Keith Armstrong

Peterlee

Growing old
in a New Town,
we watch the sea roll,
stroll
through the fallen leaves
and cracked houses.
You whisper to me.
‘It’s the place to be’:
this misty dream,
this bird hanging from a tree,
this windblown giro-world.

Across the flat-roofs,
we danced and skipped
over the puddles and the nightmares.
The clouds hung in our eyes.
Older now, wize and wizened,
we stare from our windows in Sunny Blunts
and feel our skin peel.
‘Peter Lee is the Man in the Moon,’
we tell our kids,
‘he’s where it’s at.’

A stray dog barks in the moonlight.
Tonight, newspapers swept across grass,
it’s time to find
a future:
a New Moon,
a new New Town.

Sounds In The Night

Learning from others
I grow.
People fill my body
and my dreams.
They shape me.
Old friends’ words
stir my own lips.
Moving, in the street
I collect the scent
of coffee and past lovers.
I scan the faces for a glance I know.
Girls I sleep with
scar me.
My skin stretches
to make room for fresh news.
I read bulletins and lines
mass on my forehead.
Voices inside my brain
stay and sing in my ears.

These sounds in the night
make my blood
dance.
I go laughing with others.
I go teaching with others.
No one is ever self-taught.
There are millions of people
in every single thought.

Keith Armstrong © 2010

NAKED!

(for Spencer Tunick & his followers)

Naked at the conference table
naked
naked on a beer label
naked
naked in Iraq
naked
naked on the bloody rack
naked
naked as torture
naked
naked as a Baghdad butcher
naked
naked to a public school
naked
naked as a pubic fool
naked
naked in a Gateshead alley
naked
naked as a nuclear family
naked
naked as a pub dart
naked
naked as a bleeding upstart
naked
naked in the corporate office
naked
naked on the bleeding coalface
naked
naked to a stupid war
naked
naked as an arts whore
naked
naked as a councillor in hock
naked
naked as a business hack
naked
naked as I can’t be arsed
naked
naked in a uk farce
naked
naked as a Brendan Foster
naked
naked as a duty roster
naked
naked as a boomtown rat
naked
naked as a poetry brat
naked
naked in the supermarket
naked
naked as a sitting target
naked
naked as the bomb
naked
naked in a Bosnian womb
naked
naked in the Belsen darkness
naked
naked in our wilful blindness
naked
naked under manipulation
naked
naked under a brain tarpaulin
naked
naked as an artist’s prop
naked
naked in the cop shop
naked
naked at the wrong time
naked
naked at the pantomime
naked
naked in the Lottery Gallery
naked
naked as a stick of celery
naked
naked as a stripper in the club
naked
naked as a bourgeois shrub
naked
naked as a strapping Geordie
naked
naked as a gunning Saudi
naked
naked in an Utrecht gutter
naked
naked as a poor kid’s stutter
naked
naked as a star on tele
naked
naked as a starving belly
naked

naked!

Keith Armstrong © 2010