Identity Crisis

The boy on the bus
Was a scared little man
With his feet on his bags
And his mind on The Plan

The boy on the bus
That I left undisturbed
Though his nervousness made me
Uneasy, perturbed

The boy on the bus
Blew his nose, picked his ear
Buried face in a book
To pretend no one’s near

The boy on the bus
Didn’t flinch, looked away
When the hipster beside me
Screwed his top off to spray

The boy on the bus
Caught in bubbling splash
Of cool mineral water
Dripping seat, cuffs and lash

The boy on the bus
Friendless did not react
Kept his mind on the journey
To survive it intact

The boy on the bus
Struck a chord when I saw
How he treated the paperback
New from a store

The boy on the bus
Had I seen him before
On the flickering screen
Or in newsprint galore

The boy on the bus
That I couldn’t be sure
Was the one some authorities
Were searching for

The boy on the bus
Unremarkable, odd
With the face of a saint
Knelt in fear of his God

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Numb

I am untouched by death, it seems
My brow so cool, and arid eye
No flicker at the suicide scenes
Of friend that waited, soon to die

And hastened with impatient crime
To strike a blow and choose his time.

Not I, the sobbing, shrieking wreck
That tears their clothes and hair to match
The inner maelstrom kept in check
You’d scarcely hear my voice – the catch

Unnoticed by my colleague’s grin
Unless I choose to let them in.

At reading of another act
Of violence in public space
It is not terror strikes my heart
I cannot lie to save my face

Though all around are tearing fast
I’m calm and cool – it brushes past.

On hearing tales of chemicals
That kill en-masse, so far away
Of sniping shooters winging girls
Who want to go to school today

The sum of Arab Springs and Falls
Cannot unbuild emotive walls.

I’ve known it worse, or so we say
Explosions and effects galore
I saw a film, but yesterday
I can’t be feeling any more

Of Realism, High-def blow
Paid for my ticket, saw the show.

Though broadcast pictures fill the News
I’ve seen too many other views
In my short life to be amused
By one more shot of life, abused

While Western minds are overfed
On what we’re sold, and so, misled.

What heartstrings I have left to tug
Beside ideas I fondly kept
Lie buried underneath the rug
Old fashioned views, soft-celled, inept

Far too naive to hold so late
Beyond their expiration date.

Binary

Pandering to electronics
Bow to ev’ry sacred beep
Of the venerable laptop
They demand must last the week

Soothe the RAM and juggle updates
Stroke each key, a fond caress
And save your curses for the skinflint
CEO that caused this mess

Crying out for newer hardware
Staff on iPad overtime
OS struggles, RegEd nightmare
Software out of step and time

To make up shortfall in the budget
Health and Safety would think twice
And while we’re on the bloody subject
Newer desktops might be nice

We’re working hard to beat frustration
As one poor techie tries to cope
With a no-winner situation
Soldier on with little hope

She’s put the poor thing through it’s paces
Done the defrag, checked the code
Rebooted and restarted software
Not designed to get this old

So frankly it would hardly shock if
Setup takes up half the day
She’s done her best with what she’s got
But can’t do more than slow decay

Revolution

History tells us
That coups are romantic
Tight breeches and open shirts
Flesh on display

But somehow historians
Seem to gloss over
The blood, guts and gore
Spilled as change rules the day

In marketplace, schoolroom
And under the blankets
The hard-headed, downtrodden
Protesters pray

For those seeking justice
Surrounded by forces
With too much to lose
To just give it away

Out of Place

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it
But personally it threw me
I even felt a little uncomfortable
Yes, even I – yours truly

Catching the unexpected sight
That lay betwixt my legs
With knickers heading ankleward
And sleep still in my head

A paperclip in a bowl of white
When you’ve been dreaming half the night
Perhaps in itself not so strange a sight
But staring up at me, not right

The world had lost what sanity
Remained to it – insanitary
Metal curves glinted through the blue-tinted
Water in the bottom of the lavatory.

Now how the hell did that get there?
All sorts of scenarios floated through
The sudden space between my ears
As I gazed in wonderment, sans clue

Out of place as an office tool
In the Monday morning, air-conditioned
Chill of a corporate bathroom stall
At odds with surroundings can be positioned.

A mundane mystery, unmoved here
It can’t be shifted by the flush
Of a girl in a hurry to embrace the pure
Delights of the kitchenette thermos flask

Filled with a mud-like java ooze
And the plastic snap-tub biscuit tin
In individual wrappers snooze
The office worker’s breakfast sin

Bought to bolster her resolve
To tackle the horrors yet in store
With an ever-abundant inbox, filled
Overflowing with weekend’s weighty chore

To help unravel the tangled threads
Of under-worded communications
By those whose double shift’s preparation
For the stats release to the waiting nation.

So what to do with this sad item
Displaced object, much abused
With little now to recommend it
Be retrieved and so, reused…

Poor Clippy, sadly suicidal
Jumped the rim and sank his shame
At such clear speech – misinformation
Too few letters to his name

Made redundant since the Nineties’
Macro software eased our pain
Now enshrined in more than pixels
From his ignominy, fame.

Dish of the day

Piping hot, served on a big, silver platter
With pristine white linen in case it should splatter

Serving suggestion: try holding your nose
(It can be quite fragrant when fresh off the stove)

A gentle reminder – you may burn your tongue
On sauce with such condiments, thickened and mum

Though some find it bitter, you might like the taste
So try not to let what you’ve bought go to waste

It’s strange and exotic, the critics all say
But you ordered The Truth – it’s our dish of the day.