dog-eared

Stanley likes to wear
his right ear
draped across his head, flat
like a flashy, fleshy kinda hat
instead of an actual example of that
(although speaking quite factually
I’ve never seen a lurcher in a hat like that, actually)

why he does this is a mystery
just part of his particular auricular history

maybe he’s part of an underground craze
how whippets and lurchers wear their ears these days

maybe it means he hears a lot better
(though when it rains his earhole gets wetter)

but I digress
it’s not worth getting stressed
they’re Stanley’s ears and Stanley knows best
there’s no rule saying you can’t walk around
one flap up and one flap down

status update XXXV

And Jesus sayeth unto the flock / supper’s ready at three o’clock / I scored some bread and a coupla fishes / more than enough for you hungry ass bitches / while upstairs God just thunders and twitches / bustin’ His voluminous, numinous britches / watching His sin plan’s galling glitches / His one overriding concern, which is / humans can’t see they’re blessed with riches / and He’ll need a big gesture to cross those bridges

Hark the business angels sing / business skills and marketing / receipts on earth and surveys mild / cloud-based data’s really wild

I’m social media influenza / in need of a Soul n’Soap dispenza

I’m a robot shivering with a dose of the shits / a box of screws and a bucket of bits

I’m a monster from The United Strays of America / a tweeting, TV ready chimaera / one part Trump, one Bagheera / slowly & steadily creeping nearer / roaring, tweeting, speaking, hidin’ / on the trail of Old King Biden

I’m a Netflix doc about psycho preachers / on the run for eating their teachers / slick in beanies, suits & boots / Al Pacino and Imogen Poots

I’m Elon Musk with a gaping beak / blue for you and ready to tweet / this freedom shit’s so cool and neat / especially if our great minds meet / but if they don’t delete delete

Hey! Hieronymous! How’re ya doin? / is your garden ready for viewin’? / what the hell, man – this stuff’s deranged / we always thought you were kinda strange / but we hoped you’d be a little more simpatico / all we wanted was a bougie patio

I’m an alien megabrain sucking its teeth / watching its craft as they depart underneath / we’ve been studying your planet and friends – to be brief / your lack of insight gives us grief / so accept this mission as an aperitif / to the crap that’ll happen if you don’t improve, chief

I’m Eastwood, Siegel, Heston, Bronson / a bullet clip and a packet of gum / bumper stickers: I love my mum / The Second Amendment thy will be done / my pickup truck thy diesel come / trespass forgiven now go ahead, run / Texas Rangers rule of thumb: / if it bleeds, man – I’m gettin’ me some

I’m Putin, Trump and Bolsonaro / caped on horses with bows and arrows / hard hearts closed and cold eyes narrowed / veins of poison threading their marrow / ready to shoot the teensiest sparrow / for daring to hope for a better tomorrow

it’s just like my dear ol’ grandma reckoned / there’s many a slip twixt cup and armageddon

the (un)divine comedy

They should put up a big red sign at Dover
a block print banner to flutter over
the border kiosks around the port
(to give you plenty of time to abort):
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
which reads a little way south of severe
but let’s be honest and riotously clear
we’ve suffered the Tories for twelve long years

I mean – Dante described nine circles of Hell
but even HE would’ve baulked at TWELVE

We’ve had Cameron and his referendum
The Maybot jerking ad infinitum
the virus years of Boris the Clown
piffling and waffling, his pants falling down
and when he was finally tossed with the trash
a million years of a leadership clash
which no-one could vote for – SO ironic
ending up with Trussonomics
which kicked a hole in the economy – thanks
so she got fired for spooking the banks
and now the Austerity Brothers, Sunak & Hunt
who say they’re honest but let’s be blunt
one’s a banker and the other’s a former health minister, I think?

but

at least the PM knows about struggle
with worries that’d make the rest of us buckle
it must be hard getting by when you’re wealthy
houses in Kensington, apartments in Chelsea
mansions in Yorkshire, Santa Monica
that’s why you’ll find him playing harmonica
‘Spare some change? I’m overwhelmed;
those swimming pools won’t fill themselves’

anyway

two more years and then we vote
one last chance to stay afloat
but if that fails then – shrug – oh well
I’ll skateboard screaming through the circles of hell

let there be lurcher

1: In the beginning Dog opened his eyes, and there was the heavens and the earth.

2: Now the earth was formless and empty, as it was only around six thirty, and Man hath not descended yet for breakfast, as it was not his day of work, so was sleeping in late, which for him was great, but not so much for Dog, and the Spirit of Dog, forlornly yawning on the sofa.

3: And Dog thought Let there Be Light, and there WAS light, because FINALLY Man appeared looking a fright, scratching his head all wild from his bed, yawning, saying unto Dog ‘Good Morning’

4: Dog saw that breakfast was light, and the chances of a walk were bright.

5: Dog called the light ‘Walk’ and the darkness ‘Not Walk’. And apart from ‘Food’ and ‘Not Food’, and a few other things, that was about the sum of it, for he was Dog, and not known for his conversation.

6: And Dog said: ‘Let there be a Vault to separate Walk from Not Walk.’

7: So Dog allowed the Vault which separated Walk from Not Walk. And it was so.

8: Although… to be honest…. I think he meant ‘Harness’ not ‘Vault’. But he’s a rough-haired lurcher so it’s not his fault.

9: And Dog said: ‘I don’t care that it’s pouring with rain in one place, for dry ground will appear’. And it was so. Because Dog hath special weather forecasting skills, you know.

10: Dog called the dry ground ‘Great’ and the gathered waters he called ‘Shake’. And Dog saw that it was good.

11: Then Dog said, ‘Let me stop at every scrap of vegetation, every seed bearing lamppost, tree with seeds, in fact anything vaguely seedy, for my bladder is grievously full and needy, and I must mark my favourite spots most diligently. And it was so.

12: And for a land with SO many seedy spots, impressively so.

13: And Time speedeth up, and Dog lost track. And only came back when he couldst be sure of a snack. And Dog had a good and godly run. And Dog saw his Bowl, laden with all manner of things to eat. And his tail didst beat. And Dog didst scran till his tag on the bowlside rang.

14: And so ended the morning of the First Day. And Dog saw all he had done, and was amazed.

morituri te salutamus

I think I’m suffering PTSD
Post Teaching Stress Disorder
because it doesn’t seem twenty years to me
since I was having a breakdown trying to keep order

even now I’ll wake in a sweat
after dreams of bells and empty chairs
surrounded by books I haven’t marked yet
a tsunami of kids coming up the stairs

“you’ve got to give it at least five years
to find your practical teaching face”
well I managed two till it ended in tears
yelling and failing all over the place

teaching had been the ace up my sleeve
I could play when things got tough
but it took something more than self belief
and a love of English wasn’t enough

now I get triggered by random phrases:
smart board, seating plan, register
I’ll flinch and duck and my heart just races
if somebody smiles and calls me sir

so thumbs up to teachers! all the best!
I could never be brave like you
striding out front, smiting your breast
saying those who are about to teach, salute you

status update XXXIV

I’m headphones of fury on ears of despair / I’m realistic hands and fake blue hair / I’m a legendary nuisance in a club of such / I’m Long John Silver without the crutch / I’m a chimp in sliders, a croc in crocs / I’m a draggy vampire mint in the box / I’m dress down fridays at the naturist spa / Kurt Cobain writing Come As You Are / I’m a sellotape magnate stuck in his Porsche / a plate of potatoes, a bowl of old borscht / I’m Skeletor raving in a second hand suit / I’m Burger King merging with King Canut / I’m a gramophone playing in the ballroom of the Titanic / two miles down in the north atlantic

I’m a jolt in a juicebox, a robot on stilts / I’m Otzi the iceman tucked up in quilts / I’m an IOU in a champagne bottle tossed in the ocean / I’m the Fool in Lear, I’m Olaf in Frozen / I’m a robot in a junkyard, a crank on stilts / I’m trading my name for a Gucci bag of gilts / I’m lost on my way to the loser convention / I’m taking my brain to another dimension / I’m Wu Tang Clan in a sellout at Denny’s / I’m Dirty Ol’ Bastard rapping for pennies / Hi – I’m Rick / back-up Horseman of the Apocalypse / wasting his time on TikTok clips / as asteroids rain and mountains slip / and cyclones blow and The Rapture rips / and the sun tumbles into eternal eclipse / and I look up startled – wait – what did I miss?

I’m a debutante with a gin and twist / I’m Fermat’s Theorem on a shopping list / I’m a shark with toothache, a mozzie with cramps / I’m psycho killer with a book of stamps / a horrified horologist whose time elapsed / a Bake Off baker whose mousse collapsed / I’m a fly on the window, a dog in the bank / a sneeze in a hospital, a fart in a tank / I’m Rish Sunak in a full on funk / I’m a cat on steroids, a dog on junk / I’m Frosty the Sneerman, Asterix the Glob / I’m Sam I Am versus Sideshow Bob / I’m a Chat Test Dummy on a wipe clean sofa / surfing tsunamis of coca-cola / I’m flippers in a dive shop flooded by rain / and I’m clicking my heels three times to get home again

time slips

so mum dies and the house gets sold
and everything progresses smoothly I’m told
as smoothly as she left this planet
at night, in her sleep, with her dog, like she planned it

apparently the contracts exchange today
and quite what that means I couldn’t say
some kind of ceremony? probably not
a sharpened quill and a crystal skull inkpot
no, just some dry formality
the relentless, legal reality
of the passing of another family home
to somebody else who arranged a loan
with plans to totally gut the place
from mouldy bathroom to garden gate
a smart renovation in the general theme of
the ideal life you might well dream of

now – I’m not someone who believes in ghosts
the place would be crowded with a hapless host
of spirits from the ice age on
who couldn’t accept their time was done
and the world didn’t end with them when they croaked
and their legacy wasn’t as big as they’d hoped
unfinished business? sure. whatever.
living proof nothing lasts forever
okay not LIVING – but you get my point
you’re just another thing littering the joint
you should shrug and learn it’s time to move on
like Dad’s shed: here one day, the next day gone
or that bed where as a kid I was perfectly skilled
at getting under cover before the cistern filled;
or that stone where I buried a Strepsil tin
with coins and a stamp and a message in
(my time capsule tin was a total flop;
I robbed it for sweets at the corner shop);
or the door where grandma appeared one night
in her nightie in winter her hair pure white
two sorts of Denis in her bungalow
and then give or take a month or so
something even more egregious
dumped in a caravan in Bognor Regis

because every house is a delicate mesh
a bricks and plaster palimpsest
where all the atoms are overlaid
with the dreams of every person who stayed
and made the best of it, and pinned their hopes
and other, cliche domestic tropes

in a further metaphoric escalation
I read about a nearby excavation
where archaeologists uncovered a series of boats
carved from eight enormous oaks
expertly felled with Bronze Age tools
to fish the creeks and tidal pools
of the Fens where Mum and Dad bought this house
three thousand years ago or thereabouts