Poetic Bloomings is a mosaic of diverse personalities, backgrounds, and talents. Heck, today’s featured poet is a mosaic of diverse personalities, backgrounds, and talents – all by himself!
Iain Douglas Kemp (that’s Iain with two eyes ) has been with Poetic Bloomings since “Day 1.” Walt and I have admired his work since meeting up with him at Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides 2009 PAD Challenge.
I remembered Iain’s poem “Sweet Hot Milk” from that challenge, and sought it out. It’s as engaging, endearing, and emotive as I remember.
Sweet Hot Milk (by Iain Douglas Kemp)
We met as strangers often do
A night train rushing through Germany
Holland, on to the ferry port in Belgium
She was young and scared
Being harassed by deported football hooligans
I was young and full of mustard
(when it came to maidens in distress)
But my diminutive physique
Let alone the odds against me
Spoke more about my naivety
Than my courage
But stand up to them I did
And called the conductor
They were put off at the next station
Uschi and I soon became fast friends
After all I was her knight in shining Levis
Hours later we were to part at Victoria station
After a romantic breakfast, she went to meet her friends
I caught the train home
We wrote for a few months
But lost touch…
… she went to work with Mother Theresa
I went on with my life
I have often wondered where my ship in the night went to…
But the memory I keep and treasure
Occurred on the ferry across the channel
We’d found somewhere to sit
She said she’d go and buy us coffee
As she walked away I thought to tell her how I take it
I yelled across the crowded deck “No milk and two sugars!”
Of course when she returned her Germanic mind had inserted a comma
Into what should have been straight forward
So we laughed and I drank the hot sweet milk
Because it would have been rude not to and after all
In just a few hours we’d fallen in love
Like strangers in the night sometimes do.
MARIE ELENA: Iain, I have to assume this was born of a true story.
IAIN: Well Marie Elena, to begin with I was quite surprised that you chose this poem. I don’t usually regard my “story telling poems” very highly as I think they are too much of a narrative … anyway I’m pleased you like it. Yes, it is based on a true story and the poem tells most of it. I had been working in Germany as a waiter in Rüdesheim am Rhein for six months as part of my college studies (more of that later). I’d had a terrific summer and had made some money, and was on the long train journey home to Blighty. I was in an old fashioned train with compartments and there was myself, a young German girl, Fraulein Ursula Klug (Uschi), and an unpleasant mob of football hooligans (English!) who had been deported from Norway after fighting at or near a football match. Somehow their route back to England had lead to them boarding my train and sharing my carriage.
They were drunk and became sexually abusive to Uschi, to whom up till then I hadn’t spoken (I was a very shy young man of 20). I really couldn’t sit back and let them get away with it, so I actually stood up to them. I was very skinny and a coward due to years of bullying at school, but it just seemed the right moment to find a backbone! I don’t remember every detail, but as I spoke German I called the conductor who ushered them away. The train made an unscheduled stop, and they were handed over to the Polizei.
What followed is one of those “Brief Encounter” type stories. Uschi and I talked all through the night till we boarded the ferry to England, and we obviously formed a very close bond. The incident with the coffee, or should I say milk, was a typical misunderstanding and we laughed about it and I drank my milk! We parted at Victoria station in London after breakfast, and I remember the only kiss I gave her was that one of goodbye. We corresponded for a while but lost touch. I do sometimes wonder what became of her, and how her work as a nurse with Mother Theresa went – most of all it’s just one those lovely memories that stays with a person forever.
MARIE ELENA: *sigh* Such a gentleman, and how perfectly romantic. She worked with Mother Theresa? Personally, I think you should write a novel.
Walt and I have met two friends of yours, and feel like we know them personally. While he’s not here, let’s talk about Ringo the Howler. Just remember, our site is for every age group, so there may very well be young’ns reading. *winkwink*
IAIN: Ah! My good friend and fellow Yankees fan, Mr. Ringo the Howler. First let me say that I have no idea why people like him. I certainly don’t consider it poetry when I write his snippy little notes, but somehow from humble beginnings, “Dear Moosehead” has taken on a life of its own. His first appearance was in 2008 in Robert’s first PA PAD – the prompt was to write an insult poem (I notice he doesn’t use that one anymore, hmmm…).
Anyway, I have always loved Bob Dylan’s early book “Tarantula,” which is full of prose poetry and crazy little letters from strange characters. So … I stole him from Dylan, well, not him, the character and name were mine, but the style. The name just seemed right for an insulting moaner. The first one got response from far better poets than me, so I did a couple more. The following PAD I did one a day, which is never easy. By then I had to flesh out the characters and create a backdrop so that there was more to say. I realised this April that if you don’t know the whole story they are hard to get into, but I carry on regardless. I am amazed that people (especially the company in which we write) like him so much, but I enjoy doing them – so it’s all to the good.
MARIE ELENA: The other friend is good ‘ole Bartholomew Foggerty. How are things going with him? Is there a book in the works, complete with quirky illustrations? Please share a favorite Foggerty poem, and tell us about this funky little weasel.
IAIN: Well now the first weasel poem was not as they appear now. It was in response to a prompt by Robert Lee Brewer to write a Skeltonic poem, and the second in response to the prompt “Hobby,” the rhyming couplets came later when I decided I liked the character. I have over 50 of his poems and a book would be nice. My friend Natalie who is a wonderful wildlife artist and lives and teaches primary in Australia, is working on illustrations and I don’t like to push her, but “Nat! Get on with it!” Haha! One day I’m sure we’ll see him in print. This April I was drawn to return to him when a fellow member of my writing group “The Baker’s Dozen,” Connie Peters, asked me where he was hiding. Lo and behold, Robert produced an animal prompt. I had to scour the archives to see where I’d left him as his story is a long and winding road, but eventually I found him in France and so wrote a new chapter for him. The hard part is coming up with new and unusual rhymes, and they are very hard to record because I always crack up. Strangely, whilst they are always popular amongst poets, they don’t always go down well at readings, which is disappointing. Still, you asked me for a favourite so here’s one of many, a shorter one, as they can be quite long – although I never know where they are going or will end till I get about ¾ of the way in:
A lot of canvas for a little Monet (by Iain Douglas Kemp)
Bartholomew Foggerty, the brilliant weasel
Had been forced to buy a bigger easel
His new commission was really quite strange
And of the old easel quite out of range
He daubed the canvas in battleship grey
And then he started to weasel away
(some would say badger but that’s just absurd
for by shape and by colour he’s a different bird)
He added wrinkles in a darker shade
And cursed for how little he had been paid
To work on a piece outlandishly large
He should have really upped the charge
The smell was off-putting to say the least
And he got little conversation from the beast
So having painted a glorious grey-scape
He decided it was time to make his escape
He hopped out the window with the aid of a broom
And left the elephant alone in his room
He’d wasted his time, it just wasn’t funny
So much canvas for so little money
MARIE ELENA: Love it, Iain! Just as with Ringo, all your Foggerty poems stay true to his personality, making him seem very real.
Now, tell me about your real family.
IAIN: Yes, I have one son, Douglas Peter, who lives in England. He’s 23 now and I’m very, very proud of him. Despite coming from a “broken home” he has turned into a wonderful young man who leaves a lasting impression on everyone he meets. He’s in a dead-end job right now and I worry for him as he has the same tendency towards depression that I had, but he is coping much better these days and does his best to stay positive at a time and in a world were being young isn’t what it should be. I see him in summer, although he doesn’t get out to Spain as much since he finished studying.
My parents live in Almerimar near to my house and it is wonderful having them close.
We go out for dinner together every Saturday night and at the very least touch base by phone every day.
MARIE ELENA: I can relate. My folks are just a couple of doors down from us, and it is just the perfect situation. Are they supportive of your writing?
IAIN: They, my son and my family in Scotland, are all very supportive of my writing, both poetically and musically. My dad has my podcasts on his iPod and mum has her favourites too. I have been divorced and single for far too long now to ever change that. Partly because the trust in me was crushed too often, but mainly because I am happy this way. My life is full and busy and I don’t have time for a partner. If I did I would have to compromise, something I would do out of love, then resent. So, no, just me and the cats, Messrs. Pickle & Smudge.
MARIE ELENA: You’ve written more than one poem about your dad’s health. How is he doing? I hope he is on the mend. Iain, some write about pain, and find it to be healing. Personally, I have difficulty tapping into deep pain and translating it to poetry, and I can’t say I particularly find it cathartic. How do you feel about it? Was writing about your dad’s illness helpful in some way?
IAIN: It was last year that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer – a battle he has, I’m happy to say, won. I have to be honest, I wrote about it because it was there. It was a natural subject for the right prompt because it was happening and it was real and it was scary. I don’t think writing about it was either therapeutic or cathartic – it was just something that had to be done. When it comes to emotion and pain I am incredibly lucky.
I can look back on horrible periods of my life or any given moment of crisis, recall all the emotion and detail, but then write about it in a totally detached, dry-eyed sort of way. It doesn’t take me back to it and I’ve done my healing in other ways, so it is actually quite easy to do. The only question to ask myself is “Is it worthy of sharing?” I normally click “post” just before that question pops into my head!
MARIE ELENA: Happy to get good news about your dad!
I’ve never been to Spain, and Almerimar sounds lovely. Tell me a bit about it, if you would. I’d love to get a mental picture. Of course, you are welcome to give a visual picture or two as well.
IAIN: Almerimar is a seaside village near El Ejido in Almería, Andalusia, south-east Spain. There is a marina, a golf course, some shops, lots of bars and restaurants (not as many as there were, I have to say– the going is tough!). There is an excellent supermarket too. The main square is best seen after midnight on a Saturday in summer – the terraces all full and the kids all playing in the middle. Almería is a unique micro climate, the only European desert; we have mountains, beaches – many virtually untouched. The skiing is 2 ¼ hour’s drive away in Sierra Nevada which is excellent as is the diving off the Cabo de Gata in the marine reserve. This is the last province with free tapas with your drinks, and the worst spoken Spanish in all the Kingdoms of Spain! By the way, as I write this it’s 2:30p.m. and 35ºC outside on June 1st!! It will get very hot in July and August. My home has a view of the bay. My parents’ house sits on the golf course. This is a paradise and difficult to leave – I had never lived anywhere for more than 6 years before I came here – 14 years ago, mind you, I only came for a month!
MARIE ELENA: It is beautiful, and sounds so charming! No wonder you decided to extend that month just a tad.
We’ll get back to your writing talent in a moment, but you are actually multi-talented. You, just like my dad, are a teacher and a drummer. What led you to become a teacher, and of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in particular? What do you love most about teaching, and what (if anything) do you despise?
IAIN: I fell into teaching more by luck than judgement. I spent most of my career in hotel management and restaurant ownership. I had done a lot of training in the hotel business, so that was good grounding for teaching later. Finally the stress had become too much and I quit the trade and became of all things, an estate agent. It was the height of the boom in Spain and the sales were high, and so was the commission. It was still stressful, but better hours. Then came the crash. Everything stopped. Almost overnight there was no building, no re-sales, no loans to be had – to be honest the recession here is getting worse and worse and no-one sees an end to it, but that discussion is for somewhere else. I spent a few months kicking my heels applying for about every bi-lingual sales job I could find, but all to no avail. Then one day my love of the English language took over, and I decided to train as an EFL teacher. I went to live in Barcelona and did my month-long course, and then started work. I almost immediately went to England to a summer school, and then started at Rainbow Academy in Almería when I got back in the autumn. That was just three short years ago but it seems like much longer. In a good way, though.
Teaching is the best thing that has ever happened to me. People that know me say it’s as if someone threw a switch and I became a different person. Now no-one believes I was once cripplingly, painfully shy. I just threw that nonsense away. I killed and buried all my demons and set out on a grand new adventure with a spring in my step and a tune on my lips. Teaching has made me calm, confident, and altogether a better person. I have no stress, and most of all I am no longer afraid and now I really like Iain Douglas Kemp, who I had hated for far too long.
MARIE ELENA: Wow. That is just fascinating, Iain. It’s wonderful to hear that it had such a profound effect on you. Is there a particular age group with which you prefer to work?
IAIN: I suppose I prefer the older teenagers, simply because by that time you can have much more of a real conversation with them. However, my weekly joy is the two 1 ½ hour classes with my “Ten Clever Girls.” They are just thirteen and all amazingly bright. It is just pure bliss to teach them and know they get it all and mostly first time. I also enjoy teaching the young’uns – 7 or 8 year olds – it’s more challenging, but this time of year, preparing their year end presentations, I get to see how much they’ve achieved (and I have achieved) in the 9 months, and that is a real joy too. Teaching adults, which I do at the University of Almeria in the morning, is different and also very challenging, especially if they are lacking motivation or have picked up bad habits over the years, but still it is enjoyable nonetheless. The only thing I despise is laziness. Stupidity I can fix – sometimes it will take a while – but not trying at all is just annoying and really drives me nuts.
To sum up, there are really two things I love about teaching – what it has done for me, and seeing what I do for the students.
MARIE ELENA: I wish all teachers had this outlook on their students. Though I must say that there seems to be that common thread running through the teachers represented here at Poetic Bloomings. Perhaps all teachers should be poets at heart, eh?
Now on to percussion and harmonica: I know you’ve been writing for approximately 30 years, but how long have you been a musician? I’d love to hear about your band!
IAIN: Well, I’ve been playing drums for just as long – I got my first kit when I was 16 – a 1948 Premier jazz kit, which I still have, although I’ve made some additions to it recently. My main kit is a hybrid of old and new and lots of cymbals – I do mean lots!
The band is semi-unofficially (we think we’ll stick with it) called Junkyard Dogs. We are still really in the rehearsal stage, as we only get to practice on Sundays and there are lots of interruptions. For instance, I go away to the UK in summer to teach and last year our rhythm guitarist was back in Germany for 5 months. However, we now finally have a bass player, which is a huge improvement and a boon to all – especially me. In the last 12 months the lead guitarist and I have written about twenty songs (words by me of course!), and this time next year we hope to be ready to record them. We know we’ll never be more than a pub band, but some of the music is pretty good, if I do say so myself, and we think we could sell one or two -maybe more – and get some bucks and fame that way. We actually formed last year, as I wanted to put a band together to play at my 50th birthday party – which we did. I’m very happy that all my cajoling and nagging has lead to more commitment and the band continuing. As to style well, light rock & blues really, but we tend to label it pretentiously, “Prog-Folk Blues” which is probably fairly accurate when it comes to my songwriting.
MARIE ELENA: What does being a musician fill in you? Is it very different from the satisfaction writing poetry brings to you?
IAIN: I find the songwriting process as fulfilling and as easy as writing poems – the guys are amazed how quickly I can produce a lyric that is half-decent! It’s the same process for me – I think, I get a title and I start typing and stop when I feel it’s done. I’ve even added a chorus to one of my poems so that that could be a song too.
The real enjoyment comes from playing. Even though it’s just rehearsing, it is so much fun, and as we get better each time we feel as if we are achieving something. That makes me smile and feel warm inside. In September I’m hoping to spend my holiday doing an intensive hand-percussion course, as I have all the gear and no idea! It is very different to playing drums, and I need to be guided to get a basis in that style.
I enjoy the singing and playing blues-harp (which I’ve only been doing a couple of years) too. At the moment I step out from the drums to sing and play on acoustic blues numbers, but my singing while drumming is coming along, although it’s incredibly difficult. It’s just so much fun to do and that’s why I look forward to my over-packed weekend with such relish.
MARIE ELENA: So, is there music to “Shimmy?” If so, is it out there where we can hear it?
Don’t jump, shimmy! (A blues in A – by Iain Douglas Kemp)
Get outta the way baby
Daddy’s coming through
get outta my path
I’m a- coming true
my aim is steady
my mind is set
I’m placing me
a winning bet
pay the piper
pick a tune
let me see ya waddle
‘neath the moon
dance with the devil
swing with the saints
and it’s getting’ late
You know what I want
you know what a- gimme
when I say frog
don’t jump, shimmy!
IAIN: Not really, I read it as a sort of blues-rap and then play some harp at the end – I was thinking of doing that with the band though so you never know, it may grow wings and fly! I’ll let you know.
MARIE ELENA: You and I share a distaste (“hate” is such an ugly word) for the form Walt writes exceptionally well: Sestina. Is there a form to which you are partial? Or do you tend to steer clear of poetry forms in general?
IAIN: Short answer: I don’t do form!
MARIE ELENA: But, tell us how you really feel!
IAIN: To me it’s like maths, all that counting and measuring … maybe I have to do that with songs, but usually I change the scansion after Stuart has put a tune to the words, and that’s easy. I just don’t like rules in poetry. I like to rhyme and try and stick to a scheme, so I suppose I do use some forms – even if they of my own making – but I prefer free verse and as I say my process is: think, get title, write till it’s done, spell check, post! Form slows that down and it feels contrived to me.
Listen, I really admire people who do it well and make it feel natural, but that just isn’t me.
MARIE ELENA: Did you receive formal training and education in poetry?
IAIN: Well, no. I suppose we read some poetry at school (I went to a minor English public school) but I wasn’t streamed to do English Lit, so my exposure was self inflicted. As a boy I just wrote what was in my head, and as a man I do the same.
MARIE ELENA: As I’d mentioned above, I believe you have been writing for 30+ years. What drew you into it, and what has held you there?
IAIN: Ah, well, 30 years. Yes, that’s what my bio says. True enough - I started as a teenager and wrote very introspective or way-out psychedelic poetry for years. It was my escape route. I was a very troubled young boy, and words seemed the only way to express myself, but in my twenties someone stole my collection – my, till then, life’s work – and it killed it for me for years. In my early thirties I was very troubled, ending in a breakdown, and I turned to poetry again for escape. After that I wrote spasmodically but really started writing with new vigour and commitment in 2008. I friended J.P.Dancing Bear on Facebook and saw that Robert was about to start the first PAD. Lliterally within a couple of days and I thought to myself “I’m gonna do that.” I got my first email of encouragement and praise from Nancy Posey on day three – that really spurred me on. After that came The Baker’s Dozen and a couple of years of writing daily, up to last year when it all got a bit hard and then dried up completely. I love to write though, and I’m glad I’m back in the swing, even if it’s only one or two a week since April.
MARIE ELENA: We all seem to experience dry spells, or “writer’s block” at some point. Tell me about how it “all got a bit hard and then dried up completely.” I know you had even seriously considered never writing another poem. Do you know what took you down that path in the first place? What was it like? What brought you out of it?
IAIN: This is difficult. Marie Elena, you gave me the option to not answer a question – this could have been the one to refuse, but I will try the best I can and be as open as I am permitted. The first signs of trouble were in November 2010 – I pulled out of the PAD half way through, as I was too busy – or so I said. After that, I was very hit and miss in writing, having been a poem-a-day man for some time. I knew what the problem was, and it was difficult to face up to. There had been some friction in my writing group, and some people left. (No names –no pack drill here). It left me very sad and unhappy for quite a time, and bit by bit I just became less inclined to write. Once again in November last year I pulled out half way through and then didn’t write or read poetry for 5 months.
Getting back in was hard, I was seriously regretting being involved in an anthology project to which I submitted some of my worst poems ever, I feel, and I was doing a lot of music and songwriting. Not writing poetry had become a habit. In fact it just never ever occurred to me to sit down and try. Eventually I pulled up my boot straps and said: “Right! If you want to write again, April is the time to do it so c’mon Red, show some backbone!” Well I managed it, and I’m very happy to be back in the swing of things.
MARIE ELENA: We’re happy as well, Iain. There are just some poetic voices that cannot go without being severely missed. Yours is one. So, what are your writing/publishing plans for the near future?
IAIN: Despite my new found courage, I don’t take rejection well and I generally dislike the attitude of superiority that most editors have, so I don’t submit much. However I have decided to publish a book this year myself, and I can reveal a secret project for a Baker’s Dozen book in the near future. I have had an acceptance recently, but the details are still unclear on publication so I’m playing that close to my chest for now. Under my other hat, I hope this time next year to be sending demos to music producers with a view to selling the songs rather than the band – that said, as my songwriting partner put it “I’d be a one-hit-wonder!” Quite right too!
MARIE ELENA: Congratulations on your acceptance, and best wishes for your book and this “secret project.” Please do keep us posted.
You mention “new found courage.” Your dear friend Natalie beautifully penned “Scarred and Scared” about you.
Scarred & Scared (by Natalie Jones)
Youth misspent in self-loathing,
Ignored and emotionally dented.
Resenting and lamenting
The small boy hides inside his fragile shell,
Aged and wearied by thoughtless words and emotional deprivation.
Searching out warmth from any source
Seeking a cure for his terminal loneliness
Aching to be cherished and loved
He clasps at faint, feigned or temporary traces of humanity.
Giving unconditional, unguarded slices of his over- generous heart
Receiving just the soured milk of human unkindness.
Wounded once more he slips back into his delicate armour
MARIE ELENA: Tell me about the young Iain Douglas Kemp, and how is he different today?
IAIN: Being a child was awful – I still find it hard to picture the good bits. There were lots of course, but the overall impression is a thick black cloud that blocks out any memory from my youth so effectively that I have to focus or be particularly reminded of the little tastes of joy. I am an only child and always found it hard to make friends, so much so that I didn’t object at all when my “friends” would decide to beat me up. I was mostly a loner, alone and lonely, looking in from the outside, rejected by my peers, frightened of trying to get involved because then would come the rejection and the fists.
That sense of being the outsider tortured me well into adulthood, and only at the age of 47 did I finally get rid of my fears and demons. I truly believe I was born sad. There was a sad-monster that lived inside me and ate away at everything good. I also know that I slew the monster and scattered his remains to the four winds. I am so different now to the young me, both physically and mentally that the two could barely be believed to be one and the same. I hid most of my suffering, especially from my family. It was only ever really Natalie who could scale the wall and see me for what I really was, the good and the bad.
Now, well, as I said earlier, now I am happy and content with no fears and no demons. No more social phobia, and people actually consider me an extrovert. All through the power of my mind and the change in me that came through becoming a teacher. The one thing that has remained constant is my dedication and loyalty to those few I know are true friends. Some people might be worth dying for; the really special ones are worth killing for!
MARIE ELENA: I always ask (and we’ll get to it momentarily with you as well) if there was only one thing we could know about you, what would it be? Well, I could say of the previous question, “If I could keep just one question for this interview, which one would I keep?” That one would have been it. It seems each highlighted poet has one response that screams “this is my core.” Thank you for sharing you “core” with us, Iain.
IAIN: Marie Elena, you asked me to chose a poem that typifies my work and personality, and I asked you if I could choose two. The reason for that is, what you asked for is easy, but I have one poem so special to me I really want to share it.
MARIE ELENA: Share on, Sir.
IAIN: The first is Peregrine, certainly one of my best, not just because it is published and recorded for podcast by the wonder actress and wildlife activist, Virginia McKenna, but because sometimes you just know when you have written a real stunner. I remember reading this back for the first time and I trembled. It was just so exciting. I like it because I like writing with a list of one or two word lines and this is that style at its best. I’ve never read it live nor do I have plans to record it, Virginia’s version is so definitive, I could never compete with her wonderful voice and phrasing. So here it is:
Peregrine (by Iain Douglas Kemp)
High above the fishing grounds
he wheels, turning slowly,
eyes focused on the sea far below.
Another and yet
It’s a good day to hunt!
His wings start to beat,
he angles down picking up speed
with every beat,
the wings rake back:
the dive commences.
he plummets sea-wards,
the wind ruffling his plumage,
the air whistling in his ears.
At maximum speed now,
the danger begins:
at more than two hundred miles an hour
even his keen vision blurs,
his head is fuzzy,
he shakes it,
yearning for clarity,
searching for focus.
Suddenly at one hundred feet
he stretches his wings,
swinging his legs down,
the razor sharp talons out-stretched.
He hardly touches the water:
a glancing blow,
barely wetting his feathers,
the claws sink deep into the side of the fish;
the wings beat hard and he lifts,
clearing the still foaming surface,
he swoops down to the beach
The fish tastes divine
and as he sinks his sabre-like beak
into the soft flesh, he reflects:
Damn, I’m good at this!
The second poem I have chosen is very different. It’s not my usual style but I would love to be able to write like this all the time. This, for me, is the best I have ever produced, and I know many disagree with that point of view. This came about after a Saturday night dinner: beer, wine, liqueurs and good food, then a copious amount of rum and coke. By 5 a.m. that took me to a place of inspiration I have never seen since – this was my 10 minutes of being Jack Kerouac … reaching inside and saying it all… it’s now part of a trilogy ,but the second two don’t quite capture that which the first has - although the title is only explained in the second. Love it or hate it, if I could be remembered for one poem and one poem alone, this would be it:
Waitin’ fo’ Columbus (Part 1 – by Iain Douglas Kemp)
I danced on the roof
wid ya Mama and Lordy, Lordy
save me Bro, I felt the rain pouring down
on my head. I felt the pain that yo’ and your so
called friends been talkin’ about and then I,
I knew that strange thang that you bin feelin’
all this time and I knew well about that
thing that Kerouac talked about ‘til I got all
heated and sweaty then I took a walk down to
the corner of 8th and 42nd, took me a deep breath of
all that love and scary kinda livin’ that all be seepin’
through the cracks down there and I caught me a bus
goin’ up town, get outta that hell and make some tracks…
See, me I’m headin’ fo’ Jersey, let them take the rap and find me some peace…
Yo’ believe what yo’ will this boy is innocent but there be blame pouring down just like the Rain pouring down on the Eastside blaming the upper fifties for the poverty and lack of hope when up there they be livin’ it fine and full of hope and tomorrow….
Tomorrow for us is a cancelled promise waitin’ to
be redeemed in love, in truth, in life itself… waitin’ fo’
someone. Something to bring to an end this waitin’,
this agony, this pain and sorrow: never ending….
… I danced on the roof wid ya Mama and she
said she had planted all this green to make us all
feel good and so I never did understand why such a
place so beautiful could become a place to leave with
so much despair and as that garden still grows I am lost
and cannot know what took … what metaphysical knife twisted in the sad and lonely soul of ya Mama that made her leave her beautiful rooftop and meet the cruel sidewalk so decisively saying goodbye to all that refused to love her for the pure and so, so, so scarily influential beautiful person that she (who held us all tight in her dreams)
had come to be…
The Brooklyn Bridge will never look the same again…
MARIE ELENA: Thank you, Iain! Incredible pieces, both.
Now finally, if we could know only one thing about you, what would you tell us?
IAIN: Well, it would have to be two things.
1. On a personal note, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for a true friend.
2. On a poetic note, I don’t just write comic verse, I do serious poetry too!
For more of Iain’s work, here is the link to his blog: http://almerimarlife.com/iain-kemp-poetry-2 . Iain says, “It’s a bit different from normal blogs in as much as it is a blog within a blog (A Life in Spain). The owner gave me the domain as a present, and the poems are actually on his forum with links from my page.”
In addition, you may read and hear his poetry at http://www.iainkemppoetry.com/ (new podcasts every friday!).