B.J in a Box

Someone bought me a Boris Johnson doll
faithfully rendered in wipe clean plastic
the detail was fantastic
white blond hair that stuck up
a shabby shirt that rucked up
eyes that narrowed and slid
and written in big blue letters on the lid

Back of the box was a list of features:
realistic hands for passing the buck
cloak of invisibility when things come unstuck
extra large pockets so there’s room enough
for paternity suits and bungs and stuff
additional velcro suit, hat and stick
so he can change into Churchill pretty quick
Tough! Dynamic! A real world-beater!

But I got a shock when I pulled him out
In his back was a cord to make him speak
Waffle and spoffle and schoolboy Greek
and underneath where the batteries went
was another, peculiar looking vent
so I put the doll on the kitchen floor
got a spoon from the cutlery drawer
levered it open and gave it a clout

Inside was a figure like a decorated peg
in a shell-suit, lanyard and beanie
I’d never seen a person so weenie
or so grumpy, I have to confess
with a hard little stare like he couldn’t care less
I’d performed a C-section with a spoon
and sprung him from his womb
like a crappy toy from a Kinder egg

There was nothing on the box to say he was there
nothing in the instructions
the long list of functions
so I wondered what it was all about
I mean – it’s something I can do without
I think it’s pretty standard when you buy a doll
that you’re the one who’s in control
and not some other fucker hidden somewhere

lobby elevator pitch

You wanna know / what’d make a great animated TV show? / a bunch of lovable characters that grow / and sprout / and rootlessly run about / in a spooky, kooky kinda Victorian hothouse / on the balmy banks of the Thames / I mean – okay – it’s basically MPs and their shady business friends / but this time as HERBS! / with nothing much to disturb / their cute little cummings & goings / apart from the odd village showings / where the local duchess / who is actually a horseradish / turns up to award a certificate and cup / to the herb with the seeds to back them up

So anyway – here’s a back-of-the-envelope cast of characters / excluding all the walk-on CEOs and barristers / (there’s plenty of room for vegetables and fruit / but I’m sticking with herbs for the pilot shoot) / and one other thing / to make this even more deliciously tempting / I think there’s plenty of scope for merchandising / I mean – I’ve already had preliminary talks with Schleich / who want clarity on the parody but the herbs they like

Boris Basil – thinks work’s a hassle, babbles and baffles
Pritti Parsley – looks quite sweet but her character’s ghastly
Matt Dill – hung out to dry on the windowsill
Dominic Shrub – hides behind the water tub
Grant Shapweed – sappy, ratty, gone to seed
Jacob Rees-Mint – droopy & snooty, always putting his roots in it
Gavin Tarragon – a toothless, hapless, utterly hopeless kinda dragon
Liz Cress – okay with cheese, otherwise clueless
Robert Chervil – cheerful but awful
Mr Michael Gove – a wise and loyal ol’ gardener, by jove (as he heats his knives in the potting shed stove)
Brandon Onion – a good, all-round companion (some might say / in a very specific and limited way)
Thérèse Daisy – old school Tory, totally crazy
Sagey Sunak – the smartest leaf in the pack, struggling to keep the garden on track

Working title: In the Herb Garden
(open your wallet – I’ll drop my card in)


A warm, wait-less welcome to Moonshot Test n’Trace / the best damn testers in outer space / Just visit our online rocket / to choose a time and block it / (but if you’re symptomatic / it’s a bit more problematic / and though it’s hard to explain this / unfortunately you’ll be diverting to Uranus)

rule of sticks

So hang on a minute – let’s get this straight / in order to frustrate / the spiraling viral aggregate / and avoid the L-word activate / we’ve now got to do everything by six / which sounds a dodgy kinda fix / from Boris’ Bargain Bucket of Tricks / less insightful state-aid / more frightful band aid / and to make things worse / neatly highlighting chapter & verse / the tragi-comic, Eton Rifles ethos / in the Cummings-Johnson universe / grouse shooting is exempt / showing the contempt / the government has for the working population / who struggle to make sense of the situation / where kids can go to school but not the park / where neighbours are encouraged to turn neighbourly nark / phoning from the dark / of their safe social bubbles / staying out of circulation, staying out of trouble / but if you’re out on the moor / with a hundred other lords or more / berating the beaters, blasting the grouse / it’s perfectly legal to leave the regal manor house

UK plc19

CUT TO: Boris Winton dashing with a wonky trolley through the Value Valley of Death / all squinty eyes and minty breath / a big-haired, bad-mouthed, Supermarket Macbeth / out of luck and out of his depth / smiling & waving at all the MPs misbehaving / and though none of them seem to impress him a lot / even he can see that the place is hot / and he’d better be grateful for whatever he’s got

CUT TO: Boris Marat eating a hard cheese salad in his big tin bath / having a soak, having a laugh / when in comes Farage for his autograph / pulls out a knife from his Union Jack corset / and the next thing you know the PMs bought it / and Farage gets punished for his act of treachery / with a column in the Telegraph and a job in the Treasury

CUT TO: Boris Who striding out of the Tardis / hawing and guffawing and saying now what IS this? / those EU Daleks are REALLY taking the piss / they’re all like: Information! and Negotiation! while exterminating the Brits / but sadly, his sonic screwdriver’s reduced to thrummings / ‘cos the battery’s been nicked by his assistant Cummings

CUT TO: Boris ‘Tom’ Jones hiding in the cupboard / with his pants on his head for ol’ Mother Hubbard / but when she gets there / and finds him and the cupboard bare / she goes completely spare / all Travis Bickle / beats him to death with a gherkin pickle / ‘That’s what you get for screwing up the shopping!’ / then happily gets out her mop and starts mopping

Meanwhile, down in the crematorium,
at least one successful British emporium,
Look! There’s Auntie Ollie! Waving from the plate!
C’mon on in, Jim – the Covid’s great!

the (un)magnificent seven

Michael Gove as Yul Brynner
avec glasses, sans charisma
deadly as a TV dinner

Matt Hancock as Steve McQueen
looking lost when he tries to look mean
fucking up the scene

Pritti Patel as Eli Wallach
shifty and shambolic
pink & purely symbolic

Rishy Sunak as Robert Vaughan
slowly taking his time on the lawn
working on his draw

Dominic Raab as James Coburn
practicing with knife and gun
high noon in High Holborn

Gavin Williamson as Brad Dexter
smiling, says he’s here to protect ya
authentic as a debt collector

Boris Johnson as Charles Bronson
one fixed and fatal expression
total incomprehension

[SFX horses, gunshots &c / cue music: mariachi version of Rule Brexitannia]

announcing Mr JRM

Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg

brass-knobbed reform-clubbed fob-chained Where’s Wally watchdog

antediluvian Gladstone Murdstone vaudevillian Victorian hoary-handled tory brolly 

party banker market spanker golden jackpot handle cranker

nappy dodging speaker teasing crocheted pants stance bants bodger 

money mashing Latin flashing nanny lashing Grenfell bashing maxi-Thatcher share stasher

gene recessive noun excessive spirit depressive LGBT repressive anti-progressive 

that Jacob Rees-Mogg

holds his phone up in parliament

(roars of applause from the Tory government)

Britons never never never shall be slaves

(But only if you went to Eton: the rest of you, behave)

you’ve been framed

truly am I the pinnacle of klutz
no ifs no buts
watch in horror as I wail
my long arms fling & flail
as I try but signally fail
to keep beak above tail
once again demonstrating my supernatural talents
for anything but the most rudimentary balance
haplessly pratfalling backwards
scattering spectators & contractors
demolishing an entire row of fancy new huts
on this modest but decently refurbished kibbutz

back in the pond

sometimes when I belch I bring back dad
that sonorous, self-satisfied way he had
a baritone frog on a lily pad

shit i even walk like him
rolling along on stumpy pins
a nonchalant neanderthal synonym

lately I catch myself sighing when I sit
and when I laugh I cry a little bit
like life’s so funny I can’t quite handle it

I wish he’d quit and leave me alone
the dead king slumped on his ghostly throne
jerking the strings on these junior bones

cave canem

I stood with the crowd in the museum audience
Dog from the House of Marcus Vesonius Primus
thought about his metamorphosis

he was part of a travelling exhibition
cast in cruelly clear condition
two thousand years in the same position

you could see where the studded collar kept him
chained in the atrium when the gas and ash swept in
killing the dog and the people who left him

it’s shocking how time rushes in to claim us
the past and the future links to chain us
a steady, unknown hand to name us