writing

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.

Love in the Time of Cauliflower

Please marrow me, my beloved sweetpea,
so that we may beetroot to our hearts.
Lettuce have the courgette of our convictions
and our love elevated to Great Artichoke.

Don’t leek me feeling this way, my dear,
such lofty asparagus can’t be ignored.
I am a prisoner, trapped in your celery;
Don’t make me go back to the drawing broad beans.

We all carry emotional cabbage:
love is chard and not inconsequential,
but may our passion be uncucumbered
so that we reach our true potato.

Oh, how your onions make my head spinach,
reduce me to mushrooms, broccoli, defenceless.
Only you can salsify my desire,
and I, in turnip, will radish you senseless.

love poem, inadvertently written with auto-carrot switched on

The Kindness of Strangers

There is a beauty
that walks in the darkness,
makes its way
among the bombs
and broken lives,

offers blankets
and shoulders to cry on,
puts on kettles
and bandages,
mends what it can,

and asks
for not one thing back,
as it wraps
in its arms
the troubled night,

and waits
for morning
and its pale sunlight.

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.

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.

The Flowers of the Garage Forecourt

Budding lovers beware
of the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt;
they are not for courting.

Love will not blossom
with the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt,
these blundering bouquets

of cellophaned sadness:
the slip-road roses and tarmacked tulips,
petrol pump peonies

and crushed-dream chrysanthemums.
All those dahlias of desperation.
The I-forgot-you forget-me-nots.

Please know this, would-be customers
of the Flowers of the Garage Forecourt:
romance wilts with a lack of forethought.

In Search Of Lost Tomes

I had forgotten that —
for a long time — I went to bed early,
seduced by Proust,
who so often had le mot juste
about affairs of the heart
and the nature of art,
and all that stuff.

But life and things passed,
gave way to armchaired collapse
in front of a screen,
scrolling through memes,
watching videos of cats.

Until one evening,
when retrieving the remote,
I found you again, on the shelf,
as if stumbling upon a swan’s nest
amongst the reeds, hidden,
your pages like fresh linen.

Written to commemorate the death of Marcel Proust, 18th November 1922.

Thief

You caught me stealing
a glance at you.

Ordered me
to empty out my pockets.

I shook my booty
onto the table:

a swiped charge card,
a nose I’d pinched,

one poached egg,
a ruler (half-inched),

a gaze I’d shifted,
some spirits lifted,

and other
stolen moments.

You told me
to stop thieving

and start behaving.

Fat chance.

I would even nick myself
shaving.