Trad Family Values (Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault)

Just lie down and take what is coming to you
You are what you did, so we’ll do what we do
It’s justice in action, reaction that’s true
Too carefree? Consent! That’s a license to screw…

So grab her and hold her, we’ll strip and unfold her
To shame her and mould her until she is colder
And never, forever, will she dare to tether
Her hopes to a world run by men for their pleasure

For women are worthless, a hot mess of curses
Who pepper discourses with breathy remorses
Before we’ve an ear for our sisters or daughters
Let’s hear from a father (who’s worth our resources)

We’ve room for opinion from lowest caste minion
But suffer no slights from a beardless cotillion
Whose lips tell us lies underlined in vermilion
Until our frustration will brook no Brazilian

Aesthetic. Pathetic, we seek an emetic
For things so erotic they threaten ascetic
Erratic, and segregate tastes so prophetic
We hasten to hide how out-dated our ethic,

Our very existence. No matter the million
That march to a man to protest latrocinium;
We lie on our laurels; inviolate vision
Society’s structure investing our mission

For power that lingers for hangers and clingers
On scales that still favour us dissolute whingers
We’d rather waste time and resources on mingers
To hide behind preachers and ponces’ long fingers

As patriarch beams in the light of the dawn
With funds for a future of cultural norm
Where birth heralds gifts for the fortunate pawn
Ignoring the cries of their less favoured spawn

The female, though fated one half of our destiny’s
Much underrated when it comes to progeny
Gains more of Percy, than man’s greater mercy,
Imprudent, heretical, breeds controversy

These creatures that litter the cracks of society
Were cast-off to bear any bare impropriety
Innocence spares them no bolt of anxiety
As toys for affections of gendered variety

And what of the male as he wanders the land
Silver spoon in his mouth, and a viper in hand
Teasing Eve at his leisure, all going as planned
A man for all seasons, the first of the damned

So clothing was tattered and fluids were spattered
By elders and betters, by people who mattered
Unwanted attentions that blistered and battered
Assault is a compliment, you should feel flattered!

Tradition dictates we must buy them by rite
Postponing delight for our own wedding night
But those who are wayward and troublesome might
Be the better for all that you force on them. Right?

By the width of her bosom or breadth of her seat
You can tell what she wants in her life is your heat
Just ignore what may pass for false modesty, cheat:
If she struggles, you’re stronger, why beat a retreat?

What use is a woman that beggars belief?
But an ornament, decorative, for relief
(And it isn’t a rape if you aren’t a thief
Of virginity), so she’ll submit to your brief

And untalented fumbling, your grunting and mumbling
For out after dark, her experience humbling
Is nothing she doesn’t deserve, just a tumbling,
Yes, shame is the answer, to curtail such crumbling

Societal pillars, though riveted girders
Are challenged with change, so before we go further
Afield for our leisure, let’s talk about murder
And those whose encounters may help feed our fervour

But careful, what soft thought may break through this wall –
The footsteps grow louder, the voices still call
For a change to opinions, stacked for a fall
Bring an end to such violence, once and for all

Nanoo Nanoo to Neverland

Where have all the grown-ups gone?
The ones I looked to all my life
To show me what’s been going on
To make me laugh and keep me safe

Their reassurance slips away
As if they’d someplace else to be
We stand here at the break of day
And count each loss as one set free

I wish they wouldn’t shuffle off
So many games we never played
But some by self and some by health
They one-by-one all leave this stage

And whether one is hopping mad
Or feeling blue, or sad, or bad
It’s curtains for the fun we had
Now Mork has gone to follow Dad

Second-class

In tweeds and furs and pearls and curls,
The rows and rows of lovely girls
Are strolling arm-in-arm to school
To find their niche; to earn, to rule!

In baseball shirts and well-worn shoes
The jean-clad, beltless, feckless youths
Go slouching to the DSS
To bail them out of worklessness.

The worker-bee that scurries fast
Avoiding trollies, hastens past
While pensioners crowd tiny shops
And squeeze the fruit and veg to slops.

The mothers juggle work and kids
And pets that piddle, nibble; fibs
From all of those who claimed that life
Would soon improve as someone’s wife.

Where blokes stay home and watch the box;
Dads clean their cars, and wear odd socks,
Mere gentlemen frequent the gym,
The pubs and clubs, but rarely in

A frame of mind to brook disdain
Belittle those who’d challenge claim
To right of birth: Y chromosome –
All call the world their very own.

A Life in The Spotlight

I was born to a wizard with long emerald fingernails
Abracadab-ing it in Salisbury playhouse
Daddy-O jumped with the Jets up in Perth The-a-ter
While his skinny frame could kick it he did Roman Shakespeare
Singing sunshine on the sand, moonlight on the sea
Leicester Haymarket enchanted even Bloody Mary
Down in Ipswich for a darker spell, he wheeled away
As Annie vomited three dinners, FDR held sway
Then a Machiavell, his Ross would scheme and plot
While a Scottish king was done away with, dad was not
Though a Streetcar named Desire strung his Steve along
Dad just waited until dark to get his murder on
Then a brief respite as Ironside in Canterbury
Before landing as the Miller in those tales so merry
Off to India he trumpeted with pachyderms
Telling all ‘Don’t Drink the Water’ ‘cos it might have germs
Back in London the Etcetera was proud to say
Jamie Boy was Gonna Be Alright, (despite the play)
Then Best Actor for the London New Play Festival
Dad as Keith informed us ‘Why Bananas Bend’ y’all
When his feet began a-tapping and his suit was zoot
Rats blew ‘Long About Midnight’ with a brassy toot
‘Fuente Ovejuna’ kicked around his Expo’ tour
With dad’s Torturer and Ortuno beside the door
Then a thirst for British Ale and ‘Images of Tiffin’
At the Old Red Lion, Stanley flashed – alive and kicking
‘Til a retrospective jackboot called for Dad’s best spiv
To revive the hope ‘Peace in Our Time’ might yet let live
Doctor Scott and his Hot Eddie rocked the horror shows
When the English Theater, Frankfurt kept him on his toes
Such a ‘Boon’ behind the camera, the Bill saw red
So dad Whistled down the wind and wore a badge instead
Then Big Daddy (as my father had become in truth)
Played his role like any Kitty on a Hot Tin Roof
Mister Mister rocked the cradle ‘til the cradle fell
Flung his Faust before the philistines in downtown Hell
He sang ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ as he toured and toured
While the greasepaint kept on stinking and the crowd still roared
Such a ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ this business can produce
And the theatre was dad’s life and soul and that’s the truth.

I wrote this in tribute to my father, who passed away on 9th May 2014. By no means a complete list of his acting credits, these were the memorable bits and pieces that helped shape my childhood. He will be missed.

Love poem to my hands

These small scars and subtle lines
The marks of canula and razor blade
This triangle of raised skin from an
Unlikely first foray at false nails
Tell my story better than palmistry.
Strong hands, cast in my grandfather’s mould
The broad span of a peasant-pianist
Clasping my mother’s work ethic
My grandmother’s curved third joint.
My hands are rebels, weatherbeaten
Eschewing my father’s manicured elegance
With overgrown cuticles, nails kept short.
Functional fingers, well-muscled
And only two permanent ink stains
On the right hand, unmoved since school;
The wart on my left a source of teasing
My witch mark, mocked
By ignorant children.  I would not change
The fine hairs on my fourth knuckle
Hidden by the ring I sometimes wear
For the world.