Month: September 2016


Truth had it coming, if you ask me.
All those drab facts,
that dull insistence upon
looking at things as they really are,

the stories we would like to hear
out of the way like that.
It’s a surprise it lasted so long.

Far better now
that we can wrap ourselves
in untruth, and emote our way
through the days.

I like to tell one untruth
before breakfast,
then three more by lunch,
with a further seven by bedtime.

No, I never said that.
Yes, I did declare all my income.
Yes, I know exactly how you feel.
No, I did not eat the biscuits that were in the tin.

And should any so-called ‘expert’
point at the crumbs
which nestle in the corners of my mouth,
my bottom lip shall tremble,

and I shall say, pity me –
for, since my neighbour moved in,
these crumbs represent
all I have left in the world.

Every night I hear him
sneaking into my home
and helping himself
to another handful of biscuits.

And I shall say these words
with such passion
and such conviction,
over and over and over,

until the pigs
begin to sing in the trees,
and my untruth
becomes a kind of truth itself.

I Would Like to Apologise for the Delay

I would like to apologise for the delay
in coming to work today.
This is due to a signaling failure
between my primary motor cortex
and pyramidal motor pathway.
I shall remain here instead,
sidelined in this bed,
until further notice.

I would like to apologise for the delay
in going for a run today.
This is due to leaves on the tracksuit
I wore last week,
during my unsuccessful attempt
to bury myself
in a coppiced wood.
I would be there still if I could.

I would like to apologise for the delay
in joining your skiing holiday.
This is due to the wrong kind of snow,
which, as far as I’m concerned,
is any kind of snow
that enables people
to hurtle down slopes, at speed,
on skis.

I would like to apologise for the delay
in taking part in life today.
This is due to delays.

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.