Bland On Bland – Beat

Ian In England
Ian In England

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “Beat”

I am over in the UK at the moment and am phoning the poems in to the show.

No rest for the wicked eh?



the block arcade
he stands in the window of the chocolate shop
tapping his cane, but falling shy of the glass
the little man in the black velvet suit
like tantalus cast in a mack sennett farce
he follows his beat – a silent beat – tapping, tapping, endlessly tapping
the deafening silence of one hand clapping
still the beat is there – ever and all

i’ve done my share of tapping in air
chasing the beat, illusion, deceit
dead ends, distractions
fashions and factions
we’ve all done our share of tapping in air

your beat is your breath, fuel for your fire
monster, messiah, mentor and liar
both mistress and master, triumph, disaster
your beat is your breath

every word, every thought, every deed and emotion
conceited indulgence or selfless devotion
let none shape your rhythm, yours – yours alone
we are to beat as flesh is to bone

who decides what is art? what is dross, what is worth?
does rain raise the tree – or does sun, or does earth?
does money judge art and think nothing more of it?
locked in a vault till it turns in a profit
if the value is priceless is the value then none?
we are to beat as bullets to gun

do you abandon beat, do you temper your passion?
for that simpering fickle coward known as fashion
is your story less valid, your painting, your ballad?
are you serving up curry when this week it’s salad?
pasteurised, sterilised, manicured, neutered
if you dare ignore style is it strength or denial?
when gushings of praise turn to rivers of bile?

when the wind turns do you follow its course?
another turgid affair and ugly divorce?
the meat never changes – only the sauce
epiphany for sedation
a cage for liberation
flat line for syncopation
treat it like a whore and a whore it will be
we are to beat as choice is to free

still a coin has two sides, though always one hides
its turn comes as surely as the turn of the tides
does everything new have to be crap?
in essence is opera so distant from rap?
both are water, be it ocean or a dripping tap
does the new underscore our mortality?
we are to beat as waves to the sea

does beat seed passion, fuel rage, stir reason?
or are they born in the silence, the lull between seasons?
which is the louder, which is the stronger?
which was the first, which survives longer?
which drives the wheel and which is the grist?
without the silence beat can’t exist
without the silence beyond and before
beat is reduced to a monotonous roar
like the rumble of traffic that bullies our ears
then fades into background and soon disappears

but a sleeping giant waits to be woken
a horse to be broken, a thought to be spoken
kinetic, synthetic
quatrain, pavane
cut time, 5/4, 12/8, shuffle
cubism, luminism, realism, turntablism
tag or sonnet, drag or right on it
rococo, allegro, flamenco, deco
paradiddles and paradelles
ride the rhythm, ride the bell
free form, dada, graffiti, lambada
haiku to ratamacue,
swing it or wing it
cascade, decollage, arabesque, montage
bebop to hip-hop to doowop to bastard pop
to the man in the window of the chocolate shop
he’s done his share of tapping in air

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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