Some people have tough demanding jobs

Pity though
the saniflo
who came
to fix
my jobby chopping
flushing loo

There was a faraway, slightly numb look
in his stoic, travelled face.
“I cover Scotland West
he said “, on his knees
beside the pan.
“My tests
need expertise
and I’m the only one
bar Jim here….”
I glanced at the younger man..
that rare thing
an apprentice…
a man who would be king.

He was present in his future
alert, unblemished lean…
The king removed the filter
handed it him to clean…
I didn’t see him flinch an inch
which is not the same as me
I reeled from the violent assault
on my tuned olfactory….
and I left to find a clothes peg
then made a cup of tea. 

An apprentice saniflo engineer
is not what I would choose
if the world were still my oyster
as my preferred career
but then its less competitive than most
somehow I imagine so
perhaps you can make a very fast buck
wash your hands of it and go
to the sunlit uplands of general plumbing
or sweet retirement
I don’t know….
I don’t know…


My mother was a high liver
and giver of herself in conversation

My liver’s wasted
and I’m still looking for myself
so that I can be generous with it
to the next generation






















Late Entrant

The annual Long Hair-Mustache-and-Beard competition
at Chaps Sports Bar and Niteclub
in Alamogordo, New Mexico
is tough.
Hirsute and rough.

I am fair and hairless
not hairy and fearless.
Contest of any kind
makes me weak at the knees
and European all over.
My purpose is submission, passivity
not pumping my fists at the results of competitions
though others, all of whom are experts,
tell me anything is possible
with focus, love and a statement of mission.

On the way there are the usual telltale signs:
adult toys… buy it for him…
queen bed…come in and try us…
and Arby’s for a bargain hotdog.
I have a number of conservative cosmopolitan thoughts
before arriving, white, bald, shining at this craziness
and think what the Hell
what about
everyone else shouts about,
lets just do it for the sake of that
and though its not my natural habitat
I have a sudden lapse of laziness.

I enter

Mustang Sally is ahead by a follicle
she’s groomed herself for success,
second comes a chimpanzee called Van Cleef
then comes The Mexican,
and then low and behairy to behold
a forest starts to grow around my nipples
over my face and body,
coarse sprouts creak beneath my nostrils
a luxuriant gaucho comes fourth
along with a Willie Nelson
and a Moses down to my toeses !
I have believed, I have bullied fate
and I am almost a miracle winner
though I entered late.

My prize is a crate of bananas.

That night I try the queen bed
with a fat chicken called Anal Emma, The Posterior.
Next day I shave hurriedly
having found a melanoma on my boxcar willy
and archived the whole hairy chili
behind a pale and ever more interesting





































For a start Keith Barlow was English
secondly he was alcoholic
third but not least
he rented a cottage in Cramond
with a garage
full of the inessential
with potential.
He was also a heavy smoker.

One bright morning I found him fuming.
“Someones put a brick through the windscreen
of my hovercraft!”
he cried indignantly
pointing to some shattered glass
beside a lump covered with dusty tarpaulin.
“Your hovercraft, Keith?”, I quizzed cautiously
knowing I was dealing with an aviator,
raconteur, bonviveur,  regisseur
of son et lumiere, and dealeur in drugs.

He had thick glasses
curly hair
a lumpy body
and I noticed
a half bottle
sticking out of his
He was very pleased to see me
and assured me
suggestively that his hovercraft
was a fully functional 2 seater
and he’d hover me over the Firth
later on
but in the meantime he wanted to find
the bastard with the brick
and ram it up his jaxi sideways.

Keith had a way
with words and bricks.
Nothing appealed less
than the attentions of Keith
later on
in a 2 seater hovercraft
on the Firth of Forth
in April
so I said “Must shoot the crow”
blew its brains out
and caught the bus to Edinburgh.

In The Athens of the North
I was hired
to do a bit of this and that
in Stavanger, Norway.
It was a real
Fokker Friendship of a flight,
cheap but unfriendly,
and lager prices in Norway
leave you poor
rather than sober.
When I got to my hotel room
I found a sailor
quite obviously poorer than me
pissing in my ensuite
and entirely missing the suite.
It was not a sweet sight, nor smell
for he’d been eating asparagus
with a light dill dressing.
He liked the idea of me undressing
and tried to make love to me
but missed.
I was barely able to overcome
my nausea when he breathed.

“How the Hell did you get in here?”
I shouted in fluent English
“Through the door”, he said, quietly
as if it was a major heist.
Seemed reasonable at least
and I’m not a confrontational type
(never have been)
so I somehow just coaxed him out
the same way
and  slept alone that night
clutching a swollen bladder
clenching my bowels
holding down vomit
and fantasising
about hovering in April
with Keith.

Next day
I took my smelly belly
off to New Delhi
where the first trick
at Connaught  Place
is to work in teams
and throw shite
over fresh white canvas shoes
and chinos
as you wander out fearfully
from your hotel,
a little lagged and shagged
(well not literally yet).
One small operator
flung wet dung
from a shadow
the other met me
at the top of the underpass
and said
“Oh shite sahib!
What’s that pile of shengie
on your spats?
That didn’t come from your underpants
here let me clean it.
That’ll be five million rupees sahib.
cheap at the price
and dont tell me you wont pay
because this poor third world kid
has just wiped the shite
off  your
shoes! ”

Guilt and anguish.

Oh Keith, you’re beginning
to seem quite romantic.

I stared at my eternally packed holdall
It was full of rubbish
and faded keks from the dhobiwallah.
Not even a photo anymore
Not even a dog-eared
stained with semen
or old tears.
Just a few formal faxes
and a paper
on something professional.

I was contemplating the desert
loneliness of phoneliness
when I got a GSM call
on the digital mobile
contact yippee
I am connected
to others
and will now
go to
where 400 Russians
with Rasputin beards
play chess
and wage a cold war
which isn’t over yet.

“Take a double thinsulate-lined
fleece, a 16-tog duvet suit,
and a pair of feltlined Mukluk
Canadian Kodiak-trapper’s boots”
advised a short-skirted blonde
in Kensington.
I could tell she was blonde
and short skirted
from her accent.
I strode to the thick sweating plastic curtains
at my hotel window
and gazed out at a heat-hazed ants nest
of light saris and T shirts
with damp patches between
the shoulderblades.

Best go by The Karakorams,
I concluded.

It seemed a very
Keithian concept.

24 hours later, bus-lagged
and flatulent from a diet
of green slime and chapatis
with black fingerprints
I gazed at the endless white flanks
of Nanga Parbat,
wondered why anyone would attempt
climbing it
mused on the frozen mens’ bodies
scattered there
and bought myself
something warm
to wear.

Good to have money, I thought
looking at thin men in rags
working the dirt street,
though they all
seemed to smile
more than I do.

Antarctica by Mozambique.
In Mozambique
the shops are all empty
the roads all cracked,
and they blow up anyone
The uniformed men
took photos
and made me official
for a day.
We spoke of the war
then drifted apart
in uneasy peace…….

We landed on ice.
Fur-hatted flatfooted sturdy men
closed in like a herd of Yetis
and bundled us
into iron blue tanks.
dissident leading mountaineer
in the former regime,
narrowly escaped the Gulag
sent instead here
with his survival skills
and his smattering of English
was my guide.

He showed me the ropes
which connected every hut
in case of bad weather,
the tannoy warning system:
“Do not open the door!”,
the place they tested small but noisy
rockets for no apparent reason,
(Vasily didn’t know anyway,)
the crude skis he’d fashioned in the workshop
rebel that he is, for funtimes
while everyone else
reads Dostoyevsky
or pores over maps and cyphers.
He had become a Grand Master
of self-indulgence.

Once he took me to the sea ice
where machines cut square holes
right through to the slushy turquoise
mystery beneath.
There was nothing down there on the bottom
but unknown white organisms
in the glacial dark.
had a very long willy
I discovered when he stripped off
and dived in for a swim,
then did 15 laps of the site
dressed only in his glasses
his beard tossed up rakishly
his appendage undiminished
where others might have shrunk.

Then drunk at night,
on home-made vodka
I’d attempt Cossack dances
in the hospital kitchen.
My bed was a sick bed
my friends were doctors.
Nice to meet people
who liked to talk,
discuss each other’s music,
compare firearms……
I was out of practice at this.

But the high point
was the bathhouse.
Set apart in the permafrost
This was the social centre
where men could unwind
by stripping and donning
black felt pixie caps
then thrashing each other
in gross heat with oak twigs
imported from the Caucasus.
They’d tried African Eucalyptus
but somehow it wasn’t the same.
After a good parboiling and lacerating
we would throw buckets
of icy water over each other
and emerge gasping
and immeasurably enriched
more purposeful
than before.
Vasily would grin
like a patriot.
I called him Vaseline
for he lubricated
my sense
of myself.

Next an experimental TV installation
on the west coast of Ireland
based on the themes of tidal ebb, flow ,
springs, neaps, potatoes,
faith in hide coracles,
elemental excess, effluent discharge
and the re-written predilections
and pre-written re-directions
of my Performance Artist girlfriend.
She personally presented this piece,
and unnaccustomed as she was
to multiple coupling
the waves nevertheless began
to crash for her
and the surf got up
for a number of Celtic Gods
with camcorders.

The sounds of her moaning depths
these Neptune studs
and aided their trident ministrations
to her gaping mouth
and her awesomely
pudd ended
round at the back
with a creamy sheen
of climbing climaxes
and orgasms
rapid and hot, long
and well hung
in the coming.

She would probably claim to be
unnaffected by the experience
but the waves left indelible stains
on her memories
of monogamy.

I confess to a certain titillation
as well as the agony
of jealousy
and the dream of harmony
and loyalty and love.
Certainly seeing in her
her inner pubic
and public pleasure by proxy
was just a touch better
than a slap in the face
with a wet ungutted mackerel
though that in itself
has its primaeval

but it was only a video
I saw after all,
only a box of photoelectric
crawling into the living rooms
of artistic people
around the land.
It wasn’t really
her there bent in luscious
receiving all those others
and not me.
just a bunch
of high voltage pixels
enjoyed with a glass of spirit.

Speaking of spirit
I remember a group
of raddled
and monumentally damaged humans
in a hotel room spontaneously
and combustively Hellbent
and intent
on getting out of it,
the Hell they were in, that is,
by breathing smoke
and drinking
flammable liquids.
As an ad hoc
stress management centre
I sat on the rug
(biding my time
and drinking wine)
and heard everyone’s account
of their divorces and severances….
all these messy businesses
that were none the tidier
for the telling
and accompanied
by a grim determination.
to get out of your face
and reach some other place
reminiscent of Keith.

I hitched back from the edge
of the old world
through Spanish villages
sleeping in time
whilst all their youth
buzzed out of town on
A tough leathery girl
had me penetrate her
in a space and time
above the 12th century
watched by her little brother
who seemed used to it.
(I think he had been there
for ages).

It was so romantic
just getting my rocks off.

Then in kilts heading for the border
I met The Guardia Civil.
Franco’s darlings
who wanted to censor my knees.
Pistols were cocked
as they made me
change into trousers,
betraying my nation
of lions rampant
and immediately missing
that erotic airy freedom
and my natural popularity
with male drivers.
but what the Hell!
We compromise or die
in the Guernica of our souls,
though Keith would not have been so pragmatic.

Diverting on Monday
to The North Pole
a smooth guy in a red tuxedo
who looked a bit like Sean Connery
but was much older
said “My name’s Claus
Santa Claus”.
Flabbergasted I was
(in a quiet British way)
when he said
he was lonely and mixed up
and possibly a homosexual
on the verge of coming out.
I said “Oh no, you poor thing!”
as I took his manfully sobbing
frame into my arms
and made little rabbit kisses
on his considerable bald patch
as if to say
“there, there”
whatever that means,
but then I never said it.

What I did say was
“Here right now I’m off
to honour my offer
to my ex-wife
of the holiday
of a lifetime
on an exotic Eastern island
with the man
of all her erstwhile

In Penang I met her
and we swam in warm watery mud
with dead fish floating
between our legs.
She waded ashore,
the brown sunlit rivulets
dropping from her
tanned thighs.
I watched her with a trembling love
and wondered why she was there.
Some kind of habit
some programmed sense of duty
or a free airfare?
I found myself surrounded
by giant otters
with bad teeth
who looked like they
needed fresh meat.
I felt like a leg of mutton
in the guise of a live Red Mullet.
There was a sense of edibility
a certain thrill about the inevitability
of dying as a meal for others
and saliva started rising
in my terrified gullet
but I knew there was no future
in this line of perversity.

I was trained to value a future
so I struck out crawling
and breaststroking
towards the shore.
and through the rainbows
I made with my arms
I could see her stretching
her gleaming limbs in the sun
then leaving.

She flew away
and I never saw her again
nor the children
she had made with me.

I escaped. I can say
with just a hint of regret
I was neither raped
nor eaten by otters
and was called to Mexico
from whence doth come
the man-eating Chihuahua.
I met a young woman on a bus
who said she was a dancer.

She was much better looking than Keith.

I sat beside her for 18 hours
nervously clutching my wallet
and getting a stronger grasp
of my ego
as she raised each one of my charms
for discussion and stimulation.
When it got dark she layed her head
on me and slept a while,
then she woke, kissed my stomach
and laid her head on my lap
unzipping me expertly
and simultaneously
and then her mouth was around me
like a womb
and I thought
of my children
born and unborn
and I timed my releases
to the street lights
passing the coachwork
as we entered the hot
and not very pretty city
of Chihuahua.

We said goodbye
at the saddest
bus station in the world
exchanged addresses
and I found a bad hotel
amongst the traffic.
I phoned her many times,
her mother’s number
in the long noisy night
but she never answered
never came to me
never touched me again
though she never touched
my wallet either
which seems remarkable
in a way………

I was tired
after that.
Burned out.
It turned out
I wasn’t needed
any more.
It had been good
to be needed.

I got the plane East again,
over independent
Vera Cruz and Yucatan
leaving my seed
in the throat of a Mexican
on a bus.

I got home and opened the mail
(it was mainly offers of money
for nothing
or ways of spending it,
or pleas from The Royal Society
for the Protection of Chihuahuas.
Nothing handwritten
Nothing with a stamp.)

So I slipped into
a nice cold black latex minidress
tied my big toe to the bed with catgut
stretched my nipples wide apart
with crocodile clips
and an elaborate system
of springloaded pulleys
till the pain was unbearable
suspended a block over my tackle
and got down to some
simple wholesome fun.

I had the time of my life

Keith, bless him, has probably found
another co-pilot by now,
gone hovering on the Forth
or drystone dyking
with his dyke husband.

I kind of miss him though.






































Jock in Totteridge

Ah’m having a terrible time
in half-timbered Totteridge
first the kettle cowps
its defurring chemicals
gobbing white sludge in ma tea
thus giving me furry cramps
in the solar plexus
and then ma sexus
is taken out by the teapot
tipping a ton of hot Tetleys
doon ma front
before it wis brewed
due to the new glue
in the china blue
not resisting
boiling water

OK there were warning signs in both cases
but they were written in
bloody English.


















Jock in Earls Court

And of all the ingredients
in this cocktail
the Earls Court
girls court favour
with they’re long tanned legs, vanilla flavour
but tempered by an independent frown
or a tough smile that says “Come on talk
but dont you get too close to me
unless your accommodation’s cheap or free.”

Under their baseball hats,
their healthy backs are packed
with Antipodean practicality,
honed in the sun,
the English boys run scared
but the Arabs
seem to have a simpler
form of fun

and the Jock stocks booze
in a stained room
his legs are white and thin
his courage swells
spills out over muzzled city sounds
as his sense of humour
wins him clarity
here in polyglot
hunting grounds

transients, transexuals,
transports going up and down
trains crossed with  buses lorries and bikes
pizza expresses spud-u-likes
KFCs , dispensers,
sprites and pepsis, styrofoam,
the coke of the to and the fro
pours into young platelets
nurtures red corpuscles
driving hard muscles
of internal, arterial contraflow

Only the drunk stand’s still
gazes with bewilderment
at the way the cars go
catches himself edging into a spin
totters on his thin binsearch legs
and begs for twenty pee
was that a Scottish accent drifting
on the wind?

travellers and tramps
the butch, the camp
shaved men hanging from chains,
one ogled by an ageing cross-dresser
turns out to be a chemistry professor
attending the mind-bending
Pharmaceutical Ingredients
Worldwide Symposium,
major event of the drug-peddling year
must talk by day with large Dutch men
in name-tags and suits
with secret thoughts of licking their boots
give them sophistication, courage to thrust
in the marketplace
each year he hopes and prays and waits
to be selected as a delegate,
gets away from struggle and strife
to have one week of a secret life

In bedsitland, the young without baggage
drag huge portmanteaux down the stair
so much to take to God knows where
whilst not far away
they do a show right there
a college of scaffold erection
puts on an impromptu exhibition
brown grinning tattooed youths
strip to the waist
toss poles like cabers to each other
spin six-gun scaffold keys
they love display, love to please
the broad tanned girls with rucsac straps
who must pause and adjust them
steal sideways glances
at the choreographed dances
and routines of socket-spanner lust.
The erectors enjoy their truck
the way it blocks one lane
and the shaven-headed men
are there again
with upturned eyes
and lascivious smirk
passing the work
on their way to the clinic
yes sex is dangerous,
sex kills
the same as those multi-coloured pills
they’re selling over in the hall.
but sell them they will
and thats all.

The Jock’s got his confidence
up and running
on whisky and beer,
speaks, says
“I’m definitely here”
but speaks so fast
he almost doesn’t
follow himself





















Jock in Brixton

cool black dude
on the wall
nice and friendly
not English
like the rest of London
this evening

off the wall man
with too much in his bag
waved in like an orphan

sits down touches fists
I’m a real relaxed guy
relaxed as a newt
he’s got the street
and something in his boot
a wife who smokes
but she’s not black
not from Barbados…
he’s just back

flashes a quarter
strangely shiny
I think
maybe its
the drink

he fumbles with
my trouser leg
(doesn’t seem like a mason)
then straight in
and facing me
socks it to me
only 20
none of your 35
how can
they charge that
good stuff too
nice to stop and chat
and plenty more
behind his wife’s

I grin
this is someone to grin at
I want to trust
this is a bargain
a cultural must
I take a 20 from my wallet
clasp fists on it
chuckle the chuckle of the smug
and go my way
thanks to him
I’ve made a score
done it with no plan
cool man
went with the flow
heart open
to a bit of blow
on the street
a secret only he and I know
my ankle
a new epicentre
for the universe

After an appropriate time
I reach down
and things get
infinitely worse
I find
a piece of
from the
black coal
of my new
night friend

It rankles
then I grin



















Hula Hoop

What happens to the tree snagged hula-hoops of the world?

They hang in the oaks of North London,
a strange retrogressive fruit,
ripened and abandoned,
now dismally drying on the branch
after a long winter
and barely pink- tinged
where once they were
pillar-box red.

They are more common than the acorn
or even the blown black binbag.
Modern hula- hoops (plastic not ply)
seem to be better at hanging on trees
than perpetually arcing
around the abdomen.

The hoop on the tree next door has slid to a lower branch
since I was here in January
but its still a long way from earth.
Did  a  bunch of  dark skinned schoolgirls
with  shining eyes and a fondness for apples
throw it up in the summer,
squealing and peeling with laughter
when it disobeyed Newtonian Physics?

That tedious and deeply unpleasant man
hadn’t considered the tall oaks of Totteridge and Whetstone had he?
(probably never travelled to the end of The Northern Line, hence his
blinkered vision)

All you ample brown old-girls,
petalled girls with the grins of Gauguin,
all deflowered and conjoined
and living in The South Sea Islands
or High Barnet now,
are you still gyrating somewhere in the playgrounds
or the gardens
of your memories?

What waists!























I’ve got powdery mildew on my hedera
I’m gonny have to take to my bedera
If not I might well end up deadera
than a plate
of well-grilled kippers

Houseplant care is a full-time game you know
thats why I stopped driving in the fast lane you know.
I’ve got sore feet too. They’re a bit of a pain you know
so I’ve started wearing

















Happendon Again

I know this place
this is where we stopped driving South,
you driving
me round the bend
and down to The Services
I ate a cold sausage roll in 10 seconds
(though I’m a Vegetarian)
then chewed the wing mirror….
it tasted of diesel fumes
and took my last molar
(nasty reflective unconsoler),
unforgiven I broke the windscreen
with my  proletarian fists.

Like the Unions now
I’m outdated,
I’ve lost my teeth and have a softer kiss
guess that’s what happens when we get























People in graves
shouldn’t throw stones aside.
They should be thankful they’ve
found a place for themselves
to be home at last
from the fields they loved
till the day breaks
for loyal husbands,
good wives and mothers
and various others.

They shouldn’t try to burrow next door
for conspiratorial meetings,
they shouldn’t try to claw the nice wood
even if its rotten
just so’s they can come up for air and light.
They should stay there with their plastic flowers
in the never-ending night
Or else they just
cause confusion:

Is that child mine?
The proof has died.
Did she know that he was hers
or is there more to it than meets
the familial eye ?
That familiar grin
when her legs are open wide
did she inherit that
when her stepmother died
or did it come from her so-called uncle’s
bit on the side?

We put
people in graves
under a pedestal.
They should stay there.


















Freelance Windows

it said on a passing van as I drove to the airport
wondering what everybody does
and why they’re on the freeway
and how it all welds into some kind
of economic system.

Freelance windows is
transparently a front for something else,
behind and within
and hidden only
by thin dazzling optical deflections
of the wheeliebins and clear azure sky

It’s a Chinese laundering operation probably,
some four-eyed yellow-skin Triad mobster
grinding his sin
in a mortar.

After all who’d seriously want
to freelance
as a rectangle of glass?
such a fragile existence
a subsistence
of clear views,
the only physical gratification
being the bi-monthly application
of a rubber squeegee,
or a young fat finger scrawling
Clean Me!
or else its just a shower
of maladjusted needy raindrops.
The French have windows
with outside
for  those sort always end up
in the gutter.
(Certain French people have windows
side shutters
It depends on what opens your curtains
the French mutter,
gutturally ambivalent
to the last.)

How, I ask you,
does a freelance window
take to all these argon-filled
triple-glazed cowboys
with their laser diamond
computer undercuts
and their fancy etched
and shatterproof
shapeshifting systems
providing poor man’s crystal
in a new world?

There can be little creative joy
and no job security
in being a draughty old sash
or a flaking casement.
Only a matter of time
before the cut-rate cut-glass
cold-calling corporations
blue chip
and tip you
into the skip.



















A very fat and grinning man
came down the giant flume.
They should have
built a plunge pool
with a bit of extra room…..
everyone laughed
for the tidal wave he caused
washed away all tides forever
and waterlogged the moon

As a result
fluming will soon be an official Olympic Sport….
he who wins
is he who grins
and displaces
most liquid.

Even now in Eastern Europe
they’re fattening themselves up
and polishing
their teeth.



















There’s too much oestrogen
in the water.
That’s why I’ve fathered
twenty daughters
and now I’m growing breasts.

It’s good news for the ambivalent amongst us
(I’ve bought my very first dress)
but I don’t know about the rest

of history



















Feet of Strength

walking for miles
the late night street
where the tired go
no one knows
where the door is
till we get there
when we do
she’s with us
keen to sit
in the room we fill,
a female
female as they come
fancy her
always have
always will
but no seduction skills
just liquid courage
and libido
her boots and socks
to one side
like a statement
of intent
Is that what is meant?

Michael’s there,
his work this
young booty
in his care
but I’m assessing
her fine toes
and prepossessing
and guessing enough
to take one small step
for this mankind.
I’m selfish
I suppose I want her
to be mine.

I try a little move
I feel her feet
with my soul
in my fingertips
so delicate
so sexual
this fetishistic touch
and she doesn’t withdraw them
I am answered this much.

There’s a tension
in the hot unspoken air
seems he’s losing her
soon as he’s found her
and its not just one foot
its a pair
after all those hard
highbooted marches
she needs Dr. Scholls
if anything at all,
I feel
her heel,
Achilles tendon and all,
massage her arches
and slowly move around
to caress the soft parts

Then he breaks it up,
“Are you enjoying yourself?”
he blows the words like hailstones
through his teeth
the voice slices
in its iciness

though the answer’s yes
our warmth
and closeness
are completely shaken

these insteps are


















End of a Career

Artichoke season’s over
says my wife,
oranges are sour, lemons waxed, leeks poor
and potatoes are blighted I fear
the only eggplants I saw were scruffy
those starfruits I bought yesterday
have gone puffy
and the peas are so late this year
lady’s fingers and kohl-rabi are hard to find
chilli peppers are too dear
beetroot gives you a crimson stool
our urine stinks
when we eat asparagus spears
we can’t afford organic rambutans
now at last they’re here
and I’ve overcooked the corncobs.
Its the end of my career

I tell the silly old dear
there’s more
to this meloncauli life
than fruit and veg.






















Saving the Planet

cut down
the cutting down
of rainforest
your bicycles
bury the fossil fuel idea
deep underground
make free ozone zones
in the greenhouse
take acid in the rain






















Crystal Gayle

I listened to Crystal Gayle one day
I was in Paisley
(well nobody’s perfect)
with a rampantly gay
young man.
We both loved her..
we were her fans.

When I asked him to smack my bum
he got so turned on I thought he’d come
but that night things deteriorated
to a scenario I’ve since then hated….

I was hot but couldn’t open enough
and he was hard and pretty tough
and when he started to cut up rough
he cut the balls off his bit-of-fluff
rather roughly.

Crystal Gayle
still means alot to me




















I’ve just walked to
The South Pole
but all it did
was leave me cold.

Why dont I ever
feel surprised
enthused or zapped
between the eyes?
Am I too old and wise?

Did I try too hard,
is that the truth?
Did I somehow squander
all that youth?
Has all my hunger
and desire
burned up the heat
that makes the fire
and were those years
I worked and waited
hung on and hoped
and felt frustrated,
in fact just dissipated?

I was the first
to reach the top,
went round the globe,
I never stopped!
Should I have seized
more of those days,
have I missed some trick
along the way
and now do I have to pay?

I feel
for nothing
but my own orgasm
though children
seem to have some worth
(I do feel moved,
affected by Birth)
What does this mean?
Did I do wrong?
and will my Death
take very long?
Do I have to carry on?

I’ve done my odd experimentations
magnetic turbulence and variation
sundogs, cancers, capricorns
forties, fifties, roaring storms
twilights, blacknights, dawns.
Not only deserts, edens, calvaries
but kisses, tears and cups of tea
Is that the end of me?

There must be more
to this than that
an apocryphy
a caveat
a dream, a thrill
some indication
some subtlety
or some revelation
of a purpose,
something new
some thunderbolt
out of the blue?
Do you
have a view?

Perhaps its something
in my soul
that made me walk
from Pole to Pole?
Having circumnavigated
the Earth’s core
you’d think I’d be close
to being sure
just what life’s for
but shouldn’t there be more?


Frankly my dear
you’re damned,
so stop bugging me
You’re already going
through Purgatory
Get on with Death
then go to Hell
or will that leave you
cold as well?















Brussels Centraal

In restaurant land
on a damp submarine morning
the sous and commis chefs
prepared crustacean displays
stuck chicory heads and lemons
in banks of shaved ice
stuck temptation in your face
as you breathed in
to pass the leather tourists
who in tall thin streets
came groping thin wallets
then groped each other
licking each other’s lips
as if in consolation
for the exchange rate
and the state
of their nation.

The waiters came
with red and yellow roses
placed in cut glass
placed on stiff linen
placed on tables
placed on cobbles
worn down by centuries
of looking up at
leather skirts
and dogs’ crotches.

A dog came,
a large one from Alsace
and sat and shat
a rare mass of thickly
tubular waste.

Then came a weak tide
of bladder wrack drizzle
moistening the stones
and lightly glazing
the Belgian’s chocolate

Then came the day’s
beer delivery
with a flatulent duodenal exhaust
and a fat set of Pirellis
holding back the shrieking
tour of guided adolescents
who came after it, thick
like in the neck of a bottle
treading in it
and spreading it
foot to foot
restaurant to restaurant.

Then came squeals and giggles,
clods of matter  in random flight
olfactory chaos landing on heads
as they tried to shake it off
their trainers treads

Damp brown footprints breeding
like a genetic mistake
amongst empty tables,
the air, gastronomically expectant
desecrated by  flies foraging
between the table’s legs
and the eggs
and the fish

Then came the Eurocrats
and Diplomats
talking policy responsibly,
talking anyway possibly
as a dozen fresh oysters
slithered down the slackened throat
(much more of a slither than a munch)
and an unpleasant odour
slithered up the puckered nostril
like a surviving worm
emerging from some newly opened can
and forcing an undiplomatic

















Your earlier remarks
were a bit near the bone
of my contention.
Its not a big deal,
I just thought I’d mention






















Bone Two

Your earlier remarks
cut very near the bone
of my contention.
I only mention it
because the flesh of my body
is getting so macerated that
people are beginning to see me as a pulp,
not a person.
If I dont heal up a bit the situation
could worsen.
I’m afraid I dont have the skin of a rhino,
I can’t contain my organs any more,
I should warn you
my heart might fall out and make a terrible mess
on the lino.

without guns, razors or a chainsaw.























Blackjack in the Air

The ace was high
and was changing his suit
as we flew over Azerbajan.
I was a beginner, a lucky man,
all my jacks were red,
but I’d always played a different game
in my introspective wishywashy head.

Who’s winning? The losers would stroll
and ask in the afternoon light
somewhere over Erzurum…or Ararat
on this undersubscribed flight.

You see, there needed to be a winner,
damage needed to be done,
it was an exercise in hurting others
healthy some might say
by releasing base instincts
in a harmless, social way,
but each player had three lives:

by the time we’d passed Kabul
and The Punjab winked up at us
through the inky heat
the game was tedious
those destined for defeat
still dreamed of comebacks
laps of honour
but I was so hopelessly ahead
I wanted to die soon
and go back to my seat



























He peered down my epiglotis
and spoke briskly with a glottal stop
just here and there
as if the airs deposited at Dental School
had been rinsed away
with pink liquid.

“No injection?” he inquired
knowing my answer would be No.
“Well just yell if you change your mind”
knowing full well I wouldn’t.

He had been the master of my mouth
for 18 amalgamated years
ever since I could afford to pay
for this character building
this stretching and loosening
of my pain threshold.

I had seen his drills go hi-speed
his chairs go hi-tec and full tilt
his landscape photography improve immeasurably
his whiskers grey
his nurses marry
and his rubber apron
cast into the skip,
(though the smell of it
hangs always
like an ethic)

He tied the light plastic bib across my chest
reclined me to the supine position
shone the bright light
into my inner tubes and cavities
and flashed
a tray of stainless probes
towards my chin

his face came
flopping forward
gravity presaging
his fifties
jowl tied up with white paper
eyes absorbing
my wasted cusps

looking past his ear
(vast and lightly dusted with dandruff)
I noticed the silver
bi-planes on the mobile
were flying backwards
and there was a new mountain
over the fireplace

the drilled nerve
gave me spasms
the nurse aspirated
eagerly near the rear
of my tongue,
and I dealt
with the pain
as normal
by opening
wider and wider
to help

later he scaled me and polished me
and found a dark curly hair
stuck behind the porcelain crown
I scrub twice daily
and always after cunnilingus.

Did I detect
a human glimmer of remorse
behind the white mask
that it wasn’t his
but that of some sallow
foreign muck?























Bad Trucking

Once I let a man drive an artic
through my heart.
He had a great carburettor
in excellent condition
was a distributor of sparks
a specialist in ignition
a setter of points
and he rolled good joints

he picked me up at Charnock Richard
and by Knutsford
he was tearing along my major arteries
abusing his choke
burning blue smoke
stoked with Yorkie bars
from a throaty stack
and gunning his throttle
round the back of my neck
where flecks of pollution
blocked my pores
while a dark engine rumbled and roared
and made me want more and more and more
as if this was the last chance
to get love trucking.

It was in Knutsford we decided
to give the wheel a spin
making me grin
like a Cheshire pussy
when it came up a deuce
steering us both along one road
to the transport cafes
of eleventh heaven.

I had been on the road so long
had never hitched my skirt high
nor been suggestive with my thumb
never bared my breast
never showed off my bum
on the hard cold shoulder,
never kneeled before
the crown of the road.

The dark
juggernauts flew over
their marker lights hissing
in a pre-stressed forest
rear double tyres kissing
under the weight.
I tilted up my
tramp lady chin
to spoon a cold tin
of spaghetti
the red juice
spilling into
my secret dreams of an interchange,
of leg-shaving,
a certain
of this independence thing
I gave in,  enjoyed it.
We were married in spring

He was on a long haul
for Aberdeen Shore Porters
one dawn
when the frigging rig
just jacknifed
and ruined my life.

It sliced my aorta
bloodying the mud on my walls
taking my barriers with it,
chevron painted wastes of space
spilling its load of frozen plaice
all over my arterial routes

when the fish thawed
I was raw
in shocked pink
damaged, saddled
with baggage
sent to a shrink
and a course of primal scream
I screamed the obscene
while the silver darlings rotted
with the stink
of his failing

Since then
I view the state of the art
of the heart
with a frosty eye
almost arctic
and though articulate in the main
my lips and tongue are numb
to heavy transport
and the roar of 18 wheels
in November rain.
Since that artic articulated,
since trailer fell out with tractor
I’ve thrown away my Gillette Contour II
and other crass symbols
eschewed the tacho
and the HGV macho
and accept rides
only from women motorists
because they’re better at it.

However I have a plan
one day to pull a speciman
who’s fit and cute
and carries weetabix perhaps
or Mr. Kipling’s cup cakes
or something vegetarian
and will be honoured
and enlightened enough
to make light of driving
one light delivery van
once carefully up my junction.

you see I’d like to procreate
but I dont want to be a driver’s mate
hearts fucked anyway.
through bad butch






















Bad in Bed

I’m well-hung
lick-nippled, six-packed
but bad in bed.
Chicks doze off
as I grunt away at them,
birds get bored to death
with my pecker,
geese fly off in a flock
slandering the gander.

With you I nibble your ears,
use lips, all the things I’ve got
with slow sensitivity.
You moan with the tedium
of this intimacy.
I kiss your thighs
they twitch a little,
I do that thing I do
with one hand at your perineum
one at the down of  your neck
and my mouth at your pearly gates.
You dont open them
you dont scream for more
you  snore.
























You called me a baboon.

Last time anyone called me that in a derogatory tone it was a cheeky little Thompson’s gazelle.

I smiled and cradled it in my arms for a while, feigning fatherly magnanimity, then ripped off one foreleg cleanly from the shoulder and ate it.

The Savannah Star stirred up a stooshie (or a fomentatious stew as they say in some places) the way it nearly always does. The Tommies all got together, formed a committee, demanded an inquiry, campaigned to have me thrown off the reserve.  I resisted of course, saying “I’m a baboon! I have degrees in both mimicry and violence. How am I supposed to live without a degree of bloodshed? Thats the trouble with you people and your degrees. Am I supposed to eat nothing but acacia leaves  like those ridiculous giraffes? And what about Acacia? They may seem green and benign but they dont half do damage if you get one of those spikes in your nose. Maybe they evolved from the sabretoothed tiger.

And if you’re condemning me for deceit, the fake nurturing bit is just a technique, a technique I learned in baboon kindergarten where one learns how to survive and sustain life, especially one’s own. I suppose you’re going to suggest that the art of camouflage is not fair game, or that snakes who drop from trees are just not playing cricket, or that flyspray aerosols are cruel. They’re only cruel if you’re a Jain Buddhist and I’m not, I’m a baboon.

Degrees of this

Degrees of that

I’ve nothing against young gazelles in principle. On the contrary I feel very positive about young gazelles because they melt in your mouth.

Isn’t it strange how raw nature gradually gets cooked and loses the vitamins of a global system?  There was a time when no-one would have batted an eyelid at a baboon doing what it’s meant to do, but now there’s all these ragged edges of evolution scurrying into the millennium…and some of us, especially the ones with bald patches on our arses, are just not ready for it….everyone living in harmony, self-regulated mating programmes, old-gazelle welfare schemes and what have you. Maybe my grandson will have evolved into a flying fucking fruit fox or something but me I’m a baboon, and I can’t change that.

What’s happened to good old hunting imperatives, the urge of testosterone, the need for males to spend a bit of time together at the wadi of an evening, the odd fight over the girls?

I am a baboon and I’m still proud of it. I’ll drop the subject for now. Its a bit of a poisonous snake of a thing and I want a peaceful life. But if we get hitched and you ever start giving me gip about boozing with the boys, or spending too long at the office I’ll tear your arm off and throw it to the lions. Then let’s see where your vegetarian and slightly gazellist aspirations have got you.























It was then I realised
you were not of this planet.
We had found soft shingle
on a hard flinty beach
sat side by side
watching island life
when I stood to swim.

I left two loveable curved indents
behind my behind
and when I turned from the sea
I saw your indents were
just conical holes.

You are not anorexic.

You have not been slimming.

Then I noticed you were only sweating on one side…
something adrift with the drainage ducting
or extra-terrestrial style features?
I considered your endearing thin spiked ears
remembered you cannot abide
going anywhere slowly
and the look of startlement
in your green antennae
when I mention
washing dishes






















New Bar

A new bar in Partick
in the old Glasgow style.
All the short forgotten men
in cheap carcoats flocked
to drink whisky
and argue over the merits
of Partick men
compared to
Dennistoun men.

(I saw their sons
supporting their sons
this morning, shouting “Hit it !”
from the red blaes byelines
to the under- 5s first team
who were playing Dennistoun
in the toddlers’ league.)

When I grow old
I’d like to be one of these men,
men with a place to be in
a place to be proud of,
taking their drug
on a Saturday
with no hanging baskets
at the door
no cappuccino machine
under the gantry
and I’d like to stay protected there
till my good woman
comes looking for me
to say
my tea’s ready
and its mince.
























A Jump

She thought she’d go beyond
for once live a little
do something memorable and bold
before she got old.

It was scarily enriching
and not all that hard
apart from the ground
when her chute failed to open

They scooped her up with a shovel
into binbags
put her in a young persons grave
and forgot about her

The old worms licked
their rubbery lips

























Checking for blight
I met her first as  trainee potato inspector
for the County of Angus.
I heard she’d become executive
moved to The Capital,
must have met someone, made a choice
for here she is on the 73 bus
with baby slung on her chest
steering her toddler.
She’s lost alot of weight
through the Islington years
acquired contact lenses and confidence,
but something in the shade and style
of her check jacket
is still there like a birthmark.

She doesn’t notice me
and gets off at The Angel.

Busy bus this 73
the people curse the conductor
for restricting numbers,
the people curse anyway,
either unready for work,
their grey isolation
furrowing their faces….
or too ready by far and knotted
by the altered individual states they’re in.

I  wonder whether to  offer a seat
and if so to whom
and if so how to do it
without shedding too many drops
of this precious self-containment I was taught.
I stand up for an old man with a stick
then a young woman
I seem to recognise
stands up for me.

It takes time to register my new qualification
then I smile my thanks and sit,
amazed at all the people on this bus
that I used to think I knew.






















A Dump in Ascension

“Have you ever had a dump in Ascension?”
the man of the world asked.
“This reminds me of it.”

Inside the old CCCP regional building
the men queued for their morning relief
clutching pages of pravda
at doorless cubicles in ascending order.
The commandant used to shit first at the top,
then the major and less major players
then the squaddies squatting
in the great levelling position
which slopes till the lowliest
egalitarian condition
is to proffer your bottom
at the bottom.

Here the entire party’s neoclassic discardment
conforms with the monument of its architecture,
slides hugely along a corrupt
back channel of emolument
and down down down
that huge hole in the argument.
























You need a coat….

even though its 80 degrees
there might arise a chilly breeze
on the way to the chip shop
when you turn a corner to the west …
best be ready

no the weather’s not steady, not really your friend
it’s bound to turn nasty in the end
you need a coat.
…a good coat is a must
it makes you feel bigger, more decisive, more robust.

and whiskers help too.























do these dirty cheapwinedrinking
skinny downandouts with only one leg and bad teeth
who hang around in the square smoking
whilst thickset hardworking men
in royal blue overalls come with hammers
to fix the paving stones
and keep the pale tourists in shorts
safe from tripping up and falling over
and perhaps contracting septicaemia
and needing permanent healthcare

and whilst lactating mothers
wheel their little ones in perambulators
and stop to gossip about this and that
and then shove off to buy disinfectant
and something for the tea
when their husbands come home
with tales of responsible graft
and flawed management
and the possibility of a promotion…

why do these wasters with straggly beards
and a funny look in their eyes
have to make so much
noise about it all ?























TV Breasts

I will take illegal hormones
I’m prepared to take the chance
If I grow breasts on my shoulderblades
I’ll be sexier when we dance.






















Things to do with your Arms

Saw them both off
(you may need help with the second one)

Unburden yourself, arms are weight
and carry weight.
You dont need them,
throw them aside
with a flick of your torso.
This will give you wings.

Boil the limbs, degristled, in a stew
of onions and bouquet garni,
forearms have the best eating,
the hands must be removed…
you could make a fine stock
for the freezer

Use your toes
to work the ladle.

Or use arms to hew rock, loft bayonets
pan streams, punch for gold, serve aces
write War and Peace,
open the jam jar
for your wife.
She may lie happy
in your arms…
or your arms may not
be strong enough.

Be disarming or alarming,
but charming to those
who are willing to hold you up.

Reach for your mother with your arms,
use arms to keep the peace.























I use my claws
to  get rich
but I stay slim.
I’m a Thincat
not a fat.

I could ask you
what you think of that
but it doesn’t really






















The Blob

A blob of blattspinat mit kaserahm
dropped like an act of God
on to the Rotary Club Vest
of one of the best in Westphalia.
His napkin furled and cutting
to the west,
the strident  slap
of his wife’s haddock,
her wet tattoo,
his iceberg lettuce
shredded dignity

How was he to convince,
coddle his wit, serve it
under this slime stain
this greenish slur
so early in proceedings?






















The Afghan Generals

To Salisbury Plain
the Afghan Generals came
to train
wearing medals and those proud
Afghan gazes

Late each evening
they would buy ice lollies
in the 24hr Somerfield
and at the Holiday Inn’s revolving door
I’d often meet them…
smiling…..licking the
chocolate or strawberry
off their
fierce moustaches























Smoked Fish

I love to dine on Finnan Haddie
with my bonny Irish laddie
You can’t afford to be faddy
if you want to fuck a paddy
and whether you’re avantgarde or traddy
from Limavady
or the Irawaddy
whether you’re a tea or a golf caddy
a saddie
or a maddie
or an unrepentant baddie
you’ll enjoy a Finnan Haddie
with your laddie
they remind you of your daddy

now after karaoke
or doin’ the hokey cokey
I enjoy an Arbroath Smokie
makes me feel kind of folky
like your average dumb okie
or parochially folky blokes
with a mind to hokey pokey.
and my Dad says smokies aren’t bokey
that their flavour’s kind of tokey

I’m not trying to be jokey
but for appearance and for flavour
all daddies like a dish
of smoked fish






















Slow Punctures

are the worst
not like a bog-standard burst
where you know where you sat
and now its flat
and thats that.

Oh no
with slow punctures
you stare into a bucket of water
for hours
looking for bubbles
and with each minute
the boredom increases

If  you find a hole
you know you will get oil
on your chinos.

Apply solution
wait until tacky
you wield the levers
(or if you’re poor the forks)
then you accidentally pierce your tube
like a forkin’ knife
and that means more patches
more solutions
more sea-trial evolutions
in your bucket
and then
a dislodged mudguard strikes you
in the  ear
“Is it fixed yet ?” you hear
from a room inside,
and the night
gets longer

You stare into your bucket
thinking of the obvious






















Lobmaster Silvester Stallone’s Cojones

Now 60 and escaping to victory
an Italian Stallion with a certain creed
takes ‘em all on
not just Apollo
Oh No! He’s too macho!
A man who hangs from cliffs
in a vest in the snow
is underdressed the studios know
but he’s blessed beyond any measure
because  he’s our hero.

We’d say “Rambo number nine come in now
your time is mother-fuckin up
your bandana please, its well passe…”
“No way!”  he’d say
or grunt
what an awkward

Now if in the field of lawn tennis dreams
returned the immortal one…
He’d  hone his blunt noises for some brutal scenes
at the high courts and high thighs of Wimbledon.
His service would blend strawberries
his backhand whip cream
his forehand volley well gosh and golly
what a grand slam we’d get from this strong man
and when he met Arnie governor
or Bruce who dies harderer
Chuck, Jean-Claude, Steve… all those witless murderers
or Roger Federer who’s much much betterer
a lob
do the job
and take him
























I was feeling quite pleased
with it
till I realised
it was not quite what I






















I Believe in Eamonn Andrews

(The smooth talking charmer)
I know that one day, even though
I got several answers wrong
and ended up with 3 cabbages
and ignominy on TV,
and I’m now universally unemployable
and he sent a hitsquad out
to assassinate Ian
(that’s my hamster)
wittering and woganing on in his Irish way
about the university of hard knocks
and all that baloney maloney malarkey,
and now he’s going to tell the whole world
I’m a secret crossdresser and I carry disease
and I really shouldn’t have treated
my best mate that way that day
and he’s going to bring out some bony old
crone of a schoolteacher of mine
who I hated and I’ll have to pretend
he nurtured my creativity….

I know
in the end
he’ll intercept me with cameras
on my way to the STD clinic,
show me a big fancy book
with embossed leather covers
and blank pages
and he’ll say :
“This is your Life”
























If I bash my head one more time
on the Star of Bethlehem above the stair
its coming off guide duty
and going back under there
I’m going to fling the Norway Spruce out the window
kick the crackers to kingdom come then eat the marzipan magi
(we’ll see what all that oriental wisdom does for them then!)
As for the infant jesus
I’ll put him out in the blue bin
for recycling























Latest news is
October 26 2028AD 1830HRS.
it will hit earth
and everything will end.
We’ve got a while to prepare…
I’ll e-mail you anyway,
but in case we lose reception
or get tied up in meetings
lets use the landline that morning.
Failing that I’ll get you on the mobile later,
if you’re not out of range,
and hey, lets try to be nice
to each other shall we?























They lay down naked
in the middle of the kitchen floor
deciding to adopt the face-to-crotch position
they had heard so much about.

They enjoyed it thoroughly
soon becoming locked in a slippery
hot motion of tongues, taut thighs
and fecund juices, their parts swollen
in obscene dark reds and purples
the  wet hairs of their pubic pamperings
stuck between teeth and tasty parted lips
their burrowing nostrils
sniffing the heady inner scents of
their most personal private places.

Blue steam rose from the tiles.
The wall clock and the timer on the cooker
turned away their blushing faces.

69 was proving to be gratifying
in its provision of additional accessibility
and did have very real oral advantages.
They were able to indulge both lovers’ arses
and all seventeen of the lover’s arsenal of senses.
However, there was one notable exception.
With two pairs of ears clamped by immensely soft thighs
they couldn’t hear anything.
This aural disadvantage had been deafeningly absent
from their well-thumbed
Kama Sutra for Dykes.

When mum arrived home with Aunt Elsie in tow,
and her string of young tearaways
the lovers didn’t notice the sound of the car engine
nor the slamming of the front porch door.
Scuttling farcically into a bathroom
or a  wardrobe with a clutched towel or sheet
was not an option due entirely
to blissful unawareness,
and it was bliss
for they were at their perfect peak.

It was perhaps a good thing
that such purity of enjoyment could continue
unsullied by ugly awareness of others,
false modesty, feigned shyness
or the much misinterpreted
Pleasure Privacy Principle

When Mum dropped the shopping on the floor
behind them in shock,
they responded only by moaning
an eerie duet into each other.
She and Aunt Elsie stared
at the pulsing white tangle on the floor,
unusually lost for words.
The tearaways burst through to the kitchen
screaming, then skidded to a permanent halt
just beside the lovers,
not at all sure what they were looking at.

Mum made to touch a body,
by way of saying “Hi folks I’m home”
but where to do the touching?
The feet, she thought, briefly,
might be the least indelicate prospect
but she noticed even they had salacious
little licks of saliva over the toes.
She leaned forward and picked up the shopping.
She had lost her bottle and her groceries
and there were hungry kids to feed.

She put the potatoes on.

During lunch there were several
muffled climaxes from the floor,
and at one point a slightly noisy
interruption by a flurry of playfully
slapping hands on buttocks
accompanied by a curious throat-based sound
that could almost have been a smothered giggle of delight.
On the whole, though,
despite being temporarily gobsmacked
the lunchtime conversation resumed
the kind of facile emptiness
that lunchtime conversation should have.
The kids had a fight over who should sit nearest the sweating mass,
then pausing for a flushed breather
asked Mum what was going on.

“69” said Mum grimly.
This seemed to satisfy the children,
for they knew then that she was less confused than they were.
They started a jumping competition over the couple.

Aunt Elsie,
who had been uncharacteristically quiet
over her Summer Pudding
finally stood up
and with a mix of purpose and studied care
circumnavigated the couple
and made for the telephone.

She dialled 969
the little known number of the Fire Brigade’s
Specialist Crack Response Unit.

Aunt Elsie had been there before.






















The village was vivid….
daily with its laughter
cream, chocolate and the fruits
of long summer days….
There were cricket matches
ale yards and tomfoolery
and girls in dresses
sewn from life fabric
the kind you dance in
remove to bring children in
bring children up
make children tidy and clean
and helpful

Then squat and beetly
Dudgeon came along.
“Hi Dudgeon” , we all said
and his reply
an arrogant petulance
without love or Toblerone
or chuckle in a sleeve
chilled us
we all agreed it was
not just high dudgeon
but dudgeon of such altitude
we’d have needed
the oxygen of publicity
the crampons of spin
to get near him
so we left him
up there
where the air
is thin
























Her voluminous handbag,
the belly of a small dead cow
dyed Buckingham Green
was not clean
it held fluff, stuff like
the sacks and crumbs
of bygone sandwiches,
squashed figs, pork scratchings
earrings, ringtones,
a phone somewhere
that could never be found,
a can opener from a time
when ringpulls didn’t exist. This
was just in case….
























A Week Off

I got a wee cough
nothing serious
just persistent
my wife seemed cool
a little distant
and resistant
to anything I offered
by way of a joke

“I told you not to smoke”
she sounded
very satisfied
I sighed.

I went to see the doctors
got sent for tests
to know the truth
it’s for the best

“You’ve got Big C”
they said with max reverb

I said “Oh?
How long? What chances?
Why does my voice echo?
What’s the word?

I threw up
in the institute
in the chemo
on the radio
but after stem ginger
more carrots
than you could
shake a stick at
and what puritan joys
I could afford
I settled into micro-life
it was jolly
in the ward.

When I slid away from them
all the friends I’d met that day
and all the ones from decades back
it was a wondrous journey
the best I’ve ever made….
a starry tunnel then the light
shining reunion with mother
in a long white dress
and a young beauty again.

She said
“Who’s that dreadful girl
you were with?”

I looked back
saw my wife
mouthing the words
“I told you so!”



















When she threw the toast and
much of it lodged in my right ear and
a crunchiness developed
in my hearing and
something dripped
from my nose
peanut butter perhaps
I resolved always
to avoid
this kind of thing
at breakfast


















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