Tied Hands

I wish I could help
But I can’t, I can’t
I lack the autonomy,
Forced to plant
My feet on the bars
Of this creaking fence
And dole out excuses
Of common sense

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Flounce, Fluff and Flattery

There is a world of difference
Between those who seek the
Company of women
To bask in it
Hanging on their every thought
As one transported
By the beauty
Of a strange and fantastical mind
And those who fancy
A quick in-and-out
Ego-boost before
Zipping their feelings,
Upping sticks and moving on
To the next conquest.

The difference is obvious
Even to the most casual observer:
One is the stuff of
Fantasy and freedom
Of late-night talks
And deep discussions
Long philosophising over
Personal projections
Maybe with a bit of
Barefoot dancing
And a casual pinch of laughter
Thrown in for good measure.

On encountering the other,
I will take the lonely
High road to nowhere
Hiking in stupid, pretty,
Too-tight shoes
Risking my own skin
To preserve sanity
Rather than share transportation,
Food or drink
In exchange for temporary
Flat-footed flattery
With bondage-grade
Strings attached.

I enjoy womanisers
Who enjoy women
In all their complexity,
But have no time
For bed-notch chasing
Egotists with
Straw for brains
And cloth for ears.

Humanitarian Crisis

I worked late today
In the usual way
Then stood long for a bus
While ignoring the fuss
All the placards and song
Of a protesting throng

When the first one came full
Joined the back of the queue
‘Til I hopped on the second
No wiser, I reckoned
To pressure or purpose
That brought out the workforce

I sat in my headphones
Absorbing through eardrums
The tunes of a playlist
Unchanged through two ages
And stared through graffiti
At people beneath me

Not knowing, nor caring
What fate we were sharing
Familiar landscape blurred
Into the sounds I heard
Hopped off three stops early
Finished one journey

I trudged ‘cross the common
To see if I’d find one
More bus driver’s hubs
Standing still by the pubs
Sure enough, there I saw
Not just one, but some four

When one finally, late
Put his pedal to plate
He pulled up to the tavern
Waved me past his cabin
For NFC, broken
Would not zap my token

I settled inside
Chose a tune for my ride
But two stops, no further
We stopped in a lather
Five kids, come from school
With no change to fare-pool

Tried to board, barter, beg
But compassion was neg.
As commuters grew restless
One woman, well-dressed, stressed
Their selfishness loudly
“Eff off!” she yelled, proudly

Some gentleman, small
Added footage to gall
Thus the youths took offense
At this lack of good sense
And a row quickly rose
As his phone met his toes

While we waited, suspended
To see what might end it
Some ran for the next bus
Some added their voices
And called for policemen
To make them see reason

It took three more stops
And a call to the cops
But not one among us
Could hit on the obvious
Tempers grew heated
As workers felt cheated

Ashamed, I forgot
Or I simply did not
Check I had enough money
Available, on me
To throw them a bone
So we’d all make it home.

The one man band

Drums his heels on carpet tiles
And sucks his teeth in rictus smiles
While stirring soup with clinking spoon
And slurping tea all afternoon

He hums and taps upon the desk
And clears his throat, his sinus, chest
Expectorating ’til he’s blue
And colleagues ask if he’s quite through

But no, the show is scarce begun
He cocks a cheek and fires a gun
And squealing gases fill the room
To signal choral coughing soon

As he counts in one last encore
The yawning stretch with gaping maw
He dons his coat and hurries hence
Oblivious to audience

Saturday Sadness

You wanted to come here to show me off
Your symbol of success, transition
Working class no longer, toff
In all opinion, loud derision

So I sit and watch the bald patch
Slow expanding on your head
Your eyes both glued to latest gadget
Showing off your wealth instead

I sip my coffee, not as silent
As the trophy WAGs should stay
While strangers’ pallid faces highlight
All you do and all I say

There was a time, almost forgotten
By the one who paid today
I’d make you think and laughing rotten,
Lift your moodiness away.

When shining eyes met laughter lines
Two grins curved freely over cake
And sugar seemed less of a crime
With more forgive and much less take

Impious, I once held your gaze
Without the need for sabotage
Of smart phone: screen of lesser rays
Replaced your smile with time on charge

We sit and comment on our drinks
You read the news in silent thought
I wonder at these forty winks
That hold our lives to what we’ve bought

Pedestrian parade

Listen, mister
Honk all you like
Leer and stare
Yell whatever catchy
Obscenities you feel
Are needful
As I cross at
My own pace.
After the eight-legged
Ninja monstrosity I just
Dismembered and
Flushed down the drain
Your four-limbed
Feeble annoyance
Poses no challenge.
So go ahead,
Try me.

Internal Stereophonics

They tell me Joan of Arc heard voices,
Saw them as Divine
I wonder what that maid would think
If she heard some of mine

Instead of holy war, they preach
Of mischief; games of chance
When all is quiet and sedate
They call to me to dance

And bop along to songs it seems
That only I can hear
With lyrics flowing past my tongue
And pouring in my ear

The more I try to censor them
The louder they will sing
Until I struggle to accomplish
Much of anything

But let me keep my playlist –
As it helps me through the day
Encouraging each vibrant thought
While plodding through the fray

Technology’s no Idol
I don’t run on batteries
As smiling, I may mosh to keep from
Smiting enemies

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Carnage in the clearing
Sticky pools of who-knows-what
As cautiously we’re steering
Fears of claws and teeth in gut

I am left with just the remnants
Of their jolly morning jaunt
Picking teabags off each surface
Like a soggy, stringy taunt

You’d think the place was burgled
By the mess the creatures made
Leaving stains across the tables
And a ‘message’ in the glade

Sure, this was no children’s outing
Though they’d sandwiches and toys
More a bored board meeting’s pouting
Grumbling grizzlies making noise

As the bears scoffed, hale and hearty
Dropping food upon the floor
Then departing as a party
Slothful sleuth linked, paw in paw

Lumber over plates and teaspoons
Picking up and throwing out
I must tidy up these festoons
Ere the second sitting’s bout

The Complaints Department

Nobody calling at the tail end of Friday
Has anything good to say
If they’ve left it this long, it’s a ticking time bomb
That they don’t quite dare leave ’til Monday

So the caller’s frustrated (and won’t be placated)
They picked up the handset to moan
It’s a cert they will dump ev’ry unwanted hump
Down the angrily crackling phone

I’ll be blamed for their woes, standing in for the foes
In their workplace they daren’t attack
For a frontal assault would be seen as their fault
The decision that got them the sack

So a dose of aggression is their contribution
To kick off my paltry weekend
And the favour I do them in listening to them
Will never be seen as a friend

Frustration (or why the female of the species is more deadly than the male)

The clown at work
Who wrecks his tech
Until you’d, cheerful
Break his neck

The letch en route
Who’d lick your thighs
Whose comments make you
Roll your eyes

The slobs, commuting
That don’t share
Shift bag, nor arse
To spare a chair

The manager
Who can’t decide
To rule the troops –
Job suicide

The lover’s ears
That don’t retain
A single word
Of our refrain