Longhold Tenancy

6 cats


Longhold Tenancy

A neighbour, it was, who alerted us,
Alerted himself by the muffles within –
Apologising for making a fuss,
“I’m no busybody, and she’s hardly kin,
That’s why it took me this long to call –
If only I knew my neighbours at all.”

I worked for the landlord’s agent, so
I grabbed my coat and signed-out keys
And hopped on a passing 220
To Fulham, above the Cantonese,
Lift not working, second floor,
With a gentle tap upon the door –

No reply, except some mewing –
So I rapped again, then risked the lock,
Announcing myself and what I was doing –
Sudden guest can be quite a shock.
Nobody home (though the stench was strong) –
It turned out I was very wrong.

She sat upon her sofa, asleep,
With two cats guarding her, agitated,
The kitchen another three cats deep,
And a sixth who snuck in while I waited,
Calico, Siamese, blacks and tawny,
Most of them hissing, all of them scrawny.

I knelt down beside the tenant then,
Gently touched the back of her hand –
The coldness a jolt, but I touched her agen,
And all I could think of was all I’d got planned
For that afternoon – all now postponed,
While windows were opened and constables phoned.

The cats were making ev’rything harder,
They’d made a mess, and were clearly starving –
I found some tins of food in the larder,
The way they fell upon it was jarring.
Flies aplenty upon the ceilings,
I fought down all my nauseous feelings.

The undertakers had taken her
By six, so careful and so unblinking.
I stayed away in the kitchen, shaken,
Stroking the cats to stop from thinking.
The PCs left the place to me,
The neighbour popped-in with a cup of tea.

“I don’t think she had family, really,
Kept herself alone, poor mite,
Except her cats, she loved them dearly –
What’ll become of them, tonight ?”
I scooped one up to work her charms,
Into his unexpecting arms.

Another neighbour took another,
I badgered the landlord to take a brace,
And one to my less-than-happy mother,
And as for the last, she’s at my place –
This job, right down to its chromosomes,
Is all about providing homes.



Breakfast in the Ruins

post apocalypse

Breakfast in the Ruins

This !  This is the time I’ve been waiting for,
When the cars leave the street and the planes leave the sky
And only the zombies are joining my morning,
While sensible people are waiting to die.

And I – I am a rare survivor,
Finally special – finally alone –
Scrabbling the rubble of civilisation
Shaking off every habit I’ve known.

I never said my fantasies were pleasant,
Wiping out humanity with barely a shrug –
But there they lurk, just itching for apocalypse –
Not some ugly famine, but a quick and silent bug.

Do I feel bad, now something is happening,
Finally happening !, to strangers I never knew ?
I’ve wished far worse in my many listless hours,
But wishing them does nothing to make them come true.

I can tell myself that this is all coincidence –
Out of my hands to cause it, or repair –
So I might as well relish the sudden upheaval
If this is our doom, then I’ll guess I’ll see you there.

But of course, thanks to the efforts of nicer folk,
We’ll probably survive this, and probably forget.
And I will be just one more drudge on the treadmill,
Still dreaming disaster to spin the roulette.



Ode to Laze

alone bed bedroom blur
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Ode to Laze

Lazy, far too lazy, far too idle,
Don’t ask me.
Far too needful of relaxing,
Far too dodgeful of all taxing
Action that disrupts my lethargy.
I don’t run when I can sidle,
I make sloths look suicidal,
Vegetate with pride –
So don’t ask me.



Y2 A-Okay



Y2 A-Okay

Nothing happened, and ev’rybody laughed
The calendar had clicked all four digits over
With not a single meltdown or mem’ry overdraft
Indeed, the new Millennium was very much in clover
We ridiculed the doomsayers, tarred and feathered verbally,
And claimed we’d never for a second fallen for their con –
Our tech was indestructible, whatever their hyperbole,
And got on with our daily lives as if the sun still shone.
And the calendars clicked, and on we went,
All thanks to the graft of the geeks we smear –
The lack of excitement their greatest testament.
We’re welcome.  Happy new year.



Commuter Without Portfolio

photo of suitcase on leaves
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Commuter Without Portfolio

Where’s my briefcase ?  What a caper,
What a stupid thing to lose.
Therein lay my evening paper,
Now I cannot read the news.
Whoops, there goes my blue Bic biro,
Gosh, there goes my travel card;
Not much pickings here, I know,
It’s not a case for Scotland Yard.

So who are you, thief or finder ?
Did I cast a wealthy look ?
Could you post my gas reminder
And return my library book ?
Just ignore my works’ outpouring
Bureaucratic paperchase.
So, you see, I’m pretty boring,
Pretty much an average case.

Curtain Call

Theater Audience by Hippolyte Michaud


Curtain Call

You’re filling the halls from the gods to the stalls,
You’re shaking the walls with your blast –
You cry your encores as you cheer yourselves hoarse
For the grand tour de force of the cast.
And how they deserve all the plaudits you serve,
For they are the verve of the play;
But spare just a few for their hard-working crew,
For we perform too, in our way.



Two Minutes Silence

business businessmen classroom communication
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Two Minutes Silence

Ordered by social convention into inaction,
I sit at my desk and abstain –
I keep my head down and stare at my pen till I hear
The murmur of morning again.
Like most, I start on my shutdown at ten-fifty-eight,
And end at eleven-oh-four,
To cover the randomly-synchronised watches of colleagues –
And never mind minding the store.

Across the room, someone is typing.  (Is that still allowed ?)
Their rat-a-tat keystokes clatter.
A phone rings out the alarm, which nobody answers,
Till voicemail settles the matter.
I ought to be thinking, I know, of tommies and trenches,
Of birdsong, bombardements and screams –
Instead, I just notice this shuffleing silence-by-rote –
My thoughts are deserters, it seems.