jane & the cat

it’s changed so much round here
well – everyone’s died
I’m the last woman standing
at night the street’s parked up
I picture them all
all them people
lying in their beds, in mid-air
during the day you don’t see no-one
no cars, nothing
I talk to the gardener once a week
he’s got a little dog
the yappy kind
we had a dog once,
a jack russell
called jane
she hated fireworks
I used to put cotton wool in her ears
wrap a scarf round her head
we had a cat, too, years ago
I don’t think he had a name
we just called him The Cat
his house got bombed out
so he come into ours
he was a funny little thing
filthy, not what you might call affectionate
he loved the rain
he’d go right out in it
and stay out
then sneak back in
and jump on your lap
give you a heart attack
like someone attacking you with a mop
I miss all our pets, though
when they was gone we didn’t get no more
not when we started playing table tennis
well – it wouldn’t be fair to them, would it?

rachel’s song in waltz time (with hens)

daddy was a / publican who / drank more than he / sold
wrestled with the / licence board who / finally took / hold
mummy did the / best she could but / struggled with the / pain
many were the / arguments and / nothing ever / changed

now you’re gone / it’s just my mum / she’s living on a / farm
with free-range hens / that scratch around / the yard and house / and barn
they follow you / or perch on drums / or watch you from / the shade
it’s wonderful, how / hens can be / so perfectly / behaved

here’s a picture / that I took, when / I was last at / home
a single egg / a socket set / the white against / the chrome
I don’t know why / it means so much / maybe I’m just / blue
Looking back at / everything, the / thoughtless things we / do

daddy was a / publican who / drank more than he / sold
wrestled with the / licence board who / finally took / hold
mummy did the / best she could but / struggled with the / pain
many were the / arguments and / nothing ever / changed

response to another rejection letter

Dear Whoever,

C’mon! I AM the droid you’re looking for / I’m Shelley Duvall behind the door / I’m Liam Neeson using the hard shoulder / I’m Harrison Ford outrunning a boulder / I’m a zombie standing on an elevator / who’s still there when you come back half an hour later / I’m the Pied Piper playing for one deaf rat / who nods as if he’s happy with that / I’m the butcher, the baker, the manuscript maker / I’m the cook, the thief, his wife, and a whole lot of other fakes / I’m the lady with the head full of snakes / who rinses and rinses but never quite convinces / I’m the baby alien that didn’t make it past the vest / I’m the original scream test / I’m Eliot Mess / and The Unworkables / I’m Gene Kelly and The Untwerkables / I’m Childish Gambino in a casino with a bambino / quoting Italo Calvino / cool & smart & he knows it / super cool till he blows it / I’m the Leastest Showman / I’m The Snowman / walking in the air till he doesn’t / I’m the Wizard of Oz that Wozn’t / I’m Toto, breaking outta the basket / I’m the witch pedalling like fury after it / I’m King Kong in a party thong / climbing entirely the wrong kinda tower / hurt by all the fire power / and stuff / trying to act like he’s big & bad enough / but even gnat bites have a cumulative effect / and you know the beast is gonna get wrecked / but hey / whatever / it’s inevitable as the weather / you just gotta learn to roll with the punches / organise some working lunches / and literary aspiration? / tough question / sometimes I feel like a skull on the windowsill / where Shakespeare maybe dabbed his quill / he probably had some better receptacle / but it didn’t make quite such an arresting spectacle

hoping all’s good with you &c

yours in limbo

sig

lord of the money

c’mon / you can’t blame a guy for trying / for simply going forth and multiplying / I think you’ll find it’s in the good book / or was, last time I looked / and yes, d’uh! I know about the camel and the needle / but I don’t think they were thinking of this indiveedle / and anyways, hey – these days any kinda mammal / can pass through anything, including a camel / they haven’t yet made a small enough lumen / to keep out this particular brand of human / with an offshore account / for undisclosed amounts / a rack of ties from the usual schools / I’m sorry, mister – I don’t make the rules / I only abuse ‘em / morals slow you down, so lose ‘em / the simple fact is, his chance came along and he seized it / he reached up, picked the damned fruit and he squeezed it / felt the holy juice trickle down his arm / and he was so impressed he bought the farm / started a dynasty / financed an amnesty / started all kinds of funds and trusts / everything sprinkled with fairy dust

but hey! how your eyes move, man / they sparkle and burn / put me on your shoulder so I can learn / I’ll ride along tame as your favourite monkey / laughing at all the failures and flunkies / look at ‘em all, flailing around down there! / they’re so clueless man it’s hard to care / didn’t no-one tell ‘em, life is a butter dream / a gated house for the dairy queen / your mission – if you decide to accept it / teach me about feudalism and how to resurrect it / they won’t care, they’re far too steady / look at ‘em! they’re halfway there already / but hey / anyway / who cares what they say? / fake it till you make it, darling / have another can of carling / but not so much you can’t do the work / at the checkouts, pumps, hospitals or whatever / get used to it, you’ll be there forever / whilst overhead, the moneyed elite / cruise at an attitude of thirty thousand feet /

anyway, the systems working, don’t knock it / it’s a full time job keeping governments in your pocket / the die is cast, you’ve paid up front / so get back to work you shiftless so and so

raw poem

they shall grow not old / as we that are left grow old / they shall not wear so much braid on their shoulders they walk with a stoop / nor watch The World at War in Colour on a loop / they shall no longer be exposed to politicians / and their endless manipulations / of the headline-loving populations / carefully kept in ignorostasis / herded together on a regular basis / to ratify the next conflagration / monitored by an international elite / the world quite literally at their feet / idly dropping crumbs of daily news / to ensure no diminution of the queues / outside the recruitment centres / (apart from a few dissenters / who chewed themselves free of their cable placentas) / in the certain knowledge that when War arrives / they’ll be down in their bunkers with their servants and wives / feasting on canned potato dauphinoise / playing supranational charades / liking viral videos of a photogenic kid in cammo / demonstrating creative ways to personalise ammo / his nationalistic fervour quite incomparable / keen to lie in some corner of a foreign field that will be forever arable / ploughed in with a deal of intelligent ordnance / zoning-in on his Twitter coordinates

they shall not use their mobile phones / to distract from the fact they are actually alone / they shall not hastily lick ice creams around the stick / melting in the fallout double-quick

they shall not be celebrated / & consecrated / in a fancy, brassy box / by an eminent geezer in ermine and fox / all the politicians sweltering in black / the flag-waving crowds out back / smoking / laughing and joking / he was such a cussed ol’ stick / well meaning but a bit thick

no

they fell in vast number / neatly diced as a sainsbury’s cucumber / by a rigorously tested range of machines / that made a killing on the market for such things

trumbo flies in

thank you all so very much / you’re tremendous / my love for you is endless / (check my feed / you’ll see) / so c’mon! clap your hands! throw confetti! / say the magic word: covfefe! / you’re about to see me flap my ears and start flyin’ / well, c’mon! you can’t blame an elephant for trying / you gotta think big – no, bigger than that / in a kiss-me-quick hat and a baseball bat / a grin like you wouldn’t believe / just ask steve / wait – wha’d’ya mean? where is he? / a live action film of my life by Disney? / well I wouldn’t give a rat’s arse to see that crap / tell him I want the feather back / I’ll find another mouse for my hat / meanwhile / way, way, wayway down / all those crazy numbnuts running around / bunch of clowns / funny fire engine sounds / sirens wailing / buckets chucked / hoses flailing / fifty ladders propped in midair / going nowhere / a wall made of sponge bricks / a hundred other tricks / one playing another like an accordion / a little waterboarding / rounding each other up in a humane way / with Breitbart water bombs / squirters from the NRA / but snipers in diapers – it’s the clown’s concern / some people are just too stupid to learn / okay – Theresa? this isn’t working / I’d better help out with some aerial twerking / no? / don’t like the show? / well – my schoolmarmy friend, plenty millions do / no-one cares about you / I’m the biggest draw in the history of me / so let the people see, and be awed / let the trumpets play and the violins sawed / let the floodlights find me way up here at the top / one helluva view, one helluva drop / and whilst I admit I haven’t done it yet / I’ve never been scared of getting wet / so shut your pipe holes, freaks / I’ve been practising this for weeks / the show’s not over till the pachyderm sings / and this one’s got wings / so what – are we good to go? / shall I go now? / okay – it’s a go / enjoy the show
who the hell cares what happens below

last rights

Mr Amos had a dreadful fright
almost, but not quite
the dearly departed
but his heart was restarted
and he was dragged from the light
ironic he says I used to be a mortician

you’d think I’d know best
but now I’m obsessed
by how all the vicars used to fight
over who’d get the right
to the next commission