Thursday, 9 December 2010

Why Do Performance Poets Speak So Fast?

Why do performance poets speak so fast?
As if each breath could be their last.
A staccato onslaught of noise and chatter
As if the words themselves don’t really matter.

But for me performance is about the spoken word
Ensuring that every nuance of every word is heard
I don’t want you to shout, or to miss a beat
But to savour each letter, and rhyme and conceit.

Their voices clatter in a verbal explosion
An aural barrage of etymological erosion.
For poetry is about the rhythm and sounds
Where emotion and wit and insight abound

The words should not be, shovelled, heaped high with a trowel
I want to hear each consonant, each pause, each vowel
I want to feel the beauty, and hear every soft syllable fade
Or touch the bile and anger of a fiery tirade

For when it comes so fast, the quality may not show
And if its good so fast, it’s even better slow.

Jacqui Smith Blues

So Jacqui likes a bit of spice
A bit of porn can be quite nice
I wonder what Prime Minister Brown will quip
When Jacqui asks if she can see “The Whip”
But maybe she likes her men well shod
Does she fantasize about the arrival of Black Rod
Did she request that the Speaker wear white tights
Is that what keeps her awake at nights?
All you can view for £5 a day
Don’t mind the cost – the voters will pay
Don’t worry about the Pressing issues
It will be alright – they claim the tissues

Bur when you are in your sisters bedroom, all alone
There is little to do, but lie in bed and moan
And listen to that glorious sound
Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers pounds


Cheryl Cole

I love Cheryl Cole, and her sassy ambulation
Transfixing and entertaining an adoring, watching, nation
Her big beautiful hair, the way her curls cascade
Her forensic observations on who will make the grade.
That lovely Geordie lilt is seductive and pure
And if you’re feeling low, then Cheryl is the cure.
When Ashley is in the cells, for drunkenness and battery
Cheryl’s climbing mountains for some very worthy Charity.
Not for her undignified rants
About texted photos of her husband’s dodgy pants.

On the telly when a hopeful is burdened with self doubt or with fear
Cheryl will be right up there, with a helping hand and a tear
And if you have forgotten the lines that were on the page
Cheryl will come and help you with the words up on the stage
The rest of Girls Aloud are just supporting cast
Spectators to their own fading stardom as Cheryl’s rises fast


Louis, Simon and Danni do not stand a chance
As she mesmerises the nation into a spellbound trance
She makes you feel special, as if nothing else mattered
Unless you’re a toilet attendant in which case you’ll get battered.


Snapshot

A tortured, shrivelled frame, aching amongst verdant splendour
Bony roots leap startled from the soft surrounds
Each strangled twist and turn
Testimony to the wild vicissitude of nature, time, heat and water.
Searching for the nourishment of rich soil, yet denied.
Stripped, exposed, revealed.
For where there is beauty, there is harshness
And the anguish of wood laid bare.

Savannah Sunset

As night spreads her dusky wings
Crowding in from far flung corners
Shadows flicker, sweet entree, dancing like crazy mourners
Remembering time past, then drowsily forgetting

A Brief Encounter

As I strolled along, her perfume filled the air
A heady alluring scent, freshly coiffeured hair
She stopped me, suddenly, in mid pace
Her perfect make –up, her flawless face

Her skirt sat crisply upon her hips, her blouse floated gently down
Her high heels rapped out their staccato call
As she made her way around
Her shapely legs swished, smooth, sharp and shear
An elegant glide, all I could hear

And i thought that I saw a strap, thin and taut
Perhaps a bow, I am not sure
And a glimpse of lace, momentarily, then gone.

It was a back zip you know, with button fastening
And a kick split
It finished just above the knee

The crowd then engulfed her, and my thoughts
A sea of grey descended
I strained to see, but she had gone
With the moment.

Loss

The iron fist must have caressed her form
Glass splinters billowing like a Spring shower
An explosion of sound- and then nothing.
No time for farewells, just the silent gasp
Of a spirit taking leave.

The soft sorrowful words pulverised my soul
Stunned, you know what you have to do
A lifetime of care, quirks, love and regrets
In one journey.

Destroyed, yet serene in death
I kissed her as her being ebbed away
Away beyond the carnage and chaos it left behind
An empty husk.

Worms Head

A baleful, barren, place
Lashed by storm and beauty
Yet stroked by Gods brush with wild, wilful abandon.
A savage place, with waves in ceaseless turmoil seething
As if conjured by a wounded Dragon’s breathing.
With a stillness witnessed for a thousand years
Untouched by man save by footprints in the sand
And the ghostly wails of star crossed lovers.

The Cruellest Thing

It was the cruellest thing, to know that there was no hope
They might, it could be, maybe, possibly, but no.
You will die.
And I couldn’t say it
I stayed awake all night. Because if the night never ends, the day never comes
But it does.
A living funeral, a sentence beyond repeal, but without execution.
Every day is one day less. From when?
Each year we pass the anniversary of our death, without knowing.
Every joy seems tinged with sadness, and from this sadness there is no relief
Yet every breath might be our last
But to see someone have hope, to dare to dream, to reach out, to madly wildly
Grapple for it
And to know that hope is doomed.
It was the cruellest thing.


The Dream’s Dream

She was there, just for a moment, she was there
No more pain, just serenity, but she was there
Stuck in a corner, we awkwardly shuffled
Our bodies almost touching
Her hair was perfect, her lipstick was precise
Half remembered, but not forgotten

Venice

A vaulted blue sky, a wondrous panoply.
Distant sounds of ancient dynasties
Amidst whispering voices and shuffling feet
The Grand Canal glittered an aquatic baize
In the dawn light and gentle haze
Walking then stopping, not the first or the last
To breathe the beauty of this magical place
Feted by grandeur and splendour and grace.

A Different Loss

Her blue summer dress dazzled my eyes
Her honey blonde hair kept, but carefree
A perfumed satin mist swirled
As fate and destiny
Danced like satyrs around our feet

Night lifted her dusky wings for a drowsy dawn
Evening’s ethereal bliss blending into the surrender of sleep
And back again
Was I in heaven
Or was I in hell
It mattered not
And who could care, or tell?

I can’t do this anymore
Are you still so sure
I feel so ashamed
The next meetings arranged
You must think I’m a bitch
Who cares if you’re rich
I know we must part
Just never break my heart

Perhaps she wore that same summer dress
Nor even bothered to change her tresses
That bed was still hot- but she never confesses
And as I sat with unspeakable rage
She lay fucked and smug, so unbearably sage.

This World

I am not of this world
Where women in flared dresses with neat waists greet their husband’s with a kiss
Where roses hang in baskets by the door
Where happiness resides for evermore.

It’s a parallel universe, a cage, a glass screen
You can watch, but don’t touch, it’s only ever seen
The heavy hand of fate presses incessantly
Chilling, and bare, bereft of all humanity


Legs


Sheer black put back
Vaguely black, not sure
Nude why bother
Barely there
Don’t care
Hold ups don’t
Tights aren’t
Cellulite truths
Illusion smooths

Daytime TV

I wish that I lived in a gentler world
A softer, kinder, sweeter world
Where Lorraine Kelly would pop round for tea
Lorraine, two cups, a pot and me
Perhaps Jane McDonald could call for a chat
Jane, a gossip, and this and that.

It’s hard sometimes in this cold world
A harsh landscape, misfortunes swirl
So when Denise Van Outen smiles that showbiz smile
Asking me to vote, asking me to dial
It takes me to a different place
A shimmering beauty, a radiant face

And sometimes I wish i were those people too
That i could stand in their pretty shoes
Debating how high heels give you blisters
Colleen’s my favourite of the Nolan sisters
Forgetting all of this life’s niggles
Watching Sherrie and Carol’s giggles
Casting off the fetters of life’s mistakes
A new beginning with all the breaks.

But soft, this is just a caprice, a preamble
But oh, that lovely Jackie Brambles

A Journey Past New Bridge

The ageing bow bludgeoned its way through the still water
Chugging along in it’s own time.
Hatchlings tip toed after anxious mothers
A serene pastoral fog descended
Leaving the brutal landscape we had left far behind
Children waved, young women smiled, old folk reflected.

We missed our winding point
Momentarily beginning to change direction
Then correcting, for what? A wrong turn, or the right one?

The tumult roared through the heavy lock gates
An unstoppable billowing surge, before another uncertain level was reached
A rage unleashed, yet assuaged.

Timeworn, yet safe,
It’s flaking paint reassuring, not alarming
It’s imperfections alluring
A siren call seeping through the resin
Applied through the hours, the days,
the months and the years
Drawing me in.

The Moment

We could
We should
We can
We can’t
We might
We didn’t

Speech After A long Silence

From ten thousand miles and twenty two years away
Love lost, closure found
Strangers, yet understood
Untamed, yet serene
A lifetime apart, yet knowing
A flickering, emotions rekindled
Lost voices heard
The crusty headstone of truth dusted down
Now and then, then and now
The elation of success, the angst of failure
In a moment



Precipitation

The rain
Stroked my window
Tiny droplets
Amidst a vast deluge

I turned
Snuggled up
Against
The torrential onslaught.

Wayne Rooney

I want to be like Wayne, worshipped by all the nation
I want to be like Wayne, appearing on every station
I know he looks like Shrek, and talks a little funny
But I wouldn’t give a fuck if I had all of his money
I want to swagger around, surrounded by beautiful wags
I want to be the one that Colleen McCloughlin shags
I want Ferraris and Bentleys and all the cars he owns
And mansions and villas and lots of holiday homes
I want to slag off refs and that poncy Rafael
I want Armani after shave and not some fake Chanel
I want to be like Wayne, awash with fuckin fame
I’ve got the poetry, he’s got the lot- it just doesn’t seem the same.

The Parliamentarian

I came to be an MP for all the right reasons
Expenses claims for all the seasons
Second homes, bookcases, an expensive moat
With you lot cleaning my extensive moat
I want to milk the system but play to the rules
Whilst i laugh at all you proletarian fools
This is my main home
Now it’s there
Now it’s not
How else do I pay for a luxurious yacht
Fraud, cheating, manipulating, stealing some say
But the Parliamentary Fees Office says it’s ok
This bear pit howling is just hysteria
Does no one else have problems with their Wisteria
Please call in the Police and call for the Beak
What else should happen to those who leak
Mortgage payments are not something of which I am afraid
Especially when the debt has already been paid
I want to indulge! I want to make profits!
We have the speaker in our silk lined pockets
Plugs
And dog food
And Massage chairs
Are all essential items for our Parliamentary affairs
Of course we’ll sort things out- new codes?
We’ll make them
With the utmost care – and self-regulation.

Majorca 2009

“Fasten your seat belts” says a voice
Inside the plane, you can’t hear no noise
Engines made by Rolls Royce
Take your choice
....make mine Majorca

“Check out the parachutes !”
They can’t be found
“Alert the passengers we’ll all be drowned
A friendly voice said “settle down”
When I came round I was gagged and bound
-for Majorca

And the eyes caress
The neat hostess
Her unapproachable superior finesse
They’ve got little bags if you want to make a mess
I fancied Greece, but it cost me less
To Majorca

They packed us in this grey concrete hotel
You could still smell the polycell
Wet white paint, in the non-air conditioned cells
The desk clerk smelled of fake Chanel
Gauloise, garlic as well
Said if i like I can call him Mich- ael
Well really- in Majorca

I got blind drunk with another fella
Who had just brought up an earlier paella
He said it was the salmonella
......in Majorca
The guitars rang out, and the castanets clicked
The dancers stamped, and the dancers kicked
All that nights money then got nicked
The San Miguel flowed like sick
....in Majorca

A full English Breakfast, tortilla and chips
Pneumatic drills when you try to kip
That Scottish lass, Sandra, left me with a nasty itch
...in Majorca

The Bartender tried to rip me off
I swung, he ducked
The value of the Euro leaves you fucked
The Guarda came, but I was out of luck
I said “Hello Pedro” as if it mattered
I covered my head, but I still got battered
I staggered to a club, got in with ease
My head swimming with pain and sleaze
It was hot and sticky without any breeze
....in Majorca

I’m not going back, they love to hate ya
Always did, even when it was the peseta
Even posh n Becks said “see you later”
...to Majorca

It Wasn’t Me Guv

I know you think I’m an economy wrecker
But I was only Chancellor of the exchequer
I Know that unemployment is worrying you a bit
But preserving jobs was not in my remit
And sorry fuel prices are a pensioners hell
Not me again, that’s all down to Shell
And this awkward enquiry into Iraq and Hussain
That was Blair – not me, so sorry again
And the country is burdened with record levels of debt
Thank you for mentioning it – I’d better go check
And some of you shout “but what of Afghanistan?”
I will try to answer that clearly – I’ll see if I can
It’s all about “stability” that is our mission
And if we can’t – we’ll blast them into submission
Climate change is important, without any doubt
Particularly as it’s something I can do nothing about
Bent MP’s still working – I’m quite at a loss
A Parliamentary matter, I’m only the boss
I do understand all the fuss, all the rumpus
Trust me to get a faulty moral compass.

The Outsider


Looking In, but locked out
Yearning, but not daring
Seduced by specious words
Stranded far beyond reach
Was this how Tantalus felt?
Damned to fail, seeing the light, but condemned to darkness
Strong, yet losing the fight
Caring, but abandoned
Every success is fleeting- every disaster assured
It may be better to travel than to arrive
But how can you find the strength to strive
Trapped in a pit of desperate despair
Nothing to breathe save the stench of fouls air
Drawn to the edge of wanting to give up
Yet not daring to take that final sup

Sir Fred

So Fred is it warm on Cape Town Beach
Retired from life as a corporate leach
Is the view serene as you look out to sea
Unobscured by fiscal misery
Sorry to hear you won’t be making amends
Sorry to hear about your Mercedes Benz
But that’s what you get when you have no time for listening
A brick through the window- new air conditioning
And the outside of your house has had a new lick of paint
With words that made Mrs Fred feel faint
They may not have been amusingly droll
But at least they didn’t cost £100 a roll
Perhaps written by those whose lives you’ve destroyed
The hoi- polloi, the unemployed
Perhaps you didn’t notice their anguish and fear
But I I guess that you don’t on £700,000 a year


Peter & Katie – A Lament

So Peter and Katie have announced that they have parted
An event that has left me quite broken hearted
Peter Andre an Australian Bimbo
Katie price her legs, seductively akimbo
But did we really see true romance unfurl
Was Katie really Peter’s “mysterious Girl”
Were they that much in love?
Well that’s what they say
Or was it just to meet the deadline for next month’s “ok” ?
Did she worry that Peters absence would make her purse a little lighter?
What could mend her broken heart?
Maybe a cross-dressing cage fighter.

The news left me desolate forlorn and in bits
But I can’t help thinking about those magnificent tits

.


When Pride Takes a Fall

He has his own Jumbo jet and a helicopter too
And a Congress and Senate he can tell what to do
He’s the Master as far as any eye can see
And George W has invited ME around for tea.

..well it wasn’t tea actually, more a burger and a bun
Telling me that I was his very special one
Together we would rule the free Western World
That “George and Tone” banner would gloriously unfurl

He was still concerned about the French and Chirac
“He’s trouble I tell you, he even rhymes with Iraq”.
George boasted how he had won friends over with ease
Sri Lanka, Honduras and maybe Belize.

“And how about your doubters, the Cabinet and Opposition?
You know the right medicine, but are you the right Physician?
When great men do great things, when a higher duty calls
Does my smooth British Buddy have some big Texan balls?
Can you iron out the wrinkles, make things a little glossier
Perhaps make adjustments to our Top Secret Dossier”

George Senior couldn’t do it, but George Junior can
Saddam today, and tomorrow iran
“Do you want power Tony to soar with the eagles?
Do you want power tony, we can settle the Legals?
The UN will kow-tow whatever their talk
Or why would we pay for them to twitter in New York?
Don’t bother yourself with things right and wrong
Our people will follow their brave leaders song.

Destiny and fame, burn phosphorously bright
“Tone and George”, history, famously tight
Freedom and justice was all that they said
Paid for by soldiers and a Nations dead
Scoffing at doubters, the soft they deride
Tattered, defeated, the victims of Pride.

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy

The screens blazed before my eyes
A riot of numbers and places,
Blurred.
A frenzy of millions, dollars and continents
Surpluses and shortfalls
Production
Of anything.

House for profit, stylishly dressed
Incarcerate the dispossessed
Lock up the madmen
We cannot fail
Mankind savaged, a ravaged nation
Cynical human deforestation
A bloated body, rotting untouched

The sun blazed behind the huts
Chickens scurried, women hurried
The Preachers cassock was heavy
With a travellers dust

“And I say unto you, feed the hungry
Slake the strangers thirst and shelter him
Nourish the prisoners lost soul
Clothe the cold, and comfort the sick
And bury the dead with the dignity they deserved in life “

But the day was fading, the channels flickered
Animals brayed behind the Hedge
The words slipped into the balmy breeze to rest
To be of some import
Or to come to naught?



An Elegy to the First Moon Landing
Forty Years On


Propelled by the white heat of the cold war
The apex of a schoolboy’s dream
Carried beyond, further than
Past our understanding
Out there

The fragile canopy perched upon a belching, tempestuous beast
Venting flame, fire, steam and rage
As surely did Apollo’s father Zeus

A barren rock Yet a symbol
Of what?
Devoid of life, yet progenitor
To our tumbling, crashing seething seas.

And then to the other side
The loneliest place in the history of mankind
Just you – and the cosmos
No earth, just infinity, blackness and nothingness
Not the etymology
Just the vastness of infinity
A void where time both began, and has no meaning
A precious place of crushing insignificance

Landed, looking back, a sparkling speck in a silent ether
In a galaxy of galaxies, a universe of universes
Or maybe not.
Perhaps there is just us. No extra terrestrial life
Just earthly strife, and mankind is as solitary as that lunar orbit
We reached so far only to find that which was always within
A discordant chime, a restless hymn
The quest from which there is no rest

Farewell to the Speaker

So the last to go was Sir John Trevor
Three hundred years ago, a feat less than clever
High crimes and misdemeanours were his sin
Not overdoing filling his expense claims in
For Gorbals Mick it was a dream come true
Lording it over me and you
Looking after his mates
At exorbitant rates
Hiding each dirty deed
Giving a nod and a wink and a smile
The friend of lies and greed
And then came the reckoning, then came the cost
The Peoples fury, and Paradise lost
And then it was gone
In a trice in a flash
That Grace and favour Apartment
And bundles of cash.

Big Brother

Leering out of our fifty inch screens
The masses slaver, Davina preens
As human flotsam chase fame in a frame
Pawns but valiantly playing the game
The wanabees, the desperate, the lame and the freaks
Eking it out for another week
Craving celebrity with banal profanity
Chasing each media deal
Revealing every nuance of their amoebic thought
As if we care how they feel.

Willing participants in a televised stocks
Whilst a rabid pitying nation mocks
We piosly look on holier than thou
Dismissing the chavs and the stupid cows
Surveying the cast of the great and the Goody
The pretty one and the token hoody
The telephone vote, we choose, we oust
A demonic nod to the forgotten Faust
Poring over their many anomalies
These helpless, feckless mini-Mephistopheles
Fame and fortune is their goal
Their corpse empty devoid of soul.

But is it ourselves that we so fear?
As this comes around year on year
A mirror to our empty lives
As each contestant lies, connives
The winner soars momentarily
Then is buried with a trowel
But it doesn’t matter
There’s always another
Next week its Simon Cowell.





The Inscription

An unremarkable remarkable life
Illuminated by fate’s heavy hand.
But when the call came he did not shirk
When the lives of comrades mattered he was there
As the bullets blazed about he did not falter
His achievements will be recorded in no academic register
No comfy office was his reward
Just the eternal gratitude of the living
And the knowledge he was unbowed.

The Departure

The quayside heaved with quartermaster’s stores,
And ached with fond farewells.
Marching bands played, crisp uniforms displayed
The crowds cheered and surged to clap them,
As numb thought reasoned that nothing would happen.
Young men pressed against every railing
Casting away
We are sailing.

Spithead shrank into the horizon, as it had done before Trafalgar
Hastily assembled ships with barely prepared men
Boasts of glory and fear of failure
Laden with bravado and doubt
The grey bows lashed by the ocean’s rain
“More than this , there is nothing”
Roxy Music’s doleful refrain

It was an ancient ritual
Nation against nation
North against South
And East against West
A global sporting contest unfolds
While gun barrels were cleaned, and munitions made ready
They learned of victories defeats and goals and
Blondie sang of the “Island of Lost Souls”

Sunday Express

Come to the Sunday Xpress, when your life’s in a mess
it will make you smile.
Watch the good and the bad, the sunny and sad
with a tiny touch of bile.

All human life is here, there’s big Bren with a beer, and a witty rhyme
And there’s Dorm with his riffs, and his stories of spliffs
If you’ve got the time.
Then there’s Kimmy Sue Ann, catch her if you can, a chavy Kingstanding slapper
Whose delusions of fame have frazzled her brain, a tacky wasted rapper

But never be too busy to catch our very own Lizzy
Her tones so subtle and sweet.
She knows what songs are for
Singing about her backdoor
Where pain and pleasure do meet

And the barmaid will greet you with a smile and a wink
Her doe eyes hiding what she really thinks
While Uncle Dirk belches and farts as only he can
A tedious northern dirty old man

So when you’re sad and feeling blue, with nothing much better else to do
Don’t just sit there feeling stressed
Come and join us at the Sunday Express.





Andy and Julie


Julie was so up for it, she felt a little fruity
A Tory Siren, a Cameron cutie
And Andy too fancied a fuck
And as fortune would have it they were both in luck
For both of them liked to play away
And to make it better the electorate would pay
For neither had a place that they could call home
As MP’s they liked to wander and roam
To some they were citizens of the highest repute
But they took respect , and a mountain of loot
They smiled at each other, it was the best that they’d had
Especially because it was the taxpayer who’d been shagged




The UFO Department Closure – A Lament

The man at the Ministry
Cleared his desk
The file for little green men
Put away for the very last time
With the ones for saucers
And cigars and ships.
The room fell silent and dark.

No strange lights,
No odd sounds,
No sharp movements
No unanswered messages

As the door closed
It was as if everything
Had just disappeared

Obsession


Just her
Just what is lost
What is gone
What is no longer there.
What you had, yet is no more
The calls unreturned
The hope then despair, no lessons learned
Praying, begging that what is, will change
That she can be there,
That she will call you
And tell you she still cares
Looking from afar, hiding up close
Desperate notes cast piteously aside
Never, ever call me again or set in my sight
Visiting, hidden in the dead of the night
Just a glimpse becomes alright, blurred in a car
Not getting too close, but watching from afar
What was once so whole, so surely split asunder
Leaving me to grieve, and rail and wonder


What a Girl Likes In Her hand

A classy girl has to know just how to shop
In Emporia that must be absolutely top
But what is most important
Much more than I can say
Is a little sign to say that what she has bought is ok
And that little thing is called a bag
The essential item for a wannabe wag
It has to say Hermes or Versace,
As she busily flits
Anything less will certainly fail to thrill a girl to bits
At least one bag in one hand and two in another
To wow my girlfriends and maybe a lover
But even though a girl has to dress to impress
A Harvey Nicks bag still hides a skirt from BHS


Ode to Traffic Bollards

They keep us safe, and on the right tracks
And with them around , we can afford to relax
Sending us to the left, and sometimes to the right
And when it is dark, guiding us at night

Standing erect , they see all the traffic pass
From the early morning traffic, to the late night last
And when you are in doubt, not knowing which way to turn
They are always there ,showing their concern

They never yell, complain, or go off in a hump
When they have been the victim of a motorists’ careless bump
And they always come off worst, cracked, dented in a daze
While the offending car is let off without a graze

But despite their usefulness, and a life they did not choose
They continue to suffer the most dreadful abuse
Malicious louts, full of oaths like you have never heard
On a Saturday night like to kick them firmly to the kerb

Stranded and forlorn, torn from their anchor
They lie there helpless, bruised, silent without rancour
And although motionless they worry, tearful, quite bereft
That passing traffic will not know now to bear to the left.

They wait, hopeful, expectant, knowing that they can
Always be rescued by a Highways Maintenance man
And although the yobs sad actions leave them quite revolted
They know the Council Worker will have them soon re-bolted

He sees the boot imprint, a sight which is quite obscene
But whilst he is maintaining, he also offers a clean
Gently he washes away weeks of muck and grime
Removing all evidence of the recently committed crime

Clean, reconnected, illuminated they return to their task
Keeping us all unscathed is all that they ask
Doing what they do best, it is all that they know
They stand glowing, bright and proud, guiding the traffic flow


The Funeral Party

The airmen stood erect and proud,
Their warm breath dancing in the cold air
An ozymandian conceit
No one gives up their life for their country
They have it torn from them
Dying screaming, not laughing
Flat, and very still
The ghosts of the fallen tugging at my feet
Faces reflected in polished boots
Harsh echoes of soft words
Fleeting voices and granite
Left behind





The Couple

Knowing not saying
Private pain shared agony
Precious fragile life


Cold

Trapped souls frozen ground
A featureless bleak tundra
Under Ice blue skies

Summertime

July's hazy heat
Wanton carefree breathlessness
Still blazing within

The M6 Passing Castle Bromwich

Growling passing through
Grey stiff silent and watching
Tombstones to humanity

Cancer

Crumbling bones
A crumbling body
Eaten away
Consuming memories as easily as it eats flesh and skeleton
Gnawing
Savaging
Destroying
Remorseless and relentless
From within
And as the spirit rises
Desperate to break free
The cold hand of fate seizes, strangles, throttles,
Until it is no more
Casting the wasted carcass carelessly aside.

Chemotherapy Ward


No colour, just grey
Rosy cheeks gone
Forgotten.
Busy nurses and supine patients
Calm serenity
And carefully arranged wigs.
Acceptance and acquiescence
Soothing music whose blandness tortures,
Not balms, a raging soul
Love, care, duty,
Inevitability, and hope,
Always hope
A day , a month ,a year
A smile , a breath a tear


Time

Lots of time
Sometime
Another time
No time
Summer time
Winter time
Bedtime
Any time
Timed
Time out
Time Flies
Times up
Time to finish

Wellington Boots

Hidden in dark corners and dusty garages
Trusty, dry and impermeable
Their feat.
In many guises yet with the same purpose
Dour and rugged
The Hunters for the hunted
Pink with white spots for puddles
Caked with cloying mud when their job is done
Then abandoned for another rainy day

Mannequin in the Cellar

Lashed to the chair
Blank eyes glazed
Expressionless in a semi naked daze
In an empty room
Splattered with grey colour and dark deeds
No finery to display, no heads to turn
Blurred colours, clothes in a pile
Uncertain emotions and an uncertain smile




The Ladder of Success


Step Up
Step Down
Stepping out
One Step at a time
One step too far
Wrung with despair

Storage problems

I’m going to burn all of my books
Destroy all that I have read
Remove any sight and trace
Of what’s been thought or said
For they serve no purpose, at least that’s what you say
Burn all of my books until you’ve gone away

The Post Box

Recipient of a thousand thoughts
Ice cream sticks and fireworks
Unmoved and unmoving
Filled but never satisfied
Emptied, but not for long
There for that time
A matt red shine
It knows, but never tells
Yet always yields to the hessian sack

The White House

Baking terracotta pantiles, and lazy shade
Blazing sunlight brilliantly reflected on whitewashed walls
Boiling slats yearn for the afternoons waning rays
To be stifled by stubborn leaves to bring some respite.
Gnarled, wizened roots gasp in the arid earth
Clinging as resolutely to the parched ground as the peeling iron stays
Under the easy sky’s still azure allure.


The Silk Scarf

It hung loosely around his wrinkled neck
White and soft against
His sallow creased features
Carefully, casually tied
And upon his hairless head
A hat sat
With a lucky sprig, stuck jauntily from a scarlet band
From under the battered brim
His sunken eyes twinkled
Above a toothy grin
And the folds of a silk scarf.

Tripping The Light fantastic

Bright lights, half seen.
Brilliant colours , fiery kerosene
Tantalising glimpses of distant sights and heat
And thoughts of which no man can speak
A prismatic phantasmagoria unfolds
Of sights and places all untold
Of uncertain texture and unknown hue
And places visited by the knowing few
Unconnected frames, disjointed faces
Ghostly shapes in far off places
Spirals, and fluxes and weird shapes
Sweeping then fading, facsimiles and fakes
The sweetest thing, the wildest scream
It never is quite as it would seem.




The Early Hours

The night tumbles remorselessly on
My cares and troubles dulled by heavy eyes and stiff limbs
Craving the night to never end and the ether of swift sleep
Cool sheets soothing my soul, the stillness of the hour silent.
For a night that never ends means a day that never begins
Locked in the past, condemned to repeat the sins of the past
Where time stays still, yet marches on
Where consequence is suspended, and the moment lasts forever
Glimpses, of what might have been, what was, and what is to come.
And each second is gone, a moment closer to your death
And that long howl of regret

Terrace

A heaving seething mass of bile and passion
Drunken oaths and blind loyalty
Defenders of a piece of rotting concrete, or decaying side streets
Chants and threats bellowed till nicotine filled lungs are fit to burst
Territory enforced with a boot
Honour enforced with a blade
A chivalric code of cowardice and brutality
Of mob rule broken bones and beery boasts
A poisonous cauldron of hate and alienation
Of great and foul deeds
Rusty fencing ,foaming mouths and truncheons
Sound echoing from fractured corrugated iron roofing
Tumbling bodies and soaring emotions
Elation and fear in an intoxicating mix

The Agony of Silk

As those silk stockings caress, or that silk tie hangs
Do we give any thought to where it all began?
A humble little worm, a marvel of nature
Tortured and then destroyed by vicious sericulture

As old as Confucious, odious and cruel, for thousands of years
The silkworm has suffered with silent tears
Their larvae when born are hungry and seek relief
And welcome the gift of the offered Mulberry Leaf
When a twig is placed near them after their fourth moult
They relish the chance to shed yet another coat

And now that they have the twig, the space, the room
They go about spinning their silky cocoon
With the chemical precision of natures fine alchemy
They spin their instinctive, glorious natural chemistry
Synthetic reproductions require scientists with degrees
But natures little workers produce it with ease

A continuous strand, the best you have ever seen
A miraculous concoction of what we call fibroin protein
Bound together with sericin like gum
Nature’s magic has almost begun

But here the beauty stops, the marvel withers
For hereon in the silkworm never slithers
Instead it is murdered, and cynically boiled
In the pursuit of profit in which it’s killers are embroiled

For while the scalding hot water leaves the filament silk released
The larvae screams and dies, shrivelled and quite deceased
So just as Buddhists refuse to wear the blood soaked yarn
Check that what you are wearing has caused no harm.



Dr Johnson Said

A testudineous waid a habnab higgler
Saltant natation and understrapper
A jannock quean of yond optimity
Rampallian rawhead of zootomist viduity
His geegaw elflock in deosculation
Badger-legged varvels in evagation
Kickshaw sciomachy in trenchermate
Fabaceous impennuous lapidate
A balbucinate quaggy afterclap
The claperclaw vallancy of a dandiprat.

Tea

Exotic, yet familiar, the ritual as soothing as the taste
Imported in swift clippers across stormy seas
Tossed by the rage of Cape Horn
Still in the windless latitudes ,
Heavy in the deep holds
Its aromatic air hangs in the cool corridors of the Raj’s palace
And the Dining Rooms of Mayfair
Royal Doulton anxious maids and hallmarked silver services
Comfort and consolation to fine civilisation
Sustenance and relief from the humble stove
Boiling infusion and tranquil calm.

One Minute Rant

Yes, you madam, you, you with the furrowed brow
Oh I see that I have your attention now
Or maybe you, the one that is scuttling by
Shaking your head and wondering why
We bother to stand here ranting aloud
Dreaming of being lonely as Wordsworth’s cloud
Coz this poetry stuff is not for you
It’s just for an elite arty farty few
Until it gets you right where it hurts
A few well chosen and apposite words
It can make you think it can make you rage
The spoken word or the one on the page
You might want to confront me or disagree
So come on then do it the arguments free
Stop for a minute stop and think
You might have words in you just on the brink
And it could be you up here, spouting away
Letting the world know what you really want to say
They can make you laugh they can make you giggle
They can make you squirm they can make you wriggle
I can try to offend you, I’ve got what it takes
And lullabies to sooth a broken hearts aches
Coz words are about freedom and should be jealously guarded
Don’t walk by leaving them disregarded.

The Green ’Un

Fat stubby nicotine stained fingers fumble for change for a shilling
A guttural growl advertising his wares
Incomprehensible, but familiar
Raw yet alluring
A siren call.
Layers of clothing shroud his body
Hunched in a battered hut
The fragile tin door clatters in the wind
His palms smeared with ink, sweat and time.
A cloth bag rattles with pennies, and tanners and florins
Traded for tales of glory, hope and defeat
Each visit one of expectation, elation or disappointment
Or just grudging acceptance.
Yet no sporting feat can match his endurance
No story can match the weather beaten lines on his brow
The moment of the arrival of that green wrapped bundle
Is as keenly awaited as any referee’s whistle
The story snapped behind the metal grille as eagerly anticipated
As war and peace
Yet his eyes give no hint, the timbre of his voice no clue
His task not to wonder, simply to do.

The Dysphoria of Love

They say that men don’t feel it you know
The pain of break up
That a few pints at the pub,
A night out with our mates and a fruitless dalliance with a bored barmaid will put things right,
But it doesn’t
I should have guessed when she asked why I had bought her flowers on our anniversary
Or when she made an excuse for not spending the night together after “Porgy & Bess”
Maybe it was when she asked me whether I liked what she was wearing,
An awful two piece floral print skirt and blouse that looked like a psychedelic mistake,
And I told her- it really was awful.
It was
But women don’t like hearing that do they?
But I didn’t notice, the calls kept coming, she kept coming and I was happy,
It was ok
I think they call it inertia momentum,
It keeps going, but for no reason other than it is going
But perpetual motion it is not
And it stopped.
She said that she wanted to see me, I knew why.
Stunned for days
“You have done nothing wrong” and “you are the last person I want to hurt” she said,
But she did anyway
And then there is the disengagement when you still feel the way you always did
But it simply does not occur to you that she doesn’t
It seems rational at the time.
I love her,
She loves me.
But she doesn’t,
Not any more.
I sat
Emotionally drained dozing in the chair
And she came to me
Bent down to kiss my lips
But as I leaned forwards my head jerked and my eyes saw not her face,
But a yawning, desperate chasm.
And it takes ages,
Humiliating ages for it to sink in,
Calls, letters, pleas, begging, none work
And then you are left with the vacuum of your life,
A vacuum which she has seamlessly filled
You’re grieving a friend says
And you keep telling yourself that you can’t bring yourself to hate her
Even though common sense says you should,
But common sense is in short supply right now.
Each second is agony,
Each minute torture,
Each hour unbearable,
Each day like a lifetime
And each moment and occasion when she is not with you, as she should be, sours into foul thoughts Of justice,
Fairness and revenge,
The irony of the juxtaposition of those words is lost upon you.
To be washed out like a lip print on a shirt,
To hurt
Like hell
Ever more dramatic displays of outrage formulate in your mind,
Never to be implemented
But the thought of which is still to be savoured and relished.
And as you do so you lose a little bit of your soul
And only later do you hear the saying that he who embarks on a journey of revenge needs to be prepared to dig two graves.
You can overcome the things which are done to you
But you cannot escape the things you have done.
He came to see me.
I expected a man filled with rage, as he had every right to be
Instead he was filled with smouldering containment,
He had rehearsed his lines,
Which was more than I could do
I offered him a seat,
Momentarily he refused
Until he realised how stupid he would have looked standing whilst I sat
He said “I don’t understand....”
And his words trailed off.
And in that moment there was an eternity.
He didn’t understand,
Was it a question that he wanted answering?
I will never know.
Did he know how much was hanging on those few words?
That his life would be changed irrevocably by my reply?
And for a moment I had that power back,
The power that she had taken away from me.
And strangely that was enough.
For just as I had the power of destruction at my fingertips,
On my lips,
So I had the power of peace,
And I took it.






The Room After Dark

Empty chairs
No weight on their legs
No creak from their backs
Alone
Unspeaking
Silent

Witnesses to deeds done
Undone
And Forgotten

Words
Whispered
Shared
Dared

No longer do the front legs take the strain
Nor are the arms scuffed by a careless blow
And each knows its place

Vuvuzela

Annoyance
At the
Vuvuzela
Has become
More annoying
Than the
Vuvuzela
Viva
Vuvuzela!



South Africa 2010

The rain hung from the sky in a single sheet
The white ball glistens under the lights as if it had been highly polished
The defender turns
In a fruitless pursuit as if chasing a pickpocket down a street
Glory, defeat,
joy despair
All human endeavour is there
The boys debate formations over cheap beer in warm cans
The girls gasp sighs at muscular thighs



The hope the hype the snarl the bite
The flags the zing it’s the world cup thing
They strut they preen they posture they play
We’ll beat the arrivestes of the USA
But hope soon fades it never lingers
With a keeper with butter not just green fingers
The mansions the cars the diamonds the wags
But against Algeria our enthusiasm flags
And now Slovenia stand in our way
The smallest country in the Cup will pay
And so as the mighty England close in for the kill
We finish off the minnows with a resounding one nil

The big one beckons, where the words of Henry the Fifth
And the might of the Kaiser are drawn into mortal combat
We’ll beat them ease and send them to their maker
With the precision of – well, a German penalty taker
Baron Von Richtoven, Ferdinand Porsche, Ulrike Meinhof, Hugo Boss,
Field Marshall Rommel, Adolf Hitler
Hermann Hesse, the Brothers Grimm, ,Bertolt Brecht,
Angela Merkel, Willy Brandt, Albert Schweizer, Martin Luther, Pope Bendict 16th,
Bernard Langer, Boris Becker, Franz Beckenbauer, Jurgen Klinsmann, Michael Schumakker,
Felix Wankel, Albert Einstein, Copernicus, Frederik Nietzche, Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant,
Diane Kruger, Claudia Shieffer,
Stockhausen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ,George Handel, Johan Brahms, Johan Sebastina Bach and ( surprisingly, Sandra Bullock whose mother was German)
......we are coming for your boys !

The Luftwaffe looms, the Dunkirk spirit arises
This time we’re prepared, there will be no surprises
And there weren’t.

And the sound of the African Horn became one long giant raspberry
As a nation cries not again no it just cannot be
The moral of the tale? Well it is simply that
You should never appoint a manager who looks like Postman Pat









Utopia

A destination, or a dream?
A pure idyll , or a challenge?
Does failure reward us more than success?
The pursuit, the chase,
Or the despair that Tantalus felt.
Is the allure of dystopia more compelling than its specious sister?
Did Plato or Moore find their Eden
Or is the mere quest a cruel folly, a testament to Man’s imperfection?


On A Special Day

The flap on the letter box groaned
A torrent of envelopes of assorted sizes
Tumbled to the floor
But as I sank to my knees
Sifting through the chaos
My search was not random

For the envelope must be rectangular
And white, or at least cream coloured
The addressee named “Master”
Written by hand
The contents although still hidden, stiff
As only card is, the flap firmly sealed.

With barely controlled excitement
The target items are sifted as a prospector separates
The gold from the grit, or the miller the wheat from the chaff
The shredded envelope falls limp and forlorn to the floor
As the Birthday Card is opened
And out flutters
A ten bob note.

Brown and crisp
The answer to any child’s prayers
And the passport to untold luxuries
The Beano, sherbet dib dabs and Airfix models- to name but a few
With enough left over to buy the right camouflage paint.
And mum’s cry of
“Remember who sent you what ”
Dies unheard
The generosity of individual Aunts and Uncles
Grandfathers and grandmothers are lost
As the prospect of a spending extravaganza- overwhelms.

How do today’s children manage?

Weather Girls

So some TV is biased against older girls
As gravity takes its toll and cruel time unfurls
But the truth is I don’t want to see wrinkles and sags
I don’t pay my license fee to see some tired old hags
I like my weather girls like the weather with well defined fronts and isobars
With a hint in the right light of tasteful lacy bras
When they talk of high pressure ,I want my blood pressure to surge
So even the darkest depressions, are accompanied by a pleasing urges
When high winds threaten, when gales are a cert
That news is best given by a young girl in a skirt
When the sun will be blazing and skin readily peels
It’s nice to see a pair of the highest of heels
Ulrika Johnson liked it best when it was moist and wet
And so did The Gladiators, Stan and Sven I’d happily bet
Weather forecasts are about sex and glamour and a sigh and “I wish”
Not dodgy warnings from a craggy Michael Fish.


The Captain’s Emergency Procedures

Thank you for choosing Nikita’s Shipping line
We’ll have you at your destination in practically no time
The toilets are anywhere you fancy over the edge of the boat
And if you feel at all unwell –
Well that’s your fault for drinking too much last night.
Fat people are requested not to sit at the front of the dinghy
We do not want to inadvertently submerge under the first wave we encounter
Thin people are advised to hold on
You are difficult for search and rescue planes to spot in the sea- we don’t stop for men overboard, And our timetable is tight,
And my wife has my tea on the table at 5pm sharp.
She is not to be messed with.
Smoking is always permitted
Unless a rogue wave has extinguished the skippers cigarette
Lunch is anytime you want to open your sandwiches
Ship to shore communications are available at all times by waving and shouting madly to the beach
And if we encounter an emergency situation you can easily tell
I’ll be the first in the water, with the only life jacket on,
Screaming like hell

Cadbury’s

Smooth chocolate, high ideals
Gobbled up by witch Kraft.
Temperance consumed by indulgence
Dark deeds, ruthless selection
Abstinence consumed by excess
Corporate treachery and Bourneville Trust
170 years of toil liquidated
Quaking with anger
Luscious textures
Now a bitter taste
But the memory lingers
A lambent, softly flickering flame
Reminding me of better things.

Pont de l’Alma

Her wedding dress had cascaded in a rich froth of silk and lace
Billowing down the steps of Westminster Abbey
The Princess with her Prince
Fine horses a gold leaf carriage and crowds in rapturous tumult
Each step shared in every home
Brass beaming, silver shining, gold gleaming
The splendour of the finest pageant as history unfolded before our eyes
Hopes, dreams, splendour fantasy all in one heady concoction

It had been the last day of our holiday
A fortnight’s dust and Norfolk sand brushed off
And as I turned the radio on for the long drive home
It became apparent that there was something wrong
Terribly wrong
No radio station carried any music, the birds seemed to stop their song
At the news
“Diana is dead”

It was the first anniversary of her death
The Parisienne streets echoed to the transient sounds around
Deaf to the call of the day, as they had been to German jackboots
And Rome’s Legions
Where no ephemeral event may tarnish the City’s lush lustre
Where only Notre Dame casts a long lonely shadow as dusk beckons
Where the Arc de Triomphe twinkes amidst the L’Etoile
And the Sacre Coeur’s divine beauty blends into an autumnal sunset

The concrete walls were a cruel sepulchre
The wind whistled in a Venturian frenzy
Howling in the empty space
The plaintiff cry mixing with distant traffic noise
In a mocking gabbling babbling
The pillars, still dented and scraped, stood as silent ghostly sentries
In perpetual salute
Harsh echoes, twisted distant wailing
The brutal loneliness all consuming
I thought I caught a glimpse of some shards of broken glass
Lying unnoticed , obscene confetti, unswept
Like the dream shattered, a promise unkept.

The Poet

She is a clean living woman,
Of a certain age
Neat and Prim
Still attractive and slim
But with passions within.

Her interests are
Literature and Art
Flowers and nature
– and sex

Try as she might, it invariably creeps in
The facade of respectability breached by carnal sin
And although the sordid content some would deplore
She secretly likes it raw and hardcore
Geraniums always stand proud and erect
For droopy stems are useless - as you’d probably expect
And soft petals are to be gently unfolded
Whilst perky rosebuds are so easily moulded
As a mountain brook, babbles and bubbles and surges
She is quite overcome by metaphorical urges
The ground shakes, the sky lights, and a mighty chasm
Swallows her thoughts in a literary orgasm
They rise and fall in a crashing crescendo
Of thinly veiled erotic innuendo
Untreated leather, the roughness the rasp
Causes involuntary panting and a rapturous gasp
Then as she relishes the etymological afterglow
She felt such relief that she had at last let her husband know
She gazed into his eyes, for all had been said
He stopped, paused, then asked her "Now what have you read?"









Bringing Home the Bacon



The dank lorry lumbered with its cadaverous cargo
Doleful eyes snatching last glimpses of sunlight
Or perhaps catching the fleeting scent of morning dew
No name emblazoned the sides, it was an anonymous assassination.

Waste swilled around their legs
The stale stench of death gathered in a suffocating dark shroud
Muffled murmurs of stunned brains seep under metal doors
As does the sound of slushing, gushing blood slewing through the sluice
A sickly sweet smell, all pervading.

Brief lives cut short when their throats are slashed
By bored men in tired overalls with dull blades
Their lifeless limbs limp in supplication for mercy which never came
And I swear that as I saw your teeth sink into that rasher
An epigenetic howl filled the room.

Adultery

(“Most people would sooner pretend they're committing adultery than admit they're at a poetry reading”)

Of course I had suspected for some time
To start with it was just the odd unexplained night out
Then a few text messages
Furtive notes hastily scribbled while she thought I was busy
The addition of writing pads to the weekly shop
When I questioned her she seemed awkward, but vowed
That there was nothing odd about her interest in lost and lonely clouds

She was paying more attention to what she was wearing on her increasingly regular nights out
Sensible skirts with floral prints
Soon everyday matters seemed unimportant
Her heart was obviously elsewhere
Strange sites started to appear on her internet browsing history
She said that she was popping to the library- highly suspicious I think you will agree
Then anonymous Amazon parcels in plain wrappers started arriving, increasing my curiosity

And there were, the “sightings”
Backstreet cafes and “quiet” pubs – the perfect place for an assignation, a tryst
To be wooed to be flattered to be thrilled to be kissed
But she never seemed to be back all that late
Her mind might have been elsewhere, but her clothes were straight
So I decided to confront her,
“There’s another man!”
“Ok I confess” she wailed, crumbling to my pleadings
“I feel so ashamed, but I’m going to poetry readings.”


The Deadliest Catch

So farewell Captain Phil,
From the comfort of my living room I shared your endeavour
As the Cornelia Marie entered into its barely equal struggle with the Bering Sea
You competed with ships whose names have become so familiar
We shared your pain as Big Valley sank to the big valley below
Felt the icy spray freeze on our faces
Our hearts dipped as the bows sank beneath the waves only to re-emerge triumphant
But gasping for air
We ducked as the crab pots swayed crazily above our heads in heaving swells
Silently praying that all would be well
You were a cipher for a bygone age, where man fights nature hand to hand
And sometimes loses.
Where life and death decisions are just that
Just as we take from the seas
So the seas try to take us
Your features were as rugged as a storm swept sea
Your spirit as indomitable as the craggiest outcrop
And, in some way, we all served on your crew.





Underage Drinking

We hovered outside with the apprehension of a first kiss
Was the time right?
It was so difficult to tell
Too many people, and we might be spotted
Too few, and we might stand out
Momentarily the swing doors opened,
The stale smell of spilled beer, smoke and sweat wafted out
What sweet incense!
Indecision gripped our hearts,
as we moved, then stayed
In several false starts.

Arguments raged over who looked the oldest,
Tempers frayed , who was the boldest?
Dates were rehearsed and quickly learned
To avoid the ignominy of being spurned

The bored barman greeted our arrival with resigned indifference
Four halves and a medium martini our assured request
Frantically we pooled the loose change from our pockets
The bill testing our modest resources.
“Stay confident and calm” had been our frantic mantra
Yet the swagger and braggadocio of youth bellowed
Our awkward presence

An alien stillness pervaded the room
Punctuated only by the thud of an occasional dart
Or the rap of an upturned domino
A fat woman perched precariously on a stool
The old man in the corner reeked of piss
Unanimously we drank up and left
There were better things to do than this.


Home


The cold unyielding bars block a baked Cuban vista
Strange voices murmur in an unfamiliar land
Caged cowed broken
But Home

Foundations which hardly existed are all that remain in this Pashawari outpost
Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink
Bloated livestock floats by as insects gorge and children cry hungry
The deluge and the devastation
But Home.

Baghdad flickers with uncertain electricity
Pipes sporadically cough out fetid water
Militiamen patrol fleeting shadows
But Home

The chickens scattered as the jet roared over Gaza
And the sand seizes everything as it has done for centuries
Trapped
But Home

Love Sonnet #1

The soft sounds still linger of words long gone
Heavy in the silence where once you burned
Sweet promises of a long languid morn
Before breathy oaths had soared gasped then turned
Lipstick quite precise so perfectly shaped
A fresh swimming scent exotic but frail
Half light reveals your fragile naked nape
Eternal consuming we cannot fail
Slowly I leaned forwards to taste those lips
To taste your torturing twisting tongue
But I started short of your fingertips
A void opening where our love once shone
Sinking back yearning to touch find to see
The fleeting faint solace of reverie


Bottle


Bottle
So sleek and green
Tipping yet so balanced
Giver of aromatic bliss
Sweet kiss

I Haven’t Prayed Today

I haven’t prayed today
The morning was too cold
And the night too long
The scale the task
I could not ask
A modest plea
Would be trivial
A grand one impertinent
But for one so weak is
To hope to seek so wrong?
To pray and to doubt
To pass and to wonder
Torn cleft asunder
I haven’t prayed today


Goldfish Execution

I want to tell you a tale
About the imminent execution of a goldfish
The only impediment to which is the threat of legal action
He hangs in the tank with an ugly pout
Mouthing and menacing and trying to stare me out
He eats other fish, he devours their eggs
When it comes to bad goldfish he is the dregs
But I worry about this, I know it is wrong
To be intimidated by a goldfish barely two inches long
So I’ve decided to teach him a big lesson (oh yes)
I’ve already approached the tank in a nonchalant manner
Then hammered on the side with a great big claw hammer
But he doesn’t even seem afraid of that anymore
So I’ve decided the time has come to give him “what for”
I might decide to microwave him flapping and raw
Some may say this is excessive, cruel, well cruelish
But I think that he deserves this electric chair for bad fish
Or perhaps suffocation is an option?
The other fish would gather and cheer and deride
As they witnessed their nemesis gasping for air outside

I suppose I could capture it and put it in an isolation tank
A sort of Guantanamo bay for fish
It may have had a hard life
One of trouble and strife
His libido might be high but his spirits starting to flag
Swimming around a tank with nothing to shag
A female fish might ease the blow
But Gay fish tanks are a definite no-no
I accept that his angst may have some justification
For there he was swimming happily in the Maldives
Playing amidst colourful tropical reefs
When suddenly he was captured
Taken to a fish shop in Small heath

You see the other fish look up to me
As though I am the boss
But since jaws has arrived it’s been a case of Paradise Lost
So I’m off to the Diving shop it’s as clear as can be
For a spot of spear-gun fishing this afternoon for me.


Colours

Icing
White Crisp
Frosty flat neat

Apple
Green lemons
Tempting juicy sweet

Velvet
Black soft tempting
Luxurious Conceit

Your Town

The new bugs look nervously for something to say
The new boys look relieved it’s a new term
The old bugs sigh “so much to learn”
The old boys eye new prey.
The weak are piteously hunted down
The savvy learn the tricks
The canny avoid the ricks
Welcome to your town
Where seldom lies a thought for right and wrong
Just the question, “you there, how long?”

The Kipper Tie

It did not make very much sense
At seventeen shillings and six old pence
Green, garish and large
It spoke of freedom and rebellion
Although from what I am not sure
It was as wide as my hand
And looked good on Sergeant Pepper
But mine just looked ridiculous
Trying to look hipper
Done like a kipper


The Tuck Room

Opened nightly
It was not large
But it was secure
On each shelf
Lay a chest
Full of bounty
A tuck box
With its own key
Treats for half a term
That lasted half a week
Trusty as any Pirates plunder
And just as valuable
A hoard to gorge on
Relief from tapioca
And beans on......

The Gate

Hung heavy and hinged
Its jaws snapped tight
The distance in sight
An entrance and exit
Barrier and entrance
Rusty flecks cling to its mechanism
Time worn rou├ęs
With a tale to tell
Of travellers who had
Passed and paused
Who had asked
But never learned
The fate of the gate

Parkers Piece

A large and open green
Bordered by grand houses and a Fire Station
This verdant respite from bricks and mortar
Echoes in the spring to the sound of ball on bat
As sure a sign of summer as the first ice cream

Young men in brilliant white stand
Old folk and children mill aimlessly around
The Aussie test team flexed their chilled bones
The Broadcasting van parked awkwardly a clumsy guest
And I went and shook Cliff Morgan’s hand

“He played for Wales you know” a very fine side
A rugby player by all accounts of some repute
My pristine autograph book flipped open
Fortunately he had brought his own pen
And on the very first sheet his name inscribed

I had not known I would meet him- it wasn’t planned
And I don’t know what happened to that book
Or recall who else signed within
But Parkers Piece remains now as it was
And I remember when I shook Cliff Morgan’s hand

Reception

We’re going to put our coats on in a minute
“Hooray”
Then walk across the playground
“Hooray”
Then take our coats back off
“Hooray”
It’s another great day
“Hooray”

Heavy Metal

No scent of flowers
Flickering sunbeams
Or tip-toeing rain
Just the metallic thud
The pounding of a day
In Satan’s workshop
That never ends
The clumsy thump
Of the steam press
Crushing flattening
Again and again



The Changeling


Her hair was different by chance we met
Familiar but with a different spin
In my mind an image was firmly set
She had changed without, but what of within?

She looked younger, sharper, edgier too
What had prompted her to pause and to fret
Abandoning her near past for the new
Her hair was different by chance we met

Her earrings were longer and gently swayed
Distracting from her eyes twisting turning
But there was more to this fashion parade
Familiar but with a different spin


Attractive and warm, yet staid and aloof
Signal beamed “not ready for a duet”
Was she hiding perhaps a painful truth?
In my mind an image was firmly set

Should I say something? Well I went ahead
Flattery welcome she said with a grin
Bright blonde highlights masking an inner dread
She had changed without, but what of within

Its true if repeated often enough
And to others we become what is seen
Those things that are dismissed as off the cuff
Can show all that we are our whole being
Her hair was different


Fond Farewell


She greeted me with a smile when first we met
Warm and enquiring
Hoover, hoover , hoover

At the Pantomime she was an ogrette
With a heart of gold
Hoover, hoover,hoover

She preferred to read her own poems you know
She knew them all best
Hoover, hoover, hoover

It was hot and busy at the Canwell Show
Stopping for a chat
Hoover,hoover,hoover


The day before, she wasn’t there at Streetly
But her poem was
Hoover, hoover, hoover

The show just cannot always go on you see
She was Mrs Swabb
Hoover, hoover, hoover


A Visit to London Zoo


I strained to see as heavy paws padded
And stripes flashed between the bars
So this was Kipling’s Beast, for real
I had of course seen them in the circus
But this was different
It smelt ,and flecks of saliva flickered
Off flashing teeth and coal dark gums
It moved with melancholy and menace
I gazed in wonder and fear
Grateful that the sturdy cage stood between us
And certain death
It was much older than me
But by how much I could not tell
Its listless eyes paused then passed
“Here Tiger” I cried
But it did not understand


God

I feel him in the warmth of a summers afternoon or the chill of a winter morning
I hear him in a child’s laughter or a bird’s song
I touch him on the petals of a spring flower
I see him in the infinity of a cloudless night
I sense him around the doors of ancient buildings
Where people come and go
And have done so
For a thousand years
I appreciate him in achievements which have no material value
But have moved mountains

Strictly

I would like to say she had the grace of a gazelle
I would like to report that I fell under her spell
Buy me eyes widened- I couldn’t believe what I saw
When Ann Widecombe waddled out onto the floor
As she spins and careers she is risking her neck
Saved only be the gallant Anton Du Bec
The lithe and the pretty, the sequins the patterns
All talent and effort she mercilessly flattens
The judges they moan in abject despair
But the Great British Public ensures Ann is still there

A Life Cut Short

You lived
All too briefly
I hope that you took comfort both from warm blankets
And the cool of the night air
Your first words told only of fragility and innocence
You could only speak truth, giggle and gurgle your content
And return unconditional love with a broad smile
In a world that you could barely have understood
Did terror or blissful unawareness touch your final gasps?
Did you know nothing?
Or everything?

Untainted
Fleeting
Transient
Eternal