Snake Oil, Sass and Razzamatazz

I envy those women in the magazines
It goes back to something missing from my teens

Their white trouser, silk blouse lifestyle
When pimples and bad hair were my style

Do I deserve their barefoot walks on the beach
With a dog whose perm is out of my reach?

Can I emulate their effortless charm
In a climate where thick vests are the norm?

And as advertising copy is rife
Where do I sign up for their perfect life?

With a spouse who is polite to my mum
And a car that is the envy of some…

Or is that only alive on the page
While we sigh, we buy, but bicker and rage?

What has happened to us living the dream
In a home of painted white wood and cream?

How are we supposed to manage to burn
All the endless stuff they tell us to earn?

And as pensioners smile sweetly at kids
While their offspring bust a gut on the skids

Keeping families from floating away
Working harder, longer hours each day

For an ad campaigner, trainer, shamer
Knows no namer, public blamer

Never better, next trend setter
Panty wetter, promo debtor

How is this for living the dream
We grip tighter than our miracle cream?

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Comparabolic Religion

Under the same Abrahamic rite
Why is it one tribe must shoulder blame
For all the ills our tongues in spite
May mutter, hiss, jibe, joke, proclaim

Can all those bearing guiding star
And shunned as less than fully hale
In truth be held as such they are
Accountable by any scale

From other creeds and careful groups
And once again, ill fated, mean
Cast out as ‘other’…  Story loops
Unfit to mingle, foul, unclean

How are we in point of fact
In any way so different
When we all, with lesser tact
Live and die with base intent

Dogma and self-interest
Returning fellows to their clay
Here with darkness in our breast
We’ll charge along this alleyway

Now ignorance and cruelty
False, Godless words have spat to shine
We in our turn may twist and see
Of those whose creed does not match mine

Our own ideals overturned
With harsh contempt, disowned, decried
And know ourselves as those who earned
The scaffold built when first we lied

And chose to follow to this end
The unrefined, archaic lore
Hanging decisions on the bend
Of what worked once some years before

To weigh as wanting one who had
An equal claim to all the Earth
As we ourselves who in our greed
Conspired to steal more than our worth

Jacob’s Ladder

Poverty is hard to see
While growing up on toast and tea
I barely noticed its effect
We just got on with duties set

By those so practised to command
Unquestioning of task in hand
Until completed, so to bed
To rest our weary hearts and head

Yet catching toes on higher rung
While hearing others’ praises sung
I somehow over trod my groove
And moorings slipped, my mind did move

No longer cowed by sleight of birth
Unbending under weight and girth
I grasped this hook and pulled to see
What might be made with dignity

But not too far the ladder scaled
Before another turned and wailed
Unfairness at disparity
From what expectant they did see

As unbecoming in my stance
Though well-deserving of such chance
They wanted none with conscience there
Though they complained of life, unfair

With unchecked rage did rant and rave
Until they slipped, unseated save
For what was caught upon a nail
Until seams ripped and with a flail

Of arms and legs undignified
The other fell and so, he died
Unsettled, I, to see all eyes
So arid at this man’s surprise

I dared not breathe too long, nor loud
For fear they’d pick me from the crowd
Yet someone noted, by my air
I must have learned somehow to share

Instinctive camaraderie
Betrayed by actions that were ‘me’
Compassion at another’s fate
Too great my mercy, theirs too late

So shoved and pushed to halt my course
I stayed astride the ladder, worse
To know that I was caught, stuck fast
Between those who’d be first and last

In mind and stomach more than sick
To know such wealth might kill me quick
For feeling what they could not taste
Another’s worth and common waste

Polka Dot Dress

The stocking tops
That winked at me
As hips were rocking
Mini’s swish

Were indiscreet
And quite a treat
To showcase pins
Just so delish’

As lover’s hand
Unclasping yours
To brush imagined
Lint away

Caressed a cheeky
Glimpse of what
Was all too briefly
On display

I pursed my lips
And flicked the scarf
That passed for chic
To my dismay

And felt at last
The jealousy
Occasioned by
My own decay

Now deemed too old
I missed my cue
To frolic in
My underthings

And now in public
Daren’t do
Exposure of
What nature brings

I bear no grudge
Though smooth-skinned youth
Exists to underline
Old age

But bare my head
And paint my face
And lie when asked
What’s all the rage?

Breathing Space

For years I felt that a cupboard, a room
Was all of the space I could need
I’d sit there surrounded by books in the gloom
And scribble my thoughts by the light of the moon
Fill my head with the words I would read

I’d not have to worry at all for the neighbours
Or find time to re-paint the bath
For comfortable was just a duvet and PJs
With nothing more needed, no disco or DJs
A candle gave light from the hearth

But somehow we found that with two of us there
It was no longer quite the same palace
The world had grown bigger and started to stare
With the castle we built out of no more than air
At the couple that lived from a suitcase

We struggled, resistant to others’ attempts
To provoke us to find a new shelter
We shivered through winter, and mended the fence,
And in summer we suffered in panting offence
Rigged a fan to the bookshelf to swelter

Then finally when we had reached boiling point
All our options had dribbled away
We agreed it was time that we looked to the rent
To decide our intentions by firm government
We examined our options to stay

Though it took us ten years to find one we’d afford
Now a house we have suddenly bought
Yet still reeling in shock at the sight of the floors
Finding furniture shops and new knobs for old doors
What incredible chaos we’ve wrought

For such jealousy now seems to stem from the tide
Of those others who’d scorn, scowl and scoff
I am tempted to find a new cupboard to hide
Quite confused at the poison that seeps from outside
From their tedious, terminal cough

Though it seems we gave in to their constant demand
It was hardly to match with the Joneses
And though cupboard and room has expanded in ground
We have worked to repair what we needed and found
We have never yet tilted our noses

For at heart I’ve a cupboard I can call my own
With a book and a candle inside it
I vacuum the floors and I dust every tome
For the library walls I can now term my home
Though my friends may but scarcely abide it

For a home is a place that we find in ourselves
With no need for the trappings of glory
To be quite at peace with my own book-filled shelves
While I scribble my thoughts on our heavenly hells
Is but one chapter of my own story

J-Epic

Jennifer made such a pact with her John,
swore that their love would live on and anon
together they’d dwell, in some cottage on high
but little she knew that her pact was a lie.

For John had another, a charming young gel,
with whom, as it happened, he too’d vowed to dwell:
Poor sweet Josephine was barely out of school
but well-versed in the art of turning men to fools.

She’d wrapped John around like a bandage on thumb.
Jenny could do nothing, but feel rather glum,
as of this attachment, her John had stayed mum;
so being a bright girl, she chose to have fun.

Jen went to a party, dressed all in her best.
The music was loud, and so were all the guests.
Such boisterous antics you never did see
as what passed for dancing at Jenny’s party.

Now Jo was frustrated, she’d heard of this soiree,
but John wouldn’t take her, she swore he’d be sorry.
As she raved and she ranted, dear John got an inkling
that Jo wasn’t quite the sweet flow’r he’d been thinking.

So John took a leaf from a book known to all
womankind whose minds turn as from summer to fall,
and he called up his Jenny, but got quite a fright
when a deep voice responded – and after midnight!

Now Jake was a boxer – quite muscled and mean.
He looked fierce, but treated our Jen like a queen.
He revelled in taking her out on the town,
and showing her off in her best evening gown.

It happened one night that the foursome did meet
and awkwardly stood for a while in the street,
while Jo sized up Jenny, and John stared at Jake,
until Jake whispered low – now that runt I could take!

Just give me the word, Jenny dear, and ’tis done.
This fool should have kept you as his number one,
but he preferred flat-chested chit over there –
the one still in pigtails, who waxes her hair.

But Jenny said shush with a smile and a laugh.
What’s done is now done, no need for a bloodbath.
He’s seen what he’s missing – and for the last time.
Now let us move on – weren’t we going to dine?

The couple swept off in their silks and their furs,
and John saw his Jen finally had got hers.
He turned to see Jo with her face turning pink
clearly about to let fly with some stink.

But instead of attempting to stem her mid-flow,
John just gave a sigh as he turned round to go,
and Jo stood astounded to see that her fit
was being ignored by dear John – what a git!

So put out was our young miss by male restraint
that she flagged down a taxi and left John to paint
the town red on his own, for she cared not a bit
that her leaving was dumping him right in the shit.

For Jo’s mother had taught her, while still in the cot,
that while young, there’d be more fish to catch with a yacht.
So Jo set to fishing, and this with a will,
and John was left high, dry, and feeling quite ill.

Homecoming

A love I knew that flew away
While I grew up, returned today
And with him brought, to my surprise
A smile I knew, and two brown eyes,
A bubbling laugh, not from his chest,
But from his heart, you know the rest.
I could not see, though eyes were wide.
I don’t know why – perhaps I cried?
But glad I was, to find him thus:
So filled with joy, though not for us,
My black-heart-monster, ever grave,
Yawned and crawled back to his cave.
I loved him then, I love him still,
Yet find I bear him no ill will.
Despite the pain of losing you;
For he did what he had to do.
And now we’ve grown – how strange it seems;
This shadow once did haunt my dreams,
But he has gone, and in his wake
A moment’s silence I shall take.
To mourn his passing, shed my tears,
Look back fondly on the years.
Then put aside these wounds – now mild,
And join in laughter with his child.