Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bob Black: The Abolition Of Work.

I guess work is done by most out of necessity, not by choice. When I have worked however I did not define myself through my work or my pay packet. Some people are lucky, today I spend time doing things I find useful and simply enjoying it, but   without money perhaps we'd all be rich.
Anyway had my letter from the benefit agency, like many up and down the country, must say there timing is impeccable, so soon it looks that I might be conscripted.
All this is work where there is nothing.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words,
watch your words, for they become actions,
watch your actions, for they become habits,
watch your habits, for they become character,
watch your character, for it becomes destiny.

" The most wasted day of all is that during which we have not laughed."
- Sebastion D.N.Chamfort.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Willam Empson (27/09/06 - 15/4/84 ) - Let it go.

It is this deep blackness is the real thing strange
  The more things happen to you the more you can't
   Tell or remember even what they were.

The contradictions cover such a range.
   The talk would talk and go far aslant
       You don't want madhouse and the whole thing


Simon Munnery's Cluub Zarathustra 1996.

Back again
Bored of the festive  T.V offerings ,so  here's a clip that was piloted for Channel 4 but was never actually shown.So here's some surreal experimental comic caberet from yesterday, featuring the talents of Simon Munnery, Kevin Eldon and Stewart Lee.
I find it rather enjoyable.
Hope you enjoy it too.

Cluub Zarathustra Pilot Part 1

Club Zarathustra Part 2

Saturday, 24 December 2011

oh go on then merry christmas.

David Roviks - A Christmas Song.

The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping

Its  sure is difficult to avoid. I for one wont be posting anything for a while because the library I use will be shutting down for Christmas.Where I'll be hanging out, the computer will be off limits unless I can do some gentle persuading. A time of year when I usually feel like some kind of traitor, because I don't enter into the spirit of things. I't not that I'm a toatal misery guts, I just don't get this time of the year
And when I  have a little herbal smoke too much, and possibly a little too much egg nog, the inevitable happens, and their is usually some almighty clash. I like it if it snows, but that's about it, I can see my family at any time of the year,  I love them  like my friends but even then I hesitate about staying a whole 24 hours with them. And anyway their for life, not just for Christmas.
Their lovely , but god they like an argument, so do I , I suppose, but lets face it certain peoples lifeheld beliefs are very difficult to change, especially in this holiday period, beliefs can get rather entrenched a bit.
Reasons for my dislike of this time of the year are the usual suspects, the seasonal fakery, the waste of paper, the misery that explodes , and the annual artificial need to guzzle and consume vast amounts, whilst people commodify and profiteer from our faked jollity. Santa the manufactured symbol that resides right next to the sick heart of capitalism and consumerism.
Blessed Saturnalia, roast chestnuts underneath the pagan tree..... oh dear oh me.... But children love it I suppose , this shindig of excess.  Their  sun will rise anyway, rudolph will leave eat all the carrots and someone will have bamdoozled the sherry.
I suppose it is is a time when many do genuinely take  some time out  to celebrate their faith, fair enough , but the original meaning seems to have got lost a long time ago now.
 I will probably end up feeling a little tired and emotional by Monday, looking for some kind of solace. Won't make the old  mistake of admitting myself into a mental asylum , but i'm sure their will be  many nervous wrecks by the end of the weekend , who'll join the queue. And if anyone force feeds me the Queens speech one more time I will truly be upset.
But i'm also keen  on reflection at this time of the year, a little  introspection, why i'm a hypocrite too, got my bag of greenery sorted out, and will probably be hitting the bottle too.
Anyway  whatever you do, take it easy out there, and yes , have a good time, follow your dreams, your currents, each according to your need. Have some fun. Stay positive and stay human.
But remember  too as this holiday period approaches The Salvation Army is planning  for increased demand for its services for vulnerable peopleand con-dem cuts will spell misery for millions of people right into the new year. Sorry to be a damp squid, however if I dont have time to say it, wish you a happy peaceful  new year. The times are a changing , and another world is inevitable. In these times of austerity  and as our debits increase.lets try to make poverty history ( an old message still as urgent as before) and let hope reign. Kick out the Tories.We don't have to take what our leaders want to deliver,so if its your kind of thing merry Christmas, Chanukkah, solstice, Yuletide, Saturnalia, Kwanzaa, Festivus... or anythin else you  care to celebrate. Think I've said enough. Laters...... heddwch/peace

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Follow earth's whimper.

Pentre Ifan - Pembrokeshire

David Cameron says
the U.K is a Christian Society
"and we should not be afraid to say so"
during a speech on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Be grateful
depends from which basket
one has borrowed
this same country
that has abolished universal jurisdiction
that elects a government that preaches
an eye for an eye
moral collapse mirrored in politicians lies.

On this shortest day
celebrate love
the sun's rebirth
as spirits of fire,
twinkle in sky,
dance with old silver moon,
grant secret wishing prayer.
Man speaks of faith
trapped in ideological indulgence,
time is stilled,
slips backwards
towards journeys end.

act irresponsibly,
a puzzle of perception
within or without.
Take away our parachutes
and love is the key
that does not oppress
justice shared among neighbours,
and hope that convinces even the bleakest of nights
nature too has a soul, a voice.

I follow earths whimper
shining through humanities glimpses
her beauty for all to share
fix me up a murmour
and long echoes that search for peace
nature's spirit does not discriminate
and the great world rolls on  interminably
in the still of the night  follows diversity
uniting us together to lifes real necessities
it is possible for our minds to reel in wonder
reasons whirl along the changing seasons .

Happy Winter Solstice

" Who , out of the theory of the earth and of his or her body
understands by subtle analogies all other theories."

- Walt Witman.

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Festive Phone Call

As part of a  National Month of Festive action against Atos , there is now taking place a mass telephone complaint to Atos. Starting on Monday 12th December, this campaign is running up until Christmas, benefit claimants, disabled people and their supporters will be ringing both local and national Atos Offices to complain about theor obscene treatment of sick and disabled people.

Sometimes talking to someone at this time of the year can make a difference,  it's that seasonal radiance that makes some of us shout, some of us scream.
for more infomation  about this talkback  go here.

Mr Cameron and his allies like a bit of division, heaping more and more burden on those in society that cannot defend themselves. In times of hardship, the conservatives historically look out for scapegoats, at a time when our elected leaders (M.Ps ) have the audacity to demand thousands more pounds in expenses.
Matbe greedy politicians should look inwards before targetting the more marginalised in society.
There is much hypocricy.
If your feeling strong, how about some solidarity with some people who are at moment in time are being pilloried and stigmatised.
Seasons greetings.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Thomas Evan Nicholas ( Niclas y Glais) (6/10/1879 -19/4/71) - To a Sparrow

                                                                   TO A SPARROW
                                                               ( Swansea Prison 1940)

                                                Look, here's another bread-crumb for your piping,
                                               And a piece of apple as a sweetener.
                                               It gladdens me to hear your steady pecking;
                                               It's good to see your cloak of grey once more.
                                               You've travelled here, perhaps, from Pembroke's reaches,
                                               From the gorse and heather on Y Frenni's height,
                                               And mabe on grey wing you've trilled your measures
                                               Above  fair Ceredigion at dawn's first light.
                                               Accept the bread: had I a drop of wine
                                               Pressed from  a distant country's sweet grape-cluster,
                                               We could take, amid war's turbulence,
                                               Communion, though the cell lacks cross and altar.
                                               The bread's as holy as it needs to be,
                                                Offering of a heart not under lock and key.

Translated  from the Welsh by Joseph P.Clancy
reprinted from  Twentieth Century Welsh Poems, ( Gomer,1982)

Born at Llanfyrnach. T.E Nicholas  was a congregational minister and a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and was a political journalist as well as a poet. He was twice imprisoned,  not the first or last Welshman to be imprioned by spurious charges.'To a Sparrow ' was a poem he wrote whilst incarcenated.
Main themes of his poetry were of injustice that stemmed from his  strong socialist faith.The Spanish Civil War gave rise to his verse denouncing fascism.  In later life  translated the internationale into Welsh.
It was whilst in prison though that he wrote some one hundred and fifty sonnets. The smallest incident would provide inspiration. Denied writing paper , he wrote on the slate in his cell, and on toilet paper. Main themse were  of injustice and the power of capital. 'Cana'r Carchar'  Prison Songs and 'Llygad y Drws' (referring to the eye hole of the prison door) were both collections that were written  whilst he was in prison.
He continued writing into his old age, his support for left wing causes undimmed.
Ke died in Aberystwyth in 1971 aged 91.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Solidarity with Bradley Manning

It was back in March that I first wrote about the case of Bradley Manning. Back then I called the post Bradley Manning - the forgotten Man, well since then things have not improved for Bradley Mannings lot, but at least the whole world is watching now.
Bradley Manning is being detained on suspicion of blowing the whistle on the Empire's dubious activities, by allegedly disclosing embarrasing U.S State Deparment cables.
He is due for a pre-trial hearing later today. Tomorrow, but especially here in Wales ( for we consider him one of us) there will many autonomous solidarity actions for Bradley across the globe.
Tomorrow will be Bradley' 24th birthday - a day that his supporrters will gather, many will gather outside Ft Meade and U.S embassies wordwide.
Not sure however if he will get anything resembling justice and freedom soon. Barak Obama has already come out saying that he is guilty, even before a trial. To many though, he is a hero.
He spent almost 4 years at Tasker Millward Comprhensive School in Havefordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, his mother Susan still lives in Pembrokeshire. If he was ever freed and returned to Wales I am sure he would get a warm welcome.
Since his imprisonment he has been subject to punishment that has amounted to torture during his 18 month detention, which has included solitary confinement and denial of sleep and exercise, undermining his mental condition. It does not look that in the U.S.A he will get a impartial trial, the government seem to have already assumed his guilt.
Guilty or not, he is in prison for anyone who has ever protested against U.S wars of aggression and British ( and other countries ) complicity in these wars.
Whatever the outcome we will not forget him. Surely exposing war crimes cannot be a crime, his alleged leaks have subsequently  acted as a jump start  to freedom movements springing up worlwide. The world needs whisleblowers, because then we really will have a world without fear. You cannot hide the truth.

New song by Graham Nash
about Bradley Manning

Collatteral Murder - leaked Video clip.

earlier post

good links
for further infomation

Thursday, 15 December 2011


                                Omar Vega

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Parlophone EP 8765 - Logue and Kinsey - Red Bird (side two)

Christopher Logue (23/11/26 -02/12/11) - Some Poetry and some Jazz (R.IP)

Very late with this post, was round my mates ken's last night where we shared a few smokes and a beer, we like to talk about poetry and jazz, he was there back in the day, mid 60s on the edge of Ladbroke Grove, we talked about old black and white  memories, improvised imaginings.
We listened, shared.... talked about powerful writers, we agreed that Christopher Logue had been good, a poet who succesfully merged jazz and poetry together, he had copy of red bird on tape, it was on it's last legs but still inspired. Mr Logue he had a fine voice clear, like an actor.Quite posh
His poetry like himself beyond categoriation, resolute with strong moral anger. My mate Ken said he'd written for Ken Russell another old rogue gone, acted too. His words public and dramatic, focused and confrontational,seriously mocking,above all darkly humourous, we liked that...
Also a pacifist, he too had walked on aldermaston , became a war poet but remained a man of conviction. A pornographer who saw no contadiction.
Remembered by some as 'spaghetti eating fanatic' in the film jaberwocky.
Another original gone. Silent or spoken - verse performs.

The song of the Outsider

This city and its citizens are green.
Quickly, those  who come from far off
and enter the city, turn green.
Many have rushed here suffering dangers unnumbered,
just to be green. And othe, with contacts,
with money, with skills that are wanted,
And have brought their children, dogs and servants,
so that all they possess shall be green.
Only one dweller herein,
only one, has not become green.
How much he would give to be green!
If he could be green, why nothing would matter.
He suffers from this. He may well go Pop!
As night, beneath the huge green stars,
he goes about crushing young greenies
to ease his hatred and fears.
It is bad to do this. He knows it is bad.
And thinking of his evil deeds he sheds
deeply felt tears 'If only I was green,' he says,
'life would  be like a children's game.'

To a friend in Search of Rural Seclusion

When all else fails,
    Try Wales.

 Rat, O Rat...

never in all my life have I seen
as hadsome a rat as you
Thank you for noticing my potatoes.

O Rat, I am not rich.
I left you a note concerning my potatoes,
but I see that I placed it too high
and you could not read it.

O Rat, consider my neighbour:
he has eight children (all of them older
and more intelligent than mine)
and if you lived in his house, Rat,

ten good Chritians
(if we include his wife)
would sing your praises nightly,
wheras in my house there are only five.

Air for the Witness of a Departure

A high wind blows
over the long white lea
O lover
over the white lea.
who knows where my love is riding?

Thrush in the maybloom
high winds blow
over the long white lea.
who knows where my love is riding?-
riding over the long white lea.

'Woke  up this morning '

Woke up this morning
In the middle of winter
Salt in my coffee
Swat in my hair.
The letter said: She's dead,
We know you will miss her.
Woke up this morning
In winter in winter.

Started my answer
But failed to remember
The sound of her voice
Or the shape of her head.
Wrote I was sorry
Will be there on Thursday
found myself busy
Sent flowers instead.

Several years later
I met her while dreaming.
Fingernails bitten
Her hands in her hair,
Lovely as ever:
I have to get started!
She shouted: Get started!
And parted the air.

Woke up this morning
In the middle of winter
Salt in my coffee
Sweat in my hair
All I could think of
Was sleeping beside her
And how she wore nothing
In winter in winter.

Reprinted from

Seleced Poems - Christopher Logue
faber and faber, 1996

Parlaphone L.P  Christopher Logue and Tony Kinsey ( side 1)

Guardian Obituary

Sunday, 11 December 2011

William Styron ( 11/6/25 - 1/11/06) - Darkness Visible (an extract)

' When I was first aware  that I had been laid low by the disease, I felt a need, among other things, to register a strong protest against the word 'depression'. Depression, most people know, used to be termed 'melancholia', a word which appears in English as early as the year 1303 and crops up more than once in Chaucer, who in his usage seemed to be aware of its pathological nuances. ' Melancholia' would still appear to be a far more apt and evocative word for the blacker forms of the disorder, but it was usurped by a noun with a bland tonality and lacking any magisterial prescence, used indifferently to describe an economic decline   or  a rut in the ground, a true wimp of a word for such a major illness. It may be that the scientist generally held resposible for its currency in modern times, a Johns Hopkins Medical School faculty member justly venerated - the Swiss born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer - had a tin ear for the finer rhythyms of the English and therefore was unaware of the semantic damage he had inflicted by offering 'depression'' as a descriptive noun for such a terrible and raging disease. Nonetheless, for over seventy-five years the word has slithered innocuously through the language like a slug, leaving little trace of its intrinsic malevolence and preventing, by its very insipidity, a general awareness of the horrible intensity of the disease when out of control.
As one who has suffered from the malady in extremis yet returned to tell the tale, I would lobby for a truly arresting designation. 'Brainstorm', for instance, has unfortunately been preempted to describe, somewhat jocularly, intellectual inspiration. But something along these lines is needed. Told that someone's mood disorder has evolved into a storm - a veritable howling tempest in the brain, which is indeed what a clinical depression resembles like nothing else - even the uninformed layman might display sympathy rather than the standard reaction that ' depression' evokes, something akin to 'So what?' or 'You'll pull out of it' or 'We all have bad days.' The phrase 'nervous breakdown' seems to be on its way out, certainly deservedly so, owing to its insinuation of a vaque spinelessness, but we still seem destined to be saddled with 'depression' until a better, sturdier name is created.
The depression that engulfed me was not of the manic type- the one accompanied by euphoric highs - which would have most probably presented itself earlier in my life. I was sixty when the illness struck for the first time, in the 'unpilor' form, which leads straight down. I shall never learn what caused my depression, as no one will ever learn about their own. To be able to do so will likely for ever prove to be an impossibility,so able complex are the intingled factors of abnormal chemistry, behaviour and genetics. Plainly, multiple components are involved - perhaps three or four, most probably more, in fathomless permutations. That is why the greatest fallacy about suicide lies in the belief that there is a single immediate answer - or perhaps combined answers - as to why the deed was done.
The inevitable question 'Why did he (or she) do it? usually leads to odd speculations, for the most part fallacies themselves. Reasons were quickly advanced for Abbie Hoffman's death: his reaction to an auto accident he had suffered, the failure of his most recent book, his mother's serious illness. With Randall Jarrell it was a declining career cruelly epitomised by a vicious book review and his consequent anguish. Primo Levi, it was rumoured, had been burdened by caring for his paralytic mother, which was more onerous to his spirit than even his experience at Auschwitz. Any one of these factors may have lodged like a thorn in the sides of the three men, and been a torment. Such aggravations may be crucial and cannot be ignored. But most people quietly endure the equivelent of injuries, declining careers, nasty book reviews, family illnesses. A vast majority of the survivors of Auschwitz have borne up fairly well. Bloody and bowed by the outrages of life, most human beings still stagger on down the road, unscathed by real depression. To discover why some people plunge into the downward spiral of depression, one must search beyond the manifest crisis - and then still fail to come up with anything beyond wise conjecture.
The storm which swept me into a hospital in December began as a cloud no bigger than a wine goblet the previous June. And the cloud - the manifest crisis - involved alcohol, a substance I had been abusing for forty years. Like a great many American writers, whose sometime lethal addiction  to alcohol has become so legendary as to  provide in itself a stream of studies and books, I use alcohol as the magical conduit to fantasy and euphoria, and the the enhancement of the imagination. There is no need either to rue or apologise for my use of this soothing, often sublime agent, which had contributed greatly to my writing;although I never sat down a line while under its influence, I did use it - often in conjuntion with music - as a means to let my mind concieve visions that the unaltered, sober brain has no assess to. Alcohol was an invaluable senior partner of my intellect, besides being a friend whose manifestations I sought daily - sought also, I now see, as a means to calm the anxiety and incipient dread that I had hidden away for so long somewhere in the dungeons of my spirit.
The trouble was at  the beginning of this paticular summer, that I was betrayed. It struck me quite suddenly, almost overnight; I could no longer drink. It was as if my body had risen up in protest, along with my mind, and had conspired to reject this daily mood bath which it had so long welcomed, and, who knows? perhaps even come to need. Many drinkers have experiencd this intolerance as they have grown older. I suspect that the crisis was atleast partly metabolic - the liver rebelling, as if to say, 'No more, no more' - but at any rate I discovered that alcohol in miniscule amounts, even a mothful of wine, caused me nausea, a desperate and unpleasant wooziness, a sinking sensation, and ultimately a distinct revulsion. The comforting friend had abandoned me not gradually and reluctantly as a true friend might do, but like a shot - and I was left high and certainly dry, and unhelmed.
Neither by will nor by choice had I become an absteiner; the situation was puzzling to me, but it was also traumatic, and I date the onset of my depressive mood from the begining of this deprivation. Logically, one would be overjoyed that the body had so summarily dismissed a substance that was undermining its health; it was as if my system had generated a form of Antabuse, which should have allowed me to happily go my way, satisfied that a trick of nature had shut me off from a harmful dependence. But, instead, I began to experience a vaquely troubling malaise, a sense of something having gone cockeyed in the domestic universe I'd done so long, so comfortably. While depression is by no means unknown when people stop drinking, it is usually on a scale that is not menacing. But it should be kept in mind how idiosyncratic the faces of depression can be.
It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more sombre, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zetful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me, just for a few minutes, accompanied by a visceral queasiness - such a seizure was at least alarming, after all. As I set down these recollections, I realise that it should have been plain to me that I ws already in the grip of the beginning of a mood disorder, but I was ignorant of such a condition at the time.
When I reflected on the curious alteration of my consciousness - and I was baffled enough from time to time to do so - I assumed that it all had to do somehow with my enforced withdrawal from alcohol. And, of course, to a certain extent this was true. But it is my conviction now that alcohol played a perverse trick on me when we said farewell to each other: although, as everyone should know, it is a major depressent, it had never truly depressed me during my drinking career, acting instead as a shield against anxiety. Suddenly vanished, the great ally which for so long had kept my demons at bay was no longer there to prevent those demons from beginning to swarm through the subconscious, and I was emotionally naked, vulnerable as I had never been before. Doubtless depression  had hovered near me for years, waiting to swoop down. Now I was in the first stage- premonitory, like a flicker of sheet lightning barely percieved depression's black tempest.
I was on Martha's Vineyard, where I've spent a good part of each year since the sixties, during that exceptionally beautiful summer. But I had begun to respond indifferenty to the islands pleasures. I felt a kind of numbness, a reservation, but more particularly odd fragility - as if my body  had actually become frail, hypersensitive and somehow disjointed and clumsy, lacking normal coordination. And soon I was in the throes of a pervasive hypochondria. Nothing felt quite right with my corpereal self; there were twitches and pains, sometimes intermittent, often seemingly constant that seemed to presage all sorts of dire infirmities. (Given these signs, one can understand how, as far back as the seventeenth century - in the notes of contemporary physicians, and in the perceptions of John Dryden and others - a connection is made between melancholia and hypochondria; the worlds are often interchangeable, and were so used until the nineteenth century by writers as various as Walter Scott and the Brontes, who also linked melancholy to a preoccupation with bodily ills.) It is easy to see how this condition is part of the psyche's apparatus of defence: inwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects - not the precious and irreplaceable mind - that is going haywire.

In my case , the overall effect was immensely disturbing, augmenting the anxiety that was by now never quite absent from my waking hours and fuelling still another strange behaviour pattern - a fidgety restlessness that kept me on the move, somewhat to the perplexity of my family and friends. Once, in late summer, on an airplane trip to New York, I made the reckless mistake of downing a scotch and soda - my first alchol in months - which promptly sent me into a tailspin, causing me such a horrified sense of disease and interior doom that the very next day I rushed to a Manhattan intern, who inaugurated a long series of tests. Normally I would have been satisfied, indeed elated, when after  three weeks of high-tech and extremely expensive evaluation, the doctor pronounced me totally fit; and I was happy, for a day or two, until there once gain began the rythmic daily erosion of my mood - anxiety, agitation, unfocused dread.
By now I had moved back to my house in Connecticut. It was October, and one of the unforgettable features of tihis stage of my disorder was the way in which my own farmhouse, my beloved home for thirty years, took on for me at that point when my spirits regularly sank to their nadir an almost palpable quality of ominousness. The fading evening light - akin to that famous 'slant of light' of Emily Dickinson's, which spoke to her of death, of chill extinction - had none of its familiar autumnal loveliness, but ensnared me in a suffocating gloom. I wondered how this friendly place teeming with such memories of (again in her words ) 'Lads and Girls', of laughter and ability and Sighing,/ And Frocks and Curls', could almost perceptively seem so hostile and forbidding. Physically, I ws not alone. As always Rose was present and listened with unflagging patience to my complaints. But I felt an immense and aching solitude. I could no longer concentrate during those afternoon hours, which for years had been my working time, and the act of writing itself, becomming more and more difficult and exhausting, stalled, then finally ceased.

William Styron's house in Connecticut.

There were also dreadful, pouncing seizures of anxiety. One bright day on a walk through the woods with my dog I heard a flock of Canada geese honking high above trees ablaze with foliage, ordinarily a sight and sound that would have exhilarated me, the flight of birds caused me to stop, riveted with fear, and I stood stranded there, helpless, shivering, aware  for the first time that I had been stricken by no mere pangs of withdrawal but by a serious illness whose name and actuallity I was able to finally to acknowledge. Going home I couldn't rid my mind of the line of Baudelaire's, dredged up from the distant past, that for several days had been skittering around at the edge of my consciousness: 'I have felt the the wind of the wing of madness.'
Our perhaps understandable modern need to dull the sooth-tooth edges of so many of the afflicions we are heir to has led us to banish the harsh old fashioned words: madhouse, asylum, insanity, melancholia, lunatic, madness. But never let it be doubted that depression, in its extreme form, is madness. The  madness results from an abherrrant biochemical process. It has been established with reasonable certainty ( after strong resistance from many psychiatrists, and not all that long ago) that such madness is chemically induced amid the neurotransmitters of the brain, probably as the result of systemic stress, which for unknown reasons cause a depletion of the chemicals norepinephrine and srontonin, and the increase of a hormone, cortsol. With all its upheaval in the brain tissues, the alternate drenching and deprivation, it is no wonder that the mind begins to feel aggrieved, stricke, and the muddied thought processes register the distress of an organ in convulsion. Sometimes, though not very often, such a disturbed mind will turn to violent thoughts regarding others. But with their minds turned agonizingly inward, people with depression are usually dangerous only to themselves. The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed. but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.
That fall as the disorder gradually took full possession of my system, I began to concieve that my mind itself was like one of those outmoded small- town  telephone exchanges, being gradually inudated by floodwaters: one by one, the normal circuits began to drown, causing some of the functions of the body and nearly all those pf instinct and intellect slowly to disconnect.
There is a well-known checklist of some of these functions and their failures. Mine conked out fairly close to schedule, many of them following the pattern of depressive seizures. I particularly remember the lamentable near dissapearance of my voice. It underwent a strange transformation, becomming at times quite faint, wheezy and spasmodic - a friend observed later that it was the voice of a ninety-year old. The libido also made an early exit, as it does in most major illnesses - it is the superfluous need of a body in beleagured emergency. Many people lose all appetite; mine was relatively normal, but I found myself eating only for substistence: food, like everything else within the scope of sensation, was utterly without saviour. Most distressing of all the instinctual disruptions was that of sleep, along with a complete absence of dreams.
Exhaustion combined with sleepnessness is a rare torture. The two or three hours of sleep I was able to get at night were always at the behest of the Haleion - a matter which deserves particular notice. For some time now many experts in psycho-pharnology have warned that the benzodiazpine family of tranquilliszers, of which Halcion is one (Valium and Ativan are others), is capable of depressing mood and even precipitating a major depression. Over two years before my siege, an insouciant doctor had prescribed Ativan as a bedtime aid, telling me airily that I could take it casually as apirin. The Physicians' Desk Reference, the pharmeacological  bible, reveals that the medicine I had been ingesting was (a) three times the normally prescribed strength, (b) not advisable as a medication for more than a month or so, and (c) to beused with special caution by people of my age. At the time of which I am speaking I was no longer taking Ativian but had become addicted to Halcion and was consuming large doses. It seems reasonable to think that this was still another contributary factor to the trouble that had come upon me. Certainly , it should be a caution to others.
At any rate, my few hours of sleep were usually terminated at three or four in the morning, when I stared up into yawning darkness, wondering and weithing at the devastation taking place in my mind, and awaiting the dawn, which usually permitted me a feverish, dreamless nap.I'm fairly certain that it was during one of these insomniac trances that there came over me the knowledge - a wierd and shocking revelation, like that of some long-beshrouded metaphysical truth - that this condition would cost me my life if it continued on such a course. This must have been just before my trip to Paris. Death, as I have said, was now a daily prescence, blowing over me in cold gusts. I had not concieve precisely how my end would come. In short, I had not concieved precisely how my end would come. In short, I ws still keeping the idea of suicide at bay. But plainly  the possibility was around the corner, and I would  soon meet  it face to face.
What I had begun to discover is that, mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the grey drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. But it is not an immedately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb. It may be more accurate to say that despair, owing to some evil trick played upon the sick brain by the inhabiting psyche, comes  to resembe the diabolical discomfort of being imprisoned in a fiercely overheated room. And because no breeze stirs this cauldron, because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.'

Reprinted from :-

Darkness Visible - William Styron ( Cape 1991).

Remember a lot of people with mental health problems never actually seek professional help. Sometimes when sought the help is not what is needed.  Even though William Styron's book  helped demystify the subject, there is still serious stigma attached.This book helped me though when I too was suffering and would strongly recommend it. The complex wrestling of the human soul  is often  difficult to avoid. But it always seems to arrive uninvited.
Attracts some like a magnet.New tactics emerge , sometimes they work, every small step is because you are living. Every day one of survival. It forces us to look,  join the dots, life as one big balancing act. The wave  can be broken, peaked and  moved over. Best to avoid the dodgems!

More on William Styron here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mumia Abu-Jamal - Another Nameless Prostitute Says The Man is Innocent.

Today is the 30th anniversary of Mumia Abu -Jamals incarcenation and is also the eve of International Human Rights day. Across the world anti-death penalty activists, lovers of justice and freedom and people of good conscience  will protest  at the violation of Pennylvania  inmate Mumia's constitutional rights.
This date marks the anniversery of the night that Jamal was shot, arrested, beaten up and framed for the murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer  called Daniel faulkner. 30 years later this political prisoner , critically acclaimed journalist ( before his imprisonment  he was the President of the Philadeplhia Association of Black Journalists) and became one of the world's most recognised death row inmates awaits a decision by Federal District Court Judge William H.John Jr, on his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Hopefully he will  finally get some justice and a full hearing by the federal court.
Mumia was born in 1954  in Philadelphia and was given the slave name Wesley Cook. At 14  he joined the Black Panther Party and was already showing signs of his strong articulateness and passion. Becoming known for his outspokenness and  his work as a radical journalist, mostly on radio as the 'voice of the voiceless', bringing him unwanted attention from the F.B.I and the local police.
He  moved on from the black Panthers and became a supporter and spokesperson for the Move Organisation  founded by an African American named John Africa a black back to nature group  with an anarcho primitist outlook that rejected  the system. It's members and supporters faced a daily onslaught against them for a number of years, being systematically tageted for their beliefs and on numerous occasions faced violent retribution from the state.
His support of this organisation and his reporting of unpopular causes  which included exposing the violence of the state as it manifests in entrenched poverty, endemic racism, police brutality and celebrating a peoples unending quest for freedom led him to lose his job as a radio journalist,   so he took up taxi driving in order to provide for his family. So one could imagine that  he already  was a marked man.
On  Dec 9th 1981 he had just dropped a client off  when he heard gunshot and saw people running. One of whom was his brother a Billy Cook who ran towards him, he then he saw a police officer aiming a gun at him, he was shot and beaten, and later was charged with the murder of Officer Faulkner who had died from gunshot wounds only a feet away from where Mumia himself had fallen. Mumia himself remained in critical condition for a period of time, but his case was rushed to trial  within 6 months .A trial that Amnesty International condemned as failing to meet even the most minimal standards of fairness, and that is an understatement.The trial was a farce with witnesses constantly changing statements, vital evidence being buried,  proceedings markedby racism, inept prepresentation andto cap it all a bigoted  and prejudiced judge. There was no way that Mumia was going to get the justice he deserved, and he was found guilty and sentence to death.
One of the key prosecution witness was a prostitute with a long history of arrests and her testimony contadicted previous statements and that of other witnesses. A man was with dreadlocks was seen running fron thescene, Mumia has dreadlocks, there are so many doubts. Several prosecution witnesses from his trial have since recanted their testimony , furthermore another individual Arnold Beverly has since subsequently confessed to killing Faulkner. Mumia has always maintained his innocence.
One reason for them finding Mumia guilty was like others he stood up against repression, for civil liberties and the government and the police  simply wanted to silence an activist long known for exposing corruption.. With their attempts to silence him we can see double standards , because this is not the message they dare preach to the rest of the world. But their 30 year conspiracy of silence has not worked

I believe he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and had been systematically targetted by the police and the authorities in order to beget his silence. He has not been silenced despite the U.S Governments best efforts, Mumia is still writing, still speaking out, opening up the eyes of the people to the injustices of the system that imprisons him, still a powerful voice of the voiceless, a champion of the oppressed. Becomming a potent iconic figurehead for many.  Writing numerous publications with his  revolutionary spirit intact  and releasing a series of broadcasts  live from his  prison cell, through the Prison Radio Network. Link at bottom. You can imprison somebody but you cannot kill their spirit.
In December 2001 his death sentence was oveturned but not his conviction, so still he is not free.
An online petition for President Barck Obama 'Mumia Abu- Jamal and the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty'  was signed by over 20,000 people from around the world. Tomorrow let us also remember that internationally political opponents to nation states continue to face wrongful imprsonment too.
Today in Britain between 5.00 - 7.00 pm campaigners will assemble at Speakers Corner and make their way via Marble Arch and Oxford Street tothe US Embassy in London and will demand the unconditional and immediate release of Mumia Abu- Jamul. Many similar actions will take place across the globe,joining an international chorus who are actively calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

' Another Nameless Prostitute Says The man is Innocent'
                              For Mumia Abu -Jamal
By Martin Espada

The board-blinded windows knew what happened;
   the pavement sleepers of Philadelphia, groaning
in their ghost-infested sleep, knew what happened;
                    every black man blessed
        with the gashed eyebrow of nightsticks
                     knew what happened;
      even Walt Whitman knew what happened
             poet a century dead, keeping vigil
    from the tomb on the other side of the bridge

                  More than fifteen years ago,
        the cataract stare of the cruiser's headlights
                the impossible angle of the bullet,
                the tributaries and lakes of blood,
Officer faulkner dead,suspect Mumia shot in the chest,
       the nameless witnesses who saw a gunman
       running away, his heart and feet thudding.

               The nameless prostitute know,
       hunched at the curb, their bare legs chilled.
           Their faces squinted to see that night
     rouged with fading bruises. Now the faces fade
Perhaps an eyewitness putrifies eyes open in a bed of soil,
       or floats in the warm gulf stream of her addiction,
         or hides from the faged whispers of the police
                   in  the tomb of Walt Whitman         
                  where the granite door is open
                  and fugitive slaves may rest.

         Mumia: the Panther beret, the thinking dreadlocks,
dissident words that swarmed the microphone like a hive,
            sharing meals with people named Africa,
singing out their names even after the police bombardment
                    that charred their black bodies
         so the governer has signed the death warrant.
       The executioner's needle would flush the poison
                   down into Mumia's writing hand
              so the fingers curl like a burned spider;
        his calm questioning mouth would grow numb,
and everywhere radios sputter to silence, inhis memory.

                   The veiled prostitutes are gone,
             gone to the segregated balcony of whores
But the newspaper reportsthat another nameless prostitute
says the man is innocen, that she will testify at the next hearing.
   Beyond the courthouse,a multitude of witnesses chants,
 pray, shouts for his prison to collapse, a shack in a hurricane.
                   Mumia, if the last nameless prostitute
                 becomes an unravelling turban of steam,
                if the judges' robes become clouds of ink
                      swirling like octupus deception,
                if the shroud becomes yourAmish quilt
            if your dreadlocks are snipped during autopsy,
                 then drift above the ruined RCA factory
                             that once birthed radios
                         to the tomb of Walt Whitman
                         where the granite door is open
                           and fugitive slaves may rest.

Philadelphi, PA/Camden, NJ, april 1997

Mumia Abu -Jamal Radio Broadcasts

Other Links

Home page of John Africa's  MoveOrganisation

Link to excellent film on the case
by acclaimed director Marc Evans here

" This message comes toyou from the depths of America's dungeons, from the cages in Babylon's bowelsthat are in a sense, America's own 'Taten Trakle', Wings of death where men await execution by electrocution.
As radical journalists we have another tale to tell - it is a tale not of plenty but of loss, of torture and injustice. In short it is a tale of the oppressed, but it's also a tale of brighter tomorrows, of seas aflood with life, of air sweet to the lung, of forests green, of health, of hope, of freedom and peace, for all the worlds people.
We can create islands of liberated consciousness,afloat with truth of peoples sentiments for dignity and freedom, free from the systems slur of terrorism. We can produce you progressive portraits of the possible so that a better tomorrow may dawn."

- Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Further Reading :-

Mumia Abu-Jamal , Death Blossoms: Reflections of a Prisoner of Conscience, Plough Publishing House 1997

David Lindroff - Killing Time: An investigation into the Death  Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Amnesty International - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal , Seven Stories Press.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Expect Us! - Bill Allyn

Heretic Productions brings you an extraordinary piece of Poetry by Bill Allyn

Expect us

Once we were weak, but now we stand tall.
Millions of citizens, heeding the call.
Demanding our freedom, the birthright of all.
The Arab Spring turns to the American Fall.

We're the 99, and we'll never forgive.
Well never forget how you've made us live.
Expect us at your door, prepare to defend!
The reign of the moneyed and privileged now ends.

Once we were few, now we grow by the hour.
The lamb sheds its mask - the emperor cowers.
The wolf bares her teeth, the hunger devours.
The gleaming skyscrapers, the ivory towers.

We're the 99. and we'll mever forgive
We'll never forget, how you've made us live.
Expect us at your door, prepare to defend!
The world of the moneyed and  privileged now ends.

There's no "job creators" a "trickle-down" bust.
And time's running out for your greed and your lust.
You've earned no respect, and squandered our trust.
From this day forward, you must expect us!

We're the 99, and we'll never forgive.
Well never forget how you made us live.
Expect us at your door, prepare to defend!
The reign of the moneyed and privilged now ends.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ted Hughes (17/8/30 -28/10/98) - The God

You were like a religious fanatic
Without a god- unable to pray.
You wanted to be a writer.
Wanted to write? What was it within you
Had to tell its tale?
The story that has to be told
Is the writer's God, who calls
Out of sleep, inaudibly: 'Write'.
Write what?
Your heart, mid-Sahara, raged
In its emptiness.
Your dreams were empty.
You bowed at your desk and you wept
Over the story that refused to exist,
As over a prayer
That could not be prayed
To a non-existent God. A dead God
With a terrible voice
You were like those desert ascetics
Who fascinated you,
Parching in such a torturing
Vacuum of God
It sucked goblins out of their finger-ends,
Out of the soft motes of the sun-shafts,
Out of the blank rock face.
The gagged prayer of their sterility
Was a God
So was your panic of emptiness - a God.

You offered him verses. First
Little phials of the emptiness
Into which your panic dropped its tears
That dried and left crystalline spectra.
Crystals of salt from your sleep.
Like the dewy sweat
On some desert stones, after dawn.
Oblations to an abscence.
Little sacrifices. Soon

Your silent howl through the night
Had madeitself a moon, a fiery idol
Of your God
Your crying carried its moon
Like a woman a dead child. Like a woman
Nursing a dead child. bending to cool
Its lips with tear drops on her finger-tip.
So I nursed you, who nursed a moon
That was human but dead, withered and
Burned you like a lump of phosphorus.

Till the child stireed. It's mouth-hole stirred.
Blood oozed at your nipple,
A drip feed of blood. Our happy moment!

The little God flew up into the Elm Tree.
In your sleep, glassy eyed,
You heard its instructions. When you woke
Your hands moved. You watched them in dismay
As they made a new sacrifice .
Two handfuls of blood, your own blood,
And in that blood gobbets of me,
Wrapped in a tissue ofstory that had somehow
Slipped from you. An embryo story.
You could not explain it or who
Ate at your hands.
The little god roared at night in the orchard,
His roar half a laugh.

You fed him by day, under your hair-tent,
Over your desk, in your secret
Sirit-house, you whispered,
You drummed on your thumb with your fingers,
Shook Winthrop shells for their sea voices,
And gave me an effigy - a Salvia
Pressedin a Lutheran Bible.
Youcould not explain it. Sleep had opened.
Darkness poured from it, like perfume.
Your dreams had burst their coffin.
Blinded I struck a light.

And woke upside down in your spirit-house
Moving limbs that were not my limbs,
And telling, in a voice not my voice,
A story of which I knew nothing
With the smoke of the fire you tended
Flames I had lit unwitting
That whitened in the oxygen jet
Of your incantaory whisper.

You fed the flames with the myrrh of you mother,
The Frankincense of your father
And your own amber and the tongues
Of fire told their tale. And suddenly
Everybody knew everything.
Your God snuffed up the fatty reek.
His roar was like a basement furnace
In your ears, thunder in the foundations.

Then you wrote in a fury, weeping,
Your joy a trance-dancer
In the smoke in the flames
'God is speaking through me,' you told me
'Don't say that,' I cried. 'Don't say that.
That is horribly unlucky!'
As I sat there with blistering eyes
Watching everything go up
In the flames of your sacrifice
That finally caught you too and you
Vanished exploding
Into the flames
Of thestory of your God
Who embraced yo
And your mummy and your daddy,
Your Aztec, Black Forest
God of the euphenism grief.

Reprinted from

New and Selected Poems 1957-94

Friday, 2 December 2011

Manchester walkabout.

What a lovely thing a movement is
when the currents of unity smell
and voices speak with optimistic roar
side by side, the young and old
shooting out branches to oppose
tory dereliction.
The hiss of collective breath
with hungry eyes
communities dreaming together
swarming with warmth
and much hospitality.
Lover bought an accordian
needs must, we lugged it through the streets
a little indulgence perhaps,
but we are not yet broken.
People grow fierce
learn how to paint the sky
committed though in debt,
we are as strong as tempered steel.
As spirits rised, canal crossed
popped into music stores
to overload senses
already worked overtime.
But long shadows are growing
tory spite charges at Winter's cold blast
disconnected themselves from the people.
They will not kill our spirit
they will not banish our care.