Three Little Lines

Do you hear me now
Or do your ears still suffer
Whispering silence?

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Attendant Needs

The man who cleans the ladies’ toilet
Tries to stay invisible
Knowing he’s unwelcome, and
His job is somehow risible

An overflowing bin too ripe
With gravid, bloody stink
The stains that form behind the pipe
The vomit in the sink

The woman who mops out the gents’
Is handy with her fists
As banging on the cubicles
Helps lovers to resist

Temptations of a toilet dweller
Keen to wet their beak
With sins of flesh on offer
Even seasoned will’s too weak

Where users of facilities
One tries hard to forget
Don’t pass too close, as ill at ease
Our bladders we regret

And silent in our tinklings
Groans and grunts are magnified
Graffiti grows in sprinklings
Where we defecate inside

Last one standing

When they came by
For a cupful of sugar
Took my old man
And waltzed over the hill

I was still standing
Polishing silver
Gonna be standing
Forever, until…

Next time a caller
I’d hoped would be smaller
Tripped on her doorstep
Got carried away

I was still standing
To see to a Mother
Gonna keep standing
Another long day

One time you told me
That things never mattered
Half the amount I
Pretended to say

I was still standing
Alone with no lover
Not understanding
Which words made you stay

Then they came by
With a warrant for searching
Hoping to find
What I’d hidden away

I was still standing
In need of your comfort
No one to hear me
And nothing to say

Turn from the shadows
If you fear to follow
All those who greet us
And pass on their way

I am still standing
Myself and no other
One day I’ll falter
But never today

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

Head of State

Alone is his pyjamas
After the sycophants
Are all in their beds
The dictator, silent
Examines his image
By moonlight
Wrinkles and lines
Cratered temples
And soft-joweled planes
Surrounded by wealth
In the marbled rooms
Of a haunted palace
He did not inherit
But strives to display
To best advantage
For diplomatic reasons
Dreaming of leaner,
Keener days
Before he became
A political prisoner
Trapped and tamed
By the violent success
Of his own actions

Bobbing for pips

I am approaching the threshold of my grief
That dismal dawn where words break –
Fast over stale feelings
Like waves on a rock-ridden shore.
This stilled tongue tunes no trills for sorrow,
Sigh-chapped lips, no plosive feasts
But my ragged pen thirsts
For consonants, vowels
Forming words, eyes closed,
Half-asleep, I drift,
Tossed upon the foam
As one who drowns for air
And breathes only memory.

Silent

It has been a quiet week
With the tongue still in my mouth
As though words had simply left me
I wait, patient, resigned, for their return
They tell me it could be weeks
Another two, perhaps will pass
Before I can taste the letters
In their shades of coolest blue
And burning crimson
I cannot let myself slip
Tripping into watery terror
They will return, they must
We are lost alone

Tabloid Catechism

Spite and polish will make her shine brighter
The author can buff with insults and see how quickly
She loses her inferior interior, slickly she grows
In favour of a sickly exterior shell that glows
With borrowed pride in her rented hide she’ll ride
Surrounded by critics and dealers to feel her, peel her
Unseat her, to beat her and shape and defeat her
In poisonous rows of inelegant prose the photos
Nipping her waist and in ever more haste
To keep blowing her nose, and her manicured toes
In uncomfortable shoes, body-conned to abuse
Shamed with glamorous phrases, ungenerous phases
More strokes of the pen to keep her, steep her,
Drowning in ten shades of newsprint, our views print
The choice of the people, the lawyers, the troops
With the focus of every new interest group
The murkier water of sister and daughter
Whose under-age pictures proclaim they fall shorter
Their innocence sold for a penny a piece
To shift Sunday supplements, pay off police
With the politics slanted to left or to right
You can broker new peace or prepare for a fight
And consistency needn’t concern you this year
Your excuse is the public reflection of fear
There’s an honesty to it, this devilish deal
An emotive hard-pressing of Biblical zeal
We wrote it, stand by it, will bribe to keep quiet
Our right to the sale of page three and her diet
What’s Mystic and listed and sicker, more twisted
What’s darker and deeper than truth that’s insisted
We’ll publish it, dressed in the finest of rags
And polish with spite all protesters and slags

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

Dish of the day

Piping hot, served on a big, silver platter
With pristine white linen in case it should splatter

Serving suggestion: try holding your nose
(It can be quite fragrant when fresh off the stove)

A gentle reminder – you may burn your tongue
On sauce with such condiments, thickened and mum

Though some find it bitter, you might like the taste
So try not to let what you’ve bought go to waste

It’s strange and exotic, the critics all say
But you ordered The Truth – it’s our dish of the day.