Fifty Shades of Red

Semi-colons I shall abuse for you.
Parentheses I shall lose for you.

Correct me like you know you want to.
Repossess my nouns.
Cover me with red ink.
Slap my words around.

Infinitives I shall split for you.
Apostrophes I shall omit for you.

The mistakes I make are just for you,
Each greased up grammar slip.
Let me feel the hardness of your edit,
Your disapproving nib.

Participles will be dangled,
Accents wrongly angled.

So lay me like a transitive verb.
Drip your ink upon my blotter.
Bore me rigid with your rules.
Fix me good and proper.

Blitzkrieg Top

When I put on my Ramones tee-shirt,
with its presidential seal of rebellion,
I can almost smell the revolution

in the air.

I like to wear it everywhere:
down the match or shopping mall,
on the golf course, in the gym, or

in Costa

where I sometimes sit and watch the
protest marches go past the window,
whilst sipping on my frappuccino.

All roads lead

to Ramones; you will see our breed
on every street, pushing strollers,
iPhoned jogging rock n’ rollers,


in cottoned nonconformity, a giant
army of tee-shirted mayhem makers
(once we’ve read the Sunday papers).

Hey ho, let’s go.

Please excuse me

My dear ambassador, I am afraid
I am unable to join your pompous parade
of dignitaries on Thursday evening,
because I am working my way through
seven seasons of The West Wing,
Such an enthralling drama, I have found;
it passed me by first time around.

How thoughtful of you to invite me
to this exhibition by contemporary artists
on ‘Post-Urban Space: Dislocation and Catharsis’;
it’s an important theme that resonates
deep within me. But I cannot make this date,
nor indeed the next six weeks;
I have to read ten thousand tweets.

Dear Lord and Lady Asquith, I was charmed
to receive in the post today, your card
inviting me to supper at Hedge End –
ever the magnificent setting.
Gustav’s profiteroles are legend.
I would love to come, I really would rather,
but I’ve reached a new level on Candy Crush Saga.

Dear chat show producer, thank you so much
for the opportunity to sit on your sofa
and, amidst the giggles and knee-touches,
promote my brand and new book over
a million television sets.
Sadly, with regret, I must say no;
a cat upon one’s lap does limit one so.

Thank you, world, for thinking of me,
but I’ve never been much good at society.
Please do not think me rude
but I would rather hide my shyness
in solitude, behind a screen,

and use my own knife
to whittle down the hours of life,
to something barely seen.

Cancer Costs

This poem has cancer.
A lump of letters in a swollen stanza

and here we are: our monthly visit
to the poetry clinic,

flushing out the enemy
with a double dose of rhymotherapy.

The course is intensive.
Expensive, too.

Specialist care isn’t near;
it takes a full toner cartridge to get here

and we have to stay for weeks, sometimes.
It’s then I wish that I could find

the money for some special treat.
Glossy paper is not cheap.

More time is spent away than home;
so there’s no work on other poems,

no other income coming in.
Pockets and patience wear thin.

We cannot afford
to be unsupported.

And every poem
needs its poet.

Cancer costs.
You should know this.

Brian Bilston

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Find out more about the Cancer Costs campaign here:


64 Failed Attempts to Guess Your Wi-Fi Password

Password, Password1, Passw0rd, abc123,
123456​​, welcome, Abcdef, qwerty,
Ilovecats, cats123, kittens​​, morecats​​​,
301070​​, 30101970​​, 30Oct70​​ , October30,

Aaaaaaaa, aargghhhh​​, Ann0y1ng, typ1cal​​,
Glasto07, ArcticMonkeys​, Beyonce5, EltonJohn,
plethora​​, mellifluous​​, hubbub​​, Pinnacle,
GRIMACE​​, beleaguered​, hopeless123​, woebegone,
letmein​​, beggingyou, ICanChange ​​, promise​​,
please1, prettyplease2​, 1m0rechance​, BETRAYAL,
fopd00dle​​, CLATTERFART​, Webgobbler​​, cOckwomble,
Jobernowl7​​, humpgruffin41​, nipcheese13​​, dailymail​,

sosorry, whathaveibecome, ​​shameful​​, MOnster​​,
MrHyde6​​, Gollum123​​, itisonlyWiFi​​, ICanBeFree,
nature​​, countryside, innerpeace​​, soulcleanse​,
purity4​​​, tranquility​​, Password12​​, Password123​​​.

Anger, directed towards a Gym Membership Card

There you go again,
jogging my memory,
exercising my conscience,

climbing up the wall bars
of my guilt,
bench-oppressing me.

But then you can hardly talk,
snug in my wallet,
smugly wallowing.

You’ve got no excuse.
Your plastic companions
are always active.

See the healthy sheen
of my Boots
Advantage card,

my library card
limbering up,
lithe and ready,

and just look
at that debit card,
flexing its muscles once more.


gotta get a bit fit
got myself a fitbit
first I felt a dipstick
but now I don’t so much

proved to be a big hit
i’m virtually olympic
postin’ up my fit pics
on Twitter and Facebook

playin’ sunday cricket
sittin’ at a picnic
starin’ at a triptych
it tracks me night and day

guess i must admit it
don’t think i can quit it
some call me addic
well, i think that’s what they say

You Took the Last Bus Home update

Yesterday I was very excited to take delivery of advance copies of my book, You Took the Last Bus Home. It is an objet d’art; a beautiful jacket, colourful endpapers, French flaps. Shame about the words inside but you can’t have everything, I suppose.

It publishes on 6th October and is available for pre-order from all those usual bookshop places. 

You can find out more about it here:

WARNING: may contain poetry.