The painting over of Guildhall by Antony Owen

Council officers have claimed whitening the panels between the vaulting ribs in the undercroft ceiling would have been part of the original medieval building, to maximise the restricted natural light.

Coventry Observer

 

In battle,
Boudicca painted her ribs
her eyes orange by burning garrisons.

In defeat,
Queen of Scots died a rose
wearing all red she painted the cobbles.

In Coventry’s Guildhall
Queen of Scots dreamt on silvered hay,
moonlight broke through bars freeing her.

I picture her laying there,
ribs like painted beams, tusks of stolen ivory,
the council of the day offended by her pungent fumes.

In battle,
Godiva floated on Pegasus naked as zodiacs
the council of the day jeered by lowly wing-less Saxons.

I picture the painting over of Guildhall –
a man’s arse crescent hanging out as he Duluxes the beams,
Moonwhite the vulgar shade oh yay the centuries reduced to this.

In the city of culture
a Guildhall welcomes Volgograd,
the sign that twinned us, covered in phoenix feathers and shit.

In the city of culture,
a poet like me will not be thanked
for telling you of the very foundations of culture.

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#Psalm 17 by Antony Owen

1

Birth is violent
we arrive bloody
primal and pure.
Mothership
Sever rope
Mayday
Help
Lost

2

Found
Jesus
Hanging
In America
Motherland
Sever children
Filicide and milk
They depart bloody
American death is violent

3

Lost
America.
Motherships
Sinking slowly
The seventeen atolls
Once upon a time in America
Pilgrims arrived in wooden cribs
Rising slowly they made children in salem

17

Pray
Shoot sky
Seventeen times
God will not return fire
the mothership burns in the black sea
seventeen gun salutes blow gods head off.

The Violin Killers by Antony Owen

In the Zyklon hills a guard yawned
Blowing halos in lukewarm sleet it was a long day
To mine a mouth of gold and Yiddish begs takes some doing
I have so many questions like why are they burning violins to warm their hands?

Hitler was a poor painter and his masterpiece ran all over the world erasing you,
So many questions like why did the ovens glow like new-born’s?
Why are you burying stars in a mass grave of strange crops?
Those portraits of war should be framed with starlight.

In grey zyklon fog you posted a death that arrived in twenty minutes,
they never died in queues and the mothers clutched at instinct,
babies cradled tight to chests in a shroud of maternity
I think that got to me the most as I flowered.

And so it is, the squelch of Russian boots in mud and ash did come,
The living bones queued and their shadows were like hoes
Raking up the debris as they walked slovenly to sunlight
I remember you, I mourn the life and muddy stars.

A black man laid naked in the snow by Antony Owen

To me you were never the hate crime
you were darkness in the fracture of snowflakes,
a man who loved a man who was white as a slave ship mast.

To me you were always the love crime
who melted in his white frame like blood into pure snow.
I thought of you last night when a robin drank from a stone angel.

Five days from now I will be forty-five
you would be sixty one and in another place we would be us,
I would read you war poems and we’d leave our skins on our shadows.

Man I never knew, I loved your death,
the flowers of fibula that covered your bludgeoned face
your beautiful face which conquered twenty-two blows of two men.

To me you were never the hate crime,
You were the eye-white snow that saw you and closed your eyes.
Tonight I will kiss my brother on the lips and draw him closer than breath.

The Shithole Countries by Antony Owen

What makes a shithole country?
A hurricane with a white man’s name that voodooed Haiti and Orleans?
If I spoke Creole and something poetic would it re-home the numeric refugee?
If I un-spoke what makes us human would my tongue weave the word shithole country?

I read once that America was made by an ideal
The redcoat savages who spoke politely were defeated by an ideal,
The redskin natives were massacred by migrants, white as the wolf-skin moon.
I was read once by a woman from the Marshall Islands nuked by America sixty seven times.

Is this what makes a shot hole country, I am so confused.

What makes a shit person in a shitty world?
Is it when people are reduced to automated slavery?
Is it when the sacred land of its ancestors exhumes oil through bone?
I heard a girl called Malala once speak a whole world unto her precious tongue.

What makes a shithole country?
Is it when blind people fail to see the human beings and their souls landscape.
I believe what truly conquers a person is the spirit in which the skin and bone reside,
A white and black person are the same in the atlas of an unjudging God and she rules me.

The Slapping by a Palestinian Girl by Antony Owen

If you wish upon a Palestinian star I don’t think of David in Goliath
but I think of Ahed the girl who slapped a soldier and hit the nerve.
If I think of the moon I do not think of a sea of tranquillity aglow,
I think of gum on Palestinian tarmac trampled on by soldiers boots.

I want to stamp my lips like a visa on to the lips of weeping parents,
I want to tell them that border lines were drawn by wars drunk devil.
When I was the age of Ahed a doctor slapped my veins for a syringe,
he told me it wouldn’t hurt and lied but when I awoke I saw the fib.

Tonight the sky looks wondrous and the city lights invade its beauty,
I have to look harder to see that stars of Bethlehem are not the brightest.
In truth they are not yellow or white but made up of Gods and magnesium,
if we apply humanity I guess what makes them shine is to share them

I want to slap the idiots who use twitter as a platform for policy,
men who slap asses and grab vaginas like they are gods and hucksters.
I want to slap the war mongering peace makers and shout “wake the fuck up”,
We do not give away Jerusalem or drink the Nestle rain to profit from pain.

When I was a kid it was Bethlehem that took me to something more than Trump,
It was a soldier who died like Macbeth after Duncan and I saw this as sad.
When I was a kid my Grandfather told me that to catch a star you must dream,
Last night I dreamt of Ahed and she slapped a door that shut away the free world.

We are here Ahed,
You are not there.

 

The story behind these poems by Debasis, Antony and myself can be found in the following link:

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/israel-extends-imprisonment-girl-who-slapped-soldier#.WkbIbueePRs.facebook

Meghan Markle’s Dress by Antony Owen

To clad a sister of Grenfell would not look as lovely as you.
An oak panelled council room disputes the two costs of blood and monetary,
a three-bar fire can keep the poor coin-warm and Grenfell had twenty-three tiers,
and a million tears, to dispute the two tiers, and precious tears shed of fire and water.

How very left wing of me.

To clad a red-blooded woman in a dress that could fireguard a thousand mere subjects,
I did the math over my cornflakes and very Un-Brexitly sighed at my patriotism,
hard to deny how the warmth of your glare billows into the cold at the Prince
not dissimilar to all the little princes and princesses asleep in the choky robes.

 How very body of the bird of me.

To keep a homeless man warm a rich boy can set fire to ten pound notes and guffaw,
the queen is burning in front of his face with the fat of her lowly animals
and his laughter is glowing unknowingly into an I-phone of a stranger,
look, I’ve found a province of England but cannot claim it with a flag.

How very bird song of me.

The dimming Sun is telling the alleged world of Meghan Markle’s ‘braless dress’.
I remembered a mime in Hyde Park wash away the face that paid her rent,
she lived like Rapunzel in a grey tower that an evil witch kept her in,
They smelt her hair in a different way that her lover did on Saturdays.

How very un-right wing of me.

I like being a citizen of the world and of nowhere as Theresa might decry.
I like Harry and I like Meghan but that dress makes the world look ugly.
In a few months you’ll light the selective tapers in Westminster Abbey,
pass the murderous frescoes in a beautiful dress and remember them.

 

How very human of me.

The Society of Happy Poems by Antony Owen

I’ve an army of followers on twitter she said,
strange how all of them were poets not soldiers.
She asked me when I’d write something happy
people do not want to read invisible atrocities.

..
I’ve an army of followers on twitter she said
they sometimes fight over the golden perch,
and each tweet rips a feather from the wren,
the wren that sang in Ypres for followers of no man’s land.

..
An army of soldiers gave away candy to children,
they had nineteen followers shouting me, me, me.
One of the sweet wrappers was followed by Jihadis,
stories of war and wren song do not end happy.

..
Two years ago, I followed the stories of ancient children,
one of them collapsed at the plane that killed Hiroshima,
a film crew followed her and hung her privacy for all to see.
Her son rang from Tokyo, “now the whole world knows” he said.

..
I’ve an army of followers on twitter she said,
so Antony, when will you write a happy poem?
I replied when more poets follow the soldiers and
civilians who can’t be found in the places you look for art.

..
I’ve no army of followers on twitter and survive in concealment,
there is a posh ointment jar filthy with flies and a fingerprint maze.
in the artform of funding applications I re-read a war poem by Anon,
the ink has almost faded yet her world is never more vivid.

In Response to the Daily Fail who Mock my City of Culture by Antony Owen

You portray rats as refugees like Nazi propaganda,
we take them in like mothers do scent to their kin
they paint our grey city as a portrait of sanctuary,
take that in for a moment and let it absorb like ink.

You report there is more culture in a yoghurt than in Cov,
like the yoghurt and milk from foodbanks under our ring road?
Or yoghurt adverts on your website interrupting fake journalism?
Did you know that twitter is a nest where some vultures circle?

In my city is a Rastafarian man washing his hair in a library sink,
he reads books and reads people then begs for change yet changes us.
it is people like him with his cap filled with rain and loose change,
that make us the richest city in all the right ways you fail to see.

My grey city was mixed with two tone to get to this colour,
a colour you can never see so why not come and feel its palor,
all of us shall welcome you like real people in the real news.
We are making a tide and a shore, shaping the rocks for all to stay here.

Come and see.

Jerusalem by Antony Owen

Earth was born a small stone from sling shot stars,
belonged to all before borders were fault lines.
Goliath was a giant hailed in the yellow sun, star,
I think all the stones have melted like ice in fire.

This is the age of walls being built or knocked down.
I dreamt of cuckoos in Jerusalem threading Acacia from Gaza,
they nested in the safety of mosque, spire, and synagogue and
I think the peacemakers with guns never heard that peacefulness.

Oh Jerusalem, a fool sang a ballad and asked wise men to dance to his tune,
and the fool saw a king so vain he was throwing crumbs like stones.
The stones looked big in the disappearing wastelands beyond the wall,
A slum child watches her breath shrink in the window pane and sees Palestine

Oh slum child, Gaza is an abacas made up of stones a little boy once held.
You live in skin that is not disputed yet it craves a place to be childhood.
Oh Jerusalem, your compass pin breaks at west yet your true north is all,
I am not going to tweet the songs that have come from your millennia’s.

There is a white house where an ass hee haws to the birds in Gaza
Once upon a time lived a family who lived to live and feel alive sometimes.
Nobody would know how a man excavated the shape of his son in linen,
How death wax leaves a fossil of who we were before the claiming.

Oh Jerusalem, the peacemakers with pens and guns will meet in the world,
land cannot be disputed if we are built of bone and the same blood.
I want to negotiate that I will decide as a citizen of the world
That I will not become a citizen of nowhere, I decide this.

The March by Antony Owen

For people like Joe and Jaz

 

A thousand flags joust the nationless sky
red, white, blue.
Those heavens are the home of our ancestors
of black, white, like me and you.

A thousand rags are the immigrants armour
St George of Palestine –
a life in bags from Drones of May and Obama,
Oh my darling Clementine.

A soldiers tags sway from her Mother’s neck
St Karen of Pwllheli,
A life in bags she is carried by Welsh Dragoons-
Mis-sold as British on telly.

A thousand noises yell violently what is British
none of them women.
A Sikh boy whispers silently, scared and skittish
His grandad fell at Ypres in British linen.

Amongst a plague of selective patriots I found the world
Aylan in the tide unfurled.

The Day you fall in Love with a Woman by Antony Owen

Sun uploads day and for the millionth and first time

you awake out of one dream into one shape written into linen.

 

When I was a young man I held a flower by the head

little did I realise the rip from its soil was the beauty of it all.

 

Now as a man I am ancient of loving you in the moment

all we have become is all that we will be in the sepia of old age.

 

When I was a baby my Father never knew how to hold me

it was always the crib inside mothers and lullabies of blood that held us.

 

The day you fall in love with a woman the stem of a star explodes

this light holds yesterday like a flower so delicate it will cut sky into red.

 

Night uploads moon, and stars burst like zinnias in a night garden

your head is in the earth of my skin and we bury ourselves into water.

Rohingya & other invisible places by Antony Owen

In Rohingya,
a bright bird was shunned for being beautiful
if you see a torc of vultures another village burnt down
only the river reflects what is happening like stories in another language.
To translate,
a bell is ringing from a dazed Ox circled in fire
it is only an Ox, he serves the mouth and disputed grass
at the very same moment in Srebrenica a covered woman unveils her tears.

In Paradise,
a man with dirty hands cleans a gold Rolls Royce by day.
At night he scrubs himself and the humming of his wife cleanses him.
England, he says, is guilding Yemen, creating refugees like sadistic greek gods.

To translate,
a bell is ringing from a Devon cow, milked for Tesco.
At five am they clean the udders and work them to ulcers
At the very same moment in Rohingya, a landmine clicks, the screen burns out.

To translate,
we are exhausted by death.

I Went Searching for a Hurricane and Found Miley Cyrus by Antony Owen

In the trademarked tragedies, I conducted a search party –
“Hurricane victims Asia” but only found Texas on Google.
On the second page I find a whole continent drowned in text,
an advert pops up for a cruise from Florida and I am marooned.

Every letter is a life raft that takes us to the shore of knowledge.
All I find is a kelp of red tape dragging me back west to lives that matter.
I was born white as masts anchored to the blood of my ancestors
one broke bread with a black man talking of manners covered in oil.

I am looking for Asia on google but it only exists in the margins,
a boy floats on a roof to his new home of strangers hands is this tragic?
A pop up story of the best dressed celebrities appears in his margins
Miley Cyrus is an Angel of donated dollars but she was not invited here.

I am googling for news of Texas and concerned at what footwear Melania wore,
a newspaper wears her shoes next to a major headline of nuclear tests.
It is odd how I find celebrities when I was searching for victims of hurricanes,
I feel like I am drowning in corporate tragedies valued fiscal over flesh.

American Noir by Antony Owen

After Heather Heyer

If I were killed by white power
do not fold a flag for me this black hour
hang it upside down like Jeremiah from Elm
human darkness shall erode the whitest realm.

If you were to mourn the way of my death
you are not rejoicing in the way I drew my breath,
I stood for something, to fall like water into the deep
I fell for something purer, it was more than America fast asleep.

If I was to grow through earth a flower
I’d grow through white weeds and not cower,
an American eagle would swoop down past my shoots
and the blood from its mouth would make strong my roots.

If I was an Eagle I’d fly with displaced birds to roost in the wall
and when we’d soar a mowed down woman would fall.
She stood for something and fell like sunset water,
all American blood, only her Mothers daughter.

Three minutes before when we built Barcelona by Antony Owen

“The creation continues incessantly through the media of man”
Antoni Gaudi

 

in the architected shade she once had her breath stolen by Gaudi,
in those yesterday monuments they talked of making an offer on twelve leaf road,
later they shared a crema catalana with two spoons and all was good as spires cut night open.

Girl in floral dress ran down las ramblas like palates against a half-finished painting.
Three nights ago she left her tooth and a fairy in her Father left five euros,
she is running to buy a windmill that will be claimed by the grabbing tide

There is a an old saying that a city comes alive in the darkness and never falls asleep.
In our beautiful wisdoms we are leant to the warm soil and god takes us back,
she reveals herself as a human with colourless skin and her heart is a lamp.

I want to walk through Barcelona with a red lamp and reveal the luminol of dusks kiss,
girl in floral dress can hold my hand and be the child I never had for a minute,
take these minutes and go to twelve leaf road and realise something like

You and I could’ve been that couple in Gaudi shade, six years ago this very day
I love you, the way you reveal your skin like monuments half built
we will finish this life and walk through Barcelona claiming tides.

The Last Tweet of the Real Donald Trump by Antony Owen

My scent once killed an outcast house-martin,

come Summer, Africa would have scented its plume.

I heard its last tweet from the vice of a factory cats mouth.

Since childhood I have learnt how migrant beings sing when free.

Sky is the skin of the universe and we are both the illness and the cure,

I used to whistle back to the crow incapable of joy because I saw myself in her.

 

Should the day ever come when I tweet my heart

I will not need one hundred and sixty characters to do so

I will hit the space bar one hundred and fifty nine times, then a comma –

and this will be my last tweet hoping that my song is all that is left and yet to come.

 

My Mothers scent once made three healthy boys,

she made a nest of working class heirlooms that stay with me,

her threadbare breath in winter, dead peoples ornaments, hand me down lullabies.

Hush now, we are ghosts of eggshells leaving the ectoplasm of our beautiful Mothers

Hush now, we are living our lives harder before those who steal the world keep us in cages.

I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing, by Antony Owen

When Grenfell windows exploded into miniature supernovas and firefighters froze in that world they will replay over and over, I shall always remember the autopsy of a well-meant poem by a bloke called Si who doesn’t write much and will never write again because a real poet told him at best it was doggerel. As the new world emerges unseen by the real poet who dissected Si’s well-meant poem I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing from the real poet who had so much to say and so little to write. Sometimes when I want to find answers to the hardships of modern life perhaps I’ll ring Si and say “Hey Si, I’ve a Haynes manual on the inner workings of a Ford Fiesta and it’s written perfectly so why not come over and we’ll discuss over hummus I bought from a hipster at a literary festival which is a place real poets unlike you go to, so, Si my pixelated pal do you wanna come round mine mate”? Alternatively I could pass on the technically perfect writings about non-subjects and read a really well intentioned and flawed poem by Si who knows he ain’t the best poet but he wanted to challenge himself on writing about something more important than the existential paradox of a thespian who lived in a disputed vineyard during the Napoleonic invasion of a place that people like Kev has never heard of because he’s only interested in stuff that is happening today. I have decided to write a poem for Si in the spirit of what he was saying but not in iambic pentameter just raw emotion in controlled couplets and it goes something like this….

 

I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing
I felt a technically flawed poem about something important

The latter poem was poorly written it was not a poem like this
I’d like to go and get wasted with Kev and make alphabet spaghetti.

The Living by Antony Owen

For Jo Cox

 

I hope your children learn what I was told as a kid by my Mother

that those brightest stars are the ones that will go first

those ones that take our breath away travel further

and then in the darkness they suddenly burst.

 

I hope your widower hears the immigrant birds from your soffits

that he thinks for a moment this bordered earth is all of ours.

I hope through the bird song you hear them as prophets

nnd that breaths in cold air are grey living flowers.

 

I hope you see a kite tail of hatchlings following their Mother

and learn that if the hawk was to snatch her in flight

that you like dying stars can guide them further

even if your eyes have lost in them her light.

 

I remember last year of a fox that petered out in the mist

like an ember spat out from the hearth that hissed

it was December when it sprayed like a cut wrist

in the whale light stars we smiled then kissed.

Left and Right Wings by Antony Owen

Imagine if a dove was your country soaring into thunder clouds and it started to tear itself bare. Imagine this, red from bleeding and bruised blue both wings stopped moving and left the squall to go it alone into the storm. Pummelled by harsh winds of change the heart of the dove was strong but had forgotten what made it navigate through savage storms. The left and right wing had forgotten that they were an extension of the heart and were there to serve the body of the dove and it’s vital organs shaped like counties. The Dove had forgotten that it’s songs began in the blood and ended at the beak where ballads of Calais and Dunkirk and places like India were written by bloodied quills. When the wings move together the Dove can stop falling but this does not mean it will arrive safely. This is down to the nature of the bird and its nature is dictated by its wings. It’s heart is fuelled by occasional rushes of blood and prone to moments of unexplainable behaviour that can be brave or stupid. The dove is not pure white but made up of many colours and this helps it to soar and makes it stand out from many other birds. There are many fat cuckoos and crows throwing beautiful eggs from boats of birch twigs and mud. These eggs are overlooked by all of the birds because they believe it will break the huge branches and overcrowd the boughs These birds are not allowed to roost because they are not from Elm or Oak despite looking the same bar a shade darker or lighter. The branches are the same colour as the feathers in the dove including the right and left wings of the dove. Four strange crows with ruffled black feathers are squawking at each other arguing over the spoils of burning trees and smashed eggs. The dark clouds are getting thicker, the wind against the dove and the departing squall is picking up speed, they need to start flying so they can avoid the storm. An Eagle starts ripping its feathers out next to a budgerigar admiring itself in a cage of broken mirrors. All the peacocks steal the food from the common birds. The sky is starved of song. The world is trying to juggle four winds to carry the birds as long it can. The birds start believing they are gods and act like them. The birds have forgotten how to sing. The left and the right wing move in opposite directions and the bird helter-skelters into the dark clouds making no noise at all as if consigned to its fate. The feathers on the bird glimmer like a kaleidoscope and the dove just does not realise how special it is. There is still time, the dove is heading into the bowel of Icarus, there is still time.