Illustrated poems by John Di Girolamo


Johnny Minimal

Johnny Minimal
never went over the top.
He only went to war
against unnecessary need.

He kept everything under control
and kept it all bottled in.
A cork in his mouth;
He was a man of very few words.

He gave his love in small doses.
Just enough to keep her going.
He never whispered sweet nothings
‘Cos nothing sugary was sweet to him.

He didn’t believe in pie in the sky.
He didn’t talk of God or Christ.
He led his life accepting death.
He never acknowledged anything more.

Everything would be a close-guarded secret.
Everything he kept close to his chest.
His private life was strictly private.
He never let anything leak.

When he went, only close friends came.
As the coffin closed, it was left unsaid.
Nothing flowery was at his funeral.
What he would have wanted, at least.

Mannequin Street

Cracks on walls
bring fears that buildings will come crumbling down
with cries of Everyone out right now!
‘cos of no foundations underground.

I gotta run for my life
leaving my life behind

as dead guitarists destroy their guitars
on screen stage in a rock n roll grind.

No one reacts.
Nothing is shocking enough.
A city of mannequins stare out over rubble
as kids play football with what’s left of their stuff.

Her Necklaces

She wears purple and pearl
Emerald green; a girl
Who hangs with the world
Wrapped round her neck.

Years after she was born
In her will she’s sworn
Never to compromise or pawn
The weight round her neck.

As the accused play for sympathy
And the victim acts guiltily
Her matchmaker stares critically
At the stones round her neck.

Song written by JDG, guitar and vocal by me (‘3/10, see me’ if school report?)

Xmas Special

Pouring out this year’s Xmas Special
lifting up glasses to read this year’s nominations
in rhyming alphabetical order
Let’s do the do, you the you.

The list was too long
so let’s cut to the quick.
Pour that Xmas Special, Norm
and we’ll write the list in no time, give us me specs.

The family, the friends.
The Christmases past that forever send
Chistmas cards to old addresses
haunted by coloured paper crowned faces.

Raise your glasses to Christmas present and future.
What does that say? Oh, does it matter?
So pass that Xmas Special, Norm.
It always went down a storm.

‘Please understand before one of us dies’

Death always makes you think.
When you’ll be brain dead.
And everyone you love.
Your heart not beating blood red.

What is the secret to immortality
when your life is just normality?
No idea. Just do the best you can
and if possible be human.

I don’t always do it.
Can be a temporary twit.
But I try, Mr Fawlty.
Might get older before I die.

You Tubers (The World’s your Oyster Card)

Clock hands jump hours like feet.
No one keeps up with time flying.
Buskers grab pennies dropping
and I’m just wondering whying.

Fall asleep and wake up to another day
cos that’s the beauty of being here.
Just hoping tomorrow will stay
long enough to keep hearts beating, very dear.

Been on holiday and away from work
which is what it’s all about, dying for retirement.
Who doesn’t wish their life away
and then ask where it all went?


That was quite a kiss
that would last decades
under a night sky no one could miss
unless blind or so unromantic it fades.

How a heart gets bloody.
How the anatomy of cruelty rules.
How someone can see
and then change into a leader of fools.

Your name was on my lips,
now a name in infamy.
When the tipping point tips
love flies off into the foreground of history.