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