Ex-Albania

“I like your face.”
The stranger smiled
A friendly eye
In a hostile world
Not to be ignored
At the end of a week
Whose gentle slide
From bad to cess –
Pitiable
Until she could feel
Herself yawning
Over the abyss
Clutching at nothing
More than the last
Frayed threads of temper.
Clearing consciousness
Not minding this overture
To a careful discussion of
Meteorologic insignificance
And closing with
Best wishes for
The weekend’s rest,
“Thank you” she said
And meant it.

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Choreographic Activism

I polished the drilling
Of Ms Oriana Fox today
Who’s disgruntled, but willing
Teaching folks in her own way

She’s quite sane and more sorted
Now plus one and a bit
Feeling slightly less thwarted
By the usual shit

She’s booked: gig’s on next Saturday
Way oop North of Watford
Dance-protesting the cuts that say
All artists will get shafted

And by doing a take-off of
Maria Miller
With some showtunes and JayZ
In a wig as a Tiller

Girl is dancing in her vest
To raise awareness fast
That if these cuts are not arrested
Arts have breathed their last

Oma says

Little old ladies dressed all in black
Carry great loads on their rock-solid backs
So next generation may learn how to play
They work ’til they drop and are carried away

Little old ladies have little to lose
They’ve time to be gentle and courage to choose
May praise what achievements are worthy of love
And prod at the arses in need of a shove

Little old ladies can lead from behind
Obedient offspring (it’s all in the mind)
The strength of the nation all summed in a phrase
“Old wives’ hands hold answers”, or so Oma says.

Outing, The Absurd

Stuttering pickles, confounded by paint
While floral designs’ floating chaos smells quaint
Old ladies and bug spray, some mothballs to go
Enjoying their day at the end of the show

A nonsense of feelings, of sounds and of taste
Bemoaning new wrinkles, fine hair and all waste
They’re off to the seaside, to sit and slurp tea
Just Harriet, Ethel, Jemima and Fi

The driver had better keep eyes on the road
Or our Ethel has threatened he’ll turn to a toad
While Harriet’s brolly is pleasantly queer
The spiky end’s sharp when it swings past your ear

Jemima’s gone missing, been absent for years
They always invite her, despite tantrums, tears
For Fi still remembers the role Jemi’ played
In keeping her steady in service, a maid

Look out for each other, they’ve done all their lives
Through brothers and lovers, old husbands, new wives
The die has been cast, there’s a pin in the map
And the cats have been fed and the dog’s done his lap

Now the ladies are off for a whistlestop tour
To find dancing and drinks on a pier they adore
We’ll see them again, they have given their word
But they’ve gone in pursuit of amusements absurd

Five to five

They’re dropping like flies
As the plague sweeps the ranks
Rows of workstations empty
While telephone banks

Ring loud through the silence
And gathering gloom
As Thursday-night callers
Take turns round the room

One lone operator
Soon pales at the noise
And grasps at the handset
With grimace in place

For over-mic’d trawlers
That given the choice
She’d give neither date
Time, directions, nor voice

It’s almost the hour
That her shift’s at an end
But one final nuisance
Is waiting to rend

The last of her sanity
Ripped down the wire
Complaining injustices
Crude, uninspire

No longer the patience
To handle such groans
She’s wanting her bed
And an end to all ‘phones

Grammatical batticle

Proper nouns are prim and pristine
They belong to long ago
Shackled to conjunctions, listing
What it is we need to know
Factual they take position
‘Pon the Field of Cloth of Gold
Kneel to hear their King’s ambition
Clutching reins, unsheathing sword
Then look upon their enemy
That vaguest General of old
Whose lines and lines of men we see
As nameless, shivering and cold
Exploits edited by victors
Those who fought and those who fell
Posterity’s unnoticed victims
History that none can tell
I tot them up, these dated figures
Sow their sounds deep in my head
In hope they’ll stay there though the rigors:
Algebra and baking bread
Latin may decline declensions
Greek is up against the wall
But even now, some nouns’ intentions
Hold my mind from days at school

The Music of Words

Gently lash me with your tongue
I will not try to speak
To interrupt the flow of one
Whose tempers fray the week
The sea that breaks upon my ears
Is washing you away
The fading sounds that fuel these tears
Are quieter today
Your practised script, articulate
I heeded as a child
When sounds that issued from your throat
Wrought protestations mild
Now older I’ve more strength to voice
Harsh thoughts that must be said
I understand that I’ve a choice
Of silence; but instead
With fingers jammed in ears I bellow
Drowning out your boom
These tones of sturm und drang that echo
Round the living room

Can’t you hear the melody?

Taste the words to hear it play
They’ll teach you how to hum
Feel the sound that waves its way
To ears from tip of tongue
Balance rhythm on your nib
And flick the blues away
Scrawling rhyme to rock the crib
With beats that pulse and sway
Baby in her daddy’s arms
Can only coo and squeal
Taking in all worldly forms
She’s learning fast by feel
We watch her tiny fingers, toes
Exploring as we speak
And note her mastery that grows
Progressing with each week
Accelerate articulation
Let her tell us soon
What kick-starts mad coordination
Of her stars and moon

Loop-de-wholesale

Made in the land of make-believe
Where lawyers play ‘who’d you believe?’
And corporations patent hints
Before they’ve read the finer print
Safety testing doesn’t sell
As competitive ne’er do wells
Are underestimating time
To roll their products off the line
So what’s to do when local law
Prohibits what has gone before?
But legislate your private loop
To keep them jumping through the hoop
‘Domestic’ laws will not apply
While we want foreign states to buy
Substandard, globocentric tat
‘Til ecosystem must fall flat
So here’s to Canada’s defeat
This business model works a treat
We’ll make our fortune and then some
Just looking out for number one