Saturday, 23 June 2012

This place

This blog is a new home for a lot of my older poems (it's easier to manage than a website...). On here you will find some poems that have already been published elsewhere by someone else, some poems that have been published in my book "More about the song" and some poems that no-one will probably ever want to publish anywhere. As on the old website the posts are arranged, roughly, by subject/theme/content/size. Click on the links below to move more quickly to a particular group of poems... or just move about at your own pace. Email me if there's anything you like and/or want to use. Newer poems are on my up-to-date blog and scattered about elsewhere online and on paper.

Circle of Life Poems

Distress and Recovery Poems

Little Poems

Love Poems

Modern World Poems

Nightclub Poems

Poems for Occasions

Poems about People

Scottish Interest Poems

Seeing and Believing Poems

Song poems

Poems about Writing

Song poems

Poems that are about songs or like songs or that have been made into songs at some point.

A fairly old poem of mine, 'Significant other deceased', is now a song on the new album by Scottish musician Kim Edgar 'Untold Stories' (2016). That poem is still available on a postcard too.

First, a poem of mine 'Michael Marra's Visit to the Links Hotel' that became a song by Montrose singer/songwriter Gary Anderson:

Gary also took my 'Angus Adoption Song' and gave it a tune (as well as 'Auchmithie Road' but no video for that):

Some other bits and pieces... a song of mine...

Toon (audio here)


I live in a little town,
It picks me up
And it slows me down.
I stay in a little town,
Aye, I stay…

Watch tides, at the waterside,
Sea sure for its share,
River fights, its course to keep,
Gulls float, going nowhere.


Flat lands, green against the blue,
Long days, long beaches,
Hearts wake, for a golden day,
What that might teach us.


Bide, close, can you hear the words?
Poets past, modelled faces,
Tall street singing high above,
These are our places.


And some old poems/lyrics... some have been songs previously but are currently... resting.

A dream is a song of hope


'Live the dream', that's what they say
Then they go on living anyway
That's not a dream, that's just a plan
To have the house, the car, the man
A dream can hold so much, much more
Than a posh haircut and a 4 by 4

So much to fix, so much to try
And time so quickly washing by
We have to save the world, it's true
That leaves us quite a lot to do
So we have to train ourselves once more
To dream of things worth hoping for

Let's dream of kindness every day
Let's not give up, let's lead the way
Let's be naïve, let's dream awake
Let's live our lives for all our sake
Let's give those dreams a cracking song
And sing it loud and keep it strong







If religion's rejoicing
We can use rock'n'roll
If prayer's deep and heartfelt
For that we have soul

If gathering together
Is one purpose of faith
Now we have Glastonbury
How much togetherness can you take?

You want contemplation
Try acoustic auteurs
You need revelation
Pop has the poseurs

You want vocal leaders
They're thick on the ground
Bono and Geldof
The preachers abound

We have our religion
It comes on CD
Or turn on the radio
And worship for free








It's still blowing, Bob


How many roads must they build around here before they run out of land?
How many seas must we empty of life before we begin to understand?
How many times will we regret what we've done before we can make better plans?

The trampolines, round here, are blowing in the wind
The trampolines are blowing in the wind

How many years can a child save their tears before they are drowned in the sea?
How many years can we try and buy love before we shut about me?
And how many times can we get it all wrong before we learn life's ABC?


How many songs must there be in this world before we hear what they say?
How many words will we throw all around before we clear some away?
And how many Bobs do we see nowadays and how many more on their way?






Just the one song


I don't long to live forever
No desire to be a star
No ambitions like Madonna's
To stretch myself way, way too far

I don't sweat with channel fever
Or plan to launch a fragrant scent
Keep away the range of handbags
Keep your money well unspent

I would have instead one good song
One to sing when it's my turn
I would study, keep it ready
I would watch and wait and learn

Time would pass, I'd get my chances
One would be just right, just right
I would make the one-off debut
Have a starry, starry night

There might be a little clapping
A kiss, a 'hey', a 'look at you'
I might like the feel of smiling
It might warm me through and through

Then I'd sit and it's all over
On to someone else's sound
If we all take just one moment
There'll be enough to go around





Love song without a tune


There’s a hole in my hearth
Where the fire should be
My guitar’s short a string
Is it G, D or E?
My music’s too lonely
It sings a sad song
And sad can be tiresome
When it goes on this long

There’s a gap in my life
There’s no lace in my shoe
Cos I’ve plenty of stuff
But I can’t find a you

I’ve no warmth in my bed
It’s a double for one
No surprise in my cornflakes
The food without fun
There’s a huge gaping hole
Where my loved one should be
I’ve a big full hot teapot
But no two for tea


I’m not a bad person
I have love to share
But I can’t find a taker
And I’ve looked everywhere
So the hearth remains cold
And the bed just the same
I’d find you much quicker
If I just knew your name





Musical chores


Robert Plant helped with the ironing today
Kate Rusby gave a hand with the cleaning
A little bit of Bjork did the trick up till tea
And some Eels gave the dishes more meaning

Nina Simone is a wonder in the home
Any chore's less a bore with our Nina
And when June Tabor sings, why my dishcloth has wings
No, I never shall be wanting a cleaner





Not tonight, Radiohead


Please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight
Right on the pulse of our lives it may be
But it's dark, so dark, and I need to feel light

I work all day to keep up the fight
To smile in the face of that creep misery
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight

Now I know that light can be taken for trite
(Or something much worse which also rhymes tight)
But sight can play tricks and you might never see
How in darkest of dark, you can so need light

And we may love truth with all our might
But at times less pain can set us free
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight

Instead joyous sounds, so hot they ignite
Disco or banjo or sweet harmony
When it gets this dark, it's not wrong to need light

I don't want a fake promise, it'll be alright
I'm not stupid, you know, just a little weary
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight
In the dark, cruel dark, give me light, warm light







School gates, no mates


What do you call a group of mums
A cluster, a natter, a curse?
Primary ones think their life's tough
But being a mum can be worse

Here we are now stood at the gates
Hovering round about three
Some have a gang, some have a clan
Others bob loose, lost at sea

Group ones are just really local
Group twos are older and rich
Group threes are sort of related
Group fours are here for the bitch

Group five - childminders and aunties
Group six - predominantly grans
Dads are around, blanking it out
Oh, what a freedom is man's

The children are anxious about all sorts
Sliding and numbers and clowns
But here at the gates there are pressures
The smiles only just cover frowns

Who has the fanciest audi?
Who has the best behaved kid?
Who has the record for housepoints?
Who knows what so-and-so did?

Who is invited to this do?
And look now who's pregnant today?
Who is that wearing full make-up?
Some people, I ask you, I say

Oh, to be local or family
Oh, to be somewhere but here
Oh, but I'm not, I'm just waiting
Can't wait for the end of the year





Second to nun


Clothes out of curtains and warbling nuns
Big dreamy moons and sleepy old suns
Seeing a lighthouse from high on a swing
These are a few of my favourite things

Chocolate fingers and friendly bus drivers
Finally calmer rave era survivors
Hearing the radio starting to sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Big umbrellas and good working plumbing
A real surprise you didn't see coming
Lemon and tonic and ice cubes and gin
These are a few of my favourite things

When the bills come
When life's no fun
When I'm feeling done
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so glum





Sing when you're nervous


Say up in a plane
And you're having a panic
You're looking at exits
And feeling quite manic
There's one thing to do
And it won't please the rest
Just fill up your lungs
Give your larynx a test

Yes, sing when you're nervous
It covers the quiet
It brightens the terror
Why don't you just try it?
Sing any song
To channel emotion
Sing it with soul
With hope and devotion

Outside the dentist
And hit by that smell
Inside's so scary
A vision of hell
You so want to run
But your teeth need to stay
Close your eyes tight
Let your song lead the way


Lost in the shops
Swamped in a crowd
Feel so like screaming
Or howling out loud
Instead sing a chorus
And aim for a tune
Harness some energy
Fly to that moon




The sisters said it best


I've always been
Lost in music
It's never felt
Like a trap

It's always felt
Just the right place
To wander loose
Off the track

Here I go now
Lost in music
I'm not sure if
I'll be back

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Circle of Life Poems

Before I drop


"Nobody's mother can't not never do nothing right" Liz Lochhead

There's a few months yet
The job will be done
Later I'll rest
Today I'll work on

Think of sleep and of vigour
All soon to be gone
Later I'll plan
For now I'll work on

The washing, the worries
All that put upon
Let's not waste the quiet
Go on fool, work on

I'll drop what I carry
One labour part done
Till then I'll be working
Work on girl, work on





History at 40


There's so much I don't remember already
Names, faces, whole unsuitable relationships
And there are places that I know, for sure, I've been
But no matter how I strain I just can't see
The getting there, the what it might have cost

My memory is a poor scrapbook so soon
Some jaded birthday cards, much background music
A lonely old photo of a dog we once kept
But some of the connections are painfully frail
Who chose the dog's name? What did the dog think of us?

And now I think, so late, of tackling history
But it seems an odd choice, all things considered
If I struggle to remember my own little past
What hope is there for all the giant rest
The queens, the battles, the damned industrial revolution?

There is one blue day I see clearly - my friend's Dad
(Staff Sergeant in the British army, Scottish, huge moustache)
Took us to Belsen, to teach us something
Because at 12, we thought we knew it all
And what a joke that was, a trick of the light

It was all emptiness
The photos of the starving, the quiet trees and sky
'There's no birdsong here, do you hear that?'
He was harsh with us and rightly so
We liked to complain about washing dishes, about waiting in the car

The drive back was different, we said nothing
No i-pods to hide behind, hell, walkmans were still new then
We looked out at the huge expanse of land moving
And counted our lucky stars, I think
We were shocked by the hole of history, too scared to breathe





Just like the dinosaurs


Not if but when
We are extinct
How will we be remembered
By those that come after
By those that never knew us?

Will we be icing pictures on party cakes
Like the dinosaurs?
Will we feature in blockbuster movies?
'Oh those crazy humans
Didn't they do anything
But kill and maim and torture all the time?'

Will there be whole academic departments
Of newer cleverer beings
Studying our bones and tracks
And mysterious ways?
'They did what?
They had how many pairs of shoes?'
Will they unearth
Long-forgotten episodes of the 'Love Boat'?
'Ah, they lived on water'
Or discover crushed-up carrier bags and crisp packets
A whole new layer of the earth's crust?
'You see, the convenience era, very significant'
Will they perhaps look at a wristwatch
A pot noodle and a Marilyn Manson CD
And wonder what on earth we got up to
Once we stopped hunting and gathering
And all that old-age stuff?

Whatever they suggest
They will never imagine
Us as we really were
The highs, the lows
The what was hard and what was really
We will be unknown and unknowable
Largely forgotten temporary inhabitants
We are not so special
Look carefully, watch
See us as we disappear






Optimistic afterlife


They go for walks about
When we're not looking
They relive merry times
When we're not there
They're glad to be in truth
All that we're not being
They don't dwell so much
On what is fair

We watch them solemnly
They betray not a thing
We dress them florally
They show no taste
We cry for lost love
And it remains that
They never understand
The words like waste

There in the tall grass
The souls are wandering
They have a playground
If short on slides
It is a quiet place
Not really frightening
For those who settle there
And there abide





Our voices break too


Teenage girls want to sing
But mostly they want to look just right
Be in tune with fashion
Just enough, not too much

Their voices are awkward
They stammer out 'who am I?
The pretty one? The clever one?
The one no-one really likes?'

They wobble and warble
And cautious ears listen
For any answers
That might be coming

'Am I girl now? Or am I…'
They can't even say the word
Are they women already
And finished so soon?





Rosebuds all


Leaves and stalks and twigs and flowers
This is all your business now
Children, worries, finance, ours
You moved on from why to how

Watch you working so intensely
Nature never had such aid
Years of caring helps immensely
You know what needs sun or shade

Do you wonder as you labour
Quite how many springs you'll see?
Are seasons shorter now or longer?
Is anything as sweet as tea?

You weed like there is no tomorrow
Perhaps because there is some doubt
You poison, murder, love and water
Perfect show it's all about

Life cannot be kept in order
Humans cannot be pruned back
But look at that herbaceous border
That at least is still on track

The modern world is quite a puzzle
Tortilla wraps and cash machines
Youth is all - it's quite a muddle
TV shows instead of dreams

Endings gesture from the bushes
Herbicides will be no use
Strokes and cancers and dementias
Age brings with it bitter truths

So turn again to this year's roses
Clip and fuss and feel so proud
Watch the bud so if it closes
You can mourn it fierce and loud





The dog house


Hear yourself shout
God what a horrible sound that is
Bark of a bitter dog
Little pup is unconcerned
Gets on with its own games
Thinks old mutt is crazy
And sometimes prone to
Unreasonably high expectations
Pup wags its tail
Jumps up sniffing
'Play with me', it pants
'I won't be this fresh forever'





The last leaf


You are the last leaf
On that branch of the family tree
The generations fly by
You hang on, only just
A few fibres still catching
Strong ones, determined
Like those last strings
Keeping a baby tooth in place

The wind tries to move you
But you're tough, well-weathered
Storms have blown, rains have poured
You've kept busy, kept going
And you're dry now, almost powder
Wrinkles have been and somehow gone again
Leaving your skin flat, smooth
It's resilient, kind of beautiful

You're awkward, a little baffled
Only just connected to our silly modern world
You look down at the ground
Where the leaves all fall some day
And wonder how it will be
To lie in the mulch for a while
You look back up to what you can still see of the sky
You hang on to the branch, to your life, a little longer

To fade


At 6 years old
You still sing all the time
When you're doodling
When you're scootering

And I wonder when does it stop
The joyous twittering?
When angry playground voices shout
'Shut up stupid'?

Or do we censor ourselves slowly?
'Time to turn it down now'
'Time to go inside' and finally
'Time to face the music'
To fade…


Now it is work to breathe, for sure
And though you don't really want the air
There it is encore

The stage is quiet, almost foreign
Your long gown brushes the boards again
But your voice has flown

Finally, maybe

This is the dream where I ask you all those questions,
Where I see your face again after so much time,
And it doesn’t know me.

This is the touch I thought might never come,
One more chance to hold you,
And I don't even mind if your heart's not in it.

This is the place we all try to imagine,
Last-dance saloon, grabbed set of moments,
And it is hard to be here but here we are all the same.

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Distress and Recovery Poems

25 year tears


Tears come
When they want to
When you let them
Only then

Tears saved
One by one for years
Appear strangely
On rainy days
In unexpected places
Feel comforted
By watery friends
Flow freely
Almost happily
Relieve tension
So clearly
Of long-forgotten
Constant grief





A way away


The one track road goes one way up
It's northwards to the sea
Water flows in varied ways
It seems at least more free

Sleepless nights in windy ports
The revving of the air
A stewing mess of worn-out thoughts
A hairy shirt to wear

The green outside is startling
My eyes can barely cope
They breathe a little better now
A rinse has eased the soap

The empty beach is magical
It sells no candy floss
Alone with you I smell my life
The getting and the loss





Alone place


Don't leave me
Alone is not a place
I want to be
It's not
What it used to be
It's not
A chance
For rest or recuperation
It's not
At all
It's the most noise
And screeching confusion
In the smallest space
I stand on
One leg
Or one toe even
Balancing in that most
Unbalanced way
Bombarded on every side
By noise and waves
And prodding fingers
Energy wastes itself
Beating my every surface
When I'm alone

When you're here
It leaves me be a while
I know that's not
An answer
I know that's
A cop out
I know
I should I really should
This time
Counselling, alternative therapies and yoga
I know I know
But that doesn't help me
When alone
When fear does its
Paralysing worst
Gets me
On the
One toe
Head bowed
Brain suitably whipped and battered
My, my, this masochism
Really must stop
We must stop meeting like this
I and I
In the small space
The smallest of small
The end of it all
The throwing it all away
No sad song does it justice
It is a loveless matter
I and I
When alone
It is the fullest emptiness
I know
Don't go
And yet
Don't go





D days


Some days
Words appear
Like presents
I don't deserve
(Or do I?)
Some days
I see nothing
Feel less
I can't help it
(Can I?)
Some days
I watch TV
It's easy
All I'm good for
(Is that right?)
Some days
I gloom
And pick my head
It annoys me
(So why's that?)
Then some days
I write and
Write and
It never amounts to
(Nothing right?)
And some days
I just try
To be normal
But that won't work
(It never does)
So some tired days
I don't try
I just play dead
(And I'm quite good at it)





Float on


It feels like
Walking downhill
Even when it's flat

It's very
To be feeling that

There's no pain
But it's hurting
I'm very ill at ease

It's more like
Fear of floating
On land as well as seas





Free at last


Just maybe I'm a balloon
Rubbery surface, taut skin
That would explain all the hot air
The floating business, the holding in

A leftover plaything
From a fun day or fête
Perhaps tied to a pushchair
All thoughts on escape

I pull and I tug
Because upwards feels right
So light, I feel empty
My string thin but quite tight

If I ever break free
I will lose sight of ground
I will fly high, flit quickly
I will never come down





Hiding in the toilet of life


Shivering and terrified
Overwhelmed by everything
Deep inside I go to hide
Not coming out for anything

It’s small in here but sort of safe
I see the door, it’s closed I’m sure
There’s noise and laughing just outside
I hear it all and nothing more

I sit quite still, it’s all too harsh
The sound, the light, the spinning sphere
My heavy head against the wall
Where can you run once you’ve run here?





Just thinking


Doing the dishes
Walking the dog
Waiting for buses
Hating your job
Climbing a mountain
Assembling a shelf
All of these chores
Give you time to yourself
To think your own thoughts
And to hear your own say
We need the quiet time
We need peace, every day





Problems with value


I am not worthy

I breathe in
Approximately one eighth
Of the required amount
Of air to fill my lungs
I tell myself
Make do with that
You greedy
Spread it thinly
It'll last

I breathe out
And hurt

I am
A little hard on myself







I simply had a heavy rucksack
Nothing metaphorical about it
No worries
Just a bag full of
Spare trousers
In case of rain
What a bloody relief





Simple stuff


Stream rushing down the hillside
Cool, clean and with direction
How I would like to be you
Not dazed, not lost, not sad
Too murky to mention
Not hopelessly, stupidly
Stumbling through

Tree growing tall in woodland
Strong, useful, admirable too
How I would like to be you
Not pathetic or rattled
By a host of minor phobic complaints
Not rootless
No let's hear it for roots
For without them what is there
To remain true to?

Sand collected down on the shoreline
Intricate, simple, the best of extremes
Oh how very much I would like to be you
Broken but whole, moving but still
Dead but so very busy still being around
The answers I crave
I see them in you





The way life should be


There's something that keeps on bothering me
It won't go away, it's always there
This isn't the way my life should be

I won't be going down in history
I've done nothing special so who would care
That there's something that keeps on bothering me

No honours, no glamour and no money
Just routine and hum-drum days to spare
This isn't the way my life should be

I try to watch less on TV
The pace of life seems so unfair
And all these things keep bothering me

I look around and the world I see
Seems made for those who do and dare
This isn't the way my life should be

I've let myself down spectacularly
Self-pity mixed up with true despair
And that something, it keeps on bothering me
This isn't the way my life should be





This colour


Are you
Low in mood
In the pits
Below blue
Down where it's kind of
Or blue times blue
Where it's bluer than
You can imagine
On the days when
Other colours
Can still be seen
Remember green anyone?
I see green
But I don't believe it
Now I think
No I am sure
That what looks like green
That grass that tree
That's merely blue in thin disguise
It looks like green because
Unbeknownst to us
We all wear yellow-tinted glasses
To hide the terrible truth
About blue





Waiting for a cure


Sitting in a darkened room
Listening to quiet
Making lists of everything
Too afraid to try it
Traffic splashing past
Dreaming oddly in the day
Disappearing fast
Taking herbal pills and tea
Kingdom come has been
Looking at some Nescafé
Finding it obscene
Cutting down on alcohol
Becoming very staid
Watching through a telescope
A very sorry trade
Hoping for a miracle
Never seeing one
Sitting in a darkened room
Is there worse still to come?





Warts and all


Which bit of you
Do you most despise?
Your feet? Your nose?
Your little piggy eyes?

Do you have fat layers
That you wish weren’t there?
Well, my friends, work with me,
Learn not to care

Let’s learn to love failings
From heads down to toes
See strength in our weak spots
Just highs in our lows

Let’s take the worst night out
And make it our best
We are better and wiser
We are up to the test





Worry cycle


Stress you out
Stress keeps you up
You start to panic
Breeds panic
Breeds more panic
Too much panic
Is depressing
Makes you tired
But you can't sleep
For the stress
That's sad
Sad and useless
Totally inexcusable
What have you got
To worry about exactly?

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Little Poems

A little sh


Words speak
For me
They even sing
Or bark
It's nothing
That I have
No voice
For words
Will bring
Their own
Sound in







I don't worry so much
About the establishment
I have seen them up close
They're nothing to write home about





And so it goes


Our world is just
The strangest place
We wave at the car
And not at the face





Crowded out


Even in the in-crowd I've always felt out
I've never quite known what in/out is all about
I sense it's nonsense but to some it's all
Being big and central or sidelined and small
But we are small beings and we should all know
We'll all be put out when it's our time to go
So best be out and ready, waiting for the ride
It can be oddly pleasant, here on the outside







Years of experience
In a plastic crate from B & Q
Considering all that's in there
It's very quiet when you lift the lid







You can be aware that you have a lot to give
To other people
But not have the faintest idea how to go about it

This can make a person miserable
And in turn reduce what it is they have to give
To virtually nothing





Family smug


Don't be family smug
It's really very trying
Others around you
Will end up crying






We judge books by covers
And women much worse
For the female of this species
There is more than one curse

Flat good


I have a picture
Of the sea
It has a calming
Effect on me
This is no small feat
Not small at all
For one so flat
And hung on a wall





Girls learn this only once


Tall, hard and cold
Men you like
Who don't like you
You bend
You twist
To fit them right
You waste your precious time
That's what you do





It started with a sneer


Anger breeds anger
Hate breeds hate
Break up the cycle
It can be too late





Learning the words


I am really so easy to read
Take me steady, line by line
Don't start fretting, huffing, sighing
Follow the lines and you'll do just fine







Everything's ridiculous
Too ridiculous for words





Living for beginners


Breathing's important
Food is good too
Everything else
Is just something you do





My way


A family of women
Of strong opinion
Is never quiet for long
Each one has her say
Each day in some way
And no one admits to being wrong





Number one fan


At six I loved Donny
Right till death us do part
At seven I moved on
Oh, the young, cheating heart







What can the matter be?
What can the matter
Is more like it





Pluses and minuses


(a) A few words on positivity



(b) A few words on negativity

I don’t really see the point of this exercise







You have much to answer
You fill the world with
No-one wants to go to
But has to
For FR
Of missing





Puzzled mind


A badly shuffled
In a paper bag
What a day
What a week
What a time
It's had





Running the home


You're everything
And nothing
All at the same time
You're vital
And redundant
You're one of a kind





Save the music, save the world


I’d like to hear the world just sing
Without that Simon Cowell
His cutting prose and stupid pose
Oh, peace throughout the land
That’s what I’d vote for





Sex and drugs


Sex and drugs
Do go very well together
You're high
Times high
You're gorgeous
And so's what's-his-name





Short love


I loved you for 3 weeks
Or maybe longer
It may seem a short love
But it was stronger
Than you might imagine
From its length





Some words in lines


Handfuls of paper
Some written, some typed
Poems and articles
Notes and the like
Bits that fell out
Of a man full of holes
Meant nothing to no one
But proof of his woes




Sweet nothings


You are nothing
I am less
Let's admit it
We're a mess





That job'll be the death of you


My leaving present
Was a fine headstone
Named and dated
I carried it home





The far wrong


Vote that way
Then kill yourself
Because you know
Inside and out
To all intents and purposes
You're already dead







Oh, all of us are weirdos
It’s odd that, but it’s true
And the more you call me ‘weirdo’
The less hope there is for you





Why one is childish rather than pretentious


Because quite enough other people
Already do
So well
And so regularly

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Love Poems

All in the tone


Call me anything
But call me now
Call me gorgeous
Or silly cow
Call me Lucy
Or call me Kate
Call me Marjory
For goodness sake
Call me Trevor
If that seems right
Call me crazy
Both day and night

Call me sweetheart
But mean it true
Call me Shirley
It’s up to you
Call me later
And call me soon
Call me cheeky
You call the tune
Call me Romeo
From up above
You call me anything
But call with love





Avon kiss


I'm not in love
But I've read the book
I've rubbed the creams
And I've got the look

I'm all dressed up
And I've done my face
I've cleaned and fussed
In every place

I'm waiting now
For the perfect one
To come and find
My switch marked 'on'





Chileno on my mind


Hand in hand firmly
We walk
Through the medieval setting of the city
A touch on the flat-footed side
You walk meaningfully
Each step placed exactly
In place
The afternoon sun as ever
Makes walking hard
Makes buying ice-creams almost
A necessity

To treat you
Is all I want to do

Your smiling
Charming eyes
The sun to me
At 19
Have nothing to do with balls of hydrogen
Mean simply warmth and happiness
And lucky skin that gains a glow
You walk with me
Man made of sun
You walk with me
But never really see me
As I see you







Enjoy love
You are worth it
Fall down deep
Don't try to surf it
Swim in the happiness
It's all for you
Soak long and leisurely
Get drenched, wet through





Don't squeeze my shoes


A love, like shoes, must feel just right
Not too loose and not too tight
Not too high or far too low
And if you're young have room to grow
It must look good with any clothes
It must be kind, not pinch your toes
It must last well and not wear through
It must be just the thing for you
The style you choose, however strange
Must show ability to change
To cope with rains and frosty morns
To help you dodge bunions and corns
Your love must fit and not break banks
It must not always expect thanks
It should be happy being there
The chosen one, the happy pair





Free love


You can keep your twenty grand weddings
With the limos and jazz bands and suits
Give me that day we cycled to Lunan Bay
The hot sun, the empty beach
The lying in a mansize cup of sand in the dunes
The cycling home again the long way round

You can keep the diamond ring in platinum
The weighty jewel from a far-off mine
I'll take a handful of that icing sugar snow
That shines up on a sunny winter morning
Now that's what you can call sparkle
It's hard to find, harder still to keep

I'm sure love is not about the price
The menus or the pantomime
Love is the days when everyone's tired
But still no-one gets the blame
Love lies around the house quietly
Waiting, so quietly, to be needed





Let me be your fridge magnet


Let me slip into your home
Like a leaflet for a loan
Hidden in a free newspaper
Or supermarket circular
I'm not proud

Oh how I'd love to be your Baby on Board
Suckered on to your smoothness
I'd feel every bump in your road
Know exactly how much air was in your tyres
If you let me

I could stick faster still
If you'd let me be your fridge magnet
I'd hang on to your cool place
So perky, so keen
I wouldn't let you down

I'd be superficial for you, gladly
Cling to any surface - as long as it was yours
Then I'd ask softly 'do you understand now?
Do you get the message?
Do you read me at all?'





Poetic love


You might say my eyes were green like fresh new leaves
You might write a phrase to praise my skin
You might stroke my hair
When I've just dyed it
You might marvel at its feel and sheen

You might stay up all night just wondering to yourself
How it is this angel came to be
You might try a sonnet
You might try an ode
You might shed a tear or two or three

If I had chosen poet this might be my life
It might be my golden cage of yore
With you I'm flying free
But still feel treasured
All those compliments could be a bore

You help me understand how mobile phones work
You pick me up and sometimes make my tea
You hold me close
Whenever possible
I don't need odes
You're it for me





Significant other deceased


I wasn't ready
You're gone too soon
The kitchen's quiet
Lost its tune

I'm not prepared
No good alone
Why is it you
Who won't be home?

You're ripped to shreds
I'm picked apart
My love is gone
My love, my heart

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Modern World Poems

Cynical souls 


A lot of hardworking people have spent a very long time
Teaching us, slowly, all that we know -
That change is pointless and humanity selfish,
That there is no limit to how low we can go.

We are useless, we’ve learned that, we’re not good at changes,
We don’t eat well or think well or learn from our past,
We don’t want clean energy and we like all those landfills,
We want lasting happiness and we want it so fast.

Oh horrible humans – so fickle, so loveless,
No patience, no tolerance, no fondness, no hope.
What will become of us now we’ve this knowledge?
Whatever the future, we know we won’t cope.





Dads army


In combat trousers
Some long
Some short
They wear the modern camouflage
For parks and play areas
It's a must
The beige and grey and khaki green
Nice modern men blend in
Avoid unnecessary conversations
Mums can't seem to dodge so well
These are the loaded guns
"He's very small isn't he?"
"Does she eat fruit?"
"Oh, an only child"

Shaven heads
Trainers in winter
Maybe risking open sandals
In summer
But in a neutral colour
Dads keep their mouths closed
Their eyes and ears open
Not at war but always prepared
They don't fall in traps
Mums could learn a lot from their approach
No hearts on sleeves
No nervous wittering
No defensive play
Just cropped heads steady
Resolve firm
No time wasted
We're here to play, kids
So play





Got the Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Four Weddings blues


Richard Curtis
How you hurt us
You know not surely
But you do
London's quiet
Reneé's diet
All this stuff
It's just not true

No-one's poor and no-one's hungry
Everyone has a central flat
Don't forget it snows at Christmas
How could you have forgotten that?

England is a picture postcard
A chocolate box, a pastel scene
Full of men like Hugh and Colin
Every high school prom queen's dream

The England I knew didn't match yours
It always rained more than it snowed
Hughs and Colins - all obnoxious
The spacious flats - all gone, been sold

Now you can say it's just a fiction
A happy world for Saturday night
But all those larks with perfect diction
Make for a strange unsettling sight

It's like the sixties never happened
The seventies, eighties, nineties too
England stuck in post-war limbo
Jolly chaps and work to do

I don't think you mean to do it
You seem a human sort of bloke
You were carried on a moment
But just saying 'fuck' is not a joke

So let's have no more Bridget Joneses
Let's have no more love times love
Whatever happened to Blackadder?
What would he make of this guff?

And look at all your charity work, sir
If you really care at all
Stop polluting life with drivel
False impressions, stories tall

So can you stop please
All this film cheese
Can you stop it
Kill it dead
England's story
Needs less glory
Honest hope
It needs instead





Grander than thou


Ah the lifestyle housing programme
That rather unrealistically
Makes everyone in Britain
Want their own castle
And computer-controlled audio-visual environment
Never mind the fact that
Many of us still live in
Council flats
Hovels owned by private landlords
And Bed & Breakfast establishments
(Drawbridges optional)





In June


Another light night draws curtains slowly
And we don’t enjoy it as we could
We’re not wandering the hilltops
Or cycling the coast road
Or watching the sun pour itself away
There’s so much more we could be doing
We know it all and yet
We’re tired, hemmed in by something
We watch TV – it’s never-ending
The sun falls unseen again, another day





Pay heed to the special need


Personally I need a lot of help with moving
I need public transport, I need constant soothing
I need my hand holding and I need some quiet time
These needs are special and these needs are mine

You might need a teacher, you might need a school
You might need some help with obeying a rule
You might have a thing about folding and drawers
Those needs are special and those needs are yours

I can't do sitting in well-behaved rows
Snobbery and claptrap get right up my nose
I'm not very good at just following a line
So many needs out there but these ones are mine

You might be allergic, you might be alone
You might need assistance from more than a phone
You might need a moment, a break, just a pause
Because all needs are special, especially yours





Save the trees (or else)


Blend in with the trees
Make use of their breadth
Think wild, no one sees
Rediscover some depth
Sycamores have keys
So that's where they're kept
Open wide the wood door
Remember what it's for





Self-help shortcuts


Let's save the £14.99
And learn to cure ourselves
We'll save a heap of time as well
And have more room on shelves

So (1) let's eat a balanced diet
That's not just sweets and fat
(2) Let's get some sleep at night
And (3) let's buy less tat

(4) Let's work quite hard
But (5) not too much
(6) Make sure we have some fun
Some laughter, treats and such

(7) Let's get some exercise
But (8) not overdo it
(9) Live in the here and now
There should be nothing to it

(10) Let's like where we live
Or work to make that so
(11) Ditch that Joneses thing
Comparisons can go

(12) Look in the mirror now
And who's that gorgeous creature?
(13) We can live with us
A semi-permanent feature

(14) Let's not bottle up
And (15) work guilt through
It's horrible to know yourself
But better to be true

(16) We must find a love
And (17) explore sex fully
(18) We should not be bullied
Or (19) be the bully

(20) Let's find clothes that suit
(21) Be kind to skin
(22) Watch less telly
Go out more and stay in

(23) Enjoy music
It's so good for the spirit
(24) Read a poem now and then
It's not that painful is it?

And (25) if we must
Rot our bodies and our brains
With too much recreation
Then there will be (26) pain

(27) Read widely
But avoid the self-help bibles
(28) They're a waste of space
Not very reliable

(29) Don't take advice
From the dense and glossy quacks
(30) Life gives lessons free
Let's read our own hardbacks

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Nightclub poems

City girl


She gave it her best
She threw herself in
She loved the tarmac
Rolled on pavements
Into gutters
She poked her fingers into
Exhaust pipes
And licked them clean
She stayed out all night
Because there's nothing so shitty
As the 24 hour city
She didn't cleanse
Tone or moisturise
Let urban grime
Care for her complexion
She stood
In the thick of it
And rubbed her eyes
She rubbed the dirt
Right in
She ate filth
Not hard this day and age
More fertilisers
More fat
As saturated as it comes please
She took up passive smoking
As a hobby
She washed her clothes
You'd never know





Set text fever

Night time is the right time,
The time to change direction,
The time to shake your measly body,
Like you've never shaken anything before.


And honey, I don't care who you are,
How important, how seminal,
When the night call comes,
You will respond,
You will leave your daytime (don't you know who I am?) bullshit at home,
Put on the most ridiculous outfit,
Cram yourself in with the masses,
Sweat like a bastard,
And lose yourself,
Yes, you will lose yourself,
In the dark.

Take old Phil Larkin over there,
He is going for it big time,
He has finally removed that damn suit and tie,
Taken off those infernal glasses,
And look,
He has set himself free,
Free, free, freer than free,
It's beautiful to watch really,
He is grooving, totally grooving,
I think he might even be
Communicating with the bottom of his soul,
And whilst you wouldn't normally have him down
As a guy for leather shorts and nipple rings,
People can surprise you,
And there he is now,
Reaching for the higher plane,
Finding his happy place,
Dancing on a podium ,
With poppers up his nose.

And check Sylvia (the sweetheart),
She is smiling like you've never seen her,
One ecstasy tab short of a hospital visit,
She's right out there, flying.
I bumped into her just now in the toilet
And she grabbed my bare arm tight and said,
'This is so extreme
I don't think I can get any higher',
And I just hugged her,
We all did,
We told her that we loved her,
That we always will, whatever,
And that she should rave to the grave, baby,
Rave to the grave.

But it's hard for her because just look at Ted go,
He is the king of the jungle,
The ruler of the beasts,
The man to end all men,
No DJ can get near him,
With that huge frame,
That thick mane,
He is the Master at Work,
The Brother in Rhythm,
Standing in the middle of the dancefloor,
Barechested and vibrating,
With his arms outstretched,
His fingers pointing at something somewhere
That none of us can see,
And he is howling,
Full and hard like a wild creature
(You can't hear him for the music
But somehow we all feel it),
He is howling like a wolf.
That wants to eat and live.
High on life.
Starlight barking.
He is howling.
At the moon.
At the earth.
At the night.

Cocaine club


Constantly turning people into
Snorting machines
With dead eyes
No hearts
Empty memories
No souls
Spouting theories
One tired theory over and over
One that means nothing to nobody
But as nobody is listening
Everybody's talking
This is not identified as a problem





The biggest love affair


We loved everybody
Even ourselves
We hugged everybody
Even the bouncers
We understood everything
But couldn't explain it
We went way, way too far in
It seemed a good idea at the time

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Poems for Occasions

Season's bleatings

“Are you excited about Xmas?” the young ones all say
The snow and the tinsel, the bells and the sleigh?

Well, we older and wiser know what lies ahead
The ups and the downs, the emotional spread

So we smile half a smile and we sigh half a sigh
And we think to ourselves “my, doesn't time fly?

Xmas again and it's come round so fast...”
And we look in our file labelled large “Xmas past”

And we see many entries, not all of them glowing
With happiness, cosiness, carols and snowing

Instead family dramas, the trials we've had
Our own soapy operas, good stories and bad

Silent times too, lonely days, plans gone wrong
Times when the holidays really dragged on

So we give back our answer –  a “yes” and a “no”
And a guide to our yuletide follows below.

At Xmas expectations are sillily high
From immaculate beginnings to the perfect mince pie

So we're on to a loser from the start of the game
But we try to ignore that, not focus on blame

And we sing all the songs, even angels and kings
And shop till we flop, wearing out our best wings

And we cook and we stew, and our memories bake
And the telly works hard to keep spirits awake

And we sink now and then, maybe after a sherry
And we try not to tire of the word that is “merry”

And we miss special people who've left us and gone
And we try not to cry but the tears still switch on

Like the lights, that at Xmas, are pretty and bright
There's a positive note, hark, an ending's in sight

For the yule, this is all, it comes round, has its slot
And we wade our way through it, excited or not

A funeral affair


There must be lots of things to say
About you now you're gone away
But most of them might seem unkind
At least the ones that spring to mind
You were not fair or good or true
You only seemed to care for you
You showed no heart or sympathy
So let us end you honestly
No one will cry for you today
At most a little prayer they'll say
Perhaps they'll urge you try again
But for god's sake be still till then





A wedding poem (not to be read at weddings)


Oh, another girl in big frock
Oh, another suited groom
Oh, another messy, lost flock
Oh, another sense of doom

Oh, another huge tiara
Oh, foundation everywhere
Oh, the bride looks like her father
Oh, those looks weren't made to share

Oh, another hundred places
Oh, another chicken dish
Oh, just look at those grim faces
Oh, they should have gone for fish

Oh, I bet they all want ABBA
Oh, except that fierce young man
Oh, he'll want early Nirvana
Oh, that's not the thing for Gran

Oh, are weddings ever special
Oh, they can just merge as one
Oh, they can be simply dreadful
Oh, may my day never come





Bad interview technique


What is it they say?
Imagine them naked
At the job interview
And I do
But it’s not bare bodies I see
It’s stark naked souls
Most disturbing
It makes me twitchy
And unlikely ever to gain employment





Happy war


I just can't do it
Can't write one of those inspiring
'They gave their lives with honour' numbers
Packed full of glorious verses
Poppy fields swaying
Twelve geese a-laying
It's not happening

Can't manage either
An anti-Bush and Blair anthem
Would love to write one
But just can't find the words
Blair, Blair
It's not fair
It's not looking good

Even avoiding the 24 hour news diet
War can be just too graphic for words I think
Men and women are taken to pieces
Some quickly, some slowly
Some end widows, some widowers
And what is the word for a mother, a father
Who no longer has any children left living?

The radio talks of war
And I see arms and legs
Loose without bodies
And lots and lots
And lots of blood
No poppies, no roses, no flowers really
Just boxes and bags of bits of people

Even the oh-so local papers can't avoid it
Every day faces smile out of people now dead
They are gone past us but the smiles remain
Unsettling, unfair, unbearable
Smiles show strangely the pain of loss
The quite possibly perfectly pointless sacrifice
They make writing difficult, living difficult.





Happy new hope 


Years have to start with hope, this is essential
We have to feel that good things are to come
A lack of hope can be most detrimental
It can stop New Year’s Eve from being fun.
No, seeing smiles ahead is fairly vital
We should see triumphs and tranquillity
We listen (hark) for fanfares by the skyful
Between them sighs contented, full and free.
We need to feel our hearts are in it with us
That hope has made it, somehow, through and through
Life’s switches may be always out to dim us
But we can think of ways to glow anew.
This New Year’s hopes might be the ones to make it
The outstretched hand - we see it, match it, take it.





Short valentine


Roses are red
Violets are violet
Please love me
My life's in the toilet

Straight on till blast-off (Xmas)

You want me to SLEEP?

When I'm more excited than I've EVER been!
When a funny old man in (for some reason)
A red suit and a white beard
Is right NOW (as we SPEAK!) above the ROOFTOPS!
He's in a HUGE sleigh, so you say, piled with presents
And the sleigh is pulled by (can you believe this?)
Real MAGIC animals (the like of which I've never SEEN)!
This is REAL, TRUE and nothing like a film or a video game!
And all this is going on above my HEAD
And you say you want me to go to SLEEP?


I mean, I know I shouldn't be greedy and everything
But there is just the TINIEST possibility (isn't there?)
That the entire contents of the kids section of the Argos catalogue
Is going to turn up in my room at some point this evening
And if that happens, well, I'd like to see it.
I mean, I've been good  (most of the time)
I've washed my hands (OVER and OVER) like you tell me
And I've tried to be nice to everybody (and that's HARD)
So going to sleep now (if you don't mind me saying so)
Well, that's a bit of a crazy thing to ask a person.

And don't forget there's been the Xmas songs
(On the shops...on the radio...)
And there's been shows at school and there's been
'Let's write that Xmas email to Santa'
And you know, a child's only human
And all these things conspire against us,
They excite us and they TORTURE us
And now, like pretty much every child in the country,
I am worked up into a FRENZY!
I am Xmas alive and kicking and raring to go...
So sleep, I have to tell you,
Is really the last thing on my mind right now.

I can't even remember how to spell it.

But I tell you what
You go and have a sleep (if you're so keen on it).
You've got a long day ahead of you tomorrow after all,
You'd best get your head down
While you can.

Death by fair trade

When I go, you know, dead,
Will you sink me in chocolate,
Make me bittersmooth, tempting,
A real corpse of a treat?

Will you display me briefly,
Then brew a huge pot of tea,
Will you hand out strong mugs of it,
Sit down to feast?

Will you snap off so carefully,
Each long brittle finger,
Will you crunch on them lovingly,
Relish what's gone?

Will you share me with neighbours,
Will you pass round a plate of me,
Will you make me go quietly,
Or raise a sweet parting song?

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

Poems about People

Andy's ears


He's on
The telephone all day
His ears full
Of all the complaints
Human beings can muster

After dark
His ears crave
The thrill that is
The human voice
When it's hanging
By a thread
Vocal chords fighting
Duels with each other

His ears make
The most of their diversions
They dance
By night
Free from the tensions
Of their daytime employment
They slurp down
Intoxicating alcoholic sounds
They live it up
Right up in there
They make believe passion
Is all there is
To hear
They tire themselves
To sleep and dream
Of aural joy
That's all days
And forever





Born-again renaissance man


He'll be angry forever
World owes him big time
He's all over spiky
And he likes that just fine
He pouts when he thinks
No-one cares about him
He's brilliant, talented
Full to the brim
He's creative, it swamps him
His feelings are rare
He is thought, he is meaning
He's beyond all compare
How could you know anything
When he knows it all
He's one big huge wonder
So you must be small





Cakes in rain


Here at your close we stand
Thinking racking torturing
We want
You to be
You left so soon and before time
Has left us
We want to meet you
Set a date
You'll never
We want to tell you struggling
Is over now
We're glad
We come to lay your brain to rest
A mighty
Fight it's
You tried to draw the perfect plan
Your pens
Were filled with
Confusion wasted ever drop
You turned
Too tired to
And then to bake the world a cake
Feed every
Girl and
But in your final set of scales





Fairly tiresome self-assurance


Just in case you hadn’t heard
This is what I am like
And again, in case you missed it
Here I am, this is me
See me, hear me, see me some more
This is really
If you hadn’t noticed
What I am like

Don’t mess with me
I’ve warned you
I am so sure of myself
Not scared
To be a caricature
In fact
Reassured by stereotype
I can promise you
It feels great
Being me

So, once and for all
Don’t bug me
Don’t question me
Don’t try and change me
Because I’ve said it before
And I’ll say it again
In fact it’s rare
I’ll ever say anything else
This is what I am like
This is what I am like





Family ties


Drink and eat
Tea and cake
Bonds strain
Bones break

Eat some words
Bite your tongue
Been confused
Feelings gone

Pour a cup
Drink some more
Still confused
Heart is raw

Slurp and chew
Through the mess





How cool


I wanna be
With that band that
Swears a lot
I wanna
Smoke all the time
Use people
Lower on the ladder
As ashtrays
I wanna
Lick the face
Of anyone
Who can make me
Look better
Than I already do
I wanna
Never think
Of anything
But the superficial
Cos I'm cool like that





Questions for a queen


What do you think of your children's divorces?
Do you close your eyes and dream about horses?
Is it tiring to always be part of a show?
Do you care when a poet to honours says 'no'?
Do you feel like us, do you cry wet tears?
Have you changed, as we all have, over the years?
Has it been a real life, has it felt real to you?
To us it seems fiction, your story, untrue
Parades and carriages and armies of staff
Do you never just long to run your own bath?
Do you like it, would you choose it, would you be queen again?
Or would you rather live quietly, just one of them?
Less money, fewer banquets, not a sniff of a crown
Just headscarves or, better still, hair let right down





She’s not there


(Joan Eardley – ‘Joan Eardley, 1921 -1963, Artist’ 1943)


There are bad days
Not even half days
And when they come
The broken pieces of her face
Seem so perfectly formed

Reassuring, they say
‘The sky is still there
The colours still worth seeing
Being broken simply isn’t
The worst thing you can be’

Comforted, I brush my crumbs together
And look carefully, cautiously
At the slightly scrappy, sorry collection
Still sad but less lonely
In their fragments than before

The portrait feels like family
Or so I can imagine
We are the not quite whole people
The bits and pieces people
The hundreds and the thousands







Whatever they're doing is better
Whatever you're doing is wrong
They are 'testing the boundaries'
You are just 'bumbling along'

They have all the right tools
The outfit, the know-how, the flair
You can live in their shadow
Be quiet, sit down, yes, you there!

They like skiing and soaring
You might manage a smile
They are so bloody marvellous
You are the rank and the file

Please don't try to upset things
Please just stay where you're put
You may think the door looks half open
But watch as it's slammed on your foot

Yes, back in your place, you're an upstart
And you're spoiling it all for the rest
Keep to the rules and stop smiling
You're cheerful, a pain and a pest





Struggling for significance


You rack your brains
And chant to yourself
'I must have something
Important to say'
You stay up late
You know
You always did that anyway

You try exercises
Words come out
You declare 'See
Persistence does pay'
But the words
Are not great
You howl
'Why does nothing ever go my way?'

You never
Not once
'Maybe my talents lie elsewhere'
Your self-belief is strong
That much I will say





The loveliest girl 


Her smile spells
In big letters
She is most truly
Too good for this world
She lives
And stamps her feet to dance
Her voice is raised alright
But just to sing





The ship


More than a TV show
People have very different interpretations of this word

To me 'we're friends' means
I value you as a person
I see you as an equal
I am not better or worse than you
You have qualities I admire
That draw me to you rather than to others
I want to do things for you
And relax knowing that we will help each other
I trust you
Because you are my friend specifically
Not an unknown quantity
Or a floating voter
But a supporter
Supporting me whilst I'm supporting you
We're a feat of physics
A natural phenomenon
Proof that people help each other
For reasons other than finances and self-interest

I believe all this
Sometimes it seems stupidly
This word friends
Maybe I read too much into it





Unfulfilled Annie


She wants a record in the charts
(and crisps and pie and jam-filled tarts)
She wants a trust fund full of cash
(and bags and bags of shopping trash)
She wants love and health and money
(and to be kind and warm and funny)
She wants to paint and sing and dance
(the moonlight, music and romance)
She wants the latest in all fields
(plus someone else to cook her meals)
She wants so much it's plain to see
She always will awanting be





We're finished


There was a time we were close
Loved each other the most
So excited to feel
A connection so real
Didn't last though did it
And now we're stuck with it
Can't even finish with each other
Like couples do
Cos we were friends
And friends stay true

Now week after week we avoid the admission
That we don't really have that much in common
Not now anyway
Not any more
Odd moments of fun
The rest a right bore
Your habits annoying
Your sentiment cloying
If friendship is a line we're at this one's end
Time to give up and face it
We're finished







Widows talk about the war
An old kiss
They dance the quick steps
Their feet miss
The photos are grey
But the hearts pound
Some widows are half
Buried underground

The man

You stink of power
Sweaty, wrong
Your stupid vests
Off white, too long
Your meat-slab hands
So mean and low
Your eating habits
Far to go

You're selfish, greedy
Cruel, lazy
More TV dinner
Than Scorsese
You're hooked on women
Screw by screw
What you don't care
Is why or who

And yet you're craved
With passions strong
At home we wait
Full hungry throng
We know it's fatal
Falling so
God damn you, Tony

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)