Saturday, 20 May 2017

Dentistry

Source: John Buchanan

​The subject for this month's Open Mic is 'teeth'. This poem is directed at the ivory trade but could equally apply to the destruction of many other animal and plant species around the world.

Dentistry

The grass here is lush this year
where last t'was trodden down.
The soil this year is richer here
since poachers bought them down.
Amidst the grass great boulders lie
that were not here before;
before the crack and thump,
the panga's* ring and chainsaw's roar
that soaked the soil in pools of gore.
All that's left of them this year;
white boulders strewn in rich grass
and the sound of distant pianos.

John Carré Buchanan
19 May 2017


* A panga is another name for a machete.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Fear

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Fear

There's nothing like a little fear
to keep the proles in check.
Just keep them feeling frightened
so that you can skew the deck.

Dictators and governments,
ancient kings and queens
all have used the ‘bogeyman’
to help achieve their dreams.

To catch or kill a terrorist,
or keep the fuel tank full,
they'll let you steal their liberties
and not think rational.

They’ll let you tap their telephone
and track their every move,
they'll even pay the media
to keep them in the groove.

A constant stream of atrocities
fills their every screen.
Yet they're much more likely
to die without a scream.

The world is more peaceful
then it's ever been before,
a violent death’s unlikely,
as is pestilence, disease and war.

Yes: there's nothing like a little fear
to keep the proles in check.
Just keep them feeling frightened;
… My turn to skew the deck

If you're a tiger, a snow leopard,
butterfly or polar bear,
You've every right to be frightened
for man's greed outstrips all fear.

John Carré Buchanan
23 April 2017

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Too Much Chocolate

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Our next open mic happens just after Easter and the theme will be ‘Too Much Chocolate’.

Chocolate contains cocoa, sugar, palm oil and milk (cattle), four ingredients that are responsible for huge tracts of primary rain-forest being destroyed across the globe. I thought this poem should represent the voices of forests and their inhabitants. I make no apologies for the last line.

Too Much Chocolate

Last week we heard a distant roar
that drifted on the air,
it crept ever closer
and bought with it despair.

The pillars are still falling
and all around us now
the constant whine of chainsaw
lays our forest bare.

You'll turn it into pasture
or cover it in palm.
Drag away the timber
to turn into a barn.

In places you'll plant cocoa,
where it shouldn't really grow
and it will leach the soil
and the insects they will go.

Then the birds that feed upon them
and the plants they pollinate
will vanish in a moment
from the hell that you'll create.

This Easter as you celebrate
the life that was reborn,
remember us, I beg,
for you decimate our forest
for a f***ing chocolate egg.

John Carré Buchanan
08 April 2017

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Goat Kebab

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This is a poem I wrote for an open mic on the subject Media. I did not finish it in time for the open mic and to be honest I'm not sure it's finished yet, but the events behind it have been on my mind for a while so I am going to publish it anyway;

The Goat Kebab

She walked into the HQ
pearl earrings shining bright
and G2 whispered
"Oh shit, there's going to be a fight."
A short while later,
maybe half an hour,
the radio crackled into life
someone was under fire.

A couple of days later
we were followed by the Beeb
as we drove a beat up rover
up country at low speed.
Then steam billowed from the bonnet,
we spluttered to a halt
and realised there were mines about,
our hearts dropped with a jolt.

Looking back down the road
to where his lens should be
the stringer filming our incursion
was nowhere to be seen.
We eventually fixed our waggon;
without stepping on the ground
and backed carefully down the track
to where we turned around.

And then the camera man turned up
goat kebab upon his knee
we sat and took a breather
and talked of family.
He'd been sent out there
because he spoke the lingo
and now he was stuck there
his life just hung in limbo,

He gathered images of horrors
for the correspondents to describe
their voice-overs recorded
from safer countryside.
He gave us a Union Flag
to stick upon our Rover
for the Brits were well respected
that battlefield all over.

A week or so later we learnt our friend had died
his Rover had been mortared
despite flags on every side,
he'd died gathering the images
that filled the news back home.
We raised a glass that evening
and shared a goat kebab
then as a precaution, peeled the flag off our cab.

John Carré Buchanan
03 December 2016

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Earth

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I wrote this poem for our next Open Mic on the subject of 'The Earth'.

Earth

A blue marble turns in a bejewelled sky
a reflection in an alien eye
it's surface rich, a treasure trove
the gaze is held from apojove.*

and deep within that alien's mind
a burning hatred of mankind
for watching Eden from the stars
our alien spaceman sees the scars.

It's not his place to intervene
nor the first extinction he’s seen.
He turns his gaze from the Petri dish
and wishes man had stayed a fish.

In the scheme of things we do not matter
despite our busy clitter-clatter.
As obligate parasites without a host
our future’s nothing more than toast.

The marble will take another turn,
it will recover from the burn
and life forms of a different kind
may flourish, if they’re not so blind.

John Carré Buchanan
08 October 2016


* The point in an orbit around the planet Jupiter where the orbiting body is farthest from the planet.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Miscreants

Source: Buchanan

I wrote this poem for an Open Mic with the subject of; 'Skin'. I feel slightly guilty because I couldn't include more names and keep the rhyme. Suffice to say that that I am proud to have served with a bunch of reprobates who got under my skin.

Miscreants

Somehow those miscreants got under my skin,
they were brothers, but never kin.
The likes of Midnight, Scotty, Mac and Doc
in a place where strife ran amok.
There was a job to be done
and it got done
but they had an unrivalled capacity for fun.
It was hard to keep the lid on
Immersed in a crucible
bonds formed, bonds that live on
and will; 'till the last of us is done.
Yes my friends,
you got under my skin
and you live here, deep within.

John Carré Buchanan
11 September 2016

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Assisted Travel

Source; Buchanan

I think the picture and the poem say it all!

Assisted Travel

Suddenly I veered to the left
and the going got heavy.
The smooth tiles had not changed
but it felt like gravity had.
I was twice the weight.
Glancing around I saw my son;
gliding silently along behind me
on a penny board,
dragging a suitcase,
holding on to the back of my chair.
The assisted travel in Heathrow sucks!

John Carré Buchanan
07 August 2016


Friday, 15 July 2016

Media Blues

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This months Open Mic had the theme of Media, so i wrote this;

Media Blues

The papers say it all;
shots fired, bombs, markets crash,
politicians up to this and that
misery abounds
but
I went to the beach today
watched children dig in the sand
cartwheels, Frisbees, shrimp nets,
a kite in a sapphire sky.
That wasn't in the papers
nor on the Radio
I didn't see it on TV, the net,
or late night show.

The media doesn't see true beauty
just shallow looks and cats,
as such it's our perception
the world has gone to rats.
But if you take the time to see
what's really going on
the worlds a whole lot safer
then it's ever been before
fewer wars, less crime
and far less dinosaur.

We have more time to play
than our forebears ever did.
but the media keeps us frightened
imprisoned in our place
by only showing evil, pain and disgrace.

Take some time to breathe
turn off the radio
put down the paper, mouse
don't watch that late night show
experience the wonders,
this planet has to share
form your own opinion
you can if you dare
ditch the media's frown
and.... well....
just turn it upside down.

John Carré Buchanan
09 July 2016

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Ace Of Spades

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This month's open mic topic is 'superstition', I couldn't bring myself to do black cats, ladders and mirrors, so I came up with this instead;

The Ace of Spades

He always tied his laces in exactly the same way,
then he'd open his top left pocket
and put the photo away.
He'd pat the lucky picture
as he went out through the door
then stamp his feet twice upon the dusty floor.
His helmet bore his blood group,
his rifle the number 7
but he always broke to the right
and now he's up in heaven.
For the dickers had been dicking
and his habits, they'd espied
his silly superstitions
we're the reason that he died.
In the grass below his tombstone
a bunch of leaves did sprout
a patch of four leaf clover;
his luck's at last run out.

John Carré Buchanan
10 June 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Mountaineer

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​The last 8 years have been tough, the accident, pain, loss of mobility and the job I loved and the plummet into the depths of despair was all made worse by the guilt associated with the effect it was having on those I loved.

Somewhere in all that darkness I found a spark, faith, that ray of light that gave me the strength to start climbing.

This poem is called the Mountaineer...

The Mountaineer

I hated the face in front of me,
the pallid complexion,
puffed up jowls
dark patches under vacant eyes,
that stale unwashed reek
of pain and self loathing
a weak and crumbling vestige.

I stared mercilessly
into its worthless soul,
glaring at the
epitome of everything I despised,
trying to find a merest hint
of strength, courage or drive.

As I searched those dead eyes
pitiful tears started to flow,
my hatred deepened.
I wanted to strike him across the face,
tell him to man up, grow a pair
but more than that;
I wanted to destroy
the sniveling wreck
that stared back at me;
from the mirror.

Deep within,
something fanned a dying ember,
it spluttered briefly,
faltered and dimmed
a mournful sigh breathed life,
made it glow and this time
it stuck.

Fire to fight fire
pain to fight pain
forget hatred, hang it up
put fear and anger aside
and trust, believe, know;
I can, I will
climb the hill.

Looking back down
I see a reflection in a lake,
a tall snow laden mountain
rugged and unyielding
and there, right at the top
a small black speck;
a man standing.

John Carré Buchanan
03 June 2016

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