Fifty Two Today – Fifty Two Minutes

Do not mix lager with bitter, for sure.
The eldest, clumping, above, top floor.
Grey sky-sheeted, curtains tug-pulled.
Fifty-two today, my annual award.

We need another, stiffer loo brush.
The fixed drain works – sucking gush.
That shampoo I prefer is running low.
Reflux-rising, this hack won’t go.

I must do laundry, perhaps this morning.
Neck hairs so need tweezered-pulling.
That switch does not turn off that light.
Did I lock-up the shed last night?

Cooled smell of weed’ll be hard to explain.
No screaming emails to add to my strain.
I’ve still to mount those solar floods.
Should’ve planted the daffs in tubs.

Driveway gates hang, more to my liking.
Today is bin day, it must be recycling.
Wobbling paper boy, on his mobile phone.
I’ve no wireless this far from home.

School kids missing, holiday times.
Listen, foul child, I can hear her cries.
Litter count so low on the twitten today.
Darkened leaves piled, rank in decay.

The cafe’s shut, too early it seems.
A slow recall-woken, disturbing dream.
My magnetic gym card, hard-wiped to work.
Absolute Radio, not the Ginger Twerp.

These trainers need time, more wearing in.
I sat-cycled, pedalling, much less pain.
This metal flask keeps tap water cool.
Treadmill’s quick stripes margin my fall.

Kate Bush singing, unrequited, heart-bled.
I sweat harder with hangovered-head.
Cycling again, easier when writing.
Extension repetition, aged muscles-fighting.

Running out of time for breakfast in town.
‘Bye at the exit, desk-dropped frowns.
Playing field to mow, lugged tractors await.
The bypass hums louder way before eight.

Another tipped fence, short-battered storm.
A shed roof bared, felt roughly torn.
Bird song increases along Linden Chase.
I wonder who’ll buy the old dear’s place?

Quick pocket-pat, I’ve got everything.
My stride shortened, still heel-scuffing.
Slid gravel re-routes me to a distant beach.
Fifteen Harvey’s bottles, deposit on each.

Soffits need painting, I cannot do heights.
The back door, and the frame, do not sit right.
This home, slumped silence, weight-swung times.
Eight minutes late, for Big Ben chimes.

Moon Landings 1.

Armstrong, out there,
Liberty’s own spaceman,
a descendent of Scots,
her home-bred alien.

I stared, TV-squared,
at the moon-struck man,
stepped into gloaming
on that far foreign land:

I landed in New York,
spaced-out, years after,
to build my designs for
city-folks’ laughter:

But all I could hear
was The Statue’s greeting,
a fixed stare to the east,
hiding her weeping.

See Moon Landings 2.

Good Friday

Easter’s falsehood,
Christianity cracked,
High-fat sentiments,
Tooth-rot wrapped.

A bitter celebration,
for prayer-soured-souls,
Not yet recovered
From Yuletide songs.

A slow death to be
Celebrated, good grief:
Today, in other places,
ISIS-crucified, retrieved.

Hot cross buns buttered,
Easter eggs laid,
We live with greedy Gods:
Slow-death, the accolade.

The Last Bee

The farmers gathered-in
their ploughed-up pleads
on the basis that
it is you who they feed

The UK defies
now sows “neonics”

Hurrah for the UK
Up the Great Brits

We have the seed power
to put bees to their death

Send in the pesticides
until no queens are left

Now privatise lost pastures
Builders plough the fields
Profit for Landowners
In for the kill

When Britain has poisoned
all Apis mellifera
not one buzz
in your local area

Embrace with love
the immigrant bees
We’ll need their hard work
to sow last hopes of reprise

The Feature

We meekly retreated
From the Picture House trip,
Me, in distraction,
Rewound, tightened grip.

First, I slipped-out,
From the retrospective;
I hid in the Gent’s,
Stiff limbs to forgive.

Fatigue staining my heart,
When I hide this broke,
Intermission then beamed.
We left, for my health.

‘Cross the High Street,
You guided, then a pull;
Early journey home,
Is a feature of all.

Manor Park, At Night

Returning, slow-trod, loose-stone fooled,
The Plan: Cut through Manor Park,
A crow-fly route home, after drop and run,
Of the youngest, at the club, for sleep-over.

Ale-oiled, but now slower than before,
Less erect than the white picket fences
(Stolen designs from steam-train times),
And on to the north side of the estate:

Sodium-lit, briefly, crossing Browns Lane.
Leylandii shivered, even fully-dressed,
A cold wind, this high: I assume sight of Brighton’s
False sunset (light-pollution of the cloud line).

No lamps again, blind man’s sticked-trip,
Over drop-plotted, crippled, kerb stones,
Negotiating shadow-buried service slabs,
Momentarily lamp-lit by the Tesco’s van.

Then realising that she did not know:
My ‘dead’ phone, no signalling safety.
Our friends’ homes dark, ‘Do Not Disturb’, etched,
But the third (brightly) welcomed me in:

Heidi called you: ‘Mike’s on his way’;
Pre-mobile, our movements were plotted,
By land line, reverse-charges, red boxes,
Or a known-home: ‘Sixpence in the pot, ta’

Now: Stepped-into, sat in sofa warmth,
Manor Park vouched for me, as safe:
‘Returning via the grocery store,’ assured:
I declined the offer of a lift,

Needing to keep to my odyssey:
Not quite Three Peaks, but my own one hill.
Lime trees, Manor’s old branch-line, routed me home,
Under their wind-whipped original function.


“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get
used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours;
my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.” MA.

Muhammad Ali,
one Muslim, one love:
American, Islam;
hand in glove.

Beautiful pugilist,
Stung like a bee,
jabbed by illness,
to slow shuffled-freeze:

Inside he flies
above canvas floors:
Cool sweat of boxing,
slugged in his pores.


Ed Reardon, Hurrumph..

Mr. Ed Reardon,
Please don’t retire,
Your lifestyle is one
To which I aspire.
Your harrumphing is music,
To my hair-filled ears,
Your asinine observations
Underline my own fears.
If you need a room,
To rest your head,
A place to lay
Elgar’s bed,
Drop me a line,
On the evil net,
And I’ll fix up a space,
For ‘reasonable’ rent.

Ed Reardon’s Week – Series 10, The New Thirty, Episode 6 – @bbcradio4

Upstairs Room, Prince Albert.

Dead-weight, rouche mourning drapes,
long-fitted, allying the room’s beams,
accentuated by the dusty refraction
on the glitter ball, still, yet working:
Ghost flecks off the mirrored-planet:

Look close, a sphere of a thousand selfies.
I hold my phone up, like we do, to be
there in the room, on record, uploaded,
few particulates of life are ever captured,
by these devices for palm memories:

Polaroid proved it, before our kids were born;
quickened development misses exposure.
On the wall an almost life-size John Peel
stands in this room, analogue approval,
for every act to appear here, upstairs.

From The Stadium

Ahead of me – one empty sat-down seat,
centre-back, in this well-attended free bus,
cushion dipped by time, worn by re-visits,
and other weightier-trips across Brighton;
first leg of our return home from the stadium.
We left five minutes early, off wind-groomed pitch,
to get my old boys’ seat, back to the racecourse blow.

Five-a-side, a match before me, no kicking-off;
two bus-faced rows of old men on bench seats,
aged choristers, wearing no wings, winter-wrapped,
and, my guess, a combined span of seven hundred years,
taking me, quickly, to the birth of The Renaissance,
and to Jan van Eyck – not a football manager.

My two boys, lost in the standing coats, look so young,
bus-jolted, but enjoying life, beyond these grim choir stalls.
Just one of the five, down the left, singing aloud now:
‘One goal, should have been three!’ grimly thrown.
I look again at the aligned church-shined toes,
brogues, Clark’s boots, and other comfortable soles.

Steamed up, under-powered, as we climbed over Falmer:
Then, Woodingdean’s winter illuminations:
Misted-view of a bruised bus stop, naked, no poster,
pub lights, still beaming pre-ban smoky yellows,
and angry traffic lights outside the Downs View Hotel.

This journey, to the whine and song of the diesel engine,
over rattle of chassis, clanking like an ill-fit armoured suit,
and an under-pinned stutter of gears and transmission;
I could be tunnelling, Underground, returning from Chelsea,
another lost night at Stamford Bridge, of over-paid play,
on an overloaded tube, instead, this winners’ free bus.

The last hill-grind, up to the racecourse and car park,
relief among the two teams, their bladders held tight,
for that final long release in the loo, before bed.
I stand up, as we shunt over the potted road,
My walking stick matches that of the older players.


Marrakech welcomed us,
a warm hold,
lifting flight-numbed senses.
Bella and I ventured, briefly,
her unexpected beauty strummed
local boys’ heart strings,
and I was alongside, nonchalant-ish,
landed, an hour before, into this.

We expected the slap of heat,
but not such
deep hospitality abroad:
Our host, with his command of English,
beyond our first-grade French,
provided our alien-ness a place,
in le Perroquet
Blue’s cool blocks of peace.

I wish to return
to that riad,
dip my toes in the tiled pool,
and sit, rooftop, alongside
targeted satellite dishes,
hear the prayer songs of Marrakech,
to see the sky there run high
over impossible nests of storks,
And to feel that city’s dirt
in my pores.

Diversion Ends

‘Diversion ends’,
States the sand-bagged sign,
But Uckfield traders
Are now resigned,

To falls in sales,
Thirty-percent losses,
For the thirty-two weeks
Of gold-paved promises:

Wider pavements,
For the shopping hoards;
Will they love Uckfield
When the paths are broad?

East Sussex mandarins
Have planned the change,
Which explains why
The town’s enraged:

‘Uckfield’s open’
Is the rallying cry,
But diversions remain
And trade drives by.

Don’t Dementia This

We should all look forward
to dementia,
there’s nowt else certain,
that’s for sure:

Once embraced,
by this progressive disease,
it’s a drawn-out death,
of old memories.

History, recent years,
clean erased,
our marriage would be

So with presence of mind,
here, my living will,
at that point please,
fine wine, and the pills.

Turning On Old Ladies

Two old ladies (loud) in the reading room,
Giggled, un-muffled, in the cold-bulb gloom.
Compared their tablets, one from the son,
One from her husband, “But can’t turn him on!”

A nearby woman huffed, and shut her book,
She muttered, stood up, and gave them a look.
So, ‘The Web For Beginners Course’ began,
With a short speech, from a very short man:

“Welcome to this course: designed to get
You all surfing the World Wide Web.
Make sure you both have plenty of power.
This session will last (he clock-watched) an hour.”

Within five minutes one of them had found
A site.. men and women stripped, gagged and bound.
Ten minutes passed then lady number two
Clicked on Breast-Dot-Fest (it was rather crude).

‘Is this porn?’ asked old lady number one,
‘If it is, then it doesn’t look much fun.’
The old ladies’ web search widened some more,
The very short man slipped out the side door.

Trust No One

Get to the dentist,
you have nothing to lose,
just a few teeth,
and the ability to chew.

The lady in the mask,
poking your molars,
has studied dentistry,
for millions of hours.

Trust her, listen,
she says quite loudly:
‘You’re eating less sweets’,
and your Mum beams proudly..


..Mum exposes her dentures,
teeth she keeps in a glass,
next to the bed,
along with other spare parts:

(You can trust your parents
to let you down,
their teeth are terrible,
some are grey-brown.)

Mum smiles wide,
the dentist spots the mush,
breakfast leftovers,
which Mum failed to brush.

Pre DX, Post DX

Lengthened pain, off the easy-measure,
searing hot-rods, new displeasure,
found in both hands, and stiffened wrist,
holding tight – cruel-spiked insist.

A constant enemy, without a doubt,
clawing within, more than out:
No drug-fuel fix of medication,
You almost embrace life’s abjuration.

Add the bloody tremored-creep,
nervous, shaken, rattled to sleep;
burrowed, nudging, shuffling-fears,
disturb, unsweet, dreaming-seers.

Sleep reminded you: ‘Do not rest,
wake up,’ it said, beneath bad breath,
coursing through your earthworm-veins,
and taunting with: ‘Get a grip again!’

Without diagnosis your body was cruel,
quaking, shaking, playing the fool:
Then, re-labelled, as ‘progressiveness’,
You knew much more, but understood less.