April Poem A Day Poems So Far (Week Four)

April 14 Poem A Day 4


For the last few months
I’ve been
Poet in residence
At the paper clip factory.
I get five free cups of tea
And as many paper clips as I need.
( I usually use a stapler,
But I’m not telling them that).

Debs from accounts
Keeps giving me coy waves
From her glass partitioned office.
I pretend I haven’t seen.
Yesterday she offered to buy me
A prawn cocktail sandwich
In the staff canteen.
I found a paper clip in it.
Yesterday she thrust her
Bahzooms at me.

every morning
the cleaning lady vacuums
the offices
paper clips rattle and scattle
in the vacuum’s plastic tubing
rattle skattle clibber flibber
kottle skittle clatter clonk
clibber flibber skittle skattle
quite a pleasing sound, really.

A list of alternative uses for paper clips

A. Hanging Christmas cards.
B. Impromptu chain to keep glasses attached round neck.
C. Classroom projectile w/ elastic band
D. Tie clip.
E. Replacement zip pull.
F. To remove peanut from iPod earphone socket.
G. Attach notices to a washing line (like ‘Beware, Washing Line’)
H. Zip wire for an Action Man (also on a washing line).

All night long the automated paper clip manufacturing machines go
Each KLUMP resulting in a new paper clip,
Each CHING as it rolls into a big plastic tub
Which Phil empties the next morning.

Excerpt from the Chilliwick Corporation Paper Clip Brochure:

Here’s a photograph of two major celebrities endorsing the Chilliwick Paper Clip:

Kelly Jones (pictured, left), from the Welsh band The Stereo O Phonics, says, ‘I never go anywhere without a paper clip, and Chilliwick make some damn fine paper clips’.

1996 World Darts Champion John Part said, ‘I always use a paper clip to clip the papers that I want to gather around me’.

Lately, we have hied a poet in residence, Rupert Grantham, (pictured right, with two paper clips). His commitment to paper clips and the paper clip industry are without reproach.

(They spelled my name wrong).

And nervous
As I unveil
My iPad.

I asked the managing director
What the sales forecasts are
For the next quarter
And he said, ‘Stationery’.

I bend round and round and I’m like
Zoo my round round bend back on
Myself in the abstract way that
I bend round baby right round.

Jubilation when an order comes in
From China
For a box of 1000 paper clips.
The boss makes everyone
Dress as Geishas in honour of this.
No one feels able to correct him.
Dave gets his elaborate kimono
Caught in one of the paper clip machines.
They took him up to First Aid,
He’s ok now.

A potential customer
Inquires whether he should leave
His email address
And an attachment.
Everyone laughs.

Oh crazy skin shot metal
Bendy raucous ravenous paper clip
Simple machine bendy new fangle
Dangled the simplest
there possibly could be.

Paper clip
Power trip
Paper clip
Cheesy dip
Paper clip
Orange pip
Paper clip
Paper clip
Coach trip
Paper clip
Back flip
Paper clip
Cheap trick
Paper clip
Pierced lip
Paper clip.


We had a day out in Okehampton.
In one of its more trendy bars
I met a winsome young lady who showed me
How to operate a milk churn.

There was a stillness in the air
And a crack of magic like static like thunder
As if the tops of the tower blocks
Might ignite
With St Elmo’s Fire.

Vibrant coffee shop etiquette.
Hyped up het up on caffeine
And over excitement at the Milk Churn Museum
And a sudden outbreak of giggles
Over the word ‘churn’.

We couldn’t remember which multi storey
We’d left the car in.
The one near the art gallery
Or the one near the cathedral
Or the one near the stoat sanctuary
And then we got side tracked by
The house Obama visited
During his state visit.
We found the car, eventually.

Peak mugging hours
Passed without incident.

I almost bought some trousers.

All the great and important issues of the day
We debated in the debating chamber of the
Elected representatives who we sat and watched
As they argued over the disabled parking bays
At Asda.

I almost won a tender on the lottery.

Dean said that the afternoon heat was
And that it was making him come over
All queer.
We hung out in Chinatown
Next to the chippy
And Dean drank a coca cola
And then said that he felt better.

I must a admit
I got a little tipsy
And announced that I wanted
To show everyone how to use
A milk churn.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Fran began speaking like a native.
Only been here five times, I said,
And you act as if you own the place.
I bought a stapler in the stationers.


A Saharan wind flaps the tent sides.
More like a marquee, carpeted, ten
Nomad poets enmeshed in a deep discussion
On how to defrost the refrigerator.

Subtle word play and the dance if language.
Exquisite, tender nature and the environment
A tradition handed down through the generations.
A second hand fridge bought from a bloke in Fez.

It judders and if shudders.
Someone’s left a bowl of fuchsias on top.
They jitter and they totter.
A camel moans outside, it can sense bad tidings.
The freezer compartment is getting bunged up with ice.

An elder tells a story
Of mystery and magic and the
Rotation of the planets.
It does little to address the
Situation beyond reminding the
Nomad poets that all this time
Faffing around with the fridge
Is time they could be writing.

The fridge is hitched up to a
Diesel generator
Whose black smoke stands stark
Against the blue sky, the yellow dunes.
It makes the camel cough.

It’s full of Sunny D
And Doctor Pepper.
The fridge,
Not the camel.

And there’s triangles of Laughing Cow
Bought from a man in a fez
For two haiku and a limerick,
‘There once was a man from Noualdibou’.

It is foretold in local mythology
That there will be a time of deep reckoning.
You see, if you turn the fridge off
You’ll lose all the stuff inside
Even though it blatantly need defrosting.

Plaintive camel honking.
Bloody things!

One of the younger poets,
Yet to lose his worldly wonder,
Bright eyed, tells the tale
Of a sultan who guilt a sauna
In the middle of the Sahara,
A place so gently hot he could
Raise his body temperature and then step outside
And feel cold for the rest of the day.
But one fateful morning a giant Eagle
Swooped down and ate him.
(It’s true, his story kind of fizzled out
At the end, and was full of holes,
And had no bearing on their
Immediate predicament).
‘Try kicking the fridge’,
He suggested.

The kettle is all furred up, too,
All that
Saharan hard water.


Advancing now
You can see the determination
And the way she slithers
Between the gaps.

The forest of
She’s getting nearer now
Looming like
Unwelcome weather.

Here she comes, ever closer,
Tedious in her intent.
No-one wants a part of this
Odd transaction.

She doesn’t want to do it.
We don’t want her to do it,
It isn’t culture and it isn’t social.
Just corporate ethos.
Pursing her lips, now.
Ever closer.

And here it is.
And here she is.
And here it comes.
‘Is everything all right
With your meal?’


Been struggling now
For various reasons
To get bus passengers to
Write haiku.

They point out that:
A- the bus journey is tedious enough
B- poetry has no relevance
C- leave me alone
D- there are no pens these days, just iPads.

The big burly bloke,
Whose licence they took,

Prancing up the bus aisle
Like a Stagecoach road nymph
A teenage girl
Describes exactly where I can stick my haiku,
In, admittedly,
The most immaculate, poetic language
I’ve heard all day.

Bus driver checks his mirror,
Shakes his head, sadly.

‘Hey, nob head.’
Pies up a precocious scamp of a lad
With trendy hair and an ironic t shirt.
‘You’ve got to subvert the strictures and rules
Of literature
In order to improve it for the next generation.’
He holds up a Mars bar and says,
‘This is my haiku’.

The bus goes over speed bumps.
I crack my head on the ceiling.

Doreen, deaf as a post,
Thinks I work for the council.

Syllable demonstrations
Mean nothing
In a traffic jam.

Wise-ass at the back of the bus
Says he’ll do everyone’s haiku for them
But he’ll charge
And he calls it ‘line rental’.

The little voice inside me says,
‘You’re getting somewhere, James.
With each insistent unsolicited lesson,
You speak to their souls and their lives
Fill with poetry’.
I have no idea why the little voice
Calls me James.

A youth with big hair
Takes a video of my on his smart phone
And it becomes an instant internet sensation
Not because of my majesty with words
But because I fell


Don’t you come at me with your hydrangea shit
Cos once you’ve seen a fuchsia then you know you’ve been hit
It’s flowers are prettier than a girl who’s quite fit
And they’re hardy annuals too so they last for a bit

I’m a hard ass gun and I don’t feel no pain
Like the petals of the fuchsia in the early evening rain
Like the same old song you hear again and again
My roots don’t go rotten if the compost’s well drained

So dig up that fuchsia man dig up that fuchsia
Cos you and me honey we ain’t got no future
Dig up that fuchsia girl, put it in a pot
Cos when I’m here with you girl I feel I lost the plot

I’m a kicking mother sparkler and I know how to party
Coming at you with the beats and a bottle of Bacardi
I don’t feel no cold cos I’m mostly frost hardy
So when you’re out and your chilling then you gotta wear a cardy

I’m a fit fat hip hop sexy damn mo fo
Hanging at my pad with my bitches and my hoes
And my trowels and my rakes and my petrol driven lawn mow
A big bag of mulch and some compost make me grow, yo

So dig up that fuchsia man dig up that fuchsia
Cos you and me honey we ain’t got no future
Dig up that fuchsia girl, put it in a pot
Cos when I’m here with you girl I feel I lost the plot

When I see you coming girl you light up the room
Like a late summer fuchsia as it comes into bloom
With its delicate petals, you make my heart boom
And not only that but I really like your bahzooms

In a world filled with pain and with hatred and with greed
I’m a delicate flower not a dirty stinking weed
Cos I’ve felt this ache inside since I was a little seed
I’m a funky mother fuchsia and I get what I need

So dig up that fuchsia man dig up that fuchsia
Cos you and me honey we ain’t got no future
Dig up that fuchsia girl, put it in a pot
Cos when I’m here with you girl I feel I lost the plot

I got delicate petals in the hue of summer fruit
And a purposeful demeanour from my sternum to my root
But when I look at you girl you really are so cute
Like the homies in my hood, you gotta be my side shoot

When I’m here with you girl I never question why
I just sit here in my border bed and gaze up at the sky
Try to weed me out girl, I’d like to see you try
You’re more irritating than a nasty case of greenfly

So dig up that fuchsia man dig up that fuchsia
Cos you and me honey we ain’t got no future
Dig up that fuchsia girl, put it in a pot
Cos when I’m here with you girl I feel I lost the plot

Dig it up
Dig it up
Dig it up
Change the pot

In da club
In da club
In da club
The horticultural society club


You press my buttons in all the wrong order
And because of that I miscalculate.
My figures are erroneous.
Your figure is marvellous.
Tippity- tappity, tippity-tappity,
The number of times you whisper sweet nothings
I work it out on the calculator.

The square root of this and a percentage of that,
One and one becomes two.
It’s the most simple addition that you can do.
Come over here and I’ll demonstrate,
Or shall we work it out on the calculator?

The divisible percentage of your longing.
Add to that an approximation of yearning,
Add to that the little smile you gave me just then
Add to that the deep deep
Vicious absolute soul-controlling pound pound fury of my heart
Add to that the ten minutes it took us to do it last time,
(Which, by the way, was a new record for me),
Tippity- tappity, tippity-tappity.
Hmmm, it just says ‘error’.

Last night in bed you did that thing
Where you turn the LCD screen upside down
And random numbers become words.
It blew my mind.
Ha ha, I said, very funny.
Right there on the screen if the calculator.

Subtraction is the cruellest blow.
Taking things away until you end up with nothing.
I want to work it out on the calculator.
What’s the to work out?, you asked, it’s zero!
Nevertheless, I figured out all the percentages
And I tried to do some sums in my head
And it have me a migraine
And now I know why you always say you’ve got a headache.


(An A-Z of the Large Hadron Collider)

A – And then it was decided
That there should be a large hadron collider.

B – Bravery is needed to operate it
As there might be a Black Hole
Or a Big Bang.

C- Catastrophic would be the consequences
Of a Big Bang.
It would wipe out everything
As far as Colchester.

D – Don’t ask me how to explain
The scientific side of it.

E – Everything’s all right with the world,
If you put your trust in science.
E =mc2
Still has to be explained to me.
Good old Einstein!

F – Few people realise
How big it is.
If you dropped a pencil clip in it
You might never find it.

G – Geniuses theorise.
Great things materialise.

H – Hadron. Hardon.
Ha ha.

I – It’s round.

J – Jambon is French for ham.
A seagull once dropped a baguette Jambon
Into it’s machinery.
And that’s why they couldn’t
Use it for a bit.

K – Can’t think of anything for K.

L – Large hadron collider.
Much larger than a
Average hadron collider.
But not as big as an
Extra large hadron collider.

M – Moon. (See P)

N – Nothing quite prepares you
For the sheer circumference of it.
Dave wonders why they didn’t build it
On the Circle Line.
I said actually, yes,
That would have done it.
I asked a scientist if that was possible
And he said

O – Is the shape of it.

P – Peter was convinced that
The large hadron collider was a giant magnet
Designed to pull the moon closer because
The moon’s orbit is significantly further away
Than it used to be.

Q – Queues to get into the large hadron collider
Have started diminishing now that
The excitement of it has started to wear off,
Though there’s a nice little gift shop.

R – Right, there are several theories of what might happen, some theorised by Higgs Bosun (which I should have included under H in this list) and it’s all to do with the bits that break off from the initial impact of the matter that’s fired around the collider. Or at least that’s what the man on Horizon said. At least it wasn’t Professor Brian Cox And His Hair. He seems a nice enough chap but he just seems to speak. Too. Slowly.

S – Stephen Hawking
Would be the man to call
If there should suddenly materialise
A black hole.

T – Ten years after divising his theory that the Large Hadron Collider would, on it’s first run, result in the sudden appearance of ten thousand Tina Turners, Professor Terrance Tipkins burst into Tears when it Didn’t Happen.

U – Underneath Switzerland.

V – Very interesting if you’re
An astrophysicist, probably.

W – What the hell
Do we do
With a Higgs Bosun particle
The moment we get one?

Waiting . . . Waiting . . . Waiting . . .

X – X +/- n= 4

Y – You spin me right round
Baby right round
Like a record baby
Right round round round

Z – Zurich is nearby.


Dear Goldilocks.
We are investigating reports
Of a break in
And malicious damage pertaining to
Some porridge, a chair, a bed
And a Toyota Yaris,
Which took place in the residence
Of the Three Bears
In the magical forest
Near the mystical fairy land brook
Just outside of Guildford.

Your actions provoked
Psychological damage on two of the victims
Who wish to remain anonymous
Though a third member of the family
Did maul the chief detective.

Our investigations are keen to ascertain
Who, in the words of the victims,
Has been sitting in my chair,
Has been eating my porridge,
Has been sleeping in my bed
Has been shuffling my iPod,
Has been detuning the Freeview
Has left the sunroof open in the rain
In my Toyota Yaris
And generally stealing my wifi
Without expressed prior consent.

It is also alleged
That at the same time you did
De friend the entire family on Facebook.

Ms Goldilocks.
The nub of the matter.
The crux of the issue.
The whole angle on which
This investigation rests
Is the degree by which
Your actions were motivated
And provoked by the facts
That the victims were bears.
Was this some sorry of hate crime?
Have you recently joined UKIP?

The bears do not wish to sue
But Mummy Bear is undergoing counselling
And Daddy Bear
Has had to disinfect the bathroom
And put some extra locks on the front door
And Little Baby Bear has told his mother
That when he grows up
He wants long golden hair now, and a pretty
Summer dress.


Today I went to a meeting
In which the main topic of discussion
Was what we will talk about
On tomorrow’s meeting.

It was decided that tomorrow’s meeting
Would begin to reading the minutes of the last meeting,
The meeting before this meeting.
The last meeting had also begun
With the minutes of the previous meeting
And the meeting before that
And this will be included in the minutes if the last meeting
And also the minutes of the meeting
Of the meeting tomorrow,

So we finished our meeting about tomorrow’s meeting
And we decided that someone should take
Some minutes of this meeting
So that tomorrow’s meeting would feature
The minutes of this meeting as well as the minutes
Of the previous meetings,
The minutes containing nothing but the minutes of the meetings
Previous to this meeting and the meeting today,
In tomorrow’s meeting
(And all subsequent meetings).


Contents of poem:
1. No
2. Making a living, the shire horse way
3. Poem
4. Memories of a suburban upbringing
5. I’m not immune to failure
6. Looming in the office
7. A Paris misadventure
8. Poetic justice (Literally!) and Tim Vine
9. A general appreciation of shire horses
10. Breeds of heavy working horses
11. Height
12. This just in
13. Meanwhile outside of Keflavik
14. This poem was sponsored by
15. Repetition of the words ‘shire horses’
16. The time of the shire horse is gone

1. No

I will never be a proper poet
So long as I can’t appreciate
Shire horses

2. Making a living, the shire horse way

They work, shire horses.
They work for a living.
They work work work work work
Trudging and pulling heavy loads
And tugging and pulling and trudging
And doing paperwork and things.
Jeff trained his one to nick microwaves
From Currys
And to get refunds under false pretences
Without receipts.

3. Poem

Flared nostrils
As if permanently disgusted
But they get on with it anyway.
Stoic beasts, the shire horse.

4. Memories of a suburban upbringing

When I was a kid
Every year the school trip
Used to be to the flipping bleeding
God-arse awful boring
Shire Horse Heritage Centre.
And then I joined the Scouts
And we had a trip to the
Shire Horse Heritage Centre.
And then we had my aunt come over
From Canada
And we took her to the Shire Horse Heritage Centre
And yet when I informed my parents
That it should be called the ‘ “Shite” Horse Heritage Centre’
Bizarrely, it was me who was reprimanded.

5. I’m not immune to failure

I went to a poetry slam and the poets were brilliant and did poems about family, relations, drug addiction, sexual abuse, the history of black culture from slavery to the present day, social issues, politics, countering the rise of the right, ill treatment of animals, ill treatment of immigrants and the trials and tribulations of being a youth in the 21st Century, and I did a poem about shire horses and I did really badly.

6. Looming in the office

my chiropodist had a shire horse
at the bottom of each leg it had a tuft
now it’s dead but you can still see it
because she’s had it stuffed

7. A Paris misadventure

The French avant gard
Jean Jacques Pipe
Trained a shire horse
In the art of mime.

It used to stand still
And not move a muscle
And not say a word.

And Jean Jacques would explain,
‘Now it’s impersonating a donkey.
Now it’s impersonating a zebra.
Now it’s impersonating a mule.
Now it’s impersonating a regular horse’.

8. Poetic justice (Literally!) and Tim Vine

Tim Vine had already done the
‘Shyer’ horse joke.

But he nicked a joke off me
About Cadbury’s Wispas.

And now it’s in his show.
Ironically he was beaten

At a one-liner competition
By an acquaintance of mine, a poet

Who had his own Cadbury’s Wispa joke
Which was much funnier.

In honour of this I am not going to repeat
The ‘shyer horse’ joke.

9. A general appreciation of shire horses

Shire horse.
Never tyre horse.
Such a tryer horse.
Never dire horse.
Keep matches away
So seldom on fire horse.
Could be taller,
A little higher horse.
Looks nothing like
Danny Dyer horse.
Tells the truth
Seldom a liar horse.
Doesn’t so washing
So not a tumble dryer horse.
Or cook chips
So not a deep fat fryer horse.
A little bit bashful
Couldn’t be any shyer horse.
Shire horse.
Shire horse.
Shire horse.
Shire horse.

10. Breeds of heavy working horse

Cleveland Bay
Clippity honker
Progressive honker
Regular honker
Devonian crisp
Old cabin
Beard poker
Unspoked clapper
Subliminal pencil

Where might I purchase any of the above?
Any reputable pet shop.

11. Height

According to the website
The average shire horse
Is 17 hands high.
I asked a shire horse breeder
How big one hand was
And he said
About as big as your hand.

12. This just in

Both Jeff
And his shoplifting shire horse
Were accosted
In Costcutter.

13. Meanwhile outside of Keflavik

Shape shifting shire horse
Tireless worker berserker
Norse legend horse legend
One moment Icelandic
Gray bray pulling heavy loads
The next
A real kick ass impersonation
Of Allen Carr.

14. This poem was sponsored by

Have you seen those shire horses?
Those shy shire horses?
Those sly shy shire horses?
Those sly shy give it a try see one before you die
Why oh why not give it a try shire horses?
Have you seen those shire horses?
POP along to the Shire Horse Heritage Centre
And you’ll see loads!

(A little in- joke there for the shire horse community in that last line).

15. Repetition of the words ‘shire horses’

Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
Shire horses
From the shire.

16. The time of the shire horse is gone

And in the time of the shire horse there
Would be shire horses aplenty
And they would work and trudge
And trudge and work
And all that was holy
Could be found in the shire horse
And all that was sacred
Could be found in the shire horse
And all that was good for the garden
Could be found in the shire horse
(Or at least in their manure)

And the rustic sun would set
Over rustic rooftops rustic barns and rustic
And still the shire horse
Would keep on working
And nobody ever thought about

And the annual final of Britain’s Got Talent
Would invariably be won by a shire horse
Because they were so fucking talented
And none of the shire horses
Were foreign.

And people just got on with things
Inspired by the plucky shire horses
And the ploughman was king
And there was shire horse manure all over the place

And you couldn’t sodding move for sodding shire horses
And if you made a joke about “shite horses”
You’d end up in the stocks.

And there would be shire horses in the fields
And shire horses in the barns
And shire horses in the cottages
And shire horses in the farms
And shire horses in the municipal swimming baths

And everyone would say
‘How great and mighty Britain is
Because of all these here shire horses’
And then someone came along with a tractor
And someone else said
‘At least tractors don’t poo everywhere’.

And then the decline of Britain’s society began
And then Ant and Dec turned up
And it’s all been downhill ever since.

Performance Poetry : performing from the page or from memory

There’s been some debate of late about the merits of reading from a book verses performing from memory, and whether one has any advantage over the other.

The easy answer is that both methods are performative, though performing while using a book can easily be construed as reading from a book. This in itself could be a performance so long as there is some audience engagement.

I always read from a book. Indeed, the book has become a part of my whole persona. It is a character who comes with me on stage. It also suits the character that I’m trying to give myself while performing. There’s something old fashioned and comforting about having the book there, and it helps that the book has been around a bit. It’s been there at every poetry gig I’ve performed at for the last three years.

But there are poets who perform from memory. This is a liberating experience and allows them to concentrate on their delivery and on their performance. I have only been able to memorise two of my poems, Somerset and Plop, while The Straight Poem, Fozzie and The First Time are very nearly memorised. (I can do them in my sleep. Just not on stage). Having the words locked in allows the poet to move around and inhabit the words.

Perhaps this is something I could work on. However, there are several factors mitigating against this approach, for me personally. The first is that my poems do not rhyme, mostly. Therefore learning them is harder. There’s no rhythm either, just a line followed by another line. Secondly, my work rate is such that there are too many new poems coming through to memorise. I try to write one performable poem or piece a week, except during April and September, when this goes up to one a day. The best I can do is rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until I know not only the poem, but the piece of paper it’s written on, the font, and the way it sits on the page.

As you can see from the picture, I have notes and ideas written next to the poem which I have taken in during the rehearsal period. (The picture is of a poem I have performed frequently, and also in Germany, hence the scribbled German translations next to the text!)

I have spoken to many poets about reading verses memorising and most have a similar approach. Matt Harvey, Jackie Juno and Johnny Flufffypunk all use a book as a back-up and as a part of their performance, with the added bonus of having a permanent on-stage advertisement for their latest publications. People see the book and they want their own copy!

But there’s something mystical about memorised poems. Perhaps it goes back to the days of the shamen, the travelling storytellers of old, the odd man ranting in the street, speaking in tongues, the very origins of poetry itself. It gives the performance that extra kick. It puts them up there with rock stars and preachers, politicians and orators, conjuring words as if from within. One just has to watch Pam Ayres to see how effectively this can be done.



April Poem A Day Poems So Far (Week Three)

April 14 Poem A Day 3

It’s week three and I’m really in the rhythm now, still trying to a funny poem every day. Of course the definition of a funny poem differs with individual senses of humour.

Some of these might even be performable!


You can shove Paris up your a##e
Swindon is a proper town.
If you put your hand over the first part
Of the word ‘Swindon’
It looks like it might say ‘London’
Until you take your hand away.

You can’t spell ‘Swindon’ without ‘win’.
Unless you use a postcode.

Swindon. Swindon,
It’s a hell of a town,
It’s got a bus station and a Lidl.

We’re Swindon town, we’re Swindon town.
We’re Swindon town, we’re Swindon town.
We’re Swindon town, we’re Swindon town.
We are.
Swindon town.
Is probably the football chant the local team uses.
I don’t know, I don’t really follow football.

Going into Swindon
Always makes me hyper
Knowing it was the birthplace
Of Billee Piper.

It’s got a car park.
It’s got a station.
It hasn’t got an underground tube network.
It’s got a street gang
Called the Swindon Massive.

Here’s a list of places I’d
Rather forego visits and instead
Is got to Swindon:

1. Ashburton Owl Sanctuary.
2. The dentist.
3. The Leicester Museum of Coat Hangers.
4. Any branch of Kwik Fit.
5. Cheltenham
6. Laura’s brother’s house.

Excuse me Mr Pinkerton
Let’s turn this thing around.
I love you baby.
Heart thump jitter purge
Teeth a-chatter
Keep away from me with those handcuffs
Oh you are so naughty
Feel the way my heart rate increases
Not with the overwhelming brilliance
Of your accursed beauty
But by the glimpse
The merest glimpse
That jolt within
Of a road sign
That says ‘Swindon’.

My friend Jeff gets an orgasm
Every time he sees Swindon.
He lives in Swindon.
He keeps his curtains closed
Except for three times a day.
Three or four times.
You know. Depends.

I want my ashes to be scattered
On that funny roundabout thing!

You took me by the hand
And let me down past the eggcup factory
And I whispered into your ear,
‘Welcome to Swindon’.
And you replied,
‘Your’e WELCOME to Swindon’.


I took a selfie with my camera
A selfie with my phone
I’ll upload it up to Instagram
The moment I get home.

I took a selfie in the petrol station
A selfie in the sauna
A selfie in the botanical gardens
Surrounded by flora and fauna

I took a selfie in the farmyard
A selfie with a tractor
A selfie to be my Guardian Soulmates profile pic
(She’s out there, I just need to attract her).

I took a selfie on the underground
A selfie on the tube
A selfie in the public toilets at the urinals
(Though that one was a little rude)

I took a selfie in the space station
I went up there for a bet
I uploaded it to my Facebook page
No-one’s liked it yet.

I took a selfie in Okehampton
A selfie in South Brent
A selfie in Moretonhampstead
And other places I went

In and around Dartmoor.

I took a selfie in the pasty factory
Next to the dispatch manager’s office
A malfunction on the conveyor belt
Led to a pasty in every orifice.

I took a selfie at the disco
A selfie at the rave
I took a selfie hoping you’d realise
It’s you it’s you it’s you I crave.

I took a selfie in the Museum of Rural Life
Next to a display of milk churns
I put on a show of great bravery
And yet still my heart it yearns

For companionship.

I took a selfie here in Paignton town
Right in the middle of Torbay
Relaxing in an ice cream parlour
With a nice sorbet.

I took a selfie in the Premier Inn
Or it could have been a Holiday Inn
There’s so many inns that I’ve been I
I’ve got confused about the ones that I’ve been in.

I took a selfie on the Millennium Bridge
Surrounded by other people taking a selfie.
If prosperity is measured by Instagram likes
Then I must be very wealthy.


I took a selfie.
No-one cares, dammit,
Baby cakes jack a spleen so damn
So self obsessed
Big man camera held
Jaunty angle
Hand quivering
That’s it’s now add one of
And whack it on
To some


Trapped in an Antarctic research station
With a giant male antlered stag
And a Grandmother who speaks only Welsh.
Life doesn’t get weirder than this.

She spends most of the day cooking Welsh cakes.
The stag spends most of the day eating them.
I say to her, Carol,
We need the electricity,
And she says,
Donald needs his grub.
She says this in Welsh.
Donald is the stag, apparently.

It’s bloody cold.

Oh dear god it’s pooed next to the
Sleeping bunks
And last night I found my best anorak
In it’s antlers.

Carol, ceaselessly knitting
Knit knit knitting
And then for a bit of light relief,
She’s only gone and knitted him an
Antler warmer.
I don’t know how she does it.

Donald steadfastly refuses
To wear the
Antler warmer.

The wind whips round our cabin.
A ceaseless moaning mournful wind.
It kind of goes like this.
And the stag goes
Arooooooo aroooooo aroooooo!
It’s ever so grim.

it’s all a question of geometry
and working out all the angles
of your
carol says she’s glad he’s not
a yak
you can’t go back
and they often attack
if the science survey found out
i would get the sack
i would have to change tack
and tell them that they lack
a sense of humourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
vis a vis the whole
welsh grandmother / male antlered stag thing
inhabiting their research shack

I’m trying to extract biogas
From five thousand year old ice.
The biggest trouble is
Finding ice that’s that old.
The only ice I’ve found so far
Was made last week.
I think they’re having me on.

I tell you,
After about six weeks
You get really fed up with
Fucking penguins.

Where the hell’s she getting all
This wool from probably
Got a suitcase full of
Sodding sheep SHES ONLY GONE AND
Satellite phone last night having a good old moan
To a friend back home and he said at least
You’re not stuck here watching Britain’s Got Talent
And I said something like yeah, you’ve got a point.

Aroooooooooooo. Arooooooooooo.


I haven’t got a parakeet.
I’ve never had one.
So I feel barely qualified, if at all,
To write an ode to parakeets,
Of which this is, ostensibly.

Oh, parakeets,
As multicoloured as a
Packet of sweets
(Goodness, its only the second verse
And I’m really struggling).

The wide arc smooth parabola
Of your flight
As you colour the evening sky
And bring your sweet bird song
To the setting of the sun.
(I just guessed all that
Because I don’t even know if
Parakeets can fly).

I painted a sparrow bright green.
Its a paracheat.

During the First World War
Thirty eight of Brixham’s trawlers were sunk
By enemy action.
Its not known if any parakeets
Were also lost.

As far as I know
There has never been a parakeet
On Coronation Street.
(I mean, there might have been,
I don’t usually watch it.
Is Mary the Punk still in it?
Or Roly the dog?)

My friend Fran’s parakeet
Is really sweet
With its paws and its whiskers and its tail
And the way it sits on my lap.


I was trying to order a moussaka
But the pub was full of circus performers.

Clowns in the most part whose gaiety
Tomfoolery sinister subversions aimed at

Something beyond my need to fee on
Moussaka. I need to see the bartender.

I know its on the menu but I still want to
Ask her if they’ve got a moussaka

One of the bleeding clowns tumbles over
And invites me to smell his lapel flower

(I’m not falling for that one again) and I
Have to duck to avoid a custard pie

Which then hits the specials blackboard behind
The bar, slowly dribbling down leaving a

Creamy trail and obliterating a word which
Could very well have been ‘moussaka’

Because I can’t seem to think of any
Other word ending in ‘aka’.


Dean reckons he’s got
A transvestite goat.

How can you tell?, I ask.
Because its a bloke, he replies,
And yet it’s called Lulu Belle Kingsley.

Who gave it this name?, I ask.
I did, he replies.
Why did you call it Lulu Belle Kingsley?
I ask.
So I can tell people
That I’ve got a transvestite goat, he says.

Later on I go round Dean’s flat
And he hasn’t got a goat at all.


Bilo stands back and admires his latest canvas. The subtle texture of the paint speaks to him deep inside and reminds him of something from his childhood. He cannot quite define what it is but it’s somehow more of a taste than anything else, that vague place where flavour and colour mix, perhaps going to the very
r o o t
of his cognitive skills.

The next day the paint dries and the colour is ever so slightly different, and the taste has gone.

He goes to the shed and plays his bongos for a bit.

At the retrospective
Slugs it out with a critic.
‘You’ve got no soul, Bilo,
No humanity within you.
In fact when I look at your work
The only thing they reflect
Is the stupidity of me being
Here in the first place’.

A long drawn sigh
And a deep mutter
Along the lines of
Balls To The Lot Of Ya.

Queries the curator as to why
Only three walls have paintings on.

That’s all
You’ve done,

Bilo has the name of his girlfriend
Tattooed on his back.
Her name is Susie.
They break up.
As fate would have it,
His next girlfriend is also called Susie.
When she sees the tattoo
It kind of freaks her out.
Eventually she gets used to it.
When they eventually stop seeing each other,
He goes searching for another girlfriend called Susie.
He finds one called Suzie.
She changes the spelling every morning
With a magic marker.

Takes a ceramic St. Bernard dog,
Puts it in a glass pyramid
With a smaller St Bernard dog.
Adds water and coloured stars
So that on shaking the installation
The stars fall ever so gently
Like a mini constellation.

Suzie takes one look and says,
‘My uncle brought me one of those
Back from Austria’.

Decides to emulate Banksy
And sprays the word ‘knockers’
On a wall near the station.

each individual bristle of his paint brush
bristles individual each application
master of his craft individual
i mean we are all
good at one


There, he said, sit back and
Gaze upon my genius!

In the middle of the canvas, a
Tiny dot which, he said, re-

-presented the nullification of all
Hope in a blank void nothingness.

Susie said it looked like a dead fly and
He conceded that it was a dead fly,

I visited the studio of the artist Bilo
And immediately became enraptured with a sculpture
The likes of which I’d never seen.
A white metallic box, rectangular, monolithic,
With various protuberances, brown,
Like raised bridges,like portals to a new age,
One about two thirds of the way down, the other
One third from the top, both on the left hand side,
And on the rear a strange convolution
Of black metal grilling and pipes
The likes of which, in their elegant geometry,
Brought to mind the logic of ivy.
It stood like a monument to souls, to life,
Quietly humming with a sci-fi energy
In an almost smug manner, and yet it represented
Something beyond the immediate, timeless,
He kept his sandwiches and the milk in it.

Taking some paint,
Whacking it on!
Taking some paint,
Whacking it on!
Taking some paint,
Whacking it on!
Taking some paint,
Whacking it on!
There, that’s the
Bathroom decorated.


April Poem A Day Poems So Far (Week Two)

April 14 Poem A Day 2

My friend Mark has a whole room
Devoted to his trousers.
He’s got two pairs of trousers.
One beige, one slightly off-beige.
They are hung in his trouser room,
Though seldom simultaneously,
As he’s usually wearing his trousers,
Unless he’s wearing shorts.

Mark, I said. Mark. Marky babes,
Why have you got a whole room devoted
Just to your trousers?
And he replied that it was to stop them
From getting creased, and could I please not
Call him Marky babes?

A ground-floor room, climate controlled,
Exposed oak beams, Gothic window,
Stained glass, flagstone floor,
Trousers rotating in the slightest breeze
Trousers rotating in the slightest breeze
Trousers rotating in the slightest breeze

In twilight the trousers take on
A personality all of their own,
The low evening sun diffused
Through stained glass captures the various
Zips buttons and poppers
Of Mark’s cacks
Like imaginary constellations decrying
Nonsensical astrology.

Hey, Mark.
Hey Mark.
You are so devilishly impulsive.
Sorry, I thought you were Mark.

Two years ago the local perv
Broke in and was found
Sniffing the crotch of the left hand pair.
And since then Mark has
Always locked the door.

Mark came round the other day
And did some work for me.
I paid him with a twenty pound note.
He trousered it,

During the great earth tenor of 2013
They swung gently like
Two old people
At a Cliff Richard concert.

There was a man in there the other day with Mark.
‘Who’s that?’ I asked.
Mark replied
‘He’s just a trouser browser’.


living room
dining room
trouser room
guest room
He’s put the house on the market
‘Why’s that?’ I asked.
He replied, ‘I’ve just bought another
Pair of trousers’.

My Aunt lives near Heathrow Airport
And every time a plane flies over
The glasses in her drinks cabinet
Jingle together.
( this has got nothing to do
With Mark or his trouser room).

As a joke a jape as tomfoolery
As a cruel prank last Thursday
I let a fully grown mountain goat
Into Mark’s trouser room.
But the joke was on me because
It was the local perv again
Dressed as a mountain goat.


Too hot out
For serious contemplation.
I sit in the cool of my room
At my parent’s

Window open,
Net curtains twitching on the slightest breeze,
Car tyres on the concrete road surface,

The stipples ceiling has cracks.
Little roads through a mountain landscape.
But instead of being round the world is
( Except for a slight recess in the east).
The capital city is the light fixture.
The explorers are ever so brave
Who reach as far as the

Outside in the summer heat,
The plaintive honking
Of something that honks.
I’m a city boy so I don’t really know
What kind of animal honks.
But I wish it wouldn’t.
It gives me the willies.

I imagine the room filled with

It’s so hot
I try to visualise somewhere cool
Like an airport air conditioned coffee shop.

Actually the honking is probably
Just the shed door
Creaking in the breeze.


A pig and a donkey did it once
And now we’ve got a ponkey.
It stands in the lobby
Next to the receptionist.
It’s ever so helpful.

A visiting professor of zoology
Was most bemused by its neurological
The tenacity of a donkey.
The amiability of a pig.
‘The best of both worlds, Mr Morgan.
The best Of both worlds’.

And I said,
‘Who’s Mr Morgan?’
And the ponkey said

One night the receptionist said
‘I can’t work properly or efficiently with the ponkey
Watching my every move’.
And I said ‘It’s got the amiability of a pig,
That’s what the professor said’,
And she replied, ‘I wouldn’t go trusting
Everything that quack said,
After all, he thought your name was
Mr Morgan’.
Fair point.

A plaice and a flounder did it once
And now we’ve got a plounder.
It then had offspring of its own
Which are quarter-plounders.
They taste just like flounders.


Helen is turning into Leeds Castle.
I noticed in the sauna last night
That she’s developing
There’s a certain grey aspect to her skin.
She’s got a drawbridge where before
She merely had
The normal accoutrements of a
Middle aged lady.

Hey, Helen.
You always were impassive,
So stony faced.
Let me clamber up your

Instead of a hat she’s got a moat.
Instead of a handbag she’s got a gift shop.
Instead of glasses she’s got a keep.
Here hairstyle was a fashionable bob.
Now it’s crenelated.
Instead of a coat she’s got some tea rooms.

It was hot in the sauna.
She said,
‘You’ll get nothing out of me’.
I said,
‘You’re so defensive’.
She said,
‘Its my job’.
I said,
‘Let me get close to you’.
She said
‘I distrust all poet rio invaders’.
I said,
‘What if I bring some ice cream?’
She said
‘One must naturally be cautious’.
I said
‘Human society is built on compromise’.
She said
‘Isn’t it hot in here?’
I said
‘It’s a sauna, what do you expect?’
And then a coach party of
Tourists arrived.

Oh, Helen,
I’d like to climb your
Spiral staircase
And raise my flag
From your
Immovable turrets and other
Architectural flourishes.

Ever since she started
Turning into Leeds Castle
She walks much slower
And I got frustrated in the high street
When people kept coming up and saying,
‘I know you from somewhere’.


This poem keeps BANG backfiring.
I’ve done a systems BANG check
But it still keeps BANG backfiring.

They moved the tables round in Costa
BANG and now I feel losssssssst.
Where my favourite table was
BANG BANG is now a sofa

Chinny comes BANG in
He’s shaved off his beard
And BANG now it emphasises
The lack of a BANG chin
That led to Mark BANG and I calling him,
BANG ironically, Chinny
(We’re both BANG quote sarcastic sometimes).

There’s a shed in the middle
Of the BANG national archives
On asking BANG the Chief Archivist why
BANG she replied
She replied
She replied that it looked BANG
Better than a greenhouse.

On purchasing a novelty BANG inflatable
Pink flamingo from Amazon.BANGcom
I was notified BANG that
‘Customers also purchased BANG
A novelty giant BANG pocket watch BANG
Suitable for the Mad Hatter.’

Since the new BANG people
Took BANG over BANG the deli BANG
It’s been BANG fairly BANG quiet in there BANG
BANG I suppose BANG they need to BANG
Build a rapport BANG BANG with their BANG BANG
BANG BANG BANG clientele.

Mark is BANG POP BANG POP coming to join me
In the POP POP coffee shop POP
(That’s weird, it’s never popped until now BANG).

Two castles
Facing each other
And two forbidden lovers.
One, an athletic youth BANG,
A prince, joyous, forlorn,
And she, a BANG winsome princess,
Buxom, BANG coquettish.

The bin robbers BANG took the BANG pouffe!
The bin BANG robbers took BANG the pouffe!
The BANG bin robbers BANG took BANG the pouffe!

I can’t believe he (BANG Chinny) took a mobility scooter
Into the London BANG underground and BANG got
Stuck between BANG the ticket barriers BANG
Wheeeeeeeels spinnnnnnnning tyre smoke curling BANG



I’m not Matt Harvey.
I wish I was but I’m not.
And even if I was
I wouldn’t write a poem in this style.
This is my style.
Not Matt Harvey’s.
And in any case
Matt Harvey wouldn’t write a poem
Which starts with the line
‘I’m not Matt Harvey’
Because he blatantly is.

I’m not Doris Lessing, either.


This is my slam poem poem.
It’s a poem about a slam poem.
I’d like to perform my slam poem poem
At a poetry slam with the slam poets.

This is my slam poem poem.
I’d hover at the mic
Like a kestrel at the slam
With my poem at hand
Because I’m the man at the slam with the plan
Who thinks he’s the best in the land
And that’s why I’m at the slam.

Slam down that muvva!

I won’t be going
No to or fro-ing
With this poem
And all that life is owing
Can be found in this poem
More robust than a Boeing

I told my friend Fran
That I was entering the slam
And she said ‘Don’t forget your bran


‘Do you want a hand?
I can drive you in my van
To the slam’.
Said Fran.

Hey there
Hip cat
On stage
Mic man
Slam man
Hey there
Hip cat
Trip hop
Hip hop
Top hat
Mic man
Hey there
Hey there
You there
Mic man
Ice cream
Mic man
Yes please
Oh dear

This is my slam poem poem poem
This is my slam poem slam poem
This is my slam poem poem slam
Slam the poem
Slam it down
Slam down the poem
The slam poem poem
Slam it like a bad boy
Slam the slam slam slam
Hey sister go sister go sister go sister
Watch me slam
Did you see me slam?
Did you see me slam it?
Did you see the slam that I slammed
Did you see me slam it dammit?

There’s slam all over the place now

Oh oh oh I want so much to do this
And I’m all hyped up now
But Darren says I’m not good at the mic.


Disco dancing with Seamus Heaney.
I think it was Erasure,
‘Who needs love like that?’

He didn’t once analyse the lyrics.
I ought he was Norman Mailer.
He went to take his t- shirt off.
No, I said. Please, no.

Ok, Heaney, I said.
I think your books about Rabbit Angstrom are sheeeeeer genius!
For some reason he sighed quite audibly.

Banging it banging it banging it.
Punching at the ceiling.
Blowing a whistle with all his might!

There was something retro about the nightclub.
I wore my Converse All Stars.
They look trendy but they hurt after a bit
If I danced too much.

He didn’t buy me a drink.
Heaney, you’re such a meany.

The next song was M’s PopMuzik.
Ah man!, I said, I love this one!
Heaney sloped off, started chatting up a
Pretty young thing from Newton Abbot.

Who else would benefit from this?
Who else wants to join right in?
Who else shall I add to this
marvellous fandango
crazy crazy beat
Sylvia Plath doing the
Who else wants a piece of this?

Heaney Heaney Heaney
His lips are devil red
And his skin’s the colour of mocha

Thinking back it might have been a while ago
As Erasure and M were both 80s acts
And both Heaney and Mailer are brown bread now

April Poem A Day Poems So Far (Week One)

Well I’ve been undertaking the April Poem a Day challenge this month. The September one was very productive for me and led to my book ‘Perpendicular’. But this year I set myself the additional challenge of
1- Not featuring any introspective or serious poems
2 – No poems with a ‘gay’ theme
3- Every poem being humorous in content.

Anyway, this is what I’ve come up with some far from the first week.


I don’t want this poem to be about
The thing that it’s about.
I don’t want it to be about that thing.
I don’t want to have to
That thing which I’m thinking of right now
Because it’s what this poem is about.
People go out of their way not to
Talk about this thing,
This thing I’m writing this poem about.
People feel disgusted
Being made to think about this thing,
This thing that this poem
Is about, ostensibly.

So I won’t mention it
Because I’m nice like that.
And I’d like to shield you
From the reality of life of
This thing existing
By pretending that this poem
Is about something it’s not
By the method of not mentioning
The thing that it’s actually about.
I’m so clever.


A pogo stick
In a steep scree-lined Welsh valley.
Boing boing boing
And the boinging echoing back
On the echo boing
As gaboinging
Intermittently interspersed
Between my own pogo boings
In a sort of boing gaboing boing
Or sometimes boing boing gaboing boing
With the next gaboing obliterated
By the latest boing
If I get a chance to pick up speed.

Boing boing gaboing boing (gaboing)
Boing boing gaboing boing (gaboing)
Et cetera.

Up and down
Up and down in my Welsh valley
With the pogo and the echo
Loud enough to have some serious fun
(A cheery hello to a passing backpacker)
But not loud enough to cause an

Until the park ranger turns up
And says I’m driving all the woodpeckers crazy
With my syncopated boing gaboing
And that an amorous sparrow
Is under the impression that it’s a mating call.


1. Abstract

Apart from John Hegley, Matt Harvey, John Cooper Clarke, Pam Ayres, Johnny Fluffypunk, TS Eliot and hundreds of other notable poets, not many have tackled the subject of garden sheds.

2. Introduction

I am about to tackle the subject of garden sheds.

3. Contents

The contents of the poem, you mean?
Or the contents of the shed?
You see already I am confused by the
Format of this piece but I could
Willingly oblige you, one way or the other.

4. Here we go then

If I had a shed
It would be the best shed in the world
But I wouldn’t let it go to my head.
At nights I lay in my bed
And dream of having a shed.
Oh, the loneliness.
I think of all the tears I’ve shed
Over not having a shed.

5. The next verse

I’d like a shed.
I’d paint it red.
I’d call it ‘Fred’
I’d like to be buried in it
When I’m dead.

6. Immovable sheds

Due to their semi-permanence
Sheds are virtually static
Due to their construction and purpose
They don’t usually have an attic.

7. Big sheds

I’d like a shed so big
That people say
‘Hey, nice chalet!’
And I’d say, ‘No,
It’s a shed’.

I’d like a shed so big
A barn owl tries to live in it
And I’d say, ‘Hey, barn owl,
It’s not a barn,
It’s a shed’.
And the barn owl would say,
‘In that case I’m not a barn owl,
I’m a shed owl’.
And I’d say
‘It’s all a question of semantics’.
And the barn owl would move in
And poo on all my stuff.

8. I really like this next verse

I’d like a shed so big
It’s got it’s own shed.

9. Here’s a website link to a real kick-ass shed video

10. Get some rhythm!

Lock me in your shed, baby
Throw away the key.
Lock me in your shed, baby,
Throw away the key.
Down with the paint cans.
Down with the lawn rakes.
Down with the compost.
Down with the creosote.
Lock me in your shed, baby,
Throw away the key.

11. On preferring a shed with a felt roof

I’d like a shed with a felt roof
Angled at eleven and a half degrees,
Not enough to repel rain,
But enough to make a marble roll
Of its own volition
Should one be placed on it.

12. Alternative shed names

I know I said
That if I had a shed
I’d call it ‘Fred’
But I’ve considered other names, too.
Like Ethelred.
Kenneth. Brian. Lola. Steven. Anne. Carol. David. Connor. Nathan. Lord Pinkerton. Johann. Philip. Susie. Christopher. Ironing board. Ryan. Desmond. Lionel. Jessie J. Bob.

13. Moving on

If I had a shed
Oh, and
Michael. Sandra. Granny Finch. Katherine. Jean-Francois. Ian.

14. Almost at the end, now

If I had a shed
I’d keep my hopes and dreams and
Aspirations inside of it
And possibly
A lawn mower.

15. Acknowledgements

Thanks to Jeff for the use of his shed.


Thou hast upon thy charms a tariff
Mitigating against, among other things, insomnia
That one should prioritise the transaction
Rather than the honesty of truth.
Halt! Pale creature, and ponder on this.

Why should’st thou be so concerned?
Thou manners have tempers not of this world.
Thine eyes shaded against the sun
Thine elevation increased by heightened heels
Yet mirth and whimsy pass ye by.

Cast thine eyes leftwards.
Cast thine eyes rightwards.
Can’st thou savour the ephemera
That we should, with our desires, augment various japes.

Be this not concerning the tariff tarriff tarriff
Thou hast no need of thy tarriff tarriff tarriff
If chance prevails one must faithfully gyrate.
Cast all thoughts of thy funds from thy mind.
Be this not concerning the cobblous sound of pennies accumulated, accumulated,
Be this not concerning the grotesque fripperies that one might purchase, purchase,
If chance prevails one must faithfully gyrate
Cast all thoughts of thy funds from thy mind.

Upon what manner is this public obsession?
Currency hath not the charms of potential merriment
That we should by turns de-accelerate and ponder on lightness
In pale guarantee of a more harmonious mind frame.


I always seem to associate
Several Surrey towns
With shades of beige as marketed
By the Ford Motor Company in the 1970s.

Egham is Nevada beige.
Woking is Sahara beige.
Weybridge is classic cream beige.
Guildford is light beige.
Staines is antique beige.

I know Staines has a Middlesex postal address
But it’s definitely in Surrey.

My friend Steven opines
That I always get excitable
And blunder on through life
And he might have a point.

I like the display of busts
In one of the galleries at the British Museum.
I can’t remember which gallery it is
But they’ve all got big sideburns
And the sun slants oblong like solid dust.
I put my hand in the dust slant solid beam.

Haslemere is Bahama beige.
Horsell is Toucan beige.
Bracknell is in Berkshire but it’s milk caramel beige.

In 1995 I had a bad cycle accident
And my nose has been this shape ever since.
I fell off my bike in Englefield Green
(Sonic beige)
Went riiiiiiiiiight over the handlebars.

I take time now and then
To slow down and savour life
And to commune with the exact platzgeist
Of a place / moment.

So up yours, Steven.
See, I can do it sometimes.

At nights the trains used to spark electric and
Light up the skies,
Holloway College like Dracula’s Castle.
And I’d get ever so scared
Lulled to sleep by the friendly roar
Of transcontinental jets,
I’d dream of labyrinthine holiday cottages.


1. Oh my goodness
That’s 20p he owes me now.

2. Dreaming of being an aircraft
I zoom over mental landscapes
With the thrust lift pitch yaw
Except I do so safe in the knowledge
That I’m 20p poorer.

3. It was one of those sunny Devon mornings, the kind of morning in which one feels that the world is not so terribly bad, and I’d begun by answering some emails, then going for a walk along the promenade, then to the coffee shop where is usually sit and scribble poems and things before going to work, and he was in there, and he wondered if I might lend him 20p so that he could upgrade from a primo to a massimo. And like a fool I said yes. He then sat next to me and bored me rigid with tales about his uncle.

4. Tentative ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffriendship

5. I went to the 99p Store
But I only had 79p.
(Gosh, I’m so postmodern
Mentioning the 99p Store
In a poem!)
I couldn’t make a
Single purchase.

6. 20p
Is meant to be
Plenty for me
So lending thee
Hath left me

7. Coffee shop rules and regulations:
– Don’t grab a table first and then order a drink.
– Watch the steam rising from the machine, see the way it rises, Jake?
– Toilets for customer use only
– The ephemera of logos and corporate design, temporary at best.
– Comfy sofas, but no good if you’re a sofa-phobic.
– Sorry, no tiaras.
– Ladies, please don’t fight over the only copy of the Daily Mail.

8. In early morning light
The road surface, smooth,
Shining ever so worn flat
By a decade’s car tyres,
The dips and hollows caused by
Fortune’s roadworks

Causing ever such slight shadows.

9. Josh, I know you don’t like poetry and you never read anything of mine, so it’s probably quite safe to hide this right now, halfway down the page, and declare it to the world, that I absolutely adore you.

10. See below for a half-assed selfie I took while writing this poem in the coffee shop.

11. I love everyone who’s ever lived
Which is quite an undertaking
When you consider history’s assholes.
People in the most part are fantastic,
Even that bloke over there.
I wonder if he’s ever leant someone 20p?

12. Scene five, the stables.
ILLYANA- Upon my whim, that I should
Partake of that which I can never afford.

ALLACUTIA – (While shoeing a horse)
Upon my soul, what might that be?

ILLYANA – (Looks out window, soulfully)
I seem to leap from one misadventure to the next.
I see the daily grind of absolute nullity
Where others see chance.

ALLACUTIA – Pray, tell me.

ILLYANA – Life in all it’s pleasantness,
Hath but, like a church to a couple
Contemplating wedded bliss,
An ominous gothic twinge.

ALLACUTIA – ( Blinks she, heavily).
Upon my Heath, do tell.
(Be still, thou tiresome horse, be still!)

ILLYANA – Upon my desires, ‘this as I say
A whim that I should
Plumb the depths of our friendship, and drive a
Tractor through that which has sustained us as
Friends, but, alack, for I am in need of
Twenty once in order that I might be furnished
With a packet of Polos.

ALLACUTIA – That my wealth should bar all further trespass
And other sympathies upon the tenements of our camaraderie, I hereby
Present to thee pence of twenty.


(The horse bucks, knocks over a small automobile)

ILLYANA – For goodness sake.