I remember watching the cars go by
From the back seat of my Dad’s Cavalier –
A rep-mobile, that would sometimes change
Into a Sierra, or something near.

I could name them all, down the motorway,
From the back seat of my Dad’s works’ Rover
By make and model, and sometimes trim,
And dreamt of driving them all twice over.

But when I left home with a job,
It didn’t come with its own Passat –
And I was living in digs in London,
Without a garage, and that was that.

Besides, there’s never any parking,
And what there is will costs me loads –
And if the Tube is crowded, well,
Then you should see the roads !

But still I eye the kerbside cars
Beyond the pay of my nine-to-five –
And fantasise which one I’d have,
If I’d only learned to drive.

Until my sensible shoes recall
The fossil fuels and rusting hulks –
And the boy inside with the brum-brum dreams
Just sits in the back seat and sulks.

Any Colour You Like, as Long as it’s Charcoal

Any Colour You Like, as Long as it’s Charcoal

When did cars become so boring ?
When did roads become less roaring ?
When did bland become okay ?
Paintjobs dull as office flooring –
Offered in a monochrome of grey.

Call it Silver, call it Graphite,
Brooding Shadow, Summer Midnight
Any guff that comes to mind –
But once we see them in the light
You’re surely fooling no-one but the blind.

White and black are offered too,
And boy, that’s really big of you,
But what will people think ?
Leary over red or blue,
And terrified of lemon, lime, or pink.

Remember – we were bright and fun
Before the mortgage and school run ?
Oh, we were colourful and proud !
The dial tuned to Radio 1 –
Not Archers, Proms, or Magic, not too loud.

The reason, I suspect, is that
Our Chelsea Tractors grew so fat
Our excess-baggage showed.
And so we dressed them down in matt
To blend in with the tarmac of the road.

And as a side-effect, we get
To hide the dirt and hide the threat
That purple-headed Greens advance.
So boring cars are worth it yet
To motor on in blissful ignorance.

The Sins of the Fathers

The Sins of the Fathers

It wasn’t our hands
Which pressed the button, pulled the lever,
Signed the warrant, wrung the neck,
Or delivered the commands.

It wasn’t our hands
Which pointed the gun, swung the cleaver,
Stiffled a yawn, cleaned the fleck
Of bloodstain off our bands.

No, those were our fathers,
Our monsters, whose surnames we bare –
Names that echo everywhere,
Our shameful brands.

But we are not our fathers,
Despite all that we share.
We carry still their genes, their glands –
But not their hands.

If we had been where they were,
Would we have acted the same ?
Do they run deeper than their name,
Through our hinterlands ?

We’ll never know, though we prefer
To think that we would not have killed.
But we are here, our future in our hands –
Let’s use them now to build.

Tidal Locking

Tidal Locking

The Moon is locked into the Earth,
She only shows her best side,
Keeps her dark side turned away.
But the Earth has nothing to hide,
Beneath her gaze, we spin on full display,
For the Earth is not beholden to the Moon –
Not yet, at least –
And it won’t be soon,
For the Earth is a massive beast.
Yet the Moon is trying, trying,
And will yet succeed, one day –
But not before the seas have boiled away.

Now take a smaller star instead,
Like Proxima Centauri –
Very dwarven, very red,
But orbiting we see Proxima b
A planet similar to Earth,
A tenth as close as Mercury
With liquid water on its bed –
Except, to be precise,
More likely steam and ice,
With one side always baking dry,
The other frozen, dark and dead
You see, when this close in, it does not spin –
But wait, that’s wrong,
We ought to say it has a year-long day.
(About eleven Earth-days long).

Now let’s imagine orbiting round Rigel,
A super-blue, so hot and bright,
And though a massive mass, his heat and light
Outpace his gravity –
So if we were to move the Earth to where
We’ll get a decent share to keep it all anthropical,
To keep the Arctic icy and to keep the tropics tropical,
We wouldn’t be so deep within his spacetime cavity.
You see – we’d need to be about, say, twelve-times-Neptune out –
That’s over two light-days.
Our seasons would last centuries, our year now thirteen-hundred years
And all to catch enough, but strictly not too many rays.
And actually, the daylight would be rather dim, I hear –
As most of Rigel’s output, it appears,
Is in the UV band,
And not the visible so much, not that far out.
So even though it’s warm, no doubt,
The photosynthesis of plants now won’t get such a shout,
While all of us get super-tanned.
His stellar wind is vicious, but I think we could withstand
From this far off – but satellites may end in tears.
But at least we get to spin on our own gears,
So that’s a win.
Rigel hasn’t got a hope to lock us in !

As I understand it, a planet wouldn’t naturally form so far out from its parent star, as there’s not enough material. Of course, it could be a captured rogue planet or ripped from another star.

Also, I saw Rigel’s name written bown in the astronomy books of my youth long before I hard anyone ever pronounce it, so gor me Rigel will always have a hard G.

A Nonny Mouse

A Nonny Mouse

We all of us
Are branded and defined –
So that must make me…
If you catch my name
Then all the better,
But I won’t be the one
To drop it, not a letter.
Cos if I’m any good,
Then you’ll suss it in the end –
It’ll beam through the ether,
It’ll come round the bend.
But in the meantime
Go easy on the fame,
Cos my ego can take it
If you don’t know my name.

If you really wanna know
You can learn it –
But honestly,
I think I gotta earn it.
And all the folks
Who helped me along,
They’re worth a hand,
They’re worth a whole-damn song –
But they’re more then gabbled names,
They’re more than anecdotes –
And since you’ve never heard of them,
Best save it for the liner-notes.
But if you leave here
With a head full of fun,
Then whatever my name,
My work is done.

Purity Error

Purity Error

Back in the days of cathode rays,
Electron guns of RGB
Would bring the colour to TV –
Except they could get out of phase
If unwanted magnetic strays
Would tamper with the purity.

And boy, were mine unpure !
With ev’ry colour out of sync,
Where skies were green and trees were pink !
They told me there’s no easy cure –
“But I’ll get used to it, I’m sure”
I tried so hard to think.

I might have made it through,
But for the glaring lack of red
That ultimately screwed my head –
Faces, lips, and roses too –
Those cyan people made me blue
As if the aliens had bred !

I thought I dug the mood
To love all races in my sight –
But skin-of-denim just ain’t right !
So I rejected modern dudes
For old-time films and attitudes
That showed the world in black and white.

Momma Tongue

varient of the Hot Lips logo by John Pasche

Momma Tongue

There are five times as many Yankees
Speaking English as the English,
So who’s English do you think will win ?
Whatever the linguistic tankies wish,
We’re just a little fish –
Perhaps it’s time to take it on the chin ?
Or, to be overt (and probably incite your wrath) –
You do the math !

Ow !, that hurt.
So stark and ess-less on the page,
Just stoking up my British rage –
Yet kids today are fine to say it –
They don’t care, it’s just a thing you say,
Like missing out the pointless yoos
And adding honest zees
That they know we’ll criticize –
They choose to do it anyway,
These wize-guys.

So what’s my beef ?
Am I so shaky in my self-belief
I have to wave my flag
At quickening American ?
Does my inner Anglo-Saxon gag
And want to ban their New-World-ness ?
Well, yes…I guess.
But it’s all just arbitrary guff,
And how long can I really bluff
Until I must admit, their way makes sense ?
Time to quit – don’t be a bore,
For in this theater of war,
My double els are no defense.

I know I have no chance tonite
To tell the kids what they can say –
Just as my teachers had no right
To scold me for ‘okay’.
But oh !, it hurts to hear my cherished forms
Be cast away.
Yet if the kids choose that instead of this,
Well, who the hell am I then
To dismiss them for their choice ?,
As if I have a voice they’d listen to.
So on they plow their furrow
By their dollar, yard, and boro –
For kids will always marvel at what’s noo.

I can assure you that it isn’t only Americans who can make wrath and math rhyme. There are so many other voices than RP, despite the OED’s attempts to pretend otherwise.

By the way, I can’t help thinking the last line looks less New York and more Scottish ! I suppose I could say ‘nu’ instead, but I think that will lokk even stranger.

Suburban Spruces


Suburban Spruces

At the meeting of the streets
And the corners of the road,
So grows an unexpected copse
No seed has ever sowed.
It sprouts up overnight
Like a fungus on the make –
This squatter on the pavement,
Brings the Winter in its wake.
Its trees have all blown over,
And its needles all have shed
To the gutters and the breezes,
Until even these have fled.
Then suddenly one morning
We shall find the corner bare,
Save the grey of frost and concrete
And the chill upon the air.

One Size Fails All

One Size Fails All

Office chairs with starfish bases,
Wobbly levers, sofa wheels –
They never fit quite right, most cases –
Either leaving swinging heels,
Or bunched-up knees and hunched-down shoulders,
Wimpy pistons full of slack.
But still, a useful perch for folders
Till the backside needs it back.

The Inner Demon

Inner Demons by AConstantBother

The Inner Demon

Think right, say right,
Keep it careful, keep it kind –
Keep a clean and healthy mind
That wants no truck with spite.
And yet, that inner voice
Who always loves its little games,
Who always knows the nasty names,
Will whisper up its choice.
It knows they’re wrong, and that’s the point,
It’s daring us to shout them out
Because they’re wrong and still have clout
Because they’re out-of-joint.
It’s bating us to say the word –
It wants to make us take the blame
For ev’ry hurtful hateful name
We’ve ever heard.
But these are not our whole –
These shall not define or break us,
Just stray thoughts and troublemakers –
We are in control.
It only loathes itself, infact,
But we can still refuse to sink –
Let’s judge us not in what we think,
But how we act.