One lump, or two?

Please, somebody make a decision
Before it falls farther than Fate
It cannot be me, you’re the boss, don’t you see?
Pretty soon it will all be too late

I’m only insisting to help us
Criticism’s not part of the plan
I don’t give a toss which you choose – you’re the boss
(Though we all get to carry the can)

It’s pointless, this endless debating
We’ve heard all the pros and the cons
You are dragging your feet in the chairman’s high seat
While morale at the company bombs

It’s hardly a life or death question
There won’t be a test at the end
Kindly pull up your socks, or you’re in for some shocks
From each stakeholder, colleague and friend

It’s not like there is a ‘right’ answer
So taking forever won’t do
The longer you leave it, the less we’ll believe that
The person who chose it was you

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Ten – Thirty

Falling in love with the painting we hung
Over my piano – a dark and rainy night
A bridge of cars and glowing lights
Artfully smudged to please
A scene of childhood dreams – when I
Still believed good would come of arguments,
When all of life was a journey
I’d gaze at the rain on the glass, reflected
In the sepia and orange flashes of each lamp
As we crawled through the traffic jams
On balding tyres in the darkening wet
Our parents itching to speed through red lights
In such a hurry to drive each other to distraction.
Crossing the river to the South Bank for
Another sycophantic symphony. Performance Art.
Adults in their finery who’d brought their
Best feet to put themselves forward
And left their manners at home in their holey jeans.
The gloom of this familiar view is comforting.
I can remember the Christmas at my Grandparents’ flat
When my Grandpa threw a tantrum ‘cos the
Tree trimming was taking too long.
My sister was inconsolable and cried for an hour
For our ever-distant mother, absent again
And I helped Grandma in the kitchen until
The storm clouds blew over and all
Was cherubic plaster smiles and tinsel twice over.
The picture knew how I felt.
The picture was the view from the bridge
Another bridge, in a different city
But no matter; we understood each other.

My Big Toe

Last time I stayed in hospital
I felt like such a fraud
It never would have happened
If I’d not been feeling bored

I took out my best needles
To try to string some beads
But dropped the thread under the bed
And crawling on my knees

Wasted almost half an hour
In a wholly futile search
To find the reel with only feel
Was never going to work

But giving up too hastily
In retrospect was worse
I shuffled back and heard a crack
Then hopped to muffled curse

For I’d stood upon the cushion
In which I kept my pins
The x-ray showed my poor big toe
Joint skewered, for my sins

They pulled it out with pliers
Having made my foot go numb
I hope that was the last time
I do something quite so dumb

Aspire, respire, perspire

Searching for beauty
In the crumbling pavements
The chickweed shoots
Bringing colour to each crack

Fishing for rainbows
In gutters pooled with oil
The water slick and dirty
As an inner-city fast-track

Squinting in sunlight
Huddled in a cheap coat
Thin layers for protection
Against the chill of springtime

Doze in back of buses
To dream up something better
Than another year of hardship
And a terminal decline

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Carnage in the clearing
Sticky pools of who-knows-what
As cautiously we’re steering
Fears of claws and teeth in gut

I am left with just the remnants
Of their jolly morning jaunt
Picking teabags off each surface
Like a soggy, stringy taunt

You’d think the place was burgled
By the mess the creatures made
Leaving stains across the tables
And a ‘message’ in the glade

Sure, this was no children’s outing
Though they’d sandwiches and toys
More a bored board meeting’s pouting
Grumbling grizzlies making noise

As the bears scoffed, hale and hearty
Dropping food upon the floor
Then departing as a party
Slothful sleuth linked, paw in paw

Lumber over plates and teaspoons
Picking up and throwing out
I must tidy up these festoons
Ere the second sitting’s bout

Being Terrific

“I’m fine!” she says
Her most optimistic tone
All circuits revved
Tits and teeth on the phone

Hear her – peacock-proud
“Oh, never better, my love!”
Fanning every cloud
As it pours from above

“No problem!” Hits
With its usual grin
As she pits her wits
Helping others to win

“Right away, it’s done”
Dropping everything now
She will be the one
Fixing matters somehow

Shoving all her plans
To the back of the queue
Just to understand
How best her skills may serve you

“Never mind” she waves
Putting on a good face
Rearranging days
So she’s able to race

To the rescue cry
Both of friend and of foe
For she’ll always try
To be there for each woe

How she longs to sit
In a chair on her own
And let others get
Used to coping alone

But she’ll never rest
Not while someone’s in pain
So she’s still the best
And no one can complain

The Complaints Department

Nobody calling at the tail end of Friday
Has anything good to say
If they’ve left it this long, it’s a ticking time bomb
That they don’t quite dare leave ’til Monday

So the caller’s frustrated (and won’t be placated)
They picked up the handset to moan
It’s a cert they will dump ev’ry unwanted hump
Down the angrily crackling phone

I’ll be blamed for their woes, standing in for the foes
In their workplace they daren’t attack
For a frontal assault would be seen as their fault
The decision that got them the sack

So a dose of aggression is their contribution
To kick off my paltry weekend
And the favour I do them in listening to them
Will never be seen as a friend