One Last Rite

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

One Last Rite

Never thought I’d see the day –
The morning clear and weakly bright, but there’s an early chill.
Better get it underway.
Who’d’ve thought a morning’s walk would take an act of will ?

I try to force a smile,
I tell my over-polished shoes I never looked good in black.
This is gonna take a while,
But once the ending brings the end, at least I get to walk back.

It’s cold on the edge of town,
As what goes up must all come down and down,
And ruby, gold, and emerald will all blur into brown-
And we are done.

There ought to be a lonely bell,
But we have overrun.
Our hollow words are meant so well,
But numbness smothers sorrow.

There’s no warmth from the Sun,
The moment’s gone, the race has run,
And I guess that I’ll be moving on tomorrow.

The Pessimist’s Camera

Bush Katykid by Judy Gallagher

The Pessimist’s Camera

My snaps are all insects
On pavements and plants –
I’ve nothing with humans,
But dozens with ants –
A phone-full of photos,
A life at the lens,
Where people are strangers
And beetles are friends.
I’m charting my neighbours
Who live near my pad,
And where six legs are better
And two legs are bad –
A pocket of pixels,
A screen’s-worth of lights,
To magnify midges
And marvel at mites.
Their silence attracts me,
Their beauty astounds me –
I don’t even notice
The people around me.
But people are easy,
Not tiny and shy –
They’re big and they’re messy,
And can’t even fly.

Who Watches the Watches ?

Who Watches the Watches ?

These days, I let me wrists go naked,
Unencumbered by the time –
Shaking loose the shackles of knowing
Of just how fast the seconds are going.
I no more have to stress if I’ll make it,
I no more have to hear it chime.

There are dozens of other clocks to choose
On walls and screens and towers –
So why must I also carry it round,
And see that it’s hands are tightly wound ?,
When we spend our lives in constant news,
Surrounded by the hours.

Cyber-Subs

Cyber-Subs

All my follows, all my views, my likes,
They’re all just algorithm –
All the comments, all the spikes,
Owe nothing to my hand-worked vision.
They would surely come and visit me,
Regardless what I said –
My passion and my repartee
Forever lie unread.

I swear, it’s only bots I’ve got,
And how can they be moved, be shocked,
Be made to smile ?
I’m big, it seems, in binaries,
I tick their boxes, hash their keys –
But then, why must the clones be blocked,
With their lack of snark and bile.

And yes…and yes, I know they don’t mean bad,
(They don’t mean anything at all),
And yet…they’re only clogging-up this sad
And lonely monologue to an ever-empty hall.
But sometimes…from the corners of my eyes
I only see their avatars,
And I can tell myself “don’t get too wise –
Just marvel in how many fans there are”.

To the few of you real people, thank you so much for your support over the last three years ! Now don’t be shy, come on in and have a chat…

Manifest Destiny

Ellis Island in 1905, showing the Immigration Centre by Edward Tilton & William Boring

Manifest Destiny

German Smith and Jewish Rosehill,
Italian (or Irish) Bellis,
Dutch DeYoung and Russian Kerr –
But please, do not blame Ellis.

Ships from Hamburg, ships from Queenstown,
Loaded up and westward bound –
Checking names with manifests
And leaving them as found.

Many of these immigrants
Would later choose to change their names –
And good for them – but that was all their own,
Despite the frequent claims.

Social pressures ?  Mispronounce-ments ?
New starts ?  Yes, and more.
But no-one’s name was Anglicised
On Ellis Island’s shore.

Singalong

Gossip by Eugene de Blaas

Singalong

Three singing street vendors.

Vendor 1
Spring is finally here
To brighten the year,
Bringing birds on the wing.
Spring has finally smiled,
Like a favourite child,
And it’s making me sing.

Vendors 2 & 3
Yes it’s finally here,
The buds are in gear
To end Wintertime’s sting.

Vendor 1
The sun is shining for me,
And ev’rybody I see,

Vendors 1, 2 & 3
And it’s making us sing.

Punter enters.  He doesn’t sing.

Punter
Morning.  Copy of the Times and a packet of Polos please.

Vendor 1
Now come on buddy,
Let’s hear some sunshine outta you.
Now don’t be shy,
Just sing me one line, why don’t you ?

Punter
Well, you’re certainly cheerful this morning.

Vendors 2 & 3
Now come on buddy,
Don’t give an earful, that won’t do.
Just sing up buddy,
If we’re so cheerful, why ain’t you ?

Punter
You guys as well ?  Seems everyone’s singing today.

Vendor 1
Ev’ryone except…

Vendors 2 & 3
Mr Misery, ole Mr Misery

Vendor 1
He ain’t got a note of joy to spread.

Vendors 2 & 3
No sir, no sir no way.

Vendor
Best stay away from….

Vendors 2 & 3
Mr Misery, he’s got no fizz, you see.

Vendor 1
Wish he’d rain on someone else instead.

Punter
Hey come on, I just want a Times and some Polos.

Vendor 1
You don’t get nothing in this life,
Unless you gonna sing for it.

Vendors 2 & 3
Doo-wop-doo-wop.

Vendor 1
Said you don’t get nothing in this life,
Unless you gonna sing for it.

Vendors 2 & 3
Doo-wop-doo-wop-a-lop-a-doo.

Punter
Seriously ?

Vendor 1
If you wanna get something in this life,
Then let me hear you sing for it.

Punter
Alright !

The Punter sings really badly.

Punter
Please may I have a copy of the Times
And some Polos…um…and a pound of limes ?


The Vendors clutch their heads in pain.  The Punter backs off, embarrassed.

A News Reporter appears on the scene with a microphone.

News Reporter
Yes, it’s another cruel case of discrimination against the tone deaf by musical theatre.  Reporting for the BBC, this is…
(singing)
Pheobe Leigh !

Bread Stick

Bread by Anthony Starks

Bread Stick

People love to grumble over supermarket bread –
“It isn’t really fresh, you know” I’ve often heard it said,
“It’s made in batch in Swindon and then frozen” they explain,
“So all they do in bakeries is heat it up again.”
Croissant, bap, or pumpernickel,
Loaf-lovers sure are fickle –
Kneeded crumpets, seeded squabblers,
Talking sourdough and cobblers.

You know, that doesn’t bother me, as long as they still taste –
And oh!, the smell of toasted carbs will never go to waste.
But why are still-warm loaves just plonked on open racks for show
In the air-conditioned hell that sucks all moisture from the dough ?
Cardboard slices, leaden grain,
With all self-raising turned to plain.
Golden crust and pain-au-choc,
As dry as dust and hard as rock.

John Bull Jack

boots footwear indoors parquet
Photo by Emily Wilkinson on Pexels.com

John Bull Jack

1.
At least with patrons David and Patrick,
They visited the lands which went on to claim them –
But George and Andrew are strangers to Albion,
(We had local talent, but no-one can name them).
I bet they never heard of us, we’re just hicks from the sticks –
They’re busy being famous, they won’t return our call.
To patronising saints, we’re just fanboys with a crucifix –
Mini-me Man-U supporters, posters on the wall.

2.
But then, what does it matter anyway ?
Especially for England,
Especially on George’s Day.
The red and the white are only for fascists –
The Guardian insists,
And the bleeding hearts will wail –
The flag is now the possession of the Mail.
Haven’t you heard ?
Patriotism is a very dirty word.
The only time, the only time
That national pride can still be shown
Is during the World Cup alone.
And when they lose, that very day,
The flags must all be put away
And never more be flown.

3.
Ah, perhaps I’m being too hard,
But still the Left can’t lose the twinge
To see their homeland as only bland and scarred.
They never can relax their guard,
Or shake the shame and cultural cringe –
They love the stranger, hate their own back yard.
And yes, I know the old old stories –
Slaves and Empire, toffs and Tories –
Nobody’s disputing –
But still there’s Newton, Attlee, and the Bard !
So all the more the need, I say,
To set aside a National Day !
Forget old Georgie – let’s be cannier,
Make ourselves a Saint Britannia –
She can be our national birthday card !

Kosher Slaughter

In Anticipation of the Guests by The Dots

Kosher Slaughter

Why are there so many zombies on our screens these days ?
I’d say that they are testament to our improving ways.
We’ve beaten violence, beggared hunger, massacred disease,
And quarantined our lust for gore into our PG fantasies –
Safely evil, nicely ugly, non-stain blood in quick-rip veins,
Just round ’em up and mow ’em down in corporate campaigns.
Mumbling, lurching, fodder-johnnies,
Out-of-towners, dirty commies –
Revel in some mindless fun before they eat our brains.

Queasy over blaming Mongols for their famous hordes ?
Then let’s recast with green-skinned orks to quench our thirsty swords.
Coldly-logic androids cause no controversial mess
When we crush their next uprising – show no mercy for the merciless !
Shoot a Nazi, gas a pedo – harmless japes for kids to play,
Just regulation bogeymen without the shades of grey.
Squash pedestrians with trolleys,
No need to feel even sorry,
Killing humans sure is fun when there’s no guilt to pay !

Easter Rising

Flora by Evelyn de Morgan

Easter Rising

April – Month of Aphrodite,
Flirting with fertility.
The earth responds to her almighty,
Springing with virility.
Tributes thrust from out the ground
With kinaesthetic keenness,
As bulbs are bursting, bound by bound,
To hail the month of Venus.

Easter was a goddess too,
And once she wooed the blooms aloft –
She called them up, and up they grew,
Her sun was warm, her rain was soft.
Forget the death her name evokes,
Forget the manly, fabled sin.
Let’s open blinds and loosen cloaks
To let her April in.