Jesus bugs and oily clag

the river is suffocating.
clagging with oily clag.
laboured breath.  gasping
in this heat. grasping
at the hazy shimmer atop her
skin alive with pond skaters
and Jesus bugs.

ripples shoot from rocks
thrown by clambering children
tramping down her dry banks,
rustling through birch branches
like miniature half-term tanks.

above, in a sea of blue, a wisp
of grey pokes through and knits
a veil over the sun. a measure
of what’s to come as air, pumped
with anticipation bursts and rain
falls in big, soft, teary clumps.

she fizzes, rolls her eyes, sighs
and drinks deeply. the half-term
children hunker under dripping
trees, nipped by rain and growing
breeze, a welcome cool release from
this hot, still, clawing summer air.

a torrent now. sheets of water
feed the river. bursting, alive,
revitalised, she sweeps her skin
clean of oily clag and biting
bugs. gangsta ducks in a line
patrol her belly. quacky. snooty.

then. as suddenly as it started.
the rain stops. sun smiles. shines.
jostled bankside birch parts and
a rock lands plumb with a splash.
she half opens a bleary eye as hazy
steam rises from her oily skin and
she settles down to sleep again.

thanks but no thanks

I am at odds with an emotional notion:
at loggerheads with conventional convention.
the very idea that a year older
is cause for celebration is,
quite frankly, grating, agitating.


it should be a wake, a mournful parade
where happy memories are flaunted
and my hanging belly taunted by pretty
young things tantalisingly out of reach
cavorting on a beach with Brad Pitt **

(**insert own choice of heartthrob here)

another year older, another year wiser
what utter crap! as I take pills for this
and pills for that just to live another
year of waiting for the axe to drop and
put everyone out of their polite misery.

I will NOT have a comb over.

compliments on how well one looks as one
rapidly descends (or ascends) towards death
should be punished with cryogenic suspension
and an awakening at a time of my choosing
(or triggered by global warming or cooling)

or any one of a number of natural disasters.

in short. I am getting older. I had the
misfortune that someone logged the day
I was born and it has passed into memory
(as has yours) and now, each year on that date
I am reminded of my impending fate.

Thanks but no thanks.

nor turf to cut and castle

the sun is shining
and I have no hay to make
nor turf to cut and castle

I spy on each conversation:
each obsession with the weather
in this metropolitan get together

a couple sit nearby drinking tea,
she is slim, her white cotton dress
neatly pressed, her shoulders sun-pink

others don’t quite catch the summer look,
squeezed into bag-like dresses and
cut-off shorts like fleegle and snork

and I am content to dream a little,
to look and listen a little.

after all,
the sun is shining
and I have no hay to make
nor turf to cut and castle.

silver streaks in sunshine ripples

in the shallows,
sticklebacks play,
amid tangled roots,
silver streaks in
sunshine ripples

above them,
bound to earth
and sky and river,
birch and laburnum
coo with pigeons
and eccentric squirrels

tree pollen drifts,
a bluebottle flits,
the river is calm
and goes about its
sleepy business
safe in the syrupy
arms of summer.

a narrowboat chugs
into view, it’s
engine note a lazy tune.
a mere accent in this
splendid silence.

I wave. raise my glass.
exchange pleasantries.
they disappear into
the cut. the barge’s
polished sleek lines
reflecting in the wash.

I doze off. snug in
this old wicker chair.
cocooned by warmth
and stillness. absorbed
into the lazy pace of
life by the river.

Mother Nature(the harshest bitch)

a sly grey rock
alone in the desert.
(the last grey rock)
in tune with Mother Nature
(the harshest bitch)
hand on hip, cocking a snoot
at the puny sand.

“Look at me! I’m a rock!”

the puny sand, a silent
yellow. roared with wind
and pummelled rock.

“Look at me! I’m a rock!”

the patient, wise old sand
slept. toyed with the sun.
explored the emptiness.
took a siesta. while lizards
hopped in midday heat and
slinked and slunk under the
cool grey rock.

then. one afternoon. a huge storm
woke sand. sly old rock shouldered
charge after charge. lizard quivered.
shivered. tried to read his emails.
then. it stopped.

lizard peeked. flitted. found a crack.
‘that’s new’ he thought. ‘I wonder if..’
he fitted and slept fitfully.

as night fell the sun fled.
ten below and the crack grew.
wise old sand watched.


the sly grey rock exploded.
imploded. all kinds of oded.

became sand.

“Hi!” said wise old sand.

“Whatever” said rock.

two bottles of whisky, one glass#FP

in the blink of an eye.
our relationship died.
i don’t understand why,
it just did. like a damp
squib. it slowly fizzled out.

(or so we thought)

deep down there’s a reason
waiting to be found. a
logical reason. like buying
100 pounds of turkey mince
just because it seems right.

(and healthy and lean)

we could work on it, of course.
give it our all. scream and
bawl, balled up on the couch
with tubs of creamy Häagen-Dazs.
curled up in each other’s
arms and legs. like buckaroo.

(a multi-coloured plastic romance)

then. coffee over a chapter
of Hardy. Jude the Obscure
perhaps. or perhaps not. a sigh
and a whimsical glance, a drunken
dance. an embarrassing romance.
two hearts as one. slush puppies.

(like hush puppies only slurpible)

and we thought it was over.
a gaggle of hot flushes and
melancholy. old cats on heat.
two bottles of whisky. one glass.
live passing us by slapping
our collective ass. as we dreamed of
a flat earth and falling off
the edge. exhausted. in love again.

(and we are deliriously happy)

a lizard, a rock and a swivel chair

the lizard sits atop the rock.
looking through my eyes. into my world.
of comfy swivel chairs and coat stands.

he flicks his tongue. tastes the air.
watches me drink black coffee from a mug.
watches me type and fuss over words.

the rock is disinterested. the lizard
sat atop the rock scratches his itch.
keeps him company. as friendly lizards do.

my chair rocks too. hushes, soothes like a crib.
rock and lizard swing like an old verandah couple.
sipping lemonade in the sunshine. daydreaming.