Illustrated poems by John Di Girolamo
I come alive on Facebook.
Post a few posts so the others can look
and all the better if I get a few likes in.
Gives my life meaning.
Wish I’d been born in the social media age.
Could have been a sharp glossy baby on Instagram
but I belong to an age when it got no quicker than a call or telegram
and black ’n’ white photos with a faded crinkly face in my pram.
There’s a future I might not see
when the world will go even more viral and it makes me sorry.
Everyone feeling so socially happy
without seeing anyone but on their virtual settee.
Tomorrow looks rosy.
Bring on the rest of the century.
If you’ve got a comment to make, make it.
Make it nice or I might not be able to take it.
Ducking, diving, bobbing, weaving
every day is a slalom course.
Wakes up and jumps out the window without leaving
as his alarm clock goes off in secret morse.
There’s no flies on him as he rots.
He peers out in fear from flower pots.
Picks a few positive no’s from his nose
and plants them wearing bogie green clothes.
Love, love, love, hate, hate, hate.
He sits on the fence and crashes though a gate.
Crawls though the garden in camouflage.
Keeps his head down while at large.
Injects himself with his latest meds.
Zigzags around ambulances and hospital beds.
Has a giant car exhaust pipe breathing down his neck.
Dreams of killing it with a massive woodpecker peck.
The teachers sat on the same table.
They had no choice, however undesirable.
We always sat next to who we wanted to
and budged up if we got next to anyone who
had nowhere else to sit or wasn’t it
Or had fleas or some social disease.
You took your plastic white tray
And perused the menu of the day;
Whatever went with mash potato.
Rice pudding for afters and away you’d go.
The dinner ladies would daily serve
the same thing every week. No-one had the nerve
to say; Liver again! I didn’t. It was my favourite then.
I got my share as everyone gave me theirs.
Away from parental guidance, we’d just talk.
No-one ever gave a fork.
Mostly live in their head.
Have very little sense there
let alone killer instinct
on how to get anywhere.
To be fair,
luck not often on their side.
Try so hard with fingers crossed
their index knuckle is thread bare
and all feeling in their middle finger is lost.
It’s a sad fact of life,
some just don’t get the breaks.
Wasting time timing it wrong.
Their lot gets on their wick.
So much so,
they make themselves sick.
That normally does the trick.
The Birthday Season is upon us.
One more birthday suit on the line.
With a happy return ticket, hop on the bus
where double decker friends pour on like wine.
Mums going into labour.
You’re our heroines for bringing us here.
When you leave us, we miss you forever
and with our dads lift a glass of beer.
It’s another day purring at the window
waiting to be let in to lie on a parchment blanket.
Lay your birth certificate on the pillow
as rain through the roof blots the ink drying wet.
The suicide club tried to top themselves
with a note to top the others
like ‘I probably gave up talking to you lot
before I could even speak in my cot.’
There were a lot of dark little lines in the archives
Some that died a death and some that came alive.
Every week they met to pull off the inevitable.
Every each one seemed like the last.
Though their pain seemed so indelible
Every last second went so fast.
New collection completed with illustrated poems (and a short story) from latter part of 2020.
Dedicated to Paolo Rossi who died this week
As Geoff Hurst plays a blinder against Germany
The home fans rub their eyes in disbelief.
Italians take their hats off to Paolo Rossi
As scoring a hat-trick, he brings Brazil a bit of quarter-final grief.
In a World Cup of national stereotypes
Only lager louts and greaseballs qualify;
Gazza gets into aggro on the terraces, beating up the wife
As slimy Silvio Berlusconi gets behind Forza Italia in his football scarf and tie.
Mafia bosses with back-handers in their pockets
Grease the palms of players playing on the other side.
A pre-match talk on how they can throw it
Cashing in on slotting the ball wide.
As Sicilian mammas in funeral black
Cry out Avanti! football-stripped to kill,
Elderly English Roses, in baggy pink underwear, go on the attack
Winning the Widows XI, with Stanley Matthews skill.
The Beatles line up against Battisti
Chorusing Hey Jude ; naa-naa-naa, na-n’-na-naa, na-n’-na-naa, Fab Four!
Meantime, Lucio chants, sick as a parrot over the moon with Emozioni,
Liverpool Mop-Tops, non incazzare, l’importante partecipare! i.e. You’re not singing anymore!
Over ninety minutes, pasta and pizza beat traditional eggs and bacon
But a cappuccino doesn’t go down half as well as a good old cup of tea.
Umbrellas in the rain and parasols in the sun
Defend in numbers ‘away from home’ tourists from The English Riviera to Rimini.
Bobby Charlton queues up in the box
As Gigi Riva pushes forward to get in a header.
Union Jack the lads with brewer’s droop have to pull up their red and white socks
As Gli Azzurri as Latin lovers hold a press conference with dressing room tactics on how to bed ’er!
So, with the Heroes of ‘66 matched against Beckham and Owen
And Gli eroi di ‘82 drawing a comparison with Baggio and Del Piero, It’s Bye Bye and Ciao;
I blow the final whistle on my latest poem;
The readers think it’s all over! It is now!
When Amy Winehouse died, Conix was distraught with grief. ‘I was with her a few days ago, and she seemed fine.’
This was typical of him. Making out he’d been anywhere of importance when news broke. When questioned about how he could have possibly been with her, he looked up from his tears in disbelief as if to say How dare you not believe me! And then very calmly said: I went to Camden Town last week on a uni trip.
Everyone got used to Conix’s tall tales. And went along with them. They were so far and few between that his tall tales actually became entertaining as he added more and more unlikely details to what had happened.
No one ever believed him even when he was telling the truth.
Greeting cormorants as I kayak past
I make seagull noises not knowing theirs.
They look at me with distain
wary of this weird paddling thing that stares.
They nest on the rock face
under a white moon and a pink sky.
Fish fleet-jump up in a sea-skimming race
that they do in seconds as they fly.
The sea as heavy as oil wells up.
At least, it feels like it does. But it’s pure sea.
Seagulls vie with cormorants
but it’s the dark birds that claim victory.