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Last update: 2007-11-05

Cheviot Lament

2007-11-05 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

This is a poem and some music that I wrote in 2001 at the height of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the North East of England. I subsequently recorded it with the superb Northumbrian Piper Andy May on his album "The Yellow -Haired Laddie " released on Fellside in 2003. It was a real honour to collaborate with Andy and I hope one day to be able to write another piece of music for him.…


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Ward Fourteen - York District Hospital

2005-12-10 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

This will be my last podcast for a little while - but the blog continues here.

Place of smells and silence

Of faces and paper

A haze of care

Lift The Patient

The Patient Is Lifted

Handflighted into bed

I can't resist

Lift The Patient

The Patient Is Lifted

Sink featherlight forever into sheets

Drift into conversations with someone.

In the rain

Two fat pigeons snuggle in.

I perch to shit on a tea tray

In the night count drips of saline

Invaded by fear

Memories of blood and light.

The old man in the bed next door shouts " Joanna!"

At least I think it was him.


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The Night You Twocced My Heart

2005-11-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

The night you twocced my heart

I thought it was secured -
Parked, locked and under lights
Taxed, tested and insured

The night you twocced my heart
I left it parked in gear
Downhill in the suburbs
And dented in the rear

The night you twocced my heart
It had been cleaned – it’s just
The exterior trim was shabby
With a lot less chrome than rust.

The night you twocced my heart.
At forty it was shaking
It backfired in the morning
And had inconsistent braking.

The night you twocced my heart
You’d have spotted something wrong
The carburettor floods
If you choke it for too long

The night you twocced my heart
The heat blew hot – then cold
The fan-belt started squeaking
And an offside tyre was bald.

The night you twocced my heart
It veered slightly to the left
Covered only by Third Party
Immune to fire or theft.

The night you twocced my heart
It did have a full tank
– A tiger’s tail and sticker
Saying “Atomkraft – Nein Danke”

The night you twocced my heart.
It’s one of the older types
Ready for a re-tune
And white Go Faster stripes.

The night you twocced my heart
I thought you’d soon despair
The clutch is always slipping
And the body needs repair

The night you twocced my heart.
Why you took it is a mystery.
It had several careless owners
And no full service history.

It isn’t a new model
It doesn’t always start
But it went from nought to sixty
The night you twocced my heart.


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2005-11-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

always arrives a wet dog coughing

like dawn doors in the gloom

or axe on wood

days end early too

my conker socket eyes

stare up at lower suns

dead things turn white bellied

toward the North

and first frost expected

thought lost

etched in laced dreams of glass

edges iced

and a letter to a lover

penned from the front line

ripped open eagerly

as snow falls smiling…


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2005-10-23 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

On the floor in my hallway

Early spring sunlight on our faces

We sit in shadowless conversation.

Through the open door the daffodils nod acquaintance with translucent privet

And the sweet smell of earth rises.

You tell me about the time you sat in a room for a whole day

Moving round to follow the sun

As it lit each wall in turn.

On reflection

I think that the sun followed you

And finally, at dusk

Lay with its head on your lap

As I do now.


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Another Country

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

A set of poems that I wrote about some of my favourite American musicians. All of them dead now - except Scotty.…


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Another Country : Zevon Heaven

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

I see him standing at the door of a hotel room

Somewhere downtown

Just in his underwear

With the light behind him

Reefer Clint-clamped between his teeth

A headless gunner

Letting fly with his Colt 45

Laughing as he turns his back to


Ringing in his ears

My Odeo Channel (odeo/beae3566f0ffea4e)…


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Another Country :The Dreams of Scotty Moore

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

The old man smiles

Mother of pearl

Across his fretboard

Does he dream?

Is this his dream?

That his fingers dribble over notes

Like water over the rocks of a Mississippi stream

Where the dangerous boy from Tupelo

Bathes in the spotlight

Visible only from the waist up.


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Another Country : Hickory Wind

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

A dead weight.

A desert night


Strung out

As our bootlace ties.

The gasoline smell

A faraway city

The fleeting shadow of a man with a spear

Caught in the flames.

A promise kept.

I remember the oak tree

That we used to climb


Someone should say something

As a hickory wind

Blows the smoke South.


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Another Country :The Man in Black

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

His head and his hairs were white like wool, and white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass,as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

American Bandstand. 1962.

His beltbuckle leaves a searing sunspot on the screen

As he prowls sleek and slick like the Arkansas panther

That used to follow him home from chapel.

His voice the rasp of a sharpening razor.

Beehive girls swarm the foot of the stage

Offer him all with their eyes

Tonight he ambles, a big black bear

With the barrel bellychest and saddlebag eyes

Of a man who’s spent his life in the deep darkness beneath.

Folsom Prison Blues.

That voice

Never missing a piston-beat

Of the freight-train rhythm.

His band of young gunfighters

Still watching for a finger twitch

From the Man in Black

As the song pulls into the sidings

He smiles like he’s seen the sun

Closes it softly like a piano lid

Or a coffin.


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Another Country: Crazy

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

Randy’s flyin’ the plane

I can see his neck muscles stretched taut

As he tries to hold us in the storm

I love that ol’ neck

The hair bed-tousled

From runnin’ jumpin’ an ‘ playin’

I want it all to stop

To feel his hands on my face

Play house.

The lights of Camden Tennessee pass

Low and fast


I fall to pieces


For thinking that my love could hold you


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Another Country : Hank Williams' Last Drive

2005-10-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

Young Charlie Carr's got this tune running round his head

( It’s Jambalaya - but he don't know that. He don't speak French.)

Whistles it between his teeth over heater hum and Cadi purr.

Don’t wanna wake The Man

Sweat-stetsoned in the back seat

Staring eyeless at a desert focal point

As a pallid dawn blurs by.


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Do Ya Wanna Touch?

2005-10-14 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

I wrote this short story a couple of years ago and it was subsequently published in Sand Magazine.

It's based on a real event.…


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2005-10-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

Breakfast is over.

John Humphries is whispering in the background

A sawing noise comes from the garden

Mum has looked through her Get Well Cards again.

Now she’s planning her day.

“What time are you leaving?”

The voice is blurred

Eye contact imprecise

“ About 12.30”

She nods like she’s understood a foreign language

Everything is recorded

In her “Book Of Remembrance”:

Lunch! ( S leaving at 12.30 )

Look for holiday diary


Pay John

Outside I foot the ladder

While my stepfather performs tree surgery on the plum.

I look up at him

An old man in overalls swaying against a blue sky

Crashing the gnarled dead wood down onto the buddleia

With a murmured warning.

Knows I’ve seen.

He paints the fresh wounds with a grey sticky liquid

Gentle as a priest

As I drag branches to the bonfire

His silence says as much as her talk

Her talk as his silence

While I the intercessor of their love

Say goodbye to both of them


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2005-10-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

A rainbow

Arch - perfect

Catch its colours in the street names.

Emerald. Ruby. Garnet

Watch the pier dribble people out over the sea

Where surfers hurdle the wind-whipped breakers

Under a shark-shaped cloud

We walk the tideline

Dig into conglomerated memories of seasides

Me an excited puppy

Scattering thoughts across the beach

Chasing every movement

You digging deeper

With a pale sunlight smile.

This is your place.

Amber streetlamps pull the last light from the sky

But we grin like dogs against the biting wind

Stumbling back over rain peppered pebbles

Sandblasted younger


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Echo Beach

2005-10-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Simon M James)

His redhaired son and Little Mermaid daughter are asleep

A sea breeze whispers them goodnight


Weaves with cigarette smoke and talk

Out into the dark of the olive grove below

Far away in time


Family man



Shirtless we push the wine bottle and conversation forward and backward like chess pieces while

A mantis knits and watches from the warm wall

We’ve agreed that Sotirios Kyrgiakos has settled well with Rangers

And what the thing about women is

Sheila at his side tuts in the Greek way that has become her

Fans herself

Strokes his leg

That Independence Day is Philip Roth’s best novel

Sheila and the mantis both look up but say nothing

That sometimes you just wish …

Then as a dog barks somewhere out in the night


Was it Ultravox or Martha and The Muffins?


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Podcast A Moi

Some mixes of words, images and music. In no particular order.

Podcast A Moi

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