<![CDATA[Mike Jenkins - Welsh Poet & Author - Mike's Blog]]>Sat, 06 Feb 2016 10:29:06 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[GUERILLAS ON THE WING]]>Mon, 01 Feb 2016 11:30:43 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/guerillas-on-the-wing

   After the sighting of fugitive Wayne-O Pijin in Winchfawr near Merthyr, I set about trying to trace his location.
   His erstwhile comrade Bazza of the Black Wood had heard a rumour that he was ' up to something in the mountains'.
   Former legal adviser Timothy Rich-Pickings believed that he'd actually joined his former enemies the seagulls in Cardiff ; while ex-campaign manager Al-Wings Jones thought he might be forming a religious coo-coo-mune.
   Eventually, I hatched a plan to capture an interview with the notorious criminal himself.
   Having purchased a bird-cage and chocolate doughnut, I placed the latter inside the former and draped a cloth over the cage.
   On a Sunday morning  I had an idea where I'd find one of Wayne-O's favourite wives Gloria McFly and , sure enough, there she was 'clearing up' overnight splashes of vomit down by the Labour Club.
   I told her that Pijin was inside the cage together with his final treat, before I would return him to Merthyr police station.
   {I had placed a small recording device inside the doughnut, so Wayne-O's voice came from the cage}.
   I assured Gloria that I'd promised Pijin 'one quick bonk' before returning him to captivity.
   Most obligingly, she eagerly entered the cage and I immediately locked the door.
   She was in such a flap that she even ignored the tempting doughnut, which was still emitting Wayne-O's words of wisdom.
   Once inside I explained that if she failed to inform me where Wayne-O was hiding, then I would take her to the police for aiding and abetting.
   She was distraught and denied that she knew of his whereabouts.
   However, she wanted me to promise I wouldn't turn him in and merely interview him.
   When I did so, she admitted she'd heard rumours that he was hiding in a cave in an abandoned limestone quarry.
   After several miles walking over difficult terrain and trying to avoid suspicious bands of 'magi pickers', we arrived at his possible hideaway.
   In the cave I thought I was being attacked by a plague of bats.
   I soon realised that these were, in fact, pigeons camouflaged in black, all wearing dark glasses and berets.
   I hurriedly agreed to release Gloria McFly and produced several corned -beef pasties to show I had no evil intentions.
   Sure enough, in the depths of the cave and perched on a ledge, was Wayne-O Pijin.
   On the rocky floor, spelt out in bird-droppings, were the letters RAF.
   When I asked if he'd joined the Air Force he coo-ackled.

   ' My friend, all is changed. I now reject totally the cult of Pijinism.
   When in prison, I had a revelation.
   I would never have escaped without the help of a seagull and a mynah bird.
   Now I know that all birds must act in solidarity.
   So I have formed the RAF, the Revolutionary Avian Front.
   Our avowed intention is to bring liberty to all oppressed birds : turkeys who will be slaughtered for Christmas, chickens daily assassinated in their thousands and to many imprisoned comrades in zoos and wildlife parks.
   My friend, you can tell your fellow No-Wings that from now on we will not act in servitude.
   We are guerillas on the wing!'

                                   PIJIN   GUERILLAS

We are the RAF,
we're guerillas in the air

we will unlock all cages
we'll release every factory hen

no Pretty Pollys squawking,
no budgies or canaries tweeting

we will open up every zoo,
bring down fences of wildlife parks

Homers no more, or clipped wings,
turkeys will be celebrating Christmas freedom 

we are the Revolutionary Avian Front :
​a bird-for-each-bird movement! 

<![CDATA[WAYNE-O PIJIN ESCAPES FROM PRISON!]]>Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:44:40 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/wayne-o-pijin-escapes-from-prison

   In an extraordinary development this week, leader of the Pijic Flying Party and Satguru of Pijinism Wayne-O Pijin escaped from custody at Merthyr Police Station.
   He is now presumably 'on the wing' in this area after a daring escape.
   It appears from talking to local officers that he got away with the assistance of other birds who were imprisoned. 
   'There was a serious disturbance in the cages,' explained PC Hopkins. 'My colleague PC Howells went into the cage of Arty the seagull believing that I was trapped inside and being set upon.
   It transpired that Woody the mynah bird had successfully imitated my voice.
   When inside this cage, PC Howells was subject to a serious assault and the aforesaid seagull managed to steal his keys and release almost every single avian criminal!
   So it's not just Wayne-O Pijin we are seeking, but a number of feathered fugitives.
   We will have to stop playing snooker and emerge from our bunker in order to try and capture them.
   They are a danger to the public and we've already had reports of various sightings.
   The seagull has been spotted on the roof of Cardiff Central Station and the mynah bird actually auditioned for Merthyr's Got Talent at the Redhouse, till he was exposed and flew through an open window.
   We have had one reported sighting of Wayne-O Pijin, who we believe was the brains behind this break-out.
   This was reported to us by a Mr D.R. Davies of Winchfawr.'
   An amazing coincidence indeed, as I suspected this was none other than Dai 'The Rhyme' Davies, my friend from down the road.
   Hours later, sitting in his bungalow, Dai assured me that he had phoned the police.
   ' To be honest, Mike, I thought I was suffering from dementia and having hallucinations.
   It's not every day you see a pigeon in your garden wearing a black beret and dark glasses.
   I didn't know whether to contact my GP or what, till I heard a police appeal on the radio.
   After what you told me about him, I never went near this Pijin fella, but I did manage to get a snap of him.
   He looked more like the bloody Bird Maffia to me mun. Little Vlad was very wary and kept his distance and whined.'
   It was good to chat with Dai again and he insisted I try his lentil cawl.
   'Never thought I'd make something like that, but my daughter Deb's a veggie see.'
   He was taken aback when I told him there was a Merthyr song called 'No Lentils in Cawl'.
  ' Well, there bloody are lentils now mun, and they don't half repeat on you, I can tell you. I been experimenting with cuisine....Next time that pigeon shows up I'll be shooting him with more than a camera.....lovely pigeon stew, eh?'
   He explained that his political limericks had been going well and showed me his latest one -

There was a Health Secretary called Hunt
whose views were a total affront ;
Junior Doctors he shat on
and the Unions he spat on,
in fact he was a total c__t.  

   'I wrote a poem about that Wayne-O and all, Mike. You're welcome to display it on your dot-dot machine.
   I must get one some day. Deb spends most of her time on her phone.  Bloody barkin!'

   So, Wayne-O Pijin remains at large and must not be approached by the general public.
   It's feared that his disguise ( beret and dark glasses) signals another change in his chameleon-like character.
   Even his wives, such as Gloria McFly and Rena Dove, deny any knowledge of his whereabouts.
   The sighting in Winchfawr suggests he is still in the Merthyr area and potentially a threat to all No-Wings.

                                         PIGEON ON THE RUN

When he told me he'd interviewed a bird
it was the maddest thing I'd heard
and claimed a pigeon was a religious leader,
I said - 'Wise up, have you seen my feeder?'

But then I saw out the window one day
the weirdest sight you'll ever see :
a pigeon wearing dark glasses and beret,
thought I was going totally loopy.

I'd only drunk a couple of beers
down Spoons before I came home;
then I came over all queer
and took a pill to calm me down.

When I later phoned the cops to explain
they said - 'That's Wayne-O Pijin on the run,
he's escaped from prison mun.
Stay away from him, he's mean.'

by Dai 'The Rhyme' Davies 

<![CDATA[BIRTHDAY  HAIKU]]>Sat, 16 Jan 2016 11:25:19 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/birthday-haiku

Dug up stone a skull
memorial to the mines,
hollows below Waun.


They see only bog.
I see wild flower meadow :
seeds of future slow.


After winter rain
the bulbs' leaves already rising,
frost-bitten fingers.


Heddiw, mae'r fran wen
yn byw yn y cymylau ;
ysgwd adenydd. 


Square seat waits for sun,
willow is its aerial :
broadcasting of light.


Under the wild grass
seams thick with stories of past :
welcome them in dreams.


Bydd y mieri
yn aildyfu, y gwreiddiau
mor gryf ag hanes.


Rings of years within
the oak, branches embracing
whatever sky brings.

Nodyn  - to bach ar y gair 'fran'
<![CDATA[THE GREAT UNSIGNED]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 13:00:11 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/the-great-unsigned
Jebbers : on a wave of sound

   What separates success (or recognition) from relative anonymity?
   I've blogged about this before especially in relation to the music of singer-songwriter Tom Russell, who veteran Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti rates as the very best around and whose album 'Hotwalker' is one of the most enthralling this century.
   I've recently read two books of poetry which received major awards : Kate Tempest's 'Brand New Ancients' (winner of the Ted Hughes Award) and 'Physical' by Andrew McMillan , which won the Guardian First Book Award.
   On the one hand, it's great to see young poets emerging on the scene with vital things to say ; on the other, I have to say that their work doesn't always inspire.
   Tempest is much stronger on cd, where her couplets lend themselves to an original London rap and although 'Brand New Ancients' is remarkably similar to her album 'Everybody Down', on the page it loses impetus, the rhymes sometimes strain and there are very prosaic passages.
   McMillan's book works much better and his open form perfectly complements the subject-matter of gay relationships. 
   The overriding influence of Thom Gunn is evident and acknowledged.
   What was lost for me was the real sense of other people. The many 'you' characters he addressed did not come alive and , like Tempest, his language does become stodgily prosaic at times.
   While both are by no means bland, I have read other books which are just as deserving of acclaim , but have had only limited praise ; such as Jon Tait's 'Barearse Boy' and our own Phil Knight's 'You're Welcome to Wales!' , the funniest book of poetry I've ever read.
   Attending Open Mic nights gives an insight into grassroots verse and while it is thriving, it can also be straitjacketed by rhyming couplets.
   Pam Ayres and Betjeman have a lot to answer for!
   I know that my friend from 'up the Winch' Dai 'The Rhyme' Davies would disagree and cite Idris Davies and Harri Webb at me endlessly, but most of these versifiers need to read more poetry and better to begin with the likes of McMillan rather than Tempest.
   In poetry, the subject-matter can be a significant factor and McMillan's candid depictions of gay love and Tempest's street cred are highly apt and topical for our times.
   Being cynical, it would probably need a revolution in Cymru to make our poetry more widely appreciated!
   That Merthyr is now the centre of a cultural uprising can be witnessed particularly in venues like The Imp and The Crown : two poles of our High Street, not opposites but hubs.
   Last week I attended the acoustic night at the latter and it was an inspiring evening.
   I was there to support my friend and comrade Jamie Bevan, Welsh language activist and also singer-songwriter, whose set was being filmed for 'Heno' on S4C (to be broadcast on the 19th).
   Jamie's folk music has a traditional feel to it, even when he's singing about wild nights drinking in Merthyr. It's rhythmic and engaging, with catchy choruses.
   Like many performers he produces his own ep's to sell at gigs. Welsh record label Sain haven't signed him up........ yet.
   There was so much talent on display at the Crown, it's hard to do everyone justice, but I'd like to single out a singer-songwriter based in Swansea called Jebbers. who has an ep called 'Run With Wolves' and another on the way.
   Like Jamie, she depends very much on flogging self-produced ep's and on it she's joined by bassist Dai C. Thomas and drummer Phil Hann.
  The ep does not do justice to her wonderful live performance and the production makes her voice sound a little 'thin' at times.
  Listening to her live, the vocals are full and riding the waves, as she does off The Gower so often. In fact, a number of her new songs deal with surfing, but never in the twee Beach Boys way.
   There were many highlights, but outstanding songs were the opening one 'Run With Wolves' and final one , which I think was called 'Paper Man'. 
  Everyone was in awe of her set and saying - 'She'll make it!'
  Yet, there is no guarantee. I have seen poets and singers as good as any prize-winners who have never been signed up.   
   Who you know and being in the right place.......money to bring out your own work........sometimes, just saying the kind of things people want to hear at a particular moment in history......all these can contribute to making it.
   However, I like to make a plea......search for those who dip and rise, somewhere out there, towards the horizon. 

                                           THE  GREAT  UNSIGNED

There are those whose names
are top of every list :
shared, liked and many clicks.

They adorn magazine covers,
are interviewed on Breakfast TV ;
are bought by you and me.

Then, there are countless others
who perform at clubs and open mics,
unknowns who startle and surprise.

Voices and imagery, tunes and tones,
rare as red kites used to be
glimpsed from mountain roads.

They peddle pamphlets and ep's
financed by jobs or families,
their swoop and glide extraordinary.

When disillusionment with the famously bland
is so much sludge in your mind,
remember these, the great unsigned. 
<![CDATA[WAYNE-O PIJIN ARRESTED!]]>Mon, 04 Jan 2016 15:38:07 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/wayne-o-pijin-arrested
Wayne-O Pijin behind bars
   Very shocking news for the New Year, as leader of the Pijic Flying Party and self-proclaimed Satguru of Pijinism Wayne-O Pijin was arrested on New Year's Day.
   He was taken to Merthyr Police Station (whose location remains a mystery to everyone) and charged with 'Inflightment to violence.'
   This follows on from a series of vicious attacks  by what can only be described as 'psycho-pijins' on New Year's Eve.
   One prostrate drunkard, having a 'quiet kip' in the drain  was set upon by several pigeons  who tried to 'steal my effin kebab'.  
   A stilletoed celebrator  almost lost an eye as she raised a fry to her face and was bombarded by marauding birds.
   I managed to speak to Wayne-O over the phone. I could not find the police station as Google Maps indicated an underground bunker somewhere near the Assembly offices.
   He was incandescent with rage - 'I have been victimised! Pigeons have been deliberately spiked by No-Wings on a regular basis, yet now they're blaming me for  a series of  attacks which I didn't carry out.
   I believe they see my Pijic Flying Party as a political threat. They are playing into the hands of my enemies like Bazza of the Black Wood, who will move his cohorts into town in my absence.
   I am told he has made a pact with the seagulls....that's how low he has stooped!'
   Wayne-O has no legal assistance, as his lawyer Timothy Rich-pickings  is too busy giving counselling to victims of the pijic cult.
   His erstwhile ally Al-Wings Jones is still recovering from serious surgery and  has been seen consorting with rodents by the River Taff.
   Most of Wayne-O's supporters have rejected him for fear of being arrested themselves  and only his several wives have stood by him.
   'I am being left to rot in a cage next to common or garden parrots, budgies, canaries and one mynah bird by the name of Woody.
   Worst of all, there's a seagull called Arty in the next cage who's been arrested for cannibalism.....he actually killed and ate the young of another gull!
   I have had to endure various forms of torture.
   The cops insist on eating chips and gravy and large meat pies in front of me and even threatening to turn me into a pie if I don't stop coo-cooing.'
   However, Merthyr's streets have certainly quietened down since Wayne-O's arrest.
   The rate of serious avian assaults has rapidly decreased and tourists have returned to Lucy Thomas Fountain to wait for the water to rise up again.
   Ballet lessons run by the College Boulevard Dance Troupe have resumed in Redhouse, undisturbed by the frantic noises of pigeons copulating on the roof.
   Wayne-O still intends to plead his innocence in court -
   ' When we were clearing up vomit or eating all the flung waste from numerous takeaways, the No-Wings never complained.
   They want passive pigeons. They want us docile as the stuffed animals in Cyfarthfa Museum.
   But no, we pigeons are made of stronger stuff......I will fight for justice!'
   It appears that Wayne-O Pijin's political ambitions are finished though.
   He can no longer be accepted as Pijic Flying Party candidate in May's Assembly election, due to his arrest. 

   This is a love poem written by one of his wives, Gloria McFly.......

                             KING OF ALL PIJINS!

My pooer dear Wayne-O
stuck in a prison.

Ee've bin framed
I cun tell yew.

'Inflightment to violence',
but ee on'y brings peace.

They should rename ower town
Merthyr Wayne, ower new martyr.

King of all pijins!
Lord of all doves!

Omer Erectus t us wives ;
they wan' a sacrifice.

Pooer darlin Wayne-O
treated like some parrot or seagull,

but ee int talkin,
on'y 'Coo,coo,coo.'

Ower lives 're emtee
as a place without pasties. 

<![CDATA[From White Tip to Retail Park]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 20:53:52 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/from-white-tip-to-retail-park
Trago Mills site : empty for a decade
   During the 36 years I've lived in Merthyr the area at the bottom of our village has undergone a total transformation.
   It should really be known as ' Heolgerrig' and we at the top as 'Pen-yr-Heolgerrig' ( or 'Penrhiwl', as it was called).
   Before you reach it , there's Georgetown, a community which consisted entirely of terraces where ironworkers who worked at Crawshay's Cyfarthfa Works lived.
   I've vivid recollections of the sheep there: they wandered everywhere, grazing on roundabouts and taking cover in  doorways.
   It was like a Gren cartoon till the whole of Georgetown was demolished and replaced by new houses remarkably similar  to the old  ones.
   A new pub was also built, The Great Escape, which appropriately is now a funeral parlour (the only growth industry in Merthyr!).
   We used to have Christmas staff events there till we were banned! I recall one where an inebriated  Maths teacher ate the paper table cloth and pelted the Head with bread rolls.
   As you   walk uphill,  one of the few remaining buildings is Christ Church. There's  a story that  Robert Thompson Crawshay ( he with GOD FORGIVE ME on his large gravestone in Vaynor churchyard) encouraged  a tip to be made to deliberately block his view of the church......whatever was on his conscience only the ghosts of the maids of Cyfarthfa Castle know.
  Gone the old redbrick standup urinal, most useful as you staggered home.
  Gone the disused railway bridge and large tip of lime.
  Gone most of the dense bushes and  trees and the shortcut lane down to Ynysfach.
   Now the A470 arches over your head and the noise of traffic carries upwards against the prevailing westerlies.
   Parks, both health and retail, dominate.
   On the left is Keir Hardie Health Park ( still misspelt in the bus station!) and on your right Cyfarthfa Retail Park, whose sign still isn't bi-lingual.
   Only a couple of weeks back Carlo Windsor visited the Keir Hardie University Health Park. The week before police were out sniffing the drains and workmen sucked up every stray leaf.
   It was the ultimate irony in a town whose Rising of 1831 was based on the slogan 'I lawr a'r Brenin!' ( 'Down with the King!').
   Not only that, but it's another calculated insult to the memory of one of the founders of the Labour Party and a former Merthyr MP.
   In 1894, Hardie delivered what's still considered to be the finest republican speech ever to boos and jeers in the House of Commons. One sentence gives an insight -
   ' From his childhood onward this  boy will be surrounded by sycophants and flatterers by the score and will be taught to believe himself as of a superior creation.'
   His argument about the royal baby then is  just as relevant today.
   Hardie argued that it was complete hypocrisy to rail against hereditary titles, yet support the monarchy.
   Our Labour Council have consistently chosen to ignore Hardie's fervent republicanism and pacifism and their fawning over Carlo Windsor is  a symbol of that.
   On the opposite side, the retail park and fast-food outlets show how we've become like everywhere else : chain stores thrive and the town centre shrinks.
   In a town which tops the leagues for obesity and heart attacks, the smells of the fast food giants hang in the air , a smog of frying fumes.
   When this area was mostly wasteland, there were actually two stores here, perched incongruously ; but there was enough rough ground for Travellers to settle most years and sell their carpets and offer to tarmac drives.
  On the right as you continue uphill (or travel by the legendary John's Buses) is a vast area of disused land, once a brickworks.
   In 2006 it was stabilized in readiness for the shopping store Trago Mills. who have three outlets in the West Country.
   Their owner Bruce Robertson, UKIP's main donor, applied to dig up the site for 80,000 tons of coal and was met with so many local objections that he gave in.
   Now the only purpose of this site seems to be to publicise UKIP every election time with many posters on  the fences.
   Trago Mills still promise to come here and the Council have no other plans, despite the company's very dubious record, including the posting of a blatantly anti-Muslim advert in a page it took in a Falmouth newspaper in 2009.  
​   Further on is the entrance to Brondeg  council estate and just along the way is Cephas Free  Presbyterian Church ,opened by the founder of the fundamentalist Protestant sect Rev. Ian Paisley.
   I recall writing an article for the 'South  Wales Echo' about 'my locality' and the journo who'd requested it published not my photo but  that of Paisley to accompany it!
  As somebody who once marched in support of the H-Block Hunger Strikers , I was not exactly pleased.

   This is a poem set in the area I've described in my micro-psycho-geography.

Outa  the  Undergrowth 
Outa the undergrowth by B an Q’s they come
off of theyer eads on cheapo rocket fuel.
It’s a glorious Mediterranean day in Merthyr,
ev’ryone’s wearin socks ‘n’ shorts ‘n’  trainers.
Towards the church, clutchin plastic bottles
they’re screamin an yellin,  larfin an barkin.
A woman crosses over an I slow down ;
seen em before but I’m still on pins.
They’re flingin stones at lamp-posts
in some crazee competition.
The pavement’s a tight-rope
an they keep on fallin.
The woman’s eyes like a bird
with a cat close by , stalkin.
They ewse  fewnral cones as loud-ailers,
callin on-a dead t answer. 

<![CDATA[DAI 'THE RHYME' DAVIES : WORKING CLASS  POET]]>Thu, 17 Dec 2015 14:56:40 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/dai-the-rhyme-davies-working-class-poet
Dai 'The Rhyme' experienced 'shopping trolley rage'
   Dai 'The Rhyme' Davies lives in a small bungalow 'up the Winch', not far from my street.
   He only once attended our monthly Open Mic. sessions at The Imp in Pontmorlais and I believe Richard Gwyn was the guest poet.
   Gwyn's work was erudite and somewhat prosaic and Dai wasn't impressed. He told me he wouldn't return till we got 'someone like Pam Ayres'.
   However, his favourite poets are Idris Davies and Harri Webb, though he dislikes the latter's politics.
  ' He was a bloody Welsh Nash!' he  snarls, baring his teeth,' most probably in that  FWA and an anti-English racist.....couldn't half rhyme though!'
   Dai is an avid bird- and dog-lover and I often see him walking his Jack Russell Vlad ( after Lenin) on his daily stroll to the paper shop and back.
   He does, however, despise pigeons. This is because he was set upon by a particularly vicious one in the bus-station  a few months back.
   He was wheeling his beloved shopping trolley along : it's his pride and joy and has a special compartment for Vlad when he feels like a dog-nap. He also has warning lights on it, which flash like Christmas decorations.
   All this did not deter the pigeon, who took a fancy to his bag of sausage rolls fresh from Gregg's and began to ferociously poke  at his precious trolley bag ( which is plush red).
   Dai took off his fur hat with a red star on it and flapped at the psycho-pigeon. Luckily he disturbed Vlad who began barking at the mangy bird.
   Apart from pigeons, Merthyr Council are the main targets for his verse and, despite its remarkable reburbishment, he has no time for the Redhouse (Old Town Hall).
   'Just look at all those pictures of Merthyr luminaries,' he told me,' they all look like characters from bloody Tintin! And what the hell's Harri Webb doing there?.....he came from The Gower!'
   Dai 'The Rhyme' is a communist with a small 'c'. whose family came from the Rhymney  Valley; from New Tredegar ('same place as Johnny Owen, the boxer').
   He's an ex-miner, which further reinforces his admiration of Idris Davies - 'Gwalia Deserta, The Angry Summer , amazing poems mun....who needs Shakespeare?'
   Whenever I meet him I ask if he'll come along to the next Open Mic. and he always says - ' Nah, sorry Mike.....too much of that modern stuff!'
   He explained about his latest project, which happens to be limericks of well-known figures, mostly politicians. He slipped me one as we exchanged 'Hwyl fawr!' and here it is -

                 There was a politician called Cameron
                 Needed a pig's head to turn him on,
                 When he shoved his plonker
                 In the mouth of the porker
                 He squealed - 'Sow much better than porn!'

   Two days ago I met him down town and he was distraught. He was breathing heavily and I thought he was having an asthma attack.
   ' Mike....It was trolley rage mun!'
   I led him to a bench, as Vlad cheerfully snapped at pigeons on the way.
   Here he explained that 'some woman he might of gone out with centuries ago' had deliberately rammed her tartan trolley into his, breaking one of his warning lights.
   'She yelled at me!' he was aghast.' You know what that's for Dai Davies!......But I never! I could hardly remember her. As Max said Duw it's hard, eh?'
   'You could try writing a limerick about her,' I suggested.
   'Limerick? Can't even remember her name!'
   Dai hasn't been the same since his wife Doris passed away, while waiting to be served at Tesco's fish counter.
   I've only been in his house once and it's full of photos of her ; she looked a stunner when younger as well. So sad they had no children.
   When I explained to Dai about Wayne-O Pijin and his antics he stared at me as if I was on day release 'from Bridgend' ( as we used to say).
   But he must've been taken by the notion because he commented - 'I can see why he uses that Redhouse as his headquarters.....it's only fit for bloody pigeons!......Mind Mike, you're still off your trolley!'

   (This is one of a batch of poems he handed me a while ago and asked me to put on my 'dot-dot machine' some time).

                            MERTHYR IS HAVING BOTOX

They cleared the brickworks site
Waiting for Trago Mills,
For years a terrible site,
A rash upon our hills.

The Council are no doctors
They cannot cure our ills,
I wonder what they're for,
Can't save Merthyr with pills.

The litter spreads like acne,
Pigeons are taking over
And it's been this way
Ever since Hoover's closure.

The brand new retail shops
Are just like plastic surgery,
The old town's having botox,
But it's not for me! 

<![CDATA[MOVE TO CYMRU,JEZZA!]]>Fri, 11 Dec 2015 14:47:39 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/move-to-cymrujezza

Move to Cymru, Jezza,
you’ll find a welcome here
(and not just in the hillside)!
Don’t buy a second home
and stop talking about Britain….
join our national liberation.
Despite our ‘cig’ this and ‘cig’ that
we’ve plenty of veggies and vegans,
you’ll savour our Glamorgan Sausages.
There’ll be no macho northern folk
condemning you as ‘a wimp’;
many of our finest  poets were pacifists.
( I know,  as you admit, you aren’t
strictly one as well, but anti-imperialist;
we are a colony, you’ll appreciate  that.)
You don’t have to be a bard
but try a limerick about Jeremy Hunt,
it’ll be easy to find a rhyme.
Move to Cymru, our new Keir Hardie,
with only the ‘Western Mail’ on attack
and who reads that anyway?
Most of us are against air strikes here;
you  can come along to the football
and cheerfully boo the royalist anthem.
You’ll feel at home everywhere
except, maybe, in the Vale….
mind , Charlotte Church could be your neighbour.                                                                                      
<![CDATA[A PLAGUE OF PIJINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]]>Tue, 08 Dec 2015 14:47:29 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/a-plague-of-pijins
Pigeons gather in Merthyr to plan their next attack
   Merthyr Tudful is experiencing a serious problem which the local paper described as ' like  a Biblical plague'.
   The behaviour of an infestation of pigeons in the town centre is causing consternation and horror.
   I myself was set upon by a low-flying bird and had to be taken to A & E at Prince Charles Hospital with head wounds.
   I was shocked to find others in the waiting-room with similar experiences.
   One mother had brought her 6 year-old daughter there after a pasty had been snatched from her hand, badly damaging her fingers.
  One man - who admitted he'd 'been on the pop all day' - claimed that several pigeons pecked at his mouth when he fell over, after 'bits of spew'. His lips were bleeding profusely.
   Later I contacted Prof. Andre Bartzman, a PhD in Avian Psychology at Glamorgan University and he explained the phenomenon -
   ' I have been studying pigeon behaviour for many years and my thesis was on the possibility of them taking over the world one day.....I am familiar with Merthyr's situation and would attribute it to power struggles in the pigeon world.
   Wayne-O Pijin is exercising his power in an attempt to show his rivals - such as Bazza of the Black Wood - that he has complete control of local flocks.'
   Indeed the 'coo' around town is that ex-leader of the Coo-coo-operative Party and present leader of the Pijic Flying Party Wayne-O Pijin, is becoming increasingly paranoid.
   After his 'chipwa' ( pijin for fatwa) on Bazz Woodpijin, he has alienated former Campaign Manager Al-Wings Jones.
   Al-Wings has reportedly 'gone underground' having had life-changing wing surgery and is trying to persuade local rats that he's one of them.
   Former legal adviser Timothy Rich-pickings has started his own counselling service for 'victims of pijic abuse', which Wayne-O Pijin will only interpret as a threat to his hegemony.
   When I attempted to interview him on the roof of Redhouse (which he strangely calls 'Ty Glas'), he dismissed me with a single phrase - 'Me and Mourinho!'
   I did manage to catch up with one of his many wives however, when she appeared at Lucy Thomas Shrine to pay homage to Wayne-O (in the form of several Yum Yums).
   This wife called herself' Gloria McFly', though I doubt that's her real name.
   'Is Wayne-O responsible for the extremely aggressive attacks by pigeons in town over the last few weeks?' I asked her.
   'No, this is caused by No-Wings' provocation. Once they began putting spikes on bins and window sills, they were asking for trouble.'
   'Has Wayne-O instructed pigeons to cause these terrible injuries?'
   'Not at all! Pijic Flying encourages a genuine sense of utter peace. Any anger in the pigeon population is merely a reaction to traitors in our midst and No-Wings' warfare.'
   'Why won't Wayne-O speak to the media at all? Is he afraid of being exposed?'
   ' Whatever Wayne-O says will be misrepresented.....Did you know that pigeons played a vital role in your world wars? Homers like 'Cher Ami' and 'The Mocker' were heroes as carriers.
   But we've aided the No-Wings for too long and Satguru Wayne-O has expressed utter contempt.
   If the Food Cloisters are knocked down and the bus-station relocated, then I dread to think what will happen!'
   'But Wayne-O's book '49 Steps to Pijic Flying' is literally flying off the shelves in Cardiff bookshops. Surely, this proves there's sympathy for your plight.'
   ' That's because seagulls are seen as the enemies in the capital. They understand us there, whereas here in Merthyr we are seen as enemies.'
   With that, she fluttered off to join Wayne-O Pijin on the roof of Redhouse.

   Local poet Dai 'the Rhyme' Davies has been moved to pen this about the highly disturbing events :-

                                FAT  RATS  WITH  WINGS

We got pigeons down town
fat rats with wings,
making the Council look like clowns,
attacking us,stealing our things.

Taking our pasties, pies and chips
as we innocently walk,
I always give them jip -
'Bog off, or I'll get the hawks!'

Totally beyond they are,
we need that mosquito machine
which gets rid of teenagers,
to work for the mangy pigeons.

They aim their droppings
onto our pensioners' hair,
they even attack our shopping,
so you'd better beware!

They fly into kiddies' faces
as if they have gone mad,
even cafes are not safe places,
​I've never seen it so bad.

<![CDATA[FROM MERTHYR TO  'MUNDO']]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 15:59:47 GMThttp://www.mikejenkins.net/mikes-blog/from-merthyr-to-mundo
The amazing fado singer Mariza
   It's been a strange year for music with very few outstanding albums, yet the emergence of exciting talent from Merthyr Tudful has been astounding.
   As well as Pretty Vicious, there's a plethora of talent : The Dole Age, Chapel Row, Local Enemy, Moon Birds and Plasterscene to name but a few.
   A compilation album which includes our excellent singer-songwriters is essential and could be the focus of next year's Merthyr Rising Festival.
   In terms of the year's best albums I'm not going to commit myself yet, especially as Dan Auerbach's band The Arcs latest cd is winging its way here as I speak.
   It only recently occurred to me that the last three albums I've got have all been world music ones.
   Like Cool Cymru, it often seems like world music has happened and then gone away.
   Nothing could be further from the truth however.
   Fair play to Jools Holland, when he does feature world sounds they are invariably interesting.
   Song of the year was, without doubt,  'Mama Says' from the French/Cuban twins called 'Ibeyi', who sing in English and Yoruba. Spare and moody, it was a rare moment of sheer emotion amongst all the averagosity.
   Thanks to Jools also for featuring the Congolese band Mbwongana Star whose album 'From Kinshasa' is a joy to listen and dance to ( if only with frantically tapping fingers and strange looks on public transport!).
   They sound better live than on record, where the production can be a bit cluttered or overdone at times.
   They're an ambitious band, who combine African instruments, chants, 'township' rhythms, hard rock and electronic effects in the main successfully.
   The opening track 'From Kinshasa to the moon' sums them up : packed with fast-running beat and adventure.
   Like Malian bands they can turn their hands to the blues, as on 'Coco Blues', but their distinctive style is one which combines African music with electronica.
   Are the Super Furries big in Kinshasa? If they are, then that figures!
   I first heard Ghazalaw on  a programme about the WOMEX13 music festival in Cardiff Bay and, like Mbwongana Star, they are unique.
   Think curried lentil cawl and you have the foodie equivalent!
   Their eponymous album marries Welsh folk songs from Gwyneth Glyn and the Indian ghazal music of Tauseef Akhtar.
   What could so easily be a stodgy attempt to create a spicy soup turns out instead to be a very tasty concoction.
   The two traditions of love poetry and traditional folk song combine perfectly in conversation or harmony, or an exchange of musical gifts.
   Familiar songs like 'Lusa Lan' and 'Moliannwn' are given a new dimension. The violin is the bridge between the two traditions, while Akhtar's fluid vocal complements Glyn's gentle voice.
   The tabla  is a pulsing river whose current runs throughout ; harp the light on its surface, ever-changing with tone.
  This is music which explores fresh territory, every note a landmark, every song a different panorama.
  'Mundo' is the latest album from one of Portugal's finest ever fado singers, Mariza.
   To see her live is quite an experience.
   With her short , white hair and flowing dress she has a remarkable presence.
    Astonishingly, she even sang in St.David's Hall without a mic on several songs, her voice carrying high and low.
   'Mundo' means 'world' and though there are  many fado songs on the album, she show her versatility by singing ballads like 'Melhor de Mim' and even a relatively jaunty pop song 'Saudade Solta' ( someone is going to tell me it's about death!).
   But it's the fado, like Blues itself, which transports you : a ridge between the valleys of sadness and thrill.
   I'm still waiting for the Crown Inn in Merthyr to have a fado night, but till then I'll listen to magical Mariza.

                            FADO  IN  SETUBAL

Under tree's shade
in striking afternoon sun
propped against a wall -
in church square
with cup at feet
and bucket hat -
the blues of Setubal,
voice of the fado singer
catching us in its net -
we do not flounder
but sit so still
and listen as to a solitary
blackbird in the morning -
down crocheted overhangs
of shopping alleyways
the sound swims
searching for sea -
we follow willingly.