Wednesday, 3 July 2019

1919 & all that jazz





inverse eyes @2020 look
back thru tainted goggles Frenchies Brits
Yanks & sundry lesser outfits caught
Germany off

guard the wicket stuck on Old Regime
petty fours to shouts of six we bowled
turtle soup from mobster plot tureens
Nero cuisine

put Trimalchio's repast to shame
nymphos served injust desserts on tec
tonic plates of messe de pottage camp
fires burned unchecked

burps & hiccoughs slurps of brandy smoke
Louis quinze looked down in effigy
aprés moi you deli cats he urged
who is dese folks

fête accomplis paid on credit so
what the cost or if decorum lost
ten not out to help your bloody selves
in for a dig

*

Mr Churchill button-holed our host
puis-je demand au vernaculaire
de cette table oh fermez les Bosch
cried Clemenceau

Wilson not to be dishonoured pulled
out his gun & popped a serving man
just for fun now never say we Yanks
don't know our tropes

Lennon whose invitation got smudged
in the post was there by telegram
Molotov with cocktail poised said stop
me & buy one

spliced of course with Chaplin Charles but worse
was to come beyond the trampled gates
Germany impersonated by
Korporal Von Klot

wagon wheels exploding bells & hell's
balls a-swinging from his lugs remained
shaking at the knees forgive his French
encore mein twat

*

by the morning of the night before
no one knew quite who had said just what
wrapped in table cloths we bagged our loot
swaggering off

some had homes to go to others not
those with silver candlesticks & plates
made for bishoprics & sovereign states
pleased with their lot

several gathered victuals reasoning
hungry jaws would snicker as they snuck
by so cake to trade as bread was wise
knowing Versailles

knives & forks embroidered serviettes
ringed with gilt were favoured by the few
who professed a souvenir would do
journeys that long

lastly ready-handed spilled the lost
generation hordes whose wits were shot
grateful for our lives we hit the streets
pairs of left feet

***

still the bunfight raged on soldiers' pay
tilting stragglers reached their promised lands
singing by the boat load train or push
cart in the rain

officers & men with kitbags new
packing hairlock pistols bayonets
pomegranates gramophones & old
Exchange & Marts

even those who’d never stepped abroad
claimed rewards in borrowed uniforms
boasting like heroes that zeros had
stuck to their guns

speeches we endured in county town
halls profane the words of praise to face
no man's land had been a better place
peaceful at times

when the gin kicked in it made one think
soldiering did have its qualities
knew your enemies but civvies were
good for a drink

*

Scott Fitzgerald wrote his novel then
Proust coughed up the biscuit of research
Switzerland had held a nest of such
confidence men

bankrupts all their credit sunk in art
speculation dada tigers who
cheerio’d down chiaroscuro streets
curtsied like fools

time to face the bloody music act
brave & play concertos with both hands
tied behind the back abandon truth
chapter & verse

show they hadn’t sung in castle vaults
silently from rooftops playing rag
requiems for chums who'd drowned in mud
innocence hung

out to dry in Voltaire cafés where
prohibition played straight into gang
land scenarios took some resolve
totalled on tea

*

hic twas claimed that war kicked off in smoke
rooms or homebrew joints for every gun
toting patriot the God squad read
Satan on hooch

did great wonders for the smugglers' trade
surely not don’t take my word we Yanks
banned it very morning after world
peace was declared

that’s absurd you said it Brother like
blaming rape on women who dress up
war was down to men who'd had too much
Dutch here’s the catch

logic doesn’t mix with politics
in democracy the lowest twits
pitch their wits beneath the belt then watch
God do the rest

pull the other Sister thought of that
bloodshed does attract a deal of bull
title fights aren't won by halves it's drink
up or shut up

***

Uncle Brit & Auntie France why not
set our friends a great example give
back those empires show the world that peace
means business eh

what a neat idea take that down
here this pack of cigarettes is smoked
tell it at the Rose & Crown tonight
wonderful hoax

true in Blighty things ain't smelling rose
half these chaps have lost their jobs to fops
what will all the soldiers do we'll send
them out as cops

free the states it's got a ring to it
be elections soon Communism's
on the rise how about dominion
status for them

seriously Nuncle haven't they
earned the right to independence let
those who've fought for freedom off a bit
rule their own waves

*

talk like that is fit for Bolsheviks
ten to one we'll meet at Waterloo
everyone is waiting on a pax
Britannica

with our European pals in crime
all the civilising countries know
just to give their colonies away
Dude isn’t due

off their bottle that's Amerikar
to a model T let’s see them quit
money first then litigation sex
for heaven's sake

slavery which took us long enough
white man's burden in a six-inch shell
he who fails to down his stirrup cup
see him in hell

mark my words if prohibition reigns
seven years they’ll drink then seven more
judging vices comes before a fall
Congress's call

*

jaw-jaw with a Mallampati score
high enough to end this war of wars
heard that somewhere before I suppose
me too here goes

everyone's invited to a bash
weekly on the promenade at lake
Wozzname grab a gal we'll have a blast
drinks on the house

talking shops are de rigeur these days
peace diplomacy & all that jive
best behaviour on the dance floor no
stepping on toes

cutting in will be allowed of course
modern dress & when the music stops
cabaret with all the latest acts
shenanigans

best of all it's international rules
what goes down in Switzerland will stay
there who’s not to love the best of both
worlds old & new

***

Gatsby where’s your country going hold
on Old Sport Chicago fix the World
Series for me will ya atta boy
Wolfie's a dream

you were saying never mind the girl's
got a hubby tail her to the far
side of paradise we'll rendezvous
there in the car

here we go again now try to keep
up you know he seldom drinks that's odd
figured him for a bootlegging hound
plays cricket though

there’s some truth in what you said before
damned if I remember let’s go home
party's over bar the shooting one
more for the road

right you are a cigarette my house
for a smoke this Russian whitey meets
Frenchie with a Limey on the road
to Monty Carl

*

O Daisy darl life's a car crash for
two no sorry you were great in bed
plus your money's oke but that’s not rich
gotta be orf

who'd’ve thought I’d utter life’s a bitch
can’t we go to Europe start afresh
sell this pile exchange East River for
Riviera

live it up on two per cent of nix
you're forgetting something Major Gatz
destiny awaits us where we are
get out the car

you believe that stuff of course I do
liar but the French & Brits are thru
Germany will have its turn of peace
war & then us

girlfriend we could make it anywhere
what if I don’t want to tell you what
grab Manhattan first then take New York
state's on a plate

*

didn't Mrs Cody make it plain
can’t have happy endings all the time
principal has gotta take a fall
stroke of thirteen

made an art form outta hit & run
living fast & dying young the crime
ain't no loss of life it's breaking faith
rules of the game

rather stick around for best of both
such romantic notions sup your drink
poisoned chalice two to tango whoa
king for a day

sorry love the sun is setting I'll
miss the next I know it's asinine
hold my hand I'm dying like an oaf
partner in rhyme

kiss me darling blow that smoking gun
what an innings burst the palliasse
Siegfried's got a dame but lost his ring
fat lady sing


don't sign here!

Saturday, 1 June 2019

bunch of lefties


boycott vote

whoa Gibraltar tie that kanga down
little Spains are taking tinsel town
marriage of public convenience
Brexit my arse

Nigel was willing true to his name
foraging for scraps of votes he led
motley creatures by the nose to dance
Brexit my arse

try it out on YouRope no disgrace
dangling on the line enjoy a farce
stick it out till you’re blue in the face
Bexit my arse

Aunty France and Uncle Brit's divorce
still ain’t thru tho bickering enough
every time they mount the town hall steps
Brexit my arse

pull the other see if it's got bells
on then fetch the shotgun be no worse
civil partnership or fake romance
Brexit my arse



the odds

thinking to myself so what who cares
I was right said Chris & now he's gone
time to end the age old argument
me against them

Mum is gaga Dad’s a memory
raise the curtain face the music or
kettledrums rolling in the background
one against Thebes

got a family of my own to keep
tabs on history repeating itself
two more boys to fight and argue with
odds against ten

take no prisoners let the stragglers go
they'll come running homewards soon enough
dawn is breaking time to rise & shine
clock’s against me

no I'll take another hour of shut
eye no need to put the kettle on
rolling over in the creeping light
one against one



intertexing reprised

pied pastiche my media of choice
never that original I make
proximations like a lonely old
budgerigar

now pastisse has mucho aniseed
favours singing under many names
raki ouzo absinthe anisette
Baudelaire supped

twice his share while I prefer red wine
Archilochus played the drunken oaf
also Alcheus was quite an alc
originals

even they relied on one before
who invented rhyme & metre like
Sappho strumming with her plectrum no
token woman

though the muses suffer many fools
imitation floats the ship of verse
downright copying's against the rules
language comes first



worth his sack

couldn’t find a woman or a black
male of any age the Mafia
settled on this Ilkley chap who at
least gets it down

does a line in humour is correct
calls himself a poet passed his test
visits schools occasionally on
radio 4

pardon my question it's answer time
what’s his name is not important just
solid working class an axe who's
good chopping words

one more thing if any others dare
cast aspersions on this worthy bloke
send an SAE to Auntie Bee's
Twitter address

fact sheets are available an app
will be ready soon also a mask
goes on sale next Wednesday wear it out
ten years'll do



7½ O levels

having passed the English Language test
Lit I almost failed still not ashamed
Geog & Chemistry at CSE
some of my best

for the rest I should admit a rag
bag assortment hardly worth the time
teachers spent or cash-strapped Liverpool
City counselled

what I learned in truth I often use
here in life like French & Spanish Maths
simultaneous equations apart
History grade one

gotta get a boast in somewhere no
pride did not precede my fall I tripped
unassisted thank you from the great
height of these depths

anarchy being both means & mode
private schooling helped my stable mates
I set out to change the world so don't

judge me on grades
rude & pointed



Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The Poodle Shop



Peter Kavanagh's


another stab at Larkin


Sidney Bechet was a colourful
import wouldn't stand his kind next door
played soprano sax angelic on
vinyl of course

heard at sweaty joints where tarts with beards
scared the pants off you preferred a home
entertainment system scotch on tap
frill-less no bills

discs for one thing let you catalogue
hoards of sleeveless numbers stripping off
followed by some fiendish fingerwork
deep as the night

war & peace saw decent progress through
45 to the long player though
seldom did you stand for anything
backside of doors

Bechet had his dark recesses too
stood his women down but sex-o-phone
jazz played live on stage was something else
kissed no one’s ass



banned in Sparta


Archie & the Locosts' tribute act
flogs a poet's soul for soldiers' pay
in or out of uniform you choose
just get them pissed

somehow cash must be exchanged for wine
payment's due as soon as it has crashed
on the bar no credit given out
this side of war

Archie's pals let's call them men at arms'
length can pipe & play kitara in
imitation of their sovereign lord's
former cohorts

fronted by a spindly spear man
sings like burning olive sticks & cracks
jokes the guy himself would have to laugh
horny old goat

banned in Sparta as we've said before
still the Helots sneak their hero in
festivals of drunk no way take place
sans Archie’s voice



Paul Birtill poet


swear to god I've never seen him eat
half a bag of crisps or someone's nuts
left behind if they have buggered off
no fish or chips

pass the blighter's lips or Christmas pud
sure he’s tasted food a Catholic
boy at heart took bread with wine at mass
which did for starts

sometimes thought cos I’m a veg it's guilt
wouldn’t want me letting him devour
carcasses of animals in sight
that would be weak

no the simple truth he's mean enough
not to stuff himself while in his keks
beer money tries to bide its time
wincing at the price of cigarettes



been there done that

folks who are prepared to leave their homes
shelving most of what they known & trust
start their lives again on unknown ground
get my respect

living on their wits & memories new
faces take the place of kith & kin
jobs may flip as former managers
start behind bars

Mum or Dad too far away to help
sis or bro with other folks in tow
those who finished university
learn from Day One

languages & customs even faiths
get exchanged like debunked currencies
with their drop in value they expect
less than they get

self reliance shoulders refugees
economic migrants desperate folk
call them what you will the tasks they face
immense respect




The Poodle Shop


Chris & I would fight to sing it first
there in Old Swan where shaggy dogs had
hairdos dating back to '63
The Poodle Shop

straight through '66 the thrill wore on
even when England won the World Cup
chiming in like Beatles we replied
The Poodle Shop

jingles dominated our TV
hearts & minds those days we hollered our
homespun contribution to the scene
The Poodle Shop

don't know why I gotta write this down
'cept to say it happened during times
Chris and I were brothers in the car
The Poodle Shop

could have driven Mum & Dad insane
but I think they got a kick from it
Chris would try to beat me every time
The Poodle Shop


No Dogs On Leash!