games

Lost Words

Let’s lockdown with the Scrabble board,
have a rummage in the tiles,
and conjure words of hope and love
to pass the time awhile.

And if you’re short of consonants,
you can have a few of mine.
Hang on – what does ‘PRAXY’ mean?
No, whatever, I’m sure it’s fine.

Now you’ve set down all your tiles
on a triple word score, too.
Great. That’s the Q I’ve just acquired
and you’ve taken the last U.

I used to think we were meant to be,
but now I just don’t know.
You spelt ‘JUVENILE’ with your tiles
right where I’d planned to go.

In Which the Poet Throws a Party to Celebrate his Birthday only to Discover that Nobody Bothers to Show Up

Wearing my most daring
tank top, I arrived downstairs
fashionably late,
just before quarter to eight;

the invitations I’d sent out
ten days before
had clearly stated it started
at seven thirty-four.

I put on Russians by Sting.
It wasn’t long
until things
were in full swing.

As so often, on such occasions,
I made for the kitchen,
hanging out
with the Pringles,

who were delightful,
and twenty rather nonchalant
mushroom vol-au-vents.
Six skittish tins of Fosters

enticed me back
into the sitting room
to join in with the party games:
Hold the Parcel (forty-two minutes),

followed by a few rounds
of Musical Statues
(defeated each time
by a po-faced Victorian floor lamp),

and finally,
a game of Sardine,
in which I hid
inside the airing cupboard,

curling up
for three days
on an inexpertly-folded fitted sheet
until I found myself.

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