JINGLE ON MY SON!

JINGLE ON MY SON!

30.1.18

MY TUEBINGEN HOME































LANGE GASSE 18

The leaves blow through the glass
as dreams float in the room
and people I have travelled with
climb up these timbered stairs.
Memories coat the walls,
days wander down the lane;
there is no telling where the tales
of drunken nights have gone.
Church bells punctuate the moon,
screams open up the dawn,
and I see Jennifer lying there,
poems oozing from her smiles.
At morning, Ingrid, with her little hands,
brings coffee to my brain
and Karin calls at evening’s door
with wine to ease the pain.
All these dancing moments,
the dripping down of hours;
this house’s chest is heaving
with the loss of human touch.
I drink those sunken days
and know the gulps are fleeting
but the moonlight-stains on the empty bed
will show we bled
for love.




KEITH ARMSTRONG,
                                                                                 
Tuebingen, Germany.


Photo: Otto Buchegger

28.1.18

SHOTS FROM BURNS NIGHT SPECIAL AT THE RED HOUSE, NEWCASTLE

photos by helen temperley









FALLING IN LOVE IN THE CAFE PICCOLO











































I am crouched over my sparkling glass
waiting for the sunshine to come through
to join me on a winter’s day in Tuebingen,
for a leaf to fly through the door
and show me its intricate patterns
in my penetrating stare,
to skip and dance
and float away

like me
in a trance
in a delicate romance,
a rush of poems,
a sudden surge of booklets
in my travelling bag,
a dream packed into a KLM briefcase;
the tightness of a blue skirt,
the glance of a flashing winged eye
heading towards me,
threatening to make love to me,
to blow away this dark news
pushing its way into my anxious face
from a complete stranger’s daily paper.

And Juergen is rocking tonight in a corner,
sharing his energy with the moon
and I have the smell of a coffee on my sleeve,
the evil taste of last night’s schnapps
on this stooped boy’s lips,
the hysterical melancholy that only Tuebingen brings me;
along the cobbled path outside the Piccolo window
prances chance
and that girl I’ll never ever know
teasing the slipping tears into my scribbles,
her picture forever in my twitching English heart

saying:

‘Ciao!
I’m never really going to leave this town.’

A delicate grip
on reality.





KEITH ARMSTRONG

Tuebingen,
November 2017.

25.1.18

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBBIE BURNS!






























THE DIVIDED SELF

‘When’er my muse does on me glance, I jingle at her.’  (Robert Burns).


Such an eye in a human head,
from the toothless baby
to the toothless man,
the Edinburgh wynds
bleed whisky.
Through all the Daft Days,
we drink and gree
in the local howffs,
dancing down
Bread Street.
Like burns with Burns
these gutters run;
where Fergusson once tripped,
his shaking glass
jumps
in our inky fingers,
delirium tugs
at our bardish tongues;
dead drunk,
we dribble down
a crafty double
for Burke & Hare,
heckle a Deacon Brodie
gibbering
on the end
of the hangman’s rope.

In all these great and flitting streets
awash with cadies,
this poet’s dust
clings
like distemper to our bones.
We’re walking through
the dark and daylight,
the laughs
and torture
of lost ideals.
Where is the leader of the mob Joe Smith,
that bowlegged cobbler
who snuffed it on these cobbles,
plunging
from this stagecoach pissed?
Where is the gold
of Jinglin’ George Heriot?
Is it in the sunglow on the Forth?
We’re looking for girls of amazing beauty
and whores of unutterable filth:
‘And in the Abbotsford
like gabbing asses
they scale the heights
of Ben Parnassus.’

Oh Hugh me lad
we’ve seen some changes.
In Milne’s, your great brow scowls the louder;
your glass of bitterness
deep as a loch:
‘Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun.’

Oh Heart
of Midlothian,
it spits on
to rain
still hopes.
Still hope in her light meadows
and in her volcanic smiles.
And we’ve sung with Hamish
in Sandy Bell’s
and Nicky Tams
and Diggers,
a long hard sup
along the cobbles
to the dregs
at the World’s End:
‘Whene’er my muse does on me glance,
I jingle at her.’

Bright as silver,
sharp as ice,
this Edinburgh of all places,
home to a raving melancholia
among the ghosts
of Scotland’s Bedlam:
‘Auld Reekie’s sons blythe faces’,
shades of Fergusson in Canongate.

And the blee-e’ed sun,
the reaming ale
our hearts to heal;
the muse of Rose Street
seeping through us boozy bards,
us snuff snorters
in coughing clouds.

Here
on display
in this Edinburgh dream:
the polished monocle
of Sydney Goodsir Smith,
glittering by
his stained inhaler;
and the black velvet jacket
of RLS,
slumped by
a battered straw hat.

And someone
wolf whistles
along Waterloo Place;
and lovers
kiss moonlight
on Arthur’s Seat:
see Edinburgh rise.

Drink
from her eyes.




KEITH ARMSTRONG


(from Imagined Corners, Smokestack Books, 2004).

COMMENTS FROM THE BURNS NIGHT SPECIAL ON TUESDAY AT THE RED HOUSE:

That was a great event -- really good fun. You read well and held it together brilliantly. Ormston played beautifully. Gary sang his heart out. The Sawdust Jacks were good too, and everything moved along well. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Another triumph for Armstrong! (Katrina).


Enjoyed the evening.Thanks. Had not appreciated it was the first.
Thought it great to be able to assemble such a collection of gifted folks together
for such a worthwhile celebration. Good to be there and meet some friends too.
Great. Lets do it again.
Cheers,
Stuart


http://www.culturematters.org.uk/index.php/arts/poetry/item/2717-the-divided-self-a-poem-for-burns-night

23.1.18

MARSDEN ROCK







 









































































MARSDEN ROCK


 

Sensational Rock,
swimming in light.
Bird cries clinging to ancient ledges,
Kittiwakes smashing against time.
What tales you could tell.

Your face is so moody,
flickers with breezes,
crumbles in a hot afternoon.

Climbing your powdery steps,
we look down on the sea
thrashing at you.

We join a choir of birds at your peak,
cry out to the sky
in good spirits.

Nesting for the sake of it,
our lyrics are remnants on the shore.

We keep chipping away,
do we not?

We slip
through the pebbles,
splashing
with babies.

We leave our mark,
a grain
on the ancient landscape.

We go.

We dance like the sunlight
on your scarred body:

tripping,
falling,
singing

away.




KEITH ARMSTRONG

21.1.18

MY FRIEND JACK COMMON (15/8/1903-20/1/1968) BY DR KEITH ARMSTRONG























































 
























Ever since the sixth form,
when I found you, 
a kindred Novocastrian
in a library book,
I seem to have followed in your steps,
stumbled after you 
in rain soaked lanes,
knocked on doors
in search of your stories.
For over forty years,
I have tracked
the movement of your pen
in streets you walked
and on cross country trains
from your own Newcastle
to Warrington
Malvern,
Newport Pagnell,
Letchworth,
Yetminster,
Wallington 
and back again.
I have given talks about you,
supped in your pubs,
strode along your paragraphs 
and river paths
to try to find
that urge in you
to write 
out of your veins
what you thought of things,
what made you tick
and your loved ones 
laugh and cry.
I tried to reach you in a thesis,
to see you as a lad in Heaton,
but I could never catch your breath
because I didn’t get to meet you
face to face,
could only guess
that you were like me:
a kind of kindly 
socialist writer
in a world
too cruel for words.





KEITH ARMSTRONG

Peter Common Well said Keith!



Dear kindly socialist writer - this is great - thanks a lot for sending it

Love
Pat



18.1.18

A PRAYER FOR THE LONERS

































The dejected men,

the lone voices,

slip away

in this seaside rain.

Their words shudder to a standstill

in dismal corners.

Frightened to shout, 

they cower

behind quivering faces.

No one listens

to their memories crying.

There seems no point

in this democratic deficit.

For years, they just shuffle along,

hopeless

in their financial innocence.

They do have names

that no lovers pronounce.

They flit between stools,

miss out on gales of laughter.

Who cares for them?

Nobody in Whitley Bay

or canny Shields,

that’s for sure.

These wayside fellows

might as well be in a saddos’ heaven

for all it matters

in the grey world’s backwaters.

Life has bruised them,

dashed them.

Bones flake into the night.

I feel like handing them all loud hailers

to release  

their oppressed passion,

to move them

to scream 

red murder at their leaders -

those they never voted for;

those who think they’re something,

some thing special,

grand.

For, in the end,

I am on the side of these stooped lamenters,

the lonely old boys with a grievance

about caring 

and the uncaring;

about power,

and how switched off

this government is

from the isolated,

from the agitated,

from the trembling,

the disenfranchised 

drinkers of sadness.



 
KEITH ARMSTRONG

Kenny Jobson absolutely excellent

Davide Trame This is a great, powerful poem

Libby Wattis Brilliant poem x

Gracie Gray Very evocative Keith. x

Sue Hubbard Very strong

Mo Shevis Another powerful poem Keith! The photograph is heartbreaking too! Sad for the victims , angry about the system!

David Henry Fantastic! A powerful and very moving poem 

Strider Marcus Jones A great poem full of so many truths.
 
Dominic Windram Great stuff Keith... always a vociferous voice for the voiceless! 
 
Siobhan Coogan Beautiful Keith you give a voice to the lonely

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur