A Staged Ukraine?

I found this perception @Robert-Self

I thought it made two stunning points to consider.

Also this was what Kim Iverson found.

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Peking Pet

Detail from the tomb of Princess Yongtai
Me – since she wants to be the best –
I’m glad to be her teacher, however long it takes.  
I revel in the pressure of her chest,
Am taken by the way she now makes
Use of lozenge eyes in order to step past me.
She does make a lot of mistakes.
Nevertheless, she likes it when I’m strict with her. 
I’ve noted how obedient she can be. 
For instance, she complied when I suggested
She lie on her back, squeezing an inflated
Ball between her knees, so as to strengthen
Her inner thighs. Flustered, as she spread
Her legs to hold the ball, she tried to find a way
To keep the hem of her frock from rising. 
Brusquely, I told her not to be so coy.
The exercise would help her tone the knees.
So the frock rucked up, revealing
The V of her panties. This was such a tease!
There she lay on the floor in front of me:
Disguising it, I gazed, and gazed my fill,
Even as I instructed her to squeeze
The ball hard, increasing the pressure,
Then to relax, then to repeat the exercise. 
Thrilling it was to see her like that – 
Unconsciously a stimulating sight,
With smooth, bare, inviting thighs
And panties so delightfully exposed.
I told her if she didn’t get it right
I would have to punish her.
She laughed at that. I tried to smile
As I endeavoured to remain polite,
Pretending that my threat was but a joke.  
She laughed, just as she often will
When I drive her home and say good night,
And a peck on the cheek is the thanks I get.
If I should muster the guts to say
That I wish that for once she would give
Me a kiss on the lips, again I get that laugh,
Then out she slips, for as she is aware,
The kiss would not end there. That kiss would be
The start. Revenge informs my need
To punish her – for peck and brisk depart. 
I also need to adjust the carriage of her pelvis. 
It’s the way she’s built: she carries her arse
At a tilt. Her behind lifts upwards at
The back. This is a fault. It has to be corrected. 
When next she comes for tuition
I shall be strict about this fault of hers. 
Should she tilt her bum up, it will be detected.
Straight out, I will question her position.
Tell her she’s a silly girl, yes, with a silly behind. 
Her bum is lovely, but a proper bum
Should never tilt up eagerly like that
Except when made available for punishment.
Brutality’s built into my designs on her.
Carnage turns the key to my intent.
The tenor of our weekly lesson manifests
The urgency she’s able to stir up in me:
I write this in a state, you see. My guise
Is at her beck: lewd are the feelings
That ensue; emotions prompted
By her softness, her smoothness, her eyes,
Her delicious scent – just as the crudeness
I daren’t voice, the harsh part of my fantasy,
Feeds upon her svelte Oriental identity.             
Thus it must always be, for passion needs its opposite:
Steel seeks out water, water longs for steel.
She is an atheist. I am. So be it.
But I can’t place her in her communist China.
Some refined locale has more appeal.
There, I would have her lightly dressed,
Yes, in a flowing chenshan. The lightest silk
Chenshan, as liquid around her as water. 
However there is no way to fasten it, so
She has to hold it together. It’s then that I start
My approach, and, as for her chenshan,
She cannot help but let it fall apart. 
I’m gentle, yet within an air of calm
There is that hint of cruelty. A cruelty I hide,
As a cat may purr before it hurts the bird. 
She has gone weak at the knees. She senses
Me inhaling her desire. We are both
On a couch now somewhere and the breeze
Comes stealing, through some muslin draperies. 
Chinese landscape
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Anja Konig -Thoughts of an Unprofessional Poet

This article by Anja Konig expresses a lot of my own misgivings about poetry as a competing profession.

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I Love Russia!

Manege, St Petersburg

I love Russia. Wonderful people, wonderful dancers, wonderful minds. I am sickened by Western hate-propaganda instigated by the mass media and by our corrupt leaders. I recall with huge fondness my one performance in Russia:

Homage to the Horses of Saint Petersburg

Everyone was so helpful, even the police. When I initially suggested that I wanted to bring horses into the Imperial Riding School for the first time since the Revolution, the police, who administered the building said No. When I said we would take the shoes off the horses so as not to damage the marble floor, they said Yes.

When I informed the police that later we would be naked while leading the horses around the columns of the facade, they said No. Public nudity had been disallowed by a law that came in after Glasnost! When I said, well, technically under the facade, according to classical law, we were within the precincts of the building, they said Yes!

Reason thus prevailed. Imagine if that had been the UK police or the US police.

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My new article on toughs in literature  is now published by the Fortnightly review.

Featuring a grumpy old git’s thoughts on what we can and what we cannot say, as well as the writing of Stewart Home, Mr Fish, Dana Gillespie, Catherine Millet, Takako Arai, Holly Howitt, Elizabeth Jenkins, Tom Bland and Joelle Taylor.

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Richard Lovelace on Poetry Competitions

Richard Lovelace

I am an admirer of good abstract poetry, and yet I felt drawn to satire after teaching in jails for several years. Now I find the tension between intention and unintentionality something that can provoke strong satirical writing. Ultimately even writing critical of society must be free to veer off in any direction – with verve! This is well demonstrated in Richard Lovelace’s “On Sanazar’s Being Honoured” – the most devastating satire on poetry competitions ever written. The full title is “On Sanazar’s being honoured with six hundred Duckets by the Clarissimi of Venice, for composing an Eligiack Hexastick of The City“. Here is the link.

Lovelace has always been one of my favourite poets, and he knew just what jail was!

His favourite trope is the oxymoron. I wrote an epigram in his honour:



It was this device

Which appealed to Lovelace

Ruined by war.

Everything blown.


Finding the topsy-turvy

Through his syntax,

He juggled with a world

Turned upside down.


Some of my own satirical poetry can be found here at this link – Dick – and here at this link – Diatribe. More of my own satirical writing can be found in From Inside, published by the High Window Press.

And Statius, Dante’s guide through Purgatory, deftly juggles flattery and satire. Here is the link to a selection of his Silvae.  

See also Satire for the Millennium.

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A review for ‘The Cross of Carl’ by Walter Owen – republished by Grey Suit Editions

Radierung, Aquatinta (1924) von
Otto Dix [02.12.1891 – 25.07.1969]

Great to see a review of The Cross of Carl in the current edition of the HIGH WINDOW

Thank you Michael Crowley!

Click WALTER OWEN here – for details about the book.

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Georges Braque: The Poetry of Things

Georges Braque – Cruche, cahier de musique, bouteille

Click here for my review of Georges Braque’s still lives. Bernard Jacobson Gallery, winter 21/22

Discussing the medium itself, together with my view of who might be the most significant still life artists of the 20th century. Braque is certainly one of them.

Georges Braque: Nature Morte: Prunes

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Harlequin’s Clothing

So what is civilization? Being a “Listed Building”,
It can only be what it is: a homage to Jeremy Bentham.
Yet someday soon your working if panoptical jail
Will be transformed – a prison-themed hotel. 
You can go there to serve time, as a paying inmate of course.


The black hole, the lockdown of your soul? Is this what you fancy now?
Want to bunk beneath the one who’s pissed
Through the mattress onto the bunk below?
Confess to whatever you decide you should be sentenced for.
We have a wing for each malfeasance. Choose from the drop-down list.
Specify length of sentence. Hard labour, or something
Less energetic? What you’ve asked for’s what you get.
Once the papers are signed there’s no going back on the contract.
Life means life – if that is what you’ve said that you require.
The nick is such a growth industry we’re opening it up
To you, the hoi polloi, encouraging participation,
Fuelling your fantasies as perpetrators
Of category A offences. Of course you have to shell out
For your time, that is, for the time you serve. 
Failure to cough up will be deemed a misdemeanour
Further extending your sentence – time for which
You will also be liable. We provide a brigade of snitches
Who will compliantly squeal on you and bring to light such crimes
As you considered ages ago. Ages and ages, but they’re in the know.
We’ve got the vacu-formed cells on our subterranean floor
Ready for you, Joe Public. Taken in by art and by literature,
Tolerant of difference: sex, race, creed, pronoun;
Laden with politics, living together, getting on together;
Living by laws, codes, issues like speech impediments
No longer targets for bullies, justice warriors’ pensions etc…
So what is barbarism? War… and incarceration. 
Two booming traditions. Enterprises devoted to profitable
Anarchy. Looting. Pillage. Sweatshops behind bars.
The weapons racket. Love affair entrapment by Hephaistos.
Backtrack. This brothel has step free access.
Trudgery clocked as I enter the monastery of G wing,  
Hermitage for the vulnerable, haven from the talons of their prey
(Softened arms, dodgy jogging bottoms, stubbled hair).
And Harlequin’s clothing? When Leibniz invokes it
He’s pointing out that your outer garb is not the same as your underwear.
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Grey Suit Editions: Books for Christmas 21

Announcing two new titles on Grey Suit Editions

Donald Gardner’s New and Selected Poems

Anthony Howell’s novel – The Distance Measured in Days

Available now!

And all our books (Grey Suit, Theatre of Mistakes, High Window, Odd Volumes etc) are available on ebay at tangoshiva. My own, older, Anvil Press Poetry titles are available here at Carcanet. Just add Anthony Howell when on the link.

Posted in FICTION, Grey Suit Editions, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment