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She could flicker should she wish

And feign a faint and faithful kiss

But this flame

Wouldn’t deign

To be so crass or cliched


She draws all in

Into her world of bliss



Betwixt peace and tranquillity

Calm and causality

Driving effect:

Cogs grind to a sedentary pace

Strain eased from the lines

Driving deep through an aging face

Tension evaporates

Fears alleviate


Stretched out she elevates

She pirouettes and pointes

Stretching sinews and joints

With perfect symmetry she shimmies

Chaos and form

Borne from one another

Into one another

Seeking uniformity and discord


And harmoniously dissonant


Toes tipped on the charred-black wick

She sips at the cool air

Feeding her burnt luminosity

Replenishing the reds, the ochres, the golds

She folds

She doubles

She dances

Entranced onlookers

Hypnotically hooked


She draws from her waxing feet

Bleeding the purples, the blues, the fused violets

With skilful subtlety

She pulls

Down on heavy lids in the silence

Eyes now closed, motionless

Worry now sedated

Anxiousness abated

Rest belatedly reached

In deep and serene

Unruffled, unworried, unbridled


Martin Wardley (31st Oct 2018) 36

They could get used to this


No accountability

No influence

No responsibility

A lowly inconvenience


He could get used to this


Treat him like a cipher

Treat him like a fool

Treat him with neither

Credit nor recognition of repute


He could get used to this


Undermine him and belittle

To raise a sagging status

Both uncool and uncivil

Discourteous and ungracious


He could get used to this

And if he did


Would they call him institutionalised?

Would it come as some surprise?

Would he slowly cease to recognise?

The callousness and spite


Indeed, yes

He could get used to this

Martin Wardley (25th Oct 2018) 35

Wellbeing coordinator 


The wellbeing coordinator 

Just coordinated my wellbeing


my life's itinerary

In disarray 

And my vision

Woefully astray 

And feeling my precarious balance 

Slightly askew

And my patience 

A fraying fuse

She went to work


She reset my goals

Set aside time

To reassess

To relax and rest

To focus on the present

To disregard the past

To turn a blind eye on the uselessness

Of focusing on a fabricated future

But instead to redirect attention

On priorities of the day 

A sequence

She deemed


For my needs


And now I really don't know


I would have done 

Without her



In this world turned upside down 

And all manner of appalling 

and abhorrent behaviour

A wellbeing 


Martin Wardley (18th Oct 2018) 34

Running on Empty


Running on empty

Depleted and distracted

Protracted thoughts

Floating recollections

Attention to detail



By muffled introspection

Pointless meandering around the point

The mark lies mockingly unblemished

The chemist rubbing palms

At the probable prospect

To imbibe, to ingest, to inject?


Time saunters at quarter speed

The greedy minutes dragging their doleful disdain

Their conceit

Sleep, sleep, sleep

Interrupted by the noise and the chatter

The din and the clatter

Plots and ploys and plans

Making their nightly sojourn

Into dreams


Slow burning their way

Deep into my ivory towers

And into the small hours

With grand implications

And cruel connotations

Stemming the flow

Of much needed fuel

Until the risible sun rises

Finding me spent

And running on empty

Martin Wardley (10th Oct 2018) 33

Polluted air (the window whispers)


The window whispers

A wireless curse surfs on a lazy wind

A door step murmurs

A vexing sex text drifts across an open wound

A paving flag taps

Private nakedness exposed falls through an aching rain

A roof tile sighs a while

Compromising words hurled towards a thinly veiled pain

A curtain nervously twitches

Intimidation labours in the ether feeding ill thoughts

Fraught, the stone wall calls out

Abuse fused with mist hints at alternative conclusions

Confusion and malevolence lurk prevalent

In the messages meandering through the air we breathe

All will be still, and all will be silent

But until the violence of correspondence subsides

The window must whisper

Martin Wardley (3rd Oct 2018) 32

The musings of the insomniac 


The silent sentries 

Guarding each and every sky-bound roof top

Every crane, every corner, every bus stop 

The train lines lie still

Streets snake empty 

Save the odd waif

An odd stray abandoned citizen

Electronic billboards pause

Shop signs light for no one 

A million office windows 

Light up the scorning night sky 

Slowly murdering this aching fragility 

A delayed in-deliberate creeping demise 

On nights such as these

Do we collectively weep?

We do not

We sleep

On the whole

Martin Wardley (26th Sept 2018) 31

Sunday session


Tables arranged on the cowering lawn

And plants fight neglect

Shrivelled, dying or living full-life, overgrown


They enter in dribs

In drabs and in groups

The groups filling seats

Replete with coins and hopes 

Stoked with quiet anticipation 

Elated with freedom


Ornate ironmongery

Blatant tomfoolery

The raucous and the ruminating

The dull and the illuminating

Some on roast lunches

Following promises and heeding hunches

Some nibbling crisps or picking at bits in slippery dips 

Plans are afoot, dreams coming real

Tomorrow they will start 


Problems are solved, issues resolved 

Memories and tears 

And laughs 


The fuel of fools or sustenance for the judicious?

Some caught in vicious


Others pause for brief respite

Something close to



Either way the light fades

Dispersing servants

Returning from whence the came

To face the rain of the morning


On the grey reticent but accepting procession 

Until a smile glides over recalling

The lost afternoon and the fine Sunday session

Martin Wardley (18th Sept 2018) 30

Cleansed for a moment


Stripped of worries

Parted from concerns 

Relieved of bitter feelings, of anger 

Unbridled of belongings

Shorn of all clothing

Sauntering to the waters edge

Diving deep into the brine

The salt stings open eyes

Conscious of the discomfort 

But unwilling to miss

This feeling of naked bliss

Further down I dive

I spin

Thin beings dart, instinctive protection 

Disappearing in all and every direction

As my effort takes me breathless 

To darker depths 

Sunlight stretched


Towards my single celled ancestor



Contorted yet conforming 

Before development and mutation

Evolution: repetitive and cyclic creation

And time

Brought forth me and my kind

Complex, conscious, self-aware 

Into this blinking of an eye


Lungs bursting, pleading for the light

Desperate for air 

I have no care for death right now

And heed their deafening protestations 

Depleting the last of the cellular reserves, turning 

I break the surface

Gasping with rasping delight

Sucking in life and love

Back to the dry earth I move

Exit one world and enter another

I stroll

Rolling back through the encumbered crowd

Oblivious to the clad and the bedraggled 

The claimed and the ragged


If only for a fleeting moment

Martin Wardley (12th Sept 2018) 29

Pedestrian Odyssey 


With time, temptation, acquaintances and tasks

Stretched out to the hazy grey horizon ahead of me


With no need for the dragging baggage of history

This all simply and conveniently consigned

And left on the shelf with a smile


Neatly packaged, sealed, labelled, concealed

Consciously I purposefully park 

This Pedestrian Odyssey 

Martin Wardley (5th Sept 2018) 28

The yarn of the privileged


Sitting in this hotel room


It could be cracking the flags outside or it could be


I wouldn’t know, I’m fighting the need for company, crutches and buffers


Bleeding into the bedsheets totally fucked, mentally stripped, crippled



A life of graft to get me here tonight. In the


The planned and the haphazard result of my works, my games. And my


I’m the living and breathing consequence of my actions. From the


From the cradle through school, through the battlegrounds and mind games of the



No blame do I lay at anyone else’s feet or


If there is light, then its mine. Equally of my own making should I disappear into my


There are no written guidelines for this, no recipes, no


But there is defiance. There is fight. I have



I now see the world now through educated and experienced


Are these any better or wiser or richer? I still


These demons that slew me and twisted both soul and  


Remain to this day and no amount of riches, luxurious pampering or ineffective indulgence can



Some things just sting. Permanently. And can’t be


Some things simply sit. And


For opportunities and situations, options and troughs. To


But for-warned is for-armed. With wit, will, patience and a practised recognition the decision to revel and to roll in the privilege. Of this self-directed


Martin Wardley (29th Aug 2018) 27

One trick Pony


A one trick Pony

A single, solitary idea

No flexible framework

But a rigid, inflexible dictum

Preaching the Gospel

Of one

To the many

Applicable to none

Lacking the capacity to adapt

The empathy to alter

The capability to forge

To work the documented detail

Around an individual

With a different reality

Unique needs

Extraordinary history

Fabricated legitimacy

Wrapped methodically and convincingly around the phony

A one trick pony

Martin Wardley (22nd Aug 2018) 26

The tube (Part 1)


Folded arms

Knuckles squeezed, anxiety white

Fingers on keys

Virtually talking but not quite


Blank expressions

Eyes lacking invitation

Insular and isolated

Necessity the tedious mother of invention


Sparks ignite

As lonely ships sail by

Lost looks of lust and longing smiles

Doors close tight on heavy sighs


Paper from another age

Hides from face to cowering hairline

Groans moan exasperated

Another sub-plot sound-bite headline


A lone bag sits

Time ticks in glacial time

Indecisive glances, reserve taking chances

The percentage game of doubt and lies


The waiting world of light awaits

The platform patiently invites

To the sound of practiced humour

Clues and disguised information on which to cautiously alight


Slow painful gait

Dragging protesting limbs

Behind the hesitant heels of the inexperienced

Now let the dawning day begin

Martin Wardley (15th Aug 2018) 25

A sea of grey


Drifting into a sea of grey

Heart of disappointment

Soul in disarray

Another toothless tooth

In a cog of perpetual motion

Lost in a listless ocean

A token flicker of defiance

A shared alliance

With a will willingly distressed

Walking adrift in a bleak poorly lit wilderness

Or at very least in hiding

Weary of the fighting

Disguised, disgruntled and with dying disinterest

Repetition, repetition, repetition

Fading recognition

In this stale and graceless sea of grey

Martin Wardley (8th Aug 2018) 24

The bat


A bat flickers past me

In the fading daylight

He shimmies and shakes 

Catching flies


This mammalian pilot 

Of our glorious Skies

All Logic and truth 

He defies


But where did he start

On his quest?

What questions were asked?

What subtle inquests?


What tempted

This small land bound rodent

To look to the heavens 

For a moment?


To view the plumes

Of a bird-songs coat

And the envy within 

This seduced and cajoled 


Then to make up his mind

And decide

To join on the wing

And to fly


Of course, there would have been

Doubts and naysayers

The cynics, the skeptics

Those lost in the most futile of labours 


Certainly they scorned 

As they dished out disdain 

On his geologically timed 

Tenacious campaign


But jump and fall

And repeat and repeat

And stretch and improve

Until feet


Become frame 

And skin became wing

Then finally he takes

To the air


He swirled and he span

And he ducked and he dived 

With a squeak 

And a tiny high five 


The doubters now gone 

And the cynics proved wrong

The naysayers with a grumble

Moved on


So as I sit on this rock

Alone in the breeze

A lesson here for all

I quietly and pleasingly feel

Martin Wardley (1st Aug 2018) 23

One vexing direction


Nothing feels better 

Nothing has ever felt better

Nothing will ever feel better


Nothing exacts such a cost

Nothing has ever exacted such a cost

Nothing will ever exact such a cost


And here you stand

At a loss

To determine 

The point at which the balance tips 

And equilibrium slips 

Forcing perpetual momentum

In one vexing direction

Or the other

Martin Wardley (25th July 2018) 22

From a thread 


Drunk with racing anticipation 

Giddy at the galloping prospect

Men set sights on adventure

Entering a playground

Bounding enthusiasts 

Tripping as acrobats

A transformation 

A regression

A deep dive into childhood

Stood neck high in the boys they once were


Driving, directing, debating

Parking, packing, including and rejecting

The first steps on a crisp creaking surface 

The bright beaming glow from the settled and steady snow

Bound for the ice

The frozen flow

Cascade la glacé

Nervous tension

Anxious anticipation

Adrenaline injection

Risk fighting reward


The blinding bend is rounded

She comes into focus

All is grounded

Her splayed and frozen feet into view

A new insight

Dots start to join

Myths and stories

Vague tales move to sharp focus:

The abandoned car

The dark patches staining the pure bright white

Of the otherwise untainted

Hemlocks of hardware lay left where they fell

A single rope hooked to a solitary screw

Half way up the aching face

Almost mocking

These tell-tale signs of recent disaster


This calamitous conclusion

All that can be imagined is the fear

The confusion

The panic

The dread

Plummeting ice released from rock

Dragged down by an unforgiving gravity

To a grave new position of rest

Taking with it the players as they played

These giddy boys

These drunken racers

These dream chasers

Now playing only

In distant and heavy hearts


Time to take it all in

Respects paid

The trip continues

We will climb

But not here

Not now

The equilibrium between risk and reward now hopelessly unbalanced

Yes we will climb

But now with fear

Now as men

The boys with their games

Respectfully left

Their playground now

Nought but rubble and dust 

 Martin Wardley (18th July 2018) 21

The ageing horse chestnut (Belated generation)


Belated generation under the shade of the ageing horse chestnut 

Her broad boughs shoulder the heat of a mid-day summer sun

The cool breeze permitted to pass unfettered, unmolested and un-warmed

Into her shadows where the fine fingered ferns have learned to spread their ancient fronds

Beyond the reach of the bleaching heat

Hidden behind their vast leafy protection

While serenaded by a bounty of birdsong 

They lay swaying as if in silent defiance

Seeking an alliance

With a sympathetic stream who reels, pirouettes and poises in watery joy

They are the taunting manifestations of tease

Pleased with their show of fickle bravado

While they collectively cower

Under trunk, branch, leaf and flower

Of this magnificent tree


And here sit I

Sharing their Oasis of cool

To energise my listless thoughts

To set them sail in my many and varied boats

Bound for the outstretched shores of countless ideas

Fear has no place here

Doubt has no dock

Nor may self-derision lay an anchor

Defeating circumspection has no hold

No dubious direction

No embryonic correction

Only a mind devoid of constraints

And bustling with sensational opportunity

The cessation of stagnation

Belated generation under the shade of the ageing horse chestnut 

 Martin Wardley (11th July 2018) 20

Ill-fitting rucksack


Drinking cessation

Curtailed conversations

Both baffled and shocked

And time-lapsed


The end of all action

A collective distraction

All current transactions

Are stacked


The gent at the back

With the laughable laugh

To a soundtrack of

Bubble gum pap


All this and more

As there walks through the door

An ill-fitting tilting


 Martin Wardley (4th July 2018) 19

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