Friday, 30 November 2007


You know how sometimes in life a friend introduces you to a singer/songwriter who seems to capture your exact mood or near-as-dammit exactly what's going on around you at that time. Well this was my experience when my friend Dan introduced me to the works of the late Elliot Smith (left). Needless to say it led to a poem or two as echo after echo of certain tracks began to reverberate.

Anthem for a Doomed 21st Century Youth
(Elliot Smiths’ Waltz No. 2)

'In the place where I make no mistakes,
In the place where I have what it takes'

I think I fell in love with your sentence structure
The bleak beauty you forged of the disassociation all around.
Dreams still flickering, under the inadequate crush
'Tell Mr Man with impossible plans
To just leave me alone.'

Simon & Garfunkel crossed with surfer dude and bite
A strange hybrid with an offbeat four-track heart
You took the fading of successful failure hard
'I'm never gonna know you now
But I'm gonna love you anyhow'

Yes I will. Gentle voice. Grand orchestral finish
Enveloping in your wavewall of intimacy.
I cruelly play you again, at point blank range, with a laser
‘You're no good, you're no good, you're no good'
Can't you tell that it's well understood?'

I would like to write these words in music notes
Share the melody with a page of rising, falling prose
Move others as I am moved.
'First the mike, then a half cigarette
Singing Cathy's Clown’

That sinister touch. Those hairs. The back of my neck.
There’s no rest, no life outside of music
As you knew, before life consumed art consumed you.

© LS King 2005

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Monday, 26 November 2007

Sorry to Dredge This Up

All the heavy rain recently has reminded me of the Oxford floods earlier this year.
Here's one I wrote earlier for a competition, but I guess the copyright's still mine!

Charge of The Water Tight

We need to be shorter of water if you won't do what you oughtta
You expect us to save you, then what do you do?
Try to drown us in our own homes, beach our bones.
Water be good, you never do what you should
You p*ss a monsoon in June, when we wanted sun and moon,
Shanghai July, will you ever say goodbye?
For it's hard to find the high land on Osney Island.
Land Ahoy! Uh-oh, false alarm, a lifebuoy...
Water get it right, we'll let you rain each night,
But when it's light, it's the turn of bright.
The sun is sick of keeping his hat on.
The sun wants to put some self-screen (and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go) on.
So stop putting the ark into architecture
Gimme a break from paddling my furniture.
Rivers are for boats, fields are for goats
Houses are for people, the end of this line is quite feeble...
But you get the picture while I fetch the pitcher
Fill it from the bowser, 'cos I'm worried about the sewer.
Now I don't want to water you down, diminish your vitalness to my town,
But remind me again why I'm saving you when I'm 70% water, and this world is too.
Convection rainfall ensures you're re-cycled, sewage plants that you're re-cycled
Frankly I think you're weir-ed and wonder why you're metered.

© LS King 2007

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*For those unfamiliar with Oxford, Osney Island is a residential area surrounded by rivers near the city centre, notorious for flooding! Naturally it's also where OU are planning to build the new book depository for the Bodleian Library...*

Friday, 23 November 2007

Passionate about Having it Large!

Having overtaken a lorry on the ringroad the other day emblazoned with the legend; 'Robinsons - Passionate About Dry Cleaning!' in some state of disbelief, I've decided that it was right.

Henceforth I shall throw myself into this life experience business in a whole new full-on, up for it, no holds barred way. No more caution for me. Hah! I laugh at caution! No, not only am I going to obey the dictates to be 'fanatical about film' and 'passionate' about a certain chain's food, I'm going to become loopy about loans, hysterical about holidays, ecstatic about energy, orgasmic about insurance, whoopy doo about work! Doollally about debt. I'm going to believe that a breakfast cereal which tastes like rubber can change my life and that a new iPod mobile can make me look like the happening babe on the excessive packaging it comes in. And I'm going to embrace my drycleaning and every other sex-substitute daily.

To swim against this tide any longer is futile and I've lost my water wings. You win, hypemeisters. Advertising works.

Just bear in mind that if your product doesn't make me successful, stunning, deliriously happy, sexy and the funkiest being on the planet/your packaging, I will sue!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Obesity in Cars

Are cars getting fatter,
Or are parking spaces getting thinner?
Are parking spaces anorexic,
Or are cars eating too much dinner?

© LS King 2007

Friday, 16 November 2007

New Car

Sadly I had to say goodbye to my 11 year old Swiftie this week as it was literally on its last legs/wheels and getting more unreliable by the day.

However my new car has some rather alarming features. For example I pressed 'Cruise Control' and a bank of missiles rose up from the boot. I then tried 'Climate Control' and the road in front immediately transmogrified into an ice valley.

I thought I saw a mammoth in the distance.

To everyone who lost their homes as a result of my thoughtless fiddling with these buttons, I can only apologise. I promise I'll take it back to the garage.

Photo by

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

God Botherers

I mean how DARE they assume I'm not saved. What a flippin' cheek! And where is their moneyback guarantee that they could save my evil soul anyway? Not to mention the 70 dusky male virgins I really must insist upon, awaiting me in the hereafter! I mean most of these people don't even look like they can hold down jobs, let alone gods! Their sheer arrogance (or delusion) is breathtaking, although to be a bit charitable, maybe there is a case to be answered for having some sort of moral presence on the streets in this increasingly ammoral & godfree world of ours - of a hue that citizens of any creed could respect and respond to. Notwithstanding, we did used to have the Police.

To wit, one of my stock replies to street evangelists used to be (accompanied by a sweet smile) 'Thanks but I'm happy as a Satanist.'- since that is evidently what one must be in their eyes if not saved by them.

I often think about the big G and wonder how much respect he has for the snivellers and grovellers of this world, terrified to blow their noses without a celestial 'sign' of approval, as oppose to those who try to work things out for themselves and live according to their own inner moral compass (God-given, presumably). Then there's all the representations of His word and what His Will might be - all filtered through the vanity of multifarious fallible human egos with their own personal agendas. Oh dear.

Hereth ends my lesson in Sanctimony (my new religion wot I've just invented) for the day folks...

Big answers on small postcards (and all your money to Her Holiness, the Saint Laura-eate please.)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Remembering Our Glorious Dead

Earth Memory

Peppered with red
You can see the formation
In which fell the dead
Each poppy, nature's marker

© LS King

The other weekend I was struck by how many children (a couple of them borderline hoodies!) seemed to be collecting for Poppy Day in place of old men in my local precinct, and found it very sad that even World War II is evidently rapidly passing out of living memory. There is nothing like having people around who were there as the most powerful reminder of the horrors of war/warning to succeeding generations.

One of the most moving WWI memorials I saw was at the Imperial War Museum a few years back where someone had constructed a large wreath out of white leather gloves which held each other's hands all round the wreath. Devastatingly effective, and it looked a bit like a large white poppy flower from a distance.

For a completely different (and some would argue equally valid) outlook on war/remembrance, here is minimalist poet Paul Birtill's take on it; -

Why I Never Wear A Red Poppy

Men love to fight
Men like action
half of them lied
and loved every moment of it -
best years of their lives -
the camaraderie, adventure,
heroic letters to their girls back home
not to mention the killing.
Men will always fight - in pubs
at football matches - beat up
their wives and children,
and that's why I never wear
a red poppy in November -
it just encourages them.

© Paul Birtill

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Thursday, 8 November 2007

A Conundrum

Whilst not a fan of Haiku (Die ku, I say!), I still think that sometimes the best poems are mercifully short. Here's one I prepared earlier...

Layman's Thought

Maybe only 20% of our brain is useable
'Cos we only use 20% of our lung capacity
To oxygenate it.
But - deprived of the other 80% -
I'm unable to expand on this theory...

© LS King

Amazing photo by

Monday, 5 November 2007

2-4-1 Poetry Deal!

What the Juice!

Slushie, smoothie, Spritzer, breezer, cooler
Cola, Shake, Drench, Quench, Juice drink.
I'm not cordial to any of you.
Keep out my shopping basket
I don't care if you're three-for-two.


I used to have respect for you
'Til I espied you with six
In the five or less queue...

© LS King 2007

**Of course I now reward M&S with my custom for using the semantically-correct lane dividers proclaiming 'Five items or FEWER'. **

For all you supermarket watchers out there, here's my previous poem on the subject; Bananas

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Friday, 2 November 2007


Having gone through a period of Michael Moore 'fatigue' following Fahrenheit 9/11, it was with some trepidation I went to see Sicko last weekend, not least with so many contrasting reviews either slagging it off as pretty much his worst film to date or praising it to the hilt as his best!
And how interesting was a film about the US medical insurance system likely to be anyway?
Surprisingly so, as it turned out, once I'd finished hiding under my jacket during the opening scenes of uninsured patients performing unaffordable surgery on themselves, that is.
While I'd heard of US citizens having to re-mortgage their homes in order to continue cancer treatment once their insurance had run out, I had no idea of the myriad of other outrageous injustices that were exposed in turn before my appalled eyes.
And yes there was a certain amount of gratuitous gimmickry involved as there always is in a MM film, such as the trip to Guantanamo Bay with some let down 9/11 heroes to demand access to the same free state of the art medical services that the 'evildoers' were entitled to, followed by the astonishing trip to Cuba to seek help for them there.
The trip to Hammersmith hospital to see how the Brits were treated by comparison was pretty amusing too. Not a single patient clogging the waiting room and sparkly floors and jolly (and rich) doctors galore! Evidently the hospital had had some weeks notice of MMs' visit! And while we Brits may receive medical care for free, there was no mention of the malnutrition or MRSA we risked after surgery. Or indeed the lengthy waiting lists before. And what about how they re-charge through exhorbitant TV/telephone facilities for patients and visitor car parking fees! But once our laughter at these scenes had subsided, my companion and I agreed we were still luckier to live in Britain than the States after some of the horror stories of sick patients whose death warrants were effectively signed though being refused insurance, or who were ejected from hospitals when their insurance ran out, if marginally luckier. The film also made the sobering point that even we Brits shouldn't take free healthcare for granted as political threats to it would never be far away.
Having followed Michael Moore's career since Roger & Me exposed the late 80s shenanigans of General Motors, of which he himself was a victim, like most people, I am torn between appreciating the fact that MM makes films that need to be made and getting just a little bit sick of that baseball cap and 'I'm just a regular guy, even a bit of a schmuck' routine. I think it's high time he changed his image and felt safe to dress in clothes that fit, not leastways now everyone knows who he is anyway, so disguise is futile! (remember our own undercover-meister Roger Cook?)
And this film had so much horrifying true-life material, there was really no need to dress it up as well, though the price tag graphics bobbing over the politicians taking the stage at a rally were inspired and I like the fact Michael Moore doesn't get bogged down in the spaghetti of politics, just boils it all down to each politicians' kick-back 'price' and the telling information of where they went to work next once they got the useful-to-their-future-corporate-employer legislation through.
So for all the carping that MM's a one trick pony who's running out of steam, I came away thinking - wow this is actually an amazing film which everyone needs to see - one of his best yet! A feeling I haven't had since his last masterpiece 'Bowling for Columbine'. And his philosophy is essentially right - the ways of the world shouldn't be some mysterious thing that only politicians and people with economists' degrees can understand, not least if they are supposed to benefit we the people who tax-finance and vote for it all, largely trusting the outcome will be in our interests.