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.


Love was being left on the table.
Assets were unleveraged, needles unmoved.
Low-hanging fruit dangled down forlornly,
awaiting plucking.

He’d eaten the reality sandwich
and knew a new game plan was needed;
something to deliver a bang for his buck,
open the kimono, rub his rhubarb.

He sought alignment.

He flipcharted in the ideation laboratory,
pondered his own value proposition;
it remained unclear as to whether he had one.
He noted this down as a pain point.

He reviewed his immediate pipeline:
Fran from finance; Linda from sales;
Barbara from inhumane resources.
He imagined hotdesking them,
onboarding them, piggybacking them.
The thought was as welcome
as putting socks on an octopus.

So he thought out of the box,
bought in external lists based on key attributes:
Gender (female); Age (25-35);
Status (unmarried / unhappily married);
Interests (sex / cooking / golf).

Prospects were surveyed,
core competencies interrogated 
and hot leads pumped into his funnel 
for further nurturing and nurdling.

Only Melissa from Melton Mowbray 
survived the process; the capability matrix
clearly showed that she was where
the rubber hit the road. 

He brought her in for a focus group,
with a view to further quality function deployment,
and sat and listened to the Voice of the Customer.

She thought him a twat.


when Jane described Clarence
as being like an onion,
he was thrilled to think
she saw him as multi-layered,
with such a lot going on
beneath the surface that
only after much peeling
would the revealing
of the real Clarence
become apparent

and so, later,
he was disappointed
to hear that she was referring
to his purple-red, papery skin
and the fact
that he would
occasionally emit
a volatile gas
that would bring tears
to her eyes

Phoney Existence

she was sick
of seeing Keith
playing with it

any opportunity
he would whip it out,
like a magician
producing a bunch
of plastic flowers
from under a gaudy silk scarf
for an audience
long since inured to ennui

she imagined
it was the weight of it
in his hand
that appealed,
as an assassin,
creeping up the staircase,
finds reassurance
in his revolver

the evening when her parents
came over for dinner,
she could tell
Keith was fiddling with it
under the table
from his glassy-eyed look
of distracted concentration

the fidgeting, the fudgeting,
the fingering, the lingering looks
he gave it when he wasn’t holding it,
(looks he never gave her anymore)
depressed her,
pushed her buttons

that Christmas, in desperation,
she bought him a phone
and he never played with it again


five years passed
before Denise
admitted to herself
that they were never
going to get it together

yes, they were close
but it was like there was
something missing

and although they
worked on it together,
talked things through,
looked at it from all angles,
tried new things out
(this way and that),
it never seemed
quite right

why Mike should think
that flat-pack assembly
was such a good idea,
Denise would never know

Little Poems

She would write
little poems for me,
and scatter them
around the house,
like unexpected confetti.

Elliptically cryptic
in construction,
these notes of seduction
defied further

2 tins toms, read one,
Cuc x 3, caulie, bread rolls.
Dead Sea Scrolls
would be decidedly
more easily

I came to adore
these lettres d’amour,
and would secretly clamour
for their post-it-note

Boiler on blink. Phone man.
said another.
Dinner in dog
whilst perhaps
not the prettiest
was one of her

Prosaically profound,
part-Ayres, part-Pound,
her poems
would confound.
I hate you
And I hate your stupid face.
I am leaving you.

was the pinnacle,
so crisp

and so clinical.

Such a shame
she disappeared
shortly after that.