Colour theory/Or what I learned in Art School

Blackness is not a colour foto©robcullen24042013

Colour theory/Or what I learned in Art School

Colour theory

black is not a colour

nor is white

though some whites think

they are whiter than white

those whiter than white whites

lets call them the man

think black is a colour

for them colour theory does not apply

what a surprise is in store

if they open their eyes

open their minds

and let the sunlight in

black is not a colour

any rainbow lays down the rules

black is not a colour

nor is white


Blackness is not a colour foto©robcullen24042013

I am my own silence

foto credit South Wales Echo

I am my own silence

Silences vacancies empty spaces

lemons yoghurt spuds


The silence of the middle class again

think you can close the door

you are deluded


What is the message?

This message of silence

What are you trying to say?

What are you trying to tell me?

With your silences.

Your non replies.

Is it that I haven’t lived

the times I’ve worked through

driving past lorries filled with coal

convoys of lorries on the motorways

filling up the power stations stores

to break the miner’s strike

to break a community

to break a people

seeing strikers in the cells

and expected to collude

with the depravity of the middle class

punishment your silences again and again


Is that your message?

I haven’t raised children?

I haven’t saved children?

nothing I’ve seen

nothing I’ve touched

nothing I’ve smelt

actually happened

means anything

in this world of everyday pain

is that your message?

Speaking on behalf of miners wives

in the Fines Enforcement Debtors Court

before those pompous magistrates

in their ties and suits living in piano rows*

stopping the wives going to prison

for non payment of a fucking TV licence

show some fucking respect

not your silence hiding the fact

you have nothing to say

That was then this is now

food banks are empty

food banks keep running out

children go to school hungry

empty hungry empty hungry

that was then this is now

sixth wealthiest nation

empire gone going down

moving the deck chairs around

while Nero’s violin plays a stringent tune

children starving empty hungry

that was then this is now

sliced bread bags of potatoes

pasta rice tomatoes bags of this

bags of that — tins of beans tins tins

anything tinned bags of sugar

anything you can give anything at all

big little or small big little or small


That was then this is now

Global Britain rules the waves

Global Britain rules Covid too

Just remember killers take many shapes

even assassins read poetry

some read ancient Greek

mass killers enjoy a good tune

some love jazz and dance about

Sergei Rachmaninoff knew a thing or two

I’ve lived I’m still here

you can’t own my silence

in this world of everyday pain




I’ve lived I’m still here

you can’t own my silence

in this world of everyday pain.


Footnote: piano rows* houses of skilled working class and lower working class who had pianos in their front room for a child to practice.


Number fourteen


Number fourteen

Darkness comes darkness goes then there’s grey

sometimes some people can dance through darkness

Some of the time some people hide in the darkness

apparently- there’s no light to look into the darkness

A boy dances to make the woman his mother smile

she is lost in the darkness he wants her to laugh or dance sometimes

do anything to see her smile a boy dances for the woman

who closes the door the door closes darkness closes in

The woman re-appears fully dressed shopping bag in hand

closes the door says I won’t be long he sits on the bottom stair

looking at the frosted glass window of the bottle green door listening

a glass spider hangs from a thread in the glass window staring

The old house was burned down exactly a year after we moved out

to another house up the hill exactly a year since the neighbour

from hell moved in next door with her drunken antics, and theatrics

late night dramas, shouting and swearing anytime the woman

my mother hung clothes on the wash line on a sunny day

anytime she left the house to catch a bus to shop in town

she my mother closed the door and stayed in the darkness

she my mother trapped left the house for as long as she could

Scorched and smoking the house of my childhood

the place of my memories boarded and smouldering

an Angels feathers falling