lockdown blues

I’m tired of going nowhere
me and these no good shoes
tired of complaining
quietly misbehaving
nowhere and nothing to do

I’ve got those old time, low down, no good lockdown blues

I served my time on Netflix
boxsets on Amazon too
I’m just a media slave
two remotes from the grave
nothing better to do

I’ve got those small town, long time, no hope lockdown blues
and if a vaccine won’t save us Lord only knows what we’ll do

nafforism

You can lead a fish to water
but you really oughta
use an approved container
(a transportational no-brainer)
because unless your fish is well submersed
expect the worst

Fish have gills under the operculum
(I googled ‘em)

All this is VERY different to a horse
of course
a horse has lungs
and take their oxygen pretty much as it comes

Whatever

How did you get this number?

Hamlet junior

Dad came to visit me last night
– Alright?
he said
hovering awkwardly over the bed
well… given he’d been dead for years
then suddenly appears
like this
I couldn’t immediately say yes

– Harken to my warning!
I yawned
:: Wha’d’ya mean harken? I said
plumping the pillows behind my head
(because I got the impression
this ghostly session
might go on a bit
and I wanted to be more comfortable for it)

I have to say he looked amazing
Fading
in and out
throwing his glowing arms about
brown eyes burning
bald head turning
a full three sixty

:: Hey! That’s pretty tricksy
– Sorry. We’re obliged to do this shit
For a bit
he said
sinking sadly to the bottom of the bed
– Technically it’s called ‘haunting’
code for all the bullshit flaunting
you have to do to keep in trim
Anyway – nice to see you, Jim

:: Nice to see you
too
I said
:: But I wish you were alive instead
– Christ! You’re not the only one!
I can’t tell you how stupid all this is, son
You’re suddenly weirdly obsessed with mirrors
and hanging about on the banks of rivers

:: So…no change there, then, since you died?
I replied
– What’d’ya mean?
:: Well – you’ve always been
a bit obsessed with your looks
and you had quite a collection of fishing hooks
I dunno – maybe you’re just tied
to all the things you did before you died

– Listen! I’m the one to harken to
not you.
:: Sorry. All ears, I said
sitting more upright in bed
doing my best to concentrate
I was tired, it was late
and even though this should be exciting
eight hours straight was more inviting

– Forgive me, my son
he went on
– Ever since they pulled the plug in hospital
I’ve become quite forgetful
I mean – it takes me all year
just to comb my hair
:: What hair?
There’s nothing there!

– See what I mean? he said
swiping his head
his ghastly hand passing straight through it
– A simple thing like that and I just can’t do it
They say RIP
but look at me
I look like I’ve just been dug up
:: Sorry to bring the subject up

– But soft! Methinks I scent the morning air
he glared
suddenly flapping his arms like a bird
not so much scary as completely absurd
:: What’s with all this bullshit lingo?
What are we playing? Hamlet bingo?
Can’t you just give me the whole thing straight?
I get up early and it’s really late

– Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me!
Jim…mmeeee!
My hour is almost come…!
:: You’re not the only one
Didn’t you have some kind of warning?
Or have you run out of time now it’s morning?
My father just glared and shook his head
and disappeared from the end of the bed

:: Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit
Thanks for the visit
I mean – I thought you might have a bit more to say
Given how long you’ve been away
But aside from all the haunting and such
I suppose we never did talk that much
Who needs a ghost, come from the grave
To tell us how better we could’ve behaved?

plasticine man

it was only when I read a magazine
I realised I was made of plasticine
it was a shock at first
all my notions
of human emotions
and self-determination reversed
my bubble well and truly burst
I felt cursed

so I sat with the idea a minute
looked at all the aspects to it
I realised it explained a lot
I was easily led
my hands and my head
stayed in one spot
moved in sequences shot by shot
independent I was not

but every cloud has a silver lining
it’s really not so life defining
if you don’t let it
the stability’s great
someone else to animate
big hands come in to set it
real life? forget it
I don’t regret it

how the system works

It’s pointless to resist / Read your economists / – and not just the ones synonymous / with lame ideas about workers and production / or revolutionary interruption / to the natural laws of business function / That’s strictly for dreamers / beardy bolsheviks and left wing schemers / Give ‘em a union card & they’ll take you to the cleaners / No – GREED is what jealous people call SUCCESS / It’s a bit like chess / The pawn doesn’t understand the overall process / YES? / Makes sense? / The game is all about offence / The pawn’s only there to get jumped by the knight / Otherwise the game just wouldn’t play right / And – okay – so the table gets littered with pieces / But Jesus! / You can’t make an omelette without cracking some eggs! / Which begs / the question / Whatever gave you the impression / any of this was up for discussion?

You’ve got some nerve
Everyone gets what they deserve

Money doesn’t just talk / It hollers and squawks! / It bangs on the table with silver knives and forks / I’ve paid for this shit so feed me! / Bring me plates and bring them immediately / Bring me the best of whatever you’ve got / piled up decoratively high and hot / with attractive waiting staff fussing a lot / in a seamlessly choreographed trot / from the gleaming kitchen to my crumb-swept spot

Thank you SO much
Now hurry off back to the wretched little hutch
you call home
and leave me the hell alone

Okay, then – I’ll keep it simple / a couple of lines you can keep on your Kindle / Something official / A phrase or two you’ll find beneficial / Capitalism / is a natural system / An organic expression / of social dynamism / whereas Socialism / if you’ll excuse the criticism / just isn’t

Let me explain / There are complex networks of exchange / Okay? / Methods of social collaboration / permeating the body of the nation / just like veins and capillaries / nourishing every area and category / doing whatever’s necessary / to keep the body politic healthy / Now – if the temperature suddenly drops / does the brain shut up shop and stop? / NO! / It does not! / It sends a message straight to the toes / I’m sorry but your services are no longer required / Your licence to walk has expired / So the blood supply gets choked / the toes are smoked / And then when the weather finally picks up / the brain’s altogether tip top! / Because the Brain is your original capital survivalist / And always in good shape to see a podiatrist

Whaddya mean, no?
What did I just say about The Toe!

The point is – Capitalists efficiently utilise potential / It’s self-evidential / They strip things down to the basic essential / so the company can maximize profit / the shareholders draw their dividends off it / and the workers go home with money in their pocket / because only the fittest win / I mean – take Charles Darwin / Heard of him? / As Charley D so eloquently had it / you wouldn’t have got such a thing as a rabbit / if mammals hadn’t started through millions of years / growing the longest, most rabbity ears / and naturally the ones that couldn’t / pretty soon got made redundant / That’s the rule of natural selection / and I humbly offer it for your close inspection

Greed may well be the root of all evil
but I think that applies to other people
and anyway – I’m confident all this shit’s legal

a very warm welcome to The Academy

First of all / a very warm welcome to Mussolini Hall / it’s such a great pleasure / to see so much leather / so – before we go any further / why don’t we give ourselves some thunderous hurrahs & claps / for all these wonderful shirts and caps?

Thank you

Thank you

Now – I won’t keep you a second / I know how keen you are to get to your lessons

I just wanted to say / how thrilled I am to be speaking to you today / you’ve come such a long way / from those early experiments / repressing questionable elements

But – if you’ll forgive the expression – / you lack the fundamentals of oppression / so vital to people in our profession

This is why we exist / this is why we’ve drawn you so lovingly to our midst / to help you persist / in your education / to help us build a firm foundation / and heal the heart of this wounded nation

My friends – forgive me if I weep – / it’s because soon I know you’ll be jackboots-deep / in all the tried and tested techniques / designed to keep / the hegemony sweet / and we, the anointed elite / well and truly top of the heap

Er-hem
Perhaps you’re familiar with the following item:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist… followed by a long and very tedious list / but one important fact they missed / if you’re the one that’s doing the coming / and everyone else is doing the running / isn’t that result just pretty damn stunning?

One thing will always act in our favour / to make the enemy weak and our soldiers braver / and embolden our patriotic behaviour – and that is … anyone?

Yes! You with the sneer / the cold blue eyes and oily hair / stand up on your chair / nice and loud so everyone can hear…

That’s it!
Did everyone get it?

Truth is complicated! Lies are simple! / Truth is heavy and Lies are nimble! / Truth is the studious application / of intellect and imagination / but Lies need no further explanation / being a full and fatal distillation / of shock and scandal and titillation

Truth is the heart of any democracy / according to our enemies / which I think you’ll agree / is the most pathetic fallacy / reeking of liberal philosophy / a dog of disreputable pedigree / which is why we apply ourselves so relentlessly / ruthlessly / till the old dog can only bark toothlessly

Let us show you what a well-placed lie can do / for all the goons who think like you / who want to bloody the civic waters / and silence all those lame reporters / who huddle in their sad headquarters / waiting to be thrown in dark transporters

We’ll teach you the fundamentals of lying / how to bend it without even trying / to keep fabulous frauds and falsehoods flying / and the majority masses complying / in the Great Denying / marching forward to take the realm / with your charismatic leader at the helm

So let us go forth with our leader as anchor / to harbour resentment and cultivate rancour / to propagate hate with propaganda / and realise our racist nationalist agenda

Come! Swear your allegiance to the Flag!
Hold your shaven heads high & let thy knuckles drag!
And in the morning I’ll see you all back at the stump
for our special guest speaker, Donald Trump

I don’t have no luck with cars

I don’t have no luck with cars
mate – they’re fine as they are
without me stamping on accelerators
swinging off & on indicators
like some gassed-up piston-eyed petrol head
whose brain & brakes got so well bled
he lost all mechanical sympathy
and went down in automotive infamy

true 

I don’t have no credit with motors
blacklisted with all the dealers & brokers
on the RAC’s most-wanted list
AA saying ‘Cease & Desist’
all the secondhand dealers blocked
my custom karma summarily stopped
exiled from a life of spanners and mechanics
for crimes against manuals & automatics

allow it

I don’t have no grip in the world of wheels
tank caps flap and tyres squeal
when cars see me coming
their engines start gunning
till they pink and seize
piss window wash & anti-freeze
shudder, recover from the stall
run themselves straight through the nearest wall

who told you I’m a conspiracy theorist?

wake the hell up sheeple
what kinda people
ARE you?
I don’t mean to scare you
I just wanna prepare you
for the big correction
that’s rolling thru’ the streets in your general direction

c’mon – shit like this shit don’t just happen
you can’t just sit there laughing and clapping
fake news fapping
backroom backslapping
time’s up
you gotta wise up
rise up
straighten your cap & do your flies up
c’mon talk to me
stick that self-respect back where it oughta be
why n’t you & me
take a stroll down the road & speak truth to authority

whaddya mean – where’d I get my facts?
relax, man, relax
certainly not the Democrats
don’t you worry about me, my friend
I’m a patriot defender
end to end legit
I got the only facts that fit
if you only got the brains to recognise it
not like you & your lamestream media
your Washington Post and your Wikipedia
I’m free and unaffiliated
I get my facts straight and unmediated

forget what they force fed you in school
let me lay out a few of the REAL rules:

  1. Nothing happens by chance
  2. Nothing is what it seems at first glance
  3. Everything interconnects
  4. For every cause there is an effect
    last time I checked
    Correct?
    let me put this to you
    the ol’ red pill blue pill walk-through:
    Salem Witches?
    Illuminati bitches
    5G?
    Virus key
    JFK?
    One word: Marilyn Monroe – okay?
    The vaccine?
    obscene
    just another part of the hoax n’ smokes machine
    that’s been running behind the scenes
    since God’s creation
    of this beautiful, bad-ass, sore-afflicted nation
    it’s the only rational explanation

    now, tell me again the basis of your hesitation

from The Song of Williamson

I. And the lord did sayeth / Alright, alright, okayeth / You can go forth and playeth / Gavin / But ask one more time & it ain’t going to happin’

II. So Gavin did / as the Good Lord bid / and off he sped / freefalling to Earth with a helmet on his head / goggles on tight / cheeks wobbling crazily left and right

III. And though his descent / was a little faster and nastier than he meant / still he landed feet first in the government / as Secretary of State for Education / which causeth a mighty consternation / amongst the teaching population.

IV. Yet another divine aberration! / Gavin quipped / I fancied Minister of Spiders & Whips!

V. And lo! The sky did darken & rumble / which was the Good Lord having a good old grumble / and for certain would have pitched a lightning fork / hearing such sacrilegious talk / but instead texteth St Peter on security / GAVIN NOW BARRED IN PERPETUITY

VI. Meanwhile, back on Earth / Gavin set to work / with a guilty smirk / like a hapless, cross-eyed clerk / or a landed shark / dressed up in a suit / from a high street tailor of disrepute / for a ludicrous Twitter photoshoot

VII. And Gavin didst shrug when told of The Pandemic / by Teachers, Parents & Academics / Yeah – verily amst I sympathetic / To thy arguments most energetic / he sayeth / whilst his restless, spidery fingers did playeth / with the handle of the whip / he had hung at his hip / obsessed with its brutal craftsmanship / People! Read the Papyrus! / It’s just a virus! / he smiled through pointy teeth / Kids don’t get it so what’s the beef? / Why dost thou give me perpetual grief?

VIII. And great was the tumult thereof / and great the swearing & tearing of hair of / because Gavin wouldst repeatedly NOT take care of / his rightful share of / the parlous situation / afflicting the general population

IX. And the Teachers & Parents did fall to their knees / and waileth to heaven Oh God Wilt Thou PLEASE / Take Gavin back into thine loving embrace / or kick him safely away into space / on some other madcap mission / maybe riding an asteroid to collision / sometime back in the Ordovician / (your decision)

X. And verily was God sore vexed / and cried What Next? / and did conjure a mighty plague of texts / to all the Gods in the Celestial Vicinity / asking if anyone knew of a vacancy / because He was desperate, basically

XI. And so it was that Gavin’s earthly tenure ended / and he abruptly ascended / through the ministry roof on a beam of light unbended / just as the grateful crowd intended / and Gavin his goggles did adjust / as through the troposphere he bust / headlong up to the Pearly Gates / where St Peter was waiting with all his mates

XII. But as Gavin lowered his legs to land / St Peter made a gesture with his Heavenly Right hand / that even Gavin could understand

XIII. So now he roams through the deeps of space / dreaming of the perfect place / where men can be angels and MPs providers / (and no-one laughs at his whips and spiders)

an audience with old father time

He passed me in the street / woolly winter boots on his feet / a cloak and beard to make the image complete / long scythe snagging in his trailing pleats
Hey? / Are you okay? / I said
He sighed and shook his head
‘No’ he said / I’m not okay / What can I say? / It’s New Year’s Eve / and would you believe it? / I’m not looking forward to it one little bit
I’m sorry to hear it / Would it help to talk? / Or would you rather just be alone and walk / instead?
Neither, he said / But if you insist / It’s pretty much the end of the shift

So we sat down together / on a damp wooden bench in the shopping centre / nobody paying us much attention / rushing last minute in every direction

So….. are you Old Father Time, or Death?
The former, he said
Thank God for that, I replied / Only I worried a bit when I saw the scythe
Yeah – a lot of people do / if they happen to see me passing through / It’s pretty annoying / I mean – we’ve recently been toying / with some consumer-friendly tweaks / but the creative team are notoriously picky / Rebranding’s tricky / They’re hamstrung by the Greeks / and some God called Cronos / who you see in all the promos / waving this hokey piece of agricultural shit / like a vicious-looking hockey stick / Y’know? / But hey-ho / That’s how the business of personification goes / The reaping of souls! / The passage of Time! / So don’t worry – it’s fine / The only thing you’ve got to remember / you only see me the end of December / Death, on the other hand, / Whoa! Death’s The Man! / I have to admit he’s much more in demand / running around from Chile to Greenland
I get it, I said / If it’s you it’s a celebration and if it’s him I’m dead
Pretty much, he said / There are only two things to keep in your head / When I come, it’s party antics and Auld Lang Syne / When he comes, it’s paramedics and flatline / Anyway, he leered / he’s all boney and I’ve got a beard
Thanks, I said / pulling my beanie snugly down on my head / That explains a lot / You’re similar in some ways but in others you’re not

There was an awkward silence
From across town – sirens

See what I mean? said Time, looking grim / I’m sat here chatting but look at him

In an effort to steer the conversation / and get some inside information / I asked his view of 2020 / now his timer was almost empty
Oh – I could tell you plenty! / he said / using the scythe to scratch his head / As years go, someone seriously blundered / It wouldn’t even make my top one hundred / and I’ve seen shitty years unnumbered / It’s totally redundant / repugnant / Take it from a professional calendar consultant / as shitstorms go it was superabundant

Agreed, I said / Least said, soonest mended / But otherwise not to be recommended

We sat on the bench a little while longer / and the tock of a clock grew stronger and stronger / and I thought about the year as a socially-distanced conga / all round the world, two metres apart / through lockdown streets in a surgical mask / pushing an empty shopping cart

Old Father Time tugged on my sleeve
Jeez! I cannot believe / you’d just fall asleep / on me! / So this is the kind of company I keep / on the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve! / Couldn’t you try a little bit harder…?
and he went on in that vein, yadda yadda yadda

I made my excuses
Apologised for being so useless
But just before I walked / I thanked him warmly for our cosy talk / and, wishing him well for 2021 / put my hands in my pockets and hurried home

Happy New Year to all my readers!
Thanks so much for all your support through the year.
Here’s hoping 2021’s a little easier for us!

Jx