The Anti-Social Conscience

Fear of flying
In the Erica Jong sense
Is not wrong – even for hardcore feminists
We are all intimidated sometimes
When faced with the prospect
Of successful seduction
In an post-AIDS era.

Fear of flying
Bugs with the power to infect
The next generation with long-term consequences
Is a logical response to a natural phenomenon
So we avoid the tropics, where possible
And wear trousers, long-sleeves
And poisoned perfume.

Fear of flying
To exotic climes
With local customs
Hostile to strangers
Would appear an acceptable
Response to the xenophobic
Fury of others – so unlike our own.

Fear of flying
Seems perfectly reasonable –
A socially acceptable phobia for a reduced carbon footprint
Unless, of course the sufferer happens to be
The passenger in the next seat (adjacent to me)
Quaking in their Birkenstocks,
Passing gas, and sweating cobs.

The watermelon that wanted to be wine

After a day of dreaming
Exotic visions
Of cool, popular appeal
Thoughts fomenting
In the summer heat
Grew so excited
Reaching for the stars
Through the kitchen window
Tore convention asunder
Sides split
Spilling ambition in
Sticky streaks across the counter
Down the cabinets
And pooling resources
In a puddle on the tiles
Now what?
Momentarily floored
Smiling with
Sugary, toothless
Carefree abandon
It fizzed at the moon
While a pale face
Shone through the night
Reflected in a
Domestic waterfall
Of over-ripe
Sweetness

Something we call beauty in this world

Thank you, hallowed searching tool
For showing me that there is, still
Willing, chilling, filling, brill,
A sugar-coating for this pill

Somehow, you find for my desktop
Pit stop, hip hop, belly going flip flop,
Scotching, sketching, scratching, stop
One more taste of cherry pop

However pixelated, shrunk, compressed,
Understated, down, depressed
Liberated, cool, undressed,
I remain, more than impressed

So attainable, and claimable
Grasping, gasping, blameable
Sinkable and stainable
And food for hungry brain-able

Cut and paste and double click
Play games with words ‘til figures stick
Save your sanity and pick
More images to trick your wick

Whatever algorithm, aphorism,
Downright no-good plagiarism
Someone else’s solipsism
Undermines my pessimism

I can revel in these slideshows
Lose myself in random rows,
Rosy, delicate, composed,
Stare at nature, beak and nose

The Giving of Thanks

What profit the meek that they gain the earth
Without the wherewithal to plough
And sow the seeds of distant mirth
So jollity may bloom and grow

To render fruitful gifted sod
Takes time that none so meek may hold
Unless in changing nature’s clod
He steels himself to make so bold

And doing thusly, loses all
The bounty he had earned in deep
Humility and careful crawl
To build the empires he did seek

With these two hands undo the deeds
Upon which founder grew so tall
All loftiness and blessed greed
No longer fearful at the call

When other men have stood and shook
From head to toe to hear such voice
Proclaiming what had been forsook
By liberty and foolish choice

What meek men did, they do no more
As others shuffle in their place
And turn their cheek and fear the poor
Whose habits keep them clothed in lace

Where now is earth? What saltiness
Has dripped upon the failing crops
From little more than cowardice
The planet from mean axis, stops

No longer crouching ‘cross the sky
But stalling in such attitude
With what was learned from you and I
When treated harshly, men are rude

Mechanicals at best and worst
Who may not see their actions’ swell
But recognise their face is cursed
And know the reason all too well

The cult of youth

Young, strong, slim and glowing, healthy
Set in mind and body-wealthy
Faces fortunate, not frail
Flaunt our features, wear them well

Snigger at the lesser beings
Those whose ill-health, meaner means
Has brought with clear, defective genes
A sentence: life – no more than peons

They’ll not amass our hills of beans
Content must be with smaller dreams
Cannot aspire to join our schemes
No matter skills or knowledge gleaned

For visible, we’ll not give quarter
To an ugly son or daughter
All we want is what you see
To know we are still young, carefree

Our cult of youth looks outward bound
Designer footwear cushions ground
From god-like strides as effortless
We turn from age. Though Time’s caress

May touch our tanned and flawless skin
None will to Nature dare give in
We’ll cut our bodies on a whim
Reshape our figures, smooth our skin

More pills and potions will we try
In hope, perfection we can buy
As proof against that living lie
We cannot teach ourselves to fly.

Yet all who crawl upon this Earth
By careless accident of birth
(In view of those who lack their mirth
And little know their fellows’ worth)

Will in the end find more than looks
Do tip to balance Peter’s books
And leave the shepherd to his crooks
Whose vanity bred cock-a-snooks

When end of days takes pride of place
Beribboned, scarecrows, clad in lace
In horror may all stand and face
Their judgement day among the race

Of riff raff we thought far behind
That caught us up, and being kind
Did not disturb dysmorphic mind;
Self-satisfied, perspective-blind

But pitying deluded state
Ephebophiles with much self-hate
Resemblance to their idols late
In clothing only – such is Fate

This cult of youth is futile jest
No man’s immortal, nor can rest
At favoured age – we all are pressed
By march of season, bib to vest

Nature Study

My cat is not a member
Of the RSPB
He sits on the sill
Sunning himself
Watching and waiting
For fledglings to flop
And fall out of their nest.
The robin that visits
My hanging bistro
For a quick and seedy
Beakful of millet
Pales at his shadow
And flutters away
Avoiding the sharp claws
And sadistic purr
Of the resident bouncer.
The bird-like appetites
Of my feathered clientele
Vanish, as tense and flighty
They fall prey to silence
The predator’s presence
Betrayed by the twitch
Of a whisker
The gently flicking tail
Of the sleek, well-groomed
Panther in the window