I’ve started writing poems that are a bit longer than previously.

I’ve stopped trying to create something that fits into 9 or 12 lines, and just let my thoughts run through.

So, I hope you like this latest offering.

It’s about a decision I made, when I was a youngster, to take an opportunity.

I understand why I made this decision.


Formative Decision

School isn’t the way to spend my young days,

hemmed in with rules and ways to behave,

head being done in with a constant tirade,

of advice on how to get along, find a way,

of advice along lines of don’t be yourself,

pretend to tow lines, to play mythical games,

to say the right thing, and do what’s expected,

don’t follow your instinct, don’t follow your heart

kill the self inside you for the sake of their pride,

how absurd to be a tradesman, to do what you want,

do something they approve of, with a nod and a wink,

turn out like a number, the robots they want,

it’s better all round, when the phalanx comes out,

of clean-toothed incumbents of the senior year,

fodder for machines that chew up who you are,

fodder to make money, more, more and more,

to follow a crede absurd in extreme,

programmed for one thing, conditioned to act,

like all of the others, be the hardened cold fact,

that one crystal reason why your world is a trap,

but hope brings light to your shattering mind,

hope of a freedom from these and their kind,

get away from the children, the sneeps and the snide,

relief from folk preaching to be on their side,

holiday’s come round, it’s now time to work,

to re-join the lads for a beer and a fag,

to take the proverbial, be laughed at, laugh back,

at your naked cack-handedness while you regain your eye,

at your clumsy attempts to keep up with the guys,

despite early mornings, aching, being dry,

there’s a heart to the gang you’ll never despise,

cash for the spending, however you like,

beer spliff and fishing, and actually cider,

a tipple that makes the older folk giggle,

this juice turns you loopy, as it’s known hereabouts,

the guys crack jokes you can’t hazard to know,

but who’re fun to be with, and from whom you learn,

some new way to be, some fundamental truth,

exposed to a bible of honest man chat,

pub law taught by these cash in hand drunkards,

working all summer with craic and good boots,

manual work reveals time to think more,

mind set free in a stop motion task,

time to chew fat, have a really good jaw,

as a free man, an agent, of life and reality,

to talk of revelations, of brand spanking novelty,

mixing with strangers who I’ve known from before,

strangers who eye me, assess me for lore,

lore that I listen to, consume, figure out,

lore that misleads and causes me doubt,

tender-hearted lad, naïve in extreme,

fascinated by a world now tasted and seen,

a world that’s driven by rhythms, of work and the pint,

of everyday nonsense and taking the shite,

fag breaks with tea and shifty-eyed speeches,

wisdom relayed in a way that never preaches,

gaining confidence and listening hard,

learning daily a time honoured crede,

welcome to the new world, lived in by men who work hard,

relayed in experience, in the way they survive,

a method succinct and honest in essence,

men being burly, gruntish and harsh,

with a centre of love beneath rough spikey bark,

men who see who you are and why,

who explain the world their original way,

making you cringe, at your infantile views

at the selfishness of rebelry and the reality of strife,

learning you’re not who you think that you are,

you’re you – the way you act, not think, that’s who,

a lesson from men who care about getting it right,

and men who know how to, without being polite,

showing you ropes and setting you right,

gently and calmly with love in their eyes,

and you’ve time in the evenings to twiddle your thumbs,

cash burning holes at every slight chance,

you’ve energy to slake, you need to get out,

find a mate with a car who’ll give you a ride,

taking you places that you’ve never been,

showing you around for a beer and a skin,

a mate who knows women who’ll shag you for free,

who’ll tease you and tempt you and help set you free,

from daydreams of greatness, of fame and great wealth,

of tilting yourself at success and nought else,

who laugh at your sheltered persona, perspective,

your lack of naivety in financial matters,

your failure to think for yourself fundamental,

you’ve adopted the views of your peers wholesale,

you’ve not questioned deep reasons for adopting that line,

for not thinking it through and making your own,

as it’s yours – and none else’s – so why don’t you mind?

folk who scare you and who, though, are especially kind,

showing you how to cope with the idiots,

the followers, who go round the word without minds,

God’s innocent creatures, folk you need to look by,

and you’ve learnt from folk who ultimately love,

women who play and who sweetly corrupt,

who would terrify your Father, if only he knew,

and women who ultimately know, as they’ve been there themselves,

they’ve found new truth from standing aside,

watching the world accelerate by,

who’ve purposefully let that world pass them by,

rushing to the pub to take shelter and hide,

as the kids go to parties, for snogs and decide,

you’re out of the circle, you’re on the outside,

because you wear the wrong jeans, smoke weirdo’s fags,

say the wrong words and use the wrong phrase,

aren’t party to the code, the secret right way,

for they’re unsure of themselves when you start to converse,

shredding their minds with that same doubt of themselves,

claiming you speak of irrelevant things,

that you make no sense, that they think you tell lies,

kids who try to assess you, to test you somehow,

who see in their world the in and the out,

demarcate those who are not alright,

split the world up, half and half good and bad,

who put you in fact, on that other wrong side,

sign off, decree, that you aren’t to be liked,

tell others of things that make you sound wrong,

ensure you’re excluded, you don’t deserve understanding,

and the weak and the holy follow suit with no qualms,

and the end of the summer looms large in your eyes,

there’s a place at school waiting, you’re going to go,

to join in with those children, who are beakish and snide,

who play games and giggle when lighting a fag,

believing they’re wagging their parent’s desire,

that they mean something else when they kick the regime,

kicking quite hard by breaking a rule,

their entire belief summed up in their world,

they have their own club, they let the sexy girls in,

and this is your cell, your tomb of the mind,

where others deride you, your personal views,

who eliminate you for the way that you are,

who persecute you for being yourself,

who revel in ways of putting you down,

who believe that the hierarchy rules all of our lives,

who hate you for realising the truth about cool,

and who ultimately prove there’s no exception to the rule,

but when you get there you know there’s a line,

there’s a stroke of your wisdom that has to be said,

there’s people around who need to be told,

there’s something you’ve thought of that weighs on your mind,

you explain the wherefore, the reason, the why,

your choice to return to the place you despise,

which you know has an offer, a way, a chance,

is a ticket for you, to a whole different life,

a method of gaining what some view with envy,

opportunity to escape that reality of strife,

of aching backs, arc-eye and standing in rain,

who informed you quite clearly of which way is up,

who ultimately want you to have that good life,

not every young lad is provided a chance,

yours for the taking, just there at your hand,

which you seize, you make sense of, the nettle you grasp,

this has gone beyond behaving, or towing the line,

this is a choice made by me, as informed and slight-wise,

a conscious decision, niceties aside,

you’re going to do this, no messing around,

work hard – get your A levels,

let them despise,

the man amongst boys,

the man in disguise.

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