working with troubled hands that turn inwards but reach out for impossibilities like love. Some do wonder if fate and destiny, like some parents, have favourites. And yet children take sides too. I had only the hands of my mother so there was never a choice to be made. The bastard is fathered by the world he reconfigures. Made up mentors in books and elsewhere fill up his imagination. He chooses to love. He chooses to believe. He chooses to never give up. Bolder than stone. He chooses the hand he was not dealt and the hand he has not felt, to hold. And to be held, not held back.


When I was a child I was taken to see a Palmist who revealed something that would happen to me when I was older. It happened but I survived. Do not let people speak into existence your present or future if it is not for the good of your life. And that goes for your children too. When I was lying in bed in hospital in 2014, looking through an open window, I rejected those words spoken over my life. A hard lesson learnt. I spoke words of my own aspirations and decided I would live on. God would have the last word. And the hands of time would have to fall in line.

Lower E

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

– Bob Marley

I was not meditating but there are times when I tap into a peace that bounces back up in the abstract of sounds and colours. In this captured moment I put on my Sci-Fi music and reached for my guitar just to see what might happen. Sometimes I like to work out ideas on just one or two strings. Not chords. Single notes. Purples and reds at the bottom of the neck. One note can be everything. It can tell the whole story if placed and timed right. Not to say that it necessarily comes down to the semantics of right and wrong in the creative playground of imagination. It is as much a percussion instrument as anything that hands and feet can hit. The lower E string is home. It gave me my first guitar child, Love Never Fails, but I don’t always arrive at something of permanence. I had an old tape of home made jungle music that I dabbled in for a little while, trying to learn some modern production techniques in 1999 when I got my first computer. I was just throwing ideas out into the ether to see what might happen at a particular bpm. I had also read Octavia E Butler’s Mind Of Mind in my local library within that period or maybe a bit earlier and the images and ideas I got from the Afro-Futurist world of her novel aligned with the sounds and colours I didn’t know I was searching for. Fast forward to a few years ago, and I was now hearing something else in that old jungle music. I started to employ techniques pioneered by the late great Lee Scratch Perry, to strip down and make new out of the old. Just to see what might happen. I dared myself.

Jungle is a true school London sound which had faded out of counter-cultural relevance before the turn of the century but still held up low end sonic value owing much to Black America as most popular music does, and the polyrhythmic continent that we associate with the groove of life. In an ideal world of parity and fairness, The Amen break should have provided financial compensation for drummer, Gregory Coleman, and his bandmates in The Winstons for they and their heirs lifetime. Not to trivialise, but it is no less than the Henrietta Lacks of music samples, perhaps only matched in equivalent significance by Clyde Stubblefield’s Funky Drummer break. A similarly glorious and tragic story. I say this respectfully and without exaggeration. It is a cornerstone of recorded music over the last 30 years. Though Jungle music never truly crossed over, it had its moment in the zeitgeist. And its cult heroes. Goldie whose album, Timeless, marked its emergence from the underground into the homes of taste makers and gatekeepers of perceived cool in the era of Brit-Pop, has been a part of the institution of British music for many years. A purist? I couldn’t say. Whatever that means and for whatever that’s worth. What I do know is that the power of Jungle is visceral and almost indescribable.

I remember going to a Jungle music basement party in Camden with my friend, Beru Tessema (just for the record, this is not a false memory), long after its heyday. The hardcore massive as we would say, were out and they were mostly youngsters. Kids in late adolescence. They didn’t live those years of its come up and scene. Not that I did either. They would likely have been in their primary school years during its peak in the mid nineties and some in infancy. It found them or vice versa before the playlist era. There were mantra like moments when the DJ would mix out the drums and turn up the wobbling, squelching, soul curling bass. Alien textures that was felt. Colours of mystical sounds wildly spraying over everyone like lighter fluid in a sprinkler. Then the drums would come back in and planets in orbit collided or so it seemed. In that heaving space packed with substance fueled low gravity bodies, the intensity was overwhelming. Sweat dripping and filthy. The bass was that dirty and heavy all night. Sexual pummelling of the sensory. All the air was sucked out dry. Flesh watered by sound, and wet as the greatest sex ever consummated in a standing position. Possibly. Perspiration photographs life and holds mysteries by the hand too.

Grown

There I was, sitting in the not knowingness. Not a word of corner comfort. Slow burning away in deep space with a mystery. Unsolved. The reward for my unwilful ignorance was six stringed. The fairer the sex, down stroked, the bar chord is tinged with melancholy. This blackberry was sweet but so was I. All of my honey for burnt toast. The sex of it, long behind the love that held on to an idea we dreamed up. But I was blind of heart and nature is in the killing business of kindness. Venus kind, closing out after clamping up, let’s raise a toast for my burns, I’m growing out of my eyes and years.

Flares

Flares will catch you. Not when you see them coming. Moving cool. Not while she occupies your precious time in mind. Dress rehearse the face you will wear when you are recognised by the heart yours mines for.

Flares will learn you well. Before you turn off the lights that bend at corners. Prosperous cheaters of nature’s law of one, hand out your fate full of the spiced choices you picked off like snipered scabs. Your lowers knew of the powers desire thrusts into language. You can’t speak it. Only of it.