Chronicles of an endgame sour the day,
the last cormorant glides home half-asleep.
mauve tapering headland not faraway
Is darker; the treachery still indiscrete.
I trail past the quiet, dark caravan,
chest pounding with sorrow; tried to walk it
off but it don’t go – a woe-begotten
rotten vixen’s smashed my fragile heart.
On the rise, I make up the chintzy night scene
of Port Ithaca’s tourist hostelries.
Thronging poached Grockles being obscene
The Tamarind dropped anchor and despatched a
who announced the fate of the sweet, eyed,
from the coast of Malibar
to the swelling throng on the quay.
It appeared that, for once, the trades had been kind:
the Pirates of Somali
were vacationing in Bali
Lopsided head, dead on the sloping strand.
Smooth, sea polished shingle sizzles around
The victim of a mindless, callous hunt.
Transparently, he was born a mutant runt
Misfortune dogged him from his strangled birth
Until annihilation put an end to Bert
When it came the blow was random
His assailants worked in tandem
And cornered him beneath the pier
And despatched him swift without a care
The denounement was not so smooth
As they kicked him in the ocean crude
Tefal sank but not to the bottom
His killers thought he was forgotten
But he was borne by longshore and by rip
And in Pevensey he rested in deep silt
That is until a passing fisher digging for lug
His preserved remains out he dug
‘What’s up’ said Tefal examining his head
‘You’ with saline brevity the fisher said
‘These twenty years I have been there
Dead and happy…
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He was known to live life dissipated:
Gambolling in crazed buffonery,
Guzzled half a modest brewery.
When his liver, bored, emigrated.
My Uncle Head was steadfast and insistent:
‘Feed me!’ he yelled ‘Til I’m wild euphoric.’
For a pint of gin, no tonic: chronic.
So immaculated homeward: distant.
Ten Afton and a quart of Barleycorn,
stern tea and two, too loud radios
Unwelcomed him the very next morning
as he dimly recalled Jack de Mannio,
gave up on a shower and yawning,
levitated outsidewards to soil the patio.
Back inside he trawled in his shotaway head
and dredged up from its slum, the aviator,
Louis Blerio, who, a century and
one day ago, fetched lobster thermidore
and ate it for breakfast on England.
Head sloooshed a tuft of dog and considered
The perilous return voyage while his liver withered.
Hilda Hogg bit the bullet and set herself to flog her figurine of ole King Zog bequeathed by her fabled auntie Dora who held a candle for the old despot. Times was hard, there was a duck at the door with a hat on, Bailiff Bernard dunning a bill.
‘Adieu, old chum’ she whispered through a final lucky lick on the pate of the china chappie in her trembling hands. If she had really had a candle she would have lit it and muttered a homily to tractor production in Albania.
We are whaling, we are whaling, call me
Ishmael, the lucky bugger who found a tree
trunk drifting in lukewarm Horse Latitudes
and fashioned a canoe: sound, swift, bit crude;
but still, given the hairy circumstances,
he avoided the Fish’s necromancies.
Sat here on blustery Selsey Bill, chill
blasts of wintry Solent swoop the feral
groynes, sloppy creosoted and duned
with mounds of heave-hoed pebbles; propelled
from an ocean of discarded dying hulks,
Trainee corpses for the breakers yard: shelled.
This leviathan could not give tuppence worth
with his Moon and Sixpence and an old hair shirt.
Boring blinkered motorist –
Drivels on about
Fantasies of forever fading
Ghosts and diseased
Harlots & sirens screaming
Insults at curb crawlers: merely
Lamentable Sugar Loaf
Mountain climbers pepper the
North face of the Eiger,
Oddly dangling &
Posthumously posturing with
Queerly doomed eyes,
Redolent of summer seaside
Snapshots of Blackpool. Tastefully
Titillating playmates from dank
Ugly cotton mills and the
Vacuous halls of toff’s houses.
Residence was slavishly taken there;
Stolen scraps & slurps for skivvies: wages
Too meager for a human soul to
Undergo without vivacious
Vindictiveness: so, transport drove Lillie and
Wastrel, the footman, to play
Xylophonic heavy petting games at
Yeovil railway station after the ‘Prisoner of
Zenda’ was over.
Thigh-deep wading in the river, a band of
Fading lilies in her hair she whistled into
Cool air as the black night rested among
Its retinue in St. Cuthbert’s belfry.
This is not the dawn of last year, nor more
Than it is another night of wonder.
For there, beyond the railway sleeper
Love is rising
Trying too hard; put simply,
can’t decide where to start.
As you mean to go on?
As good as
So here we
The square one.
A saying that comes from
so that the
could follow on a grid
in the Radio Times.
But where was the square one?
The middle, the corners,
In the net?
As small beer gesture
Please accept this sparrow box
A token of depreciation—
pink handwoven creole tissues
ah, you shouldn’t have
eitherway no matter what…
Go love life the best you can
&c. and the rest
Blow hard when tears
such lofty whoppers.
Never ever try to make
a monkey out of me again, Scartender.
just take these hollow trinkets:
jade ephemera in the main,
you must have heard it said:
big minds never measure
jewels plucked from one gifted horse
Join me as I slink to twig the silver
dust away from the campfire’s embers.
See the fire glow: teaspoon it to flame,
Carefully perch the tall, crimson pot atop,
askew atop that is, and dig the day’s
latrine with that small yellow plastic spade.
We are on the outskirts of the craic of dawn.
Scantily clad tidings of cheap skates and
Square war-jaws, cousins to sleep’s hazel
snacks and myxamatosis of your mind’s eye.
& Adrian Mitchell on the wireless
Let’s let bygones be bygones
Bury the haggis
After all is said and done
It’s just water under the fridge
Were you just taking the piss
When you asked me why
the box of frogs I promised
was not for keeps just swops?
Mutually unsure destruction
Is not what it’s cracked up to be
Phew, that was close run race.
Nearly did something worthwhile
Till I came to my senses.
Let me tell you straight
The terror was tangible, tangerine, terrible.
Now it is over I can
return to Furplefarple Land
rest easy better in my bed
than this red sweater does
but cobalt and magenta
are in the wash
and so is
a frozen chicken
Every time you go
(which is increasingly
more frequent of late)
Johosophat gets very jumpy
It is a good thing that
I will never tell you that
You might do it to disturb
Him just for the sport
I know what you’re like sometimes
The devil makes work
For bone idle hands
boorish prats, the absent-minded,
& those who observe the worrying demise of rubber tree plants…
Bring me moonshine
In your smile
In my hearth
The paraphernalia of open fires—
Scuttles, grates, tongs, clinkers,
ash shovel, hatchet
Scrunching up the Sun
The News of the Screws
Picking good cinders
Three matches to light
Always three matches
Crackle & slow collapse
Juvenile flames keen to jive
The timing of the bigger sticks
The placement of the first coals
Put the heavy front on
Shut the little door
& hope real hard
Offer up a silent
prayer to the firegods
Every little helps
Last refuge of a scoundrel
See it caught at last
prone alert god
basking scrumpled in seed grass
melts gold leaf sun
dreams of the run
scampering last evening
dumb flounder, scoundrel stray
easy busy summer antic hay
wild dreamscapes frolic
buzzball spangles make mad play
pause scandalous figary
gathering bright ideas
a golden orb
in midnight indigo
lit doggo beach ball
candle splash automatic.
Start! Jump frenzy. Up!
Just a skylark in the dark
A shadow grounded
In belief and dreams drowned
Peer group laughing
Empires of deceit
Shirtless in Tazar
Melted in sad succour
Marshmallows on toaststed souls
gazed on panoplies of zonk
having a hatwave
a topical hatwave
white cliffs of dover
you certainly cant, cant-can’t
Barbirolli more swaggers than minces
over like D’Annunzio balling crazed
I am struck dumb by her swan neck
veins taut rope glisten.
Recoil in horror.
You bet I did.
Where’s Duran Duran?
Off busking with a Pink fucking Panther.
Sitting on a mushroom cloud
Buddy curls up neat
now waiting for a kiss.
Hurt goes on and on.
Walking like a sumo
quince in his nappy.
See I remember some bits.
The Dixie Whistlers vanished without Tracey,
I consoled her briefly and moved on
to Fenchurch Street to chuck some bricks around.
This is what I’m like.
Impossible: an impossible person.
Imp. Vip. Rip.
Rest in peace very important, impossible person.
Not moi! Not I?
Here lies big gob, gargling blocked drain
I slept in once in Newmarket…
Wake up, Norman!
Dropped off, must have…
Hurt still on the wireless.
Barnard is risen.
& le living
Away from chaos radio and noise gadget
I try to hear my own voice.
It is jumbled, jerky, muddled.
When it hears me listening it shut’s up.
Intruder, it whispers and hides.
Another voice comes, other than mine.
Abrupt jibber jabber.
the shadow leads two points:
it is southpaw, dogged, cunning, experienced.
I stand firm, steely jawed, granite eyed,
bleeding, unfeeling, waiting.
Rope a dope, Ali called it;
or, was that Angelo?
Zap, I’m downed
So that’s all that then
What was all the fuss about
Estranged anarchic adepts
Compose new obscenities
For richer and for poorer
Forever and ever mayhem
Count stones at midnight
Click heels crisply come the dawn
Of grave blue Heirusalem
tell him to have a shower
soft or heavy one
it’s all the same to me now
rainy day dream away-o
A struggling writer: a writer struggling;
a beaten brow: a brow beaten.
Quandaries. Sundries. Tuesdays.
Sunday’s Just like Monday’s is…
let’s call it straight, Joey
(not that old crap again!)
you gave me a one way ticket to Pookaville!
urghh, don’t interject, I was emoting.
Yea sure you was.
On the waterfront there ain’t no latrine duty.
Cryptic as McGillicuddy,
Manhattan wept, just like Jesus did.
turbulent times engender
end of days notions—
today I will go jousting
follow the chivalric code
sort out sheep from goats
incidentally did you know
swan and goose offspring goes by
the name of
O animal world
that has such creatures innit
all clamouring for
piles relief; cut price toupees;
fifteen day weekends…
holidays in Cambodia
camping in utopia
asylum in dystopia
Any day of the week
sun-clothed women cuss
worlds ashamed to address stark
naked truth in silk disgrace
enrobed purple people
look good hanging on a wall
antick lewd hobgoblins prance
as satyrs hapless
Showered & ranted,
Ridicule rip reprimand
such root treatment twangs
raw defenceless nerves
Made safe my escape
Whassup! Asylum seeking?
heard some smokes about,
grub waits in the fridge,
bread is sliced and
ready for toaster,
fresh eggs attend hens largesse
Yet what to do today
tugs away at me.
Slippery old customer,
hanging around the deli
without a ticket,
waiting to be asked
what he wants so she
can say, ‘What tastes nice?’
Black as night at five
as I rose and chose a coffee
from the selection of available liquids.
With this I had a cigarette, which I made myself:
harvesting, drying, processing leaf,
making paper in a big blue pail,
extracting gas from my bio mass.
An exhaustive process
often interrupted by the need
to release toxic waste from the corpus.
On arrival upstairs in my lift
the day was revealed as misty
and the streets sweat wet.
I dropped my lighter on the floor and left it,
vowing to retrieve it later
with my extended manual claw.
A cursory take on the news
clarified the extent of yesterday’s huge explosion in China.
Jim Al Kalili showed me around Sellafield
nuclear reprocessing plant and availed me of a
brief history of nuclear energy.
He looks very like a frog.
add your thoughts
There we are.
Banged one out, as they say;
never mind who. They do.
Whomsoever this they is.
I do not know…
And she knew that I knew too.
If you want to find out, like I do, call her at:
I can’t get through.
The reception is dreadful
in this carriage.
Perhaps I’ll try the caboose
Looking down the gunbarrel
Maybe she wrote me that letter
I will never know
& if I did what difference
Would it make these days?
I will never know about
That either I suppose
so imponderables go
Image you crouched over
See you fret hard over every
word until beaten brow snaps
furrow yields up fears
beads come tumbling down
petrify snap splinter speck
pulver turn to dust
much as chimney sweeps
or this dry pressed iris
saw life turn on a sixpence
that’s capitalism for you—
a bar for every drunk
a church for every bishop
a place for everything &
everything in its place
all turning on a sixpence
Frog spawned & cuckoo
spat out dyspeptic gobwash
pink dogged rose over hangs
verdant biscuit lawn
Bomb full of bull corruption
Writs flee shrunken ships
Anguished wayes & windings
Honeysweet oyle smoothe poyson
Beghards & Beguines
Heretickes & libertinoes
Encrypt curse words upside down
Underside worn felt lapels
munch one get three free
down the Pig & Whistle
all we’re saying is
give war a chance again
fefore it’s too late
Stars & stripes striate
come to rest
by the dog’s luminous red plastic food bowl
sun blinds me as I make my deft approach
One point four billion miles
From the planet jupiter
Nearly six hours after midnight
Blue skies shining on seas
fleeing genomes off to work
With a sound packed lunch
greygray windlessness; car doors pound
indonesian summer supper
for the liberal party on the road
to greatwar to end all wars forever
hoseasoning homeward after crickets
over land and treeless villages
redsails on the lampshade sundown
silently through the porchway
eavesdropping evenings gentle snore