Kids Pay

It is that moment
they mass at the till,
in the push-tight bar,
as dad checks the bill,
and mum, in her anorak,
cannot work out
if tips are included,
as the kids look up
at the array of spirits
they have never sipped,
ever keen to escape
this embarrassment.

Lost Words

I mislaid a lover’s poem tonight –
now undone over wireless files –
by the members’ club –
near my short-lived home –
I dropped the text – her words have gone –
my lust-spews lost her – internet-blown
What of un-doings can I now re-build
in this swilled night-time
with sleep to kill?
A recall of her squats –
her tight compressions
over my thighs – shoved without questions –
and my pained hands on her flattened breasts –
I type too fast to retrieve behests
Tonight I’ll dream of us reaching – fumbling –
fingering and buried – ever French-kissing –
but all those breaths are a short frustration
I’ll lose the lines in my translation –
I was stood naked on a littered road
and her lost poem lay folded –
still unknown


Lost Dad

Dad turned into a dog just before
the US-presidential election,
the world was changing so much
that anything, anything was possible,
like Dad becoming a cross-breed,
like Dad then shitting on our lawn,
(Dad never, ever, did that before).
He turned into a beautiful mongrel,
possibly part-Labrador, part-Poodle:
‘Stupid, with good looks,’ was all Mum said.
But what do we do about it?
I spent a few days hugging him,
trying not to catch his sad eyes.
What could I do? I am only sixteen.
Mum was rubbish, she told no one,
not even Gramps, who knows everything.
We were confused, in our own little world.
Perhaps the re-count would happen,
and prove that Russians fixed the election,
and Dad would become Dad again?
Not likely, according to the feeds I grazed upon:
Yes, I do RSS. I AM a child of the internet,
we don’t all just do Insta-snap.
I sat at the window, the grass grew high outside,
Dad’s peeing on it made no difference:
Mum got a cute lawn boy in,
who complained about Dad’s shits.
Try scooping them up each morning!
On the seventh day I bought a lead for Dad,
Mum was still in denial, so I took him out:
Opposite our house are the best woods ever,
once you have crossed the dangerous road,
the one Dad forever moaned about.
But now he strained at his lead,
desperate to cross, no matter what.
He responded well to my commands,
which I had looked up on Google.
He ran off, like a furious sprinter:
Dad had never run anywhere before.
I watched him spin on the loose dry leaves,
chasing the wind-blown ones,
and then he disappeared, forever.

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I’m a Celebrity

I dreamt Ant and Dec
were happily hosting
‘I’m a Celebrity..
Get Me Out of Syria’:

“It was tougher than
I thought it’d be,
drinking foul water,
eating what we found,
which tasted so sick,
but I am so proud;
my camp mates are great,
I want them all to win,
but I’m a free celebrity,
and their future is grim.”

She smiled in her moment,
prime-time TV,
whilst crossing back
to reality.

No Lift

I am alone, stood,
stranded in the dark,
outside an unplugged,
vinyl-skinned, olde pub,
both so remote,
the last orders forgotten,
and the staff have gone;
left with no signal, no lift,
under that ever-same
stretch of try-to-name stars:
me, a witness to the late
rush of commuter cars,
and out-for-dinner suitors.
A lone owl re-calls,
but it is only discernible
when the road is lulled,
when her refrain greets
the dead heavens above,
and, for those still seconds,
Sussex returns to old ways.



He’s thinking too late,
slightly pissed before bed,
stiff and undressed
into cooled nakedness:

He will make you stand,
your eyes turned east,
you will face from him,
as he drops to his knees:

There your reduction,
him a flesh-bare thug,
as you stand blinded,
and his heart binds hard:

Your white legs splayed,
by his too-sure grip
pushing you open,
to find a fit in your hips.


I stand at a window
in the heart of Beirut
counting bullet holes
in the wall opposite:
Fireworks overhead,
jarring the senses,
reviving my long-buried
childhood memories:
And what does the man,
fourteen floors below,
make of such explosions,
in his war’s afterglow?
I am here for a meeting,
in this luxury hotel,
for hedge fund managers
who will all go to hell.

Bens (sic) Place

I am that bent man in the long raincoat,
with a bagged bottle, my red antidote:

I am stick-led past the bar lessee,
still struck by his loss of an apostrophe;

in there a couple, I fished from reflections,
looked me just once, then resumed conversation.

I crossed shone tarmac onto grey matt stone,
that moment I gripped, not quite alone:

In the small park under rain-weighted trees,
I found my own place below the bent canopy,

with shelter from the worst, poor-afforded below,
I turned into an old man, and walked home alone.

Card Shark

Protectionism is the Trump card,
and with his Ace the West will shut,
reduced trade and less bartering,
see the embers of boom then lost.

Our bank rates will rise tomorrow,
as our true values take a dive,
the right will scream for purity,
as the beaten left, again, divides.

Shadows from the last century
are returning on the scans,
science has since developed,
but lies are fact for businessmen.

Trump hid from early battles,
draft dodged it is said,
perhaps now he’ll take a bullet,
to become a short-lived President.

Interesting News

I heard it on the radio
this morning,
they have delayed the future
for our own good,
it’s in our best interest
to know nothing,
because nothing
is our future’s last good news:

What we watch tonight
on our wide-inched screens
will be the past,
because nothing is now live,
all transmissions
are being pre-recorded,
we’re dis-engaged
in these interesting times.

Advice for Jeremy, from Jeremy

Jeremy Clarkson
you are such a cock,
turn a new leaf,
read a self-help book:

The Thoughts of Jeremy‘,
writ by Corbyn,
‘Take the shit that’s
always coming’;

then no small foreigner
will screw your life,
if you see the world
through such alien eyes:

Next time you rage,
getting very irate,
heed Corbyn’s words,
and swallow back your hate.

Hotel Entrance

Her other self steps out
under the hotel-lights,
with the sun lowered,
as the early dusk scowls:

In heels she copes, as ever,
on irregular paths and routes,
a recall of her airline days,
those trips less troublesome,

just turbulence and trolleys:
These punters, these travellers,
more equal in measures
of demands and sullen desires,

and not so easily stepped over,
but, in her head, in her way,
her coping with passengers is:
they all pay, they all deserve:

Holding her coat collar-tight,
chin-wrapped against them all,
swinging her bag in the other hand,
on time, on her high price spoor.


He sits in his cooled car
watching the moon’s
unclothed glow draw
past the back-lit clouds,

and he thinks about
her stripped disquiet,
her pale, tightened, skin,
how her muscles felt,
under her folding over

and his locking in;
and he can still smell
her on his fingers,
and he pulls out
those screen wipes

and rubs, and rubs,
but she’s still there,
under his wedding ring,
in his sweated palms,
on the locked wheel,

and he is unable to remove
her scented presence,
even with the wet-wipe
of fake pine forests.


The intensity of morning light
beyond the thin curtains,
signaled that promised snow:
As predicted, as forecast,
as talked about last night,
an imminent-probability.

He knew it was there
before he opened the drapes:
It was an almost-glow
off the fat fresh fall – heaped
over the rooftops, cars, streets
and gardens, and then the horizon.

He held the curtain slightly ajar
and hard-pressed his nose
against the windowpane,
feeling the cold from outside
reach in to him, through the glass,
its difference bit his skin.

He absorbed the bleached landscape,
knowing that the kids, only the kids,
would be pleased, as she turned
in the wide bed behind him,
and then breathed noisily, abruptly,
a deep sleep change;

she was sucked, back into the last
dream-rubbed phase:
He thought about waking her,
with an offer of a tea, but decided
letting her lie in would score,
a few relationship-points.

Look It Up

Today some librarians
were summarily shot,
others had their licked-fingers

No fresh cash to buy,
no more books to improve –
libraries to re-define

Once places to search
where we pulled from the shelves
fat dictionaries,

but without re-filling
the reference sections,
truth will be left
to Google’s introjections.


The Night Before Remembrance Sunday

East Hoathly, Sussex. 

We walked the limpid lanes,
empty, except for
the to-be-exploded
indolent traffic cones;
here it is dank under high clouds
and low wood smoke,
with no street lighting,
except the garish fluorescents

strung off vulgar food wagons,
which, in turn,
are measured out
along the drip-drip lanes:
A miracle, in this remote place,
feeding the five thousand,
not one disciple put off
by the high-vis Police,
or God’s bad weather,

as ever unwelcome in these bonfire towns.

We met an angel, alone,
at the far end of the playing field,
her troubled illumination
an alliance of digital arts,
with her hands held out,
palms up, her timber shell fragile,
as if saying:

‘I was not real, I was not there, I am fiction’.

She was sacrificed, as planned,
like every shot down man
in the bloodiest battles
we could impose upon the poor:
these nations, these players,
these generals, these slayers.

Her cast embers heated debris at eleven am, Sunday.



He once hip-waded
across this life,
now no deeper,
just ankle-high;
those he’d stripped
in his mouth
He’ll now undress,
but in his eye:
A shot of water,
without whisky,
into sleep’s
half price dreams,
no sweated sheets,
no fingered-loving,
but he’ll wake more fucked
than he’s ever been.

Special Relative

Typesetters once did it
with wooden blocks,
but they used the wrong text,
now this confusion results:

They set out the erred-words:
‘Special Relationship’,
but should have laid out:
‘Small Useful Airstrip’:

Two countries separated
by a language neither speak,
and the marriage is damaged,
the special relationship creaks:

Trump puts us low,
dropped to ninth on the list,
when he ‘phones round the world,
to check who he can trust.

The Daily Mail will suck
on Donald’s presidential cock,
and Theresa May will kneel,
fumbling for his fat-dollar-knob.


Get A Second Life

Have all the Pokémons
gone to Second Life?
The streets are bereft
of kids mesmerized
by virtual monsters
stuck in their phones,
a poor excuse
to not stay at home:

Get out again,
you eye-phone youth,
get a real life,
it’s there to be used,
go catch a clown,
fools dressed to dread,
under those masks
the latest dick-heads.



We rent our cars,
we rent our homes,
we rent TVs,
on rental loans;

we rent our time,
we rent for kids,
we rent the break,
we’re rental shits;

we rent the sport,
we rent the web,
we rent our phones,
we rent the rest;

we rent our films,
we rent to save,
we rent our lives,
we’ll rent our grave.

HMS Tally-Ho!

The submarine
launched in ’42,
Dad sailed, mid-East,
post-war skewed:

He, first-born,
ten years before,
his boat, laid up,
’67, no more.

Also keel-hauled,
twenty years on,
his grey ashes lost,
wide Solent-blown.

The padre’s job,
thin dust he threw,
across the shrunken
Fleet Review,

over ghost of anchors,
ones long-thrown,
all now lost,
a sunken Tally-Ho!

Flying Rats

The flying rats circle over K.C. News,
roosting at night, dropping off their poos,

layering the slabs in a grey film of crap,
then off to the Post Office, to deliver more on that.

We need a Dad’s Army to defend our streets!
To patrol the pavements, with an eye out for shit:

Imagine the scenes, on Uckfield’s wide paths,
a platoon of pensioners blasting the pigeons apart!


It enfolds you in its heated fug,
the wheeled threshold, the NHS hug;
we sit and wait in a digit-lit queue,
but old illnesses will still kill us all:

I went for my ‘flu jab: ‘Done in a jiffy
‘You may feel unwell, perhaps a bit sniffy’.
I’m now pricked against influenza’s grab,
at least for a year then Hunt’ll cut back:

November, next, what will be left?
They’ll have turned down the heating,
and give back less: As I fall apart,
so will the state, we are both diseased,
our futures degrade.


There on the dresser
the family pictures,
sons stacked and set,
mother’s glossy fixtures,

my brothers captured,
in Kodak-rolled histories,
but mine’s found missing,
held there, not one of me:

Roared on the orbital,
gone from the old house,
a portrait held up,
my stiff-lip countenance,

framed in these rough palms,
my face here removed,
the accidental son
is now finally proved.

Bonfire 2016, Lewes

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong
gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

Thomas Paine, former Lewes resident.

Here – trapped again –
clipped at The Swan
with a Liquidators track –
a requested song –
ska for the drunks
who cannot dance –
especially the white
low-middle-class –
and those blacked-up
for bonfire fun –
hoping to upset
everyone –
White men as black men?
Not very ‘clever’ –
please torch the cocks
and their racist feathers


Delaware, Moving On

‘Each with a place’ Penelope Parker c. 2016

For PP

Your parents’ residence
was recorded by
their wall hangings,
and their belongings,

which you removed,
as if cutting down
through their lives,
stood for so long;

almost counting
acquired rings
of years, but you know,
already, it is fifty.

In the garage,
the wall of tools,
each with a place,
a purpose, nail-hung,

kept oiled and ready
for fixing and mending
any breakages,
but Pa’s skills,

his grip and twists,
will no longer be made
in this place,
now emptied.

Elizabeth Gardens

Sat on a bench,
in Elizabeth Gardens,
that irregularly manicured
Jubilee remnant,

I hear the thrumm-engine,
the Uckfield to London,
low tremors from the station,
with both of us ‘resting’,

but then she shunts loudly,
on her commuted haul;
and with my gripped pain
I stand, stiff, but resolved

that my own departure
is kept to a timetable,
one promised my wife
at my bench-long halt:

‘You go ahead, I need to rest’
and I watched her walk on,
with the dog, and its pull:

Me, re-scheduled,
to then slowly follow.

Out of Office, an Extra

Last week I was
a film ‘body double’
for a big star –
us, both, irresistible.

For three days running,
sat quite still,
my ear were filmed –
this takes great skill:

I am his doppelgänger,
from the rear,
because I have these
film star ears.

I did sign up for
perhaps you’ll see
a bit more of me.


Count Down

Do not consider
unless you can,
hourly, bear
this state
that is provided,
until the minute
when you pass,
and do not expect
any fixed date
of release, because
your good life
is measured by
your good death:
and will applauds,
with a last-laugh pill
as yours.


Moving a Sculpture

UNITY, by Allan Mackenzie

For AM

Farley Farm
was close to drugged,
slow with November’s
perpetual damp;

my view was short-taken,
by dozens of time-kicked
bricks in the long-revived
fat hip barn:

Having spent the morning
stacking dusty blocks
I was all for piling-up
everything more artfully.

A gardener appeared,
arm-locked in the steering
of a wheelbarrow of plants,
now lifted, redundant.

We required his own way
of up-rooting things,
and the piece was loaded
under his soft advice.

There, laid in two parts,
the sculpture divided,
over scatter cushions,
to soften the journey.

A grave length remained
of worm-turned turf,
where the statue had stood
we left a patch of earth.


Would We Stand at Orgreave?

Would we dig deep shifts
in the coughed guts of this land
then take home the spat news
our livelihoods have gone?

Would we vote – stand –
to the voiced-charges they made –
that our coal industry – our life –
is not there – will not pay?

Would we shout and argue
now the future isn’t ours
and gather at police lines –
faith in this – our last cause?

Would we dare to hold
our sunburnt ground
before the police horses
and rage of police hounds?

On Clement’s second call –
when horses charge again –
would we remain – standing –
as honest pit men?

Would we have the strength
to battle any more –
or did Thatcher crush it all
in her short civil war?

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