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The Emporer’s Birthday Suit

This poem gives my  critique on those who are prententious enough to believe that poetry is like a puzzle which has to be  solved by the reader. This is in my opinion nothing more than sanctimonious self entitled drivel. If poetry is the art form I believe it to be, it is has to communicate a message to the reader or in spoken word form the listener and this has to be done in a way which the public both appreciate and understand. To those who say otherwise I have one uncompromising message and that message is this you are deluding yourselves and nobody cares what you think. Yes I’m afraid it really is that simple. It is my view that you if see art as elitist you are actually barking mad it isn’t that’s why it’s called free expression and it’s not just the politically conservative right  who have this view, some of the inverted snobbery I’ve heard from the psuedo socialist left with there poetry’s not for the likes of us drivel is absolutely death defyingly stupid and I have news for them you don’t speak for me nor have you ever done. Real socialists however know the power of art of whatever kind as a vehicle for social and political change and have never been frightened of using it in support of causes and campaigns. It is with this in mind I have written this poem which was titled The Emporer’s Birthday Suit by Scottish Slam runner up Leyla Josephine, I hope you enjoy the read. 

The Emporer’s Birthday Suit. 

To those who believe that poetry is a puzzle 

like a jigsaw or crossword 

which has to be solved by the reader 

I say only this 

if you wish to masturbate your ego

or want to play the hero

by showing the world how clever you are

go to a bar where you are the only customer 

nobody wants to know the thoughts 

that run round in circles in your empty head

there are some things which really are better left unsaid 

your art is not art if it can be understood by the working class chat

doesn’t impress me and exposes your writing as prententious crap 

art must be understood by those 

in the schemes 

it is not the preserve of the county set 

I think you forget that 

the designer of the employers new clothes 

had convinced the emporer to wear his birthday suit 

this was not a good look for a chilly day

now you believe you can wrap poetry in the same way 

the raffle prize of the elite 

the reward they get for completing their puzzle 

the trouble with this self entitled view 

is that you can’t hide the fact 

that if art of any kind is what you say 

it can never inspire others to create 

poetry should be accessible to all 

in your world only the ugly sisters would have got tickets to the ball 

whilst Cinderella would have known her place 

this pompous poetic snobbery 

can only lead to intellectual poverty

 it is exclusion by suggestive terminology 

 to which we are supposed to bow the knee 

not me my words are the tools I use 

to craft my thoughts in to poems 

my voice is my own

I suggest you stick to jigsaws

and keep the emporers birthday suit 

for a morning as frosty as your attutude 

© Gayle Smith 2018

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A Conservative Christmas Lesson From A Very British Bible

As a Christian who is conscious that this is the season of goodwill I remember that there are people in this country who believe that the goodwill most of us take for granted during the festive season should not be extended to those less fortunate than themselves. These people have a name by which we can identify them they are called The British Conservative And Unionist Party. 

These people most of whom have inherited fortunes the voters of Britain can only dream of, are constantly looking for new and more inventive ways to punish the poor for being…  Poor.  So in the spirit of the season I thought I would share this graphic which to me at least sums up perfectly this clueless government which is intend on doing everything but the day job they were elected to do. You see the Tories don’t believe in improving the life of our citizens they believe only in improving their wealth by any means they can. 

This being Christmas Eve those of us who attend churches  all over Scotland, Britain, and the world will hear the good news of the Christmas story as a babe born in a manger came to earth to save us and bring peace, love, and goodwill to all humankind. The picture above however represents a very conservative lesson from a very British bible. 

Now I don’t know who came up with this graphic but to them be the glory, praise, honour, and credit for telling it like it is. I love the idea of the book of morons to show the cold hearted thieving Tory profiteers up for what they are. To me this says all that needs to be said on the ayslum that Tory Britain has become and illustrates all too clearly why I want out of the United Kingdom rather than out of Europe. You see nowhere in any bible I have ever read any verse that says if there old abuse them or if there sick send them to work but that’s a Conservative Christmas and their scripture comes from a very British bible 

Till next time 

Gayle X

Mince Pies 

This poem may appear to be written on a favourite festive food, but look beyond the title and you’ll find it’s really about the greed and self satisfaction that Christmas can sometimes bring and the cold hearted indifference in our attitudes to others and especially to those most in need of our help. I’ve given it the title Mince Pies I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read. 

Mince Pies

Mince pies 

a festive favourite 

with custard or on their own 

hot or cold 

perfect with coffee 

or even Irn Bru

comfort food until twelfth night 

then they disapeer from view

till mid November

when suddenly we remember 

that Santa will soon be coming to town 

thanks to adverts and christmas songs 

which are played non stop

on TV screens and shopping centres

in an effort to get us 

to part with our money 

as consumerism runs riot

masquerading as the feel good factor 

we are all told we need 

in a land where greed is sold as good 

is it any wonder we need comfort food

we need mince pies 

to survive the harsh realities 

of the bleakest mid winters 

where those with cold hearts 

walk past shop doorways 

where the dispossessed lie sleeping

as Jack Frost haunts their dreams 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Bonfire Of Promises 

On a night when some people celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with celebrations and firework displays I take a slightly different look at bonfire night. I do this by  taking an alternative look  at the issues of austerity and the homelessness it can and does to lead to. In this poem I explain why I believe the I’m alright Jack mentality has resulted in a culture of apathy in which people are content for others to suffer so long as the suffering doesn’t reach their door and this allows the more reactionary Conservative forces within the UK establishment to have a bonfire of promises. It is with this in mind I have titled my poem Bonfire Of Promises I hope you enjoy the read. 

Bonfire Of Promises 

As I stand in the cold

watching fireworks explode

 a cavalcade of colours

light up the evening sky

like a rainbow

but with no pots of gold at the end

I am lucky when the evening concludes

I will return to the shelter of my flat

after time spent with friends

enjoying the warmth of their company

as the weather turns colder

I walk past a homeless girl

checking my pockets to see if change can be spared 

on this occasion only goodwill can be shared 

and that won’t fill empty stomachs

or remove hunger pains 

in a world where nobody listens

and politicians feed the public a diet of slogans 

designed to blame others for our problems

scapegoating is the road to ignorance

and acceptance of rules

made by others to tighten their grip 

on us and our circumstances

till we believe change is no longer possible

and as long as we’re alright everything is going to be fine 

all we need to do is shut the door

on the outside world

and pretend it doesn’t exist 

but there is a warning in my words 

if we do take this road it will be the vulnerable who suffer 

as we start to view minorities as others 

and allow governments to make

a bonfire of promises

 © Gayle Smith 2017

Other Voices

A long time ago in a haunted banqueting hall I promised Fay Roberts a poem. For those of you who don’t know who Fay Roberts is allow me to culturally enlighten you.  You see not only is Fay a valued mentor and friend, she also hosts Other Voices every year at the PBH free fringe and Other Voices which gives a platform to LGBT and other performers who are under represented on the bills on mainstream poetry nights is one of my favourite spoken word events not  just at the Edinburgh fringe but anywhere. So with this in mind  I made Fay a promise to write a poem to say in  my words what other voices means to me and I’m delighted to say that promise has now been honoured with this poem which strangely enough entitled Other Voices I hope you enjoy the read. 

Other Voices

Other voices 

far away from mainstream stages

come see us performing without fear 

poets who identify as LGBT 

some who proclaim boldly 

their queer or non binary status,

love us or hate us come and see us first 

before making your decision on how we should be perceived

we have stories to share with you

some of which you would never believe

listen to our words let us woo you 

with our tales of adventure, heartbreak, love, and lust 

place your trust in us to be your guides

in the majestic underground cave 

that is our spiritual home 

at this crazy time of year

come and see us perform without fear

far away from mainstream stages 

hear the sage advice that you will never give yourself  

it may even be good for your mental health 

and make you start a poetic journey of your own 

on the other hand you might just become 

a regular audience member 

we have no agenda except to entertain 

listen to us seduce  your ears with sentences 

rapped with rhyme and reason 

and delivered with the rhythm method 

we will pepper the air with salty phrases

if the need arises

 but should that be the case 

 it will be done with style 

we will make you think, cry and smile

 as we provide you with an hour of fun filled frivolity

in the banqueting hall of Madame Fay’s boudoir 

and when you see the brightest stars

the stars that  will dance but never lie 

when you are mesmerised by  them in an evening sky 

long after the show you came to see 

you will hear the cry of the banshee

and when you least expect it 

 you will remember us 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Inaurguration 

On the day Donald J Trump becomes the 45th President of The United States Of America I post my thoughts on his inaurguration and what it may mean for my American friends. I’ve given it the title Inurgaration I hope you enjoy the read.
Inurgaration

As I watched the inauguration of President Trump

my thoughts were with my American friends

poets like Carly a former Scottish slam champion

who says what she sees

expresses her concerns for humanity

with words of empathy and compassion

I remember she told of her embarrassment at the fact

that though she loved Texas

she couldn’t take it to parties anymore

and Katie who wrote a letter to her future daughter

which will let her know how valued and cherished she will be

by a mother whose poetry and love for life

will empower her beyond anything

she could have imagined

these women weave words

in patterns Uncle Sam can be proud to have shaped

These are the voices which can make America great

the founding mothers and fathers

know this to be true

they had a global view of the world

because they knew their children came from other lands

to blend together in melting pot that is the USA

It is this land that has given me

the gift of strong women

poets who have something to say

about the human condition

which makes us who we are

the land of the star spangled banner

has bequeathed me a personal legacy

in which Brittany played her part

as I enjoyed her words and sentiments behind them

when it comes to friends

I won’t get better than Arielle

who holds me in her heart

viewing me as her aunt across the Atlantic

now I am frantic with worry

about what this may mean for them

their families and communities

for the American dream and equality

for democracy and human rights

Trump supporters will say

this is the day that America starts to fight back

but to those of us watching in Scotland and elsewhere

this imperialist agenda smacks of despair

and a country which had given us

the reasoned voices of Lincoln , Roosevelt, Parks, Kennedy, and King

was singing a chorus of desperation

a once proud nation reduced to this

empty words replacing visions

ambitions limited only to those who can afford them

the rest of the people will be ignored

discarded in the void

the old and unemployed left to rot

Women treated as second class citizens

as for immigrants the land which was built by them

will be a very difficult place

for those starting out on that road

in a land of opportunity , freedom, and choice

the only voices respected

will be those of the wealthy

whose influence will increase

at the expense of the poor

meanwhile the giants carved on Mount Rushmore

look down on a deeply divided country

in which things could turn ugly

as I watched the transfer of power

I prayed for the poets, the thinkers, the liberals

at this critical time in their history

In the knowledge that the next four years.

will be testing times

and the land of the free

will have to be

the home of the brave

@ Gayle Smith 2017

The Coldest Season 

On day 10 of Blogmas I share a poem where I look at the the commercial side of our so-called festive season and why when we are wandering round the shops we should stop for a moment and think on others who may not be as fortunate as we are and what if anything we can do to help those abandoned by a society which is becoming more individualistic by the day as Conservative values take hold of western democracies and demonise those in need of genuine help I’ve given it the title The Coldest season I hope enjoy the read.

The Coldest Season

Winter, the coldest season 

where those discarded by a society 

in which winner takes all 

are refused access to the festive cheer 

whilst the rest of us spend 

more than we can afford 

on relatives we’ve ignored 

since last Christmas when we had that argument 

and brought up things best left unsaid 

or if we’re still not talking to them 

we’ll spend  our cash on  new friends 

get in to more debt that a small country 

all because that advert was lovely 

and filled us with the joys of the season 

it is after all time for glad tidings

silver linings of comfort and joy 

we’ll be in good voice singing carols 

at the church we attend once a year 

It’s Santa not Jesus in whom we place our trust 

to meet our needs in the season of goodwill 

but what about the old, the homeless, the ill

thrown to the wolves so others can jingle tills 

in the name of profit 

 of which they will see just enough 

to pay the bills and not a penny extra

this is the not so secret agenda 

of those who would kill the Christmas spirit 

by taking others to the brink

watching them sink from a world 

so immune to their pain 

we don’t see the irony 

when we hurry through shopping malls 

in this the coldest season of the year 

and the song we hear is do they know it’s Christmas. 

@ Gayle Smith 2016