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!

Monday, 1 April 2019

colour blindness

 
 Pop (Harold Lee) in the Army, c. 1940; & in the RAF c. 1944




ghost rides



hear the mail train bound for Holyhead

drum its fingers through the chilly night

riding waves of field & woodland lanes

late as you like



dash of clammy aspirations hot

water bottle smell of paraffin

heater musty bed in summer house

playgirl in tights



sleeplessness describes so many nights

countless trains of thought I never quite

boarded drifting in & out of mind

cut to the chase



living in the past I make it new

bring my brother back & see us through

no mistakes for once we put things right

riding our bikes



now I sleep the sleep of kids wake up

old enough to be our granddad’s age

long before the pair of us were born

late as you like
 
 
 
my first Scot

take it out of here Pal he said
pointing at his nose as if I would
Borstal taught he mopped the floor with me

stowed away to Aussie land he claimed
leaping from the plane across the run
way which even I did not believe

still I learned a thing or two from him
never criticise a fellow's speech
how to lose a pound when not to preach

till that time the Scottish people had
all appeared to me stereotypes
broke the mould is what I mean to say

ought to send your ma a bob or two
home I’d never manage that did he
something in my nose said not to ask



lucky for us


Pop was colour blind which saved his life

otherwise in bombers he’d have flown

missions over Germany and France



having missed Dunkirk he’d walked to La

Boule to get evacuated once

volunteering twice was tempting fate



after spotting he’d a gammy leg

not too great an issue for the Raf

showed some pictures that had made him laugh



just a mess of colours Sir what's there

can’t you see that tree blowed if I can

officer said you’re having me on



realised what’s up & got cold feet

waste of time your job in civvie street

waiter Sir all right you’re out who’s next





kiss like his ass


whooping for cough the president’s off

on his rant again who knows what’s next

don’t you love him madly he’s so cute

tells like the truth



anarchy rules it’s the US way

supersize a slice of apple pie

melt some cheese on top with café crème

kick your shoes off



stink the place out no one really cares

European airs don’t cut it here

matey limey frog you with 2 heads

take the back stairs



know what's really cool in the White House

scratching ass where other presidents

played the fool to foreign delegates

this guy’s no stool



hell of course there’ll be a second term

book the Ritz & sell the coupons on

tell you what to up the odds again

let out he’s dead
 
 
 
letters of marque

should I say for every Elgin ten
Byrons paced the decks of British ships
coveting the loot of warring states

privates from Penzance to John o'Groats
sailed the azure main in George's name
dragon killing though their grail was French

humans as illegal cargo they'd
run aloft then straight along the plank
who would know what had become of them

colour made no difference for black
yellow brown or white alike as shark
bait their bodies were convenient

Britons never could be slaves it seems
cruel to those who didn’t have to fight
Johnny French to rule the Seven Seas

no blink!
 

Sunday, 3 March 2019

shake the fake




evidence I'd stake like two hotels

Hamlet wasn’t written by The Bard

once the piece was out there on the boards

Shaky did improve the lines of it

but the basic text is Baconesque



take the myth of Hitler’s fate for inst

what we need’s a remake of Macbeth

get the finest in perhaps Dan Brown’s

still around or maybe Stevie King

else that grey piece with the kinky shades



people getting told the naked truth's

all that counts cos fiction’s just washed up

folks believe in nothing but these days

wake up calls not false alarms now scoot

café crème at seven-thirty sharp



Archie Locost attrib




heartless chicken



executions don’t faze her she's hard

that's according to The Sun so fake

news may be but let's imagine why



her reaction to a fellow's head

chopped off & dumped in a wheelie bin

is relief she won't get raped by him



what's compassion for if not to set

folks apart from beasts in field or cage

tigers kill their shotgun brides oh why



no one knows but those who gaze inside

open jaws may lose their silly lives

jungle law is what they’ve bargained for



we’re not talking about smoking drugs

stealing cars or social media

misdemeanours that would blot her cause



if she’s lost 2 babies then it’s true

something's gone to pot & now a new

child’s around her time the law stepped in



never mind your prejudice old Sun

bring this careless crackpot teen back home

let the family sort her out is all





brother



Chris your death was accidental we'll

blame it on a slowmo overdose

though the final sentence read for drink

life was your choice



counting on that mythic stay-behind

time was called but when the towels were up

orders in they sprung a mean old trick

dry was your tongue



mostly as you laid that lovely head

pounding at the temples couch or bed

heaven span its vortex through your mind

wake of the flood



loud enough to stir the keepers’ ghosts

Elsinore had echoed to that call

not to be or other rot you bawled

sure of your words



asked if you’d enjoyed yourself the while

took no time to think or vacillate

bravely as the truth closed in you cried

smiling oh yes





when the ancient world would rumble gods

shook its timbers or so people thought

sending ripples cross the purple sea

heaven had drunk



Chris & friends lip-served libations tipped

off the earth its human cargo had

high pretentions then forgot themselves

acted divine



quoting songs & stories did their time

held symposiums on wine or drank

beer in public bars but usequebah

in camera



spirits stalked behind the temple walls

lurked in shadows pounced on fallen men

distillation racked the sacred ground

cracked under foot



you & Franny held a cabal then

safe from prying eyes & ears we kenned

only when the sun showed up again

heaven had drunk





laying something down was by the way

yours was living mostly for tonight

gave eternity a run on form

breaking at dawn



fat the worm that grew inside your skull

white precipitate of lion’s milk

sat upon your thoughts though if you knew

no one would think



as a stoic seldom you'd let on

what you really thought as often was

bottled up in cellars out of mind

deep as your will



what you stored for others we replay

vintage words of attitude & style

generosity a fetching way

whispers & smiles



what you left yourself was nothing much

frowned upon the French but not the Dutch

friendship trumped the lot bequeathed to those

all but your clothes





Dad once said with Chris’s touch & Phil’s

drive he could have made a pianist

thanks for that incisive comment Pop

room at the top



woulda been a joke to play duets

you on fingers me on tell you what

brother Lees to share a common plot

now there's a skill



who invented glasses yours The Look

not Costello Morrissey or Joe

Ninety had it all in '63

original



photogenic coulda been a star

all you lacked was ego cos a gang

member first and foremost played the team

game set & match



talent in your little fingers more

staying power than an orchestra

strong & silent as the lion’s roar

one passenger





who’d’ve thought that Chris would top the list

Westy Brody Dozy Hamish Marg

Little Brian & Terry the Hat

not you & all



there's a pipe to stuff with thinking woah

Christopher no patron saint of Go

brother you were saint of patronage

close to the edge



down the banks or what no Chris no fun

just another bloody Carry On

still you'd never take your leave without

raising a hoot



cos you saw the irony in it

like that quip about our grandad’s legs

first he lost his left to gangrene then

gout robbed his right



might’ve written books by morning light

never could be arsed or even asked

stead of which you led a kindly life

spliced to the mast