Poems

A selection of pieces from around 2008 – present.

2018, This ‘n’ That

We’ll call it this
Though it clearly means that.

Make sure they believe this
So they don’t believe that.

We’ll pay you this much
To not say anything about that.

Be sure to talk about this
Or anything but that.

Make sure they talk about this
So they don’t talk about that.

If they question this
Make sure you don’t tell them that.

Show them this
So they don’t think about that.

If they still question this
Make damn sure they feel stupid for thinking that!

Make sure it’s always about this
And never that.

Of course,
I don’t need to tell you any of this
If you’ve never considered that.

© Christopher Sharp

Empty Hi

Part One

Clouds gather
Above a barren
Landscape of figures,
Beyond orisons
That wander
Wastelands
Of shattered dreams,
Owing shadows
Stealing futures
From behind the ether.

The Spider apprises:
‘Family of swans
Shot dead,’
‘A man stabbed to death
For his trainers,’
‘Security guard killed
With a screwdriver
Stopping thieves
Stealing a chocolate bar,’
I walk by
Empty buildings
Lining streets
Of cardboard homes
This, it calls ‘Civilisation.’

A war on airbrushing
Sweeps decadently
The dust of
Broken bodies
Under deserts
Scorched by profits,
From ancient Babylon
To Yemen,
Are we not to oppose
Rotten eggs laid
By that which eats them?

The ancients foretold
Of man communicating
Through ‘webs in the sky’
And he would become
More stupid.

I learn
Research is propaganda,
Identity
An award
For servitude.

Psychopaths are ever adept
To attain the goal,
Hence hypocrites
Swarm a lunatic
Like flies on shit,
For the Spider loves
Nothing more
Than absurd
Soap operas
Celebrating itself.

Mother Earth weeps
For the innocent slain,
The Spider remains
Laissez-faire
Laying railroads
Journeyed by carriages
Coated in plastic,
Parisian ideals vanish
Into the mist.

The Spider insists,
I should laud
Self-obsessed lyrics
‘Revolutionary’
In clichéd jingles
Ad nauseam,
And they say
You can’t polish a turd?

Marching to its demise
Banality tunnels
Through labyrinths
Of panic,
Followed by flies
Eating despair
Attached to palms
Suffocating in isolation….

Still, it
Rolls on … and on and….
I listen to its soundtrack thinking
Maybe man can recycle after all?

All the while
Mother Earth weeps
At empty words
On redundant platforms,
Poisoned by a Spider
Ensnaring all in a web
Of Spectacle
Termed ‘Civilisation.’

Part Two

Worked all her life
Paid her taxes
Paid heed to the rules
Voted Tory and read the Mail,
Now,
Amnesia slinks
Along a ward,
Memories
Of falling brushed
Into the dark’s embrace,
Vultures circle
To trade her plight
And though she cries,
It’s all in vain
For soon,
Her son, itinerant,
If the scavengers once fed
Get their way.

‘It’s strange being
An ordinary person.’
A lament that fades into the wind
Like raindrops
In the ocean.

Fought the Great War’s sequel,
Despite holding no allegiance
To the viciousness
Of flags,
Preferring an alternative
Anthem,
Now,
Labours for breath,
Maybe he’ll pull through,
I understand
His ambivalence,
As much as it breaks
My heart.

‘I’m happy to no longer
Be part of it.’
Musing upon a game
He no longer recognises….

I return
To a future
Gone.

‘How has your day been?’

I wonder,
Why respond
When I cannot say
What you’d rather hear?

It is
A game
I
Do not
Recognise.

© Christopher Sharp

2018, The Savage

‘Utopianising’ primitive cultures, you say?
Hosts to kangaroo courts, you say?
Savages, irredeemable?  Tell me,
Who was it that tortured en masse
And burned witches at the stake
Under the influence of fairy tales?
Whose hellish contraptions
Do I see preserved in Cordoba?
Who is it that would throw
A rainbow citizen from the rooftops
And who was the one to scorch
The earth in black gold’s wrath?
Who was the one to sign
A collective death sentence
In radioactive ink?
Who is it that kills for a belief,
Kills for sport,
Kills for profit,
Kills upon orders
For a flag without asking why?
And who can write
Of such things without sorrow,
Without a piercing shudder
To the depths of their very soul?
Who is it that habitually spits
Into Mother Ocean with contempt
And intoxicates our Father in the sky?
Who is the one who has claimed the cosmos
As commodity, endlessly exploited through lies?
Tell me …
Who is the savage?

© Christopher Sharp

(image: 2012-13, Wandering project)

2018, The Banker and the Tree

O tree, standing by the river amid the breeze
I wonder, what is your net worth?
If I should fell your mighty trunk,
Fashion into a warship’s mast
Conquering untold seas and mould
Your remains into currency binding all
Eternal through cunning veils, will this yield
The greatest riches, will this prove to
Me your worth?  Or shall I extract
That sweet melody I hear emanating
Through far reaching limbs as they dance
Upon the wind – a new Christmas number 1
That sees fame prove your worth!  Or shall
I render your puzzling beauty in coloured
Planes of status traded by my peers,
Written about by conduits paid
To assume you justified by genius?
Or shall I harness your coolness
Of shade appeasing the sun?  What if I
Remove your shadow from these ripples
And cast its void among endless showrooms,
Will make-believe sums on magic screens climb
And prove to me your worth?
Or shall I capture the precious air you restore
And charge admission to collective lungs?
7 billion barcodes and rising – O tree,
Think of the profits!
Now I look up and see the many
Creatures that you house … I wonder,
O tree, how much rent do you charge?

© Christopher Sharp

(image: Dreamscape, No. 15, pen on paper)

© Christopher Sharp

© Christopher Sharp

2015, The Fields

Confession,
abolition,
renewal,
uncertain processes
among dreams
lost
in perpetual night
waken
to a magnificent sunrise
over endless green fields.
The sound of the river
travels through distant forests,
shadows pointing
towards a road
facing mountains
reaching beyond the clouds,
descending the vastness
of skies overlooking
great stillness amid
a palette of infinite
hues ever changing,
a light
pierces deep within
to unlock hidden doors
opening on new vistas,
bright
in solitude
nestled between
wooded hills
beneath a chorus
of optimism
in full voice
among the trees,
reflections
of emptying
towards serenity
gaze upon
every colour;
if only for a moment
a brief,
beautiful moment,
walking eternal fields
completely free.

© Christopher Sharp

© Christopher Sharp

2013, The Butterfly

Butterfly, lying still upon the ground
Colours of a spirit meek as profound
I wonder, did you see normality
While flying over grey reality?

Your wings bid farewell to their flutter
Their colours a swan song as you exit the shroud
Away from this affluence which surrounds
Return to the whole elusive yet all around

Your stillness embodies a symbol of heaven
As from the earth you emerge into flight
Like a soul so pure and free but what becomes
Of your colours as you fall towards the night?

My search for answers brings forth storms
Raging through the underworld’s myths and illusions
Phantasmagoria’s shadows leave me forlorn
As I try to make sense of the dark’s intrusion

Bright colours of the world fall out of my dreams
As your soul departs through the seams of your wings
Butterfly, were you pilot or passenger
When obfuscated as a rainbow glider?

© Christopher Sharp

(click here for audio version)

Below is a selection of poems written between 2008 and 2011, which I incorporated into paintings on plasterboard.

2011, The Desert

I was walking in a desert where I passed many people, possibly nomads like myself but I couldn’t be sure.  I also recall some tall figures stood motionless, wearing large masks like that of a native tribe perhaps holding spears as well.  They did not appear aggressive to me despite looking intimidating and it was unclear what they were doing in this place – their endeavours as shrouded as my own.  I could see a slight hilly incline bearing to my right in the direction I was heading.  It was night and the desert appeared to be of a circular or semi-circular shape with red-brown coloured sand.  While walking, my attention became drawn towards a strange symbol etched in the ground, the appearance of which I can only vaguely recall but it was unmistakably there.  Somehow, whether through being told or by intuition, I came to know that this was a mark of the prophet Mohammed and it seemed to reveal that Islam held the highest knowledge of God.  The desert had a perimeter, which before times (that is, before such knowledge existed), one could pass through to other lands easily (and back again) but once knowledge of God had been attained, the perimeter became like a kind of force-field, which made it all but impossible to leave the desert.

© Christopher Sharp

A Painting is a City

In this place, governed by over-privileged, bought-and-paid-for halfwits, grey, becomes the norm.  A union of fragmented wholes forcibly collate under the control of a shadowy greed peddling snake oil to a masses, repeatedly condescended for their blindness after having their vision robbed and yet ever worshipping their oppressors, somehow falling in love without any choice.  It matters not how much you protest, such is the way of things thus, if you see this, it will be when you’re alone.  Many believe in taking the blue pill – that duly attending classes, debates, social functions, exhibitions, performances, plays, gyrating to the stupid, mindless music the machine decrees, or being subjected to other such forms of cultural ephemera within this place, shall in some way impart liberation.  As they shuffle along and behave accordingly, decadent institutions sanctioned by state bureaucracy disseminate bourgeois propaganda, nullifying the middle-classes in the exact same manner as alcohol, sport and celebrities do to the proletariat and apathetic university students.  Some believe in to be or to protagonise one of its so-called subversives, though to what outcrop such wit remixing the mainstream via the outside/r, as it were, but to merely lengthen the tentacles of the beast?  No.  Such things can never exist beyond, nor will they change the banality, conformity, laziness, ignorance and self-centredness that form the landmarks of a media eating itself.  Others believe in taking a journey inwards to seek counsel from the voice of reason that dwells within the depths of an unseen abyss as vast as the cosmos itself.  This acknowledgement lies partly in believing that Bukowski was right all along – it’s the trivial things what’ll drive a man over the edge and little, if any of it, is worth caring about.  Here, walls come crashing down intuiting a certain kinetic release liberating one from all those greys, raising every colour to the fore, meaning that, during an intense moment oscillating between pure awe and dread, your eyes can see.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Yin Yang

The painting stood tall
And to a slight
Forty-five degree
Angle upon the floor.
It was entirely black
But for two rectangular
Shapes, which had been
Spray painted with unfeasible
Thickness across part of it.
In front were stood three
Decidedly unimpressed looking
People.
The first was a former course
Colleague (who used to work with
Spray paint as I recall), alongside his
Wife and a third person whose precise
Identity escapes me completely (although
I seem to remember he was male).
Why it was those particular people
Standing there at that time I do not know.
I was feeling very defensive, as if braced
For yet another bad crit and, sure enough,
My former colleague’s wife began laying
Into me.
I immediately retorted only for my
Defensiveness to be stopped in its
Tracks by my former colleague’s
Words:

“You’ve single-handedly
Revolutionised modernism
And postmodernism with
A little bit of dramaism.”

I was dumbstruck, a most
Unexpected response!
His wife said no more but
Her attitude towards me
Changed somewhat, now
Looking at her partner
With a notable expression
Of agreeance as he uttered
Those words, while the
Other person remained
Silent.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Secret of Oz

A Japanese Man,
Looking angry.
I began talking
Somewhat piously
(as I recall)
Not my usual manner
When articulating
My artistic aspirations
On the contrary,
I have a rather shy demeanour.
The man became rather animated:
“Trust me, I’ve worked
On the inside and,
Believe me,
If something is a successful product
It is simply down to it being
The most successful con!”

I had nothing to say
But still I walked on.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Heart Frames the Cosmos

There were two images in
Dawkins’ book: ‘The God –
Delusion’.  
Both identical images
of a young, attractive woman
lying within a cone-like object,
concealing the lower half of her body.
She was laid on her side and looked
peaceful and was clasping a flower
of some sort as I recall. She was
fairly light skinned – clear and
beautiful with straight brunette
hair.
The image to the left was from the
unconscious – slightly raw and more
‘real’ looking, whereas the right-hand
image looked quite digital and
manufactured.
The conclusion drawn within
this book was that science could
explain all phenomena as a
result of this for the first image
was from inside the person’s
head and the second was drawn
by somebody on LSD, thus these
images are programmed and we
do not in any way act
spontaneously, which would
be indicative of our possessing
a Soul.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Thinkin’ all Pomo in the AM

Everything is simulated
Via the simulated
Repeatedly simulated
Via the simulated
To form a whole through which
Everything becomes disconnected
Via the Connected.

© Christopher Sharp

2009, Novus Ordo Seclorum

The revolution failed.  The main instigator, of the lower echelons, idealistic in every way; believer in the potential of the nowhere man and the common good, looks up towards the goblin brothers of the aristocracy:

“CHANGE ONLY OCCURS WHEN WE DECIDE!”

Forlorn, the man walks away now aware of his place in the world and the reality of all the history that went before him.  A fool, like all the others, he simply went home, switched on the TV, read the paper and was drawn ever-increasingly into the apathetic world of a gentrified, mass consumer culture, before eventually losing his mind.

© Christopher Sharp

2009, Lost in Time Like Tears in the Rain

I bumped into an old friend and was deeply upset when I learned a girl I once had feelings for – but who gave me nothing but the run-around – had forged a good and close friendship with him.  He thought highly of her, much to my astonishment, seeing her approx. twice a week.  She even sent him texts on a regular basis (her number ended in ’30’).  This one, he told me, had something to do with Ronaldo mucking about while they were out drinking.  She knowingly no longer cared to send me such texts.  She no longer cared to let me in on anything nor took interest in anything I performed but what really bothered me, I think, was that I’m not sure she ever did – just pretended to.  Just another honey trap mocking me by treating me as some kind of novelty (the hypocrisy of some women!).  I became overwhelmingly upset and ran out of the building, crying uncontrollably while running home in the rain.

© Christopher Sharp