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

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

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!

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


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


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