The Elephant at Her Eightieth

I do not want a piece of cake –
Thank You

Your mother brought it back
from Great Aunty Sue’s wake –
or was it her birthday party –
from that family jamboree –

Except for you and me my boy –

at The Grand Hotel – Brighton
which featured an elephant
in The Ballroom

It was erect – so huge –
tight between their party pieces
and it stood on your mother’s foot

John rode it for his entertainment
as your mother stroked
its flaccid grey trunk

And Aunty Sue asked –
Why isn’t your lovely family here,
dear Niece?

There was no honest answer –
not with such a whopper
in the room

Hawkers

Our frail back door sat double-locked
as I did not want another invasion
of pitched voices from passing-by
knocking salesmen

Her cheeping sister and clucking mother
hammered loudly – an unhoped arrival –
with hops inwards and trite explanations –
Them: Some small gifts for the birthday girl!

Me: Sorry – She’s at school
They were here for mere seconds –
slipping gift knots and propping cards
My offer of lattes was not taken up

Because they were –
In such – such – a rush
Our sat dog and I were stumped
by their removal to a local hostelry

when we do
a damn fine cup of coffee
and have our kind selves
as such – such – great company

As If She Had Struck Herself

Banshee my first thought –
followed by lunatic
and then spitting feathers
but was spitting nails better?

Her hand was sudden –
flat – iron-hard on my face
in such a swift upper arc
It was well-practised –

she was beating
every man and boy
who had ever dare ignore
her high pitch of orders

Those grey eyes revealed
a fleeting wince –
as if she had struck
herself with this hate

An instant recoil
of her upper body
as her buckshot rebut
kicked her back

And every crease
on her lined face
doubled up
She had struck herself

Your Dog Leash

As your Anacreon
I still say –
Keep on making
common mistakes

Dear Philomedes
do not let them
now burden you
with their regrets

They will pull on you
like my sculpting string –
binding you – stinking –
buried in another’s bed

stuck between sex work
and rattled corporate travel –
amid that hot seethe
in their holy places

Admit your error –
as it is if their praise
Your family are your enemy
by those cries of pain

found in child birth’s
one-sided game
It was handed down
by your foul-mouth mother

who uses the N-word
far too freely
I will not write out
her sparkling excuses

I seek my pleasures –
no had-I-wist words –
before a rogue seed
takes my ill-held throat

#EasterSunday

He kicks his third found ball
outside our back door
beating an executor’s drum roll

before his imminent collection –
by his mother – to be dragged
to Grandma’s gathering of love

where elephants stand in rooms
and his overbearing relatives
pour their necessary champagne

and pretend that life is beautiful
everywhere – but don’t mention his father
or anything else to spoil this day

He will return with word bruises
but he won’t show them to me –
I have to accept his light kicking