Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Trouble with Me

Me number one says we’ll do it
Me number two says we won’t 
Me number one says we’ll have to,
Me number two says we can’t
Me number one says we bloody well will,
Me number two sits and cries 
Me number one wants to smash number two
right in her stupid wet eyes.

Me number one wants to wave and shout out
Hey! Look at me! Over here!
Me number two says please don’t do that
or they’ll see that I’m quaking with fear.
Me number one sometimes just disappears
  and leaves number two all alone
then me number two sits hugging herself
and is frightened to answer the phone.

Swinging between these extremes wears me out
if only they’d both go away
then maybe another, a me number three,
could emerge and be normal one day.
Or me number one and me number two
might get blended together some way,
but I’m worried about what I’d lose if they did-
if you mix black with white you get grey.

A La Carte or Off His Trolley?

A poem Sir? We serve organic, free range and hand reared, or would Sir prefer genetically modified, or perhaps, mechanically rendered verse?


Friday, 29 April 2011

William and Catherine got Married

When Cath set eyes on Bill
he was in uniform,
just back on leave a little while,
and next time he came home they wed,
no time to wait in wartime.
You never knew, you know?
A forties wedding
home-made dress and ration cake
with garden flower bouquet,
then he had to go away.
When he came back
she realised
she didn’t know him, really,
but they rubbed along alright,
until he died, in 1975.

Cathy was a swinging chick,
a sixties girl with bouffant hair
and pale pink lips.
Billy took her on his scooter
each weekend,
to Brighton or Southend,
though her dad
was not best pleased.
Soon, a baby on the way,
they settled down 
to married life,
Cathy loving every bit
of being a mother 
and a wife,
while Billy serviced 
motor cars 
for Ford.

Katy, full of confidence
in her abilities,
believed in meritocracy, 
and money.
It was Thatcher’s Britain after all,
where finance ruled. 
She chose her course with care,
deciding that the city would appeal
to her mendacity.
Then at a party, meeting Will,
a rugger bugger he,
clean cut, strong and buff.
A golden couple they became
with rosy future beckoning,
though she didn’t
take his name.

In April now, Two Thousand and Eleven,
a different century,
and predictably our nineteen-eighties
golden couple broke apart.
Katy’s on a holiday to get away
from all this royal wedding fuss
and also as she knows
her ex, her Will,
will be ubiquitous
his sports career 
has set him up in media
and she really doesn’t want
to see his so-familiar face
in forty six inch digital HD.

Cathy is a royalist right through,
a gran as well and even, now,
with little baby Tyler,
a great-grandmother, too.
She’s been baking for a week
and everything’s decked out
in red, white and blue.
Everyone is coming to the party
although Billy 
would be happy
down the pub
he’s not allowed, today,
and secretly
he’s rather proud-
Our Cathy
puts on a good spread.

In the care home, Cath
has been put
with a forgotten cup of tea
in front of the TV,
flag in hand,
though she doesn’t really
what’s going on.
Now a memory is stirred
and anxiously she asks
Where’s Bill?
When’s he coming home?
They don’t tell her that he’s dead,
she’ll only get upset, again,
so pointing to the screen
the staff say
Look, Cath, Look,
William and Kate,
its their big day,
their Wedding Day

Marriage Guidance Already

The wedding is the easy part 
but marriage taxes heart and mind, 
for prince and commoner alike.  
Just, speak gently to each other, 
and be kind


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wedding Days

Petal confetti floats down, drifts across pavements. 
The cherry trees celebrate spring nuptials, 
all the birds and the bees getting married.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

When Elvis met Sybil

Blend orange and blue, any medium you wish, 
you won’t get yellow-turquoise with iridescent pink. 
Breeding fish is elementary magic, I think.

Yes I am obsessed with my fish at the moment and yes, two of them are called Elvis and Sybil. 
Ethel also lives with Elvis. 
Those who know me might recognise the names of two of my aunts. 
Yes, I named my fish after my aunties.
I do not, however, have an uncle called Elvis.


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

School Days No. 4

Poor Colin was a man-sized boy, 
a lumbering lad, 
whose uniform would often split. 
He traumatised the entire school 
the day he wore a PE kit.


Monday, 25 April 2011

Cardigan Bay Sunset

I watched and waited with bated breath

as the molten orange sun dropped towards the sea,

half expecting a sizzling hiss and a rush of steam.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Three Perspectives

Perspective # 1 – His.

She was mesmerised by me
I could see it in her eyes
I put on all me best moves
though she was playin’ it cool, like
pretending not to notice
I could see she was impressed
she was just playin’ hard to get,
like they do.
When I went near another bird
she looked proper jealous, too,
I reckon I’m in there mate,
don’t you?

Perspective # 2 – Hers.

‘E was strutting 'is stuff
y'know, all puffed up
full of 'is own importance
thinking 'e was something,
like 'look at me darlin'
and I’m like 'you must be joking'
So I just kept nibbling 
at the buffet
turning me back and walking away
like 'No Way, Jose'.
Last I saw, 'e was pestering
some other bird, poor thing.

Perspective # 3 - Mine.

Pigeons, eh? 
The way they carry on.
Makes me wonder
how the baby pigeons
are ever born.
Or hatched.
Or whatever.

Have you ever stood and watched a group of pigeons? I always feel so sorry for the males, they try so hard and get constantly blanked by the females. 
For some reason, the ones in this poem seem to have a Liverpool accent when I read it out loud.

The Easter Story

So this man died, apparently. 
It happened because we’re so bad. 
Then he came back and eventually
moved in with his dad. 

I think. 

More choc?


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Brown Magic

Teabags and peelings, lawn mowings, 
leaves and twigs and wriggly things. 
Slowly the transformation begins. 
Organic magic in the compost bin.


Friday, 22 April 2011

As long as you both shall live

He’s back.
When he left,
the air, unmenaced,
smelled of promise,
the furniture 
and walls 
breathed a sigh of relief.

the odour of him
in the doorways,
his essence
stalks unsleeping hours,
and taints 
the contents of cupboards.

To the Gym!

Surprised about my size which can’t be justified I’m galvanised to minimise with exercise and realise the final prize. 
Thinner inner thighs.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

No Inspiration

No poem, no clue, no idea, no ball games, No theatre (Japan), Lake No (Central Sudan), no: absence of, as in ‘no cup of tea’. Ah, no wonder.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How Dare You?

The pressure cooker helmeted hothead steams, boils over. 
A rush of blood, 
The Push, 
and the sad, slow stranger tumbles, over and over again.

With sincere condolences to the family of Ian Tomlinson, whose inquest is a matter of great interest.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mistress Jenny's Dilemma

Lumme said the comely wench, 
and lawks-a-mercy too, 
what a mound of toil for me to do. 
I’d better get off Twitter 
or there’ll be a how-de-do

Written for Jenni Waugh, who admits to being touched. In many ways.


Monday, 18 April 2011

A Small Victory

As I sat on a hillock a linnet took exception to my presence, 
flashed his wings, chided me. 
I smiled at his impertinence 
yet, politely, left


Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Sunday Bonus

better late than never, and the only one I have to offer for now.


She took her love and swathed it up
in lengths of golden silk 
bound it fast with strings of pearls 
and glistening gossamer bows

She placed her carefully gift-wrapped love 
into a casket, jewel encrusted,
carved of rich mahogany,
with clasps of crafted gold

She made a raft of dreams and wishes
bound tightly up with make believe
and for a sail her soul she tethered,
to a mast of purest fantasies

She set her wrapped and coddled love
within its precious chest to sail
upon her heart-built craft
then, waiting anguished on the shore

she watched it flounder,


in the sea of his indifference

No more than anything else

Shiny black bin bag, filled with fresh air, tied to my head, carried round all day, open at bed time, find out what’s there, makes no sense.


Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Epidemiology of Verse

The poet sneezed, scattering words across the page. 
Some readers were infected, spreading what they read. 
Others, immune, just didn’t get it


Friday, 15 April 2011

All the little fishes

 (or ‘would anyone like some guppies?’)

All the little fishes are so precious,
even the ones who are no more than
two eyes and a tail.
I missed the bit you see, 
when I looked it up,
in the fishkeeping book,
that told you all about
the Guppy’s breeding habits.

I don’t know how it happened 
as I carefully read
the pages about habitat and feeding
and the do’s and don'ts of keeping them
It seemed so easy, then.
I selected, as suggested
several females and one male
And still I didn’t realise what was likely to occur
Though I’m sure you’ll think me very slow
in catching on.

So here we are, three generations later
And constantly I’m worrying
about the precious little fish
and saving them from their likely fate
of being ate by mum and dad
(and the whole extended family)
and also keeping up 
a continual supply
of Liquifry (No2)
a special sort of babyfood
for fish

Now I’ve got four fishtanks
but it’s not enough I know
for they number in three figures
and I also know, too late I fear,
that Guppies are called ‘millions fish’
for reasons that are obvious
but of which
I was oblivious
when I said, one day,
“A fish tank-
that would be relaxing,
and an undemanding hobby,
wouldn’t it?”


One month into her ninety first year, Jessie stayed in bed. 
She died at dusk. 
“I’m treading the banks of the Jordan” 
the last words she said


Thursday, 14 April 2011

You Know Who

The sofa mole lives under the throw, 
digging up hills in the cushions 
and coming out only 
for breakfast and tea. 
I sit on the floor, anyway.

This is actually a fib. I don't sit on the floor. 
I feel for the bump under the throw and avoid sitting on it. But that wouldn't fit into the poem. 


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A Love Story

He said “stay the night”
She heard “for life”
She said “I’m pregnant”
He heard “you’re trapped”
He said “is it mine?”
She heard “you’re a whore”
She said “we should get married”
He heard “my dad’s real mad”
He said “Ok”
She heard “I love you”

She said “the baby’s crying”
He heard “it’s all your fault”
He said “I’m going out”
She heard “I don’t care”
She said “I’m too tired”
He heard “get it elsewhere”
He said “it’s the baby”
She heard “you’re fat”

He said “I love you”
She heard “I’m feeling guilty”
She said “you’ve been cheating”
He heard “I spied on you”
He said “you’ve been snooping”
She heard “yes, I have”

She said “I’m leaving you”

He heard the quiet click 
as the door closed behind her.

phantom poetry

I’m throwing poetry at random doorways and hoping it finds a target. Sometimes I hear people reciting it to each other as I am running away.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Wrong Tactics

“He’s boxing with his face”, the commentator said. 
Judging by the state of him 
I think perhaps he really should have 
tried to use his fists.

dedicated to Michael Katsidis, a brave and exciting lightweight fighter


Monday, 11 April 2011

The Breakdown

A little extra today, this was written for performance so feel free to perfom it to yourself, it works especially well with a mobile phone against your ear...........

Hello, is that the breakdown service?
I have broken down.
Static, still
and stationary

Will not budge

Inert, inactive, 


Rooted to the spot
All movement ceased, 

stopped..... a standstill, can’t get going, no matter what I try


have broken down.

Pardon? Fuel?
I don’t think that’s a problem
When did I fill up?
Well, speaking honestly, continually;
just this morning cereal, and chocolate, tea and biscuits... cake.... oh....


What did you say.... only do cars?



John and Me

I just adore John Hegley, though I must admit he’s older than I remembered him to be. But then actually I’m older than I thought I was, too.


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Another evening in

Yet another depressing post. A story which you may find interesting, and revealing of a certain mindset which is difficult to understand but which certainly exists:

I sit quietly, and think. I plan a strategy. I will be compliant, pleasant- no not cheerful, that’s too much. Whatever you do don’t argue, or answer back. 
So that’s my plan. I wait. The key in the door still startles me, though I‘ve expected it long. I arrange my face. Carefully. Hello I say, in a tone I’ve practised. Endlessly. You Bitch, comes the reply. I desperately scan my opening word, to work out what was wrong with it. You Bitch. I’ve heard all about you, in the pub.  
How can I stick to my plan? How can I comply with this. I know that silence will be punished too, but can’t think of a thing to say, that isn’t wrong. I’ve heard about you, you dirty bitch. You fucked them all. Now I have no words. I don’t know what to say. But silence- silence, is guilt. He starts to tell me, graphically, all the things he’s heard, from the men, in the pub, about me. About the things I’ve done with them, and to them, and even though it’s so untrue I still feel stained, guilty, appalled at what I didn’t do. I want to say I never go out, how could this be, when could this be, I’ve been here all the time with your children, our children. But my strategy, my plan, carefully thought out in hours of waiting, is still in place. Don’t answer back. I don’t look up. I know already that contorted face as filthy details spout from spitting mouth. I keep my eyes averted as the look that’s on my face might be the wrong expression, and only provoke him more. But I have no choice, I have at last to play the game, and so I rise to the bait. I try to defend myself, explain, question, who? how? why? Knowing that every word I speak digs the hole deeper, but knowing that to say nothing does the same.  
He knows he has no answers though, knows he can’t make this one stick, so he decides to quit the game with one last spiteful parting shot. As he opens the door to go to bed he says something unspeakable, and strangely I can’t even remember now exactly what was said. Whatever it was, it was enough. I throw the glass that’s in my hand in frustrated fury and it hits the closing door, smashing into fragments. How dare he throw those lies at me, then leave when he knows his game is bust, without an apology, at least? 
I pick up the biggest shard of glass and follow him, find him in the bathroom where his anger has turned cold and blank, now that mine is red hot. I throw the shard of glass, cutting his chin, and tell him to explain exactly what his problem is- as if he knows. We’re standing on the landing now, and I’ve grabbed a clump of toilet paper so as we argue I dab the blood from his chin, to save the carpet from the mess. Eventually I give up and he goes to bed, while I retreat downstairs and mull for hours on how this could have happened, how my careful strategy unravelled once again.
Next morning, we speak little, at first, and then I have to pick at the scab of the night before. You have to tell me, I demand, who it was who said those things about me, in the pub, last night. You have to know it was a lie. You owe me this. Oh, he replies, no-one was talking about you in the pub, at all. 
I made it up.      
I just wanted to see what would happen.

Good Morning

I would like to have been light hearted today but seem to be filling my blog with dying animals. I do apologise and will attempt to raise a belly laugh in due course. I hope you have a lovely day.

The Duck's Question

The quiet sky was rent, and through the tearing shreds 
a duck fell dying
I thought I’d heard her laughing once.
Landing on the water with a gentle splash
her broken body spun.

As death and current carried her away 
she caught my eye
With a look that chilled my spine
Then, as her question hung between us
She was gone

Through blinding tears I started out 
towards the guns
with murder in my heart
to lash out, seek revenge or just
an answer.

The Grand National

Your power and grace so visible, you glisten in the spring sun. 
Too soon you lie, in the fence’s shadow, 
covered like an embarrassing stain.

RIP Dooney's Gate RIP Ornais 


Saturday, 9 April 2011

Darts and Sex

For the record, written after a few comments on Twitter put the idea into my head. I sort of promised to write about a certain darts player being sexy, so here it is:

Darts is just not sexy, that’s a fact
Even though occasionally,
underdressed women
put in an appearance.
But really, for the ladies,
nothing to excite or give
a frisson of delight
my mum used to fancy 
John Lowe.

I do remember also ‘the Adonis’
not quite my cup of tea
Really didn’t float my boat
with or without the Mullet.
Phil Taylor now, he’s cuddly
like a big daft uncle,
But I’m thinking of raw sex
and although he has the Power
he just doesn’t fit the bill.

Now here’s a Man.
No baggy darting top or beer belly
in sight
Just a tight (enough)
neat buttoned shirt
With just enough chest on show
to be suggestive of the rest
and tucked into his trousers,
so we get a really good idea
of what he’s got
below that belt,
Especially when he wriggles it in victory.

He’s sexy when he’s serious 
but then he smiles
and that curving mouth beguiles,
The stubble on his strong jaw
hints at
‘Just got out of bed’
and his nickname, ‘The Machine’
Well, what else could that mean?
Wow, I think I really ought to have
a shower, now
to cool me down
before the darting starts
and then my evening’s made
by the quite unlikely
Sex God
that is
James Wade.

Our Rich Tapestry

You, so straight and stable, are the warp threads of my life, while my weft ever changes. So our natures meld to weave the tapestry of days.


Friday, 8 April 2011

A Capitalist’s Dilemma

The children are fighting again. 
Do we teach them tolerance, respect and compromise, 
or sell them weapons 
wash our hands 
and close our eyes?


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Now here's a thing.............

I have occasionally come home to find the kettle on. Unusual, as if it had been on since I left for work I would expect it to have cut out or burned out. I dismissed this oddity, and even when a neighbour reported that things were switched on in his flat I thought he must be mistaken- he did drink a lot, after all. I was in another flat downstairs one day and as I left I passed the bathroom and can confirm that there was no sound coming from in there. Immediately afterwards Ken, who lives in that flat, went to the bathroom and the radio was on, playing loudly. What makes this really weird is that the radio isn't switched on by a button press, it has an old fashioned dial which goes click to turn it on then you continue to turn to increase the volume. It hadn't been used for days- how did it come on, with a loud volume, in minutes? We often laughed about the poltergeist in the flats, who goes around helpfully switching things on; it must know when I'm due in from work and is trying to make a welcoming pot of tea! 
Then, tonight.............
Ken and I went to get a chinese takeaway. Ken put some plates to warm in the oven before we left but as we got in to the car he said "Oh, I didn't switch the oven on". I said we should leave it and just go for the food, so we did. When we got back I walked into Ken's kitchen and saw that although the main power switch on the wall was on, all of the knobs on the cooker were definitely turned to the 'off' position. I switched off the wall switch, opened the oven---and almost burned my hand on the hot plates! I looked again at the switches, which I had definitely not touched, and they were all off. I was first into the kitchen so I know Ken hadn't turned the oven off. I got a cloth to handle the plates, we unpacked our takeaway, and politely said "thank you" to our helpful ghost before we ate our meal.

When the wind blows

Let me climb amidst your watchful limbs 
and nestle ‘til I wake, 
cradled like a rock-a-bye baby,
sure your steadfast bough shall never break.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Every Waking Day

Faint light edged across the room, tugged my eyes, offered me the dawn. Dark thoughts took arms to fight and swiftly drove out fragile morn.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Not really Haiku

This has the conventions of a Haiku poem but without the sensibilities which are an integral part of a 'real' haiku. I hope you like it anyway:

Anyone seen them?
Spheres of glass, pretty colours?
I've lost my marbles!

Brief Encounter

With feigned indifference
the pheasant sauntered 
slowly down the lane, 
a nonchalant bluff, 
‘til his sudden bolt for cover 
gave the game away


Monday, 4 April 2011


The love heart, 
on the card,
seemed wholly inappropriate-
no dysfunction, damaged tissue,
not even any blood.
I wanted to redraw it,
paint in some reality
in vivid red and crimson hues.

Eventually I sent it,
carefully addressed it to
‘My True Love,
care of,
Intensive Care,
Happy Triple Bypass Day.

there is nothing to fear

The fear comes flooding. Rational fear, located in reality, is finite fear. This real-unreal and all-pervading fear is fear that never ends.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Just a thought...

This is a draft of an idea, I wouldn't be posting it yet but as it's Mother's Day....

My Mum said
Don’t throw it away, it might come in useful one day
But Mum, I protest, I can’t move for all this stuff

I end up keeping everything.

Although Mum died some time ago
her voice lives on inside my head
and Auntie said, 
at the funeral
As long as you're alive
your Mum is, too.

Ok so its Mothers Day...

Two Mother's Day offerings, first this old thing, recycled..............

A mother is the carer
Who makes everything alright
Or gets told off by teenagers
For staying out all night

A mother does the housework
So that all is neat and clean
Or lies down watching football
and keeps swearing at the screen

a mother cooks your dinner
roasts and pickles
fries and bakes
or thinks essential shopping’s
german wine and jaffa cakes

a mother buys you clothes to wear
and knows what’s best for you
or has leopard printed knickers
and a Motorhead tattoo.

When I first wrote it, some years ago, friends would read it and every one said "have you got a Motorhead tattoo?" As if the mother in the second half of each verse was so obviously me. What can I say.....

on being unhelpful

“Show me the way” the stranger said. 
“No way” countered I. 
“No way, like there isn’t a way, or no you won’t?” he enquired.                                        
 “Jose” I replied.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Last Word...

Throw your rancorous rocks, spit stinging pebbles in my face.   When you’re dead I’ll thread a wordstone necklace, wear your spite with grace.


Friday, 1 April 2011

Working Dogs

The Afghan opened a rug shop and the Boxer started a gym, 
The Pointer offered guided tours and the Parson Jack Russell?
He’s singing a Hymn!