The Song of the Coat I Might Find.

It was early and still dark, the rain smattering dismally against the back door. 

‘What d’you think, Lola? Feeling brave?’

She wasn’t. She was staring at me with a shocked expression, like she didn’t know whether to follow me outside or stay where she was and bark for help.

It certainly did feel like I had an unfair advantage, standing there, zipping my coat up to my chin, pulling on my hat. I mean – all she had was the fur she’d gone to bed in.

So I got out her winter coat and gave it a shake.

It’s a heavy, cozy, well-padded thing, with a strap that passes under her waist, two poppers at the chest, and a furry collar that turns back at the neck and makes her look like a lumberjack. A very sad-eyed lumberjack. A lumberjack who needs a great deal of patient encouragement to even THINK about trees.

We took the usual route. I thought maybe we should vary it more, but then – there’s a value in repetition. You get to key-in to the subtle changes, and it’s surprising how many of those there are in any given moment. It’s a bit like a monk walking round cloisters saying their prayers. I’m sure they get a big kick out of seasonal changes to the brick. 

Anyway, the thing I needed more than variety was speed – not only because the weather was so bad, but because I wanted to get back, warm up and start writing. I hadn’t written much that week, what with work and life and everything. I needed to get down and do something. (I admit it. Writing is now a habit – or worse, an addiction. I’ve passed through the ‘this is amazing’ phase, and moved into the ‘I feel terrible if I don’t write something, anything, even a limerick’. I have to write just to feel well. But there are worse things, I suppose. I could be into triathlon.)

At the edge of the woods Lola stopped. There’s a stile there for humans and a gap under the wire for dogs. Normally Lola dives through it, but she knew her ridiculous lumberjack collar would snag on it, so she waited till I held up the wire for her. She made a fuss of wiggling under, like a tourist just about drunk enough to try the limbo dance. 

But on into the woods, the rain eased and we started to get into the walk a little more. It was still too wet to think about photographs, so instead I tried to focus on the here and now of it, the sound of the rain through the leaves, the suck of the mud at my boots, the snug of my hands in my pockets. Lola was away in the undergrowth somewhere, snuffling around, making the best of it. 

I got distracted thinking up a limerick about Trump. 

There once was a president called Trump
Bent as a bell-ringer’s hump…

We covered quite a bit of ground, me trying to finish the limerick, Lola exploring.

I stopped to take some pictures of raindrops hanging under a gate, but maybe I’d taken too many of that. Maybe I needed to think of some other angle.

Jenny and her pug, Cecil appeared along the path. Jenny had on the full Barbour-armour, prodding for mines with a Norwegian walking stick; Cecil was squashed so tightly into his fleecy coat it made his eyes stick out like black swimming goggles. He was happy to see Lola, though. They circled and sniffed each other politely, two models checking out their outfits.

‘Isn’t this weather completely VILE?’ said Jenny, pushing back her hair to get a better look at me. ‘I can’t take much more. But y’know – saying that – no doubt it’ll snow tomorrow…’

We chat for a while then carry on.

…he raged and he tossed
whenever he lost….

I stopped to look at the group of funnel mushrooms I’d photographed the other day. One of them had a wild apple landed in the cup of it, and I’d put up a picture of it saying ‘serving suggestion’. Now I thought maybe I’d better take the apple out. I mean – sure, it fell in there naturally, so I’d be interfering in the natural run of things. But then, it mightn’t do the mushroom any good to have an apple rotting in the middle of it, and if I was in a position to make it’s short life a little better – why not? Especially as I’d taken the picture. I owed it a payment of sorts. So I picked the apple out of the funnel, and felt a little better for it, even though that group of mushrooms were already looking the worse for wear, what with the slugs and the deer and everything. Still -my conscience was clear. 

We carried on walking. 

I could not get the last line of the limerick. It had to rhyme with Trump, and I was hung up on the idea of ‘rump’, but couldn’t think what. Did he fall on his rump? I liked the idea of him Tweeting out of his rump, because I’d read about him harassing the US Ambassador to Ukraine (or ex-US Ambassador to Ukraine) on Twitter during the impeachment hearing, and it seemed like maybe that was a fruitful line to take. 

We came to the edge of the wood again, the circuit done. I was ready for some coffee.

Lola was through the fence already, waiting for me in the field beyond, the bottom of Broken Tree Hill. 

She managed it that time I thought. 

And it was only then I realised she’d lost the coat. 

‘Where’s your coat, Lola?’ I said, turning round on the spot, expecting – HOPING – it might be lying right there, and we wouldn’t have to retrace our steps. There was no sign of it. 

‘C’mon then!’ I said, heading back into the woods. 

Lola stared at me, with the same incredulous expression she’d used on me in the kitchen. Looked up the hill, as if she was wanted me to understand that her food was in that direction. Then gave up, and – reluctantly – tagged along.

It was a completely different walk. The first time round I’d been drifting along, thinking about this and that, the Trump limerick, the sound of the rain, the shape and colour of the leaves, thoughts and feelings scattering round me as randomly as the rain. Now every fine feeling was subordinated to the mission. I was too busy, scanning the woods for a dark green lurcher-lumberjack coat, marching rather than walking. I remembered a snatch of something from ‘The Pearl’ by Steinbeck, how he talked about the pearl fishermen having the Song of the Pearl that Might Be in their heads as they dived for pearls. 

Maybe I should try that? Maybe I should try singing The Song of the Coat I Might Find. 

Lola was up ahead now. It was like I was seeing two dogs – the real one, rootling around in the undergrowth, and the imprint of her, a lighter, lurcher ghost, trying to show me the precise moment she snagged on a branch and shucked herself free of the coat. 

We followed the same route – to badger corner, the sweet chestnut log pile, monument beech, the shack, owl stump, the meeting place, pet cemetery, funnel copse. I’d just reached the path that descends there when I saw a guy in camo and a whistle round his neck striding towards me, preceded by a hyper-alert gun dog. 

‘I don’t suppose you’ve seen a dog’s coat, have you?’ I said.

‘Is that what it is? I thought it was one of those baby carriers. Y’know. A papoose. Yeah – I hung it on a tree a little way down. You can’t miss it.’

I thanked him and carried on. 

I saw it before it before Lola, although that didn’t stop her running up to it and standing there proudly as if it was she who’d found it all along. 

‘Good girl!’ I said. ‘C’mon – let’s get home for breakfast.’

IMG_1367

There once was a president called Trump
Who was bent as a bell-ringer’s hump
He raged and he tossed
whenever he lost
and Tweets flew out of his rump

 

sig

creation myth

There’s a baby awake in its crib tonight / lit by the glow of an orange moonlight / as it screams and it squalls / falls / and then rapidly crawls / to bust through the baby gate and hurry outdoors / where it wails and it cries / and doubles and triples, quadruples in size / till it comes in at just under half the weight / of America’s annual shipping freight / and sits on the docks / to throw buses and rocks / at the TV crews and armoured cops / who demand support from the air force and navy / and a SWAT team of specialists who know about babies

There’s a baby abroad in the world today / who demands that everything goes its way / and punishes countries who refuse to play / while it stuffs vast quantities of shares and stocks / in its monstrous diaper and knitted socks / and drinks the seas dry and sleeps on the rocks / while the wild wind whistles / and the bushfires bristle / and it wakes to catch a volley of missiles / that it stuffs in its mouth / and chews and chews and chews about / and then lifts a leg and shits the bits out

There’s a baby abroad in the world – it’s true / and it doesn’t like me, and it doesn’t like you / as it keeps whole populations awake / with the horrible mewling and moaning it makes / chasing the multiple frauds and fakes / it blames for the terrible mess in its wake / then finally in one great fit of pique / to prove its power is wonderfully unique / it rips up the Trump Tower in Manhattan / twirls it round its head like a baton / suddenly thrusts it deep in the ground / then flips the entire world upside down / (Nostredamus predicted this very battle / when the Earth gets used as a giant rattle)

IMG_1182

invasion of the body politic snatchers

There’s a greenhouse
back of the White House
long, blond tables
trays of dollars & roubles
planted with presidential cuttings:
a golfing pin
a toenail
a cufflink
really – anything’ll do it

shut the door and I’ll talk you through it

once a month
President Trump
meets with a secret scientific team
of the highest horticultural esteem
with micro-harvesting machines
everything scrubbed & clinically clean
for the collection of presidential material
animal, vegetable, mineral
from the screaming chief imperial
which they spray with a potent, patent POTUS solution
then take to the greenhouse to grow in seclusion
row upon row of orange seedlings
(warmed by the light of FOX in the evenings)

and the strange flowers grow
& swell into pods in portly rows
red leaves on top
tendrils that flop
until they’re fine and fat and ready to pop
when out will drop
a line of half-formed Trumpettes
blind & bland as a bunch of courgettes
but ready to take on the exact dimension
of anybody you happen to mention
(all you have to do is plant them in a bed
with access to the person’s head
a little water, a day and a half at best;
the trumpy tendrils will do the rest)

I’ve watched a procession of military crates
shipped at night through the White House gates
to target all those countries and states
that have the gall to celebrate
all the things they hate

I’m telling you man
It’s a world-wide plan
the patriarchs and oligarchs have hatched
with Trump at the heart of the vegetable patch

and

THEY’RE HERE, ALREADY! YOU’RE NEXT!

IMG_0915

 

 

 

 

 

(inspired by & last line quote from ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers‘ 1956)

trumbo flies in

thank you all so very much / you’re tremendous / my love for you is endless / (check my feed / you’ll see) / so c’mon! clap your hands! throw confetti! / say the magic word: covfefe! / you’re about to see me flap my ears and start flyin’ / well, c’mon! you can’t blame an elephant for trying / you gotta think big – no, bigger than that / in a kiss-me-quick hat and a baseball bat / a grin like you wouldn’t believe / just ask steve / wait – wha’d’ya mean? where is he? / a live action film of my life by Disney? / well I wouldn’t give a rat’s arse to see that crap / tell him I want the feather back / I’ll find another mouse for my hat / meanwhile / way, way, wayway down / all those crazy numbnuts running around / bunch of clowns / funny fire engine sounds / sirens wailing / buckets chucked / hoses flailing / fifty ladders propped in midair / going nowhere / a wall made of sponge bricks / a hundred other tricks / one playing another like an accordion / a little waterboarding / rounding each other up in a humane way / with Breitbart water bombs / squirters from the NRA / but snipers in diapers – it’s the clown’s concern / some people are just too stupid to learn / okay – Theresa? this isn’t working / I’d better help out with some aerial twerking / no? / don’t like the show? / well – my schoolmarmy friend, plenty millions do / no-one cares about you / I’m the biggest draw in the history of me / so let the people see, and be awed / let the trumpets play and the violins sawed / let the floodlights find me way up here at the top / one helluva view, one helluva drop / and whilst I admit I haven’t done it yet / I’ve never been scared of getting wet / so shut your pipe holes, freaks / I’ve been practising this for weeks / the show’s not over till the pachyderm sings / and this one’s got wings / so what – are we good to go? / shall I go now? / okay – it’s a go / enjoy the show
who the hell cares what happens below