Attendant Needs

The man who cleans the ladies’ toilet
Tries to stay invisible
Knowing he’s unwelcome, and
His job is somehow risible

An overflowing bin too ripe
With gravid, bloody stink
The stains that form behind the pipe
The vomit in the sink

The woman who mops out the gents’
Is handy with her fists
As banging on the cubicles
Helps lovers to resist

Temptations of a toilet dweller
Keen to wet their beak
With sins of flesh on offer
Even seasoned will’s too weak

Where users of facilities
One tries hard to forget
Don’t pass too close, as ill at ease
Our bladders we regret

And silent in our tinklings
Groans and grunts are magnified
Graffiti grows in sprinklings
Where we defecate inside

The Anti-Social Conscience

Fear of flying
In the Erica Jong sense
Is not wrong – even for hardcore feminists
We are all intimidated sometimes
When faced with the prospect
Of successful seduction
In an post-AIDS era.

Fear of flying
Bugs with the power to infect
The next generation with long-term consequences
Is a logical response to a natural phenomenon
So we avoid the tropics, where possible
And wear trousers, long-sleeves
And poisoned perfume.

Fear of flying
To exotic climes
With local customs
Hostile to strangers
Would appear an acceptable
Response to the xenophobic
Fury of others – so unlike our own.

Fear of flying
Seems perfectly reasonable –
A socially acceptable phobia for a reduced carbon footprint
Unless, of course the sufferer happens to be
The passenger in the next seat (adjacent to me)
Quaking in their Birkenstocks,
Passing gas, and sweating cobs.


Generally I have a very cool and level head, but there are certain occasions when keeping a lid on my temper costs me something by way of personal sanity. On the day the gang-affiliated tosspot half my age decided to amuse himself by deliberately spraying his deodorant in my face from the seat behind me on the bus, I held my tongue and counted to ten (I’m not suicidal), and did a lot of silent cursing while the tears of ocular irritation ran down my face. Then I penned this vicious little snippet.

There are days when I wish
For a knife or a gun
So the dickhead behind me
Receives what may come
Controlling my temper
Gets harder to do
Imagining harm
Satisfying and new
On occasions where patience
Has already snapped
Where my favoured response
Involves scalpel and sac
I content myself knowing
A hex may do more
Inflicting revenge
For the merciless boor


Faces crease in concentration
Making efforts to ignore
Insistent toddler at the station
Tantrum thrown beside the door

Tired workers heading homeward
All but desperate for peace
Nervous mother still a coward
Fearing offspring’s full release

Cries that echo round the carriage
Painful stares at stalemate scowl
The product of a broken marriage
Childhood monster’s awful howl

Pacifist attempts a token
Of what discipline we lack
Silent look conveys unspoken
‘Madam take your vile kid back’

Children borne but rarely welcome
Oft ignored with quiet bribes
Entering a world that needs them
Yet can’t stomach little lives

Cheer Up!

A goldfish bowl, I live within
And gaze out on the world.
At people who pass by, I grin,
Though they act quite absurd.
I know they see me, yes indeed
For oft I catch their eye,
And yet they will not smile back
What do you fear? I cry.
I wonder at these silly folk
Who spend their day a-scowl.
What use is that? I’ll share a joke,
There’s no need to be foul!
I hope each time I see you
That for you things have improved;
Look forward to our meeting
When you’re in a better mood.