I was a middle-aged zombie

I got bit
by this geezer
over by the supermarket freezer
he looked like shit
chased me round the aisles and would not quit
and I have to admit
I’m not that fit
and unfortunately that was the end of it

now I’m out
in the street
howling at everyone I meet
staggering about
legs all draggy and eyes like a trout
snot from my snout
without the shadow of a doubt
100% zombie or thereabouts

but what’s worse
than the limp
that makes me walk like a monstrous shrimp
or the bloody shirts
or the people in cars who slam in reverse
or the corpses I convert
no – the thing that REALLY hurts
is people still call me an office clerk

Vampire FAQs

Vampires have been around
since late last night
they sleep underground
and when the moon’s just right
they spring from their coffins and nip out for a bite

Vampires leave no reflection
are allergic to garlic
are prone to blood borne infections
and many are alcoholic
(but their love of red wine is purely symbolic)

Vampires can be neutralised by sunlight
blessed water, sacramental wafers
a sexton’s spade is also good in a fight
but if you really want to enrage their natures
spray them with a can of holy vapours

Vampires are fashionable
they love to look smart
although capes can be questionable
it gets them in the part
and denim to them is like a stake through the heart

interview with a magician (dec’d)

Please – do help yourself to a candle
Set it up there with the others on the mantle
Ah! That’s better!
Thank you SO much for your letter
I thought it was SUCH an elegant script
that you quietly and enterprisingly slipped
beneath the door of my humble crypt

Yes! My career took an unorthodox trajectory
from that first little nibble in the eighteenth century
I thought nothing of it
it was nice; didn’t LOVE it
but the chap was a persistent so-and-so
and as I didn’t have garlic or a crucifix, you know
I suppose you could say my resistance was low

And then I too started wandering at night
in a powdered wig and a blouse of white
which wasn’t much good
as it showed the blood
but I built a collection of capes and hats
that gave me a little nocturnal pizazz
like one of those marvelous, giant bats

I learned pretty soon to be circumspect
and limit the number of people I pecked
but you know what it’s like
when appetite strikes
and you fight with your conscience but cannot resist
a nice fat neck or a juicy wrist
so that would be ANOTHER town struck off my list

I needed a job that would give me some cover
for the derangement of blood I was acting under
because you wouldn’t get far
with a card that said Vampire
so instead I opted for Vlad the Magician
which seemed to give me the most permission
to be up to no good in the intermission

And I played every venue from Carlisle to Harwich
And even had several offers of marriage
which as you can guess
were not a success
because dash it all – every fifty years or so
I’d have to find some excuse to go
because the age gap would really be starting to show

And there you have it – from the vampire’s mouth!
But goodness me! The candle’s gone out!
Be careful not to slip
In my cluttered little crypt
And oh! How the mist piles up like smoke!
I’m SO glad you dug me up and we spoke
Come let me wrap you in my nice warm cloak…

monsterity bites

Frankenstein lurches back of the line
at the Critters’ Advice Bureau just before nine
behind Dracula in shades and a tatty black wrap
cursing in Transylvanian on his pay-as-you-flap
Swamp Thing, The Ghoul, Golem, Orc
the terrible queue spilling out along the sidewalk
Has anyone seen The Invisible Man lately?
The Leprechaun channeling Michael Flatley
as he tries to cheer them up with his crazy dances
along the ghoulish queue as it slowly advances
and lift their spirits as they wait to be assessed
but even though he does his best
and stamps and taps like a sprite possessed
everyone’s just too monstrously depressed

And the people passing can easily tell
the monsters really aren’t doing that well
The Boogeyman’s blanket is full of holes
The Mummy’s supplementing with toilet rolls
Slenderman shows Skeletor the gap in his pants
Zombies stagger in a benzo trance
Medusa’s got plastic snake extensions
Bigfoot’s suffering fur retention
on Mondays Dr Jekyll has CBT
(Mr Hyde every other week consecutively)
The Werewolf’s growling his four paws throb
from his zero-hours Just Eat job
and they make applications but all draw blanks
and live on what’s given to the community blood banks
and the only thing to lift the grim routine
is the thought that soon it’s Halloween

access all areas at the tory halloween party

And it’s a very chilly welcome to the blood red carpet 
at the 2020 Tory Halloween junket

And here comes Cummings the Mummy! / Hands-outstretched & talking funny / in a dodgy dealer kinda mumble / like he’s evil incarnate but somehow humble / We LOVE his comedy trips and tumbles / his bad boy beanie, his lanyard fumbles / adorably horrible / unaccountably trouble / COMPLETELY at home amongst the rubble

Stop everything! / Here’s Gove the Thing! / with his squamous hair and swampster bling / slime slinging / gill singing / venom venting / swivel-eyed blinking / …this is definitely a look that will have your heart SINKING / But still, I hear champagne glasses CLINKING / so he’s doing alright despite what you’re thinking

Folks – if you’re got the sickness, we’ve got the pill! / Because in glides the glamorous Priti deVille / smiling as warmly as a dentist’s drill / glad-handing with languid skill / the journos from the rags until / one of them innocently questions her will / and then – yep! THERE’S the famous, homicidal chill / colder than the moon on Cemetery Hill / (if we could only distill it / we could dominate the world with it)

Once again Demonic Raab proves why he’s too Ghoul for School! / The nude headmaster with the power tool / who has everyone fooled / with his urbane smiles and arcane rules / but who’s surprisingly cruel / a look-a-like Peter O’Toole / measured, suave & cool / who lets a great white in the swimming pool

Take a look at Jenrick the Jester! / Juggling his balls of polyester / A real firm favourite with the court investors! / The corporate clown with the Poundland sceptre / As nimble with his fiddle as his back protector / Setting off all the metal detectors / hilarious and nauseating in equal measure / Casts no shadow WHATSOEVER

And finally – in rolls the Pumpkin King! / Shocking! / Watch him laughing and waving! / That’s amazing! / Now I’ve seen everything! / Those spiky teeth sawing! / All that public school squawking & guffawing! / And I suppose – who knows? – it might be entertaining / if ‘tragically horrifying’ / was your thing / So there he goes, u-turning / backsliding & backbiting / hackwriting / gaslighting & guessing / a model of fun if it wasn’t so depressing

And – oh dear! Bringing up the rear – what a pity! / Is that supposed to be Professor Chris Whitty?

pumpkin jim

I wanted to carve the best pumpkin ever
something so horribly, wickedly clever
that the hordes of glow-sticked trick-or-treaters
the super-excited candy eaters
would suddenly stop and whisper and point
at the terrible vision illuminating the joint

I wanted more than the usual thing
the triangular eyes, the saw-toothed grin
I wanted something that growled and jeered,
that chuckled and heckled, snorted and sneered
I wanted a vision of absolute hell
that would stop them ringing the goddamn bell

So I picked up my knife and I got straight to it
sawing and scooping and clawing through it
casting behind me a fiendish shadow
like a hell-bent, Halloween Michelangelo
creating an alternative Sistine Chapel
where God hands Adam a poisoned apple

But suddenly everything started to spin
the pumpkin gaped and I fell right in
and when I came to I was staring at the face
of the pumpkin man who had taken my place
and I started to scream but my screams were hid
when he carefully settled the pumpkin lid

He reached through my mouth, lit my light
patted my skin and whispered goodnight
carried me outside, put me on the wall
then hurried back in to spy on it all
I cried out for help, I rattled and rocked
– the kids just laughed, then buzzed and knocked

(but hey – it’s okay – it’s their modus operandi
they’re totally focused on scoring candy)

Happy Halloween!



my spiritual vaccum

Well – it’s almost Halloween, I’m hoovering, and I’m thinking about ghosts. (Hoovering’s a good time to think about most things).

I wonder if there’s ever been a ghostly survey? A spreadsheet somewhere, in Exorcel, with columns for the age of ghost at death, indoor or outdoor, private property or public space, self harm, illness, murder, natural causes. And then probably a whole subset of columns under the murder heading: thrown down well, bricked up in wall, shot, stabbed, hanged, clubbed, poisoned (God knows how many subsections that would need), set upon by dogs and so on. You could be scrolling right for eternity. But if they’d set up a handy function on another sheet, you could skip all the detail and go straight for the totals, particularly: Unjustly taken before time, or maybe Unfinished business.

Because they’re the ones I worry about the most.

It’s always struck me as doubly unfair. Not only did they have to suffer an untimely death, but they’ve also been condemned to hang around for all eternity – often in unwholesome environments – scaring the living bejesus out of innocent folk who’ve really got nothing at all to do with it, and who’d be pretty sympathetic, no doubt, once they’d had a cup of tea and a hug and five minutes to think about it.

I suppose you could argue that it’s not about judgement or vengeance at all. That’s a religious spin on the situation. Perhaps it’s much more prosaic than that. Perhaps the spirit is just confused, having died in such a traumatic way that the normal processes of transition have been corrupted, and left the poor soul in a state of blurry limbo, forever skipping back to that time, without understanding why, or that everyone else has moved on, even if they haven’t.

If that is the case, we shouldn’t have anything to fear from these spirits. They can’t do us harm because they’re too confused to do much about it other than weep and wail and wander up and down, blowing whatever shreds of evanescent sense they have blundering through doors that were long-ago bricked up, or rattling a few pots. I suppose you could argue that in their confusion they might think you actually did have something to do with that whole tossing down the well incident, even though the Count had never been known to hoover the stairs in his onesie. So all you’d need to do if it appeared and threatened you would be to stand your ground and say: Spirit – Depart! I am not the Count you think I am, or something, maybe in Latin, and have your Driving Licence ready to prove it. (It’s easy to be brave about these things in the abstract, when you’re hoovering).

The trouble is, of course, ghosts aren’t known for their reasoning skills. They’re primal essences, energy fields in human form, dragging their pain through the deep hollows of the night (I’m imagining Bela Lugosi saying this shit), lost amongst the shimmering lattices of this world and the next, searching, searching, for something lost, so cruelly, so very long ago…spooky oak

I’m so spooked I’m holding the nozzle of the hoover straight out in front of me. (But hey! It’s a good hoover. It’s got so many settings, one of them’s bound to work.)

Happy Halloween!