poetry

A Poem, Strong and Stable

How blessed am I
to live beneath a strong and stable sky
and the warmth it enables me
from a sun that shines down,
strongly and stably.

Me, with these strong and stable legs,
that take me past the queues
of people – long unable to be fed –
waiting to give thanks
outside the strong and stable food banks,

and beyond where the library once was,
now strongly converted
to stable a private medical centre,
that makes the sick (but financially abler)
stronger and stabler.

And further on, the school
strongly lacking in staple equipment –
whiteboards, books, teachers –
all signs of a strong and stable commitment
to the dismantling of lives.

I thank the government
for such strong and stable times
then wander to the park, alone,
pausing to watch a cricket match.
I bend to sit upon the bench,

and fall through its rotted slats.

Revolution, Inc.

This social movement protest is brought to you
in association with Pepsi –
putting the pop into popular demonstrations
for generations.

If all that shouting is making you hungry,
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even when being brutally beaten by the police
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cleansing tyranny since the Ancien Régime .

We hope you enjoyed this protest brought to you
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Tales from the Bunker

Back in the White House
from the club house,

putting
America first,

he would tell tales
of eagles and albatrosses

and the swagger
of his stroke play.

Hoping to blind
the truth

by kicking up sand
from his bunker,

swinging wildly
out of the rough,

these stories
of eighteen holes

and the ball’s
uneven lie.

Breaking News

We interrupt this poem to bring you reports
of an explosion

of wild untruths and other signs that the news
is broken.

Early indications from those who were first
on the scene

have led to widespread fears of another Sweden
or Bowling Green

and that peace might erupt at any moment
in other places.

It is believed that amongst the rubble of reality
were found traces

of humanity and an understanding that stretches
beyond borders.

Many experts predict this will lead to a new wave
of presidential orders

for such trumped-up charges form part of
a familiar pattern.

But back to the poem: we’ll bring you more news
as it doesn’t happen.

On Escaping from Nature

The birds are at it again,
arguing about Brexit
from their branches;

the smug song of a starling,
the crows’ cry
of blue murder,

and the inexpert chatter
of a so-called chaffinch.
Across the street,

a dog cocks its leg
against a lamppost
in protest against

the chronic neglect
of the National Health Service.
A leaf lies ignored

on the pavement
it slept on last night,
and dreams of home.

Further out,
in surrounding fields,
cows hold seminars

on the refugee crisis
and the pigs debate
what to do about Syria.

Goats stare bleakly
from desolate crags,
remembering Trump.

Soon it will be time
for the penguins to march
against global warming.

I do what I can
to keep nature at bay,
drown it out

with radio or TV,
find refuge
in the tranquillity of Twitter.

But it’s late now
and outside
I can hear the owls

calling parliament
into session
once more.

The Flowers of the Garage Forecourt

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.

From The Encyclopedia of Alternative Facts

Frankenstein was the monster’s name.
There’s no such thing as climate change.
A solero is a type of hat.
The planet is not round but flat.

Six is the legal drinking age.
Women are paid an equal wage.
Elvis was influenced by Take That.
The planet is not round but flat.

Achilles had a dodgy knee.
Terror comes from refugees.
Insomnia affects most cats.
The planet is not round but flat.

There are no fascists on the rise.
A politician never lies.
It’s impossible to change a fact.
The planet is not round but flat.

Baby on Board

This badge
proudpinned to my lapel

may proclaim Baby on Board
but it fails to dispel

the mistrust that sits
around me. Suspicion crams

itself into the carriage.
They would rather see me hang.

Me! With my aching back
and Monday morning sickness,

these need-to-go-to-bed eyes,
and a belly that thickens

beneath my shirt
like skin on a rice pudding.

Me! A clearly pregnant man
in his forties, unshaven

with three days’ stubble
who is experiencing unruly cravings

for pistachio ice cream
and shredded wheat.

But no, not a single
please, DO have this seat.

I suppose that’s what happens
in these post-truth days;

no-one believes anything
another says.

Inside, I feel
something stirring.

I clutch at straps
for the remaining journey.