For the prosecution

‘You made my life a hell, Jeb Thomas, coming home drunk every night and beating me black and blue, every night for twenty years! All my teeth gone and busted spleen.’

— You see, M’Lud, how she attempts to portray herself as the injured party in this case.

‘You broke my arms three times, once when I was pregnant, that time with Josie.’

— You see, M’Lud, how she tries to deflect responsibility from herself and onto the only real victim in this case.

‘You stabbed poor Janey in your drunken rage. May God forgive you, for I couldn’t. She were just a baby, Jeb… what else was I to do?’

— You see, M’Lud, the inverted heroism defense, as old as duplicity itself.

Let the record show that the defendant is brandishing her fists, apparently in the direction of Heaven.


The menu

— The Count of Lampedusa
is coming here for tea.
Should I give him hairy bacon
or the mutton kedgeree?

— I hardly think that bacon’s mete
for aristocracy!
He’s used to fondant fancies,
not yer rustic kedgeree.

— Nutton wrong with mutton,
far as I can see.
And as for fragrant Frances,
who the hell is she?


Thankee, doc

I’m as lonely as an octopus
cast upon the beach,
when the tide has left the harbour
and the waves are out of reach.

That doesn’t mean I have eight legs,
or even six or four.
As it happens, I have one
— I lost one in the war.

But this is not about my legs,
— you’re putting me off track!
Let’s focus on my loneliness
and not the leg I lack.

But now you come to mention it,
that could be the key:
my loneliness is index-linked
to my disability.

Oh thankee, doc, you are so smart.
Such a teeming brain!
All I need’s another leg
to make me well again.



What kind of heinous bastard
would steal a man’s umbrella?
There’ll be hellish retribution
when I find the guilty fella.

To think some thieving lowlife
has his hands on my umbrella,
— oh it cuts me to my very soul,
and makes me feel unwella.

I know a lot of other words
that rhyme with umbrella,
but I’ll stop before I start to make
all other poets jellas.


Double you be

I will arise and go now,
and go to casualty.
I think my leg is broken
or it might be just the knee.

Whate’er the case, I shall not pace
Ben Bulben’s heights again,
I’ll build a home of mud and loam
and practise with my pen.

I might knock out a line or two,
don’t laugh — you never know —,
or I might just stay in bed,
for peace comes dropping slow.


1970s career advice

‘My moustache is my fortune,’
says heart-throb Dash De Lace
‘You too can be a superstar,
with fungus on your face.

Speak firmly to your barber,
and tell him that he’s fired,
then you’re on the road to stardom
and the magical ‘You’re hired!’.

You’ll be lining up for Oscars
and other accolades,
but only if you’re man enough
to ditch those razor blades.’

So all young men, just follow Dash,
and let your moustache grow
(and it’s a winner with the ladies,
cos it tickles down below.)


Mr Sunshine

No one knows how much I suffer,
no one knows my depth of pain,
no one knows my bitter heartache,
cos I don’t like to complain.

My life is one long funeral,
a cavalcade of strife,
but you won’t hear me complaining
as misfortune twists the knife.

They call me Mr Sunshine,
the man to light your day.
No, you won’t hear me complaining
— no one listens anyway.


Visual poem

Why does the sun go down at night?
Why can’t it stay aloft?
Think of all the power we’d save,
and burglaries we’d stop.
No more scrabbling in the dark
to find your sweetheart’s boobies,
no more banging your big toe
and yelling ‘Holyfuckarroobie!’

Whoever wrote the bible
was not the brightest spark,
cos he got it wrong from chapter one:
‘Let there be light’ my arse.


Skill set

I like to juggle melons,
as I’m sure my readers do,
but can you juggle melons
and whistle Dixie too?

Can you juggle melons
and control a small canoe?
Can you juggle melons
on a train to Waterloo?
Can you juggle melons
while you tame a kangaroo?
Can you juggle melons
while you tootle a kazoo?

I could go on, but what’s the point?
It’s obvious to me:
You’re about as good at juggling
as I am at poetry.


Love’s logic

— The doorposts never speak, but they’re always listening! I was in here with Simon the other night, discussing the wedding plans, and I could feel the doorposts straining to hear. They leaned forward, into the room, to catch every word, and if I’m not mistaken, one of them actually laughed, or at least sniggered. The one on the right.

— Did Simon hear it?

— Oh no. Simon never hears anyone but me, the sweet silly goose!

— And… are they listening now?

— No, I don’t think so. But you’re not very interesting, are you? I mean… to a doorpost.

— And Simon is?

— Well, I am marrying him, aren’t I? And if he interests me, he’d hardly bore a doorpost, would he?

— Hardly. Good point.