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The graffiti spreads like muck along the walkways
In the lifts and on the stairs;
BOLLOCKS TO THE POLL TAX
TANYA SUCKS and CORINNE FUCKS
The stench of urine everywhere
This calcified menagerie
Bakes hearts as hard as concrete
Solidifies old attitudes, buries hope
Here, echoes of hollow laughter
Ghost through the floors
Children play high-rise hopscotch
And stilettos click rhythmically
Along tuneless corridors
Another circus of misfits
Adrift in the maze
Cocooned in captivity
In this graceless legacy
Of the stack-em-high days
The sun also rises over concrete
Over this puff-adder sky
And the pricked-up chimneys
Looking like piss-horns in the stark morning
There are no shadows yet
On this marbled plain
So tender in years
But so sparing with love
I shiver at the bus stop
Admiring this proliferation of granite;
So cold, so hard,
So like you….
GOD IS NOT A GOOD TRAVELLER
God is not a good traveler
He has not been to Kinshasa
As far as I know
Nor has he been to Sierra Leone
As I am sure he would crow.
He has never been to Aleppo
Buachi, Zaria or Es Sider either
Perhaps he should takes Kipling’s advice;
‘The first condition of understanding
A foreign country is to smell it’
BIG BANG THEORY
‘Sorry sir, there is no more room for memories
The past is full up’
Just lately it seems to be turning out that way
Which, when you think of it, must make sense
How much history can be shovelled down one hole
Before it overflows with past events?
And what of the future,
Did it all start with a big bang in the past?
If it’s true, like they say,
How long can the present last?
Before the Expanding Universe swallows
Up all of time?
And nothing more can happen
Because something or other
Has crossed the dividing line
This bad penny will not conform
Because my minds a blank
But then so is the penny –
At least on the reverse side.
It may not be a bad penny at all;
It’s edges are serrated
And it twirls when I spin it.
Ten times out of ten it lands
Fancy side up;
Perhaps there is a good side
To this bad penny
THE BEAR NECESSITIES
‘What kind of animal are you then?’, she asked me.
‘Well’, I replied
‘I do not growl like a bear, I roar like a lion’.
‘Ah, one of them, are you?’
‘No actually, I’m more of a bear to be honest’.
‘Oh, they’re fearsome creatures, they are’.
‘Not really’, I said ‘once you get to know them.
For instance, take me
The other day, whilst in my bear mode –
Brown bear, I might add –
I took a notion to frighten some motorists.
I spotted a likely candidate and stepped from
Behind my tree hiding-place
And plonked myself in the middle of the road.
Then a motorist stopped and began berating me’,
You’re an ugly brown bear, you should be ashamed;
Trying to frighten people
Get out of my way. Don’t you know who I am?
I didn’t, but he told me anyway.
I am Ernest Hemingway.
The world is full of poets
And most of them know it
Rhyming couplets with fucklets
Never thinking ‘dark chocolates’
Most of them over some visionary hill
Buying notebooks they will never fill
Looking for loves lost something-or-other
Or wondering why they never hated their mother.
Oh yes, a poet’s life is thankless
Almost as bad as a life lived wankless
Every month a ritual enactment
For the rent man
Mother, floury nose and doughed-up hands,
Us children banished to the scullery,
A whispered ‘don’t you laugh now’
A silent prayer
And the teapot ready
Beside the rent book.
Every month ‘good morning Mrs Moran’
Lovely day to be sure’ and
YesI will have a cup of tea, thank you’
And every month a glowing red nose,
Lit up like a hot coal.
Every month silence from the scullery
Until the day little Tommy fell off his perch
And tumbled through the scullery door
To land in a heap in front
Of that illuminated face.
And then mother turning,
The sugar bowl in her hand
Saying – much too casually –
‘How many sugars would you like on your nose?’
The wives and mistresses
All mealy grins and doughy skins
With their ever-wet holes
And their second-hand sins
Watching as the mirror butterflies their faces
Twinned with depthless images of themselves
Wronged women staring back in anguish
Each flopped vacuously on vacant shelves
Leftovers or left behinds
None are sure of which is which
All of them are certain of one thing though;
It’s one of the others
That is the biggest bitch.
The cigarette smoke hangs like tear gas
In the mean little honky-tonk
But nobody really gives a shit
Because Jerry is in town.
He arrives without fanfare
And seats himself down
Gimme my money and show me the piano
And don’t try and act the hound
This is rockabilly, baby
Forget about Elvis and Johnny
Jerry has just kicked the door down.
Jerry can conjure a thousand songs
And play each one seven different ways
He can make your high heel sneakers
Dance the legs off every other cat in the place
I aint no phoney
I ain’t no teddy bear
And I don’t talk baloney
As I say to my bass player
I ain’t no goody-goody
But I was born to be on the stage
It was all I ever dreamed of
From the very earliest age.
Jerry plays it slow and mournful or hard and fast
He once told Chuck Berry he could kiss his ass
And across the arc of bad-boy rockers
Who have come and gone
Jerry is the only one still rocking on
Sure, there were some bad times that caused his
Rocket ship to sputter
Like the year he crashed a dozen Cadillac’s
And was heard to utter
You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane
You broke my will, oh what a thrill
Goodness gracious great balls of fire
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