Bootleg

I fought to survive the cancer

But still the boot came in

I fought to save my marriage

But still the boot came in

I fought through tears and laughter

But still the boot came in

I fought for truth and honesty

But still the boot came in

I fought with the sword of justice

But still the boot came in

I fought the nuclear dustbin

But still the boot came in

I fought to find my children

But still the boot came in

I fought for all the homeless

But still the boot came in

I fought for faith and family

But still the boot came in

I fought for Islam’s children

But still the boot came in

I fought for Labour’s heartland

But still the boot came in

I fought against Noah’s rainbow

But still the boot came in

I fought for all the others

But still the boot came in

  

Beyond Dark Eyes

I am sat here alone and writing

The midnight moon shines on the temple gates

They’re drinking wine and talking

And my thoughts they all now separate

I live in another world

Where pain and death are iconised

My life is strung with traitor’s pearls

And all I see are dark eyes

 

I think of you sleeping so far away

Hear you breathe sweet innocence

Your face it fades into darkened grey

But your words now enter my inner sense

I can hear a desert drum

Beating beneath the poet’s disguise

Four riders watch as they come

And all I see are dark eyes

 

I was raised to be discreet

For all life’s intended purposes

They tell me revenge is sweet

Against my enemy’s twisted vertices

But I feel nothing for their game

Where beauty goes unrecognized

All I feel is heat and flame

And all I see are dark eyes

 

Punch Drunk

Punch drunk

Been knifed in the back

Punch drunk

Dazed by distorted fact

Punch drunk

Hit between the eyes

Punch drunk

Poisoned with their lies

Punch drunk

Twisted tales that they tell

Punch drunk

Stumbled and then I fell

Punch drunk

Reeling on the ropes

Punch drunk

Left with little hope

Punch drunk

One too many blows

Punch drunk

Blood running from my nose

Punch drunk

Nothing left to lose

Punch drunk

Stand inside my shoes

Punch drunk

Depression runs too deep

Punch drunk

Fighting for some sleep

Punch drunk

Trying to stay straight

Punch drunk

The fightback is too late

Punch drunk

Dimming of the light

Punch drunk

Losing every fight

Punch drunk

The game it is too rough

Punch drunk

Think I’ve had enough

 

Blue eyed son

Tell me my son

Where it all

Begun

Where justice and memory were

One

Where do you go

When time moves so

Slow

Do you do these things

For fun?

 

Think again

Think again

This life is so short

The love that I give you

Can never be bought

 

Tell me my son

When you walk in

The sun

Where justice and memory were

One

Who do you hold

When you feel so

Bold

Do you stop and reload

Your gun?

 

Think again

Think again

This life is so short

The love that I give you

Can never be bought

 

Tell me my son

When you start

To run

Where justice and memory were

One

What do you think

When your spirit does

Sink

Do you really believe I have

Gone?

 

Think again

Think again

This life is so short

The love that I give you

Can never be bought

 

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

I once held you in my hand

Your broken wing

Hung limply

Your heart it sang

And above the sand

The clouds they drifted

Simply

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

 

I once held you in my arms

Your broken heart

Lay bleeding

Your soul it cried

And behind your eyes

Your spirit it was

Pleading

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

I once held you in my mind

Your mercury mouth

Was singing

Your voice it chimed

But beyond your song

Your life it now was

Clinging

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

I once held you in my heart

Your timeless love

Was fleeting

Your face it shone

In a world gone wrong

Your memory is still

Beating

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Poem: From a Distance

The day it dawned in darkness
The door it was slammed shut
The candle which was burning
Had all but been snuffed out
I fought with all my senses
Against the hope that was so clear
I hear a young dove crying 3,000 miles from here

I waited for 4,000 days
At times it seemed much more
I looked up to the evening sky
Counted shooting stars by the score
Your own flame shone quite brightly
And my hope it was so clear
I hear a young dove crying 3,000 miles from here

An asteroid exploded
On a Sunday back in June
A father’s love rekindled
But someone blew it out too soon
I waited for each message
My heart still swelled quite clear
I hear a young dove crying 3,000 miles from here

(with thanks to local singer/songwriter Ian Hunter for borrowing the last line refrain)

Poem: Time is an Ocean

Windward
The spring day dawned warm
Wrapped in riggings of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Into my strong arms you were born
Wrapped in sheets of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

I cuddled your tiny body close
Wrapped in a spinnaker of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

My promise to you was bonded
Wrapped in a stay sail of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

I watched you grow in beauty
Wrapped in a helm of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Your first word was ‘daddy’
Wrapped in a lateen of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

We watched you laugh and play
Wrapped a genoa of love
Hope bloomed eternal
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Leeward
You were snatched from my arms
Wrapped in a beam of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Tears flowed and lies were told
Wrapped in shrouds of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

They blew out my candle
Wrapped in a foremast of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

They could not blow out the fire
Wrapped in a main sail of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Cos then the flame began to catch
Wrapped in a halyard of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

The wind whispers words of truth
Wrapped in a luff of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Now you must sail your way home
Wrapped in a lashing of love
My hope never dimmed
On an ocean of time
All those years ago

Poison: Chapter Six

The Adventures of Nathan Sunnybank and Joe Greenfield
Book One: Poison
Chapter Six

IN the dark of her own bedroom, Amy felt restless and found sleep a distant memory. She shuffled under her duvet and ran the events of the past few weeks through her head and thought about the sudden arrival of Joe and Nathan.
“What is so important about TJ’s bag?” she thought for the umpteenth time.
“Is it even the right bag?” she asked herself.
So yet again, she turned on her bedside light and emptied the contents of the small bag onto her bed.
A key fob with three door keys and a small locker key, a crumpled piece of paper with the numbers 45176 written on it, a pink lip salve, a little pink fuzzball, two photos of Sam, a library card, a £10 note and a 264MB flashcard from a camera, items she had seen TJ fumble through many times after watching a movie together downstairs.
Nothing seemed out of order, she thought, although the number 45176 started Amy’s head spinning again for answers.
It was too short to be a phone number and one digit too many to be a cashpoint number… so what was it?
Then the flashcard dodged into her mind.
TJ had taken her cameras with her, so this flashcard was surely unimportant she thought.
Or was it?
With something approaching divine inspiration, Amy sat bolt upright in bed.
And with a new sense of urgency she decided to see what might be stored on the card.
She went downstairs, creeping slowly to avoid disturbing the boys. Amy sat at the PC and inserted the card into the reader slot at the foot of the computer tower.
After what seemed ages, the screen told her that the card had 102 photographs stored on it, and begged the question whether she would like to copy or view them.
Amy chose the latter and blinked as dozens of boozy party pictures and holiday snaps from the previous Christmas reeled across the screen.
“Huh, nothing unusual,” she whispered, and began to admit defeat.
But then came four pictures she didn’t recognise.
The first was of a large Victorian building – which may have been a library or museum or some other grand establishment.
The second was of a large hall lined with books. Presumably, thought Amy, it must be inside the same building.
The third and fourth pictures showed a line of grey filing cabinet type lockers and one locker in particular with a small pink fuzzball hanging from its metal handle.
A fuzzball, just like the one in TJ’s bag.
Amy’s mind raced… why would TJ take photographs of books or lockers?
Was it significant?
Amy removed the card from the reader and switched off the PC.
She ambled back upstairs and climbed into her cold bed.

Back in the drawing room at Greenfield Mansion, bed was the last thing on the minds of the assembled adults and two police officers sipping tea on the Chesterfield sofa.
Lady Greenfield and Nicolas had supplied the officers with photos of their sons and recounted for the third time their discoveries of that afternoon.
“Well,” said the greying sergeant, “I think as it is now well past 10pm, we can assume that they are late in.”
“Late in!” fumed Lady Greenfield. “I have told you a hundred times, Joe hasn’t been seen by anyone here since this morning. And he is never home later than nine o’clock, ever!
“Now are you going to start finding our sons,” she demanded.
But before either police officer could answer, Nicolas interjected: “And Nathan is just eleven-years-old… do you have any idea what is happening? We have two young boys and one with over £400 in his pocket and they have both disappeared with packed bags. For Cripes sake do something…. or we will!”
“Steady on Mr Sunnybank, please get a grip,” said the Sergeant. “It isn’t going to help your boys if we go about this half cock!”
Nicolas felt like punching the stupid sergeant, but Felicity squeezed his hand tightly and whispered: “Let them do their job”.
“We will start a Missing Person file immediately and distribute the photos of your sons to every station and newspaper in North Wales and the adjoining English counties” said the sergeant, with some more urgency.
“Don’t worry we will find them,” he added as he and the younger PC stood and made their way to front door.
As they made to leave, the younger officer turned and winked at Lady Greenfield. “We’ll find them, Ma’am, don’t you worry yourself.”
The door closed behind them and Felicity and Nicolas glared in anger at each other as they fought to say “Blinkin’ useless policemen!” first!
“Right,” said Nicolas, “I don’t care what those boys in blue may or may not do, I can’t sit here while my little Nathan is Lord knows where!”
“I agree,” stammered a flustered Felicity, as the two parents made their way back into the drawing room.
“Bob!” shouted her ladyship.
With that Tony started from reading a copy of last month’s Uncut music magazine and Bob the butler appeared red-faced at the drawing room door.
“Please pack an overnight bag and ask cook to prepare sandwiches and a flask for Mr Sunnybank and me… oh and we’ll take the Range Rover,” she added with authority.
Bob turned obediently and disappeared into the hallway.
“But where are we going to start?” asked Nicolas. “We have no leads at all!”
“And where is Clara?” asked Tony.
With that Clara’s mobile phone ironically buzzed in Tony’s jacket pocket. Tony reached for the phone and glanced at the new text from an unknown number.

Meanwhile, in the single bedroom of a dingy bed and breakfast near Shrewsbury Prison, a restless Clara was fumbling with the buttons of a cheap Pay As You Go mobile phone she had bought from a shop near the railway station.
“Gosh, this thing is out of the ark,” she muttered, “The keys are like blinkin’ bullets and the screen is tiny… guess that’s what you get for a tenner.”
Clara was still mulling over what she would like to do to her brother Joe when she eventually got her hands on him. But she was also intensely puzzled by the secrecy of Joe and his friend Nathan and why they had travelled to this hideous market town without telling anyone.
“Blinkin kids,” she said.
Eventually Clara worked out the basics of the new mobile phone and sent a test text message to her proper mobile back at Gresburton. It was the only number she could remember.
It was a simple message which read: “If you read this, mum, I am okay and will be home tomorrow. ❤ Clara xxx”.
She rolled over and closed her eyes to try and get some sleep.
“How stupid am I forgetting to take my phone,” she thought.

Two streets away in the black BMW, a blonde haired man, aged about 35, was smoking his ninth cigarette of the night and had wrapped a tartan blanket over his lap. The car reeked of the stale smell of the remains of a cold Chinese take-way and cigarette smoke.
“Ya, the girl thinks she is safe, but she won’t get away,” he murmured to himself.
He looked down at his laptop and touched the remote button to begin a conference call.
On the screen the face of a thin grey haired man with a sallow complexion and wire rimmed spectacles appeared.
“Any news Klaus?” he snapped.
“Nothing yet, Sir, but we have the girl under close surveillance and she now has two young boys for company,” answered the blonde haired man.
“Do we know who the kids are?” snapped the grey haired man.
“No, Sir,” came the reply.
“Well find out… and dispose of them if you must. Oh and Klaus, get hold of that bag ASAP or you will have me to answer to!” the other man ordered.
“And where is Rolf?”
“He is in a guest house nearby. We have booked a room there under assumed names,” answered Klaus. “He will relieve me in two hours.”
“Good… report back at 8am your time,” the grey haired man ordered.
At that the screen went blank as the older man switched off his connection.
Outside the car, in the darkness of shrubbery on Severn Avenue a large grey haired animal was quietly sniffing the rear door and boot of the BMW. The animal’s green eyes watched the blonde haired man with suspicion.
Then as quietly has it had arrived the animal sloped off back across the road and down the avenue to nestle back under the laurel bush next to number 24.

Inside number 24, Amy still could not sleep and had gone back downstairs. She had made herself a large mug of hot chocolate and was sipping the drink while puzzling over the four photos on TJ’s flashcard and the relevance of the number 45176.
“I must be going mad,” she thought. “There is something obvious here and I can’t see it for looking.”
Upstairs Joe and Nathan slept soundly, while outside two green eyes watched their bedroom window intently.