Value


I am humiliated by this decay,
its dragged moments I can’t avoid,
it lessens me, I will slope away,
to be cloaked in the duvet’s void:
There my limbs are less employed,

as am I, in a short-lived suspense,
over sleep-engineered springs,
to a place of brief recompense;
but with my being there I shrink,
my devaluation, one lasting thing.


 

Warehouse Lad


This is a return to hell,
sitting in a warehouse
of soft-play constructions,
and other people’s kids,
re-fueled by sweet drinks,

and me, here, trapped,
in seating which complained
under my current weight,
sofas impossible for a man
to rise from with any style.

Another dad, rather anxious,
up among the ricochet of kids,
in the net-safe towers of foam,
as we sat adults observe
his mismatched socks on show.

In the roof raw strip lights,
and foil-wrapped air-con,
take me back to other hours
of square feet, of a life spent
working in commercial sheds,

equal scaled-down hells
of my previous employments,
in look-alike high structures,
now called industrial units,
the new measure of lost time:

A lad clears the tables,
tipping purple drinks, chips,
and piled, untouched food
into a bucket: an hour of his life
equal to the remains on one plate.


 

The Old Boy


Grandfather was of a slipped generation
with his Bakelite-twirled-to radio stations –
tuned to his low-hums with orchestras
and his wound-up clock – that western sutra –
its regular pendulum his hands-free baton
conducting his lonely tea-mornings taken –
until he rolled his guard-rattling Raleigh
out of the garage – always wordlessly –

for his brief progress to priest-led prayers
down to the hymns and those-who-care
His trouser leg rolled – clipped – chain-safe –
he pedalled away to kneel at God’s place –
I re-delivered his Guardian newspaper
to his emptied room – our in-house neighbour –
In such regular times I’d take a sneak –
a look inside The Old Boy’s suite –

His life with us was lived behind two doors –
the only bedroom with parquet-floors –
in that other place – not fully his own –
in his free chapel – there prayers alone –
beside his shelves of impossible books –
Schweitzer tallest amongst the hardbacks –
Some with his dead wife’s dated name –
but no further indications of her ever being –

That forensic examination of his living space –
with my untrained eye – I made mistakes –
I never read well his folds or light marks
which re-leafed books do often impart –
I now decipher those responses I get –
I am near his last age – and he gains my respect

041118

Putin’s Law


Multiply subordinates,
not your rivals,
as Parkinson’s Law
stands, as it applies:
Nothing to do with
shuddered disease,
more about huge
bureaucracies:
A law equally applied
to the world’s leaders,
with their hidden desire
for sinister pleasures.
Putin has studied
this arcane resolve,
he’s running America
through Trump’s arsehole.


 

Distance


The distance, my distance,
on our late-traipse home,
we split, slipped in time,
stonewall of town’s slope,

to the bells’ commands
of Holy Cross Church:
with books, our language,
of moments mis-heard:

This distance, my distance,
you shall have to forgive,
as long as such distances
are not distances long-lived.


 

Gifted


It’ll be another end
to another slowing year,
my tightening body
under pain’s besmear:

A letterbox drop,
cards on the hall floor,
there to remain,
as I can’t bend any more:

Christmas on pause,
a slight hint of freeze,
until the carer’s arrival,
to attend to me –

if she turns up,
if she’s the same one,
– my hour will lighten,
a bath will be run.

A text from my child,
now a mum on her own,
they’ll be here by three,
we are never alone.

One lesson I’ve learnt,
under disease’s deep rub,
is that life is still wonderful
when treated with love.


Featured in Parkinson’s Life


Last Minute


‘Twas the last Saturday
before Christmas,
and a panic ensued,
a present for his mother,
even though she’s so rude;

you dive into Smiths,
lacking Xmas inspiration,
you come out carrying
others’ foul perspiration.

Instead buy a scarf,
from the crap-gift store,
but such selfless endeavour
doesn’t bring you rewards.

You’re home, empty-handed,
so knock back the red wine,
after all it’s Christmas,
you’re meant to unwind.

Open Ebay, hit ‘Search’,
and find her an online gift,
Christmas has been sorted,
now forget the old bitch.


 

4,000 Weeks To


And how to use
this allocation
well: Connect
with the same,
do not allow
any form of abuse,
become a philosopher
(or a published poet),
evacuate your mind
of ill-thoughts,
whatever you do
don’t be efficient;
meditate daily,
embrace all love,
do not delay
and waste less time:
Always avoid,
whenever possible,
an early death
(look both ways).


 

Five Bar


At our five bar gate,
with the quick-trap latch,
uneven in closing,
mis-fitted, ill-aligned,
is where I stood,
with a long view of your
approaching sadness,
and you stopped to talk,
after a usual pleasantry;
but then you gave to me
your knave-held cards,
a pair of bastard men,
living in different houses:
There I stood equal
to their low value,
in other dealings,
under different stakes:
I had to express doubt
in your maybe-boyfriends,
exposing their bluff,
as mine was once dealt.


 

Philipshame


Mr. Philip Davies,
Shipley’s own MP,
always votes to deny
womens’ equality:
There are many concerns
on his To Do List
(his Ladbrokes punts
are a bit hit-and-miss*).
Now sat on a committee,
one which he detests,
I’ll wager he’ll reduce
its odds of success:
He won’t help Parliament
smash any glass,
instead he’ll get
the ceilings reinforced.


Digging


With these lines, today’s commitment,
I revisit burials I have turned from,
the lowered place of shovelled history,
which, even under my reduced recall,
are things that shouldn’t have been:

Those minor indiscretions
which if dug up, levered, exhumed,
and stinking of the past’s decay,
would make you think less of me:
Those shallow graves best undisturbed.


 

Commuters


Stationary, white
towel-wrapped,
having exited
the shower to stand
there for me,
before our drive,
a shared journey;
she dripped beads
off her bared calves,
marking the carpet
with spotted stains,
falling, raining,
as she rubbed, flicked,
her crop of dark hair,
then her right thigh
was glimpsed, exposed;
I sat, entranced.
A later time
I leant over her,
as she soaked,
the return trip;
I bit her nipples,
wetting my chin
in the clear water,
I bobbed for her then.
But she was always
the fruit, to be left.


Rogue One: Review One


A sideshow, a bit part of the story,
in a galaxy far, far away;
never closer to any ending,
and Troopers’ aim, as ever, astray:
Rough Rebels yell loudly for glory,
with occasional laughs at their knobs –
lit buttons pressed too randomly,
but, still they do the job.
A gathering of weird alien species,
stood around their circular table,
future knights, again myth-making,
think the Force is more than capable.
With a cameo from a long-dead actor,
heavy breaths from the ever-buffed Darth,
Rogue One sits nicely in the box set,
big returns on a brand we all love.


 

Neoliberalism – The Box Set


Democracy is now a box set,
an entrance and exit farce,
a short comedy of situation –
laughter at Ed Balls’ odd dance.

We – the strapped-in audience
– with our contract, paying-to-view,
watch these series evolve,
produced by the political few:

They’ll direct the rape of services,
and write-out aged stars,
they’ll script the tawdry screenplay,
and expect us to play the parts.

Our rights have been lost to our stories,
no repeat fees paid for mistakes,
the masked bureaucrats run the studio,
they sweep aside the costly out-takes.

“True Democracy – A Filthy History”:
We sit before our sixty-inch screens,
we are dealt the marked House of Cards:
On sofas no one hears your screams.


Wardrobe

For BM


She is the girl next door,
there, ever-mirrored
either putting on
or, unequally, taking off
the considerations
of make-up, between
the piled demands of
revisions and homework
and the shouldering
of pressure – be correct,
even among friends:
her childhood is now
hung, stored, boxed;
she, these days, dictates
her wardrobe choice:
of what is to be kept,
or what is to be thrown.


 

An Apology


Aleppo, this day, will be
our unspoken apology
to those children gassed,
shelled – small witnesses
to our huge mistakes,
bearers of the fall-out,
each one reduced under
our ancient-held belief
of war within the cradle
of their civilization:
Our solution for peace
is to stand-aside,
until one side has won.


 

Retirement Plans for Nigel


Oh @Nigel_Farage
you are such an elf,
a giver of presence,
but only yourself;
a true little helper
to Euro-wide gifts,
what will you do
when no grants exist?
Off to blow Trump
-with other white men?
KKK calls,
a new outfit then?
When you’ve got a medal
off Donald-the-Trump,
(for services to freedom,
and great sucking up),
will you retire
from your very public life,
with your chain-smoked-fags
and warm British pints?
Hang the Barbour up,
next to a migrant,
make your German wife
re-do your ironing:
sharp creases down
your best baggy cords,
and a lovely trip to Spain
with your Tesco Rewards?


 

Margaret in Leather


She wears leather flares,
and fashionable loafers,
St Theresa of the nation
reclines on her sofa:
She’ll stretch for the Saudis,
the ones who arm-deal,
she ensures they crave missiles,
she sells righteous thrills.
Sniff her crossed thighs,
calf-sweated, hide-moist;
she has Thatcher’s eyes,
she has Margaret’s voice.
St Theresa will command
her ministerial messrs,
they’ll bow to her cries,
‘cos she wears the trousers.


 

Passion Notes


It was in local woods,
a tight thicket of birches,
where we went, as three
boys, over a silvered heath,
to that last kick-of-leaf place.

Here I was cast as a victim
in your impromptu war:
Your third, or fourth stone
caught me on my forehead,
in a thick-hit, spun at me,

bowled sports-fast, pitch;
almost a third eye opened
on my hand clapped brow,
no blood, but that helped me
to see I wasn’t wanted.


 

Three Men


Three men in the pub
laughed at ‘Bloody poofs’ –
spittle off their words,
guffaws with it’s use.

Next subject: ‘Croatians’
and dark politics of race;
this place I drink in,
is a stale hub of hate.

I try to guide my kids
across the fouling of life,
but how can I succeed
when the world now lies?


Foreign Parts


The Turks have bought Illustrious,
Lusty – as known to her crews;
launched by Princess Margaret,
when only warships would do.

The Near East will get to break her,
she’s going to be shaped into tanks,
or cans of low-calorie soda,
produced to sate the fat yanks;

but neither tin will save us,
as our slimmed-down navy sinks,
minimal strength is far healthier,
with reduced-fat defence.

We’ll send them Boris (instead),
barking like a rabid pooch,
he’ll get back our oldest enemies,
every time he opens his mouth.

But St. Theresa’s had enough
of her blonde Secretary’s games,
she’s sending him up to Sleaford,
to fight UKIP’s foreign gains.


Projection Booth


fullsizerender

In the airless cupboard
of our sixties new-build,
in that three storey house,
up on the second floor,
we gathered, brothers,
to delight in the wonders
of the boxed projections,
a Chad Valley picture show
of Thunderbirds Are Go;
with fat batteries loaded,
like dad’s shotgun cartridges,
in the spring-tight blue barrel,
and then, a twist of focus,
our slide show began,
on the whitewashed wall:
Us on a shelf, in the warm.


Heat Exchange


December bird song comes
through the slid-up sash,
cracked because of
the unbearable heat in here:

And I am advised
that I have too many layers,
which I am told to wear,
but ‘not now, my dear.’

I lie, a bed-bound choice,
under eyes so heavy they hurt,
as the house drains of voices;
I cool commensurately.

But I have work to do, as ever,
and I will recall reduced strengths:
I shall stand before my empty desk
to conjure, from nothing, creation.


 

Turn Off


turn-off-the-news

Turn off the news,
shut down the feeds,
silence the radio,
unplug your TV,
look beyond bylines,
avoid the shouts,
blank out the posts,
turn from the crowd,
reduce all exposure,
pull down the blinds,
this day is yours,
remain safe in your mind.


 

Watched

Over the milky coffee,
at that scattered table,
he tried not to undress you;
he employs distractions,
but fails, again, to subdue
his notion of you stripped,
of your dreamt breasts
rested on that cold wood,
your ribs riding as you lift
the hot drink to your mouth,
and the finger that you use
to wipe the froth from your lip,
is the same finger yet to go
near his cup-rattling cock:
The dregs of his latte cools.

Angry Santa of Tunbridge


Today I met Santa Claus,
queued up for the 29,
off to Tunbridge Wells,
he was stood quietly in line.
I just had to stop and ask
how work is for him now,
he replied quite sternly:
They’ve removed the sense of wow..
..it’s a mad, mad world we live in,
child abuse… kids left to die:
I’ve stopped all home deliveries, 
in case I’m banged-up Christmas night.
I’ve now outsourced to Hermes, 
it’s as efficient as the sleigh:
And what’s it bloomin’ all about? 
More credit cards to repay!
I left him, stood there fuming,
grumbling, quite profane,
I’m glad I didn’t ask him
if I’d be getting socks again.


Unadopted


You were pulled from me in the coldest of months,
in a slow-mopped hospital they cleared your lungs:
I read you the fact, what they had written,
you being just mine, no father was given.

In that shortened week I was your only mum,
in that compress of time.. my first love began.
The day it snowed to boot-thick-deep,
I dressed you, carefully, in a pink layette;

I took you down to the hospital’s car park,
to a woman waiting, with a man in a car,
but I could not let you be removed,
there followed a struggle, I still wear the bruise;

Dad tugged you hard, out from my arms,
pushed you to the woman in that fast-revving car.
She turned to your face, as they drove away,
I felt my heart crumble, and it began to decay.

A year after your birth a photo was sent,
from an anonymous place, by your perfect parents:
Four decades passed, all my family’s gone,
I sit with your picture, I am your only one.