On reading about the excavation of the Red Lion playhouse, Whitechapel

he knew it better than anyone

how everything
every last thing

all the seating & setting / the lighting / the moving & getting / all the manoeuvring & serving / the swerving & reserving / all the scraping & scribing / bringing & bribing / all the playing & plying / the kneeling & revealing / the falling & failing / all the drinking & fucking & feeding / all the needing & pleading / all the throwing & doing & daring / all the caring & not caring / the scarring & the scaring / the ending & surrendering / the wondering / the wandering / the losing / the brawling & bruising / all the knowing & the not knowing / the forgiving & forgoing / the forgetting / the regretting / all the dreaming & bleeding / the reading / the remembering / the readying / the breathing / the beginning


must fall to an echo of voices in the blood
and a course of flat red bricks in the mudIMG_3148

a selfie of me & the vhc

IMG_3121Here’s me with The Very Hungry Caterpillar
choking through the tweets Trump dumps on Twitter
I like tart things but this is bitter
he’s like some crazy orange transmitter
he treats the first amendment like paper in the shitter
Wow I said I didn’t think you’d be this critical
but I suppose being hungry really makes you political

a furious fairy tale

Hear that roar? / it’s Captain Wonderful in his fantastic four-by-four / drumming up support for a civil war / you’ll never figure out how he does it / he loves it / when truth stands up he shoves it / he’ll bean bag and baton you / totally flatten you / I mean – this is a man’s man / ageless and raging as Potus Pan / Wendy and Tinkerbell tossed in the van / Captain Hook promoted to Right Hook Man / riot gates thrown around Never Never Land

Look at that reporter / sneaking into court / to talk to the King and his daughter / to hear their theories of social disorder / echo in the ego architecture / quit stalling / it’s all too appalling / he acts like it’s a calling / a symptom of the general failing and falling / so you stumble out into the rose garden / nauseated by all the fairy tale jargon / knight v dragon / the princess and the plea bargain / and you take a deep breath in the outside air / and choke on the tear gas drifting across the square

Look at the sky / the white clouds like foetuses floating by / in an amniotic juice of privilege and denial / linked by cords to the heart of the sun / where the good stuff flows to everyone / who looks enough like the big guy in the suit / in numbers beyond your capacity to compute / who bids the orcs in the parks and the playgrounds shoot / who waves the bible and stashes the loot / your mission – should you choose to accept it / is identify his supply and check it / intercept and wreck it / and if you get caught – fuck it / I know it sucks / but if they ask us a question we’ll probably have to duck it / so good luck / and here are the keys to the garbage truck

Let us pray

Our Father, who art in bunker
orange be thy name
thy wisdom come
thy wig be done on Fox
as it is in OAN
Give us this day our daily brutes
and forgive us our press passes
as we forgive those who
press pass against us
and lead us not into Trump bating
but deliver us from civil
for thine is the Sub/Dom
the Donald and the glory
forever and ever
Arm men



I’m a walking Wednesday
hat backwards, looking forwards

I’m a lunk in trunks
dining on dunks
overdosing on pineapple chunks

I’m the kind of man who knows what he wants fifteen seconds after he lost it
I’m Old Jack Frost / tossed for frosting the banquet / lying in an alleyway shivering under a blanket

I’m tumbling downstairs, nursery rhyme style

I’m Grandma Grumps dry humping the pumps

I’m Homo slopiens

I’m caught, cursed / under rehearsed / waving from the shoulder, stuck in reverse

I’m Wild Bill Haggard and the Ne’er do Wells
Squint McKenzie
Slim Pickens
Snarls Dickens
Bertrand Chickens

that’s it / that’s all I got

Sam-I-Am not


potted history

from an early age / I was very well behaved / prepped & peppered, preened and saved / whelped in a bonehouse in pere lachaise

I was flamed, tamed / tastefully framed / but hey – I did alright / wrote out the dreams I dreamed at night / burned my words and turned to the light

I admit it / if there’s a sin to be sinned I’ll commit it / there are a hundred things I say I’ll do but won’t / a million things I think I’ll do but don’t / it’s all just a walk / flashy trash talk / a dirty board and a piece of chalk / a bucket for the clown and a dollar for the work / a great white shark with a knife and fork

sorry – I know it’s boring / the same old hoary story / land of hopeless glory / death by stealth and trial by fury / the tried and trusted theory / so blow me / says madame curie / faking it shakily / painfully taking a knee / showing ALL her teeth in a see-through selfie

always the pupil never the teacher / always the lumbering B movie creature / whose monsterish features / score laughter not screeches / stomping and romping on sandy beaches

I saw a sign once – it said shit to shovel / hone your art and build your hovel / sit the fuck down and write that novel / the rules aren’t all that hard to follow / spit don’t swallow / life’s a fart in a wind tunnel / you might as well enjoy it / everyone knows you can’t avoid it



you know where you are with a coronavirus
it only wants to get inside us
boarding our lungs like spiky pirates
turning us into multipliers

put one under a microscope
you’ll get the full dope
a belly coiled with RNA rope
a little protein envelope

that’s it. that’s all there is
laid out for your analysis
a particle that’s a practical whizz
at the biochemical repro biz

turn that scope on the current prime minister
and you’ll find a much more puzzling creature
an opportunistic power seeker
with no discernible moral feature

the virus is easier to understand
as it propagates across the land
to nix its tricks and make a stand
you only have to wash your hands

but the PM is a problem of a deeper complexion
a master of fog and misdirection
so if you want to guard against further infection
vote him out at the next election


cummings, running


look at all the lemmings
blindly following
all the stoppings and stayings
the leavings and dyings
the sorry son no goodbyings
the unattended buryings
the forbidden crossings
of non-existent rings
round all those dirty, deadbeat, disposable things


it’s crushing


we need something



yeah – well – fuck you cummings


you were in my dreams last night

you were in my dreams last night

you were a sad sack city gorilla / leaping pillar to pillar
a hairy tormentor / swearing, tearing up the shopping centre
and me? I was the hapless, hatless alligator / tumbling backwards down the escalator
straight into a screaming waiter / who said he’d get my drinks order later

you were in my dreams last night

you were a crazy aunt / trying to brain me with a potted plant
buffed and bouffant / totally trenchant, brutally unrepentant
and me? I was the toad on your toilet seat / a lascivious, amphibious meet n’greet
with an eye for surprise and a taste for meat / a schlubby old tub with webby feet

you were in my dreams last night

you were a striking, holiday Viking / horns in, thumbs out, hitchhiking
curling your plaits, looking inviting / but the traffic wasn’t biting
and me? I was half man, half midwife / wading through a midlife crisis
losing my shit with laryngitis / outside of the party ‘cos you wouldn’t invite us

you were in my dreams last night

you were a robot mother in disguise / spanners for hands and cans for eyes
who fed me nails and said they were fries / and raced away for more supplies
and me? I was the blinking lighthouse kid / foghorning all the dumb things I did
planning a takeover bid / hitting the skids / dragged off screaming by a giant squid



so – what does THAT all mean?


we’re off to see the wizard

I must admit the vicar’s slick
gets through the service pretty quick
I could totally gorge on his gorgeous voice
he’s so unselfconscious, fabulous, mellifluous
honestly he’s superb, no breath superfluous

he reads an anecdote
something the family wrote:

John proposed at the end of a date
top deck of a number thirty-eight
nineteen forty-one
before he was gone
again to fight
like most of the other guys that night

the film they saw was the Wizard of Oz
because because because
they went to see whatever there was
Ollie agreed
they married
it was hurried
but perfect
they fit

(here the vicar pauses, his face darkens and creases
apparently the church was bombed next day and the vicar blown to pieces)

so THAT’s why they started the show
with Somewhere Over the Rainbow

(rather than We’re Off to See the Wizard)

but I have to say, the way the coffin’s delivered
on a kind of fancy stand with rollers
operated by remote controllers
lit by a subtle light
drapes that snake in left and right
it’s all quite magical
tastefully clinical
smoothly invisible
while the vicar says the Lord’s Prayer
blessing us all there
words of comfort from the Mighty Oz
because because because
we all know what the story was
the yellow brick road led right to the City
but Oz was lost like us, more’s the pity