Politics

Out of the Rain

We ran down the high street and into the pub,
as we cheated the rain that fell from above,
dodging the puddles that had formed on the floor.
Such a beautiful day for a nuclear war.

You draped your wet coat on the back of your chair,
We emptied our drinks. The rain dripped from your hair.
A Guinness. A whiskey. Then I went back for more.
What a beautiful day for a nuclear war.

We talked. Pop songs. First pets. Favourite film stars.
We flicked pistachio shells into a jar.
You tried not to yawn. You must have thought me a bore.
It was a beautiful day for a nuclear war.

The days have changed now but I keep that one apart.
I carry it with me, tattooed on my heart.
The Guinness. Your wet hair. The dress that that you wore.
Such a beautiful day for a nuclear war.

CTRL ALT-RIGHT DEL

The world lurches, a violent SHIFT
the RETURN of Nazis to our streets.
But do not let it get you ,
press CTRL ALT → DEL.

Fascism should serve no Fn.
It’s an ugly BACKSPACE into history.
We must be > the hatred,
to ESC we have the key.

Keep upon intolerance.
Send racism into retreat.
To END hate, we need to INSERT love
and press CTRL ALT → DEL.

The White House

They’re redecorating the White House
in washed-out tones of white,
Moon Shimmer and Frosted Dawn,
Rock Salt and Morning Light.

Bleached Lichen in the kitchen.
The bedrooms – White Mist’s the plan.
The Oval Office is Absolute White.
All painted by the Du Lux Klan.

57 Varieties of Brexit

Hard Brexit. Soft Brexit.
Wave-your-arms-aloft Brexit.
Quick Brexit. Slow Brexit.
Eat-it-on-the-go Brexit.
Smooth Brexit. Rough Brexit.
Creamy-powder-puff Brexit.
Damp Brexit. Moist Brexit.
Putting-Britain-Foist Brexit.
Fat Brexit. Thin Brexit.
Bear-it-with-a-grin Brexit.
Sliced Brexit. Ground Brexit.
Decline-of-the-pound Brexit.
This Brexit. That Brexit.
Hold-on-to-your-hat Brexit.
Black Brexit. White Brexit.
Shove-it-in-your-pipe Brexit.
Ant’s Brexit. Dec’s Brexit.
What-is-coming-next Brexit.
Which Brexit. Why Brexit.
Big-bus-with-a-lie Brexit.
Rich Brexit. Poor Brexit.
What-was-life-before Brexit.
Wet Brexit. Dry Brexit.
Makes-me-want-to-cry Brexit.
Broke Brexit. Bruised Brexit.
Clothed Brexit. Nude Brexit.
Doomed Brexit. Dead Brexit.
Can’t-get-out-of-bed Brexit.
Brave Brexit. Weak Brexit.
Despair-by-Clinique Brexit
Tim Brexit. Pam Brexit.
Why-is-there-no-plan Brexit.
Bruised Brexit. Broken Brexit.
The-People-Have-Spoken Brexit.
Arthouse Brexit. Absurd Brexit.
Just-think-of-any-word Brexit.
Sponge Brexit. Punk rock Brexit.
Flip-flop-hip-hop-chip-shop Brexit.
Donald Brexit. Brexit Brexit.
Brexit-Brexit-Brexit Brexit.

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.

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.

As I Grow Old I Will March Not Shuffle

As I grow old
I will not shuffle to the beat
of self-interest
and make that slow retreat
​​​to the right.

I will be a septuagenarian insurrectionist
marching with the kids. I shall sing
‘La Marseillaise’, whilst brandishing
homemade placards that proclaim
‘DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING’.

I will be an octogenarian obstructionist,
and build unscalable barricades
from bottles of flat lemonade,
tartan blankets and chicken wire.
I will hurl prejudice upon the brazier’s fire.

I will be a nonagenarian nonconformist,
armed with a ballpoint pen
and a hand that shakes with rage not age
at politicians’ latest crimes,
in strongly-worded letters to The Times.

I will be a centenarian centurion
and allow injustice no admittance.
I will stage longstanding sit-ins.
My mobility scooter and I
will move for no-one.

And when I die
I will be the scattered ashes
that attach themselves to the lashes
and blind the eyes
of racists and fascists.