Shy at retirement

The happy ex-executive
Is finished with their woes –
May quaff another malt
When curling up with slippered toes
Can sit and read the papers
Take his breakfast pipe in bed
And when the press come calling, say
‘Ask someone else, instead!’

The happy ex-executive
Has set his suits aside
To walk the dog in comfort
With no other plans to hide
The boardroom doesn’t matter
As he mutters through his day
No longer forced to listen
To the nonsense some might say

The happy ex-executive
Has time to count his chicks
Now grown and flown and flapping hard
For mortar board and bricks
He sits and sips his coffee
That no secretary bears
And wonders why the future
Hangs so often round his ears

The happy ex-executive
Now pastured and put out
The boredom that keeps looming
Moulds his frown into a pout
At four a.m. deciding
That enough’s enough, ‘tis done
It’s time to join a panel;
Find some new oblivion

The happy ex-executive
No longer sees himself
As more than the reflection
Over mantle, mirrored wealth
And what was it he wanted
When he first took on the role
But to see himself rewarded
For team efforts, on the whole

The happy ex-executive
Is feeling somewhat lost
Unsure that it was worth it
Pensioned off as ‘managed cost’
The marks of market forces
Take a little time to fade
But happy ex-executive’s
Already got it made

Giraffe

What kind of world
Will you inhabit
Once we are gone?
Will it be one
Of your own choosing?
New landscapes built
To youthful specifications,
A virtual world, or
Precarious solidity shaped
From the concentration
Of old-fashioned
Children’s toys – perhaps even
Those blue-and-red-stained
Wooden blocks
Of my infancy?
Will our groaning,
Grown-up legacy
Of piecemeal policies,
Poor housing, health,
And knee-jerk reactions
To old threats,
Half-remembered
Leave you with
Too little freedom
And too much responsibility?
However our teachings
Soak into your bones
It will be your turn
To roll the dice
And seek advancement
Or oblivion.
I hope we leave you
Prepared
And with sufficient
Tools to survive
What is
And what is yet
To come.

REM Regrets

It’s the end of the world as we know it
And I’m feeling nothing is fine
Since slipping down stairs on the slime of your tears
As we stumble toward one more crime

With our pulses and tempers increasing
‘Til the drumbeats are all we can hear
With the pounding of chests just a signal at best
For there’s plenty out there now to fear

Do we dare raise an eyebrow to challenge?
Would majority views still prevail?
Those whose protesting shocks in the ballot boom box
Were a message: Society? Fail!

Is there hope for our woeful tomorrows?
Can we ever recover the cost?
Now we’re set on a course to an ending of force
May we mourn what it is that we’ve lost?

Ah, Palmyra

We care more for ancient ruins
And destruction wrought on tombs
By whatever means they may
Than for lives that end today

While the blood and flesh and bone
Leaving everything they own
To escape the latest purge
Travel desert, sea and gorge

Those who voyage only land
On their uppers, close at hand
To the help they sorely need
Yet the politicians plead

Not to have to break their word
To the xenophobic horde
Those whose votes they barely won
From the hardened right, anon

Thus with bottle-necks and fence
We corral and harry hence
Workers that we sure could use
Grateful, welcome, unabused

Skilled and keen to integrate
To prop up our ageing State
In permissive company
Knowing just who let them be

As the fight takes to the skies
And the waves fill up with lies
We would throw away resource
Inconvenient and coarse

With no tally of the cost
Nor of what support is lost
Though our leaders might feel tall
While our borders stand, we fall

That’s OK! (by me)

Never try to date musicians
Actors, players or politicians
All who make fame their lifelong mission
Feel compelled to keep ambition

Uppermost in their mind’s eye.
Resisting those whose hopes may lie
In other kinds of pie-filled sky,
Aspire to happiness: decry

The complex marketing campaigns
To fill your dreams with endless strains
Of violins, and chilled champagne
(Someone is selling something vain)

You’re not obliged to join, partake
In putting out, appearing, fake
So falsely cheerful, on the make
We don’t all want the same big break

And there are many paths to tread
That do less harm and keep you fed
You could just read a book instead
To fill your soul, first fill your head

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

Examining Results

For once, I don’t know what to write
I’ve spent so long on call today
Informing others’ diktat soundbyte;
All my thoughts have flown away
Abandoning ‘mid dullest prose
And figures fed statistic’ly
Capacity of rows and rows
Of unexamined history
I’m homeward-bound and wish the best
To all whose numbers came to list
May you stand out among the rest
And never know this mill needs grist
I’d lend you wisdom of my years
If I were still bent on belief
But knowing such pearls find no ears
Would offer senses such relief
As may be had from silent smile
Of stranger truth than may be said
For soon enough you’ll have your milestone
Broke by others’ heavy tread

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.

Fishing for Mister Chips

Some always slip through the net, it’s true
We try to dissuade them, with warning glances
Terrible teachings and shoulder chips too
Yet they look for their plaice in the world, take chances

And fall for the hook, a line not intended
To catch such minnows, keen though they wriggle
But tempt floury flounder, a proper five pounder
With pedigree fin-flop and scales well-landed

A gentleman filleted almost from spawning
Too easy, compliant and well-bred for yawning
When skinny fish sizzle, the dull never grizzle
For schooled in his duty, the fat fish stays snooty

And floats on the current, just goes with the flow
Content not to question the things he should know
The minnow is left to the rock-pool and stream
Abandoned, unwanted, to struggle and dream

Pirouettes

What if things were diff’rent
If I hadn’t made that choice
Realised one potential me
But never found my voice?

Who might have been noticed
If I’d stuck to dance instead
Stayed thin and fairly limber
Training arms and feet, not head?

Would my first rebellion
Have led me to a Vet?
A change of scene, a childish dream
Escape without regret?

Or would life have been over
Twenty-six, a dying swan:
Now teach a bunch of children
To repeat mistakes, anon?

If no Vet, then no sample –
Talking point at interview
One misleading good example
Of something I’d never do?

Would I then have been granted
Any funding from the State?
Told to take the place they offered
And discover, just too late

That this was not what I wanted
As I struggled to fit in
Surrounded by the privilege
Of ignorant offspring?

My experience of teaching
At the tender age of six
Underlining hollow preaching
From a very diff’rent mix?

Would a lack of education
Have encouraged common sense?
Or constraint of situation
Left me sitting on the fence?

Would my schooling have consisted
Of bad habits and the barre
As I fought to hide intelligence
And keep my weight sub-par?

Could I ever have attempted
The exams I sailed through
Would I ever have been tempted
To seek out such pastures new?

Might my travels have been over
Long before I lived abroad
Would I ever have considered
A bouquet my just reward?

Would it matter, my opinion
Would the world have learnt to care
For the views of ballerinas
Who were talkative as air?

If I’d lived my life less boldly
Would I really have been me
Or would taffeta and greasepaint
Have been all there was to see?