The Milky Way

“Erasure Poem” composed entirely of words from
Popular Science Monthly Volume 26 January 1885

Image: SnEptUne-Mountain-in-Ink-300px


The neighbourhood,
completely neutralised,
the darkening of sky.

Seductive, revolutionary.
Walking with footsteps along paths.

The nature of bodies, their movements;
such different objects,
novel modes of investigation,
centring of circles
printed in photographic cameras.

Ingenuity anticipating
atmospheric transit,
carrying upwards into finer air.
Light and heat.

Its pursuit is far too arduous to be conducted
with less than a man’s whole energies.


Today in Bradgate Writers, lead by Lydia Towsey, our jumping off point was reading the poem “Today” by Frank O’Hara. Having never encountered the poem before, I fell in love with it instantly.

We wrote our poem based on words which happened to arise from discussion, but which, of course, we made our own in our poetry. It was very natural and organic, quick and free as a moment of writing, after a sleepless night (the unusually hot weather we’re having in England, where we’re more used to summers that aren’t summers.)


Marry, marry, to celebrate joining up,
once, twice, again 
with oneself,

pillow, kiwi bird, kiwi fruit,
in which case, vegetarian
in New Zealand.

Air traffic, the thing with birds is –

downy feathers
smoothed over.

The accidental pottery owls I’d collect,
each momentarily
proud amateur potter.

Interrail, because Interrail.

Draw a way out, far out…
Man, if you’re the paper not the pencil,

go abroad.


Movie Geek For Refugees – Reviewing My Unseen DVDs For A Refugee Charity, In A Time of Humanitarian Crisis

This is a pile of DVDs in my living room, most of them unwatched.


“Movie Geek For Refugees” is an attempt to make something like a charity marathon out of film reviews, in aid of Refugee Action. Regular readers of my work might well note that silliness is never far from intense seriousness in a lot of stuff I seem to do, so while you’ll see me having fun as an amateur film critic finally getting around to viewing a two-column-strong pile of impulse purchased movies, I have seared in my mind what we’ve all seen is going on. People just like us have fled war, torture, indiscriminate violence, persecution and horror only to find that the international community is responding with indifference. People are living in unlivable conditions. Hundreds of unaccompanied children are perhaps the most greatly at risk. Your donations are desperately needed. If you’d like to join me in my fun movie critiquing sideshow at “Movie Geek For Refugees” you can, or just donate towards much-needed work and offer, in these times, a much-needed gesture of your compassion.

Refugee Action homepage.


Feverish (Draft)

The lasting notes of glacier guitars, and
a wild guess in the blue-currant dark.

A clown hurled me joke words
covered in crud
from a 70’s phrasebook,
and stood outside in the sun
sometimes in a scarf.

Despite coincidence
on this strange side
of a postcard,
we were clouded in a hug
for a long time
in white wool.

Your surprising jumper
trekked across by husky dogs
and unreasonable in June.

You knew me more than I knew of you,
being fuzzy myself, while
they hung tinsel for

When your hair cut the roundness of two
shop display copies,
though inedible or without taste,
that’s still their logo –

the guitar over the big moon,
the clown entertaining the child,
the mother, a fleeced animal,
looking the other way,
who wants to press on with the shopping.

We saw it being made,
In the Italian way
In the Italian industrial estate,
by the company.

That’s their mascot.
A clown had sold me a guidebook,
too alert to dangers
but you seemed to know me.

I was dog-eared,
bright orange and fading,
I was a sight impaired guide
and, like smoke,
from a smoker’s home.

I asked you about my school once,
people remember the wheelchair
before I do.

I was taken back because you said “the sky was blue”
Anyone could have said so
if it was and that was true.

You said the grass was green and steep
And at its furthest you couldn’t hope to hear a bell.
That was true, could be said by anyone, but wasn’t.

My mind soon threw my head back – we started looking through
and if it’s glass, you can,
it was to remember, stranger,
not intrude.

“I was a teary child who laughed when not appropriate”
You don’t recall the detailed grooves in the Italian
bread…er…my state school,
your favourite subject, any of the other pupils,
a teacher’s nickname nor his ponytail.

You’ve also read the book about a film.

The sun enjoys making doilies from floral curtains,
and reflections can be unfairly imposed on you, writers do.

Because I got distracted
I let you go for ice-cream
when your eyes looked through that emblem
to unmelting sorbeto,
stopped in its tracks
across the street.

(When life gives you a clown scarf and a guidebook)
you’d found a new way of getting citrus
from lemon trees.

You left in pursuit of curiosities,
I said my bon chance and
wished myself “ciao, bella” slightly.

I had with my life returned to me,
just as crowds poured in.

Not everyone can stay seated for long
in this small Italian shop.

A Banana

I’ve been working with our awesome Bradgate Writers Group here in Leicester, and last night  we had a Showcase Smoothie  event to perform  work, and celebrate with other local groups the “Healthy Culture” art and sounds project and accompanying  book of art, lyrics and poetry, which is all themed around the promotion of healthy living.

With this in mind, I wrote this poem to perform there.  It’s a fun one to read out loud so I hope to record it soon.

A Banana

No oil tycoon has ever said
that the secret
to his dubious success
Was gorging upon
millionaire’s shortbread.

The artist Andy Warhol,
got his factory lackies
to screen-print the hip, unzippable thing
until it ripened in the limelight
yellow and famous.

You could find life,
in all it’s lightness
by peering through a donut ring,
But there’s mystery within banana skin
In silent contemplation
between a sandwich.

Devoured nimbly in bites
left for a passerby to slip,
if you’re in the mood for passe slapstick,
choose it over a pie with cream

Don’t follow the example of Homer Simpson’s D’oh! worship,
let’s be braver, less toothless
with the dish and spoon’s next heap

The banana is for you,
it will be waiting when you’re ready
it’s inner-sanctum pale,
and energetic

in a steady sea of porridge,
where there’s oats
there’s a new morning.

when a banana sits harmoniously,
gently rocking
backwards, forwards
in a boat of its own body.

Poem of Contentment (New Re-Write)

For Gran

Hi, I updated this poem from 2013, this time adding new elements that would hopefully be of particular significance to my grandmother. The original spoke of a writer (haha, possibly me in this case🙂 ) struggling with a draft, but I think I’ve come to understand that people might see in it a calming quality, and I like the idea of having a poem here that might soothe and provide at least a raindrop’s worth of tranquility, if we’re lucky. I’ve lightened the tone, here and there, for my Gran.

So, for now, we’ve got one of two ears on the lullaby. Us poets are fond of telling you when and how to breathe, via line-breaks and commas. Consider taking a big gulp of that big ol’ life-giving air  before reading this, because I’ve rambled on a bit as much as anything.

Yours kindly,


Poem of Contentment
Jan 5, 2013 (original version)/10 Sept 2015, Peter B.

Where the seagulls fly,
a clock-tower chimes
of “oranges and lemons”.
Where fruit trees line the path of limes,
rare fruits here,
but their greens known
to the eye

When I left small tears to leave
on an oak tree’s
windowsill of bright sky.

In it, it seems,
all the names of birds, flowers, and creatures
who, now as then, look over the hedge-maze
of the green garden of summertime.

I am blissful even now.
I’m as happy as I will be
in this peaceful city,
when I land on such an island,

to three chimes of a clock, somehow in the playground,
and some maroon petals,
vividly remembered,

and this is not a poem, I suppose,
just a float,
and float on
in blue chalk,
and in peace
and just as happy,
just to be.

In this quiet city,
peopled to sing
self-assembled melodies,
quick to summon and to spring;

complete, complete
and feeling like a full moon,
with a pot-bellied sumo wrestler,
on a dinner plate,
on a bed by the river.

I continue on my way beyond
the bend of the lilac water,
where trawler-men are fishing
for their own reasons,
and continue singing
in Edo-peroid Japan,

in the same reflections to which they whisper,
playing mah-jongg and other games
on a crane’s wings,

and this isn’t a poem that
needs to look for a reason,
and doesn’t expect to be any good,
but would like to raise a smile –
and, see, your smile is lovely ,
and never a lonely one!

Arianna (From Notebook/Potential Film Project “A Note Left of Harmony”)

A Note Left Film Poster



A Note Left Film Poster

If you didn’t write that note
misplaced on my bed
then fluttered to the floor
as the shuttered windows of shops opened and I washed,
who chose that scratchily inelegant expression in pen?

Where are you then,
more to the point,
how about now,

Why are there bullet holes in the headboard,
why reel-to-reel tape,
used, I suppose, to record a lucid non-sequential dream?
Will I go searching streets, and come back with bread
wrapped in the news
of this note

shall my mission be to find you first,
(before I get dressed?)