We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to the wrong kind of deal,
which indeed is any kind of deal
that might make your forward journey possible
at this time.
Passengers are advised to seek
alternative countries
where available.

We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to a mechanical fault
in the machinery of government.
A team of engineers is working to fix this problem.
We hope to continue on our journey
in the autumn of 2055.

Passengers are advised
that a government replacement service
will not be operating on these routes
at this time.

We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to leavers on the line.
A buffet car serving refreshments,
including hot and cold snacks,
will not be available.

Passengers are advised
to somehow keep their sense of belonging with them
at all times.
We would like to apologise for the delay,
signalling failure
at this time.

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.

You Bagged All the Seats

You bagged all the seats
and created a buffer zone
out of all that you own.

For the rest of the carriage,
it was a marriage
of inconvenience.

Your stacked-up stockpiles
forced us into the aisles,
like unwanted children

from your luggage love-in.
You, ignorant of those who queued,
remained sandbagged in solitude.

But maybe this was unfair
and there were good reasons
to have your belongings there.

Perhaps, there was a lack
of space on the rack,
or your knapsack was having a nap.

Or did they house vital information,
which, if in the wrong hands,
might bring down Our Great Nation?

Are you a tropical disease carrier
who, to prevent further cases,
built the Great Big Bag Barrier.

Or are you a crusader
for luggage liberty and equality?
Maybe bags have rights like you and me.

Or perhaps,
it is that
you are simply
a twat.

Tube Strike

The day the tubes went on strike
there was mess everywhere,
in cupboards and cabinets and forgotten-about drawers,
on shelves, in boxes, and across bathroom floors.

Toothpaste hastened across wash basins
whilst ointments oozed without appointments
into places they shouldn’t have been,
mixing with overzealous gels, unguents and lubes,
and creams to assist in the removal of pubes,
as all lotions became one for lack of their tubes.

Kitchen floors became beaches strewn with shingle,
crunching underfoot sour cream and chive Pringles,
mixed in with a smattering of scattered smarties,
like the confectionary confetti of children’s parties.

was the mantra of the tube campaigners.
Parity with tin cans and bottles, they believed,
would end their fear of being constantly squeezed.

Whether they were successful, no-one quite knew.
The next day, there was a lot of clearing up to do.