Broken Air, A Poem

~ I haven’t posted in an eon or two owing to many writing projects that eat up my time, university work (and so several hundred books needing to be read), actual paid work (which is incidentally selling books), what I call recreational reading, and existential crises about who I’m even writing for, what the internet even is, and what existence actually means and constitutes in the first place. But, despite appearances, I’m not on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I’ve decided to dust off my little corner of the ether to share some self-expression in the hope that someone somewhere will pause for a moment of contemplation. Inspiration has also come from my best friend and mental scaffolding John who has just set up a new literary blog with a burst of prolificity. Do have a peruse. But in the meantime, here is a poem dedicated to my sister and inspired by her own mental scaffolding. ~


Broken Air


“And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch

And love is not a victory march

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

Leonard Cohen


Clouds shrouding San Gabriel peaks

warp with burning force amassing

in the ink-depths where darkness seeks,

eats stars, meets night’s hellfire passing.


I thought those cliffs steel-infused rock

until the crudely carved crag-words

began to melt, their stories unlock

in time’s inferno of lost chords.


All the world is ice and flaming

fame that blazes through forgotten

words, unspoken, unsung, fading,

resigned to the void, the rotten.


But not where broken air rages,

the writhing fire of the spoken,

rising with the ink-stained pages

from the writer’s soul, bared, broken.


She stands now in mountain shadow,

setting his tortured words alight,

torching the night, her eyes aglow

with the might of enlightened sight.


As looming leech forces bombard

bounds of crushed creativity,

see the darkness wither and starve,

cracking world’s connectivity.


Constricting artist’s expression

like Delilah’s blackmailers,

avenging Samson’s oppression,

the free mind’s sly, sneering jailers.


Gouging out his pride-clouded eyes,

like Gloucester’s blank, weeping sockets,

blinded by repressed who rise

against repressors like rockets.


She stands now on parched plain, resolute,

solitude searing with stark song

of her serenade, her salute

to the lost, the lonely, the strong.


One moment cloaked in frozen tide,

then sunrise erupts into sky

as four figures step to her side

with golden cascade of dawn cry.


A mighty wall of rising chords

beating back the shadows with flames

of rage, fire arrows, burning swords,

an armoury that shatters, maims.


And the creator stills, rises,

ink-drenched hands clenched, gloom of dark room

flooded with sheets of all sizes,

form emerging from formless doom.


Her voice echoes back down decades

from the frost mountains, a lost muse,

as each fire note climbs and cascades

through time and tears to soothe, suffuse.


And wreathed in gold light he transcends,

becomes his words, exists in them,

as immortality depends

on creative composition.


She stands now on golden plain, framed

by the fires of her melody,

dark, divine, wild as wolves untamed,

and the song is her weaponry.




Well, we haven’t beaten the US to the party since 1939. Brexit was apalling enough, but we have quite literally been trumped.

After the signal fires of Ohio and North Carolina, Florida’s swing into the red essentially ended the evening. It became sickeningly clear that Hillary absolutely had to win Pennsylvania and at least two of the other battlegrounds forecasted to go to Trump to be in hope of securing the White House, and though they came within 2,500 votes of each other at one point in Pennsylvania, and within 50 in New Hampshire (#BartletForever), around 4am GMT the realisation swept the BBC newsroom that it simply wasn’t going to happen. It was like watching someone choose to down cyanide over stomaching a warm coke.

And yet, last night, Kamala Harris became the first black female Senator since 1999. In Minnesota Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American lawmaker. Oregon elected Kate Brown, the first openly LGBT governor in US history. And Catherine Cortez Masto was elected as the first ever Latina Senator. That is coolant indeed to drop into the mix as newsfeeds continue to combust all over the world. The fight continues.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing was that out of the 231,556,622 eligible voters, 46.9% didn’t vote at all, 25.6% voted for Hillary, and 25.5% voted for the now President-Elect (bile-inducing, that thought). Not only did Hillary actually win the popular vote, exposing just how broken the American electoral system is, but Trump’s mandate is still only a quarter of the electorate. That’s one in four adults. That’s no majority.

So in short, mount up. This great unfinished symphony has entered a discordant movement but it will not disrupt our melody. Now is the time for insurgency.

I turn to Jonathan Pie for a true swan song. Chew on this.