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.

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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.

Burning The Wife

I hate Time. Not in an abstract, oh doesn’t time go too fast type of way but in a real, tangible sense. He’s my arch nemesis.Think Churchill and Hitler. Holmes and Moriarty. He-Man and Skeletor. I hate him, loathe him, despise him and I would cross burning coals to get the better of him. I would sellotape my nipples to a train-door and tell the guard to blow his whistle if it meant that I could, just once, look Time in the eye and stick my fingers up his nose. He’s a bastard, and someone needs to take him down.

The thing about Time, you see, is that he’s relentless. Like the Terminator. A massive steam-roller, flattening the 3D ‘Now’ into unreachable 2D ‘Then’. Just rolling on and on and on forever, turning real life into memories, mistakes into regrets. There’s no arguing with him. No pleading with him. No way to avoid him. All you can do is keeping on running ahead of the roller, trying not to get flattened. And, in the end, you’ll run out of steam and you will get flattened. Because Time always wins. Like I said, he’s a bastard.

Almost everything bad in life can be blamed on Time. Sour milk. Rotten apples and brown bananas. Body odour, dandruff and halitosis. Hunger. Degenerative illness. Regret, unfulfilled ambition, tiredness, boredom. Long days at work, short days not at work, monthly bills, interest rates, inflation, out of control debt and the ever present, nagging sensation that doors are closing all around you and that you’re being funnelled into a test tube in an experiment that you never signed up for. None of these would be possible without Time.And that’s just life itself. What about death? There would be no death without Time. And when it comes to death and Time, the most annoying thing –  the most annoying, unforgivable, inhuman thing – isn’t that he kills you, but that he refuses to leave you alone once you are dead. He worries away at you like a dog with a bone. Erasing your existence, wearing away people’s memories of you until you’re nothing but a footnote in history. Gnawing at your earthly remains, bringing decay and degeneration and a return to the dust from whence you came. Give me Hitler over Time any day – at least he had nice legs.

I was thinking about all this today, and I realised that there IS a way to get one over on Time. A way to win a small victory, even if it is a pyrrhic one. There’s no way to do it whilst you’re alive, of course. Not without going all Doc Brown and messing with the space-time continuum, anyway. That war is unwinnable, lost before we start. But you can win a battle once you’re dead. All you have to do is be cremated. Just have yourself burned, it’s as easy as that. Burn your remains so that Time can’t get his hands on them. Turn yourself into ash so that he can’t turn you into dust. Deny him your body. Leave him with nothing to play with and to ruin. It’s a small victory, as I said, but it’s a victory none the less. Something to savour. One in the eye for Time, and a finger up the nose to boot.

I urge you. I implore you. Join me in this rebellion. Have yourself burnt, not buried. Deny Time his small pleasures, and regain control over your own inevitable demise. “Ash, Not Dust” shall be our slogan, and we shall march through the streets with placards and banners, baring our naked buttocks at the steam-roller behind and refusing to be cowed. He may take our present and turn it into past, he may take our youth and turn it into infirmity and he may even take our life itself – but he will not have our dust.

I can only ask this of you, of course. I cannot demand or expect it. Everyone’s corpse is their own to do with as they please. But, having said that, I am a modern man and my wife is a modern woman – so I’ve made an executive decision and decided that she will be burnt too. I’m sure she won’t mind. I love her, and Time isn’t having her dust, it’s as simple as that. This was quite a momentous decision, so I wrote a poem about it. It’s called Time Shall Not Win, and it’s below.

Time Shall Not Win

Your hands shall not decay, my love
Beneath the mud and dirt
Those hands that oft caressed me,
Smoothed the creases in my shirt.
Those hands that held our children
Shall not rot, exposing bone
They will not lie unclasped, my love
Beneath the earth, alone.

Your hands shall not decay, my love
Dread Time will never win,
I shall snatch your hands from his, my love
And kiss the soul within.
Your hands will burn with fire, my love
The flames will set them free
To rise into the sky above
And wave goodbye to me.

The Prophetic Bottom

I’ve always loved Bottom. The comedy program that is, not the wobbly hairy things above a man’s legs. I love all the episodes (although the 3rd series went a bit downhill) but one of my favourites is ‘Apocalypse’.

In this episode, Eddie and Richie visit a fairground and, in a bid to escape a man they’ve shot in the eye with an air-rifle, they end up in the tent of a crooked fortune teller. The fortune teller (Liz Smith – brilliant) tells Richie that “Before the moon rises three times.. you’re gonna die!” And here’s where I get to the point of this essay….

Richie, the most gullible man in the world, falls for this rubbish hook line and sinker. He is completely terrified by his impending death, and decides to take preventative measures: he turns the sofa upside down, covers it in blankets and proceeds to spend the next three days hiding underneath. He won’t come out for any reason, and he wont even eat any food unless Eddie has safety-tested it first.

A bit of an extreme reaction, perhaps, but nonetheless that is exactly what I would be doing now if I was a celebrity over the age of fifty. Every time I see such a celeb on the telly I’m thinking “What are you doing you idiot?! Don’t you know this is 2016? Haven’t you heard! Hide, you fool! Hide, hide! Take cover under your sofa and cower ’til we get to 2017!”

I’m not exactly sure just what 2016 has against celebrities, but whatever it is it has to be pretty big. You don’t kill this many stars on a whim. This isn’t just a case of “Celebrity X didn’t return my lawnmower and I don’t like his eyes – they’re too close together”. This is serious. This is major. Someone has fucked 2016 over in a hardcore way, and now it wants revenge. And somewhere, somewhere there’s a celebrity who knows why. A celeb who knows exactly what’s got 2016 all annoyed, and who is, right at this very  moment, hiding under his sofa.

So here’s a message for this celeb. This parasitic, cowardly star who won’t come out and face the music. The message is simply this: “Show yourself! Own up! Show a tiny bit of honour and sacrifice yourself for the sake of your celebrity colleagues! You owe it to mankind!”

I don’t see why this poor excuse for a celebrity should be allowed to live whilst other, nobler souls are lost. I don’t want to lose any more Victoria Woods, or David Bowies. Or even Ronnie Corbetts, although he did scared the shit out of me as a kid. It’s time for the scumbag concerned  to show himself, and to face the music (assuming there’s anybody left to play the music by then, of course).

So if you’re the guilty party then reveal your identity now, I beg you! And if you’re one of his friends then grass on him, dob him in, throw him to the wolves! And if you’re just a common or garden celeb aged over fifty… get yourself under that sofa! Now! Before it’s too late!