Over Heated

The girl on the desk
At the swimming pool
Did her job to the letter
To keep out the riff-raff
Insisting he prove
They had made him an offer
Their kind invitation
A member plus one
Gets in free this week
For the duration
Of the heatwave
But the generous proof
Remaining at home
In his humid back pocket
He declined the demand
And slunk away
Foul-mouthed consonants
Heating the air
Climbing the hill to home
With the girl
Who wasn’t good enough
For his gym to admit
To work off his sweat
With a body count
In the higher pixels
From the padded throne
Of his living room couch
He is still shooting aliens now
But in time she may
Venture to mention
The shower upstairs
Appears lonely for company
As she adds subtle cubes
To his dinner glass
And pacifies the cat

Counsellor

Listen for a living
They pay you not to care
Just keep good time, a tidy room
A plastic plant and chair

And sit and hear their problems
With tissues close at hand
You take the place of absent friends
(The job they couldn’t stand)

They do not need a verdict
It’s not your place to judge
This isn’t their shock-therapy
You cannot bear a grudge

The woes they wail to tempt you
Are all the world they know
Unpacking all their sorrows
They dump the lot and go

Not fearful that tomorrow
They’ll pass you in the street
No matter what they tell you
You have to be discreet

A Marriage of Convenience

The unwilling coexistence of passengers.
Introduced with a nod, the proposal made
By the raising of an eyebrow;
The automatic courtesy shrug
Finalizing a contract of mutual misery
For several hundred miles to come.
A contract to ignore the insupportable,
With the unwritten clauses
Detailing petty irritations, annoying personal habits
And unwelcome elbows
Insinuating their way into the afternoon
As the fields and houses flash by.
A blanket of humanity, settled, staid.
Sliced-through by the rattling train
Travelling at breakneck speed.