Shopping List

Never send a man

Whose skills require

Seeing the bigger picture

To obtain anything specific

At a foreign supermarket

That is how you end up

With a reputation

As the family

Who rolled into town

And purchased two

Jumbo packs

Of incontinence pads

On the very first day

Of a two week

Holiday

Attention to detail

Was never your strongest

My dearest

That said, they proved both

Useful, well padded

And highly absorbent

So we left the remainder

In the bathroom

For the next tenants

To spare them the

Embarrassment

Of a middle-aged father

Having to ask

The Spanish word

For tampons

At least we didn’t need

Contraception

God only knows

What might have

Been the result

Water balloons?

Firecrackers?

Or merely

A tasteful calendar

Populated with

Saints days,

Helpful hints,

Thoughts, and prayers

City Dweller

I am bad at being on holiday

Perhaps it’s the lack of purpose

At home, at work, I have routine

Things to achieve, means of measuring

The worth of my own time and how

I have chosen to spend it.  Here?

Not so much.  I measure the days

In bug bites, crumbs, accumulating

From unhealthy breakfasts in odd corners.

By gas miles trying to locate a bin

That takes mixed recycling.

I am stumped by the lack of a

Sewing needle to mend favourite

Shirts and skirts torn by errant handles

On rented bathroom doors

Skilled fingers itch in their impotence

Requiring a shopping trip – my own

Personal hell – to a mall where

Every single security gate is triggered

By my keys, the zipper on my purse,

Or some such similar nonsense.

I am forced to empty my pockets

Try to explain in broken sentences

Of a language I do not pretend to speak

While you accompany our child

Whose toilet training seems to err

In the climate, to a gendered bathroom

With me staring down a twenty-something

Minimum wager with an axe to grind

On a Thursday afternoon.

Nothing to find – too bad!

Better luck catching the

Next middle-aged mom

Who may feel some sort of

Vicarious thrill swiping fifty cent

Plastic merchandise – none of which

Can easily be concealed

In a purse or a pocket.

I hate holidays.  This kind of crap

Doesn’t find me at home.

In an environment that I can

Kid myself remains

Within my control.

I sweat, try not to scratch

At my bites, my sunburn,

Recall I had to borrow

Your deodorant

As mine had failed

To cope with the local temperatures.

We keep being promised rain.

But such a luxury

Fails to materialise.

Night after sleepless night

Trying to ignore the free concert

The rooster and pack of dogs that feel

Some need to duet at the crack of dawn.

My eye twitching at the

Unwelcome whine of a mosquito

Hovering in the tepid darkness

Waiting to feed on this

Overheated foreign delicacy

Reaching for pharmaceutical reassurance

That the never-ending irritation

Will have an expiry date.

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 Trade

Where is this freedom
Promised me
When first they told me
Work makes free?

I look around
And know I’m lost –
What’s free I buy
At such a cost

No youth, enjoyment
Holidays
Solid employment
Only pays

In minted coin
As all are robbed
Of our free time
We’re bobbed and jobbed

And pensioned off
Freely to freeze
As Winter brings us
To our knees

A lifetime spent
In servitude
While taking care
To save on food

Essentials only
Frugal thrift
Is hardly free
To those who drift

Through twilit streets
And shopping malls
In suits and boots
Or overalls

No longer knowing
Why they strive
For Freedom finds
Few left alive

Fracking Alternatives

I’ve been wracking my brains
Why we should need to go fracking
When there’s so many planes
To such a many sided coin

Sure, it fracks up my mind –
There’d be more sense in car-jacking
And a good deal more pleasure
Gained from jumping a groyne

But now it seems at the sea
When off in holiday glee
We’ve such a need to sit sulking
We no longer enjoy

The sport of hunting for shells
Of turning green at the smells
Splashing past nappies and tampons
That we pass at the buoy

Yeah, Blackpool’s not such a gas
They’ve fracked the lights and the glass
Until the Biggest of Dippers
Is a red saveloy

The very thought is a joke
We leave the dirty Big Smoke
And spend our cash on a cuppa
While the ground spills its coke

No refunds, no money back
When your vacationing snack
Has turned the tables, bit the big one
With a seismic attack

It’s all a plateful of fun
Beneath the cool English sun
While you can ignite the water
That you get from the tap