poetry

Fixtures

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love nothing more
than to commune with Mother Nature.
But what can I do? It’s out of my hands:
Nigeria are playing Croatia.
 
What’s that? Another meal on your own?
You’re quite right, there is nothing bleaker.
But this is the big one. I’ve waited all day.
Switzerland – Costa Rica.
 
Sorry I shall miss your mum’s funeral
but I should be there in time for the wake.
Do understand, it’s Morocco – Iran
and for both teams there’s so much at stake.
 
I see that you’ve filed for divorce.
I’ll sign the papers as soon as I can,
just ten minutes more (plus time added on)
of Colombia versus Japan.

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The Unsound Alphabet

The question ‘Can you spell that for me, please?’
when I am on the phone and ill at ease
is enough to fill my heart with dread
because the words that pop into my head

come randomly, unplanned, frenetic:
my examples panicked, unphonetic.
I should take time to think. Just wait a while.
But no, ‘A,’ I will blurt, ‘as in … “aisle”.’

“Bdellium” I declare to illustrate B
(bravo for knowing that’s gum from a tree).
No Charlie for me, rather “Czar” I will cry.
My D is “Djibouti”. My E is an “eye”.

At least with F, I cannot go wrong
although “floccinaucinihilipilification” is probably too long.
It’s like aural GBH. “Gnat” and “honour” don’t work.
My choice for I must be starting to “irk”.

For reasons unclear, my J is a “Juan”.
Of all the Ks I could choose, “knee” is the one.
For L, a place-name! But not Lima, oh no:
“Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.”

‘That’s right, M,’ I blather, ‘as in “mnemonic”.’
People generally “ngwee”, my N is moronic.
“Ouija” I offer. No Oscar for me.
For P, “pterodactyl”, for Q I use “quay”.

Which is the right “right” to write? It’s a farce!
They must think I’m talking out of my Rs.
I declare ‘S as in “sea”.’ I can’t take it back,
like T for “Tchaikovsky”, a tough nut to crack.

Then there’s “urn” and “volk”, I know it’s far-fetched.
My W attempt makes me feel such a “wretch”.
I talk of “Xylophones”, “Yttrium” and old “Zaragoza”.
All hopeless, unsound. I just shouldn’t bother.

She’s Opted Out of Me

She’s unsubscribed from all my lists.
She tells me I will not be missed.
She’d only joined when she was pissed.
She’s opted out of me.

She’s updated all her preferences.
She’s removed me from her references.
She can’t see what my relevance is.
She’s opted out of me.

She says that she is sick of me.
She claims she wants some privacy.
I’ve opted into misery
Now she’s opted out of me.

Updates to my Privacy Policy

I am updating my Privacy Policy
as part of my ongoing commitment
to not being found,

using simple-to-understand language,
such as please go away
and just leave me alone.

I will not share myself with third parties,
dinner parties or fancy dress parties.
For offers of free biscuits,

please consult my Cookie Policy.
My privacy is important to me
as is this duvet.

You are receiving this poem
because you have expressed an interest
in receiving this poem.

You can unsubscribe from this poem
at any time, by clicking here.

Castaways

A bottle with a message
floated in upon the tide.
The sea is blue and so am I,
said the note inside.

Next day on the beach,
a plastic bag washed up.
Inside, another letter:
Come rescue me. I’m stuck.

In the kelp, a cry for help:
drowning in Styrofoam,
written on a coffee cup,
beneath Latte 4 Jerome.

The day after, thin tubes
were spread along the shore,
spelling out the words:
T H E  F I N A L  S T R A W.

Two weeks on, the beach was plastic.
Itself, an unanswered message:
castaways washed up on the sand,
and out to sea, the wreckage.

ee cummings attempts online banking

Now enter a password.
i carry your heart with me

Password too long. Please try again.
i carry your ear with me

Spaces are not allowed. Please try again.
icarryyourearwithme

Passwords need to contain at least one uppercase letter. Please try again.

No activity has been detected for three minutes. Please try again.

This page is about to expire. Please enter your new password.
ICarryYourEarWithMe

Passwords must contain at least one digit. Please try again.
1CarryY0urEarWithMe

Passwords must contain at least one special character. Please try again.
1CarryY0ur👂🏻WithMe

Emojis are not supported on this platform at this time. Please enter a new password.

No activity has been detected for three minutes. Please try again.

This page is about to expire. Please enter a new password.
AbCd1234&!%

Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Be My Friend on Facebook  

But enough about me, he said. What about you?
Tell me about the things you like to do,
your loves and passions, where you’re from,
your friends and family, the high school prom.
The books you’ve read, the songs you play,
how many steps you’ve walked today.
Your favourite team, the links you click,
and why not show me all your pics
and every message you’ve ever sent,
your phone contacts, and each event
you’ve attended – parties, gigs, street protests.
Oh, and every opinion that you’ve expressed.
 
I’ll share, too. Then serve it back to you:
it helps to optimise the ad click-thru’s.
Whole lives reduced to data sets,
algorithmic, summed up, expressed;
calculations based on hopes and fears
to influence what then appears
and manipulate the world that’s seen,
a rough harvesting of humanity.

Gremlin

A gremlin’s meddling in state affairs.
He lives beneath the White House stairs
in a cupboard stocked with fake tan jars
and shelves of tarnished samovars.

He creeps out at the witching hour
to sabotage the wheels of power
and make them turn the way he chooses.
And how his puppetry amuses!

The Gremlin’s own Petrushka doll,
a clown hand-carved to play this role.
A wooden, empty-headed thing!
See him dance as he pulls the strings.