Monday, July 24, 2006

Post-Traumatic Love Syndrome

An after-love story in verses

The Girl From Llanilar

A lovely young girl from Llanilar
stole my heart but I could not fulfil her.
She had beautiful hair, in her eyes I would stare
though now gone for once loved I’m a winner.

Mountain Rescue

You took me to the top of Cader Idris,
said it would be good for me to go.
At the summit I stole a kiss.
Pale sky above, blue lake below,
we walked beside the precipice.
Your sweet smile, that sunny glow:
I wondered what could better this.
That’s when I fell in love with you –
I won’t forget your mountain rescue.

Seren (Star)

You will still be there when I am gone.

No star will ever shine as bright,
whilst you are there what is midnight?

What marvellous stuff are you made from,
how can you glow . . . so long, so long?

I know a girl much like yourself,
her eyes are bright her hair is red,
on this cold earth she was my sun,
A friend and lover all in one.

I called her Seren when I could,
A girl that shines so bright you should.
Her three initials were S.E.R.
so obviously she was my star.

The Rocks of Skiathos

Remember when I was your broken-toed bastard,
following you around Skiathos on borrowed crutches?

I had slipped on the rocks on the first afternoon
of a fortnight’s holiday.

We had to come home early. I wish it could have lasted.

Remember leading me up the steep cliff face to safety?
My eyes were glued to your backside.
How else could I survive?

Despite the heat and the pain and my toes pointing up
I would have happily stopped to make love,
but then you had saved me more than once
so that was understandable.

I’m sorry for our Greek tragedy.
In the second week I was going to ask you to marry me.
But things happen for a reason so they say
and this time it was because
foolishly I wore flip-flops
on and island renowned for its slippery rocks.


So that's it then, we're through
All I have now is this picture of you
The eyes are the same but there's no animation
No action, no motion, no sweet conversation.

It's over now so what can I do
But stare at this image, this vision of you
It doesn't move me in the way that you do
It has captured your beauty but it hasn't caught you.

If only I could unfreeze this frame
Bring it to life and be with you again
My kisses don't work, your pose doesn't change
Your inscrutable outlook is trapped in its range.

This too still life will never age
But with you I wanted to turn every page
The distance between us grows in front of my eyes
That's why, with this picture, I am cutting all ties.

What does he call you?

I called you tweets
cos you were like a small song bird,
and sweets cos it rhymed with tweets
and you were sweet.
I called you Seren
cos your name was Sarah
and your initials were s.e.r.
So obviously a star.

Does he call you honeybun
and babycakes?
Does he make those mistakes?
If he does he does not know you
not like I do.

Does he call you his sugar muffin
or compare you to the bright-billed puffin?
A lovely creature it is true
but, intellectually, not you.

I called you lover
and argued with you.
Does he care what you say
about the issues of the day?

What can he give you that I can’t give you?

Can he tell you who you are?
A gorgeous little mega star.

(with apologies to Sir Walter Scott)

If there’s a man without self-pity
that lost a girl one half so pretty,
who cannot say that he is sad
or inside doesn't feel a lack
and truly want to win her back,
I'd say to you that man is mad.
If this type you should encounter
don't waste your time in idle banter.
It matters not how rich he be
or if on his CV it says MD.
For all his power and apparent wealth
lack of regret means all is self;
though alive that's only half
and when he finally comes to pass,
interred beneath the cold, cold earth,
who, with affection, will recall his birth?

Swimming fool

Having completed many lengths
in the vitreous fluid of your come to bed eyes,

I now realise -

that whilst I was enjoying swimming
in those languid pools,

I had been a fool.

For I’d done far too many rotes
in the same stroke.

Typical bloke!

On Being Dumped

Do not text or make a call -
that's the first rule of them all.
Delete her from your mobile phone,
get used to being on your own.

Another thing you must not do
is visit her parents after a few.
They'll be worried and she'll go mental.
That rule my friends is fundamental.

Then the e-mails have to stop.
I sent my girlfriend quite a lot.
In the beginning she did reply
mostly to say `I hope you die'.

Put away pictures and memorabilia,
she's already burned your trivia.
Don't dream she'll ever take you back,
her pride's at stake - she won't do that.

Shelve the biography of your lives together,
it'll only remind her why she's with another
and if you really must write a song
make it a short one about moving on.

Sometimes during Happy Hour
you'll dedicate a poem to her.
That's not what a beer mat's for,
in any case they'll be ignored.

The world is full of dumped and dumper
and when it's sunk in that you've lost her
there's only one thing left to do,
remember this: she's lost you too.

Death by Hyperbole

Let Tsunamis wash over me and volcanoes explode on me,
order fire to consume, the cold earth to entomb.
Invent diseases to sicken me, plagues that just pick on me,
bring on tornadoes and hurricanes, send floods from all origins.

But please don’t leave me.

Find vipers to bite, African elephants to smite,
Grizzly bears to unbowel me [sic], Great White sharks to devour me,
bulls to gore, piranhas that gnaw, birds (they can peck), what the heck,
stampede herds that will trample, grow plants that can strangle.

Pay robbers to shoot me, offer knives while they loot me,
use sticks and throw stones, just aim at my bones.
Call on henchmen to hurt me, tell your friends all about me,
clone me then kill me twice, you might find that nice.

But please don’t leave me.

Call elections to topple, send thugs to throttle,
politicians to oppose, journalists to expose,
doctors to section, lawyers to threaten,
ask boffins to baffle me, perhaps a charity could raffle me?

The Ancient Greeks should hear of me, they could record my vile history,
get my name in the bible (snake) come, there’s no time to be idle.
Buddha and Mohammed? They’ll want to hear the things I did,
Hindus too should be put in the frame, all religions be alert to my name.

But please don’t leave me
because if you do, I will surely o.d.
on far too much hy-per'-bo-lee.


There are only sunsets in Aber now.
Endless vistas they provide
but without you by my side
how can there ever be sunrise?

The castle is in ruins there
like the plans we used to share.
The prom it's true still has the sea
but what became of you and me?

The views from Constitution Hill
cannot make sweet a bitter pill
whilst Pendinas on the other side
mocks the folly of my pride.

The prematurely shortened pier
illustrates our brief affair.
Even crazy golf's no charm
without you putting on my arm.

Mind you when all is said and done,
before we notch up more regrets,
there's one thing we should not forget:
Aberystwyth does a great sunset.

Happy Time

I would go back before the happy time
that now seems inaccessible to grief
to when we called each other friend of mine.

If we had some how thought to draw a line,
to stop the clock that sprung a tragic thief,
I would go back before the happy time.

Before we twined as serious couplets rhyme,
then blushing set to fashion Eden's leaf,
to when each called the other friend of mine.

To live all innocence would suit me fine,
those funny naked days, no grave belief.
Yes, I'd go back before said happy time.

Do you recall how simple stood each sign -
the flowers we picked then weren't put to wreath,
back when one called the other friend of mine?

Moonward a weary heart should never climb;
sublime love's labour’s lost. I'd be naive.
I would go back before the happy time
to when we called each other friend of mine.

On Love and Pain

When I put my hand in to the fire,
nerves and sinews soon conspire
to cause an unrelenting pain
that makes me take it out again.

That mechanism is defensive
preventing damage too extensive.
So why then, when we find a lover,
don’t we feel pain instead of pleasure?

Surely it would be much wiser
to see in love potential danger?
To turn away from one’s desire
and treat it like that flaming fire.

Unfortunately, the pain comes after
to act as late-arriving measure
of just how total was the pleasure.
But why come now when it’s all over?

To warn the gallivanting fool,
the cavalier, the trite, the cruel,
that love must always, always be
taken very seriously.

So next time when you meet the one
the memory of pain will come
and you will treat your new-found lover
with care that you will stay together.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have overheard the future

Here is a letter to a national newspaper with a unique perspective on the Israeli attack on Lebannon.

SIR - The seemingly overheard and improptu little tet-a-tet at the G8 Summit between Bush and Blair demonstrates that the pair are planning a reprise of their pre-Gulf War double act. Blair pretends to be seeking UN approval for `international' intervention, though he's already secretly agreed to war, then Bush moves in with the fake evidence to override other Security Council members' objections with probably Condaleeza Rice stepping in to Colin Powell's role at the UN. With Lebannon subdued by US, and possibly French troops on this occasion, the regime-changing pincer move against Syria is ready to go and Israel can concentrate on bombing Iran's nuclear programme in retaliation for its supplying of rockets to Hezbollah. Meanwhile, millions of ordinary Arabs and muslims become radicalized by the obvious collusion between the West and the murderous and racist Israeli regime. In retaliation for Isreal's bombing of its infrastructure and the invasion of Syria and as a result of mass pressure from below, Iran invades southern Iraq and to protect `our' troops Bush launches strategic nuclear weapons at the advancing Iranian army wiping it and southern Iraq off the map. The stage is set for the real war to begin as China starts to feel ever more that it is the ultimate target. Later, with China defeated and plunged back into the stone age having only managed to land one nuclear weapon on Los Angeles, the big powers have only each other to go at as they scramble for land and influence. They split into two great camps with Russia, France, Germany and Italy on one side and the US, Britain and Japan on the other. The stage is now set for World War 3 which ends in the destruction of the world. And that was how the war against terror was won . . . by the terrorists.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anti-Commuting Legislation: Towards the Post-urban Society

Below is a series of letters to The Western Mail. Some were published and some were not due to their length.


SIR - I must add my voice to that of Alan Williams (Letters: On the Levels, Wednesday) who opposes the building of the new Levels Motorway. However, given the parlous state of the environment I believe he does not go far enough. Alan suggests using planning to cut down on unnecessary commuting but the time has come for a more radical approach. I suggest that over the course of say the next ten years, through the use of legislation, that 80% of all workers must live within two miles of their workplace. The free market social engineers have got us to the point where millions of man/woman hours are wasted in traffic and tons and tons of pollutants are spewing into the air for no reason. Of course there are many details and implications to work out but the policy would start with major companies and government departments and would be achieved at the expense of the employers not the employees. Corporate opponents and laggards should face the possibility of nationalisation. Maybe someone even more radical might suggest that the policy be accompanied by a bold programme of road closures. The school run too must be dealt with. I suggest that all children must attend their nearest school and that no secondary school be larger than 400 pupils. This `live where you work, shool where you live' approach is the only way to seriously get to grips with the disintegration of our environment, stop ghettoisation of the poor and end the scandal of human traffic(jam)ing.

Not published - too long

SIR – Glyn Erasmus thinks a policy that puts an end to the scandal of commuting miles to work is `utopian idiocy' (Letters, Friday 14 April). I would have expected more cultivated common sense from a man so named. I suggested that over the course of the next ten years, through the use of legislation, that we should be aiming for a target of 80% of workers living within two miles of where they work. In addition all children should attend their nearest school which should be no more than 400 pupils in size. He says that if I want to know what this would be like that I should `check out the way people lived in the 18th Century'. However, this is not a pre-modern but a post-modern policy. It recognises the achievements of modernism and seeks to build on them whilst at the same time transcending their often anti-human characteristics. In the field of trivial consumption, Henry Ford's modernist rallying call that `you can have any colour you like as long as it's black' is very much a thing of the past but in our day-to-day lives we are still expected to attend the kind of enormous, faceless institutions and workplaces that arose during the 19th Century. Of course there will still be roads and lorries and people going on holiday but why subject ourselves to the waste that is commuting. As far as the Valleys `communities' are concerned, there are forgotten and abandoned estates up there where people cannot, through no fault of their own, remember what a job is and where they live in complete poverty and hopelessness. At the same time thousands of `better off' workers endure endless traffic jams to get into Cardiff and home every day. Why cannot jobs be relocated to the Valleys? If anybody should be accused of `utopian idiocy' it is those who believe that the current state of affairs is sustainable either economically or environmentally. Needless to say, the current proposals to close so many schools in Cardiff are very much a step in the wrong direction unless seen from Mr Erasmus's point-of-view in which case a lot of `precious' real estate will be freed up for more important things such as casinos and estate agents.

Edited version of above which was published

SIR – Glyn Erasmus thinks a policy that puts an end to the scandal of commuting miles to work and school is `utopian idiocy' (Letters, Friday 14 April). He implies that this would be like living in the 18th Century. However, this is not a pre-modern but a post-modern policy. It recognises the achievements of modernism and seeks to build on them whilst at the same time transcending their often anti-human characteristics. In the field of trivial consumption, Henry Ford's modernist rallying call that `you can have any colour you like as long as it's black' is very much a thing of the past but in our day-to-day lives we are still expected to attend the kind of faceless institutions and workplaces that arose during the 19th Century. Of course there will still be roads and lorries and holidaymakers but why subject ourselves to the waste that is commuting?

Not published - too long

SIR - So, the traffic in Cardiff is even more snarled up than that in London. Guess what, it is due to get a whole lot worse. Everything that happens in Wales is governed by the `Wales Spatial Plan’ which is a good old-fashioned piece of 20th Century unsustainable, dystopian nonsense. Its implementation in the South East is supposed to `strengthen the existing system of towns and cities’. So far so good but, the crowning jewel of the plan is that Cardiff `requires a much greater ``mass’’ of population and activity’. This is behind the desperate bid for a `super casino’ which is what passes nowadays for economic progress and should sit nicely next to the `super’ schools, the `super’ hospitals and prisons and the `super’ car parks. Super.

The Spatial Plan is a missed opportunity. South Wales, in regenerating itself after the brutal closures of mines, docks and steelworks, could have been transformed into a post-urban society where people live where they work and go to school where they live. A society that is not just sustainable but which produces a surplus of energy from the very act of living. Houses, schools and workplaces that actually feed into the national grid not off of it. An example: the tax office in Llanishen. What possible logic can there be to 3,000 people travelling to and from that building everyday (no jokes please)? With modern communications technology the workforce could be spread around ten beautiful energy producing workplaces located throughout the valleys with the stipulation that to work in them you have to live by them. To add to the idiocy of the situation, hundreds of new `houses’ are being built all along the Caerphilly Road and I’ll bet a pound to a pinch of salt that not one of them will be occupied by anybody who works in Ty Glas.

Instead of building new roads we should clear the ones we’ve got of pointless commuter traffic. That would increase efficiency no-end. And more and better public transport is not the answer either. Public transport, to be of any use, requires that people live and work on top of each other which is why the middle classes, to avoid this, took up commuting in the fist place. Often, those who do travel into town by train have driven to the station. Irony upon irony. In attempting to move away from the slums and areas of pollution commuters have managed only to globalise pollution as a phenomenon so that now there is no escape for anybody.

In the Spatial Plan the relative smallness of Cardiff is lamented. But, Wales’s great advantage could have been that, unlike every other cloned capitalist economy, it didn’t have an overbearing, energy and life-sapping capital city. That advantage, not to mention Cardiff’s charm, is being squandered.