Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Rhyme crime by Grant Harbison

I is a bad poet doin’ time for failin’ to rhyme
It don’t be the first time
I been here before for the same damn crime
It don’t be like I is lazy
It’s fixin’ them words to fit that be makin’ me crazy
Judge be sayin’ I’s to blame
And tells me to hang my head in shame
Says, “Write me a rhyme and you better not fail!”
Then sends me down to the county jail
But I been here two weeks and I still ain’t done nothin’
Just been scratchin’ my head and huffin’ and puffin’
Never figured rhymin’ would be so hard
All I ever wanted to be is a bard
Wait a minute

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Harmony by Grant Harbison

I wish to thank the academy

The school of thought within me                                   

For raising my consciousness

Allowing my mind to be free

Freeing it from ignorance

Steering it from hatred

As life comes from love

And all life is sacred

For making me see all beauty within

And teaching me that kindness

Is how friendship begins

Life is evanescent
Just a short path to follow

Embrace its gift

Don’t let it be hollow

Friday, 26 June 2015

No score to settle by Grant Harbison

I must confess the stress did distress
It was an overwhelming angst I couldn’t suppress 
Trepidation so bad it caused palpitations
Gnawing on knuckles and exclamations 
A pulsating pressure that nearly drove me insane
The vexation of not foreseeing ecstasy or pain
I was fervently engrossed yet yearned for conclusion
With faith and foreboding in frenetic fusion
But in the end there had been no reason for my fretful unease
And the outcome was one that didn’t displease
A surprising result that none foresaw
A tough encounter with a nil-nil draw 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Could you please spare a second, for I will be coming back a second time - a short story by Grant Harbison

On a cold urban street in New York City, a thirty year old man sat with a cup in his hand. Next to him a golden retriever began to whine.
“Are you hungry, girl?” he asked.
The dog began to whimper and wagged her tail.
The man tore some bread for himself and gave some to the dog. He opened a plastic water bottle and filled the dog’s bowl and then slaked his own thirst.
“That is the last of the food,” he said to the dog. “Shall I see if we can get some money from a kind passerby?”
The dog began to bark.
The man smiled and hugged the dog. “You are a truly wonderful friend. You came to me yesterday, but how faithful you are already? Unconditional love, huh?”
The dog’s ears flopped and she lay down submissively.
“Oh sweet creature, you have nothing to fear from me. The love that you show me will be returned in abundance. People are always in a rush, aren’t they?”
The man stood up and pleaded to the people passing by, but they all ignored him. Some even walked into the street to avoid him.
The man sighed, “Looks like this is going to be difficult, my four legged friend. Friday is always a bad day. They are just looking forward to the weekend.”
The dog barked again.
“Yes, you understand. Okay, be quiet for a bit. I see a gentleman coming. He looks like he has a good nature.”
The dog growled as the man approached.
“Excuse me sir, my four legged friend and I are in dire need of food and water. Could you see it in your heart to spare some change? God will truly bless you.”
“Get outta my way, you filthy bum! And don’t let that mangy creature near me!”
“My apologies, sir.”
“Filthy scum. Get a job!”
“My sincere apologies, sir.”
The dog whined.
“Don’t worry, sweet friend. Many are selfish, but there are a few who are kind. No matter what, we will not go hungry or thirsty tonight.”
After many attempts in trying to appeal to human kindness, the man sat back down with the dog and hoped that people would take pity. His main concern was for the dog. There had been days when he has had to go without food, but as resilient as the creatures are, he only wanted a full belly for it and warmth.
As the daylight began to fade, the passersby were getting less and less. His eyes lit up when a woman approached him.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” she screamed at him. “How can you let a dog suffer like that?”
“I’m so sorry madam, but the dog came to me. She has nowhere to go and she is the only friend that I have. Please, if you can see it in your heart just to spare a little bit of money so that I can give her something to eat.”
The woman reluctantly opened her purse and gave him ten dollars.
“Madam, I cannot thank you enough. May God truly bless you!”
“Yeah, yeah, you all come out with the same crap,” she said and hurried away.
The man sighed and turned to the dog. “I think we have enough. Shall we go and get food?”
The dog rose, excitedly wagged her tail and followed the man. Ten minutes later, they reached a supermarket.
“Let me see what they have for you. Be good and wait for me. I’m sorry, but as wonderful as you are, they won’t let you inside.”
The man walked inside the supermarket and was immediately confronted by a security guard.
“Get outta here!”
“Please sir, I just need to buy a tin of food for my dog, some bread for myself and some water for both of us.”
“Do you want to chase our customers away?”
“No sir, that would be the last thing that I would want to do. If I can’t come in, could you see it in your heart to purchase those items for me? I shall give you the money.”
The guard looked at him with disgust and recoiled when he was given the money, as if he would contract a disease.
“Mike!” he yelled to one of the staff. “Get over here!”
When Mike came over, the guard gave him the money and told him what the man wanted.
Fifteen minutes later, Mike returned with the purchases.
“Here you go, and here’s your change,” he snarled. “Now get the hell outta here!”
“I require no change,” said the man. “You have been so kind."
When the man walked outside, the dog was sitting in the same place where the man had left her.
“Come on, faithful,” he cried. “Ah, a wonderful name for you. Let us go back to eat and sleep. I pray that no one has stolen our blankets. I hid them well, but the homeless are wise.”
When they got back, the man was happy to find everything intact. He opened the can of dog food, put it in a bowl, filled another bowl with water and smiled as the dog enthusiastically ate and drank. He took two slices of bread out of the packet. It tasted great, but he needed water to wash it down. He turned to look at the dog and saw that she had just flopped down after finishing her meal. He wrapped a blanket over her and kissed her head.
As he wrapped a blanket over himself and prepared to go down for the night, someone appeared in front of him.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“Haven’t you had enough, my Lord? They are still the same, they continue to rebuff.”
“Gabriel, do not be unkind. I know what you are saying, but they are still blind. But I have to keep striving for the sake of mankind.”

Monday, 22 June 2015

Guest spot - Harpies hairdressing in Hades by author and poet Maria Manuela Cardiga

Melancholic Medusa
She sat in the chair,
And tapped impatient nails:
"Off with their heads!"

I ran my fingers in a slow caress
Over each long sinuous tress.
"Cut it off?" I exclaimed,
"All of it!" she cried, "Off!"

I entwined my fingers
With the languorous curls:
"It will grow back, you know..."
My reluctance must have shown
For she raised her eyes from
Her own reflection to mine-
Long dark lustrous eyes-
And a slow perfect tear
Ran down her cheek
And turned to stone.

"I'm just so very tired
Of being alone."
"Yes," I whispered,
"Sister, I know..."
And I lifted the razor.

It was a labour of love,
Let me tell you,
For the bloody vipers
Were unwilling
To be beheaded,
And soon I was knee-deep
In blood and venom;
But in the end I had to agree
She looked quite sweet
With the snakes trimmed.

She jumped up and beamed:
"Oh thank you, dear sister,
I feel so much lighter!"
I had no desire to blight her
Patent joy, but I knew the truth
She chose to avoid.

It was not the snakes
That made men quake;
It was the tranquil
Pale perfection
Of her dreaming face;
Or perhaps the fear
They'd find themselves truly
In that silvery reflection;
Lost in the power of
The spirit-snake.

So I let her go.
I watched her
Sway away in her heels
And her red silk dress;
And screamed to
The waiting Manticore:

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Defiance and compliance by Grant Harbison

That silly moo went insane from seeing Fifty Shades of Grey
And thought that my collection of Alice in Chains was a S&M play
Little miss prissy
Once so well behaved
Has now joined the club for the sad and depraved
And waits every night in anticipation
To play some games of domination
She loves it when I take command
It’ll all new to me
Something hard to understand
For when I hear her cries of, “More, more, more!”
I think, ‘Funny that, she’s never listened before.’
Obedience like this I’ve never known
Utter defiance has always been shown
A leer when I ask her to fetch me a beer or, “Piss off and get your own!”

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Uriah's desire by Grant Harbison

Uriah had the urge to urinate
A need so bad
He could not procrastinate
But Uriah had a sticky situation
As the bus he’d boarded had just left the station   
And through rush hour traffic it travelled slow
Causing Uriah to panic as he had nowhere to go
He closed his eyes and emitted a curse
As the vehicle’s motion just made it worse
He closed his legs and tried to concentrate
Hoping the pressure would somehow abate
But the urge became stronger and didn’t subside
And he knew he couldn’t hold on for the rest of the ride
He cursed once again and wished he was dead
But then suddenly an idea came to his head
He didn’t have to go home
He didn’t have to go that far
Near the very next stop he knew there was a bar
So he pressed the buzzer to get off at the next stop
Hurried to the front and prepared to hop
And as soon as the driver opened the door
Uriah let out a mighty roar
Jumped off the bus and immediately ran
Dodging traffic like an irrational man  
His frantic folly outweighed sense
But in no time at all he made it to the gents
Smiling with pleasure
He let out a sigh
But his joy was brief and he let out a cry
For in his rush for relief he forgot to undo his fly

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Wholly habitual by Grant Harbison

Pray as I might to St Horace of the orifice
Expletives from my cakehole continue to persist
I know it sounds shocking and utterly absurd
But I just cannot stop using four letter words
The profanity that spews from my wayward gob
Makes me sound like an ill-mannered yob
It’s beyond the pale but purely mechanical
And I know it’s most displeasing for the puritanical
But what can I do?
How do I refrain?
When my vulgar mouth is quicker than my brain

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Guest spot- Where mum got her pies by author and poet Maria Manuela Cardiga

Do ya remember
That barber-guy
The one who was
A bit too shy
To kill quick
And dice the bits
Like friendly Jack
And leave them poems
For the Police
With the left-over bits?

(Ye I know
I used "bits" twice
But this here
Is a jail-house rhyme
And I ain't the most
Edicated guy)

Well, he lived
With me Mum, for
Both bizness and fun:
He rented a room
Upstairs for two bits
Harvested beards
And played with her tits.

So one day Mum
Says to Todd:
"Listen here, Sweeney,
Ain't no bit of kidney
In this whole
Damned City
To be had
For a penny.

Not for love
And not for money
I even promised
The Butcher
I'd flog his dog
But he cried
And admitted
He had no hog
To supply that
Prime kidney
I need for my pies."

"The truth is,
Sweet Sweeney,
The Swine Flu
Done killed
Every piggy
So I guess we is done.
I can’t keep doing
The pork pie-gig
And your barbering
Ain't turning the trick
So we gonna be
Out on the street."

Now Sweeney weren't
The kind of guy
To lie back and cry
When life pokes him
In the eye -

(Not like some
We could mention
Who cried in detention
When Turn-Key Mike
Poked him in the arse
With his stanchion)

So he thinks
And he ponders
And he finds him
Some answers
By dicing
And slicing
His ethics
Along with a few
Of his clients.

Not to cut it too fine-

(Mum said ye should dice
kidney in half inch slices
No more and no less)

He kept Mum
Supplied with kidneys
Liver and lights
And long-hog on the sly,
And even that uppity
Police Commissioner
Used to come slumming
To East London
To buy me Mum's
Special Sweeney Todd
Steak and Kidney Pie!

As for the how and the why
I'm in the slammer?
I followed the family
Into a life of crime
And wielded a hammer
When I got nostalgic
For me Mum's
Special Recipe
Steak and Kidney
With that brown sauce

On the side...

Friday, 12 June 2015

The friar and the liar by Grant Harbison

“Hooray!” cried the friar to the liar with the title of esquire. “The sun is out and it’s a glorious day. I pray good fortune comes our way.”
“Oh, my dear friar,” said the liar. “I’m afraid the forecast is extremely dire.”
“Dire?” asked the friar. “What terrible fate could be bestowed upon us? What will transpire?”
“Death and destruction this very day,” replied the liar with a look of dismay. “Inconceivable horrors too awful to convey.”
The friar eyed the liar with concern. “How did you come by such knowledge? How did you learn?”
“Just last night I had a vision of Hell. Monstrosities roamed the earth and fireballs fell. The message came to me as the dream unfurled. These were images of the end of the world.”
“Then we must pray, my friend. Pray for our sins before the end or prepare to meet our doom,” said the friar with a look of gloom. 
“There is only one way to obtain deterrence. But it would require penance. An immediate severance.”  
“Yes, I understand. Your wish is my command.”
“Your penance will require stealth,” said the liar to the friar. “Go home now and bring back your wealth.”
“But what will you do when I return?”
“I shall go far away and watch it burn. It would be best if I left on my own. It’s the only way that we can atone.”
“Yes, my good man!” cried the friar as he ran. “I’ll be back soon. I’ll be as quick as I can!”      

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Grotesque burlesque by Grant Harbison

Burlesque became grotesque as soon as three tits Tess passed the test
And suddenly spectators lost interest in the rest
There was no more taking the mick with three inch Dick
Nor any more farce with Jimmy two arse 
Not even three legged Dianne could woo them with her spectacular can-can
And they’d long forgotten about the elephant man
People were swayed by a brand new trend
Everyone was happy and not afraid to spend
The new shows were incongruous and extremely rude
Frightening freaks were displayed in the nude
And that’s how Tess passed the test
Totally fearless of being undressed

Monday, 8 June 2015

Amazing graze by Grant Harbison

Amazing graze by Grant Harbison

Daisy is amazing just for gazing
With a watchful eye when the young are grazing
Daisy is a cow like no other
Fiercely protective
A substitute mother
She’s all alone with the obligation
But totally at ease with the situation
Veritably vigilant that none go astray
Daisy is dedicated each and every day
And although the perfect mate arrived the other day
And chances are she’ll have her own someday
There is a slight hitch that’s causing the delay
As no one could have known that the damn bull was gay

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Ode to the animals by Grant Harbison

See love in an animal’s eye
See the look that asks us why
Why we war
Why we hate
What for
Wild or tame
They are almost the same
No malice
No greed
Just take what they need
See the way the protect their young
Put us to shame
Yet remain unsung
Let us hang our heads in shame
For all that has gone wrong we are to blame
And for all our injustices
I hope you will forgive
Maybe one day we’ll find a way to live

Friday, 5 June 2015

Tower of strength by Grant Harbison

Your heart is free
Don’t fill it with sorrow
Today’s albatross could be a feather tomorrow
Cast your fear aside
See your potential
Don’t try to hide
Never despair
Realise your worth
And know that I care
For what we have is really quite rare
Start to live
Embrace life’s gift
You have so much to give
Have faith
I’ve told you time and again
It’s not a matter of if
It’s a matter of when

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Life's plea by Grant Harbison

Bitterly do I say to thee
From death’s door I cannot flee
For shadows from the threshold beckon to me
Exacerbating my fear and uncertainty
Death looms
It doesn’t refrain
It’s impervious to my misery
Pitiless to my pain
Lord please grant me reprieve
Just allow me to believe
If only I could start again
With peaceful prosperity and never yen
With the strength to endeavour
Living each day with waxing fervour
A new path to follow
One where I can shine
If only this life had been mine