Sunday, 24 August 2014

Borders Aren't Real

A border is a risky line,
Drawn on a map in pencil fine;
On either side there hangs a sign:
That side is yours, this side in mine.
   We fought a war, we made a deal.
   What were we thinking? Borders aren’t real.

A border’s just a make-believe margin,
A reminder to folk that they can’t just barge in
With guns ablaze and soldiers a-chargin’,
(Nobody’s country needs enlargin’).
   We fought a war, we made a deal.
   What were we thinking? Borders aren’t real.

A border’s no more than a mark on a map,
But time and again we fall in the trap
Of bating our neighbour until he goes snap!
Then fighting breaks out and we’re all in the crap.
   You don’t need a war to strike up a deal,
   Just think for a second: borders aren’t real.

Friday, 22 August 2014

What You Need for a War

At least two nations, both of whom would like
to be significantly bigger than
the other; that way, both of them will spend
a lot of time and money building up
their fighting capabilities, which means
that when their diplomatic efforts fail
the fight which follows won’t be some one-sided
affair which will all be over by tea-time –
   for where would be the fun in that? we ask.

These two bellicose nations need a cause
to win the public’s hearts and minds; to capture
imaginations of both old and young;
to stir the patriotic fever till
it bubbles, boils and bursts; as jingoistic
expressions make their way on to the front of
newspapers, filled with pages rich with lies
about the foe. They could use words of caution –
   but where would be the fun in that? we ask.

And finally, the other side must start it,
for when two nations go to war, it’s always
the other side who must be blamed. With all
their brutish, hawkish, Empire-building madness
it was inevitable  that they’d start
a war with us: the side who did no wrong,
whose Empire is a charming, tranquil one.
We could promote a peaceable solution –
   but where would we find glory then? we ask.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

How Did it Come to This?

How did it come to this? Voice One
was heard to ask. All stopped what they
were doing, looked around to see –
too late – a fearsome volley detonate,
consuming Earth, and sky, and mate
   – but time will pass and we’ll forget.

The Other Side did something wrong…
I think. It was so long ago,
I can’t remember what Voice Two
replied, then took a bullet to
his chest and promptly went and died
   – but time will pass and we’ll forget.

It doesn’t matter why it started,
it only matters that it stops
Voice Three imparted this opinion
before the blast that did for him
merged earth and sky and what was left
    – but time will pass and we’ll forget.

I’d tell you why this war began
Voice Four then paused – before he climbed
the steps and ran, with thousands more,
towards a pointless, bloody death –
But I’ll not waste my final breath
explaining why all wars begin
   – for time will pass and you’ll forget.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

play nicely

what the world’s warring
nations need
is a no-nonsense
a modern mitochondrial matriarchal
reminding us we’re all
quite closely
connected cousins
Play Nicely
she would command
treating us like
the tyrannical brats
we are

before we got
to fighting
she would sit us down
with a chocolate cake
in the shape
of our countries
You Want Borders?
she would ask
as she held out
a knife
for one of us
to grasp
One Cuts
The Other Chooses


do it mum’s way
that way

Life and all its Dismal Contents – an Update

I pretend to have the elixir of life; it is a jam sandwich. I advertise it on the internet: FREE Elixir of Life. Send SAE to The Salt Mines, Siberia, c/o Vladimir Impaleski. PO BOX 97, HANTS.
   I receive no replies to my advert. It seems that people aren’t interested in the elixir of life after all.


After trawling through the Birth, Marriage and Death records I discover that my father was a snuff box. I assume that I have inherited his lack of hinges, then I realize my mistake and revert to my former state of ignorance.


This is the third day in a row that I haven’t changed my mind.

I check the PO Box in Hampshire. I am greeted by a sack of replies and an irate postmaster. On my way to the supermarket to buy some bread and jam, I stop off at the tip and empty the sack into the landfill container. It feels good to spread some hope among the abandoned objects of people’s lives. Even non-fire-retardant mattresses have feelings.


Further research reveals that my father was a wheelbarrow. Perhaps this explains my affinity with sand. I dismiss this thought as fanciful; fanciful as the notion that my father might have been a wheelbarrow. Fanciful as the notion that I will discover anything about my father – that boat sailed a long time ago and sank off the coast of the Aisle of White.

I discover that my father was a reincarnated fish.
   This has to stop.


I arrive home and make myself a jam sandwich, which I throw in the bin. Who wants to live forever?

Albert Camus Blues

Lost in the desert; no-one but the sky
for company. And when this half-light goes,

what then? it asked. I wrote my answers in the sand
and when I was exhausted of all words

I turned and saw the wind had swept them up.
What else did you expect? I heard it mutter.

Friday, 1 August 2014


I said the sea was classy
and she said, “Surely you
mean glassy?” “Glossy sea?”
I said. “You’re right; the sea
is glossy more than classy.”
“No – glassy,” she said. “Glassy.”
“You’re right, of course,” I said.
“It does look grassy green
today.” She gave me quite
a look. “Glassy,” she said.
“You’re right,” I said, “it’s quite,
quite ghastly; think of all
that sewage for a start.”
“GEE – ELL – EH?– ESS – ESS – WHY?”
she said­­. “The arsey sea?”
I said. She stared at me,
all glassy-eyed, and left.