Ground (song)

I never really knew
(do you still want me)
this feeling is nothing new
(you still haunt me)
feeling like something flew
(right past me)
wings while I lost the ground
(I can’t see)

I’m in the shadow sea
(can you see me)
buried among the trees
(can you feel me)
can’t see past undergrowth
(the real me)
writing those words with hope
(such sounds misconceived)

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
(can you hear me)
live up to the promises
(do you still dream of me)
the sky is still falling down
(I see it clearly)
never was when you were around
(this is sincerity)

This needs another verse or two. I have the music all done but am struggling to finish the lyrics.

Every musician’s dream, right? But as each day passes I find myself questioning whether or not it is what I really want. I’ve started packing up and getting ready but I really am torn. There’s a big part of me that would rather just disappear, and that is still an option. I’m changing my name regardless and leaving behind pretty much everyone I have ever known, and making it very difficult to contact me. Email accounts, social media, even this site will be gone. The time is definitely getting closer to being forced to make up my mind. Do I head south, to the state full of right wing conspiracy lunatics, just to follow a once held dream of making music, or just leave for elsewhere, either within this country or another (I have options in that respect). I just don’t know for sure. I don’t think I’ll find happiness or redemption either way.

Emergency surgery

Another day another trip to the hospital. I ended up back in the ER yesterday, after having woken to excruciating pain about 1:30 in the morning. And having emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. It looks like recovery will take a week or two but I’m back home at least. It came without warning and they said I was very lucky in catching it before it ruptured. It wasn’t a fun time. Many thanks are due to the medical and support staff at the hospital who did their very best to take care of me. Looks like I’m having a bit of a run of bad luck health wise. I rather hope this will be the last of it. So I have to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I’ll miss my early morning walks a lot. BUt no doubt I’ll be able to get back to them soon.

I wouldn’t wish the pain I felt on anyone. After 16mg of morphine there was at least a little bit of relief, and they’ve sent me home with decent painkillers. A couple of my work colleagues picked me up from the hospital (somehow I had managed to drive there on my own during a snowstorm in horrific pain) and got me home. And even got the trash out for me (no way I could do that). I’m not particularly good at taking it easy but I’ll figure it out. Better that than end up back in the hospital. Maybe I’ll even find some time to write and paint a bit more.

Coming in the new year

Not really linked to this page or even related, but it is my sideline business. Having tested and refined some recipes we intend to swing into production in 2021. We’ll be offering hand crafted, organic body bars, shampoos, conditioners, beard oils and balms, shaving soaps, bath bombs etc. More to come as we get things up and running.


Sometime while I was asleep on Sunday night into Monday morning something went wrong. I woke, tried to rise, and fell. My balance was gone. I had to grip the wall merely to stand upright. I couldn’t see out of my left eye. I felt weak on that side. I felt confused and struggled to find words even in my own head. It was later confirmed that I’d suffered a stroke. I am recovering. I managed a short slow walk this morning, listing to the side as there is still some weakness there, but I managed it.

I’m not elderly. I’m far from overweight. I exercise daily. I do have a couple of other, longer term, health issues (for which I stopped treatment some months ago), but this was a much more immediate danger. Over the last eight months I have put my body through some rather abusive times. One’s emotional and psychological state can have severe impacts on physical well-being, especially when combined with extraordinarily self-destructive behaviour. When that state is brought on by intense emotional trauma that doesn’t improve with time the results are obvious – at least in me.

Having had some time to reflect on this event (and the ones that preceded it – I’d had some moments in the last eight weeks or so that I am now told were precursors to this more serious incident), I’m almost bemused. I’m only writing about this here. I’m not telling friends or family (and only one of my friends is on this platform). I’m probably not going to make any of the recommended lifestyle changes. It isn’t that I have a deathwish – I don’t. I’m not actively suicidal. But I don’t have a lifewish either. I find myself profoundly indifferent to my own fate. Filled with empathy and compassion for others, but not really giving a damn about myself.

Some months ago, during the first month after the trauma that has had such an impact on my life, I completed my formal will. I left everything to the cause of that very trauma. It’ll no doubt be something of a surprise. I have no beliefs in gods or religion, so I do rather ask that if people feel the urge to comment they don’t bother with that. I accept that this is almost all my own doing as a result of the life I have lived since March. I’m not looking for sympathy or compassion. C’est la vie.

I will continue to write and paint (I’m a flawed if passable writer at times, and the worst painter ever but I really don’t care). Although that is somewhat more difficult for me right now. Music might be out of reach for a few more days at least. I have half worked pieces I hope to finish today. I’ll continue to provide whatever entertainment or food for thought I am able. And that includes today when I hope to post both a poem and a painting (lol, yes I know you can hardly wait!).

Thanks all. I’m grateful for all of you who regularly read my thoughts. NB 2020

Making Music

Please excuse my relative absence here for now. I’m working on writing and recording a number of songs (and I will be sharing here). It’s a mix of electro-industrial, futurepop (thank you VNV Nation for coining that name), and oddball pop with a bit of hiphop and punk/metal crossover thrown in – not all genres in the same work though. It all takes time as most of what I am doing involves multiple tracks which then need mixing. Making music is a time consuming process, writing lyrics can be quite emotionally draining. It’s been a lot of years since I last did this seriously, and things have changed a bit so I value your patience.

And unfortunately work (the day job) is also taking up a fair portion of my waking hours right now. On the other hand my studio is now in good enough shape to at least begin the process. New Les Paul guitar, effects, good quality midi controller (and DAW software), decent vocal mic etc are in place. Eventually I would like to add a bass guitar, an electric violin (you should hear some of the awesome things you can do with these run through guitar effects), more VST plugins etc.., It all costs money and I’m not a rich man. But I’m hoping that it turns out well with what I have now and that I will be able to help provide you with both entertainment and some food for thought.

The creation process itself is fraught with ups and downs. I rely heavily on inspiration and years of training as a classical musician — not to mention quite a few as a working musician but it’s been a while. If I’m not feeling it I simply cannot write at that time. All that can add up pretty quickly when you’re working a day job and not sleeping. But it’s a work in progress and I do expect to be able to post a few things soon. My influences run the gamut of almost everything (although I’m sadly incapable of writing reggae). From Bach to Behemoth, from Carcass to the Cure, from Peter and the Test Tube Babies to Pink. You get the picture. The one thing I really struggle with is writing drum tracks. ISO drum programmer (not entirely kidding about that)?

All in all it’s coming along and I’m holding back a lot of poetry/lyrics so as to introduce them as fully fledged songs. Lyrically they run the range from deeply personal to working class activism, with a fair bit of reference to varying mythologies as well. So again, thank you for your patience as I go through this creative process. I truly hope you will enjoy the results.

Note 0.2

Believe it or not, I used to write the poetry of love. I suppose in some ways I still do. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy untangling who I am and what drives me. I’ve even had brain scans. The parts of my brain that are responsible for emotional responses are far more active than in ‘normal’ people. They also take much longer to return to a baseline state. My therapist aptly described my state as having the emotional equivalent of third degree burns all over my body – any touch can be intense far beyond what most people will ever experience.

Overall people with this condition have a suicide attempt rate of 80%. Ten percent succeed in ending their own lives. It’s a shocking statistic that reflects the deep anguish felt by so many. Ninety percent of us commit other acts of self-harm. Anything to stop the pain. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t feel like this – except those few short months. David Foster Wallace wrote that the suicide is not so much out of hopelessness, but an overcoming of the fear of death. Because that death can be preferable to interminable and excruciating agony.

So, I spent a lot of time in therapy. There are parts of this condition I would happily be rid of. The terrifying fear of abandonment (now driven by the reality of it), the suffering that can be caused by an ill-chosen word or glance, the horror of feeling nothing at all. But there are other parts of it that bring happiness. When I love, I love wholeheartedly, with nothing held back. I weep in delight at beauty. Some of you might recognise this condition, some of you might even have it. Over the years I’ve dealt with it by way of self-harm, by way of substance abuse, by way of writing.

Mere months ago, I was writing words of love and beauty. I was, and still am, deeply in love. But that is now leavened with despair as my fear of total abandonment came to pass in a coldly callous fashion. With it comes this immense suffering. And falling back on those old stalwarts of substance abuse and harm – although I kept a promise to her by not cutting again. I’ve written a lot. Soon it will be published in book form, with an open dedication to her. None of which, I am sure, she will ever read.

I don’t know how to get out of this despair. I’ve written that each day is worse than the one before, that time does not heal all wounds, but rather makes them fester and weep. I wish I was writing love poetry again; I wish it had never stopped. But the reality is that the universe is a cold and uncaring place. Full of cold and uncaring people. Frequent readers and followers can still see, I think, the underlying love. Ian Curtis once opined that ‘love will tear us apart’. He was right. It’s the most powerful force I have ever known, and the most destructive.

I’m going to keep writing. Some of it is raw. I hope it all touches someone in some way. In this culture of bullshit machismo, it’s frowned upon still for men to discuss emotions; I will continue writing anyway. Perhaps it can only be the expression of a broken being. Be that as it may, it’s a faithful representation of me, of my inner thoughts. Each word can be agony. But each demands expression. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening. I may be ruined and ravaged, but I still have a voice.

A note from the author

I hesitate to call myself a poet, although I do write poetry, it seems too lofty a title for what I do. My writing is deeply personal, confessional, and can be harrowing to create and publish. I often write of complex and overwhelming emotional distress, addiction, loss, and grief. Everything I write has meaning to me, but I hope you bring your own meaning as you read. I think that is more important seeking to analyse what I am saying about me.

Poetry, for me, is an expression of the complexity of the human experience, with all its beauty and all its ugly harshness. I’m not one to write of the glories of nature, or the dance of light on a misty morning. Because that is not the life I behold. Mine is an inner life expressed with these poor words, rather than one that reflects the externalities of existence.

I want to thank you for reading, liking, following. I do invite comments and critiques, and I am interested in the idea of collaboration with others. Again, my thanks, I have always doubted my own abilities as a writer and poet, and each time something is read and enjoyed I gain some small but growing confidence.