Rosetta Met Her End

I never saw her selfies,
just those last few camera shots,
on her lonesome way
to 67P’s hardened rocks:

I’m sure she had worked well,
that little spacey probe,
but always doomed to crash
on an indurate comet’s slope;

a mess she must’ve made
on the speeding icy mass,
hurrah for humanity,
we’ve littered more of space!



Desserts of shame!
Cover thine chunks!
Your sugary delights,
they offend Mr Hunt.
Reduce your fats,
you obese puddings,
return to austerity,
to simpler cooking,
to ancient ways,
when sweetness was short,
the poor pot-bellied,
the rich pissed on port:
He’ll ‘save’ the NHS
by cutting it back,
and lighter taxes
for his sweet fat cats.

The Times, 30-09-2016

Counting Cotton

I can tell time passed
by the reduction
of the contents
of the bumper pack
of cotton buds,

that one in the cupboard,
below our sink,
its product packed
so thick that patience
is needed to tug one out.

When that count is half-done
will we be half-emptied
by the rituals of cleaning
up residues of errors,
which only they can reach?

Eventually a rattled reminder
to replacements-required,
another thought about
what we have bought,
are we ever re-stocking?
Will that be when we stop?

B-movie Bodies

Hurry up and wait,
she laughed it,
with her American beauty,
re-cast in the shadows,
there, where we stand,
bodies, on this lot,

in that temporary corral
of trailers (for us,
and other night visitors,
short-term residents
of this burger-wafted
camp of strangers),

all at the mercy
of radioed instruction,
by mere children
on walkie-talkies,
also squawked at,
by a body-count director.


Dad has a suit for the funeral,
and time for a balcony fag,
as the middle kid kicks a ball,
playing alone, ‘cos dad is sad’

Mum is moaning in the kitchen,
‘stuck here until I die,’
and the youngest girl sobs quietly,
for the truth, which makes her cry.

The cremation is booked for two,
a slow drive to the garden of peace,
to their cold dead’s last resting place,
eulogies from an unknown priest.

The youngest girl is kept away,
the only one wet with grief,
living the terrible loss
of the love that she so needs.

M. D.

If there was a hard way
or an easy way
I would always choose
the hard way
MD said
but I knew it
already       having been
broken by her

the once-champion
Irish dancer
who used
unexpected steps      to win
and who later quit
to avoid complaints
from within herself
as a dancer

To be the sure
choreographer of her future


Men Fall In Love With You

There – again – a man falling in love with you
From outside – in the dark – looking up
I could read his thoughts at twenty-five yards
through their bare double glazing
as he engaged himself with more than your words

Even across that distance – I can stand inside him
I can unfix his smile and slur his slightly-drunk words
Let him falter – adjust his laughter to minimise its effect
I can make him worry – too much – about his bad breath

But I know my place on this side of the glass
where I watch you – if I want to –
seeing how you make men fall in love with you
in that accidental way of sweet smiles and
eye contact – those mistakes one makes


My Caricature

Picking up the pencil
to draw a human being,
was an avowal of my return
to that time of evolution;

first encountered, younger,
when making another mark;
in all these years, somehow,
I am no different from my past.

There is a self-portrait,
my rough hand in charcoal,
in which my Steerpike face
reflects these same scowls,

which thirty years later
are now etched by this disease,
my own drawn face
complains too easily.

Baked Off

Bloomin’ ‘Bake Off’,
what’s it all about?
The Beeb lose it to Four,
then post headline pouts.

But Mary Berry
isn’t a burnt-out tart.
she’s sticky as sugar,
and will get a new part:

Perhaps hosting Top Gear,
now filmed in a tent,
leaving Paul Hollywood
to rub his beard and lament,

he could’ve done ‘Strictly’,
or, at a pinch, ‘Crimewatch’,
but he’s stuck in a field,
rained on, and ‘Baked Off’.

The Loos are Lost – Part II

First poem here:

If this were Lewes they’d start a campaign,
to retain the town’s loos under their ‘rights to complain’:

At the top of their list – everyone’s freedom to p*ss,
in a designated place, not in some parking space.

The threatened Luxford loos would be declared a free state,
by a clique of DFLs*, whose lives are deplete

of any purpose on earth, ‘cept lattes, and revolution,
(still regretting their vote against the Liberal’s coalition,

that vote of disgust against tuition fees,
meant swapping their Liberal for a Conservative MP).

Back to the loos – for ‘Men’ and ‘Women’,
the cold seats under threat from the Council’s scheming:

If this were Lewes they’d buy up the plot,
get planning permission, and build a string shop,

in which they’d accept the new ‘Lewes Quid’,
that banknotes’ ink made from recycled p*ss.

DFLs* – ‘Down From London’ derogatory Lewesian
term for people moving into the Lewes: also applied
to people moving from Lewes to Uckfield:
‘Downsized From Lewes’

Clinging On

Sir, should you wear lycra
at your time of life?

It’s tight in places
even your wife dislikes;

there’s too many logos
on your bouncy-chest,

and too much stretching
‘cross your wide-arse cheeks.

Give up the lycra life
for a game less taut,

take up bowling,
a much baggier sport.


The maintenance of this place,
to mend unhinged gates,
to creosote fencing,
to cut back the burst hedges,
to prune the thorny boughs,

mounts before anything starts,
becoming the list
of the never-finished;
add to that self-improvement,
and nothing ever gets done.