there were five in the bed
and the banker said
roll over! roll over!
so they all rolled over
and the sick fell out

there were four in the bed
and the banker said
roll over! roll over!
so they all rolled over
and the jobless fell out

there were three in the bed
and the banker said
roll over! roll over!
so they all rolled over
and the struggling fell out

there were two in the bed
and the banker said
roll over! roll over!
so they all rolled over
and the JAMs fell out

there was one in the bed
and the banker said
Goodnight! Sleep Tight!
Hope the landlords don’t bite!
Oh what a lucky lot we are
to have our own bed and a fat cigar
then yawned and deliciously wriggled his feet
ignoring the shouting down in the street


there was a spider in the sink
when I went to wash my plate
like a stationary punter in a rink
who never learned to skate

I’m not a fan of spiders
espcially the wild n’hairy outsiders
abdomens active as hadron colliders
four pairs of furry culottes and spats
fanny packs & black slouch hats
more swagger
than jagger
if jagger had eight legs
not two
and fronted not The Stones but The Who


like I say I’m not crazy
about those creatures
whose rough n’ready features
are enough to give me seizures
and inspire unorthodox procedures

so I used the corner
of a scrubber
(sure – I’ve had practice)
scooped him with a shudder
shook him onto a cactus

I looked as he stared at me up from the pot
did he thank me for my trouble? no, he did not

to be fair, though
flying through the air so
would theoretically
be enough to make anyone feel traumatised
and it’d take you a while to get properly organised

if I’d been wandering round stainless steel flats
behind me a plughole, above me, taps
I might be more than a little uneasy
swept up by a squeegie
rudely removed
to be cast in THE LAND OF SPIKES
I mean YIKES
I’d be desperate
close to collapse
a spike in the spinneret
and one in the paps

but this spider’s a survivor
we’ll learn to coexist
him as hairy fly provider
me as home economist

status update XXVII

I’m a five star general in a two star diner / a glutton unbuttoned on a grimy recliner / listening to advisors / advise about the sizes / of the sundry survivors / the medal wearing hardons in the hadron collider / while you listen and glisten / with sweat from the neck because heck you’re out of condition / positioning yourself in line with the bucks / the right wing press and the army trucks / the gourmet butchers in paper tux / the sweet dollar flux / of a life lived in luck / luxury lines at discount rates / but wait / your words flail me / roll me over and assail me / and the best I can manage / is a little brave smile and collateral damage / so what am I missing / I went for a smoke in the intermission / the rowdy crowd wowed into submission / by the sick and sudden collapse / of the erstwhile clown and king of the rats / who dreamed of robots queuing in line / programmed to wait for better times / system code like nursery rhymes / hey diddle diddle / the whole thing’s a fiddle / the cow blew up like a balloon / the little dog unpleasant / on antidepressants / and the dish ran away with the spoon / too soon? / and excuse me for asking but where was the moon / in this dumb ass tune? / wasn’t that supposed to be part of the business? / what IS this? / I want explanations / not twitter evasions / they don’t fitcha / so go shake’ your shit like a polaroid picture / keep things snappy till we come to evict you

let me out here – I think this is my full stop .

The Magic Albion Tree by Enid Britain

Do you want to see
The Magic Albion Tree
in the dark, enchanted wood?
But first we’ll have tea
of bread and honey
as all good children should

It’s the tallest thing
with leaves that sing
a trunk that grows without measure
There’s a doorbell to ring
to let you in
and a staircase that goes on forever

There’s a slippery-slide
that runs down inside
from the top of the tree to the bottom
but if you haven’t applied
for permission to ride
I’m afraid you’ll be largely forgotten

The people there
are magically fair
You’ll laugh at their curious antics!
But please don’t despair
at the state of repair
that’s really just silly semantics

Meet Monarchy Man
wearing pots and pans
he stole from the goblin kitchen
There’s Socialist Stan
and his pixie clan
endlessly bickerin’ and bitchin’

There’s Old Mister What
whose name I forgot
He stumbles around in the roots
There’s Copper A Lot
who lost the plot
and stomps around in his boots

There’s a bunch of sprites
who keep out of sight
syphoning off all the profits
Though folk unite
to make it right
Copper A Lot’s there to stop it

At the treetop it’s strange
how the clouds rearrange
into lands you could scarcely imagine!
But the queues never change
at the passport exchange
because travel they hate with a passion

So Tom, Rick and Sally-Ann!
Come with me to Albion!
Let’s live in that faraway tree!
The life there is champion
deluded and halcyon
A magical trip – you’ll see!

rap stanley

one two / one two
uh, uh


c’mon all you people an’ listen to me
while I tell you the news ‘bout dog stanley
his tail super-fail, his ears all tangly
long n’gangly
as big dogs go not exactly
y’understan’ me?

that’s rap stanley

stanley by name, stanley by nature
stanley at the back gate lookin’ straight at ya
gassy n’flatulent
postures extravagant
an actual
who-gives-a-shit hound
king o’not much but lounging around
or lying flat out like a rug on the ground
making noises that sound
grammatically incompatible
with yer average hound
enough dog love to make the world go round

are ya gettin’ it clearly?
do you see him sincerely?

rap stanley

it’s stanley with an S T jes’ like a saint
but trust me when I tell ya a saint he ‘ain’t
his breath bad enough to bubble up paint
or make the rudest, roughest street vet faint

that’s stanley not stan lee
a man who apparently
came up with the whole goddamn marvel family
personal favourite? bony stark
yeah? he built this suit that flies and barks
and rescues squirrels over the park

yeah / uh / yeah

he eats at speed
he’s a leader on the lead
leg-lifting, super-grifting guaranteed
the gap-tooth guru of a canine cult
where you pay in bags of treats to consult
on all kindsa mystical matters occult
and give yer undying love as a result

man that stan can whine and bluff
all sneezy with dust and chesty with huffs
the kinda mutt the judges at crufts
recommend you end and maybe have stuffed
tie up his raggy ol’ hair in tufts
put his paws on wheels
so you can drag him round fields
or wherever you feel
dog shows, promos
who knows
a stanley stand with cute dog logos
five pound a pop for personal photos

‘cos he’s a bona fide
every day’s a friday
jump up on the sofa and kiss your blues goodbye day
a genuine, goddamn wolverine hero
stanley 10, all the others zero
sweeter than sweet n’low, madder than nero
trickier than the riddler
sings like mariah, maybe bette midler
so if you think you hate dogs woncha reconsider
‘cos as rescues go this mutt’s a winner

that’s rap stanley

allow it

the braverman sea shanty

(with apologies to Nathan Evans)

There once was a young, sharp-toothed KC
The ship she sailed was The Lizzy T
with a cheer and a wave for the ERG
Oh blow, bully MPs, blow – HO!

Soon may the Braverman come
To bring us laws draconian
One day when the Tories are done
We’ll take our country back – HO!

She acted tough, her role begun
a step to the right of Attila the Hun
The E C H R soon undone
and trans rights hit the deck – HO!

Lines were crossed & rules were broke
Rwanda was the place for folk
who fled from war in a leaky boat
they got the old heave ho – HO!

Soon may the Braverman come
To bring us laws draconian
One day when the Tories are done
We’ll take our country back – HO!

Until the next election comes
we’ll have to bear Suella’s drums
her war on woke for The Englishmun
see that lawyer go – HO!

As far as I’ve heard the fight’s still on
the sails on fire and the rudder gone
but Braverman sings her dreadful song
and beats the country down – HO!

Soon may the Braverman come
To bring us laws draconian
One day when the Tories are done
We’ll take our country back – HO!


he looks pretty great striding from a lake
boxing by a mirror in a field of wheat
pointing to an artfully decorated cake
dancing with a salsa band down in the street

he looks so moody playing the flute
staring distractedly into a fire
running down a road with a dog in pursuit
spooning courgettes from a new air fryer

he’s read a lot about ASMR
so he whispers proper nouns up to the mic
lover fighter healer father
the sound of a fat moth pinging off a light

and millions pine for him, millions swoon
he knows because he counts their hearts
every time he goes to his room
a second after his laptop starts

creation myth

In the Beginning
was The Bird
but Her feathers were thinning
and The Bird felt cursed
It couldn’t be worse
She was the only Bird in the Universe

So She swallowed a star
and laid an egg
and hatched The Jaguar
and grabbed His leg
and tossed Him out the nest
(She expected a chick and wasn’t impressed)

The Jaguar roared
and vomited humans
which I’m reliably assured
was the REAL evolution
and goes some way to explain the confusion
but I’ll let you reach your own conclusion

saturated stanley

we set off together
it rained – a LOT
I had an umbrella
Stanley did not

he shook his paws
he got so wet
I’m not even sure
he’s forgiven me yet

his fur went all curly
it was quite a thing
he looked pretty surly
about the whole thing

next time I promise
if it looks like a storm
I’ll take off your harness
and we’ll stay in the warm