Hackney prick

I’ve loved you from afar,
for your sub-cutaneous scars,
and the pustules that adorn your

Dermatology is my game,
clear complexions is my aim.
My love for you will always be

I’d love to prick your acne
on a late-night bus to Hackney;
we’d stay on board until we reach the

Then we’d get off the bus
— just the two of us —
and guzzle down a skinful
at the Olde Pig and Pimple.

Nasty people

They didn’t have exactly what I wanted in Linklater’s, so I travelled all the way to Pickering’s in Snaresbrook. I’d never been there before, but I’d heard good reports of Pickering’s from old Arthur Twilb, who said to me once: ‘If Linklater’s don’t have it, try Pickering’s’. Well, I never trusted Arthur very much, but what choice did I have?

So I ended up taking three trains and two buses to get to Snaresbrook, a journey of nearly two hours. And not a pleasant journey either: there were two teenagers opposite me on the train from Adlington, playing their pop music at full volume, and they had their muddy boots on the seat in front of them. Absolutely no respect for other passengers! Luckily, they got off at Dalston North. Luckily for them.

Anyway, I made it to Snaresbrook, but not in the jauntiest mood, as you can imagine. So now imagine how I felt when I finally found Pickering’s and saw this on their door: CLOSED Aug 26 -Sept 9.

Can you really imagine how I felt? Really?

Just then an old gent approached me, about seventy. He seemed friendly enough, though I’m suspicious of anyone who wears tan shoes with green socks. He said: ‘They’re on holiday the next two weeks. Have you tried Linklater’s?’.

I was very calm, very composed.

‘Yes’, I said, ‘but they only have them in burgundy.’

‘Oh, but burgundy is a beautiful colour. My wife loves burgundy’, said he.

I was still very calm.

I found his carotid artery quite easily, and opened it neatly with my pocket knife. His convulsions were a bit theatrical, so I left him to it, and walked down a side street to the river. I sat there for about an hour, watching the swans. It was very peaceful.

And that was it, really. Not much of a story, I admit, and yet I know that some nasty people will condemn me. The same kind of people who play loud music on public transport, or wear burgundy socks.



The Doc asked me if I’d had any contact with frogs recently.

— What you mean?

— You know, frogs.

— Frogs.

— Yes, frogs. Ribbit, ribbit!


— Green chaps. Slimy.

Then he starts jumping up and down, skinny legs flexing like an Olympian. Across the floor —ribbit, ribbit! — onto a filing cabinet — ribbit, ribbit! — back to his desk — ribbit, ribbit!

— See? Frogs.

— No, I mean how recently is ‘recently’?



Blissful coma, be my homa,
keep me safe and warm.
Shield me from that beldam
whose face is like a storm.

Her voice is like a foghorn
that blasts me from a coma,
and I must confess, without duress,
that I prefer the coma.

Wrap me in your pitch-black wings,
I never more will roma.
Just keep that hag away from me,
till I end this silly poma.

Cold call

Let’s see if Nell Tardelli
has the gall to call again,
after calling Kelly’s Deli
fifty times since half past ten.

‘Must be our beetroot jelly
makes her call continu-elly’,
said the owner
of that busy deli store.

‘Or perhaps our vermicelli
— it sells velly velly welly.
Maybe that’s why Nell Tardelli
calls for more.’

‘Trace the call’, says PC Small,
‘and then we’ll nab Tardelli.
Wait until she calls again,
do nothing illeg-elly.’

And so they wait with ears agape,
patient-elly to sieze her.
The phone rang only once again:
‘I’m in the fff—ckin’ fffreezer!’


My passing

When I go, I don’t want people to mourn. I’ve had a good life, and death is a natural part of that great, mysterious adventure.

Most of all, I don’t want people erecting statues of me in London or New York or anywhere else. They never capture the true likeness, anyway.

Also, no official period of mourning, please. Let everyone remember me in their own private way, how I touched the hearts of millions and brought joy to countless people from all walks of life.

Schools should remain open: the kiddies are too young to appreciate the significance of my passing. They can read about me when they are older, in their history books.

Public transport should run as normal, and all national and regional airports should remain open. Likewise, the Stock Exchange and McDonald’s.

The funeral itself should be simple and modest: just a horse-drawn carriage to Westminster Abbey, followed by an inter-denominational service by the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and Simon Cowell.  Heads of State on the left, former colleagues at Harry’s Bits ‘n’ Bobs on the right.

And finally: I don’t want a 21-gun salute by the 4th Artillery Unit at Chelsea Barracks. That would be far too militaristic for someone whose life has been devoted to promoting peace, harmony, love, goodwill, unity, flowers, scented candles, and cuddly toys.



Gone are the days when you could apply a stress-proof sealant to your wife and kids, and leave them for months on end with no worries. Back in the day — before “Government Regulation” — I could spend six months a year in Malibu, lying on the beach, and not worry for a second about my family. That was because of ‘Daddygon’, the stress-proof sealant that “feels like a deal as it seals”. I even got a discount for volume over at Zeb’s Hardware.

But like I say, gone are the days. They took ‘Daddygon’ off the market years ago, when some idjit in the government started going on about “paternity” and “responsibility”. Yeah, right.

So now I get back from Malibu and my family is a real mess, I tell ya. Takes me six months to restore them to their natural condition, by which time I’m bound for Malibu again. It’s a vicious circle and a crying shame.


Being earnest

I went to gloomy Père Lachaise
to mingle with the dead,
to ponder all the books they wrote
and that I should have read.

Oscar Wilde is buried there
(I’ve got his Wisdom of).
Molière is also there,
and Herbie (‘Klutz’) Labov.

Lying in their marble vaults
or under leafy sod,
I like to ask them (for a laugh)
‘Any sign of God?’

I do find graveyards funny,
like a cancer with no cure.
It’s hard to be in earnest
when just one thing is sure.

Fit & nimble

Let’s see if Ernest Trimble is still as fit and nimble
as he used to be in nineteen twenty-two:

Ernest, can you raise your arm?
— Not since Adolf bought the farm.

Ernest, can you turn your head?
— Not since Lennon was shot dead.

Ernest, can you bend your knee?
— Not since phones were as big as me.

Ernest, can you tie your shoes?
— Not since they cancelled Hill Street Blues.

Ernest, can you… please your wife… somehow?
— Not since 2 o’clock. What time’s it now?

Simple folk

At our local Booz-a-teria
you’ll find Friday night hysteria,
though some of it’s not fit
to put in print.

So if I mention coiffured sheep,
and powdered pigs in corsets,
I hope that you can simply
take the hint.

We’re simple godly folk round here,
‘cept Friday night’s shenanigans.
If you can’t take off your hat to that,
there’s baseball on in Flanagan’s.


How weary is the popinjay
who lies awake at night,
fretting over twemlows
and the plexities of life.

How dreary is the poet
who plexifies his lines
with contumacious twemlows
and fretfulacious rhymes.

There is no need to fret or plex:
just cruise the sea of time,
keep it kind and simple,
and then you’ll see the rhyme.


I was writing a job application when the phone rang:

— Hello?

— It’s resumé, not resoom.

— What?

— I said it’s resumé, not resoom, line 2.

— Oh right, thanks.

— Also, it’s jail, not jale, line 7.

— Smart, aren’t you?

— Line 8, sentence, not sentense.

— Got it.

— And making licence plates is kinda weak. Write digital enumeration in the transport sector.

— Oh nice! Thanks.

— And it’s ask, not axe, line 14.

— No, now there you’re wrong, buddy. I axed them real nice is correct. Should I highlight that?

— Not a transferrable skill.

— Ok.

— Also, a certificate in needlework is worth diddly-squat.

— How do you spell that?

— Oh Jeez!

— Who is this, anyway?

— Department of Corrections.


The martyr

Seated in her brightly-lit oriel, Leonora is making gypsy costumes for the village children. The ridotto is in just two weeks, so there’s no time to lose! Already, the village hall is festooned with flowers and ribands, and the High Street will soon be a sea of colour, to celebrate the life of St Bernadette de Mourbray, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered just four hundred miles up the road, in 1419.

This morning, Miss Hall the dressmaker brought a bolt of apricot chenille, which was timely indeed, because Miss March had promised Leonora a bolt of forest green shantung for the costumes, but failed to deliver. ‘Sod the bitch’, thought Leonora. ‘I shall press on, regardless.’

So this year, the little gypsy jerkins, pantaloons, and chemises will be in apricot chenille. ‘Not quite traditional’, mused Leonora, ‘but perhaps the more striking for that. Bernadette was an iconoclast, and why not me?’

‘Hurrah for the ridotto,
the village all en fête,
to celebrate the martyrdom
of saintly Bernadette.’

‘The little village children,
in apricot bedecked,
and when I see Miss March again,
I’ll break her f—kin’ neck’,

sang Leonora, to her lapdog.


Chain reaction

Captain Tandy sowed the seed
when he made the weasel sneeze,
and it knocked a box of baubles to the floor.
The dog was sleeping underneath,
it made a sudden frantic leap
and scarpered like a hellcat through the door.

A driver in a passing car,
distracted by the tintamarre,
drove headlong like a deer into a pole.
The pole crashed through a neighbor’s shed,
and landed square on Twemlow’s head,
as he was toasting macaroons and voles.

Macaroons flew through the air
and missed the mailman by a hair,
but red-hot voles descended on the street.
Townsfolk ran for shelter
as the voles fell helter-skelter,
and policemen ran about on size-twelve feet.

Buster Twilb, an ex-Marine,
surveyed the frantic warlike scene,
and fired his pistol twice with measured art.
A bullet ricocheted
off the nose of Matt Kincaid,
and came to rest in Captain Tandy’s heart.



I was in the herbarium, tending dill, when the phone rang:


— Is your dill dilated?

— What?

— Is your dill dilated?

— Who is this?

— Dick Dilbert, from the Daily Dill. You’re just a dilettante with dill, you can’t deny it.

— Well, I’m diligent, and I’ve read Dillon’s Dill Digest.

— Does your dill dilate in dense dilution?

— I don’t dilute my dill.

— Dilute it with Dilworth’s Diluent, and don’t delay.

— I won’t.

— Won’t what — dilute or delay?

— Delay to dilute.

— And don’t demur either.

— Done.

— And don’t dilly-dally.

— I don’t dilly-dally.

— Well, you’re definitely dilatory. You should never dilly-dally with dill. It’s deadly.

— I definitively deny that I dilly-dally with dill.

— Does your beldam dilly-dally with dill?

— No.

— Well, someone is dilly-dallying with dill. Got a daughter?

— Yes, Dolly Desiree Danielle. She’s delightful.

— Ah! I thought so. I’m deuced difficult to deceive. Now it’s getting devilishly delicate, if your delightful daughter is dabbling with dill.

— She’s a dutiful daughter. Dolly doesn’t dabble. Or dilly-dally.

— I don’t doubt it. Does your delightful dutiful daughter Dolly digitally dilate her diadem d’amour?

— That’s dishonourably dirty! How did you deduce my number?

— I misdialled.