Thursday, 21 January 2016

‘Fast’ Eddie's story

That guitar rasps like a smoker’s cough.
It was always in our house, see
and everyone who came in scraped some varnish off
didn’t they. Well, one day
it disappears; it gets half-inched
They put a story in the newspaper
about how it’s been pinched:
‘Local pop group looking for guitar’.
This bloke phones me up about the ‘reward’.
He wants a hundred quid – frigging liberty.
Next thing, someone’s on the doorstep, this bird.
That’s how it came back to me.
That guitar sings to me like Leda’s swan.
Next week, it’s going back up the M1.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Fixing a door

Recalling blue lights flashing
I sandpaper your plaster and wood
returning to health your leper’s skin
as if repairing you could make things good.
You were the protector of this house
your scars are an accurate record
of each choatic entrance and egress –
they are a route map of discord.
I will scrape and polish the front door
as if smoothing out each impression
will reestablish a sense order
hoping to restore harmony within
and to rehabilitate a failed guardian.
You kept danger out, or held it in.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Pret a Manger spicy burrito wrap

Bland, content less, homogenous
food from which the life has been beaten
food that has no soul
rendered lifeless by repetition
food that merely whispers
and that has no mystery
food like a spread sheet
designed by a committee
food like a vague memory
whose colours are washed away
food that that casts no shadow
and that has no history
no guitar plays, the square is empty
a ghostly horse wanders by

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Come dine with me

In such good company
The art of conversation can thrive
The food was excellent  
well-chosen and in season
For this reason, I am giving you a five

I have eaten gazpacho before
It’s somewhat passé, don’t you think?
A bit gauche, a bit nouveau riche
At least there was plenty to pour
For this reason, I am giving you a four

For you, talk does not flow easily
Your talents are not culinary
Your menu, frankly, did not rise above the ordinary
Beans on toast, I mean … really?
For reason, I am giving you a three

I did not say anything
But there was a hair in my stew
Your conversation was awkward
Your cooking atrocious
For this reason, I am giving you a two

You assaulted your guests with a gun
Three contracted food poisoning
Another decided to run
For this reason, I am giving you a one

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Leaving home

Five poems on any subject, in any style
Double-spaced, send SAE
No correspondence will be entered into
Said the Rules, solemnly

Carefully, I assembled them
In fresh coats, with labels, attached with string
Their faces were well-scrubbed
I wished them Godspeed – my little team

On a strange doorstep far away
They pushed on an unfamiliar bell
Like a town on the other side of an estuary
Light and sound came through a window

Someone answered, eventually
Feeling uncomfortable
They hung up their new coats
They walked across the border – the hallway

Of course they rhymed, they did not know how not to
Wearing clothes that seemed too formal
They mingled awkwardly
The other poems did not talk to them

One had a goatee
Another played the guitar
Another spoke five languages
They seemed to know each other already
My poems had one drink and left early

They told me, later, that they felt out of place
They were too gauche, too … provincial
Still scrubbed, in their party finery
They came home to me
It’s a big world – they just weren’t ready

Of course, they were sad, we all were
But no tears were shed
I gave them a hug and a hot chocolate
Carefully, I put them to bed

Monday, 30 November 2015

A new direction

A change of career, at my age, but what? 
Perhaps I could be a philologist
Or work overseas as a diplomat
Or entertain, as a stage hypnotist

In my new role perhaps I could be
A logician, or an ontologist
Or a lecturer in theology
Or a Jungian psychoanalyst

But I am not qualified for that
Or to skateboard professionally
Or to be a comedian, or an acrobat
For I lack the skill or dexterity

Perhaps a gift for mere fluency
Could serve me in my new career
I could be a spin doctor, or a disc jockey
Or the new presenter on Top Gear

I guess you should know that I am not
Strong enough to work in security –
If hot air built homes, I could build a lot –
And that early mornings wouldn’t suit me

A change of career, but what?
Proof-reader, cat breeder, exorcist?
I need a job that is frankly bullshit –
Like style consultant or astrologist

I could spin a line as a touchline hack
A self-styled ‘sports psychologist’
Or turn a coin, half-guru, half-quack
With Feng Shui, as a New Age therapist

If I was fired up with passion
I could demonstrate kitchen gadgetry
Or be a faith healer or work in fashion
But, to be honest, I don’t have the energy

To earn a crust from guile or flattery
My motivation levels are low
Why can’t they just pay me to watch TV?
Each rejection would be a body blow

Friday, 20 November 2015

Rye Lane in a time of war

We wrap up in layers our winter jeopardy
As if unaware of the hostilities
a man is selling vegetables in the square. 
The whispering leaves are our enemies.

In their crimson coats, they are warriors.
Their sole purpose, to return to the ground.
‘The earth is great,’ they cry out
as they pull the ripcord and plunge earthbound.

We wear our solemnity like old clothes
with a vague sense that we have been here before
recalling our ancestors in silent remembrances.
Like they were, we are at war.