this ol’ hound

this ol’ hound is proper glitchy
incredibly itchy, unfeasibly twitchy
he harrumphs and garrumphs when he rolls on his back
his big wiry paws paddling then slack
like he’s having a canine heart attack
then he sneezes
freezes
carries on as he pleases

this ol’ hound is proper chaotic
sometimes floppy, sometimes robotic
he runs up the stairs like a rugby team in boots
but he’s sneaky when it suits
creeping round the kitchen to sniff with his snoots
so beware
in there
or you’ll trip and break a hip I swear

this ol’ hound is proper crazy
fifty percent hyperactive, fifty percent lazy
he sleeps so deep you can watch him dream
gamboling through landscapes of rabbits and streams
giant foil trays of doggy supremes
till he wakes with a start
a sad little bark
back to reality with a broken heart

this ol’ hound is proper distracting
it’s impossible to work with the way he’s acting
staring at you long and hard
then marching around the room with a placard
‘Wark!’ (which – you’ll admit – for a dog isn’t bad)
till you crack
fill your pockets with snacks
take him round the park and back

festival of whatever

Roll up! Roll up to the Festival of Brexit / a hundred shiny entrances and one shitty exit / it’s too late to reject it / so just shut the fuck up, suck it up & accept it / if you’ve got a bicep flex it / take a selfie and text it / what’s the use in worrying and feeling blue? / (and St George red, and white striped, too) / you can’t deny it / you might as well try it! / we’ve got a Farage barrage balloon and we’re not afraid to fly it

C’mon! Rock n’Roll up! / Put your placards down and stroll up! / to The Great British Jumping Off Zone / with the neon Britannia & megaphone

Try if you dare the Victorian experience / where mutton-chopped Bishops & Presbyterians / whip you with canes and sundry variants / Play Fuck the Scots and Flense the Whales! / See clowns running round with ladders and pails! / Have a go at High Class Hoopla / tossing cock-rings on the marble boners / of as many venerable Land and Slave Owners / as you can muster / play Spotted Dick with Custard! / Play Col Mustard / in the House of Lords / with the nipple clamps and the ceremonial sword / Play Best Foot Forward / Play Old School Tie Reward / Play Light the Lamp / with Boris Nightingale in a transit camp / Dress yourself up like Jacob Rees Mogg / and tap your way through a pea-souper fog / with a silver-topped cane / down Jack the Ripper lane / whistling We’ll Meet Again / Practice your lunges / Throw Poundland sponges / at Liam Fox / squirming and gurning out in the stocks / whilst a crappy fifties jukebox / plays ‘the easiest deal in history’ non-stop

And when you’re hungry – why not try The Bullingdon Club? / for some proper princely posh boy grub / where our team of servile robot staff / are guaranteed to make you laugh / as hard as your betters in the upper classes / who lob buttered rolls at their Teflon arses / (and you may be weak but your eyes are still champion / they DO all look like David Cameron)

Go Ooh! Aah and then some / at the Laser Show Stylings of Davis & Leadsom

Give yourself the shivers / in our Parliamentary Hall of Mirrors / Howl at the blatant economic distortions / legal contortions / catastrophic loss of moral proportions / but my personal fave? / when Dancing Queen plays? / you finally get to move like Theresa May

Jump on the Johnson helter skelter / it’s a patriotic, Blighty belter! / a city suit melter! / from the flag at the top to the homeless shelter

Finally – treat yourself to a Punch & Judy show / because often it’s the simple pleasures, you know / like booing as Mr Punch goes to Barnard Castle / the sneaky, beeny, beaky little rascal! / then groan as Judy stands by / because she’s too much of a puppet to say bye-bye / but cheer as Punch takes back control / treating dissenters like whack-a-mole / That’s the way to do it! That’s the way to do it! / You had the vote folks but you blew it! / roar as he leaves with a box of sausages

…as your smartphone beeps with some urgent messages

the grump

who’s house is that?
said the rat
to the crow
I’d love to know!
who lives in a house as white as snow?
it’s whiter than white
so white and so bright
the whole place shines like a star at night
I’d like to see who lives there all right
shall we go tonight?
shall make our visit?
shall we go?
shall we go?
and see who’s in it?

oh no said the crow
oh no no no
I will NOT go
I do NOT want to know
It’s a bad idea to make this visit
to see the white house and the person in it

tell me oh tell me my old friend crow
tell me exactly what it is that you know
about the house on the hill
with the security grille
why do you stop, sir?
why do you hop, sir?
why do you flap and slap and drop, sir?
why do you cry and your black feathers scatter?
why does your cute little crow beak chatter?
tell me oh tell me whatever’s the matter!

it’s the grump!
THE GRUMP!
THAT is why I slump!
That is the reason I stomp and stump!
I will NOT go with you up to the gate
it is much too far and much too late
my wings are tired and my feet aren’t great
I will NOT take you to it!
I will NOT go through it!
I do NOT choose it!
I absolutely REFUSE it!
you can nag
you can beg
but I simply WILL NOT DO IT!

okay
okay
I’m sorry you feel that way
maybe we’ll save it for another day

another day I will not
another day I shall not
another day I have not got

C’mon – the grump? said the rat
fixing his tie and straightening his hat
I’m sorry to hear you feel like that
but just tell me flat
this terrible grump – who on earth is THAT?

the crow came close
closer than most
till they were eye to eye and nose to nose
(or nose to beak
to speak
more accurately
the crow being the one with the beak, quite naturally)

the grump!
the GRUMP!
said the crow with a thump
of one fine feathery fist on the other
(which hardly made any noise whatsoever)
the GRUMP is the creature
who lives in that feature
that the history teachers teach ya
the GRUMP is the guy
who lives inside
and whose visit I have so emphatically denied

yes – but – who EXACTLY is this character?
you’re not the world’s most reliable narrator
if you don’t tell me soon I’ll see ya later

then I’ll tell you said the crow
as the rat turned to go
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
I’ll tell you what you want to know
about the Grump who lives in the house made of snow
and I’ll tell it in song with my old banjo…

oh no
on no
not the old banjo
said the rat
nixing him flat
I do NOT want to know
if it means another shitey old crow show
just tell me simply, nice n’slow
tell me the one thing I want to know
who IS this grump and why does he matter?
and please be quick because I’ve got a full bladder

the crow sighed
threw his banjo aside
sadly shook his head
and this is what he said

the grump is the president or was till they voted
when they called the count and he was supposed to be demoted
but he lost his mind and clings on to power
snapping towels at his aides from the shower
oh don’t make me do it!
I won’t take you to it!

okay fine – FINE – said the rat
I can understand that
he sounds a bit of a sulky brat

he is said the crow
but it’s worse than you know
he will not leave the house of snow
he stamps and he shouts
and they cannot get him out
they can not make him, he will not go
no no
he will not
and his face is red and his wig is shot
and when they say he is done he says he is NOT
and something else I’ve momentarily forgot

but c’mon! said the rat – there are legal channels
for the extrication of recalcitrant mammals
yeah? said the crow
he’s got nuclear codes
so tell me – what ELSE would you like to know?

(with a nod, apology & much love to Dr Seuss)

almost sure this is you

I needed a baby photo of me

for the Christmas advent calendar tree

the departmental bosses

were putting in the office

five pounds to enter

to play through December

guessing who’s what

winner gets the pot

I could do with the extra income

so I phoned mum

to see if she could send me some

she posted back a single snap

written in biro on the back:

ALMOST SURE THIS IS YOU

it was my daughter aged two

when I rang to point this out

she said there was plenty of room for doubt

and anyway – maybe I’d go a bit mad

if I’d squeezed out as many as she had

exit

in the end his desk was easy to clear

I hear

as he was never officially there

cumming & going

like a malign version

of the downing st cat

in a beanie hat

JD trainers & slacks

and instead of a collar

a lanyard offering top dollar

if the wearer should be found

wandering hopelessly around

ONCE RECOVERY POSITIVELY CONFIRMED

£500 IF NOT RETURNED

BJ style guide

less Streep more Swanson
less Lee more Bronson
less Damon more Johnson

less Marcus Aurelius more Emperor Nero
less Diet Coke more Coke Zero
less Marvel more DC superhero

less Big Sur more Thetford
less King Arthur more King Edward
less Spongebob more Squidward

less Chippendale more Chippy
less Dior Rouge more Superdrug own-brand lippy
less Oscar Wilde more Mr Whippy

less Leibowitz more Happy Snaps
less standing ovation more slow hand claps
less Cary Grant more Grant Shapps

less family farm more pharmaceutical
less gritty documentary more hollywood musical
less callous more cuticle

less flotsam more jetsam
less hard hat more comedy stetson
less give some more get some

less fresh clean air more noisy compressor
less humming bird more heffer
less salt more Pfeffel

the general

hush little baby don’t say a word
papa’s gonna see his kids preferred

and if the rest all shout and stamp
papa’s gonna put them in a transit camp

and if that transit camp flares up
papa’s gonna send in the riot cops

and if those riot cops don’t win
papa’s gonna order the military in

and if the military falls back
papa’s gonna give everyone the sack

and if they all rise up as one
papa’s gonna take you on the run

and if that run ends up in a hole
papa’s gonna give you a little capsule

and if that capsule makes you sick
you’ll hear his silver pistols go click click click

[…fade to a montage of tyrants through the ages…]

status update III

I’m Richard the Lemmingheart / Joan of Nark
I’m Jagger the Jogger rockin’ his three-wheeler roller round the park

I’m Lady Macbeth and a Glock 17
sleepwalking through her most famous scene
the multitudinous seas incarnadine

I’m Donald MacTrump
squeezing out a dump / Rude Giulianni’s hand on the pump
squatting on a ballot box back of the stump

I’m lazy Lazarus
flat out on his matarus
flicking through the funnies back of the daily papyrus
when Jesus layeth into me
and unexpectedly saith unto me
Rise, take up thy bed, and walk
glaring down at me like a holy hawk
or a gorgeous Mickey Rourke
in a toga and beard
before boxing and all that plastic surgery made him weird

access all areas at the tory halloween party

And it’s a very chilly welcome to the blood red carpet 
at the 2020 Tory Halloween junket

And here comes Cummings the Mummy! / Hands-outstretched & talking funny / in a dodgy dealer kinda mumble / like he’s evil incarnate but somehow humble / We LOVE his comedy trips and tumbles / his bad boy beanie, his lanyard fumbles / adorably horrible / unaccountably trouble / COMPLETELY at home amongst the rubble

Stop everything! / Here’s Gove the Thing! / with his squamous hair and swampster bling / slime slinging / gill singing / venom venting / swivel-eyed blinking / …this is definitely a look that will have your heart SINKING / But still, I hear champagne glasses CLINKING / so he’s doing alright despite what you’re thinking

Folks – if you’re got the sickness, we’ve got the pill! / Because in glides the glamorous Priti deVille / smiling as warmly as a dentist’s drill / glad-handing with languid skill / the journos from the rags until / one of them innocently questions her will / and then – yep! THERE’S the famous, homicidal chill / colder than the moon on Cemetery Hill / (if we could only distill it / we could dominate the world with it)

Once again Demonic Raab proves why he’s too Ghoul for School! / The nude headmaster with the power tool / who has everyone fooled / with his urbane smiles and arcane rules / but who’s surprisingly cruel / a look-a-like Peter O’Toole / measured, suave & cool / who lets a great white in the swimming pool

Take a look at Jenrick the Jester! / Juggling his balls of polyester / A real firm favourite with the court investors! / The corporate clown with the Poundland sceptre / As nimble with his fiddle as his back protector / Setting off all the metal detectors / hilarious and nauseating in equal measure / Casts no shadow WHATSOEVER

And finally – in rolls the Pumpkin King! / Shocking! / Watch him laughing and waving! / That’s amazing! / Now I’ve seen everything! / Those spiky teeth sawing! / All that public school squawking & guffawing! / And I suppose – who knows? – it might be entertaining / if ‘tragically horrifying’ / was your thing / So there he goes, u-turning / backsliding & backbiting / hackwriting / gaslighting & guessing / a model of fun if it wasn’t so depressing

And – oh dear! Bringing up the rear – what a pity! / Is that supposed to be Professor Chris Whitty?

I’ve got a bad feeling about this

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
ride around aimlessly for a bit
tie their horses to rubbish skip
buy four large portions of fish and chips
struggle to eat them without any lips

well this is shit / says PLAGUE
nonplussed, kinda vague
not exactly End of Days
is it?
not our usual kinda visit

don’t be obtuse, Bruce / stay boney and loose
says CONQUEST / the meanest of the four, no contest
tossing a handful of chips down his craw
watching them tumble straight out on the floor

this is serious / there’s nothing mysterious 
about a pandemic
you of all people should know that, goddamit

PLAGUE / has nothing more to say
just waves hi / to a jogger jogging by
who takes one look at his fleshless mien
and drops down dead there and thien

oops you did it again / says FAMINE
tugging his hood around his skull
that’s me full
or as full as you can be when you’re dead
I can’t remember being this well fed

WAR / bored / balls / his empty chip wrapper
chucks it at a window cleaner
but it bounces harmlessly off his bucket
fuck it
that’s not like me
we’d better make it best of three

FAMINE shakes his head / cracks his dusty knuckles and says
I thought it’d be obvious when the world was to end
like an interview with God on CNN

well – I haven’t heard anything particular
not a squeak of someone speaking in the old vernacular
have you?

true / yawns CONQUEST / stretching his bony arms right and left
it’s one unholy mess / and I have to confess
I’m feeling a bit disillusioned / with the general confusion
why can’t we just get it over and done with
rain instant death on the people we have fun with 

PLAGUE sneezes / into the sleeve / of his cloak
CONQUEST? You crazy old croak!
you’re so witless you’re woke
you think everyone drops dead just cos you spoke?

well – d’uh! / what d’you think the Four Horsemen are for?
with names like FAMINE and CONQUEST and WAR?
we’re not called REPETITIVE COUGH or ASYMPTOMATC
it’s pathetic / too chronic
I need something supersonic / a bit more bubonic

I’m sympathetic, CONQUEST / honest / but it’s frightening
these days you need more than a horse and some lightning
but hey – don’t panic
it’s gonna get manic
we’re scratching around now but soon we’ll have plenty
when Donald Trump wins in 2020