Poems from Joe (18) in Oxford, UK

Poems and stories

He11eventh Of The Ninth

What evil those people brought to this day,
With its two burning towers toppling away
Year after year, steeped in fear
And black as the abyss that sucks on us all.
What sickness now breeds in all of our hearts
When we see those two dark digits marked as dark
And feel those hearts break and fall away.
And the watch welt iron bonds melt and fade
In the fires of hate.

And we all blame them or the other
And don’t even bother to think
Of how we contributed
To this, the final state.
We all blame them or the other
And we give in to apathy
But it’s a mystery
How we all feel the same
When our dark bloodshot eyes
Fix on those two dark digits
That begin burning all over again.
(October 2004)

The French Have a Word For It

The French have a word for it.

Words connecting
Through language, minds fulfilling
Patterns of meaning, shaping something
Already ancient.
Chemicals opening gateways to places
Already somewhere close
To me but where I’ve never been.
The French have a word for it I think.
Parallel processing occurring, blurring together with
Paralysis, and it all comes back to this.

Back to the start of it.

Something clicked, suddenly mixed
In with all this
There were black life suckings
Drifting on the prevailing east wind,
Something tripped and ever since that split
It seems it all comes back to this.

Ironic twist
We blame all this and decay as we sit
And say we don’t even care, but
The black accumulates
At the base of our eye sockets
As we wait and watch the beginning of it
The black start of it.
(October 2004)

Me V City

I make me laugh sometimes,
I always like a good time.

It's up to you,
I don't mind.
Me V Time
Me V Circumstance
equals distant silences.

Impatient for trains
(its cold)
Nobody notice us.

No protest,
No opinion,
No direction.
Stare at the inside of my head and complicate.

Nothing to stare at.

Caged talkers
released but afraid,
overwhelmed by all the words that penetrate
can't speak straight.
The train is late.
(May 2004)

Status Anxiety (a tanka)

Fiends in high places,
Try climbing your own ladder,
all smiles and sunsets.

Ecstasy to misery,
dig a hole to sit in it.

Missing melanin
electrical cancer cells
infecting the brain

affecting orientation.
Black suits all smiles and sleazy
(May 2004)


They aren't the type to,
They always fail to.
They've poured away all earnt
and what they saved they burnt.

Its hard waking up too, to
early morning hangover fools.
They yawn a gaping hole,
and yearn for they're fading soul.

They don't even try to,
They're already resigned too,
repeating patterns and
catchy rythmic basslines.

The head-cracking spreads though.
Passed on and around through
instruments of escape
and what we save we scrape.
(May 2004)

(One) or the Other

(I have to decide) (to stop this breaking.)
(It's about)
(the who and where)
(and exactly what's)
(I can't stop this escaping)
(the rift is expanding)
(and in need of bridging)
(but whose there to?)

The walls on the inside
are cracked and leaking
in and out.
The evil is creeping
past the weakening
and the good is escaping.
The holes are expanding
and in need of repair
but whose there to?

(A lot on my mind,)
(clouded misty thinking)
(long and hard.)
(double meanings)
(reverse speaking)
(left hanging)
(by a text, electronics)
(us humans forget)
(and don't read through.)

A distinct lack of presence,
clouded distant staring
through and past.
One word answers,
drunk fallen dancers,
the pain numbed
by the saturation
the regrets repressed
and not read through.
(Mar 2004)

Apart From The Weather

What do they see?

Clouds and grey shadows
converging under streetlights
to smoke.
Hooded grey shadows
Hide in empty houses
to smoke.

Shortening white sticks
and a lack of credit
and a black throat
to show for it.
Burning white sticks
and a wandering of the streets,
and people who cross the road
to avoid it.

We are the worst
thing that happens here.
Apart from the weather.

(poetry workshop poem)
(Feb 2004)

This Is The Title Of My Poem

This is the first stanza.
It states the subject matter
of the rest of the poem,
which is, this poem.
It also has a link to
the second stanza.

(double space)

The second stanza develops
the idea that the first stanza
introduced in the first stanza.
This poem may also alliterate
and assonance is also present.
Part of this poem pretends to be
something it would much rather be,
a phonological masterpiece
with a regular metre.

(double space)

The final stanza often
includes a moment of epiphany
on the part of its speaker.
This one doesn't have a speaker
so there is no moment of epiphany!
And then the poem ends.

(this poem owes thanks to Michael Snow's 1984 film 'This Is The Title Of This Film.')
Feb 2004

9 P.M. (sunday morning)

Nine-o-clock shadows over the top of Sunday's hill,
directly up the road. My white window sill
used to bleach the light each morning.
Now that wall is bricked up and my bodyclock is digital.

Not yet woken from that fuck-it-all state
that occupied your mind,
last night runs into this morning
and that empty dwarfed-by-it-all feeling
begins to run thin
and its time to shrink
back into the corners of sleep and dream.

The pounding pendulum of last night's heavy bassline
now fades to a tinny cracking
that marks each second
and tallys your waking moments
with its scratching persistance
that echoes behind the whole nights signififance.

Somehow listening to these sacred tunes
without being fuelled
causes a kind of resenting bile
to rise into your mouth
and kill your smile,
and you have to let the echoes
in your brain play themselves out
and turn into subconcious, solitary subtleties
that may eventually become reality
and sleep.

Sunday's gone.
This morning it was getting dark
and I've got to get up in a few hours for work.
Best sleep.
(December 2003)

The Flames of Fate

'Driving under autumn's arches,'
is what he used to call it,
when we sped softly that day
down the curving Phoenix Way,
through the fiery arches
of trees planted
years ago.

'I used to slow,'
he said
'and lean out from my zone,
and breath in the musty smell
of autumn's decomposing harvest,
and I used to dwell
at laybys to rest
and watch day by day
the colours change
and the bright flames
fade away.

Until I and the family
moved to the city,
got a promotion, a new
slick sports car,
and a flat with a view
of the cold unchanging skyline
best viewed from afar.
I need not go that way anymore
just open lots of doors.

He was in the Herald the other day,
father of two passed away,
driving down that fiery way
just one last time
for old times sake,
it can only have been fate
the way that he forgot to wait
as he pulled straight out
without checking both ways.
His eyes were telling lies
and the flash of the red Ford Focus
he didn't notice
until he'd left us.

The trees all sleep now,
just wavering skeletal ghosts
moaning above the road.
(December 2003)

Death's Bait / The Human Desire For Intoxication

Death knows your weak spots,
Death knows your evil thoughts
that blacken even the purest hearts.
Tempts toxins by offering
the gift of uninhibiting
the gift of temporary innocence
that shifts the way we see things
and makes us stop believing.

With one hand Death teaches us
the way to alter our conciousness
and tells us to concentrate
on how our present state
of life is living, (not preparing for future).
And with the other hand
Death works hard with his brand
of dark deadly chemicals
that baffle academicals
and multiply at exponential
rates and eat away at our vital parts
breaching the networks in search of the heart
where Death is already waiting
so that Death can start
Death's deadly work.
(October 2003)

Settle down

I'll say it again in my own words,
another new angle on a tired theme,
nothing promising
just rephrasing
nothing to say
that's ever going to change this,
that hasn't already been said before this.

So settle down and stop fussing
we've already had this discussion,
don't worry your little head with
matters that've already been dealt with.

Just be one of those titles,
you've plenty to choose from,
continue on this cycle
because no matter what you say
to try and change things,
it's already been said before,
then again and again.
(October 2003)

The Human-Bee

I plant this potato
so that it'll grow
and I can eat,
but as I sow
on new soil
a plant which tempts
us and our desires
(to cook in deep fat friers)
will begin to grow
in earth it never would have known
if men like me
one hundred years ago
hadn't planted
row upon row.
(October 2003)

(More poems from Joe)


No longer looking at faces,
but at the branded names,
by which the youth are dominated.
Wearing these icons with pride
unknowing of the truth,
of how they have been lied
to, and of how they have been cheated
out of their freshly earned credit.
Wearing these images across their chests
to go with the image they want to send
into this world full already with too many
plastic opposites, each trying to better the rest.

And the segregation begins
and the colours and the fashions,
divide into fragments, emergent
at first, under lights of orange halogen
standing to attention
along the corners and cross roads
outside your home.
But when boredom
begins to come
and the groups of colours begin to clash
and the violence spreads like a virus
reaching along the arteries
of the family trees
that all of you know.

The divide caused initially
by important men in black suits
disscussing and quarrelling
about the desire for a new image.
(October 2003)

My Life (About You)

…and I'll write all about you,
'bout all the times I lied about you,
and fall asleep, have dreams about you
and sense your touch deep, sweet feelings run through
my soul as it searches through unknowns
and reach's alternatives, today,
with subtle differences in tone.

And wake and wish I'd settled on a different choice
and listened to that other voice, risked it,
and start making personal the subject
and keep waking up every morning
thinking, what must I be missing?
Then sinking insecurely inside of myself
for a battle between myself,
between balancing the choices
and hearing that soul's voice
once again explaining to myself
as clear as the words you read,
but the solution still seems a little bit risky.
(October 2003)

Escaping Escape

Stop staring at me all blank and absent like that,
as if you've lost all hope of getting back
to a state where you can cope with the fact
it's nice for a while,
escaping from your tears,
but running for years
will only make those fears
grow stronger in your mind.

I need to get a job,
I need to get a woman
I need to smoke much less
I need to put some weight on.
I need to stop escaping
and begin facing
the right way again.
I need to go out more
I need to drink more
and be more typical
(not so radical)
I need to catch the sun more.

I need to ask for more of all
the things I've always loved,
and all the questions I'm putting of asking
need to be answered.
I need to bleed more
and pass off some shit to someone
who can feel what I mean more.

I need to escape this escape.
(October 2003)


Can't think
Won't drink
Don't go out
Never shout
Can't afford
that world
Can't uncurl

Won't stop hiding
Won't stop lying
Gotta start talking
Gotta stop thinking

Start showing
Start growing
Start eating
Stop whining.

Start working
Start planning
Start saving
Stop promising

Stop lending
Stop trusting.
(October 2003)

Tried and Tested Thoughts

What is happening?
The bars are closing in
The ties are binding down
The wheels dig deep ruts in the ground.
The Tramlines and Traintracks
mapped out in front,
never changing, never once.

Can futile fits of passionate
rebellion ever break?
The rigid, tried and tested,
planned out, fast set
methods of thinking
that control every aspect
of what we are living.

It's not hidden cameras
behind your bathroom mirrors.
There's no one listening to your
phonecalls either.
It's the beautiful people
with their beautiful smiles
inviting you to try
and be just like them,
and of course you listen,
who wouldn't?

And you follow those footstep
and jump through those hoops
and start thinking those thoughts
those tired and tested thoughts
into the grinding.
(October 2003)

The Life and Death of a Pop Song

The first verse reeks of sugary sentimentality
and the tune has been heard
a million times before. Monotony
stretching on and on and words
that have no meaning at all.

I'm sorry, but as far as I can see
The rest of the song, no matter how long
will fail to be what it set out to be
'something new for the young
textbook answers
to textbook question.

And after the final note has been re-played
and the crowds naïve cheers slowly fade,
all thinking 'I'm gonna be on TV
As another pop masterpeice
moves along the chain into the bargain bin
the final resting place of another popscene.

this is not a lyric
you cannot hear music
be more realistic
stop living life in boxes
(October 2003)


Do you see what I see?
Through the labelled surface
of everything around us
into the depths of its history

and all the stories
that have touched it
have been a part of it
and gave it a meaning.

If walls could talk, see
they'd tell about the things they'd seen
until there was noone around to tell
and the walls would crumble
leaving a ruined shell.

If you look through this shell, see,
the skin, the coat, the mask
and into the heart, the past,
and notice how it all seems
connected somehow to mean
something bigger,
something altogether truer
some universal rule.
It's as though each object
is tainted with prophecy
hinting towards the end of a legacy.
(October 2003)

Little Man

Heading for the grey zone
waiting for the dull zone
beyond next summer's prospects
lies idleness to the bone
if in this day,
though we often do okay,
we fail to grasp the larger
more focussed picture
and reach out a hundred years
into the future
with our words or our ideas,
changing something
rethinking something

-then what are we all
but part of a percentage?

that, inevitably in years
will become unimportant
and all that will remain
will be the stone cold
lifeless figure, insignificant
typed onto a page
lying lost and forgotten
in a grey cabinet of iron
filed away for future reference
somewhere in a warehouse.

Once there are no people left who can say
they knew who you were
and your tombstone has been eroded away
by the cruel all powerful force
of natures battering rain
all that will be to show of you
little man
will be the slightly greener grass,
nourished by what once
lived, talked and thought.

And this tiny corner,
of many tiny corners
is now struggling to grow,
but no one knows
and no one cares

and the earth spins.

Rat Cage

The streetlights don't illuminate
as ominously as before,
The dark shadows they cast
revealing nothing more
than an unseen problem,
lying motionless and undisturbed.

The gold tinted light doesn't smother
as wholly as before,
This footpath is too familiar
to let this artificial atmosphere
take its romantic hold.

The nights don't seem as dark
as they did before
and the danger isn't strong enough
and the hormones don't control enough
it's only this street
it's not an adventure
it's being worn at by the feet
of daily routine
it's not an unknown world
or some new machine
it's an isolated bubble
where they keep everything clean
and everything else unseen
and brainwash the children
so that they'll never leave
but follow the footsteps
of daily routine.


When the weather is this good,
how can you sit and stare
at that little black square?
When the weather turns grey,
How can you complain?
And when the rain begins to pour
and you mourn
again for autumn's fading light,
How can you say that it ever was
or ever will be
any different from the time
you mourned with boredom
during summer's hazy nights?

Don't you ever want to take flight?
or even just drive
to somewhere past that place
where the land meets the sky.
Will you ever turn yourself right?
forget the little things
that in turn lead to stress
lie back and close your eyes
and remember what it feels like to be less


Party Free

Sun sets,
temperature drops
and the orange speckles of civilisation
gather in the gathering dark,
and the dirt track leads forward.
Deep beats pulse faintly through the ground,
through the timeless particles,
and the fresh young living flesh
of our bodies.
The dirt track lead forward
and the ghostly silver moonlight
refines the edges
of all the leaves
on all the trees,
the beats become stronger,
and ahead it seems a mist is rising,
bluegrey clouds of softly floating silver
floating slowly towards the atmosphere.

And when you enter this strange
slightly jarred world,
this bubble at the edge of nowhere,
at the edge of everything else,
your blood will rush
your eyes will open
and this will never leave you.


Everything will
be alright soon.
It will
all go back
to normal
and the struggle will

Why won't it happen?
why can't it happen now?

The hours pass by
hot, sticky, dry
and the weakness of it all
is unrelenting.

So drink another glass of water
take a few more pills
because it can't go on forever
go on forever.

and the cold is unbearable
and the hours pass by,
pass by.

Altogether more scared of my own mind,
all the frustration, unnecessary,

It's Late

It falls heavy,
drowns out the voices.
Stayed out late
talking about it.

'Inside you escape me
as I screw your head
and break all the windows
and leave you.'

Cry as it all implodes
and I once again have done it
and you once again have not,
'cause you'll get nothing from it.'

Eat, drink, sleep,
when you decide you want it,
but for now keep believing
you know what you're doing
and all this is part of a poem.
August 2003

The Bloodsuckers

They only call you,
when they need you.
But their smiles
and their slyness
and their tricky tricks of the mind
convince you to bring them it every time.

Planning to scheme
you out of your dreams
and stick around
so they can leech
off you for as long as they need:

and they suck
and they rip
and they suck
and they rip
until every last drip
has slipped down their throat

and they won't let you go
until they know,
let you grow
until you show,
that you have nothing left
it's all up in smoke.
August 2003

The Voices

I get so paranoid,
I have to get so paranoid
to get through this,
get so paranoid to cover my back
kick dust on my tracks,
and burn all my friends.

I get so paranoid
I need to quit so paranoid,
I need to let those people
back in, instead of
always locking up
and shutting up
and pushing them away.

You get so paranoid,
You're weak, so paranoid.
Listen to my voice.
You have no choice.
August 2003

Driving Force

The sun rises and sets
and the light brings them out
day after day,
each has their own way
but most, at least, can say
where they are going,
barr those like me who go on
without knowing
why we even bother.
Most are driven further
by something,
they pick a goal,
are told where to go
and grip hold firmly
onto that first rung
and begin climbing early
the sooner they start
the sooner they are

Maybe the burning hunger
for success
rages for longer
in the minds of those around me,
but for some reason, this driving force
is yet to kick in,
life's yet to quicken.
August 2003

Bleed Out

If i ever stood a chance
i would know by now.
If it was up to me
i'd of done something by now.
If they wanted me they would have said


wherever you go i'll go
because i don't know myself
or where i want to be
so I follow
the leader, the masses, lose
my senses.

It's true as i walk past the rows
of broken windows
my cracked reflection staring back at me
people don't exactly reach out.


Heavy bitter days
thumping, beating
walking in a haze
protecting, our skin.

With the cold wind
comes slurred thoughts,
and the clear cut corners
are softened and dimmed.

But we keep up the pace
and don't let the lights blind us
'cause we're OK.

A Blaze

Sitting here, alone in silence
except for the faint electrical whisper
emanating from the digital radio alarm
to my right.

Creating my own metaphorical life,
pouring out this fuel from my imagination
in order to record my figurative situation,
layering the language to cause associations,
tiny flickers of the brain that form a web of information

stored away.
Waiting to be sparked
into a blaze
I am the spark
you are the flame.

My 2 Lasers

As the fixed point
at the centre of my field of vision
aligns itself with yours.
As the imaginary lines cross
somewhere in the absent space
that occupies the gap between us.
As the few seconds pass
when all that pure energy
that fills up inside of me
is focussed on this unassailable target
of my two lasers of love.
As the air around me changes
sending a shiver through my soul
and for one brief glimmer my mind
is connected with yours,
and we share one thing that
no one else can share with us,
in this second we see this thing
and for this second nothing else,
the image of the other
that at least for now
is first in line.


It's as though I'm suspended.
Caught in a snapshot from
some simple security camera,
or perhaps there is some random
tourist coincidentally clicking their index
for the hundredth time today.

A flash of blue freezes me here
and the heavy freight train ahead
looms over,
but the fatal inevitability
trapped in this moment
won't even register
to the single mother
picking microwavable three-minute meals
in the supermarket down the street.

That second, that moment
when the two entities collide,
when the distance i am from the train
and the time i have remaining
both equal nothing
and all my clocks will have ticked over
for the last time.

This instance is rushing ever closer
but there is nothing i can do
and waiting for the crack.

poems and stories

©2003-4 Kids on the Net and Joe

Kids on the Net Editor: Helen Whitehead at: this address

Enter my Writing

Back to Kids on the Net Menu

Last revised: 09-Jul-2011