Pre-Season Friendly

He met her
And when he did
He felt he’d met
The girl of his dreams.

It was early days yet
But he wanted her
And was already
Scheming his schemes.

He was over the moon
Sick as a parrot;
Couldn’t believe his luck
But stressed by the intrigue.

One thing he knew;
He needed the points
And promotion quick;
She was out of his league.

Myself to Myself

I’m beside myself
Mass-producing miniature clones.
Papier-màche marionettes
That look just like me.

A matching set of gamblers,
Gamesters, holding a handful of playing cards.
Poker face opposite poker face
I call my bluff. I don’t let on.

Fairground mirrors stretch
Out-of-shape my figures of fun.
With inward-looking in-jokes
I mockingly rib myself.

By myself; inside my bedroom,
Bizarre boredom multiplies.
Working on my tiny toys
Making my own company.

Manufacture my latest line
In clockwork replicas with fitted voicebox.
A walkie-talkie robot that repeats;
“Who are you looking at? Who are you looking at?”

Often, I open my mouth
Fall headlong into my huge trap;
Make my role-model a purse-lipped puppet
And keep it to myself.

Other people’s pop lives

Jealously unjealously thanking unthanking lucky unlucky stars
Never got to make it to that revolving earthquake stage of rubble amplifiers and smashed up guitars.
Carrying no cash, cooped up in city hotel rooms, the drugs, the sex, marriage breakdowns and rock ‘n’ roll.
That’s the life to look up to, down on, know and not know.

Then there’s the art, the self-expression, the do whatever you will.
Far away from those jailer fans and the media front page kill-thrill.
No punching the clock, no money to save, no answering to the department head
and being free to die a quiet death to obituary broadsheets in your own bed.

All those part of the 27 club can’t get into old people’s homes with their membership card.
All those who lived long enough to sell out had to draw up a marketing plan on how to sell into being some sort of aging bard.
It’s still the dream of dreamers dreaming out their dreams
That, just like in other people’s pop lives, their biography will need reams and reams.

Romantic Town

In Romantic Town
Everyone’s true.
In Romantic Town
It’s easy saying I Love You.

In Romantic Town
Everyone marries.
In Romantic Town
There are flowers and trees.

In Romantic Town
Nothing ends.
In Romantic Town
You don’t split up or stay friends.

In Romantic Town
You have kids.
In Romantic Town
Lullabies close eyelids.

In Romantic Town
You have a soul mate.
In Romantic Town
There’s no hate.

In Romantic Town
Everyone wants to live.
In Romantic Town
What you wouldn’t give.

Wishful Thinker

When, as an offspring,
You watched Zebedee bounce in,
Your Adam’s apple used to be a yo-yo
Laughing along to The Basil Brush Show.

Now, there’s a generation gap between
What you are and what you’ve been.
Although, as an adult,
You still take aim with your child’s catapult;

When, for example, office bullies in their company ties
Pick on you, having nicknamed you four-eyes,
Wearing your plastic pair of rose-tinted specs
With lenses made of playground perspex.

Getting told off for being a daydreamer
It’s only that you’re a wishful thinker.
So, you call it a day; Time for bed!.
As that early gogglebox killjoy habitually said.

The Peasant’s Tale

The chrisom is placed around my head.
The midwife to charm me. The pastor to bless our family bed.
Has the wheel turned in my favour?
Is happiness foretold by the fortune-teller?
My Catholic fingers in font-water.
Ale in the alehouse makes better my humours.
Poachers and apothecaries rest in the tavern.
Drinking, adversities are briefly forgotten.
Move the moon towards my sad rosary.
Will the harvest heed us? How ought i to see?

Providence and promises haunt our village church.
Spectre-eyed priests, in the pulpit, watch.
Does the lantern, tonight, mourn our loss?
As merry as Mary by the cross.
Otherwise, there are street-acts to sorcer
With contentment, almost, in the tricks of the conjurer.
My lonely desires are as lonely as me.
Merchants, elsewhere, mundanely make money.
Mournful Hamlet phones the Samaritans.
Have i my horoscope? Is this my talisman?

I am a peasant with peasant blood.
My simple plough for prosperous earth.
Drink a keg to life-long love.
Then scatter my ashes in the pub.

The Ship Inn

Next to mine own shippe I do most love
That old “shippe” in Exon, a tavern in St. Martin’s Lane.
” (Francis Drake, 1587)

Sir Francis Drake supped
With sixteenth century swank
As his naval ship-mates tottered with rum-tots
On oaken floor-boards, walking the plank.

I wonder whether he boozed harder
As his Elizabethan world view blurred;
Head spinning, he spun the one about the Armada,
Slurring the Spanish as his English words slurred.

A Very Important Pirate, he autographed beer-mats
For West Country folk, his Exeter fans
As in his favourite watering hole, he happily spat
Making merry in Merry England.

Meanwhile, having had no success with the weaker vessel,
His crew poured out of the tap-bar, lamenting Hello me Hearty!
Having had their melancholic fill
They set off to drown their Tudor sorrows at sea.


Gargoyles and Gubbio

Hunchbacks give hunchback rides
round la fontana dei matti
as round the cloisters st francis goes batty
talking to birds of the feathered variety.

You can easily vanish off the face of the earth
where you’re lucky to be born with your date of birth;
godfearers in umbria in unforeseen trouble
get gobbled up by earthquake rubble.

Gargoyles at the churchside
come a poor second in the village’s annual gurning contest
to your neighbours, gap-toothed and goyaesque,
pulling faces that knock spots off the rest.

From their hovel next door you hear one of them sneeze
as rats race round forcing the working population to its knees;
the whole continent in sepia, and a plague painting each town red
you hang on to your dear ones, and bring out your dead.