Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance

A man who loves his children
Can forgive them many things
Put up with every foible
And the trouble that it brings
But yet the most devoted,
Caring, loving, dad must shun
His offspring now, forever
If the buggers read The Sun.

Don’t read The Sun, don’t read The Sun
A red-topped sheet of bile
Rip it up and burn it
Sweep the ashes in a pile
Hold your children closely
Give them love and family fun
But sever all connections
If they go and read The Sun

They can vomit in the motor
Leave a poo upon the floor
Put lego down the toilet
Dirty handprints on the door
They can steal the chocolate hob nobs
Bring home vagabonds to shag
But they’re gone, and gone forever
If they ever read that rag.

Don’t read The Sun, don’t read The Sun
Vindictive, twisted shits
Scumbags with a keyboard
Rip integrity to bits
Raise a man to Hero
Rip him down, besmirch his name
Then pay him to abase himself
Say sorry, cry in shame.

Each man must tell his children
When the playful day is done
You can rob me, wreck me, hurt me
But don’t ever read The Sun!

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I Shall Die In Mid-September

I shall die in mid-September

As the summer ends

With the trees half green, half gold

And the sun still afloat after dinner

Just.

I shall die as the summer dies

Still warm

With the echoes of TMS not yet muffled

Beneath the leaves of autumn.

I shall die as thoughts turn to anoraks

Sturdy shoes

Outside bulbs and one more cut before oiling

And storing the mower.

I shall die as the summer dies because I am the summer

In all its glory

I am endless days, cricket, the sound of distant music

The face turned skywards to feel the gentle sun

Through closed lids.

Not for me the darkened afternoons of winter

Those grey sludged pavements, whipping rain

Cold fingers

The endless search for warmth, no comfort

In a too distant Christmas.

When I die with the summer it shall be in triumph

All will be well

I will die with the fading summer sun, cold skin warmed

By the certainty that for me, at least,

The winter will never come.

Reading Festival

I’m old now. I wasn’t always. I went to my first Reading Festival when I was 17 (RHCP, Senser, Radiohead, Therapy?, Wildhearts, Terrorvision. Gutted that Soundgarden didn’t show up) and ended up going for 10 years in a row. I did my time in the mud and the dirt. I saw bands I loved, bands I hated and bands I’d never heard of. I drank the beer and ate the sausages. I went to Feet First on the Thursday nights and stumbled back over pitch black guy-ropes. I saw explosions and heard fireworks and laughed when people fell into the hidden brook. I stayed up too late around campfires, then fell asleep to the dulcet tones of a thousand campers shouting “Bollocks”. I woke up freezing at the crack of dawn.  I saw a riot that started from a single, well aimed egg and ended up with mounted police and plastic bottles full of wee. I dallied with girls that I shouldn’t have, failed to dally with girls that I should have and all in all had a stupidly good time.

But I’m old now. Those wild indulgences of my youth are nothing but fond memories, happy thoughts to pass the time as I make another cup of tea. And the strange thing is that I don’t mind. Not a bit. I’ve moved on and grown up. I remember being worried, back in the day, that the world would end when I was too old to be young. How would I cope with the boredom? The endless nights at home? Well here’s a message for my younger self: Stop worrying, fuckwit, and go enjoy yourself. I’m fine. You will be fine. Don’t sweat it.

It’s Festival time this week, of course. That’s what’s brought all this to mind. My walk home from work takes me along the IDR and towards the Festival site, so I’m knee deep in campers for most of it. Today was quite tame, compared to previous years ( the queuing cars were actually moving this year, albeit very slowly) but it was still rammed. This year’s bunch of pedestrian campers looked pretty much like any other year’s bunch of pedestrian campers, but I found myself surprised by the luggage. Mainly because it was exactly that: luggage. Actual suitcases, on wheels, with no sign of mud anywhere. Absolutely spotless. With name tags. If you’d taken a nice neat labelled suitcase in my day you’d have been burnt at the stake, but I guess times change.

Anyway. I’m waffling. I wrote a poem as I walked through the crowds, and I’ve pasted it below. I’m too lazy to come up with a proper title, so in the immortal words of Eddie Hitler, “I think I’ll just put bollocks”.

Bollocks!

Backed up along the IDR
The camper-vans and hatchback cars
Their parcel-shelves stacked up with gear
(Tents and bags and crates of beer)
Just sitting in the crawling queue
Their speed, perhaps, an inch or two
Per hour, whilst past on either side
Totemic teenage tramping tides
Fill every foot of pavement space
Identical in form and face

(The nonchalant, well practiced miens
That mask the minds still in their teens)

A route march down to Campsite G
An army, this, it’s plain to see
Whilst I, demobbed and pensioned too
Just cross the road to join the few
Who spurn the turn-off to the site
Then take a resident’s delight
In sudden calm beyond the throng
My ears immune to siren song
And I, demobbed and healthy yet,
(A battle hardened Festy Vet)
Walk home, to all I need in life
Adoring children, loving wife
And I, demobbed, a wiser beast,
Sit down. Inside. A man at peace.

A Royal Feast

 Imagine a feast. A feast from long ago. A stone room, lit only by a firepit and a hundred tallow candles. The light flickers, shadows twist and turn like backlit monsters on a screen. A table. A rough, wooden table laden with game and grease and mead. A king sits at the table. Madly bearded, dressed in his wedding day finery. An ogre of a man, at home with his own power. Beside him his new wife. Dressed in ceremonial, almost sacrificial, blood red robes. Small. Timid. Fragile beside her new giant. Her eyes full of apprehension as the wedding bed approaches. Surrounding them, The Court. Rough warriors to a man, in their cups and boisterous with it. A cacophony of drunken revelry. The king stands, abruptly. Bangs his fist on the table for silence. He gets it. He holds the royal mead cup aloft, savouring it with his eyes. Struck from finest gold, it glows orange in the overwhelming firelight. Beautiful. Holy. Kingly. He turns his eyes to his followers. Picks them out one by one, asserting his dominance. He speaks. In a terrifying, Brian Blessed like voice, he speaks.

 

BEHOLD!

MY CUP OF ORANGE!

‘TISN’T YELLOW! ‘TISN’T GREEN!

 

Behold my cup of orange!

Hear ye BELLOW! Here ye SCREAM!

 

I hold my cup of orange,

I, Othello! Royal sheen!

 

BEHOLD!

My cup of orange.

Fair thee well… my Crimson Queen.

 

 He turns and bows to his new bride. Kisses her hand. Holds her eyes with his. She sees nothing but flames beneath those close knit brows. She nods gracefully. And inside she weeps.

Not quite The Monkees

The Monkees sung about loving Valerie, so I wrote a poem about loving Valkyries. (As Barry Norman may have said: “And why not..?”)

Valkyries
As tall as trees
Those buxom breasted broads
Leather tunics straining
Into battle, swinging swords
Flaxon braids, a sheen of sweat
Flashing blades, a crimson jet
Of blood. A kill. My Valkyrie
Victorious once more
Removes her leather armour
As I step in through the door
Valkyrie erotically
Divested of her swords
Rides again in battle
Lewd, Licentious, buxom broad.

Midwatch (AKA Warts and All)

A short (300ish words) story I wrote whilst walking home from work.

Midwatch

The hand was small, and wrinkled, and had a wart on the third knuckle. I didn’t like the look of that wart. It spoke of disease, and a life submerged in others’ filth. I looked across at Shaw. He had a calf, and was face deep in flesh. Lucky bugger.

Jenson hadn’t opened his carton yet. He was eyeing my wart-ridden hand with unconcealed distaste.

“Blind swap?” I asked, without much hope of success. I was right to be pessimistic.

“Not a chance.” Jenson was emphatic. “That wart is horrific.” He patted his carton. “Whatever’s in here, it cant be worse than that wart.”

“Last chance? You could have toes in there. Or even a scrotum. Is it worth the risk?”

Jensen grinned in pity, and began to fiddle with the seals of his lunch.

Summarily dismissed, I turned my full attention to the hand. It still disgusted me. I picked it up and tilted it into the light. The fingernails had been removed, of course, but looking closer now I could see that the cuticles still remained. Once covered by carapace, the now exposed half-moons were a filthy, discoloured yellow speckled with flecks of red. Blood or disease, probably. Neither option was appetising.

I looked across at Jensen. He’d lucked out and got a forearm, complete with faded naval tattoo. He caught my eye and held up his prize in mock salute. Bastard.

I contemplated the hand once more. I still didn’t want it. I had the duty watch next though, an all nighter. I’d never make it through without some food in my belly. Beggars can’t be choosers.

I held the hand close to my nose and sniffed. Quelled a moment of nausea. The wart seemed to be winking at me, it’s sparse white hair like an old man’s eyebrow.

But beggars can’t be choosers.

I held the hand up to my mouth.

I closed my eyes.

I ate.

Friday Verse

Two poems today. One written on the way into work, and the other on the way home. They’re both graduates of the Pick A Random First Line And See Where It Goes School Of Rhyme, but beyond that I don’t think they’re connected. I could be wrong though, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Lactose Intolerance

My brother stole my milk float
He didn’t get too far
He didn’t know my milk float
Was much slower than my car
.
I caught him and I groomed him
Gave his beard and hair a trim
Then I drowned him in a bath tub
That I’d filled with semi skimmed
.
I dried him off and wrapped him
In a bolt of purest silk
Then offered him to Dairy
(Holy Mother Of The Milk)
.
She took him and she beat him
Into full fat double cream
Then she beckoned, and caressed me
And I couldn’t even scream.


“Why’s The Swan Upside Down, Daddy?”

The swan is upside down today
Just bobbing on the swell
His legs look very rigid
I don’t think he’s very well
.
I guess he could be sleeping
With his head down on the bed
But no. That’s wishful thinking:
Mr Swan is very dead.
.
So now I’m in a quandary –
Do I tell the truth or lie?
Say that Swan is sleeping
Or explain that all things die?
.
I brace myself and tell the truth
And now I’m rather pleased:
The death talk’s done, it’s up to Mum
To do the birds and bees.