Sunday, 30 September 2018

press the message

Dieu et Mon Droit

Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing; - S.F. Smith

what exactly did the Yanks rebel
for the price of tea the use of forks
why they stabbed us in the neck of course

Braddock's awful death meant squat to folks
who from upping sticks to cross the pond
staked their pensions on the other side

don't the history hucksters have it so
Woolfe dislodged Montcalm by gall not guts
more redcoats were killed by Injuns than

Minutemen George had no right to tax
States who never voted 'gainst the French
as if Louis would have charged 'em less

aye your rebel's cause is ever just
righteousness has always triumphed rich
picking how they turned a bless├Ęd cheek
sang God Save The King in other words


must we listen only while that hot
head whose ticker tape of lies & half
truths regales & moves a ship of fools

better the Yanks we've heard nattering
far across the stark Atlantic night
where the strains of Melville's hammock strung
bowsprit wide on copperplated ark
trawl indifferent seas for poetry

'longside Whitman's craft & Longfellow's
Ginsberg Kerouac all have remarked
somewhat deeply the star spangled main
stripes unfurling from a rising moon
tongued in silver their Pacific lines
light a flarepath to the shores of Mars

deus ex machina

what if Job appointed someone whose
god was like that sleuth's on every night
rides a mean old bike the meddlesome
priest known as Brown

lets him choose whose sins are innocent
plus he's working for the bloody crown
not above breaking laws on the sly
nobody knows

audience excepted country town
constant scene of murders everything
goes though Brown's unfazed like where he's from
ain't no birds sing

btw if anyone should call
one of these nights say I'm fishing off
Hinkley Point for tadpoles what's the score
quite had enough

Britain seeks a hero at this time
batgirl hatcheck wallah no one's fussed
tortured soul or crook whose only crime
claims to be right

Never Say You Weren't!

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Binary Dyslexia

You know I'm not that kind of doctor; so, at the age of sixty-two, is this a disease I have just invented for myself? How does it go? Well, whenever there are three or four objects - five at a pinch - I can learn 'em - that is, distinguish one from another. Like if a magician comes on stage with an apple, an orange, a pear, a large lemon and an unripe peach, and starts juggling them - the mage is also a juggler, btw - and when one of the pieces of fruit, suddenly while they're being juggled, turns into another orange, and there are two oranges juggling about, I'll remember which of the others has gone and go, like, “Oh, that's clever. Very clever, indeed. What's happened to the apple?” Yessir, I can manage a plate of fruit... well as anyone; I'm just trying to establish a credible base line here, the average quota of Shredded Wheat. Three, four, even five points of reference are all doable in the everyday course of affairs. And also like most folk, I can push the boundaries, if I put my mind to it. I've never been on a TV gameshow, but if I ever had to remember: the toaster, manicure set, matching his'n'her beach towels, upright vacuum cleaner, guide to the round towers of Ireland, oven glove, a garden fork, signed and framed photograph of Idris Elba, the volleyball ball and Rubric's Prism as they passed, one-by-one, in front of me on the old conveyor belt, I'd probably manage seven or eight out of ten, perhaps all of them with the ghost of Brucie helping me out. One less than three, though, is where I start to have serious problems.

Well, not all that serious. My brother recently had a tumour - about the size of a small Manhattan – removed from his brain. I found him as his bed was being wheeled back onto the ward... and, I'm sure you can picture the state of him, he was pretty groggy. But he knew me alright, gave me that faint, Calamity Jane smile of his. No recognition problems then. I stood down after an hour, returning later on, when I asked if he'd had any other visitors in the afternoon. Yes, of course, he said. Who? Oh, you know, he said... but the names wouldn't come. There had definitely been one or two, besides his wife and myself. I gingerly posed a likely moniker. No, not him. Then another. Nor her. It was, you know... Yeah, no probs. I get you, Man. Sorry to put you under pressure. I'll turn out the lamp now and stop pulling the old Gestapo routine. We talked of other things. But later, in the evening, back from the hosp, I ask his old lady who visited my brother while I was away? It was only the most obvious one, his oldest, best drinking friend & partner in crime. I guess my bro' pretty much knew who the visitor had been, must have been, just couldn't manage the name. The proper noun. Christ, that's a big owl thingie, isn't it, when the name of your best man won't come out of your blasted gob? Though it's not actually what I'm on about here. Binary Dyslexia ain't no surgical thing, just positing the comparative.

No, I gotta problem with the number two. Do I turn left here, or make a right? Does this terminal take the red wire or the black? How d'you spell the Cagey One, discreet or discrete? Is it the 80 bus or the 82 for my brother's flat? Now, I've just come back from Liverpool, where he's doing fine (touch wood), so the bus numbers are pretty fresh in my mind. The 80 is for Catherine St and the 82 is for Aigburth Rd. But, say I go back in a coupla months to check on him and I'm standing in Hanover St (in town) having just alighted from the airport coach and headed for Toxteth not the Dingle... which is it, the 80 or 82? I'll be standing there racking my brains while one or other of the buses goes past and blowed if I can work it out.

We evolve strategies for this kinda thing. When we are teenagers, a great array of mnemonic devices helps us out in the examination halls of life. Our minds are nimble and not-fussed, there is no shame because we don't forget stuff like best friends' names or where to put apostrophes. Our very fingers & thumbs remember them for us. But as we age, little mistakes become fossilised, some perceptions thicken up and turn slushy in the deep freeze of time, eventually growing into icebergs that undermine our cherished unsinkables. So we are caught out like fools on gameshows or This Is Your Life: husbands who don't seem to know which side of the bed they sleep on, wives who swear to God they have never visited the town where they first fell in love.

Of course, some of this is straight denial. A lifetime spent trying to forget inconvenient facts catches up with us. These are the billion brain cells we have strangled with regret and embarrassment, or shot down with alcohol or Nembutal. Now they resurface with dumbo smiles, the elephant in the bedroom that always forgets.

Anyhow, I'm not looking for company on this one, I only needed one disease to call my own. But, then again, I wonder if anybody else recognises this? Back in the Yuke - this time with a hire car - I've just pulled out of the EasyWheels parking lot and there's a kinda lane that snakes round the arse end of the airport before it turns into an ordinary suburban road. This gives me a few moments to distinguish between windscreen wiper and indicator. Then there comes the shock of binary: looming at the end of the lane is a roundabout. Actually, not a big roundabout; just one that drains off the sudden surges in airline traffic they get and avoids the need for lights. But there is terror in it for me as I approach the simple turn. Left or right? Which is which, for god's sake? My hands clutch the wheel, knuckles gleaming white with fear. I search for hints on the road itself, but there are no other vehicles. Looking down at the tarmac, white lines are shooting underneath the bonnet... I have gravitated into the centre. In the closing moments I do a quick calculation. I'm at the wheel on the right... shouldn't be driving on this side, then... so hang a left?

Once I really took the wrong choice and drove for half a mo into some oncoming cars. Thankfully, it wasn't a public road, just the entrance to a holiday camp at Ainsdale (for Southport). The guard at the gate sussed me straight off, Guess who's been driving abroad? Where've you been, eh? Turkey? That'll explain it.

Here's another angle. My father was colour blind, couldn't tell the diff between red and green. He'd be changing a plug and would say, Eh, Son, which of these wires is red? Colour blindness musta been a widespread problem because sometime in the Sixties, they changed the earth wire to green and white stripes. But that was no Binary Dyslexia. Dad had no difficulty remembering that red or brown was live, blue or black was neutral and that green was earth. Funny how with AC current, live and neutral are interchangeable, anyway; but Dad would never have connected positive to negative - unlike me. I almost blew up a car battery last July. Nowadays even the terms give me a headache. Surely neutral sounds like it should be earth? The way they keep changing the goal posts should keep me on my toes. But it don't.

What d'you do with a door labelled Push or Pull? I have no difficulty in Blighty because the English words were drilled into me at a horrid school. But even in a country where I've lived for decades, being confronted with the words for Push and Pull still causes me to pause momentarily as I run them through the translation engine of my poor old brain. Yes, Binary Dyslexia is an infection of the learning process. I hate having to learn two new alternatives, like the way a tap has been plumbed in: which way d'you turn it for hot or cold? Or the way light switches are wired. Back home, you always flick a switch Down for On. But don't expect Down to mean On anywhere else in the world. At first I thought this was simple incompetence. As with plumbing, Hot taps were always on the Right, Cold to the Left, therefore if you have a single tap with a swivel lever, flipping it Right should still mean Hot and Left should be Cold. Right? Wrong! Sometimes, of course, it is incompetence: you flip the top right because it has a red spot on that side, then groan as the water grows colder and colder. But as often as not, Left means Hot to the local squires. So it is with electricity, Down is Off. Oh, except in the bedroom. Sometimes, you gotta learn everything anew.

What I'm really on about, though, is the anxiety. As an Englishman (that's a type of Brit) I have a great fear of looking like a fool. I just screw the cap on a water bottle and then hold it to my mouth. Cringe. The overture appears to end, and I'm the first on my feet to applaud. The conductor has not put her baton down. Shrivel up. In Turkey, it's the day you offer your neighbours desserts, so a young woman appears at the door with a tray of bowls. I take the whole flipping tray. Scottie...

But though I have coined the term, I don't believe I'm the only one suffering from Binary Dyslexia; and even on my worst days, when I have it real bad, I don't believe I have the world's worse case at all. At least, I still know what's right and what's wrong, still have some sense of good and evil, still recognise the difference between a cringe and a smarm, between a truth and a falsehood.

Here's a twist. You don't got the worst form of this disease if you know you have it. That is extra weird, because it means the very worst sufferers suffer nothing at all: it's those around them that get all the consequences. The carriers of Binary Dyslexia have no problem calling a spade a shovel, to them there is no difference between black and not white. They live in true monochrome and their world is an idyllic film noir in which they permanently play Bogart and Bacall. The folks around them drop like ninepins, and the world goes to hell in a bucket, but so what? They get all the benefits of rolling a two-sided dice with none of the anxieties. Heads they win, tails you lose.

No, the world's worst case of Binary Dyslexia is not exclusively anyone's, it belong to us all. We all know who's got it, even those of us who put him where he is. In fact, we can say say his illness is a collective phenomena we are all complicit in. Nowadays, who can tell Left from Right, right from wrong, plain wrong from Gee, that's rich? A Great Beast has slouched into view and is giving birth before our very eyes.

So what's the anti-dote, eh? What can we do to get this topsy-turvy world back onto its feet and set it toddling off again on the true learning curve?

It's like I said to my poor sib – who's a fighter - forget that neuro-surgeon's words, he don't know squat. You gotta rebuild your connections, get new synapses sparking & open up new channels. Even the doc admitted little baby brain cells are born every second. You gotta make conscious decisions, one after the other, reprogramme your mind, learn the whole darn show again from the start. Amnesia ain't a blind grope in the dark, no fumbling for pussy backstage or you'll get your hand bitten off. It's straight on into the cold clear light of perestroika, with riot police charging through the park. It's a new dawn breaking, red sky blaring, plenty of warning, and keeping your eyes on the ball.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

more flat earth

flat foot?
An Archie Locost
Pretentious Photo
Caption Contest

flat beer?
paralytic games

people send off the clowns if you please
had enough of spectacles these wise
eyes ain't seen seen much glory referees
look at their dives

politics should learn 2 things from sport
skill & stamina outweigh the pricks
lucky breaks don't count so much as more
training less tricks

secondly enforce the ban on dope
no performance is enhanced by words
slurred to mean another thing the trope
song's for the birds

having got that off my chest it's mad
let me tell you being president
beats all other fairground rides I've had
here's what I meant

winning out against the toughest odds
coming first instead of feeling last
being king in every field at once
that's all I ask

flat food?
 guilt trap

flies supposed to drop in heat like this
toddlers on their hols get more relaxed
every morning swob them by the doz
stabbed in the backs

house no name for fly my home not sweet
death to those who think they've found their manse
pay with life the one-way entrance fee
all for a dance

hospitality's an idle lark
those who can't respect my rule are out
sorry chums I'm normally far less dark
put that light out

chortling in the face of charity
pumkin god on plonk I squash your bums
anywhere just ain't the place to be
off with your thumbs

sod the karma let my spirit die
throttle it at death don't let me off
tell me when my time is up to fly
you've had enough

flat in Waterloo?

little Montenegro Gatsby's gong
donor musta smarted when the Don
shoved their leader Markovich aside
who's on whose side

now it seems a third world war could break
out on Montenegro's sole account
all for one & one for all as stakes
thanks for the shout

Gatsby btw as president
Jordan Baker ok Sec of State
old Wolfshiem running a great defence
Daisy on skates

with the likes of Montenegro though
John you've gotta call the other's shots
no alliance can rely on just
its teeny tots

if we gonna go to war or not
atom bombs novichok all that stuff
gotta spook these neo commie plots
time to get tough

flat earth
never flat!

Monday, 2 July 2018


flat earth policy

why cartographers insist on it
makes a little sense but lottery
players making up numbers on forms
that’s beyond me

love the place you come from hills & all
cross horizons if you must though take
care that border guards don’t steal your soul
try not to fake

your identity can come along
too religion travels with the bags
be prepared to ditch or hold your tongue
gladly wear rags

keep an eye on kids from straying far
lifebelts mobile phones & currency
can assist your crossing even war
earns sympathy

on arrival state you took a chance
precipices stood around your home
all you had a leap of faith no choice
roam was your road

Jedgirl to Slags

owl memo

Modern Slavery remains both a serious matter and is still illegal, I take it, can’t stress that too much. Until we get a ruling, which won’t be till we're back in the old annex, cane the plastic on Bumsrush if you must. But since we shan’t be going away just yet, do save a little for our rainy hols.

At all costs, find that chit from the Holy Ghost we lost at Easter Break. I’ve got HRH junior giving me priestly looks over at the Big House. And let’s have some jolly for tea, eh? Bo & Peep will be over from the boys' dorm, so we’d better put up a bunfight or there'll be odd glances from them too.


whine from a stone

leering after curves or kicks of ass
sex portrayed as cute or burly life
guard photography is simply crass
be no one’s wife

only bod you get possession of
bud is yours you mean disgusting pimp
nil defence yr grace take them all down
seven years’ wimp

good examples should be made of sex
plots by male & female gay or straight
crooked exhibitionists the lot
tied to a stake

break their public image till they beg
anonymity then make them pay
rape for rape let robots do the work
live on TV

squeeze them like the zits they are get on
their tits change the law if need be why
not enjoy see how they writhe & squirm
turned into porn

Lord Stonehead laments

Lady Jump
was such a bounce
she died

all at once
her faithful friends
have cried

mighty was
the seat of her
hot pants

now she’s gone
what shall we do
for dance

eat we cake
at half a crown
a slice

drinking songs
to Lady Jump’s

No stone unturn!

Friday, 1 June 2018

The War on Cheese

Have it for breakfast?

to be continued

anyone can be like a hero
in the war on cheese you stick your hands
up & turn round to face the window
wave for the fans

don't repeat yourself too often try
wearing clothes or pose without a gun
photo ops is all now don't be shy
shine like the son

easy does it you could get to like
living like this even like gold fish
are obeyed in office just think pike
make like a wish

that's the ticket what I said about
repetition may not have been true
always leave like little room for doubt
red's the new blue

well we gotta get back on the bus
see you later son look after Mom
hey no tears you know I hate that fuss
see you anon

dried leaf smoking

catch us on netwits
singing for your suffer
yep yep yep the yah-yahs have it
revel in our elephant
cheapskate faceaches
flaunted on Suckerbook
swinging wicker basket loads
chokka low-hanging likes
desiccated shred
& sold down the river
by young sharks
in seersucker suits

the black princess

not the only Yank to wed a prince
Kelly Grace & Simpson Mrs both
took their chance on royalty got pinched
swearing the oath

what is with these Boston tea part nymphs
don't they know it's wrong to be aloof
join the team that conjures kings of wimps
fiddlers off roofs

moths will fly to candle flames it seems
bright their wings that flutter into plumes
smoke & mirrors quoth the mother queen
humming a tune

loathe to spoil her wedding anyway
divorcees deserve a second chance
give her time to come up with the babes
on with the dance

maybe Meg will start a dynasty
folks of colour rush to windy stops
take a break from the land of the free
top of the pops

not another episode

Marlowe doesn't run to series two
Faust dismembers on the mightnight stroke
good detective helps the boys in blue
winding up broke

happy or not the ending remains
sacred drama follows arcane rules
blondes are gently pistol-whipped in chains
run out of fools

kisses are exchanged their eggs get boiled
hard at least that's how his words come out
coffee stained the fog of danger oiled
well not a sprout

struts & frets a little large the stage
set for shootouts though some kindness there
humour twists the plot is off the page
blood's in the air

Marlowe's world of black & white repeats
vice & blackmail as spectator sports
murder every Sunday morning beats

beauties with warts

Don't say it!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Shallow Creatures of the Deep