Allhallowtide & Halloween

With more martyrs to count –
than days in a year –
they all got rolled up
into this Christian schmear

Another scam to buy
more shite from the shops –
(once just a mask
to hide your face from a corpse)

Wear your neighbours’ patience
really thin –
as your kids make doorbells
ring and ring

Those normally just rung
by Parcelforce
and Jehovah’s Witnesses –
Ah, of course!

This excuse to eat treats
and fatty gloop
with the fasting for martyrs
lost in the loop

So roll on Bonfire Day
with no pretence of faith –
except in the Gods
who’ll make sure it won’t rain

Button Therapy

The pushed-pushed
[US-Eng: Elevator-Closure-Function];
pressed, but no more
electrical assurance
of any seal
of lift-shut avoidance,
now switched off,
under legislation,
some rights-to-access
Plus the kerbside
bright lights,
there to be poked,
under the Bill of Rights,
but now, not working,
not as useful,
one more gullible
Westerners’ placebo.

News story here

Coffee and Cake

Sat down, Grandma,
Grandson, and Mum,
Grandma, huffily:
‘No point sat by ‘im!’
Grandson, grumpily:
‘I’ll be on me phone..’
Grandma grunts,
Mum checks her own,
and Mum reads out
a Facebook feed;
the tired waitress
tries to intercede,
placing before them
menu boards,
waiting for her voice
to now be heard
above that of Grandma’s
moan about stuff:
‘It wasn’t like this,
when we grew up!’
Mum, now bored:
‘The world’s moved on!’
Grandma, resigned:
‘When I’m gone…’
Grandson, buts in:
‘Can I bags your phone?’

The Beach Haters

Ranked low on recliners
by freckled differences,
some late sun-aged
before this dead sea,
as ragged and wrinkled,
umbered by the sky,
muttering in languages
so indignant, lain,
offended by others’ children,
and the laughter of families,
each interaction
a foreign intrusion,
as they languor, topless;
not that you’d want to see
the lower laughter lines
of these clay figurines.

Special Assistance

Special Assistance,
just two of us,
and in those minutes
I was lost,
under decades
of othered-avowals,
she bound to her
dementia-bed spouse,
him, one of us,
shuffling, forgetting:
When so met
I am guilty of vetting,
with my symptom
enquiry lines,
mapping my
prescription of time.
His first phase
like mine, didn’t alter,
only reduced
a former builder:
‘It was awful,
but no real pain.’

‘We are different,’
there, I said it again.


Now, what we wake to,
we cannot undo,
that accident of drink,
words lost to you:
No soften of pain,
nor popped-codeine,
to fix risen days,
redux, lie ins:
Foul-breathed wine,
paused, re-aligned,
from few hours straight,
to another lost time:
That reminder, rattled,
loose-change gathers,
buying bar laughter,
soured breath,
days after.


There is a smallness
to you,
he thought,
just physical,
petite, of course,
whilst, in that moment,
you exploded in his eyes,
as he watched your lips
form the word ‘Pogues’,
thinking what a kiss,
on such lips
would be like,
a largeness of
bitten pout,
as you reformed
your accent
under his tease:
You walked back,
on lit streets.

Grudge Match

No new-built Britannia,
no tax-pirate ship:
A small piece of Britain!
It’ll cost zillions of quids!

A gift for us all!
Worth every penny!
But pounds buy less,
unsure how many:

A floating gin palace?
Build no more yachts,
we’re pre-Brexit sunk,
we have spent the pot;

now England’s stuck
at Scottish loggerheads,
build deathly Successors,
load the warheads,

aim them at Holyrood,
and prepare for launch,
Eton mess made good
by Boris’ first war.


Botleys: Loss of an apostrophe

Those red brick villas
on the sloped lawn hill,
with service roads
linking collections
and deliveries
at every odd hour,
where patients walked,
the ones that could,
between the few points
some had known,
only known, since birth,
long-ago baptised
in that place by
the cloyed smell
of cleaning, and of filth
carried over, into them,
the walking, the lain,
the chair-rocked,
a few with head guards,
over those broken minds.


Let’s Put It In Writing

Fifteenth May, nineteen eighty-five, Brighton,
a Top Rank Suite, for an evening’s adoration,
standing, a puntered-audience of boys’ bad skin,
but fast forward, here, now, sat-settling,
in gentrified Hove, off the low Western Road:

Waiting, stalled, greyed women and men,
pot-bellied, various middle-aged friends,
like the rank of boorish South Africans,
love-locked, along with billy-no-mates,
who arrived, drunk-stumbled, seated late:

‘You missed Rattlesnakes,’ Mr Cole said,
looking equally pissed at their loud entrance.
And I ended the concert, stood at the exit,
removed by my stiffened need to stretch,
whilst the audience sat, politely applauding,
I shifted, mine the only standing ovation.