Monthly Archives: January 2016

This Leg of Mine

POEM 2015

I walk – my attention is moving from
proverbial ‘pillar to post’
as the nuance of the leg of my body
like some orchestral arrangement
suggests a note here and a note there
of feeling stroke pain stroke blood vessel-operatic voice
– all delivered musically in the auditorium of my leg.

It feels this way, it feels that way,
it says stop and sit. It is told to stop and walk.

It presents a million lies as to
what is happening below the surface,
as though laughing:
‘I’ve got you, you ignorant,
medically-unqualified person…you’.

Playing on my ignorance,
it shows me varicose vein mountain ranges
of curly wurly bar obtrusions as though to say:
‘What a mess, – you must concede,
– you must concede and submit.’

No. I will go on…go on in faith.




Thinking and feeling the art


I re-read recently about the painter Ben Nicholson and how, quote: ‘he was not fond of ‘explanations’ (when it came to painting) preferring to let the work speak for itself. How was it possible for him, or for anyone, to analyse what had been created, and could only be appreciated, intuitively?’ was his view.
(Ben Nicholson ‘drawings and painted reliefs’
Peter Khoroche. (ISBN 978-1-84822-004-1)

He felt such analysis and explanation to actually be destructive.

Reflecting on this, much as I can appreciate such an approach has it’s place – I feel we are robbing ourselves of the legitimate means of communication that is on a par with the visual language of the art work.
Referring of course to the language of the spoken/written word.

We can engage in the intellectual gymnastics and acrobatics of multiplying words that leave us ‘none the wiser with all they have to say ‘– that’s one extreme.

And the other extreme is a kind of snobbery that seeks to justify our work as being so unique (the misunderstood genius syndrome) as to not need any words of explanation whatsoever.

I agree the intuitive appreciation comes first. But (especially with Abstract art) – a piece of work needs, in my view, at least a title if the intellect is not to be left completely without compass, redundant, or misguided.

But these considerations are not new are they?

‘Hand in hand’ comes to mind. I suggest the dovetail joint of emotion and intellect, when viewing art.

So that rather than decry the use of words in favour of intuition alone, followed by the contradiction of such a position by the production of reams of critical writing, why not just embrace both as necessary and inseparable.

Greenberg would refer to ‘feeling it’ as a means of proper judgement, and the apportioning of ‘greatness’ to a given piece of work. But as we know he was an art Czar whose currency was words.

But we are also allowed – not to feel ‘it’, that is ok.
You feel it – I don’t. That’s ok.

It can hardly be a great intellectual exercise to like or dislike someone’s curtains. We don’t need a written or oral justification for doing so, we don’t need a manifesto, or an ‘ism’ to tag onto our ‘curtains’ experience.

“I know what I like” still stands up. But conversely it isn’t always enough.

What we experience when invited for tea, as we glance across the room and like our host’s curtains, is intuitive, emotional, a response to the sight of the eyes, but intelligence will come-in somewhere.

‘Why do you like them?’ ‘Well I feel it… I like the material, the colour, the design, the shape and so on’.

No big theory to expound here. But nevertheless – I’ve thought and used words to explain why I find the curtains appealing.

Deciding whether we like or don’t like a piece of art, expressing approval of it, is down to the use of the combination of our total human sensibilities.

Whether it’s responding to the curtains or a Picasso – we are all chalk and cheese when it comes to our individual sensibilities leading to aesthetic choices and conclusions we might come to.

It’s interesting to listen to the opinions of others regarding a piece of art.

And as we hear their verbal explanation of appreciation – hello! we might just warm to the piece in a way we had not anticipated before. So it was the verbal communication from them that brought us into another ‘sensibility’, was it not?

You may lean percentage-wise to the intuitive as opposed to the cerebral, or even towards the cerebral to the exclusion of the aesthetic completely.

Let’s feel and think or should it be think and feel?
(As a footnote and an aside: the meaning of intuition I must say is best understood by the prophets).

Cults and Labels


Matthew 23:4
For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.


Cults seek to control and manipulate, dominate, freeze the free-wills of others and cause them to be subservient to every whim of their dictatorship.

The early Christian church were perceived to be in the cult category, as they turned the world upside down with their message.

A Religious Pharisee saw it to be his mission from God to persecute, harass and remove them from society.

Then he became a follower of/with the disciples he persecuted, who were called ‘Christians’ first in Antioch. Apparently it was a label that was given as a form of derision.

His complete turn-around conversion is expressed in his own words –

…that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets…

Labels mean little when it comes to reaching correct conclusions about a particular group that carry that particular label.

The same label is carried by many who are not of similar ilk.
The belief system held by one group with a particular label is not identical (and often far removed) from that of another with a similar label.

The labels: Atheist, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu etc. etc. for many (often who don’t stop to think about it for one moment) – presuppose by the particular label – that a set of ideas, beliefs, doctrines, lifestyles and so on, is common to all who subscribe to the label.

i.e. they wrongly presuppose…

Would it not be appropriate to ask – What kind of atheist are you, what kind of Muslim are you, what kind of Jew are you, what kind of Christian are you…?

Free will, – a God-given gift to every human being.

Choose this day whom you will serve….

But get past the labels, before you make your volitional choice. I certainly won’t be manipulating you, nor am I in the least bit interested in controlling your life…

But … your right… you have exposed my intentions, yes I will be honest…

I would consider trying to persuade you…
Acts 26:28
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”



He stood and constantly spat –
on the pavement – outside his front door

A gooey waterhole
One to side-step, rather than explore

The scene is set for you
and with your screwed up face I hear you say:
‘What kind of story do you bring us today?’

It’s the story of Jackson,
Jackson was his first name
Alcohol – we might say – was his game

The poor man suffered from asthma
And as he stood at the door
Need I say more,
He was drinking his life away

It was a smelly unclean house.
Because his brother was gone
Jackson tried to carry on
He smoked like a train and

More than – now and again
Needed someone to go to the shop
He couldn’t make it up the street
So would ask me to go, and so

I took to my feet
The errand to complete

My manners intact, I would often oblige
And go and buy him the horrible cigarettes
– (I wasn’t up for laying any bets).
So with spitting and smell and breathlessness
It was a horrible encounter to take from his nicotine hand
the necessary finance to buy the Woodbine brand.

No one else would help him out
God helped me, I have no doubt
Because the stench, the dirt, the gasping wheezing
breath was hard to endure to give Jackson what
he thought was his cure.

But in it all – his kindness shone through and the penny,
sometimes two, a sixpence, or more was his tip –

but even though, it was kindly given, for getting
the woodbine (and a chip)

It was hard for a young fellow
To accept the sweaty money
While his two fancy women milked him with ‘honey’

Taking what he had by devious means
They all drank together in that filthy home
Till one day he was gone – no longer a street gnome

propped against the wall
cigarette and all

Jackson the alcoholic – dependent on a pre-teen child
who didn’t always help, and wanted to hide,

Is still remembered and finds his way here
Onto a page, a poem, a memory – still clear.

Perfect World


Many years ago I met a schoolteacher and poet, who was a short lived role-model to me. Short-lived in the sense that our friendship faded, before it had properly begun, simply because we lived on different land masses. But he nicknamed me: Brother Conundrum (my name is Riddles so you can see why I was so named).

So living up to my name here is a Conundrum of sorts:

Supposing one (on behalf of the human race) could press a button and make the world perfect? The world being everything and everyone in it.

I can’t write another sentence, because already there’s problems.

See how quickly we get into problems?
What problems?
Well, what does perfect mean?

Now we have diversity of opinion already creeping in.

And pressing this button needs to be a unanimous decision.

How can we read from the same hymn sheet together? Some people don’t even believe in hymns, therefore as far as they are concerned, hymn sheets are not necessary – from which to read in unity in the first place.

Now consequently, – we must of necessity – debate or reason together, before we press the button, because everyone has a different idea of what is going to happen, what with our ideas of perfection differing so much.

We can’t even bring algebra into the equation, to help solve the dilemma.

X = perfection etc., because we don’t agree on what perfection means, so can’t formulate an end result.

We can’t move on in unity, and agree to press the button.

In fact we don’t want the button, because nobody sees perfection the same way, therefore pressing it would not be an option, because our differences of opinion as to what desired perfection is, produces lack of agreement and therefore stops us pressing any such button.
Most buttons, in the twentieth century, referred to the nuclear buttons that (it was said) could be pressed to end the world, rather than make it a place of perfection.

So the ‘20th Century’ buttons were there to take us in the opposite direction, to bring the earth to it’s end, rather
than perfecting it.

So much for buttons, then. Dumb idea anyway (?)

We could always agree in a ‘pseudo’ way. That is, pretend that we all agree and see ‘perfectly’ what perfection is. But of course this is not real.

We can’t press this button in united agreement, if the promised perfection is not what you or I had in mind.

We could agree to differ and simply press the button anyway and see what happens, just take the consequences as they come.

Whatever perfection entails – we’ll take it – kind of idea.

Rather like purchasing something in a shop that wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but because there were none of what we wanted exactly, in stock – we will go for the other option offered.

A perfect world.
My oh my!
Sounds like heaven to me.

A one-world-anything is never going to exist – not perfectly anyway. Because it entails imperfection.
What is meant by imperfection?

Uh-oh – here we go again!


Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

A Second Look

EYES copyjpeg

It’s a world of clamour.

Many crave attention, and are not satisfied unless they are getting it perpetually. We used to call them spoiled children.

Others try to get our attention, in order to convince us of how necessary their product is, if we are to live (sic.).

Ideologies vie for our attention – a blogger who happens to have as his theme the subject of truth – seemingly too – vies for your attention, (yours truly…).

But for us all – it remains a difficult job sorting the wheat from the chaff, when it comes to what we should take under our notice, and eventually on board, in our lives or into our lifestyle.

In other words, choosing what or who to give our attention to.

I visited New York and (the thing I’d saw so many do in movies) – vying for the attention of a taxi driver – I did – and successfully climbed on board.

By so doing any TV series I had seen as a child were re-run in my adult brain.

I was left reflecting on how I enjoyed my imaginary America, based on those TV series.

Perhaps, I enjoyed the ‘TV’ America more than the real place.(?)

We can visit the real place or the place of and in, our imaginations. The two are not necessarily the same.

So the real or the false. The truth or the lie.
The fact or fantasy, the fairy tale or the real.

It reminds me of the proverbial example – of the fisherman’s report of the catch of a specimen fish, that starts off – a truthful weight and size but increases into a lie by the time it reaches the third or fourth telling of the story.

One thing we can do is to try and safeguard ourselves from error. By taking a second look for greater discernment’s sake – in doing so there is a greater possibility also, that we won’t miss what is worthwhile and might revolutionise us to the very core of our being.

In a short story on a page in this blog I refer to the fact that the character in ‘A Time Surpassing’ noticed for the first time, his out-of-hand dismissal of anything Christian. He hadn’t noticed his own dismissiveness before.

Can I suggest that the real and the false are worth considering when it comes to coming to any conclusions regarding that subject, and indeed any other?
Of course with or without the second look, we shall miss things worthwhile considering.

In that, none of us are alone. Guess we just need to walk as circumspectly as we can.

Blessings to you if you are in any way on the trail of truth.

In place out-of-placeness

In place out-of-placeness

After quite a number of years painting traditional watercolours I wanted to take a more personal and imaginative approach to painting.

When I discovered Master Painters and admired their work, rather than plagiarising them, it was a fact that I found my work reflected/echoed in theirs, simply because I wasn’t educated or aware enough of their work in the first place, to be able to imitate it.

However this also put paid to the idea that my
discoveries or surface coverings were completely new or unique in approach. There’s nothing new under the sun. Something is new because you have produced it for the first time, giving birth to it. Not because it is totally unlike anything, ever before.

I discovered and like the work of Raoul Dufy the Master ‘decorator’. To me his inventiveness and playfulness demonstrated that the artist must first enjoy making his mark(s) regardless of whether it is ‘high art’ or demonstrative of great skill.

Dufy’s surfaces are interjected with small patches of – out of place – shapes or colours or whatever.
The trick is that no matter what shape, mark, colour, item, object or personage we introduce into a painting, the new element must be made to fit the whole.

Even a contrasting out-of-placeness must be
intuitively in-place within the picture frame.
Often a new introduced element dictates with a loud and demanding voice that the rest of the painting be altered, or added to, if you are going to embrace the oddity of the new shape.

The painting cannot remain the same, it must expand or change to incorporate this new element.

Painting is often like spilling (in tragic accident form) something onto a virgin surface. The artist must then work like a juggler to make something from this accident – to a degree he is a ‘beggar who can’t be a chooser’ as he makes the stain into a depiction either of something connected to the theme, or at least of pleasing shape, within the context of the whole. Thus beginning – posterity demands it cannot be left alone and must be turned into a painting.



“Can I have a word…?”

What could possibly be wrong?
The button has been pressed, the intellect’s engine has been started up, it shakes and spits, splutters and reverberates into full function on overdrive
“A word? What about?” the mouth says on its behalf
“I will see you in my office in ten minutes…” is the reply
Ten long hour-minutes when every internal cerebral file is pulled out for examination.
Rummaging through the drawers of the mind, past all the reasons it could not be, frantic now, grabbing at thought straws, examining each uneventful event in search of a place to rest in the satisfaction of knowing what this summons is all about…
What work has not been done, what duty has been neglected, what fellow employee has been offended, what customer not dealt with right, what letter not sent, what deal left incomplete, what morning of late arrival, what minutes wasted in indolent sleep, what wrong practice, punctuated by political incorrectness, what wrong look of misunderstanding or word spoken to mean the opposite to how it was meant, what ganging up on, of conspiratorial plot, what nuisance caused by obnoxious smell from lunch box, what tap left running in the rest room, what sick leave unacceptable on that day taken off, what wrong spelling in the last report handed in, what revelation of the firm’s hitherto hidden bad state, what bankruptcy of called for redundancy, what death in the owners family, what production decline gone unnoticed, what stealing of firm’s property, what outside court case brought by belligerent customer, what closure for decor decoration…
Ten minutes are up.
Enter through his office door…
“Please be seated”, the words echoing round the room
“I’m pleased to inform you that we have decided to increase your salary…”