Budding lovers beware
of the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt;
they are not for courting.
Love will not blossom
with the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt,
these blundering bouquets
of cellophaned sadness:
the slip-road roses and tarmacked tulips,
petrol pump peonies
and crushed-dream chrysanthemums.
All those dahlias of desperation.
The I-forgot-you forget-me-nots.
Please know this, would-be customers
of the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt:
romance wilts with a lack of forethought.
Channel-flicking on the television,
a sudden flicker of recognition,
and there you are, lighting up the screen.
You’ve not changed much, it seems.
The selfsame eyes of grey flint,
those touchpaper lips,
that shocking blaze
of hair. It’s as if the days
lit by time’s slow-burnt passage
are reduced to ashes.
An old flame, charcoaled
back to life by the controlled
hand of a police sketch artist.
I see you’re still up to your old tricks,
wanted, as you are, for questioning
in connection with
a spate of arson attacks
in the vicinity of Matlock Bath.
Her interest in him
then gradually eroded.
Like an update
to Adobe Reader,
he’d never be downloaded.
She lights the dark and makes it shine,
Sweeps the clouds behind the moon,
And lays the stars out in the sky,
As though hearts and heavens strewn.
Any 2 topping medium pizzas
to collect in store for just £7.99.
The earth, it trembles to her touch
Mountains slump and earthquakes start,
The cliff-edge crumbles as I clutch
And continents drift apart.
Why not try our cheese-stuffed crust?
I hear the birds sing out her name
Through each lonely day ’til night,
And see her in the dancing flame
Of the flickering candle-light.
Our rich, seasoned potato wedges
come to you served hot from the oven.
Unbearable this world would be
Without her in its midst;
If Death should come to visit me
Then I could not resist.
Don’t forget to claim your free portion
of garlic bread upon recital of this poem.
I had to write this poem again.
I left the first draft on the train
and now it doesn’t look the same.
The original was a paean to Love,
to Truth, to Beauty. It soared above
the everyday and all that stuff.
It would have healed estranged lovers’ rifts,
stilled the sands on which time shifts
and stopped the world before it drifts
further into quagmired crisis,
ended famine, toppled ISIS.
Employed ingenious literary devices.
I tried my hardest to recall
its words and rhymes, the rise and fall
of the carefully cadenced crawl
through the English language.
But it caused me pain and anguish
for there was little I could salvage.
It certainly didn’t end with a line like this.
Sing to me your songs of sweet, sweet love,
and set your music afloat on the breeze.
Or write me a sonnet straight from the heart
and carve your words upon on an oak tree.
Or proclaim to me a constitution of love
and make your rules and principles clear.
Or if you don’t have time to write such a thing,
then whisper soft, hushed words in my ear.
Or scrawl something down on a post-it note
so you don’t need to think too hard.
Or if you’ve got a spare postage stamp,
you could always send a postcard.
Or maybe leave a message with my mum
(07823 666 403)
as you’ve not been in touch for nearly six years
and I’m worried you might be avoiding me.
There is plenty
we can do
in an extra hour.
We could play
Strip Jenga; you can
topple my tower.
We could sprinkle
with self-raising flour
(if it’s too claggy
it’ll wash off
in the shower)
you’re a cover drive
and I’m David Gower.
But let’s first
give your fan oven
a much-needed scour.