Tales of Isolation (2020)

These poems and collages are from March-August 2020 and are a result of lockdown and covid-19 pandemic.

ready to go

hello i don’t know why i’m here
that’s why i’m here
i don’t ever open up to others
wonder why anyone ever opens up to others

so that’s why i’m here
heard there’s something i might need here
never have till now
but anyway i’m here now

i’m not really into talking
but willing to listen if you’re talking
i’m good at listening
sure you’ll prefer me listening

anyway i’d like to get to the bottom of whatever it is
find out whatever it is
must say before we start
think i’m wasting everyone’s time from the start

is that ok

Film Set Extras/The New Normal

The streets are empty when a blink ago were full.
The buses running with no passengers are just the ticket for wasting fuel.
The beggars have nobody to beg to
or have a two-metre vaudevillian wooden arm out if they do.

The local drunk shouts out to walled-in deaf ears
You’ll die of the virus! I’ll die of alcoholism! as he holds his bottle of beer.
Supermarkets are still open to shoppers in their cellophane masks
who weigh themselves on the scales and stick the prices on their arse.

Dogs are a new leash of life to get out the house for a stroll
as owners, tongues hanging out, jump with excitement as police patrol.
You can’t go out unless absolutely necessary or you might be in the doghouse
as helicopters above make sure anyone below looks like a mouse.

Statistics is the new board game and quiz show everyone’s glued to on their sets
As hospitals have stress shooting off the graphs in their attempts to offset
the sad, inevitable truth that people, cut off from their loved ones, are dying
and funerals can’t even be had for any god’s want of trying.

‘Film Set Extras/The New Normal’ read by Johnny Morris

Life in a Bubble

Watching them and what they’re doing
speaking another language like cows mooing.
The wind is up and there’s a breath of fresh air
taking me away up there.

There’s a faint noise ringing in my ears
with drums bursting for years and years.
Nosy neighbours smelling of roses
distant learning with passwords written up their noses.

Sorry. I made your eyes well up.
It looked to me as if you were crying.
You said you weren’t
but you were on the verge of tears, there’s no denying.

Life in a bubble
with a face behind a shiny veneer
gets anyone in trouble
as you float too far away from those trying to keep you near.

The Blacksmith’s Tale

Forged thoughts burn
as a headful of nails.
My resentments are nobody’s business
and turn to a mind of anvils.

War is no enemy to me.
I wage it on wagons and artillery.
Jack-of-all-metal-trades, as wheelwright and farrier,
I get extra as a horse-shoer.

One of the seven mechanical arts,
I form a chain with weavers, and agriculture,
Hunters, traders and cooks,
Masons, and architecture.

My body is a wrought iron skeleton
of gates, railings and grilles.
It is struck into shape and welded as one
but bends to my maker’s will.

Home to Roost

Setting a precedent
the assassinated president
comes back home to roost
because right now the world needs a boost.

The Stalker’s Tale

I’ve got my ‘top secret ‘boxes back at HQ
as I pin a cardboard medal on me and one on that newspaper you.
They can talk about heroes and heroines
but you’re mine and I might get a look in.

Love is all around and is pretty square
But no-one thinks it is when it’s not there.
Operation Mum’s the Word is ready to go.
Just give me the sign and they’ll never know.

times and places

at 7.34 he stepped out
at 7.34 he closed the door behind him
at 7.43 he stubbed out a fag and bought a newspaper
at 8.08 and 20 seconds, he left the cafe
at 9.09 and 3 seconds, he was shot smiling on the street.


Songs that get in your head forever
pop in from time to time like family and old friends.
You know you won’t be leaving anything of any worth behind
but it’ll have been worth it when it ends.

Virtual Heavens

The virtual heavens have social media angels at the door.
Rain bullets are pelting the planet.
Shelters get drenched in a downpour.
Two people are in a long-distance online duet.

The marble slabs are glistening in the moonlight.
The soaked sky collapses in the middle of the night.
Earth runs muddy in the fields under the weight
of a wet avalanche downhill trees create.

Tonight, it’s pouring cats and dogs.
Tonight, there’s no knowing how long it will last.
Tonight, rust is already setting in between the cogs.
Tonight, the world’s machine is already a thing of the past.

Have you got a second to take a minute?
Think about every glimpse your eye isn’t quick enough to catch?
Your gigabyte bones and your wi-fi body at the computer sit.
This is rubbish. This is great. Every byte does its bit.

The Immigrant Street Seller’s Tale

A mint I’d make
if I got a cent for every step I take
walking here and there
trying to sell my wares.

Lighters, paper tissues and socks,
flowers for flirters, cheapo toys for the tots,
and, at the sight of a few drops,
umbrellas for sale pour out; I’m quick off the blocks.

I have to beg or bug passers-by to buy
but it’s more entrepreneurial than scrounging to get by.
I’m on the breadline to earn a crust
and getting a note rather than a coin is like gold dust.

Others like me stand still picking their prize spot
or set out stall on the pavement hoping the police won’t stop.
It’s illegal what we do selling our wares
but for a country obsessed with immigrants, no-one seems to care.

‘Vic & Tim’ read by BBC JDG

Vic & Tim (The Collage’s Meaning)

The dog is Vic
& Tim is the twit
cheering the flying archers on
as they aim upon the poor dog (like a King Kong).

So, how did Vic get there
On top of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square?
Well, since a pup, on the uptake he’d always been very quick
The World’s First Climbing Dog was our Vic!

So, that day, he’d climbed up that sea-faring hero
Causing a scare in the square don’t you know.
Out went the call to dog control
Who, with tales of a giant dog, brought arrow and bow.

But seconds after this collage was stuck
The flying archers made a dive and a duck.
For hardly could they believe their luck
That there in the square was The World’s First Climbing Dog! WTF!

As reinforcements arrived
And, to Tim’s great surprise,
The archers turned their aim fairly and squarely on him.
So, no more gratuitous cheering came from that Tim.

Soon Vic climbed down to a hero’s reception
And was patted by all, with one obvious exception,
Tim, who by now, was lying quite dead
As onto his flag his British blood bled.

Later, the report on the incident stated
‘Though disturbing the peace, the dog in question was feted
And the archers were well within the law
To aim at the man, who was clearly baying for blood. That’s all.’

The British public agreed with the verdict
And voiced their support for Vic.
‘Britain is a nation of animal lovers‘ added the PM.
‘No one has the right to hold the Union Jack like that. Tim’s actions, I fully condemn.’

So, what’s the moral of this collage and story?
Never treat animals badly. And never cheer at someone’s predicament or it might get gory.

*No animals (not even the one next to Tim) were hurt in the making of this collage

Act Cool
When you’re at your all-time low
you want to look cool.
No longer need to worry about what you don’t understand or know
‘cos you’re no longer at school.

Swallow the keys to your cell to hide them.
Then throw them up to get out.
Worry about where and when
but who to avoid is what it’s really about.

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