Counter Culture Cafe

The place where the antisocial
Gather to be alone
Each claiming a four-seat table
As space they can call their own.

We read, write and sip in silence
Observing our counterparts
Affronted by vocal violence
Where chattering children pass

I’m nearing the end of one cup
But pause while another stands
It wouldn’t be fair to counter
The pull of their drink demands

So queueing for table service
I duck to avoid the eye
Of waitress who makes me nervous
By bussing a bench nearby

We know those we see here often
But only on nodding terms
Some barriers never soften
And hand-shaking passes germs

Anxiety takes no notice
With all interactions dear
We pass out our days in closeness
And try to ignore our fear

We’re hardly inventing lonely
Though solitude equals peace
And we are our one and only
Unlikely to breed – we’ll cease

It isn’t a cause for wonder
That our generation stalls
When clearing one’s throat is thunder
Too sensitive for applause

And here in our counter culture
We’re safe from the fond embrace
We run from our awkward feelings
Too late to be in the race.

Weather Woman

I am a whirlwind, a whisk of storm
Bustling hustler, shucking pain
I, tornado, brave and warm
Quite immune to storm and strain
 
Problems scatter at my touch
Tossed aside on threads of steel
Fly to cloudy puffing, such
We pay no mind and bring to heel
 
Arms outstretched, ten fingertips
Sweep through the tactile charged air
Perched for flight the moment strips
All concern from simple care
 
I am the calm in the storm’s grey eye
Twister turns a tidy groove
And dancing miles across the sky
No one sees my fleet feet move

Calais

Sangatte to Jungles
Our government mumbles
Responses to nations’
Incoming migrations

Now paperwork hoarders
Are challenged by boarders
In Eurostar tunnels
And motorway funnels

They’re stoning the crowd
Burning tyres, leaping loud
Until lorries are loaded
All holds are allowed

This stowaway stream
Set on chasing a dream
Shows no signs of slowing
Or stopping, but growing

Their numbers increasing
To challenge policing
We’re caught at the port
Over which we have fought

Now our tourists are static
Behind much stacked traffic
They’re losing their reason
In holiday season

As cars packed with kids
See their fun on the skids
With the clock ticking down
Mum and dad due in town

Though we hoped to ignore
Swimmers washing ashore
Counting costs in big bribes
And the loss of small lives

In a bid for asylum
We’d like to deny them
Perhaps we may find
What they’re leaving behind

Deserted and abandoned youth

Choose certain death and ostracism
Exile self-imposed; ‘tradition’
Loss of home and family
Born of faith’s supremacy

So young, with minds not fully fed
In fear of first missteps, unled
Some seek to live by others’ rules
And hope to never have to choose

While those whose choice was thrust upon
Unwary shoulders, far too young
Have just enough experience
To recognise their own good sense

And knowing that some errors will
Occur despite intentions, still
Are less afraid to persevere
And build the life they want right here.

Though actions have their aftermath
There is no righteous, clear-cut path
Please do not fear all consequence
Change is not dangerous; though dense

And unenlightened elders may
Feel life no longer goes their way
As age and distance emphasise
The loss of youth before sad eyes

Unready to relinquish reins
To those in throes of growing pains.
Decisions to abandon trust
Give up hope and freedoms; lust

For life of lesser contemplation
Out of social obligation;
Turn to ends more violent
Ignore suggestions, kindly meant

And quick condemn all other views –
Is this the path you wish to choose?
Consider this, before you do
For truly, this choice rests with you:

Such suicide invites abuse
Of others that may follow blood
For love, for family, for feud
Will throw themselves away; – jihad

In mourning for those gone before
Their minds made waste, still immature
And more than one will idolise
The first to die – if death you prize

Above the life you hold in hand
So understand, if you have planned
To be the martyr for your tribe
And leave the others still alive

The minute you take up this course
Imagining rewards; Firdaws
You lose control of what is shown
And once you’ve gone, the whole thing’s blown:

With ashes scattered over sand
Your image will be used to brand
Misinformation into truth –
Deserted and abandoned youth.

25 Glorious Years

I was only seven when
The world wide web was born
Helped nurture it as it did me
Though sometimes both were torn

Now controversy jostles next
To videos of pets
And governments are waking up
To cybercrime and sexts

They talk of regulation, laws
Protecting those who surf
Such optimism gives me pause
For who can claim this turf?

How would you try to regulate
Where speech is truly free
Outside the firewalls of nations’
Charted territory

They want to sell, or tax, exploit
The assets they don’t own
Regain the power to deny
Dissent has reached them, grown

A massive haul, this data mine
To use for good and ill
Through monetising yours and mine
They hope to profit.  Still

While youth retains advantage here
Technology will grow
Though moralists may phish to smear
They will not stop the show

The Half Life of Romantium

Take a fragile shell of base metal
Iron, or lead will do nicely for a first attempt
Then find somewhere to keep it
While the experiment progresses
Prop it against a shady frame
Darkened doorways work well, then
Seal it with the finest salt water
Washing repeatedly until all planes
Have been carefully soaked in brine
Set it aside to drip-dry on a doormat
Paying careful attention to placement
More progress is made in the hours
When darkness covers the sun’s curve
Applying topical heat at intervals
Until the surface shines with salt specks
Carve your initials into this skin
Making the cuts deep, clean, even
You should still be able to see them
A clear inscription In fifty years or so,
Once things have cooled to room temperature

J-Epic

Jennifer made such a pact with her John,
swore that their love would live on and anon
together they’d dwell, in some cottage on high
but little she knew that her pact was a lie.

For John had another, a charming young gel,
with whom, as it happened, he too’d vowed to dwell:
Poor sweet Josephine was barely out of school
but well-versed in the art of turning men to fools.

She’d wrapped John around like a bandage on thumb.
Jenny could do nothing, but feel rather glum,
as of this attachment, her John had stayed mum;
so being a bright girl, she chose to have fun.

Jen went to a party, dressed all in her best.
The music was loud, and so were all the guests.
Such boisterous antics you never did see
as what passed for dancing at Jenny’s party.

Now Jo was frustrated, she’d heard of this soiree,
but John wouldn’t take her, she swore he’d be sorry.
As she raved and she ranted, dear John got an inkling
that Jo wasn’t quite the sweet flow’r he’d been thinking.

So John took a leaf from a book known to all
womankind whose minds turn as from summer to fall,
and he called up his Jenny, but got quite a fright
when a deep voice responded – and after midnight!

Now Jake was a boxer – quite muscled and mean.
He looked fierce, but treated our Jen like a queen.
He revelled in taking her out on the town,
and showing her off in her best evening gown.

It happened one night that the foursome did meet
and awkwardly stood for a while in the street,
while Jo sized up Jenny, and John stared at Jake,
until Jake whispered low – now that runt I could take!

Just give me the word, Jenny dear, and ’tis done.
This fool should have kept you as his number one,
but he preferred flat-chested chit over there –
the one still in pigtails, who waxes her hair.

But Jenny said shush with a smile and a laugh.
What’s done is now done, no need for a bloodbath.
He’s seen what he’s missing – and for the last time.
Now let us move on – weren’t we going to dine?

The couple swept off in their silks and their furs,
and John saw his Jen finally had got hers.
He turned to see Jo with her face turning pink
clearly about to let fly with some stink.

But instead of attempting to stem her mid-flow,
John just gave a sigh as he turned round to go,
and Jo stood astounded to see that her fit
was being ignored by dear John – what a git!

So put out was our young miss by male restraint
that she flagged down a taxi and left John to paint
the town red on his own, for she cared not a bit
that her leaving was dumping him right in the shit.

For Jo’s mother had taught her, while still in the cot,
that while young, there’d be more fish to catch with a yacht.
So Jo set to fishing, and this with a will,
and John was left high, dry, and feeling quite ill.