Grenfell – Night Thoughts

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As the sweet summer breeze

blows through this petrified charcoal edifice

stirring the parched remains of the perished

inside this crematorium created by man’s greed,

 

We who are in temporary sleep

slowly inhaling the dust of the lost

unlike God, offering not the breath of life

Yet not forgotten, becoming part of us

 

Fused into our very being

scorched into our souls

as the seared conscience

of those that govern

offers no honour, shame, guilt

or Judas-like, intestine-spilling torment!

Instead scurrying like rats

under the tarpaulin of fear

 

Light exposing their hidden deeds of darkness

that atomized men, women and children before their time

those who’s bodies can no longer cast shadows

 

Your eternal flame

forever burns brightly

shining like stars

guiding both seeker and wise

along the narrow path

in their quest for the truth…

 

 

M.C. Bolton, 28th July 2017

Photo by Hugh

Grenfell

Not just people, their homes

but dreams, futures snuffed out

unlike the flames

that wrapped their unmerciful wings

around the tower without pity or care

the angel of death

resurrected by learned men’s folly

once again the poor suffering

above their station

swept aside like spent poker chips

as the midnight gambler

shuffles into the shadows

to pay his debt

to the reaper

who tonight had his fill

Yet the morning comes

bringing the dew of hope

for out of these embers

will rise men and women of faith

not just in God

but in justice

as the ashes of those

that were loved

are blown into the

eternal palace of peace

 

MC Bolton, 2017

 

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Art by Junion Tomlin

Reflections

To float away into the mist

Upon a piece of driftwood

made smooth by my inner tears

Guided by moonbeams

to the ends of the earth

falling into the abyss of dreams

rescued by God’s mighty hand

placed upon the rock of my faith

Yet this world takes its toll

upon my heart, my soul, my mind

fearing the depths my thoughts

dive into…

Ripples of eternal love

Forever lapping upon the shore

As the sun warms my

ever changing face

never changing heart

that cares for my created…

 

Mark Bolton, February 2017 

 

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Lad Broke Groove

By Tom Charles

“In the heart of the Urban Dandy is the fate and the conflict of the bohemian, to become preoccupied with the things he/she shuns – materialism and money” (About Us)

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Art by Angel Lewis

Descriptions like this can be traced back nearly two centuries when the word ‘Bohemian’ was first used to define those who didn’t fit the mainstream, bourgeois view of respectable living.

Mid-nineteenth century bohemians were those associated with alternative lifestyles and world views, engaged in the arts, writing and philosophy. They were united in their rejection of bourgeois materialism, trivia and sentimentality. What was respectable to the bourgeois was, to the bohemians, banal.

The thinker Alain de Botton describes the “martyr figures” of the bohemian value system as those who “sacrificed the security of a regular job and the esteem of their society in order to write, paint or make music, or devote themselves to travel or to their friends and families”[i]

By favouring sensitivity over worldly attachment, bohemians found themselves destitute, unable to reconcile themselves to spending their time and energy in service of a job they loathed to secure comfortable material lives. They looked elsewhere, forming their own subcultures and alternative movements.

But while mainstream society has its status symbols (peerages, job titles, awards, bling etc.) the bohemians’ status is attained through social skills, poetry, choice of reading material and company kept.

In the 1800s, society reported only bourgeois achievements and alternative heroes were seldom seen. The bohemian response to this freezing out was to try to shock respectable society out of its complacency. The Dadaists and Surrealists provided alternative voices to the prevailing narratives of social conservatism and fear of difference. Similarly, the Beat poets challenged a culture dominated by those who believed society offered a just reward system.

Bohemians tend to gather in ghettos, a survival instinct and economic necessity. Inner city areas with low end rent have been the focal point, potential havens of freedom, liberation and creativity.

All well and good, but any Bohemian must operate within the laws of the land. And so, the fate of the bohemian is still to become preoccupied with what is ostensibly shunned: money and material comfort.

In North Kensington, a wind chill factor of poverty blows in. Over half of the Borough’s children attend private schools, while 41% of their peers live in poverty. Boho? Many of those who had enjoyed a degree of material comfort and predictable security can no longer rely on this. And the society is more atomised and less community-based than ever. The future is uncertain.

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Screen-grab from the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation

Under an entirely unnecessary sham economic policy called ‘Austerity’, brutal class war is being waged. For those leaving university with five figures of debt, fulfilling their life’s purpose and building a community that enables people to realise their own individuality is not an option. Neither is debt slavery an economic benefit to the country; it is a deliberate, class-based political decision.

The result is best articulated by Oscar Wilde: “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor”[ii].

The confusion of the value of a human with the monetary value of what they possess has led the majority into tedious, demoralising work in a bid for respectability. Wilde said that our society has been constructed on such a basis “that man has been forced into a groove in which he cannot fully develop what is wonderful, and fascinating, and delightful in him – in which, in fact, he misses the true pleasure and joy of living”[iii].

And this is the dilemma of the Urban Dandy; it is what is inside them that enriches life. But they must live outwardly. And that is why, in our hundredth post we declared our intention:

“Identifying with the downtrodden, the poor and the dandies, the human, those who won’t back down and those that capitulate under pressure”.

A final warning: Beware of the word Bohemian now. It has been bastardised, called Boho…Tory Bohemia

 

Vacuous

Been the king of Notting Hill, Lord of Ladbroke Grove

Seen new money flooding in, pretentiousness exposed!

All about the bag you hold, label inside your clothes

Even though it’s daddies cash you wanna be boho!

Without a picture painted, book or verse

A modern day hippy – but in reverse!

The queen of hearts has marked your card

Like me seen through the looking glass

Oh! Alice dear you’re lost in space

What’s really happening to this place

But Alice dear -don’t you understand

For most of us it’s not wonderland!

 

Poem by MC.Bolton, 2015

 

Endnotes:

[i] Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety, Penguin (2005), p. 280

[ii] Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, p.1180

[iii] Ibid p.1178

Naked

There is nothing left inside

Not anything hidden deep within my soul

Just an empty shell

Where my heart used to be

A wrung out rag

Left to dry

In a scorching sun that shows no pity

To those that wish to expose mankind’s folly

Futility the fruit of this cursed fig tree

My own soul but ashes

Upon a bonfire of my hopes and dreams

Oh! Lazarus salve my tongue

In this merciless place of heat and pain

As I sit by the pool

With beggars, blind, lame and lepers

Waiting for waters stirred

To once more bathe and be healed…

 

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M.C. Bolton, July 2016 

KPH


       

Enticingly on the street corner she stands

        this old Victorian lady of the night

        yet all who enter these doors

        venture into another time and dimension

         where those that imbibe

        unwittingly star in their very own play

        as we seek to save our KPH

        iconic symbol of a bygone age

         before social cleansing and gentrification

        fuelled the rage of this band of brothers,

        sisters ,fathers, mothers, lifetime friends,

        part time lovers, black, white, rich, poor

       those that have lived outside the law!

       Like Shane or John Wayne we’ll stand for what’s right

      Johnny Cash’s man in black the band plays tonight !

        But this is no Alamo or Custer’s last stand

      our community diversity culture never figured in your plans

        as you seek to destroy what you fear and don’t understand

        you redevelop our estates, pubs, kick us out of our homes

       but your money can never buy our spirit heart n’ soul

       the true vibe of the Grove……………………..M C Bolton

KPH

Adam

With trousers too short , shoes too big

hair cut short like a fading wig

slowly he left the asylum gate

scars on his arms, still deeper in the heart

years of abuse had torn his soul apart

shuffling along, thousand yard stare

shell shocked, wounded beyond repair

like a rusty old bicycle or worn out leather chair !

Yet once a young boy, his mothers pride and joy

but ended up in care, an old man’s toy

passed around like a party game parcel

those that used abused still safe in their castle

a broken life, a fractured mind, but more unkind

all that look away- selectively blind ………………………………………..mark  bolton 2015