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).


 

Allhallowtide & Halloween


With more martyrs to count
than days in the 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 neighbours’ patience
really thin,
your kids making doorbells
ring and ring –

those normally just rung
by Parcelforce,
and Jehovah’s Witnesses
(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.


 

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?’


Instructions On How Not To Die

For the children, teachers, TAs, and staff at Little Horsted School, East Sussex. Thank you for choosing @parkinsonsuk as your charity, your fundraising is fantastic, your poems are beautiful.


Put on your jump suit, it is quite a struggle,
meet your buddy, the man tugging your toggle.

Pull on your harness, adjusted too tight!
Walk outside, the sky looks quite HIGH!

Say ‘Goodbye’, shout out ‘It’s all fine!’, secretly hoping it’s not a lie,
Stride to the plane, like a pro, its roaring props don’t half blow!

Climb a short ladder, still afraid of heights,
Sit in the floor, swallow back your fright.

Get strapped to the man, who does this for thrills,
Take off, sat backwards, up above the field.

Polite conservation, as you fly through the sky,
talk ’bout anything, anything, but not about dying!

Watch the light go green, people fall out the plane,
Now its your turn to feel their pain.

Sit there, on the edge, just like God,
Turn your head to the left, and then drop…

Sweet Truth

Written for Little Horsted CE School, East Sussex – poetry workshop

Just like Roald Dahl,
The best writer of stories,
I surrender too easily,
To sweet-tooth fairies:

Chocolate, oh chocolate!
Terrifying stuff,
The scary thing is..
I can’t get enough!

I don’t care ’bout wrappers,
Brand names or offers,
The chocolate inside,
is all that matters!

Chocolate, oh chocolate!
Causes tooth rot,
The truth is, the truth is,
I don’t give a jot!

Easter eggs on sale,
The day after Xmas,
Begging to be bought,
And eaten to excess!

Chocolate, oh chocolate,
A mouthful of treats,
You are so bad for me,
But still taste so sweet!

Paper Round, 1980

That paper-boy
dawn chorus
in half-light
played
shrill here,
again garden-deep

placing me back
on my wobbled bike
sack-shouldered
weighted rub-cuts
of news
which I delivered
in every weather
others’ opinions

as the street lamps
burnt out on time
I diligently posted
rolled folded or flat
subject to slot
delivered without fail
by my Fleet-inked fingers.

From The Stadium

Ahead of me – one empty sat-down seat,
centre-back, in this well-attended free bus,
cushion dipped by time, worn by re-visits,
and other weightier-trips across Brighton;
first leg of our return home from the stadium.
We left five minutes early, off wind-groomed pitch,
to get my old boys’ seat, back to the racecourse blow.

Five-a-side, a match before me, no kicking-off;
two bus-faced rows of old men on bench seats,
aged choristers, wearing no wings, winter-wrapped,
and, my guess, a combined span of seven hundred years,
taking me, quickly, to the birth of The Renaissance,
and to Jan van Eyck – not a football manager.

My two boys, lost in the standing coats, look so young,
bus-jolted, but enjoying life, beyond these grim choir stalls.
Just one of the five, down the left, singing aloud now:
‘One goal, should have been three!’ grimly thrown.
I look again at the aligned church-shined toes,
brogues, Clark’s boots, and other comfortable soles.

Steamed up, under-powered, as we climbed over Falmer:
Then, Woodingdean’s winter illuminations:
Misted-view of a bruised bus stop, naked, no poster,
pub lights, still beaming pre-ban smoky yellows,
and angry traffic lights outside the Downs View Hotel.

This journey, to the whine and song of the diesel engine,
over rattle of chassis, clanking like an ill-fit armoured suit,
and an under-pinned stutter of gears and transmission;
I could be tunnelling, Underground, returning from Chelsea,
another lost night at Stamford Bridge, of over-paid play,
on an overloaded tube, instead, this winners’ free bus.

The last hill-grind, up to the racecourse and car park,
relief among the two teams, their bladders held tight,
for that final long release in the loo, before bed.
I stand up, as we shunt over the potted road,
My walking stick matches that of the older players.

Trust No One

Get to the dentist,
you have nothing to lose,
just a few teeth,
and the ability to chew.

The lady in the mask,
poking your molars,
has studied dentistry,
for millions of hours.

Trust her, listen,
she says quite loudly:
‘You’re eating less sweets’,
and your Mum beams proudly..

Ugh..

..Mum exposes her dentures,
teeth she keeps in a glass,
next to the bed,
along with other spare parts:

(You can trust your parents
to let you down,
their teeth are terrible,
some are grey-brown.)

Mum smiles wide,
the dentist spots the mush,
breakfast leftovers,
which Mum failed to brush.

To Charlotte Savage, Thank you

The stoic Lollipop Lady,
Manor’s stick-wielding boss,
she was out in all weathers,
the snow, rain, and frost.

Her high-vis personality,
cheery, loud, and with grace,
giving rat-run drivers
her glared look-of-disgrace:

With waved magic baton,
she guided kids safely across –
the missing Lollipop Lady
is Manor’s greatest loss.