Poison love

She charmed me with her piercing eyes,
they made my senses ache.
Then I lay beside her in the bed:
like lying in a coffin with a snake.


Act of will

Vehement puff follows vehement puff
as I climb the steepy hill.
I wheeze and I sweat with each cigarette
— each step is an act of will.

I reach the airy summit
and besit me on the crown,
just in time for another puff
before I traipse back down.

Something really has to change
(the thought runs through me deep)
something really has to change:
they should make these hills less steep.

Stable relationship

Yestere’en Marlene was keen
to wed her gallant beau,
but yesternight she saw a sight
that made her ’spise Twemlow:

Twemlow in the stable,
a beldam on each knee,
corsets strewn about the floor
— a lurid company!

Twixt the twain of damasked dames,
an ardent pikestaff grew,
it stood aloft vibrato,
and like a cockerel crew:

‘One last fling is just the thing
I need before I wed.
As my old pater told me,
‘Better dead than wed’.’

‘Marlene’s a pretty beldam,
and I love her — yes of course!
She’s a handsome hussy,
though I much prefer my horse.’

’So come, ye frisky beldams,
once more around the green!
One last ride before I’m tied
forever to Marlene.’

For my daughter

My beldam’s been in Bedlam
since she lambed at forty-two.
I’ve said it many times since then:
‘I never blamed you’.

One life fades, another grows,
one bedims the other.
I just hope my darling lambkin
will be nothing like her mother.

The switcheroo

My baby done gone and left me,
drove to the county line.
My baby done gone and left me,
she ain’t no friend of mine.

She done took my pickup truck,
and left me in the lurch.
She done took my pickup truck,
soon as we left the church.

My baby done gone and left me
and now I feel so blue.
She done gone and left me,
soon as I said ‘I do’.

I said ‘I dooooo’, now I’m so blooooo.
She took my truck, not even a f—k,
ain’t that a switcheroo.

Y’all take my truck, sweet Beausoleil,
and take my heart as well.
I’m just a lonesome pilgrim,
and I’ll see your ass in Hell.

Chorus and fade out

The love song of R.M. Dunwoody

R.M. Dunwoody (as he likes to be called)
is almost fifty-seven, and frequently appalled:

‘Turn down that blasted music!
That’s not what I call dance!
They stare into their smarty-phones,
like zombies in a trance.’

‘I never went to college,
or flew about in planes,
a holiday in my day
was a wet weekend in Staines.’

‘We had no sex in my day,
but now it’s everywhere!
That slapper on the billboard
with her legs and purple hair!’

‘They ought to bring back hanging,
for music, sex, and fun.
I’d gladly pull the trap myself
— justice seen and done.’

R.M. Dunwoody (as he likes to be called)
is almost fifty-seven, and single, and bald.


Afternoon off

I must remind old Catflap
that I won’t be here for tea.
I’m meeting Captain Carver
at the Kat & Kedgeree.

Oh, by the way, Mudflap, I won’t be here for tea.

— M’Lud?

No tea this afternoon, Flipflop… take the afternoon off.

— M’Lud?

I’m going out, Slipknot, so no tea today. You can take the afternoon off.

— Afternoon off, M’Lud?

Oh for God’s sake! I won’t be here, Drainpipe. You can take the afternoon off!

— You want tea now, M’Lud?

No! I’m meeting Captain Carver, I won’t be…. oh forget it, Turnpike!

— Captain Ernest Carver, of the 13th Infantry Brigade, M’Lud?

Yes, old Irondrawers himself! We’re meeting at four at the Kat & Kedgeree, so I won’t…

— Beg pardon, M’Lud, but Captain Carver was killed on the twelfth of May 1915, two miles north of Verdun. Sniper on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, M’Lud.

Nonsense, Pikestaff! I got no such report!

— Possibly out of respect, M’Lud. Oh, and the Kat & Kedgeree closed in 1982, M’Lud. There’s a teashop there now.

Yes, in the drawing room. Thank you, Cornstarch.


Face it

In semblance of a toad
my beldam bears her load
with all the grace and dignity she can.

Her face is pocked and bulbous
and her skin is tough as stone:
sometimes I think I’m married to a man.

I buy her salves and lotions
and all kinds of pungent potions,
but her face is still the face of Desperate Dan.

My beldam withered on the vine
but now just look at me:
I’m still the handsome charmer
that I was at twenty-three.


The honest trade

I wandered lonely as a crone
who has nor friend nor telephone,
and made my way to a sylvan glade
where Nature’s sweets were all arrayed.

All about the curlews curled,
and twemlows piped To-whit!,
while just ahead in a bobbing bed
of bluebells sang a tit.

Jonquils jostled feverwort,
twined tendrils with St Joan,
and all above this verdant stage
a sunny sun sunshone.

You’d think that such a comely scene
would lighten my sad mood:
but you don’t know me, reader
— I’m not that kinda dude.

I blew that creepy sylvan gaff,
and ran to The Honest Trade:
— I’ll have a pint with you, Sir,
and call a spade a spade.


‘Damn your eyes, Seth Cardew,’
said Twemlow with a snarl,
‘keep thy peepers to thyself,
or I’ll pitch thee in the marl.’

— I ain’t seen nuthin’, Captain,
I swear it ‘pon my life.
T’aint my bizness what ya do
ta ‘personate a wife.

With that, poor Twemlow’s
his ardour all depleted.
He slowly let the air out,
and lay down, quite defeated.

The memory

The night we stole a monkey from the Munda Wanga Zoo,
the time we swapped the Citroën for a ‘bicyclette-à-deux’,
the day we swam butt-naked in the lake near Vissieux,
the week we spent in Galway, ‘a room without a view’,
the night we clung together on that mountain in Peru,
the time you sent an email that you’d found somebody new
— memory’s a bastard, cos it’s all about you.

Watching tail

I was observing Donati’s tail when the phone rang.

— Nice tail, eh?

— Spectacular! Hey, who is this?

— Got any pics?

Who is this?

— Close-ups?

— Well yes, I got some real good ones.

— High def? Full colour?

— Of course! I got a Meade LX70 Maksutov, with Plossl eyepieces.

— Oooh! How much do you want for the pics?

— They’re not for sale… it’s just a hobby. Look, who is this?

— Mount Ashton Observatory, in Carson City, Nevada.

— Oh… but how did you know I was …. ?

— We’re very observant.

— I guess you must be.

— So you won’t sell the pics?

— Well, I’m just an amateur. Like I said, it’s just a hobby.

— Would you trade pics then?

— Sure, maybe… you got any pics of Virgo’s globular clusters?

— Oh you pervy bastard!


Captain Carver’s Christmas Crush

Come to me, my saucy goose,
I won’t say boo to you.
Perch your tail upon my lap
and warm your gingeroo.

— Oh Captain Carver, you’re a cove!
A bird ain’t safe with you!
I’ll not be perching on your lap
to bill and coo with you!

I’ve got a sprig of mistletoe,
my sage and onion dove.
Oh let me kiss your candied lips
I’m skillet-tossed in love.

— Oh Captain Carver, you’re a cove!
you’re squeezing my baboosties.
Simmer gently, Captain,
then your goose is much more juicy.

Art of beauty

Is that you, Leonora,
in the painting by Vermeer?
the beauty gazing back at me,
a jewel at her ear?

Yes it’s me, Captain Tandy,
though I gaze not at you.
I’m looking at the sundial
— the Twemlow sails at two.

Yes it’s me, Captain Tandy,
with the jewel at my ear.
As soon as I can flog it,
my ass is outta here.

Fire down below

Seaman Tandy lit the fuse
when he peevishly refused
to endorse the edict
handed down by Twemlow.

Now the ship has run aground
near the stormy Western Sound,
and the crew are dancing two-steps
on the decks.

Twemlow’s in his cabin
with a cloth upon his head:
‘Dab my temples, Mudflap,
for I am nearly dead!’.

‘Oh Tandy, you have pained me,
I’ve loved you since a lad.
How could you betray me
— my sailor boy gone bad!

Tandy’s on the upper deck,
drinking rum and Coke.
All the seamen love him
(he even lets them smoke).

‘Just wait until the tide is up’,
says Tandy to the men.
‘Then Ganymede will be discharged,
and we’ll sail home again.’

In his cabin, Twemlow lies
on passion’s painful reefs:
‘I only asked dear Tandy
if he’d wear those spandex briefs.’

Missing Twemlow

Is that you, darling Twemlow,
gliding through the arboretum?
— Oh how thrilling, Leonora,
do let’s go and greet him!

There’s no one here, Jocasta,
the arboretum’s bare!
— I could’ve sworn our Twemlow
quite shimmered through the air!

You’re tired, Leonora,
and your mind is quite confused.
— You’re not exactly sane yourself,
you’re mad as two left shoes!

We both miss darling Twemlow,
the skipper of our craft.
Pity us, poor beldams,
though Twemlow would’ve laughed.

Twemlow’s magic

Haughty authors hie
to the town of Hay-on-Wye
for the festival of books every year.

Readings and signings,
publishers’ receptions:
‘We’ll pay you twenty pounds
for your next haiku collection!’

Julian Barnes is telling yarns
about his love for France.
Germaine Greer is in top gear,
she’s wearing cowboy pants.

Martin Amis wanders in,
looking very sour.
He says his muse is slowing down,
the last one took an hour!

So why can’t I go to Hay-on-Wye
and be with famous authors?
Twemlow’s magic doesn’t work
like Harry bloody Potter’s.

Table talk

Three strident slappers yapping
at a table next to mine:
‘Do try the truffles, Trixie,
they’re simply quite divine!’

‘They were playing Hide-the-Sausage
in the back seat of the Bentley!
Their chauffeur told me so himself,
(he drove us down to Henley).

‘Now Annabelle, you filthy cow,
tell us all your news:
Did you hide the sausage
with that waiter in Toulouse?’

If this keeps up, I’ll slit my wrists,
(the steak knife beckons me),
or I might just try the fillet
of the wicked witches three.

Love cuts

I bought my love a chainsaw,
so she could cut down trees,
She said she needed exercise,
I thought my gift would please.

Instead of which, my crazy bitch
has sawn my heart in two,
my torso’s in Australia
and my legs in Timbuctoo.

I thought it was a thoughtful gift,
(the chain is ‘Hi-tensile’).
Next time I’ll get her aftershave,
Eau de Crocodile.