Monday, 1 June 2020

Starbuck martyrs

to go not latte

Starbuck martyrs

take the Moby Dick

out of Pergolesi &

what the hell you got


spoiler Hamlet's dead

by the end while Romeo

goes & tops himself

Juliet is left

facing the house bereft of

life without her best

boy there is no choice

stage directions call for that

final mad dispatch


so episode one

stars attract a teenage moth

who begins to act

up though he is cute

talent stands him out he flies

through the local boards

past the hopeful hordes

clamouring on TV shows

to the silver screen

fame was made for him

Oscar just another role

he so young & all

activist as well

awesome of conviction he

pledges interest

airing precious time

mans selected barricades

such a throbbing heart

then about ten years

into living at the top

he is asked to play

Romeo on stage

all the buffs go wild to see

Homey in the flesh

filling theatres

selling out the floating world

with his struts & frets

but one fateful night

kneeling there in leotards

downs the poison draft

Juliet awakes

underneath the hero’s fat

bitter almond lips

does her best to act

natural till the curtain falls

when all hell breaks loose


people on the in

side begin to doubt at once

not the way to go

not the boy they know

but the word is just embrace


pundits writhe a field

day is had by online shrinks

YouTube comments crash

speculation soars

conspiracy theorists

see careers mapped

while the grieving few

relatives & friends stay numb

for at least a week


next to do the deed

staging public suicide

comes a bodyguard

few would know her name

family & childhood friends

comrades on the job

not the Property

though countless times she’s given

presidential nods

for a moment’s fame

who could slit their throat like that

broadcast live on prime

hostage take on self

slaughter black & white in full

colour sickening

gets ten zillion views

closeups every angle caught

nothing left to thought

just her reason why

do that awful thing on live

oughta be a crime


Sherlock Holmes forget

amateur professional

rivalry just ask

was she gay as if

lovers’ tiffs could stoop to such

summits of the heart

what we need's an app

something that'll number crunch

random into hunch

two times best of five

seven then thirteen all die

counting in-betweens


spotified from seventeen

to infinity


next to air their death

comes an athlete on the up

black & male perhaps

bi the virus goes

Sportsman of the Year a show

watched on sofa beds

cyanide no yawns

this time shockingly employed

zooming in on yeuch

let’s appoint a sleuth

someone who can represent

never mind the truth

call them Agent X

given office rides a horse

has a sidekick worse

based in London but

talks American a girl

in a suitcase case


X is pinning dots

on a map the size of France

pan to sidekick’s face

by-the-bye a hunk

name of Kuryakin why

Uncle Robert knows

finds a clue in Dan

Brown’s umpteenth upcoming book

see page seventeen

here the tropes go hay

wire-on-sea each episode

mired in foreign code

bring the writers in

knock their heads together stir

matters up you pervs

number four’s for keeps

else this series be your last

pull the plug you dig

cut to throat there’s X

making an arrest but no

dies the freakin death

cast is now a jest

suicide is back on prime

who will wear the vest

wot not caffeine

Friday, 1 May 2020

a smoking lamp

only a twit


doctors keep their secrets well as lies

few will ever tell you how your heart

rate is less than half the story beats

measured in slow

thuds’ll pump more pints of blood per min

than the flutters nothing compares weight

lifting shudders as your kettle drum

rocks without rolls

meditating medication works

too though not the auto brainwash kind

single minded at the point of truth

focus on breath

working boxers in the ring must keep

going though there’s nothing left to do

stamina will get you through the most

trying of times

fair or foul survival in the wild

makes demands that town-bred folk may miss

real adrenalin beats hot & cold

mindful is all


Michael’s girl was slim but puppy weight

meant her Terry towel bikini stretched

branding her a Botticelli wow

thought the young man

he was not her first she’d foiled the field

plucky cherub had a rugby half

coupla jokers plus a steady boyf

during her teens

wouldn’t let him use protection strange

even she surprised herself a gent

Michael said no sweat let’s take the test

me first then you

slow she liked to play & tore a strip

tongue in cheek of course you know the rest

that’s a question by the way you don’t

Peg was supine

trying every move to raise her twitch

Mike was stumped she ruled his efforts off

side oh my how pearly was her tum

baby had pride


dominatrix may take any form

Peg was not some broad in shiny boots

wielding whips to order him about

bedtime apart

Mike rebelled at first her mark untrue

letting go she told him make your choice

lover boy or former bloke he fled

all of a week

go consult a shrink or buy the book

cheaper less embarrassing but no

use psychology was negative

humans were weird

sick & sad the answer puzzled him

life consists of endless choices one

wrong decision wouldn’t change a thing

surely he hoped

love was daft & Mistress Peggy round

he a square so who’d attempt to fit

doubt into a life of selfish bliss

only a twit

a smoking lamp


Chinese lanterns eh

thousand candle power jobs

hissing paraffin

friend of mine recalls

using one at home way back

when their town was dark

of an evening five

children did their homework all

crowded round the lamp

till the time it burst

taking half his ear off

burnt his notebook too

cheap & cheerful don’t

come without a scorpion’s

tale it makes you think


populism claims

China gave the world a cold

breathing fossil fuels

eating bats & ant

eaters when they knew the risks

viruses could jump

like it’s not the first

incident but twice before

time to shame their name

now they’re buying up

half these bankrupt countries one

big conspiracy

cheap & cheerful means

sow Confucius but beware

bull in China store


don't pretend to know

who’s to blame maybe the Grinch

cheapskate or scapegoat

six of one half a

dozen to the other yeah

what goes around yeah yeah yeah

even this so-called

poem stokes controversy

Stoke-on-Trent you dig

China’s here to stay

they’re not flogging opium

fit to start a war

but you got admit

bats & pangolins ain’t food

as Confusion says

Not Yet!

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Lockdown Special


coconuts are shy

only black on the outside

I’m the opposite

stopped deleting my

darkest tweets & vilest deeds

drunk to killing cells

hear me out you dumb

learn what rotten things I’ve been

from the age of five

yes confession time

you don’t want to know OK

telling anyhow

shot the Kennedys

back in the Sixties my room

overlooked the scene


I was whispering

in the fat dictator’s ear

forty years before

he was ill disposed

coulda had the jerk deposed

if it suited me

used him like a dog

guarding secret moves I’d made

undermining states

Germany came next

yes the devil is my slave

though he’s never known

worships me of old

sent his son to round you up

meet the Holy Ghost


by the way I’m dead

never been alive in fact

only passing through

iteration imp

teen a copulation clone

just a rolling stone

plain detritus dressed

up in spiky clothing best

casting me aside

but you can’t I find

out & then come round with friends

called The Communards

sitting on your bed

sure we’ll get along in time

choke like nuts on wine


Mary had a lamb

fleece so white an old man’s beard

wouldna been as weird

slaughtered it in cold

blood though butter wouldn’t melt

innocently she

sold the world its chops

gave the heart to kingpins cops

got the offal box

those who ate his meat

straight became these hands and feet

Mary was the brains

oh what fun was had

meddling with her worshippers

still they call me Lord


curses are my ace

spadework dating back at least

two millennia

Pilate sealed his fate

on my watch the boy did great

washed his hands in wine

then we moved the Jews

split their land with Arabs Druze

poor Samaritans

waited till the Romans got

faith then let some other cats

overrun the place

promises I kept

saying do this after tea

take some flesh & blood


now my China plot

jumped from bats to pangolins

in the market down

Wuhan way to score

Zoonosis my new name

old magician’s game

not the CIA

don’t believe a thing I say

look to what I do

world disruption got

loads of planets on the go

galaxies of stars

what you’re up against

ain’t no leap of faith the truth

beggars all belief


here’s the spoiler sex

reproduction is the key

I’m recycled waste

all you gotta do’s

rule me out I’m not your dude

segregate my lines

don’t get married young

wear a condom play the field

cell by cell I mean

universe ain’t bad

evil thing is sweeping thugs

under silken rugs

else you’ll get a fake

chocolate Easter Egg like me

Busg’ll rule the world


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

bugs have done for us this liberty

bu akşam evde kal

Venus rides alone

through a murky sky she owns

cold indifferent light

people go unmasked

driving cars too goddam fast

tearing up the streets

now the müezzins

start to weave their prayers in twins

piercing & bright

chilled I turn for home

Venus stays behind her gleam

narrows on the beat

still the calls ring out

urging folk to have no doubt

stay at home tonight

*    *    *    *    *    *

don't cry for us karantina


my illicit pony GiddyApp

asks me if I'd care to go pot luck

starting out from Spain or Castlereagh

where it'll end

makes no difference how I goad the nag

up the aery waterfall at night

down Old Faithful’s gizzard by the day

where it'll end

stirrup cups for singing as ye go

birds & bees & rubber geese join in

road is long but folk may never know

where it'll end

useless whistling in the dark eyes closed

better open all them curtains wide

sun or cloud the heating system stays

where it'll end

shall I gallop off & back again

bringing viruses in saddle bag

loads or wait & spend the day in bed

where it'll end


Covid couldna struck a nicer guy

Hanksy made the virus seem benign

Tom how many times did you survive

saving that Ryan

gumption gets our hero off his cloud

atlas with the flu Apollo too

Elvis meets Vinci Dan Caprio

under the Louvre

never saw you as an astronaut

Google saved the day I own but still

if you'd played some less practical cat

done it with tact

dubious but followed up on tweets

all the highs & lows of quarantine

sampled so we’re stoically briefed

tearful at times

uncles Sam & Tom rolled into one

not an ounce of side or carry-on

just your all American has been

seen but not gone


Mum's in Liverpool she's all alone

so is Deniz Lee our eldest son

we're in Turkey same as everyone

else getting on

carbon fumes have lifted streets are plain

empty buses here & there some rain

birds are singing spring is here again

peace to all men

women get remote asylum too

children sit & wonder but it's no

time for homework fix that broken loo

seat in the gloom

blossom frosted up the other night

doggies bark at passersby in fright

slealthy creeps the virus to the fight

who knows what's right

still believe in something can't say no

meaning less from sure to nothing's sure

thing's empire never set us back home

to the future

*    *    *    *    *    *

it's not the leaving of Liverpool


Turkey is no bird of paradise

but for pride of place it's hard to beat

Orientals meet The Occident

most of us who've had the luck to waltz

in as political exiles or

like me economic refugees

landed on our feet not so in Greece

birthplace of democracy lately

there the welcome ain’t been all that neat

beaches not so chock-a-block as here

praising Allah migrants land with cries

but a squalid camp is all they find

saw them wade ashore surreal as we

foreign tourists looked at olive groves

land was cheap the views of Turkey great


first we saw were figures on the quay

twenty-twelve before the Arab spring

tide washed up on sunny afternoons

childish features burnt & wiry-haired

stared like lawless wanderers no tents

kids on piles of blankets babes in arms

worried for the car I blush to say

shooed them off afraid they’d take our stuff

but the locals had a heart one said

never mind they’re harmless pity them

Christian values I had plain forgot

should have wondered who they were & not

cast them as vagabonds out to fleece

holidaymakers of souvenirs

why was I so thick & plain unkind


guy we know a Greek's had enough

says they’re selling sex & spreading AIDS

wonder what he knows his wife shuts up

people soon forget how their folks came

seeking work & housing in the towns

passing through or settling down for good

my colleague a Bulgarian Turk

lost his sister on a protest strapped

to her mother’s back a sniper’s round

grazed its mark & struck the baby’s head

even though a refugee himself

thirty years ago he’s moved to state

overwhelmed by teaching Syrians

it’s a job he has to do the kids

must speak Turkish for their parents’ sake


it’s Ne Mutlu Türk’üm diyene

meaning Happy are those who can say

How they’re Turks the last word DNA

meantime Liverpool got beat again

after many battles won no sweat

neither bangs nor whimpers spoilt the past

such a multinational team so cool

fifteen years of exile took their toll

banned from playing in the Euro League

now no matter where you're from to go

praising God or Mammon is your choice

all you gotta do is win & lose

pointless crying if your side can’t play

dazzling games each time they hit the pitch

children have died tryna reach a beach


years ago the former Lesbos port

had a market place where refugees

flogged their bits & pieces as they fled

Anatolia’s Independence War

Greeks Armenians & anyone

fearful what the vengeful Turk might do

people can be monsters take their cut

maybe it’s banned in scripture but friends

bash each others’ heads for plots of land

brothers if the bible were believed

couldn’t solve their differences till one

stabbed another or left them for dead

when the technicolour coat is pawned

rainbows point to crocks of jealous gold

who respects the pots their neighbours owned


Alchaeus & Sappho writing while

Hebrews wandered in the wilderness

sang the ups & downs of Lesbos folk

knew its stony hills & valleys shore

lines with massive hidden gulfs the cliffs

forests vineyards groves & even trees

turned to stone when Vulcan’s ashes rained

making deserts of the northern fells

early Christians tore their poems up

now we scratch through ancient rubbish heaps

steam papyrus scraps from mummy’s masks

piece together jigsaw dithyrambs

not to be outdone by ancient Greece

strewn along the Sikamenas strand

lie the shreds of refugees' IDs


who we talking 'bout you may accuse

Africans & Afghans some Burmese

scores of Pakistanis few Chinese

why leave Turkey as their stepping stone

that’s a million dollar question one

reason’s never can sufficient young

people get to live out their dreams but

weary oldsters know the western world's

streets ain't paved with gold that's Neverland

something desperate drives the man to hold

up a child & cry give me your towel

plastic bags & tape protect his phone

took our kids on boats though not CharÓn's

Lord knows what they’re flying from no wings

birds of paradise in human skins

*    *    *    *    *    *

deus nobis haec otia fecit

as there’s nowhere left on earth to fly

airlines going bankrupt anyway

all we have’s ourselves & breathing time

here’s what I say

never will we get a better chance

when the wheels are rolling once again

must it be the same old song & dance

odds out of ten

bugs have done for us this liberty

we should sit & listen while the birds

sing & bees repollinate the world

pointless to cry

right enough the docs & nurses won’t

get a moment’s peace nor those who serve

patients’ meals & marshal our reserves

they have my vote

some of us will die the dice is cast

paradise won’t wait on Pentecost

now’s the time to face Apocalypse

heads up or bust

wot, no crowd?