MRH Blog

Ramblings and mutterings

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Halloween Haiku 2018

A triplicate triptych(!) of haiku for the celebration of Samhain.

Halloween Haiku No.1
The sun sinks early,
foreboding winds prevail as
night swathes its ink cloak.

Halloween Haiku No.2
Chill, pitch autumn eve.
Frightful terrors haunt the soul –
Samhain Night once more!

Halloween Haiku No.3
The graveyard beckons,
a winter moon draws shadows
out of granite teeth.

Halloween Haiku No.4
Alight the candles,
pumpkin carved, a wicked smile
keeps the ghouls at bay.

Halloween Haiku No.5
Midnight comes too soon;
Witching Hours begin to tick,
palpitations pound.

Halloween Haiku No.6
Fear seeps down my back,
these morning hours; a lifetime.
Ancestors help me!

Halloween Haiku No.7
Thrice knocks the iron,
the dead remembered await;
keys shake in my hand.

Halloween Haiku No.8
Darkness pervades me,
vile children of the night drool –
my living flesh threatened!

Halloween Haiku No.9
Gnashing fangs, blood spumes.
Bones crunch under ground meat-skin –
You chose the wrong door.

M.R. Hume © 2018

Unfinished – No.45

I think I cried once,
when it was cold, and I’d lost something precious.
There was no-one there to catch me
as a hole in the world opened and I slid under.
Under the ice, slowly drifting with all the other debris.
Until you offered hope –
it tastes like honey, or cocaine, I’m not sure which –
very moreish with a cup of chai.

Yet, you grind away at me.
The brief periods of calm I used to take for granted
are now the dreams of a life once lived.
When did time become so important?
You are my ‘choice’ of recreation,
filling hours that used to be mine alone.
You require constant, undiluted attention,
twenty out of twenty-four.
Never mind – I can sleep when I’m old, and you can look after me.

M.R. Hume © 2018


Let’s say love is a train,
with passengers who presume to know where they wish to go.
They believe it has solid tracks
which outside forces cannot alter.
They hope it has strength and power,
so it will not stop, will not falter.
A one-way journey trundling
towards a private destination,
your bounty of happiness and trust –
a personalized railway station.
And if love is this allegorical train,
well today baby, I’m your driver and I’ve lost control.
We’re about to cruise at breakneck speed
and take a detour through your soul.
We’ll career dangerously near to the thresholds
of my pleasure and your pain,
I’m gonna make you sick, you’d better jump quick,
‘cos honey, I’m about to crash your train.

There ain’t no more stops, no more vanity shops,
we lost the marriage, the baggage, and buffet car.
I’m sick of sticking to the rules
only to watch you shrug them off,
this time sweetheart you’ve gone too far.
“If I can’t have you, no-one will!” – a cliché,
I’ll carry out to the bloody end.
So sit back, relax, and remember your words –
“I’m never gonna leave you, I’m your only friend.”
We’ve a few moments to reminisce,
the bad times that we’ll miss,
before we thunder into that wall just around the bend.

Yeah, that’s right, love is a terminal train,
with plexi-glass and padded walls,
and passengers who are quite insane.
So remember that in your next life when
you destroy your next husband or your next wife;
when your happy glow is sunshine shimmering,
when wild fire burns down the forest of lust,
when icy silences leave your mind shivering,
when the blues of break-up feel like a rain of the un-just.
Remember these words, and remember this pain,
‘cos baby – I’ve just crashed your train.

M.R. Hume © 1992

There Will Be No Revolution ’14

We stand before you broken, beaten, and tired.
We have no strength left to fight.
We can no-longer resist the burden that is forced upon us.
We can no longer fight the good fight against mediocrity and populism.
We are to become sheep.
There will be no revolution.

We will follow your religion without question or deviance.
We will obey your laws without falter.
Listen to your politicians,
read your newspapers,
watch your televisual brainwash.
We will not deny ourselves the chance
to be influenced by advertising,
the celebrity circus,
and all the media fair.
We will resign our free spirited mind to the masses.
Join the melting pot,
let fashion dictate our clothes,
our hair,
our accessories,
and the cars we drive.
There will be no revolution.

We will succumb to the property sponge;
buying into overpriced houses we cannot afford,
while happily, blindly, paying a loan shark by any other name
a non-negotiable, non-associable rate of interest.
We will contribute to your expensive taxes,
health plans,
dental care,
and charitable organisations,
without considering where or how the money is spent.
We will worship your one true god,
striving to fill your bank accounts with as much of it as possible,
substituting any need for a spiritual identity
with that of material greed.
And we will not rest or relax
until the day we can no longer raise our bodies to work,
or dedicate our life to the almighty purpose of slavedom
There will be no revolution.
Children! There will be no revolution today.

We will eviscerate and feed ourselves upon
a sexuality that finds pre-pubescent girls and boys desirable,
quench our lust with malnutritioned,
neurotic partners,
who strive to stay young,
in a vain attempt to deny our mortality and lack of purpose.
And we will condemn those who cannot understand,
interpret or define your blurred borders,
by labeling them ‘different’ or ‘abnormal’,
and exclude them,
and exile them,
from your social utopia which we proclaim to have created.
You are advanced, sophisticated,
the very height of an evolutionary pinnacle.
There will be no revolution.

We will continue to ignore
the growing global contamination
of our one and only true asset – our home,
The Earth.
Because we will find it easier,
and eventually more rewarding
to do nothing when faced with the concept
of diverting from the course
of your self-perpetuating system of rules and regulations.
There will be no revolution!

We will continue to deny responsibility
for any of our ancestral in-justices,
ignorance and merciless violence,
by hiding behind feel good,
guilt relieving constructs,
such as biased education,
the pretence of religion,
and false morality.
We will continue to relish in our ability to fuck,
to glorify the fundamental instinct of propagation.
We will congratulate ourselves for recognising
and defining our own purpose,
in the continued production of weapons,
and feebly hide behind the proposition,
that they, bring us to a state of peace.
We will never relinquish the fantasy of control.
We will never succumb to the reality of a simple life.
There will be no revolution.

People! There will be no revolution today.

M.R. Hume © 2014

Awake at Midnight

It’s just one of those things I guess,
like deserts moving meters a year, grain by single grain.
Or water dripping from an overflow after heavy rain.
A cat cleaning its paws, even though they’ve only just been cleaned,
or people spoiling the end of a movie before its even been screened.
The universe, getting still bigger and darker after thirteen billion years.
A snowman turned into a shapeless mound, like a billion frozen tears.
Too big-ish boxes being used to package tiny, mail-order gifts,
or the smell of other people’s fear whilst packed into fully loaded lifts.
Using a six hundred and forty tonne aircraft to fly us like a bird,
or mixing sugar, butter and eggs together, then adding lemon and calling it curd.

I am still awake at midnight because my brain won’t go to sleep,
and I’ll drop off a few minutes just before the alarm goes beep.

M.R. Hume ©2014

The Dookle Cat

She was the softest of kittens,
who liked the softest of cushions.
Her paws were likened to mittens,
but her claws were used for ambushing.
And when she purred,
she was tenderness untarnished;
but when she cankered,
she left behind carnage!

M.R. Hume ©2014

Old blog post 7 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 7

March 30th 2014 – Day 89

For the final installment of my celebration of Tom’s incredible talent, I have chosen the song that makes me smile, shudder, feel sad and happy all at the same time. It’s the epitome of urban blues, jazz, beat poetry, paying homage to film noir, road movies, and  still managing to stay so cool it melts your socks.

The first time I got to see Tom live was in London, November 1987. He was touring Franks Wild Years, but threw in a lot of Rain Dogs as well. For the most part, the audience were pretty subdued and static, seated, politely clapping at all the right times. I was so excited I couldn’t contain the groove, and when he started playing the rhumba version ‘Straight to the Top’ a couple of songs into the show, I jumped up and start dancing, shouting “Play it Tom, play it!” – that was a good gig.

Tom, I fucking love you; thank you for making such wonderful music, and for entertaining me for so many years, and thank you for being such an influence on my own creative spirit.

Small Change

Well small change got rained on with his own .38
and nobody flinched down by the arcade
and the marquise weren’t weeping 
they went stark ravin’ mad
and the cabbies were the only ones 
that really had it made
cause his cold trousers were twisted 
and the sirens high and shrill
and crumpled in his fist was a five dollar bill
and the naked mannikins with their 
cheshire grins
and the raconteurs 
and roustabouts said buddy 
come on in 
cause the dreams ain’t broken down here 
now… they’re walkin’ with a limp
now that 

small change got rained on with his own .38
and nobody flinched down by the arcade
and the burglar alarm’s been disconnected 
and the newsmen start to rattle
and the cops are tellin’ jokes about some whore house in Seattle
and the fire hydrants plead the 5th Amendment
and the furniture’s bargains galore
but the blood is by the juke box 
on an old linoleum floor
and it’s a hot rain on 42nd Street 
and now the umbrellas ain’t got a chance
and the newsboy’s a lunatic 
with stains on his pants cause…

small change got rained on with his own .38
and no one’s gone over to close his eyes
and there’s a racing form in his pocket 
circled Blue Boots in the 3rd
and the cashier at the clothing store 
he didn’t say a word as the
siren tears the night in half 
and someone lost his wallet
well it’s surveillance of assailants 
if that’s whachawannacallit
but the whores still smear on
and they all look like
but their mouths cut just like 
razor blades and their eyes are like stilettos
and her radiator’s steaming 
and her teeth are in a wreck
now she won’t let you kiss her 
but what the hell did you expect
and the gypsies are tragic and if you 
wanna to buy perfume, well 
they’ll bark you down like 
carneys…sell you Christmas cards in June

small change got rained on with his own .38
and his headstone’s 
a gumball machine
no more chewing gum or 
baseball cards or 
overcoats or dreams and
someone is hosing down the sidewalk 
and he’s only in his teens

small change got rained on with his own .38
and a fist full of dollars can’t change that
and someone copped his watch fob 
and someone got his ring
and the newsboy got his pork pie Stetson hat
and the tuberculosis old men 
at the Nelson wheeze and cough
and someone will head South 
until this whole thing cools off cause
small change got rained on with his own .38
small change got rained on with his own .38

Tom Waits, 1976


Old blog post 6 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 6

March 29th 2014 – Day 88

I couldn’t find a decent live performance of this track, but it is one of my favourites and one of Tom’s classics. I guess I like it because it emphasises the complete avant garde, dada-esque, surealist beauty of his work. The words, whilst lyrical and sensible, offer an edge of insanity that is obviously comical, but also disturbing – and the piano playing itself is wonderfully broken.

I have heard people talking about Tom’s live performances, saying that he is a natural and spontaneous artist; he is not. He is a brilliant showman and performer; every thing he does (aside from the odd adlib) is rehearsed and perfected, and designed to look unplanned. He is vaudevillian to the core of his being.

The Piano has been Drinking (not me)

The piano has been drinking 
my neck tie is asleep
and the combo went back to New York 
the jukebox has to take a leak
and the carpet needs a haircut 
and the spotlight looks like a prison break
cause the telephone is out of cigarettes 
and the balcony is on the make
and the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking
and the menus are all freezing
and the lightman’s blind in one eye 
and he can’t see out of the other
and the piano tuner’s got a hearing aid 
and showed up with his mother
and the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking
cause the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler 
cream-puff casper milk toast
and the owner is a mental midget with the I.Q. of a fencepost
cause the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking
and you can’t find your waitress 
with a Geiger counter
and she hates you and your friends 
and you just can’t get served 
without her
and the box-office is drooling 
and the bar stools are on fire
and the newspapers were fooling 
and the ashtrays have retired
and the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking
the piano has been drinking
not me, not me, not me, not me, not me

Tom Waits, 1976


Old blog post 5 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 5

March 28th 2014 – Day 87

A vast proportion of Tom’s work is focused on the people and places in our societies that we often forget or chose to ignore. Even though Tom’s work may have a beautiful sense of irony and elements of sarcasm, the words he writes never fail to strike home the fact that while we live our comfortable lives, there are others who are not always so lucky for what ever reason.

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Hey Charlie I’m pregnant and living on 9th Street
right above a dirty bookstore off Euclid Avenue
and I stopped takin dope and I quit drinkin whiskey
and my old man plays the trombone and works out at the track

he says that he loves me even though it’s not his baby
he says that he’ll raise him up like he would his own son
and he gave me a ring that was worn by his mother
and he takes me out dancin every Saturday night

and hey Charlie I think about you everytime I pass a fillin station
on account of all the grease you used to wear in your hair
and I still have that record of Little Anthony and the Imperials
but someone stole my record player now how do you like that?

hey Charlie I almost went crazy after Mario got busted

I went back to Omaha to live with my folks
but everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
so I came back to Minneapolis this time I think I’m gonna stay

hey Charlie I think I’m happy for the first time since my accident
and I wish I had all the money we used to spend on dope
I’d buy me a used car lot and I wouldn’t sell any of em
I’d just drive a different car every day dependin on how I feel

hey Charlie for chrissakes if you want to know the truth of it
I don’t have a husband he don’t play the trombone
I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer and Charlie hey
I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s day

Tom Waits, 1978


Old blog post 4 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 4

March 27th 2014 – Day 86

House Where Nobody Lives

There’s a house on my block
that’s abandoned and cold
Folks moved out of it a
long time ago
and they took all their things
and they never came back
Looks like it’s haunted
with the windows all cracked 
and everyone calls it
the house, the house where
nobody lives.

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone’s heart break
or did someone do somebody wrong?

Well the paint was all cracked
It was peeled off of the wood
Papers were stacked on the porch
where I stood
and the weeds had grown up
just as high as the door
There were birds in the chimney
and an old chest of drawers
Looks like no one will ever
come back to the
House where nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone’s heart break
or did someone do somebody wrong?

So if you find someone
someone to have, someone to hold
Don’t trade it for silver
Don’t trade it for gold
I have all of life’s treasures
and they are fine and they are good
They remind me that houses
Are just made of wood
What makes a house grand
Ain’t the roof or the doors
If there’s love in a house
It’s a palace for sure
Without love
It ain’t nothin but a house
A house where nobody lives

Without love it ain’t nothin
But a house, A house where
Nobody lives.

Tom Waits, 1999


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