status update XXXIX

I’m the Tory Party in control / fiddle-dee-dee and fol-de-rol / the poor must learn to be self-reliant / unless we see you’re a wealthy client / in which case advance friend and be recognised / your donations will always be classified / in fact – you’ll see we’ve organised / a secret nod and a VIP lane / for cooperation and mutual gain / the rest of you losers can just go hang / you haven’t the dough to be in our gang / so it’s cheers, pip-pip and cigars all round / as we burn the rules and scorch the ground

and…in other news

I went to the corner shop and asked for a sprite / and certainly got what I went for alright / a mischievous fellow with gills and fangs / seashell booties, kelpy bangs / and I stood there a minute all pensive and quiet / then asked him if he was sure it was diet / but the geezer just shook his head and laughed / so I took the thing home and ran him a bath

I’m the creature from the black lagoon / escaping the swamp in a hot air balloon / shouting smell ya later, losers / but I’m attacked by drones from a distant computer / royally fried in monstrous chunks / from the ghastly gills to the speedo trunks / plummeting back to earth with a bump

I’m your average, messianic prick / scented beard and bald head slick / posing on a bonnet for an insta pic

I’m a zombie dressed in abercrombie & fitch / staggering onto the football pitch / the ref blows hard on his little black whistle / and I end up carded, barred and gristle

I’m a ghost gone glamping, a wraith in a wrap / I’m the spirit of justice taking a nap

I’m Aurora adrift on a bougie cruise / a disney princess with a disney bruise

I’m a syncopated waiter with spoon and cup / rapping in the kitchen as the plates come up

I’m a desperate submarine captain, poor soul / octopuses pointing and laughing through the porthole

please welcome onstage for the final soliloquy / Macbeth, chuffing on a roll-up miserably:

(pause, while he smokes ad nauseum / staring out at the auditorium)

out, OUT brief candle, life’s but a walking shadow / over too quick and rigged from the get-go / you do what you can but the next thing you know / you’re stitched up by witches at the end of the show / and the only way now you get to play the Adelphi / is as the skull in the hands of an actor called Chelsea

and this is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.

Not with a bang but a selfie.

red riding hood ltd

Once upon a time
there was a grandmother
whose primary carer
was a young girl
who also worked for the
red riding hood care agency ltd.

One day
the girl set off to see her grandma
happy as usual
skipping through the forest
with a basket
of microwave meals
a carton of long-life milk
a copy of TV Quick
and a new blister pack of meds

Suddenly a hideous wolf
disguised as a campaigning tory MP
stepped out in front of her
and asked where she was going
and who she planned on voting for
the girl politely told him
the wolf said interesting
then turned
and raced on ahead
to get to the cottage before her

When the wolf got to the cottage
he evicted the grandmother
for non-payment of energy bills
then dressed up in her clothes
and jumped in her bed
just as the girl
came in through the door

‘Whoa! Grandma!’ she said
‘What big eyes you have!’
‘All the better
for seeing how much more
we can screw you over for’ said the wolf
‘And what big teeth you have, Grandma!’
‘All the better
for gobbling up your employer’s margins!’ said the wolf.
‘And what a cold heart you have, Grandma!’
‘All the better
for talking austerity
and economic prudence
whilst at the same time
awarding lucrative contracts to all the other
wolves in the pack!’

At that moment the Grandmother
stormed back in
snatched up an axe
and dispatched the wolf
with one blow.
‘Whoa! Grandma!’ said the girl
‘You’re pretty handy with that axe!’
‘Yeah? Well – you don’t get to ninety
without learning how to swing,’
puffed the Grandmother
then wiped her brow
and said ‘but now I hear myself saying that
I guess it could do with editing’

The two of them laughed,
the girl put the axe
back in the umbrella stand,
helped her grandmother
rinse off all the blood
at the kitchen sink,
fetched her blister pack,
pressed out her psych meds,
made her a cup of tea
and a sachet
of 2 minute porridge
then left her watching
Murder, She Wrote

lola’s last great chase

when lola was young
no dog could catch her
except for a collie
who’d round her up
intercepting her trajectory
like one of those satellites
you read about
relentlessly closing in on a comet

but time passes
as swiftly
as that owl
we once saw
as we stood together
at the edge of New England woods
staring out
on a moonlit field

years later
and suddenly she’s gone
rushing through stars
that fall like daisies beneath her paws
lighting her way across the void

and I let her go
but I know
this time she will never be caught
will never tire
or stumble
and she will always
always
be loved

status update XXXVIII

I’m the lady of the lake / done being wet and done being fake / drying her hands before taking a break / smoking on a bench and seeing her mistake / as Arthur cometh forth and spake / Hey – didn’t you oughta be out in the drink / ready to catch my sword I think

I’m the mice in the attic / done being static / taking mouse E and acting ecstatic

I’m a muscular priest getting paid for favours / pious perks and righteous labours / a semi-automatic and a pocket of wafers / love thyself but shoot thy neighbours

I’m a deep space probe with a camera on the bonnet / monitoring an asteroid with eight billion names on it

I’m daemon DNA with a double hex / wondering who I’ll be vexxing next / marking my own front door with an X

I’m Jason and the Golden Fleece / on the run from the Greek police / for being a dick and a Ponzi schemer / boaty bloke & questy dreamer / other sundry mythdemeanours

I’m a tick at the tailors, a bug in a tux / donating to the party to get to us / making connections, moving on up / from Cheyne Walk Chelsea to the Cheltenham Cup / so singalong! : maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner / that I love the way big business has made turned the city into a theme park for the rich

my bucket list

  1. Not to feel the chill breath
    of death
    prickling on my shoulder
    every time I joke about getting older
  2. And not to FEAR Death
    but see it in a wider, more holistic context
    everything that lives must die
    ours is not to reason why
    (but exercise and early nights
    are probably still good advice)
  3. To finally see
    life’s definitely
    not all about me
    (I mean – in the history of this planet
    goddammit
    roughly 117 billion people
    started out foetal
    which is the best way to understand
    roughly where I stand
    on the whole, bucket list phenomenon
    and why I’m not a bit more forthcomenon)
  4. I wouldn’t mind seeing the pyramids, though

Jimmy Mcquaide – flower detective in The Bunch Connection

Detective Jimmy ‘The Florist’ McQuaide
sits in his fuschia pink chevrolet
sipping a batch roast cafe au lait
as he watches the offloading underway
at the dockside flower shop Botanica Francais

It’s a month long undercover surveillance
trailing a gang of Venezuelans
counterfeiting lilies, pansies, impatiens
spraying their leaves and plastic stamens
sacks of poppy seeds as payments

He grimaces as he suddenly observes
the bulky handles of secateurs
showing through the lines of their black suit curves
as they slap the backs of the proprietors
who’ve come out to greet les visiteurs

Suddenly he feels the press of cold steel
and a voice says ‘put your hands on the wheel’
then calls out ‘Vincent! Luis! Odile!
I’ve caught me an aphid – let’s squish him till he squeals’
then orders him out of the car to kneel

‘Easy man, easy!’ says McQuaide
taking off his groovy purple shades
getting out slowly, options weighed
as the other three perps with cutters displayed
saunter out from the shopping arcade

‘So – a new recruit to the bouquet mafia!’
snarls Odile, tying his hands with raffia
‘Is there anyone else we should know coming after ya?’
‘Just me’ says McQuaide, ‘Does that make you happier?’
‘Sure! And maybe your autographia?’

They drag him into a floral repository
piled to the roof with contraband floristry
sit him on a poppy seed depository
then the others leave Odile oddly solitary
so he can get all handily plotline expository

‘Let me tell you about our world’
smiles Odile, giving his cutters a twirl
‘how this whole magnificent bloom unfurls,
the cars, the seeds, the blooms, the girls…’
McQuaide’s moustachioed top lip curls

Suddenly he jumps with both hands free
grabs a vase of peonies
swipes Odile aggressively
who crashes back dramatically
into a zinnia display catastrophically

The whole place creaks and groans and shudders
McQuaide dives headfirst through the shutters
just as the ceiling shrieks and gutters
falling in with a storm of colours
‘Now THAT’S a flower press’ he mutters

Back at the precinct McQuaide sees the Cap’n
who wants to know what the hell just happ’n
under what authority he thought he was actin’
all the regrettable press he’s attractin’
he’s supposed to be arrestin’, not compactin’

McQuaide shakes his head quite bitterly
‘The flower bunch are no longer at liberty
but if you’re dead-heading, Cap’n, please consider me’
‘McQuaide? You handle yourself quite brilliantly
but the top brass say you’re a liability’

‘I’m sorry McQuaide,’ says desk Sarge Madge
as he hands her his bug gun, his gloves, his badge
‘You’re a maverick, man – but you sure make a splash’
McQuaide smiles, sticks a rose in her hatch
says they’ll find another gardener to work the patch

Outside he stops by a pink hydrangea
maybe this job was a real game changer
out of work but out of danger
feeling free but also stranger
maybe get work as a flower arranger

the last, great breakfast

the climate degrades at increasing pace
the sea moves in and obliterates
vast tracts of land at alarming rates
as famine and war proliferates
and billionaires hide in city states
with their private militia at the gates
but suddenly there’s nowhere left to escape
this one last cataclysmic shake
and there’s just one billionaire left to take
a soft boiled egg with the bread they’ve baked
but there’s no one left to articulate
the beautiful light on the burning estate
and realising mankind’s mistake too late
he blows out his brains on his breakfast plate

new boots

it was a study
in mud
the effect
you’d expect
after a biblical flood
when you’d parked
your ark
in an inundated neighbourhood

bloody muddy
as a matter of fact
dry ground it completely lacked
the absolute opposite of terra firma
but if you’re selling mud runs a nice little earner

if someone said Hey Bud!
Ya call this MUD?
The swamp I’m from we’d say it’s a dud
I’d say Don’t be judgy
I just think it’s sludgy
I don’t understand why you’re being so touchy

but I’m past caring
I’m finally wearing
my bougie new boots
perfectly designed for muddy pursuits

you are old, father tory

(with apologies to Lewis Carroll..)

You are old, Father Tory, said the boy with severity
And your fingers have become very light
And yet you incessantly preach austerity
Do you think at this time it is right?

In my youth, Father Tory replied to the boy
I feared it might stifle growth
but now that I’m free of the hoi-polloi
I follow a more lucrative oath

You are old, said the youth, as I mentioned before
And have grown most uncommonly fat
Yet you sneak people in the back door
Pray, what is the reason for that?

In my youth, said the sage, as he shook out his wallet
I kept all my earnings quite simple
By the use of my contacts or whatever you call it
I’ve become quite an affluent symbol

You are old, said the youth, and your laws are too weak
For policing abuses of office
Yet you stand in the commons and continue to speak
Without revealing your profits

In my youth said his father I studied at Eton
And learned how corruption was rife
How Bullingdon chums will never be beaten
And it’s lasted me all through my life

You are old, said the youth, one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever
Yet you balance the economy on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?

I have borne all your questions, the lies you’re spreading
said his father – whose country d’you think this is?
Your constant inquiries are doing my head in
Be off and mind your own business!