A thousand words

We go over now to Dick Dull in downtown Daytona…. what can you tell us, Dick?

— That’s right, Marcia. I’m here in downtown Daytona.

Is there any news of who were the people actually involved?

— That’s right, Marcia. There were some people actually involved here, yes, that’s what we believe happened during the course of the whole event, as far as we know it at this point in time, Marcia.

So Dick, what are the authorities saying about it now at the present moment in time?

— That’s right, Marcia. What you’re seeing on your screen right now for people watching this at home who just joined us is just before it happened, I’d say two three seconds just before it actually took place initially.

And then what happened, Dick? Can you talk us through it?

— That’s right, Marcia. It actually happened just like you said, and then, well, you can actually see for yourself the result here behind me. If we actually turn the camera round a bit (just a sec) I think what you can see there pretty much sums it up for us and kinda like speaks for itself, Marcia.

That’s right, Dick. Worth a thousand words.


The feast

A macédoine of shellfish and some nameless headless things,
served by Sarah Sowerbutts in the parlour of Three Kings.

Four and twenty hobos drool like four and twenty drains
as they shuffle towards the firelight and the welcoming refrain

of Sarah as she harries them, and finds a place for all:
no one must be left outside in winter’s bitter squall.

The feast is just about to start, and guests are all agog
to see what Sarah’s marinade can do for marshland frog.

For centrepiece, the groaning board bears steaming salmagundi,
enough to feed an army, or two bishops on a Sunday.

To loud halloos and table thumps, Sarah carves the goose.
Pungent jokes fly back and forth and echo from the roof.

Sarah wags her carving knife at saucy Jeb McTater:
‘Does your mother know you’re out tonight, my little sweet potater?’

Jeb’s one eye looks all about, he turns a fiery red,
and upends a flask of malmsey on old Tomkins’ palsied head.

‘Fall to!’, cries Sarah Sowerbutts, ‘and do justice to my board.
God bless us as we celebrate the goodness of Our Lord.’

Not yet

Some critics rank my poems
among the timeless greats,
right up there with Shakespeare
and William Butler Yeats.

I know it must be tempting
to compare me with those two,
but I’ll settle for Bukowski
or Maya Angelou.

So please desist, I must insist,
don’t rank me with the best.
I’m still polishing my gemstones,
and I haven’t finished yet.


Night cries

Hear the hedge-born callet
as she plies her tawdry wares,
among the village menfolk,
in the alleys and the squares.

‘Want some fun, me darlin’?’
‘Does your mother know you’re out?’
‘Like to rub my fubsies
with your big old hairy snout?’

A callet’s catcalls in the dark,
a slapper’s canzonetta,
the music of the backstreets,
destitution’s sinfonietta.

Any port

There’s a dowdy lives in No. 6,
I’ve seen her on the stairs,
all taffeta and crinoline,
aristocratic airs.

I heard her talking yesterday
to the hag in No. 5:
‘Might I borrow some vermouth,
just to stay alive?’

‘Since my Quincy passed away,
one doesn’t venture forth,
the streets are fraught with danger,
oh, and have you any port?’


The hotspur calls

‘It’s time to mollify the matron’s minge’,
said Twemlow as he strode
across the wooden drawbridge
and down the fictive road.

When he gained the watchtower,
he threw a sudden brick,
through the casement window
shouting ‘Oi, up for dick?’

— ‘’Pon my life, young Twemlow,
how can you ask a dame
to drop her drawers so freely,
as if it were no shame?’

‘It’s alright, Captain Tandy,
there’s no need to interpose.
I’ve been expecting Twemlow
since the fictive sun up rose.’

‘Come in, my handsome hotspur,
welcome to my tower!
Now shift your butt, Tandy,
and come back in an hour.’

Out now!

Twemlow, the Wilderness Years
, by Dale Shale. Haricot Books, NJ.
ISBN 223-1359-108

Much has been written about folk dancing in Armenia, but not many people know the true story behind Twemlow’s daring escape from Monterey, disguised as a Peruvian muleteer, in the bitter winter of 1964.

Now, for the first time, the true story can be told — a story of mayhem, madness, murder, masturbation, Martians, and marzipan.

After eight years of exhaustive research across twelve continents, journalist Dale Shale (Was Hitler a Transvestite? The Zildfeigstrasse Affair) brings you the incredible story of Twemlow, arch-villain and dashing desperado of the Dardenelles, who eluded law enforcement agencies around the world for over a decade, following the most outrageous jailbreak in US history.

Using never-before-seen archive material (including Twemlow’s own copy of The Wind in the Willows), Shale pieces together one of the 20th century’s most enduring mysteries.

“A triumph!” — Great British Cars

“A tour de force” — Translator’s Hebdomadal

“Shale has done for Twemlow what plastic did for kitchen equipment.” — Cooking for One.

“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry” — Enfield Emoter


The line

Pilbeam won’t be happy,
with the way things have worked out.
He was hoping for a grandson,
and ends up with a trout.

I knew that girl was trouble
the first time I saw her.
Who’d want a bugeyed flounder
as your one and only daughter?

A quillback riffle dace, perhaps,
or a North Atlantic sprat,
but not a bugeyed flounder
— I draw the line at that.



Twemlow’s head was found
by a schoolboy in a ditch.
They found his legs in Walsall,
though they can’t say which is which.

It’s really quite a mystery
how he’s all so far apart,
all the more so now his torso
has been found in Ballyclart.

So put your hands together
and applaud with all your heart.
Let’s hear it now for Twemlow,
a man of many parts.


While we’re at it

How can Herbie’s Handicrafts
charge so much for string?
Oh, and while we’re at it,
here’s another thing:

Have you ever noticed
Herbie always has a flask?
Oh, and while we’re at it,
I’ve often meant to ask:

Is that really Herbie’s daughter,
or some common floozy Miss?
Oh, and while we’re at it,
let me ask you this:

Has Herbie ever been to jail
for poisoning household pets?
Oh, and while we’re at it,
I haven’t finished yet:

Is he on the run from justice,
— he never seems to smile?
Oh, and while we’re at it,
ponder this a while:

Have you ever noticed
that he has a funny walk?
Not for me to say, of course,
I’m not one to talk.


Feathers fly

Your Guide to Common English Birds,
by Mike and Ella Carling,
was less a success than the writers professed:
they neglected to mention the starling.

The Carlings were sued by the Starlings of Stroud
on the grounds of being forgotten,
then the Martins and Swifts issued a writ,
on the grounds of being called common.


The twain restrained

Leonora’s in the Card Room
at bezique with Marjorie.
Twemlow’s on the terrace
drinking green Tahitian tea.

So you see, bezique and tea
comprise their only sports.
How could anyone believe
those slanderous reports
that suggest some hanky-panky
twixt the twain?

In truth the twain have never twixt,
I know that for a fact.
Twemlow doesn’t have the balls
to instigate the act.

Likewise, Leonora
is not a scarlet tramp,
though she is the hottest beldam
who ever licked a stamp.