Sunday, 18 December 2011

Progress Report

First we had the restructure,
next up the merger.
150 fewer people
than there were
this time last year
pick up the endless slack
of ghost jobs.

Haunted daily by mislaid papers,
and forgotten tasks,
the individual brain
restructures itself accordingly,
eliminating the frivolous,
the obscure and the obsolete,
to make way for absolute necessity.

At night we rehearse each possibility,
each pitfall in dreams.
By day we augment our newfound reality
become less human, more machine.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bankers Donate their Bonuses to Haiti

At a boardroom meeting
late last night
the IMF took the unprecendented step
of cancelling all £546m of the devastated island's debt.

This was swiftly followed by a unanimous vote
of Wall Street's finest pin-striped sharks,
Tokyo's biggest pirhanas,
London's cod-financiers,

in favour of donating last year's bumper banker catch
- £140 billion from the US alone -
to starving, homeless, Haitians
adrift without housing, schools, medical care or basic sanitation,

the rest to be placed in a fund
to be used as and when needed
by other former colonies
with shattered infrastructures and ruined economies.

What a crazy old planet we live on! we'll say
where one man's lifestyle can finance another man's country.
Such a blessing, we will murmur
that some good can come from such tragedy

as we study the frightened women's faces
while they chant songs to ward off rapists,
and hear screams from backstreet amputations
as jailbreaks and lootings "exacerbate an already fragile situation"
we know we can turn off the TV and lie down in beds free from shame
safe in the knowledge we live in a world where everyone else can do the same.

Friday, 10 April 2009


Curtains that billow
against rain-lashed windowpanes;
April days
that refuse to pin back the clouds,
screw down the sun,
keeping their counsel on the prospect of better things to come.

Interiors mimic the misery out there.
As the grey chill unfolds around a broken down boiler,
runs its fingers along an obsolete heating system,
we smile through chatterng teeth,
wrap ourselves tighter in knits and scarves,
overeat and keep the gas rings on when we're no longer cooking.

Was it only last week that beds were warm
and kisses carried the promise of enduring heat?
I shiver,
shimmy into another layer,
stop myself in the act of switching on an appliance
that may already have burned out beyond repair.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Past the terminus

He'd come home late at night,
bleary-eyed and crumpled,
saying he'd ridden past the terminus.

My mother would snort
he didn't know where to get off with his lying,
but I believed him because

I watched them most schoolday afternoons,
working men, nodding-off behind newspapers
as they swayed with the motion of the bus.

As we approached journey's end
everyone, apart from them,
would get up and get off.

Behind glass they slept on,
lost to the hydraulic hiss of the closing door.
The journey beginning for them once more.

I get it from him,
this tendency to make unnecessary journeys,
of staying too long - to the point of pointlessness,

the art of missing the alighting point,
riding beyond the terminus.

Beautiful Creep?(To Leonard Cohen)

Clay-footed god of things earthly,
your addictions to visceral romanticism
and cracking up,
soothe the loser in me.

At four in the morning,
the universe having failed to succumb to my command
after each bar room farce,
or one-too-many faux-pas
my hand slides the volume up a notch,
trailing itself still, through that river deep,
where a tearstained note called you "beautiful creep".

Captain Mandrax,
Field Commander Cohen,
on mornings I find myself inhabitant unknown,
searching for remedies in ripped-out pages,
plotting the points between now and then
every coordinate poses the question,
where is The Future or Marianne?

Yet, your growing old gracefully
brings me hope I can clean up my act,
as I swab wine stains from dusty album sleeves,
sweet messiah of bedsit-ridden artefacts.
I kiss my husband, tend my kids, and cross off the days
while you reap the fruits of commercial success,
date younger women, and sexualise grey.

Miss Understanding

He scripts postcards over coffee in the pavement cafe,
drums fingers over tabletop,
exaggerates the pause for thought,
fancies himself a Sartre of
the latter-day
(minus axiomatic observations on life and the human
or any understanding of the principles of

He too, he confides to his woman friend,
is unhappy with the state of the planet
-would change his life, if he could only get a handle
on it,
discard black clothes and prevailing trend
if someone who could see beyond his looks,
might rescue him from the company of his books,
(his only real bed mates recently.)

And she, thick-lashed and long-faced,
no Simone De Beavoir herself,
finding unfulfilled longings once more propel
her headlong into the bottomless lakeof human understanding,
manages just the slightest twitch as he reels her in
and up,
and even a smile towards the sparkling shallows of her

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

All the Things I can't Remember

Headful of random variables.
Conversations started and ended
by no-one in particular.
Accusations without basis.
Nothing is quite what it seems
in this jumbled lost and found
neural network interruptus.

Which of us was it loved another?
Who stayed out all those nights?
Spent others inviting friends to partake
in a piece of another man's wife?
The smell of hotel toiletries
still leaves me lightheaded.

The therapist sighs and wheedles
while I await configuration
of automatic scripting
to fill in the hours of tabula raisa
beneath the cabled avalanche,
perhaps never to arrive.