The Ballad of Erinmore Flake
I put my tobacco in the washing machine
And I must say it came out clean.
After I put it through the drier,
my pipe said ‘thanks, I’m on fire, on fire’.
Alas, I dropped the bowl in the toilet,
and can’t light up again. It’s too wet.
I put myself in a washing machine
it was like being Columbus in a dream.
The world went round and round. And when I scream
‘land ahoy’ the spin won’t stop. I am hurled
into a storm of sails, twirled, and curled
like a foetus, I enter the New World.
But the cycle has to stop I suppose.
Still knock knocking me about it goes
to where it starts. I come out clean clothes.
Today I swallowed a fish,
and it wasn’t from a dish,
but while swimming in the sea.
So, now it’s living in me.
When I am Rilke
My hair stands up,
my moustache is silky,
my complexion is mauve.
I’m perched on the edge
of the settee. My silence
is not just polite:
you can hear a pin drop
and bounce, so the flower
in your hand opens.
When I return to my true self,
I’ll welcome me. Long time, no see.
My other being left on the shelf
while I’m at sea, our unity
has been in doubt. Now reunited
I feel myself at one once more.
Knock, knock. Who else was invited?
Our third person is at the door.
I’m working on a poem
all about getting old
and sagging into death.
It’s too close to the bone.
I make a risotto.
There is enough for two.
But as I am alone
it will have to make do
again tomorrow, cold.
With darkness coming on.
I nod off, and dig deep
in dreams for what’s to come,
and the immortal poem
comes alive in my sleep.
But when I wake it’s gone.
Requiem for the Running Boy
The running boy has run his last.
By all the world he was bypassed.
The distance he covered was vast.
But where did it get him? Alas,
to the end of the road’s last gasp.
Requiem for a Cat
For a two-part choir
Lying on the road covered in flies.
A white van took me by surprise.
Is there no respect for the dead?
Carrion on which dogs have fed
left for the council workers to bin.
Eyes are averted. Mere vermin.
I, who once made of birds a feast
merited a vulture at least.
I know I am on my last legs,
and won’t be growing anymore.
Though what I’ve got may be square pegs
in a round hole, it’s better than four.
Manslaughter is worse than planned.
The preparation is flattering.
That anyone would go to the trouble
of thinking through my death,
while accepting the legal risks.
I would like to see it on paper,
or at least whispered in my ear
before the last gasp, and I’d be happy.
To die accidently is worse
than being born a mistake.
Children Celebrating Themselves
the cries they let.
you’ll be quick
to wish them
Ready, get, set.
And we’re off
at a lick.
to fix tricks
in the air.
what happens next?