I’ll never be employee of the week

I’ll never be employee of the week

You see their face in photographs
So proud in shirt and tie.
It’s an accolade I’ve never had
And I often wonder why.

Of course I work the best I can
With all the skills that I have got
‘Hello there!’ I’m supposed to say to customers
Instead of my usual ‘What?’

I try to learn certain procedures
And apply them to my job.
Apparently the company frowns upon
Calling a customer a ‘jumped up nob’.

Explain where you’ve used initiative,
My boss said the other day.
I haven’t thumped anyone in weeks,
Was the only thing positive I could say.

Our health and safety policy
Ensures that risk is now no more
Though it doesn’t specifically mention
Racing office chairs across the shop floor.

One moment a young trainee starts
Months later in the ranks he supersedes’ ya
Calling him a spotty faced squirt
Only leads to a grievance procedure.

Apparently a stock count is essential
Though the store room is in such a mess
It saves so much time if you can
Just try and give an educated guess.

Asked if I’d cash up the till
It’s a chore that’s no longer in my range
After I told my line manager
That I’ve developed a fear of change.

A workshop in customer services
Is something I’ve been asked to join
Since someone came in for a refund
And left with a knee in the groin.

And then there’s a sudden malfunction
With the self service automated scanner
Apparently it’s not company policy
To repeatedly hit it with a spanner.

An employee of the week I’ll never be
Nor a candidate for an actual promotion
My home made sign in the window, ‘free shoulder rubs’
Caused something of an unwanted commotion.

It’s time for your annual review,
My line manager this morning said.
We looked at each other and just sighed
And then went to the pub instead.

My lucky pants are getting a bit too tight, now.

I’m wearing my lucky pants
I think they’re a bit too tight.
They’re squeezing all sorts of things in.
It’s a feeling I really don’t like.

But I’d never want to get rid of them
Not once in a month of Sundays
So many good things have happened to me
While I’ve been in these undies.

It’s awkward when I’m wearing them
They’re affecting the way I walk.
I ran for a bus this morning.
People are starting to talk.

Every time I’ve had a blast
It’s these pants that I’ve been in
At first it was a coincidence
I’ll never throw them in the bin.

It’s kind of become a ritual
Excitement invariably starts
The moment that I put them on
And cover up my parts.

If I do well in a place
Where ordinarily I’d blunder there
The only excuse that I have
Is to blame it on my underwear.

But now they’re getting tighter
It’s almost borderline kinky
These pants that did so well for me
Can now be described as slinky.

If I have to give a speech
And be heard right at the back
My voice goes higher as I realise
They’ve gone right up my crack.

People can tell when I’ve got them on
There really is no mistaking.
The friction as I walk it really is
The cause of some serious chafing.

So many good things have happened in these pants
And one or two just after
I used to feel like a sex god in them,
But now there’s only laughter.

I’m wearing my lucky pants
And with them life used to be a breeze
I still put them on when I need some good luck
But instead there’s just a tight squeeze.

Bad Uncle

Bad Uncle

I really am a bad uncle.
I’m really not that good.
I never buy them sweets or things
Like a proper uncle should.

I really am a bad uncle.
Not once did I show consternation
When I made them get the tennis ball back
From inside the electricity substation.

I really am a bad uncle
Being with them is terribly tiring.
I told them the meaningless of existence
When they asked to hear something inspiring.

I really am a bad uncle
Hey uncle, have you brought us some sweets?
No I haven’t, I said, but hey, just for fun
Help me go through these tax return receipts.

I really am a bad uncle
They wanted chicken nuggets for tea.
The vindaloo which I made was ever so hot
And they left it, more for me!

I really am a bad uncle.
Let’s watch TV they said!
So many cartoons and great things to watch
I put on the Snooker instead.

I really am a bad uncle.
I thought that I knew how to treat them.
Let’s go out for the day, hooray they said
We went to the local arboretum.

I really am a bad uncle
I interrupted their tumbles and spills
And sat them down for a chat about how
To save seven to eight percent of annual heating bills.

I really am a bad uncle.
I seldom buy them a gift.
No wonder when I turn up at their house
They always look slightly miffed.

I really am a bad uncle.
I’m probably a disgrace.
They’ve never been to my house,
They’d clutter up the place.

I really am a bad uncle.
Let’s play football, uncle, they said.
Let’s not, I replied.

I really am a bad uncle.
I’m awfully glad they’re not mine.
I once was asked to babysit
They made me spill my wine.

I really am a bad uncle.
Come now, it’s time for bed.
But it’s only four in the afternoon,
One of the buggers said.

I really am a bad uncle.
I hate their high squeaky voices.
My sister seems so pleased with them
Who am I to question her life choices?

I really am a bad uncle
And as such on my record there’s a blot
The yelling, the screaming, the tantrums,
Those kids have to put up with a lot.

An Ode to Swindon

There’s a little town I visit
I go from time to time
Every time I go there
I come home feeling fine.

I arrive and I’m ever so happy
Get off the London train
I see the sign on the platform
Swindon is its name.

A pulsing rhythm drumbeat
Where nothing gets you down
You can shove Paris up your arse
Swindon is a proper town.

It’s got a lovely coffee shop
Somewhere in the middle.
And according to a friend of mine
It’s got a kick ass Lidl.

The tower blocks they built here
Look like their balanced on stilts here
No one ever wilts here
In this jewel of Wiltshire.

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

No other place compares to it
None can barely complete
It’s like a night of hot hot sex
In Brutalist concrete.

The Edge from U2 almost bought
A pair of trousers here
The man in the pub has got no arms
He plays the piano by ear.

I’ll give my heart to Swindon
That’s my solemn vow
It’s got more canals than Guildford
It’s got more soul than Slough.

My friend Jeff gets an orgasm
Every time he sees the place
Unfortunately he lives there
He keeps his curtains closed just in case

He gets a glimpse of Swindon
You can hear it when he does
Every time I visit the place
I get a real good buzz ( so does Jeff).

It’s a place of lust and urges
And a sense of unbridled passion
I’m starting to think that this whole town
Will start to come back into fashion.

(This is a rewrite of a poem which I wrote originally during the interval at the Swindon Poetry Slam about five years ago. Amazingly I got to the final and just missed out on winning the damn thing.)

In the Glare of the Neon Yak

In the Glare of the Neon Yak is a riproaring piece of spoken word storytelling set on a sleeper service in the middle of winter. A train full of circus performers are being stalked by a mysterious entity which seems to mean more than just its eerie manifestation. A portent, an omen, the Neon Yak symbolises dark times. Will our hero find love? Will Jacques, the tight rope walker, get back together again with his ex, the circus clown? Does the secret of the Neon Yak lie in the hands of a randy old lady? Has the buffet car run out of sausage rolls? Will Tony the Train Manager find where they’ve put Carriage F? An hour show combining poetry, storytelling and music, In the Glare of the Neon Yak is the sparkling new show from spoken word artist, Robert Garnham.

This video doesn’t exist


Take a selfie with your camera,
A selfie with your phone,
Put your selfie up on Instagram
The moment you get home.

Take a selfie at an angle,
A selfie all a kilter,
Manipulate with photoshop
And add hashtag no filter.

Take a selfie in the rain
A selfie soaking wet
Put the selfie on your Facebook page
No ones liked it yet.

Take a selfie do a duck face
And another just for luck
Do the duck face thing so well that
People think you are a duck.

Take a selfie at a wedding
Take a selfie by mistake
Take a selfie with the coffin
As you’re grieving at a wake.

Take a selfie for publicity
A selfie to get wealthy.
Take a selfie of yourself
While you’re posing for a selfie.

Take a selfie tag a friend
Take a selfie tag a mate
Take a selfie suck your cheeks in
My god have you lost weight?

Take a selfie with a selfie stick
A selfie in a pose
Hold your phone at such an angle that
People can see right up your nose.

Take a selfie in Westminster
Take a selfie in perhaps in Chelsea
Take a photo of a friend and say
My god, it’s a someone-elsie!

The A303 isn’t as long as it used to be (It shrunk)

The A303 isn’t as long as it used to be
(It shrunk)

In prehistoric times,
The A303
Didn’t stop at Exeter,
But kept on going.

Continental drift played a part,
Of course.
Dinosaurs, and then
The Romans
Used it to go to
Present day Nova Scotia.
There were tea rooms, so peaceful,
Very pleasant.
Mind you, no
Motorways in those days.

Genghis Khan
Got stuck behind a tractor.
Emperor Napoleon
Got stuck behind a tractor.
The Earl of Effingham
Got stuck behind two tractors.
And I bet he was

The Moon was slightly closer then.
Stone Age man
Worshipping cats eyes gleaming
Brighter on account of the Moon glow
Not quite so far
For Armstrong and co to go.

Cowboys in the layby,
And the hunter gatherer clans of Wiltshire
Refused to welcome outsiders.
Mostly we just
Left them to their own Devizes.

I’m no good at looking after stupid bloody house plants, damn things

I’m not exactly a gardener
My house plants all have died
One of them just kind of gave up
The moment I brought it inside.

The line up there on the windowsill
But by then it’s really too late
Their branches slump like firing squad prisoners
Suddenly knowing their fate.

I water them and try to keep them happy
And angle them to the light
I was woken at two o clock this morning
By one trying to sneak out in the night.

A luscious verdant fern
Over which I have bothered and fussed
One moment will look quite perky
The next it has turned to dust.

My crocus croaked, my orchid went rancid,
My amaryllis couldn’t take any more.
Sitting there watching TV one night
It just threw itself on the floor.

Sing to your plants, a gardener said,
Sing them some plaintive sweet verse
I did what he said and I sung to each one
They ended up looking much worse.

They all seem to just kind of give up
I’ve accepted it now as a fact
The cactus and lily at the same bloody time
In a kind of plant suicide pact.

It’s like a sentence of death
Though I pamper them all to the hilt
The moment I practice my poems on them
They suddenly start to wilt.