I gave up writing the family tree
a long time ago
its branches outgrew the screen
tangles of names, dates
photos of blurred, anonymous babies
pendant as sleepy fruit

what’s more real to me is grandma
how she used to visit at Christmas
sleep on a zed bed behind the sofa
she calls to me now from a cloud of talc
peel me an apple Jimmy she says
see if you can do it in one piece

pieces of eight

Welcome ye all to Treasure Island
with Long John Johnson and his pirate advisors
cutlass deep in gold and diamonds

the public purse is there for the takin’
you won’t believe the profits we’re makin’
or the faces of regret we’re fakin’

avast there lubbers! make way for the Cap’n
who stole your gold while you were nap’n
and woke too late to stop it happ’nin

fifteen men on a dead man’s chest
which ain’t so hard as it suggests
when we pass this bill to stop the protest

so it’s yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
shoot the cannon and bang the drum
the jolly roger flies over the united kingdom

what a waste land (w/ apologies to Ian Dury & TS Eliot)

what a waste
what a waste
stan the lurcher called for
and chased
and caught
and brought 
into the kitchen
for urgent attention
the pulling
of poorly digested, pendant grass
from his scrawny, lawny lurcher’s arse

podría ser poeta
no me tendría que preocupar

april is the cruellest month
why can’t life be straightforward for once
but no
this is how the world goes

I Tiresias
down on his knees
using a paper towel he frees
the grass that was squeezed
from the cheeks
of the lurcher called Stanley
who is permanently hungry
and eats anything, unfortunately

status update VI

I’m a sad case of extended distraction / inaction in action / a tractor with no wheels and no traction / I’m Jason Statham / on vacation / completely stationary / fast asleep and deep Zee trawling / while the baddies go crazy and kick the door in / driven loco by all the snoring / I’m Parkour with an emphasis on Park / I’m up with the lark / only in the sense that larks sometimes need the bathroom, too / I’m do as I say not do as I doze / I’m dead drunk on the bottom bunk of a booze cruise / I’m Tom Snooze / in Mission Impossible: Early Night Protocol / I’m unco in a Novotel / I’m a double-duvet creature feature / King Conked Out vs. Bedzilla / I’m a chinchilla / with my chin on the desk / so still I’m statuesque  / I’m slo-mo on the go-pro / I’m yes yes to more rest and hell no to Gym Go / I’m an unplugged YawnOMatic / I’m so sleepy I’m problematic / totally static  / I’m bow down arse up like the Titanic / the polar opposite of frantic / I’m zero jolts / silly millivolts / I’m Usain Bolt’s / pumas in a dusty shoe museum / late at night / the security guard grunting & shutting off the light / I’m Sleeping Beauty / wired to beeping computers / in a deep sleep study / where even the scientists are slightly sluggish / I’m drowsy & druggish / I’m REM symptomatic / Jimmy Jurassic / I’m Velocinaptors & Brontosnorus / maybe a T Rex / where T stands for Tired / comically attired / in blue & white striped flannel pajamas / falling asleep in front of a long and unnecessarily detailed natural history programme about alpacas & llamas / A SALUTARY STORY TO END WITH: Dr Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain / booked into a Travelodge / fifteen years later they need a court order to get him out

flags vs kites

Where is the flag for a human being?
not the kind you endlessly run up
sundown to sun up
or use to cover the pleading & bleeding

Where is the flag for a person of this Earth?
not the kind you sternly salute
or go bid the guns shoot
or use to colour a sense of greater worth

Where is the flag for a life lived freely?
not the kind you ceremonially wrap
or medalled patriots clap
or hang behind a podium on TV

a flag that curls like the turn of hands in clean water
a flag that snaps like the claps of people dancing
a flag that swoops like the song of children laughing
not a flag then – a kite!
with a long, multicoloured tail that sparkles in the light
flying across the sun
for everyone

birth of a masterpiece

the minute I’ve got some free time
some one hundred percent, positively ME time
time to wander aimlessly in my head
and not have to think about all the things everybody wants me to think about instead

as soon as I’ve found the perfect desk
something sturdy but nothing grotesque
by a window overlooking a railway station
or maybe a park, a supermarket, or a seafood restaurant whose sign is a flashing neon crustacean

the moment I’m done with the weekly shop
the dogs all walked, my photos cropped
and I’ve toured all my social media
and I’ve followed up a whole number of fascinating and possibly useful stories on google and wikipedia

the second I’ve finished snacking
and jogging, and crunching, and tracking
and there’s nothing left on the weekly agenda
except to look at the possibility of getting some kind of healthy veg and fruit juice blender

THEN I’ll be ready to sit down and start
(this lack of free time really breaks my heart)

the wizard of boz

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
that frantic, distracted kinda person
stamping on the pedals and levers
manipulating the unbelievers

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
the yellow brick road has gone for a burton
you’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy
not since they cheated on Brexit unfortunately

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
how he got there no one’s certain
but if you march thru’ the Emerald City
he’ll clap his hands and cry ‘Fly my Priti’  

Stanley at the window

Stanley stands and stares out the window

what’s so fascinating I don’t know

the pigeons in the trees coo-cooing?

the cars in the street coming & going?

or does he have a bigger talent?

has he seen things I haven’t?

(he’s got the drop on me, I suppose

with that long and gently twitching nose)