Trump

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.

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.

Halloween, 2016

This Halloween, I shall dress as the year 2016
and emit a frightful, fulgent sheen
from my orange-pumpkin-Donald-Trumpkin head.

I shall adopt the gait of Theresa May’s Living Dead,
and howl like a slithy Gove under a waxy moon.
My chest will be scarred with Brexit wounds.

I shall visit all doorsteps across this haunted land
with a leer on my face and a beer in my hand,
like a phantasmal, sharp-fanged Nigel Farage.

A dagger will be sticking out of my back
(the Severed Hand of Boris will still be attached).
And there, trailing behind me, poor fools,

will be the ghosts of the heroes you’d pinned to your walls,
all those pop stars and comics and actors
who filled up your lives with music and laughter.

Alongside them will be the bombed and the drowned,
the beheaded, the starved, the blown-up, the gunned-down,
from American nightclubs to Syrian towns.

So Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween!
If you’re not in when I knock, no fear;
I’ll be here all year.

Pigs

Truth had it coming, if you ask me.
All those drab facts,
that dull insistence upon
looking at things as they really are,

shoulder-barging
the stories we would like to hear
out of the way like that.
It’s a surprise it lasted so long.

Far better now
that we can wrap ourselves
in untruth, and emote our way
through the days.

I like to tell one untruth
before breakfast,
then three more by lunch,
with a further seven by bedtime.

No, I never said that.
Yes, I did declare all my income.
Yes, I know exactly how you feel.
No, I did not eat the biscuits that were in the tin.

And should any so-called ‘expert’
point at the crumbs
which nestle in the corners of my mouth,
my bottom lip shall tremble,

and I shall say, pity me –
for, since my neighbour moved in,
these crumbs represent
all I have left in the world.

Every night I hear him
sneaking into my home
and helping himself
to another handful of biscuits.

And I shall say these words
with such passion
and such conviction,
over and over and over,

until the pigs
begin to sing in the trees,
and my untruth
becomes a kind of truth itself.