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

The Reckoning

In these fractions I seek solace
That infarction is no menace
To my own unknown condition
Though my colleague lies on trollies
As they fill her veins with serum
Hoping vasos are dilated
I’m surrounded by the vision
Such careers are overrated
In my secretary’s costume
I must take on further duties
Try to prop up one more rostrum
And ignore last rites for loot. He’s
Working from his home computer
While I ride the bus to nowhere
In the misty morning chatter
That’s conceived to make me go there
How much more am I allotted?
This existence, mere survival
Will I too go out, garotted
By a heart attack unrivalled?
As my logic fails, convince me;
I’ve decisions that are burning
Every inch would rather lynch me
Than continue painful earning.

Although I rarely explain my scribblings, as I prefer to let the reader interpret them at will, this poem, and the one that follows are written in response to a recent event. The woman with whom I share a desk at my day job suffered a heart attack this week. The events on that occasion and which have followed have caused me to question our place in the universe with perhaps more focused ferocity than usual.

Untitled

This is the place we come to die
We secretaries, in our rows
Two frozen stiffs, a living lie
Few care to note, and no one knows.

While patient, we sit out our time
In managing capricious men
Whose fruitless whims, though not malign
Wear lines on brows and fray each hem.

One more may chew on dust this hour
No more to block electric space
In diary; a heart lacks power
To beat a path through empty wastes.

We are not dumb, and yet, we wait
Preparing meeting rooms, hot drinks
Awaiting proof; appreciate
A mind, unheeded, soul that shrinks

And though the autopsy infers
What killed her was nobody’s fault
That one can prove, (except for hers)
With such a sedentary vault

Of memories of closet, desk,
A filing cabinet to store
The means of murder – this slow death
Made up of tedium and chore.

Bred and Buttered Up

These streets of my childhood
Were once crawling with rats
Now the plebs that grew up here
Are priced out of their flats
By an influx of “Yah, Darling!”
Grousing fat cats
Whose stake in their locale
Is served with ‘tomates’.

Something to declare

They’re closing the borders
And checking for crime
We’ve signalled our orders –
Each kiosk; its sign
For twenty-one days
On the honour of those
Running far from the virus
No quarantine slows
Here’s the health of a nation
Held palmed in your hand
Shaking; quaking relations
That no one can stand
Find they’re no longer welcome
While terror’s abroad
Though the shape of their income
Is what we applaud
It’s a risk to our public
Unhealthy and pale
No banana republic
With goodies for sale
Will be bribing their way
Past the guards on the line
Who know only to say
“Gosh, yes, everything’s fine!”
Though you’re likely to bring
Things that may cost the Earth
Still we can’t let you in
More than our job is worth
As the siren is sounded
The gates clang at last
All asylum for hounded
A thing of the past
We suspect you of sheltering
Dangerous germs
So we’ll lock down the sweltering
Under our terms
No sex, please, we’re British
The same goes for fun
And in case you seem skittish
I’m holding this gun
With no end of compassion
Our hearts on our sleeve
We’ve resources to ration
So, kindly, just leave.

Endangered Species

There’s a man in my office
Who’s saving the whales –
One tin can at a time.

It goes back to childhood’s
Conservative craze
When he knew snails were more than just slime.

A sensitive boy scout
And always prepared
He’d tell you what tigers remained.

Not overly social,
But gosh, how he cared
Desperate all must endure unchanged.

Through his hormonal years
While his peers were all pairing
Ensuring Man stayed off the list;

He was fasting for turtles
While classmates kept staring
Too busy by far to be kissed.

When he took his first paycheck
Back home to his mum
Her delight at his fortune fell flat

He announced his intention
To keep his old room
And to spend it protecting the bat.

He has hundreds of coupons
From cereal boxes
An album with stickers galore

Saves ham from his lunchbox
To feed to the foxes
And nags me to recycle more

But though he is frequently
Smug and annoying
We all do our best to keep calm;

For somehow we feel
Though the whole thing gets boring
The planet appreciates John.

When he went round the local
Recycling plant
It was feared he would not be the same

For the sight of machinery
Making its mark
Only spurred him to heighten his game.

The ice caps’ diffusion
In over-fished seas
Left him feeling for what seals were left

Such emotions, confusion
Brought him to his knees
‘Til unable to speak, eat or rest

He was forced to relax
Under medical orders
To stop writing to his MP

And was sent to recuperate
Far from our borders
With sun, sand and sea therapy

He moaned through the flight
With the stewardess fussing
He just couldn’t bear to give in

Such terrible guilt
Carbon footprint increasing
He wanted to scream at the sin

Now back at his desk
We are careful to tiptoe
Each time we recycle a can

For the breakdown he had
Caused his temper to flip though
Our John’s now a shell of a man.

I worry his type
Now seems harder to find
As I watch the poor guy stumble past.

It’s a shame the ecologist’s
Losing his mind
For I fear this one may be the last.