The Sun Don’t Mind

The Sun Don’t Mind

There’s a war in Ukraine

                But the sun don’t mind.

Though millions starve

                It will continue to shine.

One day I’ll die

                But eternity won’t care.

My mind will cease,

                My atoms everywhere.

While we’re fed conspiracy

                The universe expands

Unaware of devastation

Oblivious to our plans.

Fleas on an elephant,

                A tear in the ocean.

Voyagers on a rock

                Living without a notion.

So big in our heads

                So tiny in reality.

An invisible flash

                In the uterus of infinity.

Opher – 25.6.2022

So important to bring things into perspective.

We take ourselves too seriously.

Yet our lives are important.

The wonder of life is quite unique.

We take so much for granted.

We are busy trashing paradise for a pocket full of baubles.

How can we give this life purpose?

Life Goes By

Life Goes By

Life goes by

                With us

                                Or without us

                                                Despite us

                                                                All around us

But for how long?

Just once

                On a bombarded rock

                                Dancing in the rain

                                                Wearing just one sock

A profound dunce capered.

Opher – 25.6.2022

It always seems amazing to me that on this tiny barren rock, in the middle of a vast ocean of stars, life began.

So much we don’t understand.

So much awe and wonder.

So many coincidences.

Instead of appreciating the stupendous circumstances that surround us we have to make up rigid fables and tie ourselves down.

Instead of respecting the wonders we are surrounded with we have to carelessly ignore them, destroy them and try to rule over them.

I can’t help thinking that we’re destined for a big fall.

Words by Opher Goodwin – A collection of short stories – Available in paperback, Hardback and digital.

Words is a collection of short stories, anecdotes and writings accumulated over the last few years.
Some were written for fun; some have a more serious tone.

Hopefully, some will make you laugh, some will make you cry and others make you angry.

Once upon a time (a poem from my new poetry book ‘Broken Britain’ – Out Soon!)

Once upon a time

Once upon a time

                There was a mutation in an ape;

                                A tiny change in sequences

                                                Leading to murder and rape.

On a beautiful planet

                With a myriad of life

                                The arrogant apes are kings

                                                Creating kingdoms full of strife.

Inventing gun and bombs

                To protect their ivory towers

                                They set about subjugating

                                                All beneath their power.

They thought they were above

                All other animals

                                By building torture chambers

                                                Safe behind castle walls.

Such a small mutation

                In a strand of DNA

                                Is now threatening all life

                                                With a burst of gamma ray.

Opher 2.10.2022

It feels as if there are always two forces at play in human nature: the side that is for creating, helping and building and the side that is for violence, destruction and death.

The planet is either heading for a slow decay into polluted ruin or a fast meltdown into a nuclear pit.

Everything is run by greed and the lust for power. The world is soaked in fear and hate.

We’ve created religion and politics and use both to destroy each other.

What hope is there for these psychotic apes. On a positive thought – the planet will eventually recover from our brief custodianship. It might take a few million years, a lot of mutations, but evolution will plug the many holes we’ve created!

Life will prevail!

Unintended Consequences – New Ron Forsythe (aka Opher Goodwin) Sci-fi novel (A sequel to The Pornography Wars).

My latest Sci-fi novel is out on Amazon in digital, paperback and Hardback form!

The politics and satire continues as our humans are set free from control and find themselves in a very different world.
While the aliens continue to argue about the future of pornography and the sentience of human beings, life for the unshackled humans is becoming very grim.
In the tridee film-making studio everything is fraught.
The populist Director General, with her advisers, is being devious.
The Minister for Arts is stoned out of her mind.
A campaign to give humans rights is being fought.
Will the humans find themselves controlled and back in the sex movie, or will they be free?

If anybody would like a signed copy please let me know! I have ordered in a batch!

Crying For Ukraine – the introduction

Crying For Ukraine

By

Opher Goodwin

Introduction

I started writing this book at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine back in March 2022. I have been steadily writing poems as the news started to emerge of the horrors of war and the atrocities committed by the Russian army.

War is obscene.

Not only does it permanently traumatise the victims of violence but it also has an effect on the perpetrators. The soldiers are dehumanised, purged of emotions, stewed in terror and hate, fermented in horror. They witness their comrades slaughtered and maimed. They expect the same will happen to them. I can only imagine the slippery spaghetti of emotions that poison their nightmares and waking moments.

Human minds are weak. Violence and trauma permanently damages them. The soldiers are as much victims as those they are shooting. War eats minds like acid.

They felt immune to the normal restrictions of civilisation and free to indulge themselves. Their fear bred hate. Their experiences of seeing their comrades slaughtered bred hate. The stream of propaganda justified them doing anything. They felt free to rape, loot, pillage, torture and kill without any thought of retribution.

Young men were turned into brutes. Kind, tolerant, compassionate young men transformed into barbaric rapists, torturers and executioners. It was as if all morality had been expunged by the brutality of their experience. They became monsters.

It was terrible to witness the wanton destruction of modern cities as they were reduced to rubble by missiles and shelling. Unbelievable. These were things that happened in faraway countries not in civilised Europe in 2022.

It raised my awareness of just what had been happening in places like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, Myanmar, Lebanon, Libya, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so many more. They too had modern civilised cities destroyed by this disease. Just because they were further away did not make it any less shocking.

Is there no hope for mankind? Are we forever trapped in this cycle of violence and destruction? Do we constantly elect greedy warmongering leaders who, for their own vanity, greed or paranoia, stoke up hatred, racism and fear to go to war? Is there a major flaw in our DNA that makes us cruel and violent? It looks like that to me. We are the most vicious, cruel species on the planet. We never learn.

War is always justified by the perpetrators.

As the days wore on the atrocities grew. I watched the trail of death as the wanton destruction, the targeting of hospitals, schools and civilian homes took place, as the mass graves were exposed, the executions and torture. As the list of war crimes grew.

I listened to the feeble justifications – the eradication of neo-Nazis for example. That seemed absurd. For fascists who control their own people with secret police, lock up or poison all opposition and pump out lies and propaganda to complain about neo-Nazis is ironically incredible. It felt like bubonic plague criticising smallpox. Putin is a neo-Nazi.

Then we have the justification that NATO is moving on to the Russian borders with their missiles and threatening the very existence of Russia. I would find that easier to believe if it wasn’t for the way that Russia has been planning this for so long. Putin has been orchestrating a campaign to weaken the West just so that he could take over his neighbouring countries and rebuild the Soviet Union.

How has he been attempting to weaken the West?

Putin obviously saw the USA, EU and UK as major threats and sought to undermine them. To this end he set up an army of computer hackers to interfere with our democracy. This plan has been executed over a decade or more.

It is my belief that in the USA he set about first entrapping Trump with bribes, backhanders, business deals and hookers. If he couldn’t hold him through his greed he could control him through blackmail.

By targeting specific voters with carefully selected propaganda he was able to influence their vote. Putin was eager for division, fear and hate. Using immigrants, racial stereotypes and Muslim terrorism he turned voters and split the country. In a close election the pro-Russian Trump was elected.

Putin had engineered the election of an incompetent, pro-Russian fool into a seat of great power and in the process severely split and weakened the USA. Stage 1 complete.

Using the same tactics to undermine the democratic process in Europe Putin funded Brexit and used the same internet targeted messages to both get Brexit done and the incompetent clown Boris Johnson elected.

The EU was wounded by the loss of Britain and Britain was wounded by breaking with the EU. Not only is Boris Johnson useless but the ERG are a greedy bunch of self-serving extremists. Putin was able to use his oligarchs to infiltrate Britain and gain influence. They even got oligarchs into the House of Lords.

Through donations to Tory funds and individual politicians, including Johnson, Russia sought to gain influence.

While this was going on he was selling cheap gas and oil to the EU to make them dependent. He did not want them making too much of a fuss as he first flattened Chechnya, then Syria before moving into Georgia and Crimea.

There was hardly a bleat from the distracted West. We were struggling with the wave of mass immigration and Islamic terrorism (both largely of our own making through wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan) – wars, racism and terrorism that Putin was able to use against us to cause the divisions he craved.

I think Putin thought that while the West was weak he could incrementally start taking back the satellite countries lost from the Soviet Union. He thought we would bleat a little and turn a blind eye. He thought that he could smash into Ukraine, displace the government, put in a puppet regime like he’d done with Belarus and it would all be over in days. Then he could turn his attention on Estonia, Poland, Finland, and Moldova, picking them off one by one with little fuss from a weakened West.

How wrong he was. The Ukrainians are smashing his armies and embarrassing the hell out of the superpower Russia just like Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan had done with the USA.

War rarely goes to plan. The West was not so weak that it didn’t rally.

I watched day after day as the atrocities built up, the destruction took place before my eyes and the poor people of Ukraine were driven out of their homes with their lives in tatters. I watched at the death toll of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers rose and as the extent of innocent casualties was made public.

This was modern warfare. It was attrition. It was horrendous. Schools, theatres and hospitals were deliberately targeted. The war machine was brutal.

Most days I wrote a poem or two in an attempt to describe what I was seeing and feeling. I published those snapshots on my blog. Now, I have accumulated these anti-war poems into an anthology and I am putting them out as a book.

War is obscene. Can it ever be justified? Are we justified in arming Ukraine against Russia? Will this all escalate into a bigger confrontation – into World War 3?? Who knows?

As of now we are arming Ukraine with the latest weapons. We have stated that we wish to degrade Russia so that it will never be strong enough to wage this kind of war again. We are applying sanctions to permanently weaken Russia.

But the world is split. Russia has its allies in places such as China, India and Brazil. It appears that some of the world thinks that invading sovereign countries, reducing their cities to rubble, slaughtering civilians, torturing, looting and raping are OK.

Or is that all propaganda that we are lapping up?

Russia is now threatening to wipe us all out in a nuclear holocaust.

We are told that Putin is terrified of a coup, is suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s and exists in a paranoid state of dementia partially brought on by covid. He’s on his last legs, backed into a corner and is capable of anything.

I wonder how much of that is real?

All I really know is that war and violence are despicable and that we humans are the most terrible animals that evolution has thrown up.

Here’s to a world without war!!

Oh for a strong UN that could put an end to all these conflicts and bring these loathsome warmongering leaders to trial!

Here’s to an end to war and the start of real civilisation!

Here’s to the future!

Opher 6.5.2022

In Search of Captain Beefheart – A Rock Music memoir. Chapter 1 – On the starting line.

On the starting line

Once I got out of Clive’s bedroom I began my quest in earnest. I looked everywhere I could but there were no signs of my heroes. This was probably due to two things: firstly I was an eleven year old kid living in the Delta region of the Deep South (Thames Delta that is – Walton on Thames) and there was very little in the way of record shops or live venues (Walton on Thames was not renowned for its boulevard cruisin’ in red Cadillac’s or its jiving’ Honky Tonks and Juke Joints) and secondly my heroes were still out of circulation. Woody was going down with the terrible Huntingdon’s Chorea which would stop him performing and writing anymore. Don Van Vliet was probably living out on his trailer in the desert with his mum Sue and hanging out at school with Frank Zappa. Roy was causing mayhem Blackpool way with Beat poetry, feigned madness, army desertion and pregnant girlfriends. Bob was doing his Little Richard impersonations and starting out on the road to putting together his auto-constructed mythology and was about to start singing to Woody in the sanatorium. Son House hadn’t been rediscovered and had yet to relearn the guitar, get back in the studio and be trundled out to white audiences.

I filled my time in by substituting in other heroes.

Hard on the heels of Buddy and Adam I soon discovered Elvis, Eddie, Cliff and then the revelation of Little Richard. He was explosive! ‘Here’s Little Richard’ was an immense album. I got obsessed with it. That voice belting out that basic thumping Gospel influenced yet wholly secular primitive Rock ‘n’ Roll along with his wild pounding piano. He was the true King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. There was no one to touch him. Elvis, who copied a lot of his songs, was a pale imitation in more ways than one. I remember sitting on the sofa with my 52 year old big fat jolly Nanny (Grandma), who was shortly destined to have a stroke and die, and watching a Little Richard, come-back, hour long TV show in the early 60s. He put everything into it. The sweat was beaded on his face and dripping off him. He stood and hammered the keys, played it with his foot, backside and elbow and pulled off every trick in the book while my Nanny roared him on and bounced around causing the sofa to suffer earthquakes. My Nan was a rocker!

My school had a fete and I took my Dansette in with my record collection and performed as a Juke Box. I charged six pence a play and only played Little Richard all afternoon. I didn’t get to make much but I had a great time!

I finally got to meet my hero not so long ago when he played in Bradford. I took my younger son Henry with me as an essential part of his education (I also took him to see Chuck Berry, Rambling Jack Elliott, Love, The Magic Band, Lazy Lester & Jerry Lee Lewis and got him to see Bo Diddley, the Fall, the Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke). The Little Richard Show was a strange affair. There seemed to be three elements to it. There was the Rock ‘n’ Roll – but lacking in the energy and athleticism – he was in his mid seventies – but there was also this cloying evangelical Christian crap and a very camp gayness all of which did not quite gel with raw Rock ‘n’ Roll. It left me feeling dissatisfied. I would have loved to have seen him in 1957 when he was revolutionary. Even more disturbing was going back after the show to see him. He was doing a poster signing. There was a long queue and two big black heavies on the door who were distinctly underworld. They collected your £30 quid off you with a very heavy warning: you went in shook hands, had your poster signed – if you tried to get anything else signed, like my original ‘Here’s Little Richard’ album from my childhood it would be taken off me and smashed. I got the feeling that there would likely be a few more things broken in the bargain.

I walked up to get my poster signed by the great Mr Penniman with the guy from the support act. He’d done a great version of ‘Casting my spell’ and I said that it sounded just like the Measles version that I used to love. He was nice and friendly and turned out to be the lead singer with the Measles.

The next few years were quite fallow for me and lacking in real heroes. The charts, which we all drooled over, were full of sanitised Pop stuff – Fabian, Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee and Bobby Rydell. Some of it was OK and I quite liked Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and Dion & the Belmonts but I drew the line at Bobby Vee and Fabian and had headed off back into the 1950s for my fix. I devoured all the Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Eddie Cochran I could get my hands on and added some Shadows, Gene Vincent, Fats Domino, Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, and early Elvis before discovering the bombshells of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

I didn’t know what I was searching for. I thought I’d found it in good old Rock ‘n’ Roll. It hit you right in the belly and got you moving. I thought everyone should record fast rockers. Rock ‘n’ Roll was great but it wasn’t the whole caboodle. I would grow up a little.

I had a lot to learn.

The lean years ended in 1963.