the best joke I ever made

I had to drop a sample off
(a sputum pot for a nasty cough)
the receptionist called my records up
started to laugh so I said whassup
it says you’re allergic to insect bites
but they didn’t get the spelling right
‘comes out in weals’ but they spelled it ‘wheels’
I’m a sucker for a typo she squeals
Yeah I said but the top physicians
say it’s an automotive condition
(I stood there waiting for laughs and applause
but she just frowned so I left through the doors)

the garden out back

with neighbours and Gaia my only witness
I stepped outside the house meaning business
gardening gloves, peaked cap, steely nerves
hoe, rake, secateurs
ready to wrestle the weedy earth

but only out front
the front is just a front
the garden out back is the garden I want

the garden out back is a nature reserve
apples trees, cornflowers, poppies, herbs
in this laissez-faire heaven there aren’t any weeds
just life growing freely each to its need
no borders, planters, arbitrary distinctions
a humming commune without restriction
a bath for the birds, a pond for the newts
everything seeding and bearing fruit
man, birds, insects, plants
THAT’S where I’d rather be, given the chance

taking god for a walk

And God created Dog
which you’d have to think was a little bit odd
given She was already everything and nothing
but goes to show The Girl wasn’t bluffing
when She said unto Man
I am what I am
(although: disclaimer
that mightn’t be God but Gloria Gaynor)
either way it pretty much covers all bases
how immanence works in the strangest of places
in the end, though
who knows?
maybe God just needed an independent nose
to sniff out Her mighty works with emotion
(and anoint with a sprinkle of doggy devotion)

the revenant

let me give ya the top dollar scoop on
my despr’t adventure in the goddamn Yukon
I quit ma job n’hit the trail
TikToks with all the tip top detail
when suddenly outta piney nowhere
what comes at me but a gurzly bear
600 pound o’hairy ass beef
paws n’claws n’roary teeth
so I holler for help, scream n’ yelp
then all of a sudden I’m fatally felt
by a roundhouse swipe by a paw like a door
and I end up stretched out on the floor
when I finally open my blood stuck eyes
I find I’m emergency hospitalised
and who is it pushin’ me on my journey
but the bear in scrubs wi’ me on the gurney
I haul on ma straps and holler for the nurse
but the bear is prepared and the thing gets worse
cos they tie me on the operatin’ chair
and the bear walks in wi’ them paws in the air
says scalpel please and next thing I know
I’m wakin’ up back in the mountainy snow
my hands all paws, my brains a blur
600 pounds n’covered in fur
and I see myself laughin’ standing there
‘cos the bear’s now me and I’m the bear
so that’s my story; whaddya think?
are you fixin’ to stand an old bear a drink?

Stanley & me in a garden on planet Earth

Stanley lies flat out on the grass
slow, not fast
while the morning’s shadows softly creep
and bees move fatly
flower to flower matter-of-factly
applying themselves to the business of existence
as I sit next to Stanley admiring their persistence

we’re just back from our walk
and if dogs could talk
this one would say
hey! WHAT a day!
if I had my way
I’d stay
like this forever
or until it’s time for dinner
or treats, or whatever

and Stan – I humbly beg your pardon
for disturbing the tranquillity of the garden
but you know one day this’ll all be gone, right?
and people and dogs will have to move on quite
because they’ve made the planet so sickly
with the hydrocarbons they’ve way too thickly
sprayed about
and after crazy years of lazing about
they suddenly start gazing about
with telescopes
making plans and copious notes
giving televised lectures
to CEOs and policy directors
about building an interplanetary Ark
while the ocean’s blaze and the skies grow dark
and lotteries are held in city parks
to see who stays and who embarks

I don’t know if you know this, Stanley
but apparently
for what it’s worth
the nearest habitable planet to Earth
is Proxima Centauri b
which I have to say is news to me
not that I follow astronomy
that closely
because – honestly?
I get lost in all the knotty specifics
of time, ships and astrophysics)

Proxima Centauri b
is a planet orbiting pretty neatly
a dwarf star that heats it nice and sweetly
supporting conditions for life completely
bees, humans, dogs called Stanley

the thing is, though
it’s a long way to go
4 point 2 light years or so
and you’d no doubt say
if you could talk
a bit too far for a dog to walk

and even if you COULD take flight
and travel at the speed of light
(which Einstein says is OUT OF ZE QVESTION!
then sneezes and pulls a crazy expression)
it would still take a while
one light year being 6 trillion miles
so … roughly 4 years
after 4 MINUTES you’d be bored to tears

but you see
there’s no need
to get worked up about time and speed
because speaking philosophically
you, me
and the bees
we’re just the same as Proxima Centauri b
made of the same stuff, atomically
born from the one, primeval womb
that birthed all existence in the cosmic boom
so I wouldn’t worry if I were you
you’re such a good boy, Stan – have another chew

the McHamlite Burger

To be vegan, or not to be vegan – that is the question
which is why we hath given our menu a freshen
no need to worry your head about murder
with the 100% plant-based McHamlite burger
Oh how this too, too alt-cheese would melt
O’er a luscious patty on a bun of spelt
Enjoy a soothing drink with your dinner
From our floral range Ophelia in the River
For a premium experience – try Yorick’s guest room
(flights of angels sing to thee in the restroom)

the McBanquet deal

For the amazement of thine eyes
Our Egg McBeth with Dagger n Fries
From the menu untimely ripp’d
it comes with a choice of tomato dips
Why not try a Lady McShake?
Guaranteed to keep you awake
elegant, murd’rous, sexy, timeless
full o’ the milk of human kindness

and when ‘tis done (I’m pleased to advise ya)
help yourself to sanitizer

status update XLV

I’m the Tin Man jazzing up his bolts / with crocodile clips and a thousand volts / staggering out of a junkyard orgy / MDMA and WD40 / meanwhile back in the emerald city / munchkins deal with the nitty gritty / flying monkeys, wicked witches / phoney wizards (sons of bitches) / still they’re used to staying chipper / stovepipe hats & bootleg liquor / happy to sell to the highest bidder / a hatful of straw, an emerald slipper / glad you’re staying, really thrilled / we welcome you to the crack pipe guild

It’s a question of assets, a quota of trust / one minute boom the next minute bust / read the room and screw the optics / you only need cash and antibiotics / I’m sorry to get all messianic / but I hate it when you start to panic / you used to be so damned dynamic / now you’re barely automatic / look at the time – it’s way past caring / take a seat and thanks for sharing

I’ve a sponge for a brain, a zip for a mouth / pupils pointing north and south / earnest, serviced, quite devout / tinker’s tailor, MP’s pout / preaching how to do without / tutting with accusing fingers / why do all these losers linger? / make my fortune, make my day / a back needs scratching – what can I say?

I’m a sexed-up clown in a town of Sundays / shining my shoes and starching my undies / dreaming of tumbles in golden showers / big top crowds and squirting flowers / throbbing red noses / wigs n’ hoses / smacking my lips as the curtain closes