Month: July 2015

Lines Written Upon Arriving At A Holiday Cottage And Discovering The Lack Of Reliable Wi-Fi

slow burning days drag by
as the smouldering fag ends of hours
turn themselves to ash

second-hand jigsaws
sleep smugly on dusty shelves,
uncontrite at their incompleteness,

next to a well-thumbed
Robert Harris and the fortnight
stretches like old laddered tights

evenings drab with scrabble
and the death rattle of yahtzee dice
provide no substitute

for videos of piano-playing cats
instagram selfies, status updates
and Lionel Richie memes

instead this, the buffering
and the suffering and the shutters
which rattle in the wind

The Importance of the Oxford Comma

Owing to ambiguities caused by its omission,
the Oxford comma became the subject of a petition
raised by serious serialists desperate to ensure
its use was to be mandated in lists of three or more.

Signatures flooded in from across all of society;
never had they expected to see such variety.
Who would have thought that those in favour
would have had such a diverse, democratic flavour?

There were the investment bankers,
the robbers and thieves,
as well as C-list celebrities,
the needy and mildly-diseased.

There were the footballers,
clowns and less mentally able,
alongside the poets,
unemployed and emotionally unstable.

There was Michael Gove,
a drug fiend and a trafficker of human organs,
and, of course, the sexual deviants,
Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan.

Such was the range of names
that the list did constitute.
Oh, not to forget the Queen,
a well-known madam and a prostitute.

Exclamation Mark!

Mark was his name!
He would shout and proclaim!

Every sentence he wrote
would end just the same!

He would assert! He would blurt!
He would ejaculate and spurt!
Each line was a screamer!
A gasper! A slammer! A shrieker!
A literary loudspeaker!!!

Frankly, it all began to needle and nark!
Why did no one think to question Mark?

Poundland Cashier Number Four

And I will hasten down aisles,
avoiding skyscraper piles
of Tommy Walsh Mini-Screwdriver sets,
bubble-gum flavoured cartridges for e-cigarettes,
the dustied, desperate overstocks
of a hundred Pam St Clement canvas clocks,
the lunchboxes, kitchen roll and other millions
of godforsaken products infested by minions,
and yesterday’s shelf-stacked opinions
of Colin, recently appointed store assistant manager,
who, as he extols the virtues of stock rotation,
seems, at long last, to have reached his true vocation.

I will hurtle past these and so much more
for the merest glimpse
of Poundland cashier number four.

And I will speed down the aisles,
thunder past the rows of Jeremy Kyle’s
still remaining remaindered autobiography,
Disney Frozen lip balm (five for the price of three),
twin packs of glue-on false eyelashes,
and neglected sets of fake, funny moustaches.
And I will use my mobility scooter as a chariot
to proceed like a prince through the proletariat,
ready to defend with shield of sturdy cardboard,
a tube of non-stick Baco foil will be my shining sword.

For I will fight all others to the floor
should they get in the way of me
and Poundland cashier number four.

And now I’m here, I’ll wait as long as it takes,
even if she’s off again on one of her fag breaks.

she folded her hurt in half

she folded
her hurt
in half

it up
in tissue paper

placed it
inside a box

tied up
the box
with ribbons

a series of
sturdy padlocks

locking it
in an iron safe

she carried out
to her car

to drive it
120 miles
to the shore

she hired
a boat

to take
her cargo
to a land

an unimaginably
vast desert

where she dug
a hole
twenty metres deep

in which
she buried
it all

and built
on top of it
a house, a palace,

the streets of a city
which shimmered
in the afternoon sun

and when
she got home
she found her hurt was still there,

folded in half,
wrapped up in tissue,
and she supposed

the box
must have had
a hole in it.