life

Lift Music

If I were called in
to construct
a soundtrack for my life,
I should make use
of muzak.

Each song indistinct,
immemorable,
and entirely
without consequence,

as it fills out the silence

between floors

until
the door
opens
for me.

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Bus Shelter

We stand in stoic silence,
peering through perspex panels
for the bus with our number on it.

All shelters in time are visited
and we, waiting, occupy ourselves
with a thousand tiny distractions

until we see it nose slowly
around the corner, and greet it,
not with welcoming arms

but with wretched relief
and, as we feel the press of coins
in clammy palms, we wonder

whether this is a poem
about buses and bus shelters at all
or, rather, one about life and death

because that’s the kind of thing
that poets write about
and we climb aboard anyway

as it is warm inside
and this one has free wi-fi.

The Man Who Was Trapped Inside A Stock Photography Catalogue

You will see me smiling
on overcrowded tube trains,
gloating over my home insurance policy,

pointing triumphantly at a sales report,
to the incredulity of my colleagues,
in corporate brochure spreads,

beachcombing with my Facebook family
in a glossy back page advert
in a doctors’ grubby waiting room.

I’m pristine; my white teeth gleam,
blue eyes twinkle, I possess no wrinkles.
My hair is impeccably tousled.

I am subject to the tyranny of perfection;
an ad agency’s immaculate conception
with inbuilt marketing collateral damage.

Just for once, I would like my spreadsheet
not to add up, or my shirt to be stained,
or have my stock photography wife and kids up

and leave me when my drinking gets too much
following poorly-made investments with the money
I stole from a charity box for crippled orphans.

At least it’s quiet in between assignments,
as I sit and wait here, in the catalogue,
and reflect upon this terrible beauty
we have both been born into.

“Life is an Inspirational Quote.”

Every day is a second chance.
And each day is a festering boil you must lance.

Paint the sky and make it yours.
Add this fun task to your long list of chores.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
It helps you pretend that you made it through college.

Be positive and turn your can’ts into cans.
And watch your cans carted off in recycling vans.

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
It is hard to think of a quote that is wronger.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
Except for the fact that hope ends at fourteen.

Life is so much brighter when we focus on what really matters.
That’s assuming your dreams are not already in tatters.

You’re in control. Be the change you wish to see.
You haven’t even got the change for a cup of tea.

A beautiful life begins with a beautiful mind.
In a world full of pain and misery, it’s not so easy to find.

Treat life like a trusted and old faithful friend.
Why not, but SPOILER ALERT: we all die in the end.

Giving Up

A New Year for a New You,
a chance to give up the bad things
that you do.

Give up the fags, the birds, the booze,
the coke, the crack, the Reds, the blues.

Give up procrastination, shirking, shilly-shallying,
the dodging, ducking and constant dilly-dallying.

Give up all that bleeding effing and blinding,
late-night teeth-grinding, first-thing fault-finding.

Give up box sets and lying on the sofa,
the dream of having more lovers than Cassanova.

Give up overeating and underachieving,
the hopes for the future you used to believe in.

Give up picking noses, nits, scabs and fights,
complaining about infringement of your civil rights.

Give up the career that’s going nowhere fast,
the watching of the clock, the dwelling on the past.

Give up the ghost of a chance to dance
or of being given a first or second glance.

Give up your obsession with the young Gary Numan
(in fact, give up the things that make us all human;
the failures, the hurt, the pains, and rejections,
the settling for any of life’s imperfections.

Give them all up at the drop of a pin
or at least ’til the 2nd when it’s time
to give in.