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

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Indiscriminate Despair

A million subtle put-downs
In a thousand different ways
A wasted opportunity
Career path gone astray

A couple of promotions too
That went to someone else
With not as much experience
Nor vision, knowledge, skills

Adjusting one’s ambition
‘Til it fits within the norm
A lukewarm lover’s mission
To accept what still goes on

We breed another row
Of middle-rankers in our turn
Forgetting what we wanted
Was the change we couldn’t earn

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

The Peacemakers

Simple lines are drawn in sand
Before too long a raid is planned
Evading those so underhand
They would presume to claim this land

Off we sneak in battle dress
Such gentle men and ladies, less
To mop and mock the endless mess
Than blow things up, as merciless

To violence we’ve long adhered
We have become the thing we feared
And afterwards may not be cleared
Of careful killings, well prepared

Poor War has wandered far and wide
From hill to valley, mountainside
And sunk such fortunes, fear and pride
To foster thoughts of suicide

Promoting causes, long since lost
He breeds support and hides the cost
Our future terrorists to host
More pointless conflict, until most

If not quite all are lying dead
Two tribes with matching holes in head
Surrounded by twin pools of red
Both died for an ideal, it’s said

And what is left to selfless men
But legends of their struggle, gain?
We heed such calls to follow pain
Our children reach for arms again.

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.

The Subordinate Clause

Junior, but capable.
Menial tasks dominate
Your working day
With their mundane diversity
And shared glance of frustration:
The single sheet of paper
He couldn’t be bothered
To retrieve upon printing
From three feet away;
The letter he asked you to fold
And envelop in its papery cocoon;
The thirsty plant he brought from home
Sat on his desk and parched
To an impious stink
Until he insisted you water it –
Just like you water him.  His
Endless calls for cups of something
(Coffee, tea, squash, water, milk)
Every conceivable beverage taken
In all possible forms.  Fickle;
His feeble tastes changing
From one day to the next
Just to trip you and trap you
With an unavoidable misstep.
Perhaps he did not receive
Sufficient attention in infancy;
Missed out, jealous of the other boys
With their doting parents, playmates?
Surely some great childhood trauma
Intervened somehow, to cause this
Arrested development?  Some event
Stunted emotional growth and maturity
To make him such a needy adult
Crying to be mothered constantly.
The paradox remains;
Self-important in matching socks
And padded shoulders.
Despising all the while
The weaker sex in the workplace
With casual put downs
Carefully couched comments
To denigrate capable colleagues
Whose sole crime is their very
Feminine mystique.
I hear him, wincing at the over-emphasis
Sweeping generalisation
Sniping at insignificant Susan with
His policy of PC imprecision.
Nudge, wink, snigger.
Calling you over, time and again
As if standing to speak to you
Is more trouble than you’re worth.

How my palms itch with the weight
Of the burden you carry.

The Flower of Womanhood

I am well and truly over
This annoying, messy phase
Where I daren’t wear pale fabrics
And I shower thrice a day

All protective products pointless
As it oozes t’ward my feet
I awake to pools of gruesome
Craving sleep without red sheets

When my skin feels slick and shiny
With more oil than fries a bird
I anticipate resignedly
Soon the flag will be unfurled

I shall suffer through the heatwave
Of my ovaries in bloom
As they fire off a salvo
Twinges presaging the gloom

Days of darkness, swathed in layers
Extra undies in my bag
At each trickling sensation
Quick! Hi-tail it to the lav’

To expunge in corporate bathroom
All the evidence of gore
I ignore my bio function
Still, my womb knows what it’s for

With the monthly mad reminder
That just living hurts like hell
As my tender flesh needs kinder
Treatment than it gets; oh well.

From the first time I encountered
This botanical event
In my leotard and dance tights
Feeling put upon and spent

To the day I see my organs
Ripped hysterically from me
Doctor’s orders and direction
Leaving nothing more to see

I must buy, gift-wrapped in plastic
Wads of cotton, scented ‘pure’
Knowing no tidy blue fluids spilled
From beakers will ensure

Any comfort, fresh or dryness
As I waddle through the day
Too resentful, bloody, mindless
Forcing cervix to obey

Hope another piece of plastic
In my battered, spattered jeans
May exceed historic precedent
Protecting seat and seams

But the flower swells within me
And it cannot be denied
I’m a woman, well and truly
Scrubbing gussets ’til I die

The Pearly Gatekeeper

I confess this is one poem written, tongue-in-cheek (or just cheek if you prefer) satirising a recent political issue arising across the pond.

Patriotic, patriarchic
Fearing feathered laps and more
Worrysome, these wombs, anarchic
Labelled evermore a whore

Prodding, probing legislation
Teach our daughters how to face
Tomorrows from a wealthy nation
Focussed on their private place

O, Vagina, queen of secrets
Whose great gifts on Earth we’d bear
But still run from smelly prophets
Who’d uncover what lay bare

Life is sacred, while it’s cooking
Time each egg to see the joke
Thicken sauce with lack of looking
Scald the chaste and thoughtless yoke

With our bras and pants still burning
Such great liars will become
Our legislator’s dirty washing
Aired in public prosecution

Heartsick and pro-life no longer
Lebensraum or yummy mums?
Lively movements, stepping stronger
Feel the beating of the drums

Give abortionists the finger
Only virgins may protest
At the well-trained careless bringer
Of invasive tissue tests

Rights to think and feel and ponder
What it is that makes a man
Or woman out of spit and thunder
Prosecute such sticky plan

Representative

By popular demand, here is the edited version of the poem I wrote on International Women’s Day. Please note, this was not written with political correctness in mind.

Glass ceilings are not
All that’s holding back women
No more are all men
Keeping us from the boardroom

If gender equality
Is what we seek
Then we’re hurting our cause
And the outlook is bleak

Don’t admit that our views
May be voiced in our stead
By another we trust
To express what we’ve said?

If no woman believes
That she is represented
Without being present
Can that be prevented?

For trust in our colleagues
Is vital, it’s true
Give and take may be needed
But faithless won’t do

If we all demand seats
At each meeting that’s held
Then no business would pass
With agendas upheld

Until companies topple
And deadlines are missed
As our jealous mistrust
Means change could not exist

Individual roles
Are all part of the structure
Yes, without foundations
The top doesn’t matter

I fear what we’re seeking
Is not really equal –
Statistical parity
Won’t write this sequel

‘Til men may bear children
Biology means
That our gender’s unequal
All thanks to our genes

While traditional roles
Are both frowned on and praised
Then confusion will reign
As both genders are dazed

By our own expectation
Of having it all
While constrained by our talents
Time, body and soul

There are some who’d prefer
To fly high at their job
And yet others who value
Their place at the hob

And please note I make no
Reference to their gender
So long as they’re happy
Why else would it matter?

If merit means much
Individuals will
Find their place in the world
All according to skill

But there isn’t the space
At the top of the tree
For each birdbrain to perch
Just to squawk – “Look at me!”

On International Women’s Day

I tried to write a poem
For the women I have known
But the words kept on repeating
Like a litany of moans

Every small injustice suffered
Was enshrined in natty rhyme
But the sentiments uncovered
Were not altogether mine

With each line I scribbled while the bus
Kept up its steady crawl
Hoping soon I’d feel inspired – at home
Decipher bitter scrawl

The syllables collectively
All spoke in tones, irate –
During furious descent into
A semi-lettered state

On no account may these be seen
By those who read my page
Or all would label them obscene
A poorly crafted rage

Instead I will try gently
To uncover what I’d say
If I’d had a more productive pen
Upon this woman’s day