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.

Villanelle in V

Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
virile vampires violate the virtue of their virgins
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile

Vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile
Virtue vaunts her value in a void
villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile

Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
vacuous victory vindicates vengeful vice (and vice-versa)
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile

Virtue’s vacant villa, like a virtuous vegetarian,
veers into a verdant vale of voiceless valerian.
Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile.


My handyman, he’s been and gone,
My handyman, he’s been and gone,
Run fetch a pitcher get the baby outta here,
Run fetch a pitcher get the baby outta here,
— the bath is overflowing!

I got peppermint stick stuck in my hair,
my handyman — well, he don’t care.
I can’t even find that little brass band,
my handyman — he’s in his van.

My handyman, and his name was Reg,
my handyman, he left real fast;
now I’d give everything in this Godalmighty world
to kick my handyman’s ass.

(with apologies to Donovan)

The Ballad of Badboy Landing

We rode through Badboy Landing
as a storm was closing in.
‘Ho,’ cried Captain Tanner,
‘since a storm is closing in,

let’s explore the dining options
this here Landing might afford
to a band of desperadoes
that’s in need of Bed ’n’ Board.’

‘The Hilton looks expensive,
(though the table linen’s clean);
let’s try the Badboy Marriott
— that’s more our kinda scene.’

We ordered up some milkshakes
and then a plate of peas;
Dang! they tasted tastier’n
a swarm of killer bees!

Well, soon we reached satiety,
and loosened our gun belts;
we leaned back on the counter
and commenced to thumb our welts.

The Mâitre D’ came up to me
and handed me the bill;
I said to Captain Tanner:
‘Think it’s time we hit the hills!’

The Captain coloured visibly
when he perused the bill
(he chafes at being ballyragged
— suspect he always will).

But the Captain is resourceful,
and he’s seldom in a stew;
he said ‘Daddy gets off work at six,
he’ll fix it up with you.’

Then to a boy, we moved real coy
out through the vestibule;
we climbed up on our bicycles
and headed back to school.


Love in a damp climate

Let me be the sandbag
that protects you from the flood,
let me be the raincoat
that shields you from the mud.

Let me be the plastic wrap
that clings to your melonia,
let me be the parapluie
that guards against pneumonia.

Let me be the sealant
that keeps out rot and fungus:
oh if you let me love you,
that would really be tremungus.

Let me be the bitumen
that works in any weather:
once I’ve dried you out, my love,
we’ll always be together.

That fateful day

Let’s see if Osbert Mostyn
can recall that fateful day,
when all the day was full of fate
as earth is full of clay:

‘I do recall it, very well,
though I were just a lad,
the day that fate filled up the day
and made that day so bad.’

‘Fate was all around, that day,
we couldn’t move for fate.
Fate from early morning
till the day grew very late.’

‘The early fate was bad enough,
but the later fate was worse:
I stayed at home all day, that day,
and cowered beneath fate’s curse.’

‘Then lo! the fate just disappeared!
It held no longer sway!
Since then we’ve been pretending
that the earth’s not full of clay.’

Love bout

Can we not re-capture the rapture
that we knew
when the bedspring of our love
was as fresh as morning dew?

— I’ll see if I can find it,
if you’ll just turn off the light:
you look like Sonny Liston
when he lost his final fight.

I was adored once too, you know
and — strange to say — by you.
I could lay you on the canvas
before we reached Round 2.


‘What comes next for Gideon Twilb?’
the headline writers scream.
‘Can he save his marriage
now his horse has spilled the beans?’

Gideon Oh Gideon, My Heart Beats Rapideon
has been a tremendous success.
Folks love a hot scandal and you can’t hold a candle
to a horse tale of wicked excess.

Gideon’s took to Twitter,
and to CNN and cable:
‘It’s all just fake news, everyone,
our relationship is stable.’

‘My wife stands right beside me
— I tell ya, she’s tremendous!
We can deal with anything
the media can send us.’

Like any man, I’ve done some stuff,
that cannot be denied,
but I’m a stable genius
— the horse it was that lied.’

On this day

Tommy (‘Tosser’) Doyle was born in Wakefield, CA, on this day in 1902. He was sickly from birth, and was diagnosed with Kaempfer’s Dropsical Palsy (KDP). His mother gave him strong doses of beetroot juice in his early years, and blueberry baths every day. By the age of ten he could lift both his parents and a mule with just one hand, and in a single graceful motion deposit them on the roof of the family barn. News of his prodigious strength spread rapidly in Wakefield and beyond, and throughout his teens he  made a living by depositing heavy things in unusual places. At the County Fair in Misery, TX, he tossed six Baptist preachers and a Model T Ford a distance of 3.2 miles, a record that still stands today.

His big break came in 1921 when Hollywood mogul Lou (‘The Screw’) Carew spotted him and signed him on a five-picture deal with Megamug Movies. It was then that Tommy adopted his screen name, ‘Tosser’, for a string of low-budget movies, including Attack of the Toxic Tossers (1923), Toss Me To The Moon (1924), Toss That Cabbage! (1925), and Toss or Be Tossed! (1927).

In 1926, he married starlet Dolores Twilb, but the marriage didn’t last. In a freak accident during their honeymoon, Tommy picked up his bride and tossed her two miles out to sea. Her body was never found. Tragedy struck again when he broke a fingernail on the set of Alien Tossers (1928). From then on, his fortunes declined and he fell into depression, alcoholism, penury, prostitution, perdition, paranoia, and a large uncovered manhole on Pepper Street, Pensacola.

He spent his final years making occasional appearances at county fairs and hillbilly hoe-downs, but his heart was no longer in it. He died in 1942. Near the end, he confided to his diary: ‘Beetroot juice and blueberry baths. Gonna kick your ass, Momma’.


H. D.

I was fixin’ some eggs when the phone rang:

— Hello?

— If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

— What?

— Old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave those eggs alone!

— How can I fix em if I don’t break em?

— They don’t need fixin’ if they ain’t broke. Outcome of the old adage mentioned earlier.

— If they was broke, I wouldn’t fix em.

— Like I say, they ain’t broke, so don’t fix em.

— But I wanna fix em, so I broke em.

— You fix lunch without breakin’ it, don’tcha? You fix a sandwich without breakin’ it, don’tcha? Got something against eggs?

— I got nothing against eggs! In fact, I love eggs. That’s why I’m fixin’ em.

— I suppose you beat em too.

— Sometimes.

— Funny way to show you love em. Trust me, you can’t fix eggs.

— Can if you break em first. That’s why it’s called breakfast.

— Real smartass, ain’t ya?

— Who is this anyway?

— You wouldn’t believe me.

— Try me.

— Let’s just say I’m anthropomorphic, but with eggular features. And I go way back.

— Narrows it right down, thanks!

— And a morbid fear of high walls.

— You crack me up.

— I knew you’d say that, eventually.


Workin’ man’s blues

The pigeon of perdition
done bemired my workin’ coat:
the bank done raised their interest rates
and won’t give me a groat.

They’ll come and take my car away
and take my beldam too;
don’t mind about the beldam,
but I love my Subaru.

All I want is one more chance
to make an honest bean;
pigeon of perdition
never shits on Bruce Springsteen.

Goin’ down to the river,
drivin’ my ol’ wreck,
gonna wash my workin’ coat
and wring that pigeon’s neck.

Life lesson

‘It’s bad luck to meet twins before noon, or to find a pea pod that holds nine peas;
for good luck, carry a boiled scummel in your left pocket for three days and bury it near a cairn on the fourth day.’ 

My old dad was a trove of wisdom such as this, and I have thrived on his trove all my life. I have never been hit by a bus, and I was just one number short for the Lottery jackpot last Saturday.

So listen to your parents: they are just as crazy as you are.



Phantisticall magorias are teeming in my brain:

Cybernetical colossi clash with devilish deviations,
gargantuan gargoyles grapple spectral spooks,
monstrous mutants maul misshapen mastadons,
and fiery phantoms feed on odious ogres.

But in a quiet casement, near a spray of scented lavender,
sits thoughtfully a mid-day sprite, reading The Cat in the Hat.

Outrage in Pilchardstown

June 26.
Around 2pm, local resident Arthur (‘Tick-tock’) Carmody was struck about the head and body by two burly salmon as waited for a bus in Pound St. He suffered some bruising to his face and person, and was treated at the scene. The assailants escaped down the alleyway between Crofton’s Hardware and Nelly Pearce’s old place. Onlookers said that while Tick-tock often played the Tom Noddy about town, he did nothing on this occasion to provoke the attack.

In a curious twist, the incident comes almost a year after another resident of Pilchardstown was assaulted by a shoal of bream near St Anselm’s Church. Townspeople were quick to point out that both incidents happened on a Wednesday.


Down on the farm

I let the cows in sometimes,
when they want to watch the news;
they’re interested in politics,
and environment ishews.

The sheep like action movies,
with shoot-em-ups and stuff;
the pigs like Swedish movies,
with people in the buff.

The hens like costume dramas
from the BBC;
they get a little anxious
when I turn on Fox TV.

The goats don’t watch TV at all,
just sit around and chew;
I’m kindly like a goat myself,
in terms of that ishew.