Archive for June, 2011

Living in the City

Posted in Poetry on June 27, 2011 by belfastdavid

Walk into Leeds,
take care not to step
on the cracks
in the pavement.

Am disturbed by raucous music
emanating from a car with the top down,
one of those
sort of cars.

Meet, for the first time, an eight week old baby boy
who has more hair than Wayne Rooney
and, perhaps more pertinently,
more hair than his father.

Have lunch in a café owned by a young man
who appears to run it as a front
for his main business – selling bootleg DVDs
(perhaps best not to mention its name) but the food is good.

Take a deep breath
before looking sideways
to see my profile
reflected in a shop window.

Consider that men above a certain age
should not be allowed into the city
wearing shorts, particularly if also wearing
open-toed sandals with black socks.

Think better of making any mention
of women above a certain age.

Travel back on what used to be called the Free Bus
but is now called the City Bus
because it charges fifty pence per journey;
wonder how much it cost them to re-label
all the buses, all the posters, all the signs.

Visit my doctor who,
as I am leaving his surgery,
tells me to look after myself.

Walk down the street which, not so long ago,
housed the bomb factory;
suppose that growing up in Belfast
inures me to the abnormality
of a bomb factory in the vicinity.


Empty Room

Posted in Poetry on June 23, 2011 by belfastdavid

The room is empty now,
signs of recent occupation;
tangled sheets, a pair
of knickers by the bed,
a hint of lust still
lingers in the air,

smoke from partially
stubbed cigarette
coils its way
towards the ceiling,
beside the bed, still looking on,
a brown, bedraggled, teddy bear.

How I Am

Posted in Poetry on June 19, 2011 by belfastdavid

How are you?
She asks.
Compared to what?
I think.

I have no idea how
I am supposed to feel
at my age,
never having been
at my age before.

But I do suspect
it ought to be
somewhat better
than I feel
right now.


Posted in Poetry on June 14, 2011 by belfastdavid

I remember the first time I saw purple,
although when I pointed it out to you
you said it was blue. Then you pointed
out to me the colours in a rainbow,
except where you saw blue I saw green.

Purple speaks with a deep-throated,
warm, years-of-smoking sort of sexy growl,
and sings the blues in dark, smokey bars
where the sunlight never penetrates;

like it never penetrates
to the inside of my thigh
where remains a purple bruise;
the legacy you left me with
when you departed.

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 17 -That Space

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , on June 12, 2011 by belfastdavid

Little by little, as practice made me more accustomed to visiting the cave, to finding the stepping stones and to conversing with the beautiful fairy, I became more able to find, and to operate out of, a particular space.

A space where I am just in the moment, a space where time stands still, a space where the past and the future have vanished and there is only the now. A space where I am in touch with the core of my being, where I respond without troubling my conscious mind. A space where I have complete trust that whatever I say or do is okay.

When I am operating out of that space the voices of my inner critics are silent because they do not exist in that space. There is no concept of success or failure there because whatever is in the now is whatever is and therefore cannot be right or wrong.

In particular the voice which would have me not try is silent. That voice would persuade me not to try for fear that I would fail or be rejected. The logic of that voice is impeccable yet flawed. It is not failure I am afraid of; rather it is success.

I have failed many times before and therefore it is not to be feared. However success will often result in a step into the unknown which is, in itself, frightening. Success too raises expectation levels – I have succeeded once, I can succeed again.

These doubting voices do not exist in the now. But I must be wary of their desire to re-visit those occasions when I have been there and cast their critical eye over them. They seek to delude and undermine. They use phrases like “not perfect” and “could have done better” which I do well not to listen to. The reality is that, if I have operated out of the now, I will have performed to the best of my ability at that point in time and I must learn to trust that is so.

Oh, I can study and I can learn and I can fine-tune. And, for sure, the more I learn about the core of who is me the more likely it is that coming from the now will result in behaviour in line with who I am.

We must study, in particular, how we can reach that space. We will have been there many times. Sometimes we will have arrived there without appearing to try and only realise we have been there after we have come back. Sometimes we will have got there apparently by accident, catching ourselves by surprise.

We must be prepared to reflect on these occasions, to teach ourselves how we can do that. The effort will be worthwhile because operating out of that space will always leave us feeling at peace with ourselves.

Audio version at

Chance Encounter

Posted in Poetry with tags on June 9, 2011 by belfastdavid

Hello she said
taking off her glasses.
I recognized her face
but from where or when
or in what context
I had no idea.

Have you lost weight?
she asked. We chatted,
how she was, how I was,
what we were doing,
then went down separate
aisles in the supermarket.

I had not been able
to bring myself to ask
where I knew her from
and so, three days later,
I find myself
still wondering.

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 16 – Kitchen Table

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , on June 5, 2011 by belfastdavid

I must give the time and energy to the innermost circle. Its position, at the centre of the rings, demands that.

I must take the time to get to know me, to understand me, to nurture and look after me and to take the risk of loving me.

That process has revealed that within the innermost circle reside large numbers of disparate parts of me. At times these parts can appear to be in conflict. For example, my desire to help others and my need to look after myself can often find themselves at variance.

I am prepared to accept as a premise that each of these parts has my best interests at heart, even though at times it may appear that they are out to destroy me.

There are other hypotheses, but I am adopting this one because, over time, it has proven the most useful.

What has become clear is that it is lack of communication between parts which leads to confusion, bewilderment and uncertainty. And one part operating on its own, convinced it is right, and refusing to listen to input from other parts will inevitably cause disaster.

I must open up lines of communication.

Parts which are running rampant must be assured that I do appreciate they have good intentions, but I must ask them to take the time to consider other options, other information, to be prepared to consider the fuller picture. I must reassure parts which feel neglected, undervalued, under appreciated that I do heed their words, that I do consider their opinion important and that I am willing to listen to them.

I must invite all parts into the kitchen where there is a range glowing warmly on one side of the room, where there is a bottomless teapot on its top, where there is the smell of freshly baking bread and where there is a large, solid wooden table, seemingly marked by generations of use, in the centre of the room.

I must invite them all to sit round the table, to partake in bread and tea and conversation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gradually, as the warmth and camaraderie of the kitchen table works its magic we begin to find a harmony and discuss an interdependent, mutually satisfactory wholeness. Gradually there emerges openness, trust and honesty. Each part is encouraged to discuss its intentions, its reasons, its approach and by co-operating we create unity.

The strength of one part becomes available for use by others. Parts with enormous energy, drive, enthusiasm and determination, when persuaded to use those attributes for the benefit of us all, become useful members of the community. The more gentle, reflective parts, when confident they will be listened to, provide a balance, a solace, a comfort and a direction.

And, as long as the kitchen remains an attractive place, other parts, of whose existence I was unaware, will emerge, blinking in the light. Sometimes we have to work quite hard to merge them with the whole, but we must do that because their contribution will be valuable.

I must work to maintain the atmosphere, the ambience of the kitchen. If the fire in the range does not get stoked, if the bread does not get baked, if the butter does not get churned it will become a cold and uninviting place.

I must do the work because it is only in the environs of the kitchen and around its table that the sense of wholeness, of completeness and of unity can be maintained.



 Audio Version at