Caveat Emptor

Quentin Massys
detail from The Moneylender & His Wife by Quentin Metsys


Caveat Emptor

You need saving, I think, you need saving-
I don’t know from what, but you need it, and I got it.
I choose to lease myself as investment in your craving,
(Though nothing gets refunded, as your credit-rating’s rotted.)
You think I look expensive, and you think you can’t afford it:
When your faith is unsecured, and your int’rest rate obsessed.
With all emotions overdrawn, your hope is due an audit –
Now you’re out of guarantee and about to be possessed.

Expensive ?  Me ?  Most surely yes,
And very very dear –
I will cost you ev’ry single thing, and nothing less;
I will cost you all you know, and all that you express:
Your ev’ry laugh and ev’ry scream,
Your ev’ry try and ev’ry guess,
And I will cost your ev’ry lie, and ev’ry truth sincere.
Your ev’ry insecurity and neurologic mess –
They all belong to me, you hear ?
Mine is your perdition, absolution and confess,
Mine the power to repress,
Mine the power to redeem.
I shall be your angel engineer,
To grease your thread and mesh your gear,
And shine your rusting soul with my caress.

You need saving, I think, you need saving-
God knows as from what  –  you don’t know it, but you’ll get it.
I choose to bond myself upon the markets that you’re braving,
Expose my soul to risk until we’re equally indebted.
You think I look expensive as I gilt your fraying edges,
But you’ll enter into contract on my exponential sureties.
My platinum promissory shall underwrite your pledges
As you finally take stock of all your life-assured securities.

Dizzying ?  Me ?  Forever yes,
And very very sheer –
I shall cost you ev’ry single thing that you possess
I shall cost your ev’ry hope, and watch them coalesce.
Your presentide is mine to gleam
Your morrowment is mine to bless
And though I know this terrifies, I’ll help you persevere.
For mine shall be your ev’ry waking thought and sleeping dream,
Mine your ev’ry failing scheme,
Mine your ev’ry sweet success.
Guilt and joy and lust and fear
Cost far more than money mere,
These are how you pay for me, by bushel, peck and ream.
And then, what is more, I press
My darling with an added stress:
For not just shall you suffer this to give your love supreme;
But now you must attend my tear –
For like you, I too revere:
So you must accept the very same from my extreme.
Give my passions safe address,
For we are quartz, my love, and we are steam.



Versificator Regis

laurel wreath


Versificator Regis

Oh Carol-Ann, what’s the plan,
Why did you do it ?
Why wallow in the treacle,
And swallow back the bile ?
Poor Carol-Ann, scrape the pan
Of stodge and suet.
First among the equals,
Or stuck in rank and file ?
Oh Carol-Ann, it seems these days your worth
Is turning out for weddings and for funerals and births.
Oh Carol-Ann, do the bay leaves hide the stink ?
Or does your pseudo-crown somehow affect the way you think ?

Oh Carol-Ann, make it scan,
Don’t make it tricksy:
Your patrons are old fashioned
By sev’ral hundred years.
Come Carol-Ann, praise the clan,
Each fop and pixie,
And keep your passion rationed
As you swap your pals for peers.
Oh Carol-Ann, just a lackey of the old elite
Praising little princelings, and sucking on the teat;
Oh Carol-Ann, all that bowing sure puts up your back –
I hope you do not choke on your precious butt of sack.


We Choose to Go to the Moon & Do the Other Things

sky space moon astronomy
Photo by Pixabay on


We Choose to Go to the Moon & Do the Other Things

We went to the moon and we wondered in awe:
For now there was nothing, but nothing beyond us –
If we could go there and could see what we saw,
Then how could we come back to famine and war ?
Just think of the challenges still to explore,
The missions to finally bond us.
We stood on the moon and we finally shone,
We tested our nerve and we found we were equal –
Now climate and poverty prove a tough sequel.
But conquer we shall !, to learn from discoverings.
We went to the moon, now it’s time to move on –
It’s time to be doing the Other Things.


Purple Requiem

festival music rock sound
Photo by Markus Spiske on

Purple Requiem

It ain’t your fireman or soldier
Who risk the most to do their job.
Your real heroes, I told yer,
Are your bassists and strummers,
Your keyboards and drummers,
Your strutting party-dudes and your master bong-plumbers.
They’re ever alert and ever a-throb,
Just waiting for the call to rock the joint large,
Just waiting to save us from the numpties in charge,
Just waiting for the call from the downtrodden mob
To rescue us all from the bummers.

But the price is high, the fates are sprung –
Too many albums filled with the songs they never sung.
Too many sobbing fans recoiling at the haste
With which their idol’s promise was undone.
Too many, many bands atrophied by the waste,
Too many mothers lost their rebel son.
Recruited to the cause while they’re still within their teens,
They slave away for years in their thousand-dollar jeans,
With the hair and the teeth and the endless magazines.
They’re out there, dying too young;
Labour-market casualties, axemen unstrung.

Do they really hope to die before they get so old ?
Before they’re easy-listening gold,
Before the cramps have taken hold ?
Or do they think they’re better dead before their soul is sold ?
Before their shooting star has stalled,
Before they’re shagged-out, fat and bald ?
Sometimes living on, they cry, just makes the struggle cheaper.
To play the great gig in the sky, don’t fear he reaper.

Some won’t even make it to the twenty,
Many dead before the big three-oh.
Thus drop the mighty cognoscenti –
When ev’ry flight to Rio
Is another flight could crash,
And what else but on drugs
Can they find to chug their cash ?
And the groupies are exhausting,
And the booze is flowing plenty,
And their bodies suffer burn-out and the rash.
Thus the endless nights of forcing
Make their flesh all pocked and denty,
And suddenly their eyes have lost their flash.
Then when at last the blues hit town,
They gloom on up and come on down,
And find a noose to wear or vein to slash.

And early years, or so I hears, are diciest of all
As the Mayfruits of success will press the harvester to call.
But if they still kick ass at fifty,
Got no pension, ain’t so thrifty,
Gotta take another tour of duty – such a haul.
Sponging cronies, bootleg phonies, “Hello Montreal”,
Three-legged ponies, alimonies, drive them to the wall.
So what sets them so thrillingly upon a road so killingly,
And choose a trade so willingly that sees her children fall ?

Yet still you’re out there, gods divine,
With scream and shout.
Keep on flouting it for ev’ry single one of us,
Keep on pouting it for ev’ry single mug and wuss.
You’re always there, walking the line,
Just rockin’ out.
Keep on vaunting it for those of us who never can,
Keep on flaunting it and sticking it right to the Man,
Keep on party on and shine,
Just like it’s Nineteen Ninety-Nine.
For they can never undermine the peace and love that you began.

You’re always out there living it, living for us all –
And cos you are so superstar,
You lighten up our daily crawl –
You make it all alright by far, for us to be so small.
So rest in peace, and rest in rock, each fallen avatar –
Your life was brief, yet through our grief
Comes weeping your guitar.

Pens Down !

Exam Hall


Pens Down !

For all our tappy-typey lives,
For all the keyboards we must pound,
Still ev’ry Summer there survives
A world of scritchy-scratchy sound:
Ev’ry Summer, ev’ry school,
The wriggly-ragged spiders rule !

It seems we do not think exams
Are punishment enough –
Who cares if they know volts from grams,
Or pantaloons from ruffs ?
Their future jobs lie in the grip
Of under-pressure penmanship !

You know, I reckon if we’re honest,
Few of us could truly claim
Our efforts wouldn’t look the same.
For all they pressed upon us
Their italic script or copperplate,
Calligraphy was not our fate.

To all the pupils suffering
From writer’s cramp and knuckles rapped,
Your talents ever under-tapped –
At least you’re not alone.
To all ex-pupils struggleing
With inky hands that biros give,
Our meanings lost in hieroglyphs –
It’s time that we atone:

It’s keymanship that should be taught,
So crisp upon the pristine page,
With fingers fast as any thought –
It’s time to write the modern age !
For all that pens have served us well,
Let’s end their scribbly-scrawly hell –




worm s eye of white and black inside basket
Photo by Pixabay on



There’s a glassy ceiling above me,
Way up the greasy pole
But I’m still down in the basement
Just pence above the dole.
A fraction of us may hammer the ceiling,
Always demand more,
But most of us working stiffs are afraid
Of the rise of the quicksand floor.