Monday, 30 July 2018

Everything Must Go

We think that we’ve got problems now.

The stars will one day disappear,
not all together – one by one.
Their lights will be no more, their names
forgotten. Everything Must Go!

the cosmic closing down sale signs
will not proclaim. Which star will be
the last to die in this doom-fated
universe? Earth’s? No. Ours will be long

be gone before that final light
succumbs, along with all the others,
to the heat death of eternity.
An old, tired, now dead universe,

so ancient that the noughts which mark
its age will be too numerous
to count. A near infinity
of zeroes, to signify nothing.

Friday, 27 July 2018

War and Peach

I misread War and Peace as War and Peach,
a side-effect of reaching middle age
(and being absent-minded with regard
to the whereabouts of my reading glasses).
I pick the book up, and, with outstretched arm,
begin to read. I’ve always been quite wary
of books known for their length; if measurement’s
the thing, the word we’re looking for is weight.
A weighty tome, as if the words convey
gravitas, when, in truth, they’re code for ‘few
people – if any – ever read this book.’
But back to War and Peace. Part One (it reads):
War. Part Two: Peach. Wait – peach? I go and find
my glasses, return to the book, and read
the title once again. Yes: War and Peach.
I’m curious to know how this one goes.
I dredge through lots of bloody death and torment,
exhaust my patience, and decide to skip
to Part Two: Peach. The brevity is startling:
‘The war was over; everything was peachy.’
That’s it. One sentence. Nothing more. I scan
my shelves and pick another book, at random.
Cress of the D’Urbevilles, the tragic tale
about a naïve piece of cress who ends up
inside an egg mayonnaise sandwich at
a roadside café adjacent to Stonehenge.
I close my eyes and run my hand along
the spines of unseen books. I stop and pull
one out, open my eyes, and find that I
am holding Fromage to Catalonia,
George Orwell’s personal account of bringing
cheddar and brie to the Spanish Civil War.
Below, I find The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
The book falls open at a much-read play,
Much Ado About Stuffing. I daren’t look.
Instead, I read some lines from A Midsummer
Ice-Cream. And now it’s everywhere I look:
Plate Expectations sits alongside Fried
and Prejudice, while Nineteen Eighty Flour,
Wuthering Bites, Jane Pear, Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop!
(rum and raisin edition), Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Pie and Madame Bovrilly have
all found a place. Professor Stephen Hawkings’
A Brief History of Lime proves to be quite
impossible; I hadn’t known that citrus
fruits were so difficult to understand
and I abandon reading after page
seven. I look at all the books I have
and contemplate the unexpected mysteries of life.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Ultimate Bed Hair II

We play the latest virtual reality
sensation: Ultimate Bed Hair II,
and start off with the 1950s level.
You make a quite phenomenal arrangement:
Wind Tunnel Elvis Presley Singing ‘Blue
Suede Shoes’. The world has never seen a quiff
so catastrophic, and you progress to
the 1960’s level with a bonus brush.
By contrast, my Hungover Frank Sinatra
scores poorly, and I feel lucky to join you.
Your Marilyn Monroe on Any Given
Morning turns out to be a stroke of genius.
I come back strongly with Bob Dylan
After a Coughing Fit. The 70s
await. You choose Progressive Rock on Acid,
a style so vague you don’t move up a level.
John Lydon Wakes Up from a Nightmare Where
He Had to Sing ‘God Save the Queen’ with Paul
McCartney gets the highest score so far,
and wins me bonus shoulder pads, with which
any monstrous 80s bed hair style
would surely give me too much of a lead
for you to catch. My Margaret Thatcher
Mauled at the Labour Party Conference scores
far less than I had hoped, while you, still stuck
a decade back, create Members of the Band
Van Der Graaf Generator with their Hands
on an Actual Van der Graaf Generator.
The score for this is stratospheric, so
we check online and learn that nobody
has ever won so many points in just
one go. An Almost Drowned Simon le Bon
extends your lead. With my Chris Morris Wig
Attacked by Mail on Sunday Journalists,
I make some inroads, but your next creation,
George Michael Smoking Weed Crashes His Car,
incurs a massive penalty on grounds
of poor taste, and I find myself with half
a chance. An Ageing Punk Forgets to Use
Hair Gel sees me almost level with
your score. The final round will be decisive.
As you are in the lead, you get to choose
the order of play for this round of rounds,
decide to go first, and double whammy me
with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson Fight.
I can’t see any coming back from this,
and, knowing that I’ve surely lost, I make
a lateral move, and simply write Post-Brexit Hair.
We hear the strains of Morrissey’s obscure
b-side, Hairdresser on Fire, and it’s over:
I’ve somehow won. Conceding your
surprise defeat with grace, you load the new
latest virtual reality sensation
into the games console: Ultimate Wardrobe
Malfunction III, Lenny Kravitz Edition.