a miscellany of tory dinosaurs

Borisaurus
Thick hide
nothing much inside
except poorly digested ratings
talks about great things
does nothing
too busy stuffing
itself with slogans and crap
one eye on the bank account one on the map
often in a flap
never around to take the rap
stomps and chomps
around the swamp
wears
its hair
in a tousled flop
for all the world like a comedy prop
okay stop
it’s too depressing
at this point a meteor would be quite refreshing

Reesmoggaladon
Unfeasibly tall
no discernible heart at all
the haughtiest of the sauropods
still around despite the odds

Pritipateliraptor
The opposite of delightful
its sharp teeth frightful
carnivorous to the point of spiteful
in summary: brutal
resistance is futile
(at least – that’s what it WANTS you to think
dropping its g’s and dressing in pink
but actually
it’s factually
wide of the mark
the laughing stock of Jurassic Park)

welcome to the anthropocene

the universe is big and pretty intense
filled with cataclysmic events
black holes busy tossing back planets
like squirrels in a tree of pomegranates
the whole thing such a source of strife
you’d never think it supported life

but when that asteroid struck catastrophically
the dinosaurs didn’t take any of it personally
they could see it was just a hunk of granite
as it wiped their asses off the planet
which is why they’d have thought it so unfair
that humans supposedly so smart and aware
they could see themselves in the reaches of space
were clueless they were trashing the place
frankly – to the embarrassing extent
they’d be calling us the next extinction event

the brontosaurus came back

brontosaurus?
or apatosaurus?
that, I hear you chorus,
is the question
both beasts of a similar dimension
both with a fancy neck extension
and you’d definitely have felt their humongous stomp
as you hid the other side of the swamp

both were examples of sauropoda
and lived somewhere between Wyoming and Dakota
though things have changed around considerably
since the late Jurassic period, probably

then in nineteen hundred and three
Elmer Riggs said publicly
these sauros were the same
so Riggs is to blame
(Riggs was an eminent palaeontologist
who’d added another dinosaur to the list
the beautifully proportioned Brachiosaurus
which had nice long legs and was easily the tallest)

so the scientists endlessly quibbled
about the dimensions of bones the collectors scribbled
and for years it was literally neck and neck
with poor brontosaurus held back in check

but now the consensus seems to be
both beasts are distinct proportionally
and can proudly stand in the city museum
(just don’t crick your neck when you stand to see ‘em)

God the father, God the son, God the Holy Forward

I have to say I’m a little pissed with events
in the American sense
although quite often in the British, too
slumped in front of the ten o’clock news
with a heart full of pain and a belly full of booze
because often it seems to me
that the world is spinning erratically
on the finger of a basketball-playing God
who thinks he’s LeBron James but he’s really not
a deity who definitely HAS NOT GOT
the skills for this particular shot
but hey, he ignores all the frantic calls
to be a bit freer and pass the ball
and makes his play
anyway
in a bearded and big-fisted biblical way
leaping for the planetary slam dunk
and the Earth hits the rim with a cataclysmic clunk
and when he fumbles the rebound
and crashes in a cloaky, old blokey heap to the ground
makes a furious, injurious ungodly kinda sound
and casts plague and pestilence all around
laying waste to the stadium
with flames from his cranium
and the human race on the bleachers scream yikes
but hey! he’s God! he can do what he likes
(and btw – he’s TOTALLY done this before
when he was two points down in the final quarter against the dinosaurs)

so many dinosaurs to choose from

Stanley’s favourite dinosaur is Parasaurolophus
but there’s no way we’re letting THAT up on the sofas
I looked ‘em up – they’re 16 feet tall
we’d struggle to get it in through the hall
I think he should look at the Microraptor
it’s easier to keep by quite a factor
the size of a bird, its food bill’s a snap
and it can come and go through the kitchen cat flap

Iguanodon’t

When I was seven I thought I saw
a dinosaur on the lawn next door
running around on scaly feet
looking for scraps of food to eat

At school we had a nature display
we added to from day to day
so I brought in my iguanodon
the toy I’d based my story on

‘D’you think it was a blackbird, Jimmy?
said the form teacher, Mrs Mawhinney
(who was always very kind to us)
‘An Iguanodon’s the size of a bus’

Decades later I’m sure she’s right
a thing that big would be news alright
The razory beak! Those feathery flicks!
it must’ve been Archaeopteryx

time traveller

I took the path down
by the cemetery
where heavy rains
had scoured the ground
clear down to
the greensand rock

millions of years ago
(I suppose – I don’t really know)
this was a river delta
where iguanodon waded
buzzed and serenaded
by pterrible pterosaurs
wailing and wheeling
in a sulphurous sky

just over the hedge
two churchwardens
prod a smoky bonfire
‘Alright?’ one says

IMG_1648

I blame the dinosaurs

I read somewhere scientists suspect
the apatosaurus had such a long neck
was it meant it could stay in one position
when taking on board tree nutrition

it makes me think there must be genes
for turning us into eating machines
maybe explains the current scenario
as we strip the earth of its natural material

and when it’s done and we’re left with a rock
and the planet’s the planet that time forgot
we’ll finally shift our pendulous bodies
and lurch into space for new opportunities

IMG_0955

the comfort of fossils

there’s a monument over the playing fields
to a doctor who found a bone
(I’m simplifying, of course
there’s so much more to say
about the world of Victorian scientists,
how they would squabble like lizards
over the fossilised remains of – well – lizards)
the doctor got a few things wrong, poor chap
he thought the bone was some kind of horn
when it was actually a thumb
but it’s difficult when everyone down in the quarry
thinks you’re completely insane, and
no-one has any idea what you’re talking about
because Jurassic World
won’t be available to rent online
for another two hundred years

looking back it gives me great comfortIMG_7237
to think of the iguanodon
whose thumb (not horn) it was
wading up to its chops in the soupy delta
about where the rugby pitch now is
swiping up a half ton of weed
and methodically chewing
as it watches pterosaurs
wheel and turn in a planeless sky

 

mantell piece

two hundred years ago
Mantell filled a bucket
with teeth and bones
from the local quarry
hurried home
put two and two together
and came up with a crocodile
later, re-jigging the puzzle,
he made a giant iguana
with a hook on its nose
named it Iguanadon
(the hook was actually
a claw; well,
even monstrous herbivores
needed a little something,
given the size
of the carnivores
hanging around
back then)

now it’s all changed
mountains have peaked
and gone, the earth’s
plates spun out
the Isle of Wight isn’t where Egypt is anymore
and the river delta
where that Iguanadon
chewed his leaves
staring unblinking
at the horizon
– even those endless
shivering softly yielding sands
are rock hard
and where the iguanodon fell
the meat counter at Sainsbury’s

I’m sitting in the foyer
of the health centre
thinking about nothing in particular
sipping a mocha
glad I hadn’t gone for the sprinkles
when a guy walks past with his hood up
the hood is designed to look like
a dinosaur head
not so much Iguanodon
as Godzilla
quite convincing though
especially the way he’s hunched
over an energy bar
the size of a small bus

I wonder what Mantell would’ve made of it

Iguanodon_feeding

notes from the frontline of adult social care