I started writing poetry or more accurately perhaps lyrics, at the age of about 12. At that time, I had just received my first acoustic guitar for Christmas and had already formed a ‘band’ with Andy Wells, my next door neighbour. Andy has, I think, played around bands ever since in the USA where he now lives and owns a huge collection of guitars. We would sit in our front rooms strumming the odd malformed chord and dreaming in the way only adolescents can dream. Of course, the early 70’s really was a great time for this with wave after wave of new bands coming through and cranking out three chord singles by the bucket load. I particularly loved T.Rex I recall and fancied myself as another Marc Bolan. In the room I am writing this there is a folder of old foolscap papers with scrawled handwritten lyrics dating back to 1972. Precious to me but are those awful lyrics or what and I wouldn’t dream of forcing them on all of you.
I did play in several bands in my teens. My taste in music migrated to Status Quo and I got locked into 12-bar as a guitarist and never really progressed much. I am a competent rythym guitarist but thats about all. My acoustic from Woolworths graduated into a CMI Telecaster deluxe electric in black with a maple neck. I worked two years doing a paper round to buy it and I still have it. In fact, it is behind me. It is the only guitar I have ever wanted.
Where am I going with this story then? Well, my first book of poetry – Weird Tales – published in 2006 contains a few of those early sets of lyrics. I sat and ploughed through the teenage angst and the teenage crushes and actually found a few that I thought were good. The first collection of poetry that I published then contains my work from 1972 through to 2005. Here is one poem from 1972 that if you came for a visit, I could still sing to you with my guitar….
I feel the cold breath upon my naked face
And the dark shadows in my heart
Watching – with heavy lidded eyes
I realize – that what I see
Is only there for me to see
And life is another mystery
Time lies heavily upon us all
And yet in the future I can perceive
The winds of change for good or ill
Changing – the things living around me
And slowly – I see again all the steamy rain
The pain, and anguish overrides hope
When I re-read this poem this morning looking for inspiration for a blog article, I suddenly realized that nothing much changes at all. Here is a poem written at age 12 that talks about….. reality and life. I was already obsessed with what constitutes reality and our experience of it – even all of those years ago. This is echoed in many of the songs and poems that form Weird Tales including this little ditty that I wrote at college in around 1980.
Hardly a moment to spare
I don’t know where life is leading
And I don’t really care
Was I ever really there?
Slot machine bingo
In front of me
Unzip and down to flesh again
Lasared to see
Pull another cocktail
Shoving it down inside
Dilation and comforting sensation
I am on your side
Not a moment to spare
God only knows what I am doing
And he doesn’t care
Was I ever really there?
Both poems from Weird Tales published in 2006.