Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Third Encounters of the Closed Kind

Third Encounters of the Closed Kind

A third encounter with feckless fate.
Some closed strutting by the peacock past,
but snapchat viewed just far too late,
the span across the path just far too vast.
Brushed off, crushed shoulders in the street,
rushing rapids towards uncertain days,
eyes stare down at speeding feet,
grimly fixed on different ways
retreating. Head in backwards toss,
invulnerable to stupid loss.
Sad, when you can no longer call
for fear of a scornful glance,
or, worse, no answer at all:
suspicious to trust to open chance.
And, of course, it wounds both ways:
well, we know that it must,
 bloodletting the end of days,
cutting deep into roots of trust.
It has been played out incessant times
in ignorance, by those who loved
and watched, as ashes from above
fell, to careless choke the dove.
The sun falls dark as the moon climbs;
she ghostly watches silent crimes.
And how many years to rebuild
that which is torn down,
that which was casual killed?
It rots in pieces on the ground.
Fragments there will lie and glisten,
still we will refuse to listen
to the echoes in the weeping stones
when we find ourselves at last alone.
And at the final curtain call,
before the barren wailing wall,
just how many tears will fall?
Enough to water arid deserts like rain;
they will not bloom, will fall in vain.
For all the water ever shed
will never bring back what is dead.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Rachel and Gabby: Carngoshtee

Rachel and Gabby: Carngoshtee

Across the UK, this is Radio Sport Live!

Ricky: It’s twenty five past the hour here in the studio. In a minute we’re going live over to the Open Championship at Carngoshtee - but first an idea from one of our callers for all you travelling sports fans. Mrs T Grundy of Bumstead, Berks texts in to us here at Sports Live to suggest that if we fill up hot water bottles, put them in the freezer to freeze, then wrap them in towels to place on our laps so we can keep cool during the golf. What a great idea. It’s sweltering out there, so…

…ah, hold on, just getting something in my ear, er, my producer has just advised me that filling bottles with boiling water to put in the freezer could be dangerous and cause severe electrical damage…and rapid thawing of chicken or rice based products…which could cause food poisoning… so it’s probably not a good idea to allow children to handle either boiling water or hot water bottles or rapidly thawed chicken-beef products so it would be astute to place all these things out of reach of little hands behind a childproof door and…er… rubber hot water bottles cannot and should not ever be used as rubber johnnies…I mean condoms… er…due to the rubber being unreliable during safe sex…

…but here are two women that need absolutely no rubber for condoms or otherwise because I’m sure they’ll have the rubber the green today…Rachel and Gabby.

Rachel: Sorry, Ricky, the line’s not good…were you talking about condoms?

Ricky: Yes. Rubber condoms. As in ‘rubber the green’.

Gabby: Gosh yes. Here at Carngoshtee. Yes, that’s right, Rachel, it is! Well, we’re hoping to talk to some of the greatest players…

Rachel: Rubber the green?

Gabby: …surely the greatest players as they kick off at this, surely the most prestigious golf court, on this, the most glorious day, of this the most celebrated tournament…

Rachel: He says we should rub out the green.

Ricky: How clear were the motorways?

Gabby: …the defending champion, Jordan Woods and his bitter rival, Tiger McIllroy, surely the bitterest rivals ever to beat each other with rival clubs, the tartest taste of defeat in surely, these, the flariest scented nostrils of the hounds of baskingvilles…

Rachel: The rubber’s not even that green due to the sun scorching it brown.

Gabby: …here the golf pitch has been burnt to a burnished brown, by this, surely the scorchiest sun that has ever shone on this, the hottest day of the golfing calendar, by this, surely the bluest sea that has ever been bought in by the tide and out again by the tide on these, the longest links that have ever linked…

Ricky: What are the queues on the M6 like?

Rachel: We did not pass any lorries that were actually carrying any rubber based goods or offering rubber based services.

Ricky: Ah yes, the services. How are the services on the M6? Can you update the travelling fans? Are they best stopping at Forton, Tebay or Leceister Forest East?

Gabby… And now…yes…now I can see…striding from the pavilion…his bat held high as he acknowledges the spectating sports spectators, surely the most anticipating spectators since spectacles were first worn, available for buy one, get one free at SpecSavers and other good spectacles stockists… and the groundskeepers are now out, surely the most industrious keepers of grounds this side of Colombia…where the coffee comes from.

Rachel: Colombia? Where rubber comes from?

Ricky: Forton, Tebay or Leceister Forest East? Or is there a late vote for Knutsford?

Gabby:…Tiger! Tiger! Radio Sports Live. Can you spare a minute for our listeners? You must be looking forward to walloping some balls with your racket today? The sun is beaming over the links this morning…surely, the weather is the most ideal it has ever been since modern records began…

Rachel: Rubber records began? Rubber Soul, Rubber Ball or Rubber Bullets by 10CC?

Ricky: I’m told that it’s only 10 degrees at Tebay, listeners, so wrap up warm. What about Knutsford? Is it any warmer at Knutsford? Can we have a Knutsford forecast? Our travelling sports fans need to know.

Gabby: Tiger? Er…ah, ah, I see, not Tiger. A policeman. Not a racket. A truncheon. No, no, we’re sports reporters working for…of course we know the rules. Trespassing…I see…not the Open Championship today. Wrong venue…not actually here. Five minutes to clear off…right you are, officer…

Rachel: Rubber truncheon? But, I’m sure it was bullets…

Ricky: Sorry, ladies, you appear to be breaking up. It is an awfully bad line. We’ll come back to studio…where it’s now 30 past the hour and time for the sporting headlines and travel update and I can now confirm that Knutsford has, in fact, been voted by our listeners the best service station today from which to purchase coffee, petrol and insurance services for those travelling to sporting venues…and we’ve had a text from one of our eagle eyed listeners who tells us that filling an ice tray with ice cubes, freezing them and wrapping in socks is an ideal way to keep cool during long trips in the sweltering…

…ah, hold on, just getting something in my ear, er, my producer has just advised me to be careful that the socks have been responsibly sourced from the clean sock drawer and not…er…the laundry basket, toilet or dustbin…it is important to know what socks have been used for prior to filling with ice…and on no account suck post-socked ice as a cool treat…

Thursday, 19 July 2018



the forecast is fair to good
light the blue touch paper
in Victoria’s Secrets
and retire to bed
a safe distance for
getting naked flames
under control
planning a spectacular
an enjoyable display
of lightning and spray
underneath the night sky
because tonight
there should be stars
up there
a shooting super red giant
your favourite and mine
 boxed securely
in crimson filigree lace
hard stiff underwiring
four clasps fastened tight
hook eye and sinker
probing pressing
pushing buttons
taste the lamb
relish the mutton
chops dripping with rich sauce
soon in flame
the Roman candle
ambitious undertaking
with only two hands
one cautiously unwrapping
whilst the second
otherwise engaged
in ripping off flimsy packaging
busy igniting flammable liquids
take care  
read the instructions
some rockets
can reach vast height
puffy engorged inflated
before exploding
stuffed and sated
an enormous bang
hold the fountain firm
but not too tight
they are beautiful
gasps and sparks
release showers in the dark
have loud surprising
sound effects
when gunpowder
is not kept in check
savour it taking time
before sinking your teeth
into the fire burnished
toffee apple
the dripping sugar pears
sweet sticky
on the teeth
roll it with your tongue
for release
and taste relief
the forecast is fair to good
never throw your rocket
put it in your pocket
and return
once the fuse is lit.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018



The heavenly stars,
grab our hands,
tie them to strings,
jerking wrists’ rings
to charm brilliant things.
Random their precision,
unplanned in system,
heart twisting our seconds,
until kismet beckons.

Infinite, impossible child,
modest, running mild,
flash sparkling smile
across the aisle.
Your frown, eyes down:
How can you be there?
No time to spare,
got to get on, so
goodbye, so long,
parallel walking,
done with talking, but
I’m looking well:

I know. It’s that spell
I’ve had in the hot sun.
Where I had to run
and had no right
to return from.
No outstretched hand
and I understand that I'm
lost language at most;
I should be a ghost.

As should your grin;
recalling love’s sins,
memory’s distance
puts up hard resistance.
But your cheeks flushed,
hair unbrushed,
words tumble-rushed,
throat blushed,
eyes still warm,
lips lacking scorn,
too soon gone.

So, dare defy the heavens
as we part and lessen?
Seconds will kiss hands,
run fingers through sands,
hours dream reminisces,
where once lived blisses,
as we are time’s puppets
for as long as she wishes.

Months then years
will pity frost’s fears,
shed forgiving tears,
soften words once cruel
for all fortune’s fools.
I hear their call,
for, maybe after all,
 spells are not broken
until the stars have spoken.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Soft, There Will Come Rain

Soft, There Will Come Rain

Soft, there will come rains.
When falling tears will douse burning cheeks
of flame. I’ll wash clean your soiled streaks.

 Tremble, these memories will linger;
pipe icing on caked crumblings of your dark heart.
My tender fingers will pain’s curtains part.

Hush, there will be blame.
Whispered wasp sting words. Strain not to weep.
I’ll blow gentle scent over your petal breezed sleep.

Yes, there shall come broken wings.
Black spent matches as splints can never do;
you’ll charcoal crumble. I’ll draw me to you.

Blush, before the world exposed.
Lust’s flame that once limelight licked the stage
now gone. My smile will help you turn play’s page.

Disarm your cross-brow; take these nails.
One for each palm and two to sharp tack your heels,
forever pending. My caress the pain will heal.

There now, this rope will chafe your wrist.
Tight bound: you knew it would always lead to this.
It bleeds and bites. I’ll cure you with a kiss.

Sigh long, now here are your two stakes:
one for the heart, the other silent strong in learning,
patient to determine. Can love spare the burning?

Oh sure, present pleasure has to pass.
Your careless compass strayed you from true path
to soon ditchtrip and plummet the sheer cliff.
I’ll belay you with love’s strongest hitch,
shield you from the future pains,
certain, yet to arrive, but soft:
There will come rains.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Blank Behind The Windscreen Sit

Blank Behind The Windscreen Sit

Blank behind the windscreen sit,
sealed tongue between dried out slit
of pressed white scarred lip.
Parked pair of cardboard fools:
a bonnet and boot
full of blunt useless tools
are hidden in plain sight.
Any conjured thoughts once kind
are soon tossed off:
The creme brulee of idiocy
baked forever on the mind.
Eyes behind shades:
Sunglass impression of night
makes mockery of all once right.
Hands gripping the wheel tight,
skewered to sticky seats
by the cocktail gear stick,
prick by prick, brick by brick,
through love’s memories rip.
Vacuums where minds should be,
hold hands beneath the trembling knee.
A nag and pony by the bit,
blank behind the windscreen sit.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Seven Seas Sagas: Chocks Away

The Seven Seas Sagas

These are the voyages of HMS Rigid.

Our continuing mission:

To maintain the safety and sovereignty of these blessed United Kingdom of British Islands. Well, the jury is out on Scotland, though.

To seek out and destroy enemies of Brexit without compunction, hesitation or mercy.

To boldly repel all boarders, all aliens and any other filthy non tax paying, benefits scrounging scum we encounter.


Rear Admiral Thundertosser’s Log
Captain’s Bunk, HMS Rigid

Position – The Sea

Somewhere in the sea a bit near to Spain where we can spy on Spain using a telescope through my porthole pointed towards Spain.

0100: It is a hot and sticky night. I toss on the toss and swell of the Atlantic Sea. The damp stains on my sheets are damply sticking to my back, thighs and matting my chest hairs.

0115: Trouble sleeping, so instead I pitch and yaw, getting all of a tangled up in my sticky sheets. I have less clean sheets than Joe Hart. Snort. One for the book.

0130: Went to Admiral’s Heads to pass an Admiral’s Log. There was no paper. Blowpipe forgot to replace the finished roll. Displeased to have to carefully tear the 2 ply cardboard inner into usable sheets. Not sure that they were as effective as ship’s standing orders required. Wiped sticky finger on sticky sheets. Glad Her Majesty was not using my cabin. Or was planning a nightly inspection. Would not like to shake her hand for fear of staining her white cotton gloves.

0135: Reluctant to re-enter bunk.

0145: Admiral’s Resolution - Blowpipe is in for a severe bollocking when he pokes his head around my cabin door later.

0146: Decided my life is hell. Nobody understands. How difficult is it to put a bog roll in the Admiral’s Heads? Not just that, it’s lonely at the top. It’s hell here, out on the oceans. And we must wait. Wait. Trouble is Brewing. The Spanish are revolting. I have a sea dog’s nose for such things and that nose is spying trouble when I spy it through my telescope. That is why we have heaved-to out here. To wait. Wait for the brewing trouble to brew. And for me to spy it.

0147: Pleased to note, by poking my telescope up the rear, that Petty Officer Tongs and Midshipman Stonkly are up the fo'c'sle, lashed at their stanchions and ready to repel all boarders. We never get any boarders because this is not a boarding school.

0148: Snort. Another one for‘Admiral’s Joke Book’.

0149: Damn, damn, damn. Can’t take any more. Am off to the bridge for cocoa and to belay the yard arm with the ship’s swagger stick.

How now, Blowpipe? How goes the watch?

Begging your pardon, sir, but I’m not talking to you, sir.

Not talking to me? Why the blazes not, you impudent boy?

Cos of the way you treat me, sir.

Treat you?

Well all you do is shout at me, sir. Blowpipe, do this, Blowpipe do that, Blowpipe bend over and bite the ship’s wheel, sir.

I have never knowingly asked you to bite the ship’s wheel, Blowpipe.

Exactly, sir. You don’t treat me like a human being, sir. You just order me about like you’re some kind of superior officer and I’m just the muck on your shoes, sir.

Well, damn it; I am a superior officer, Blowpipe.

Well I’ve had enough, sir. If you don’t start respecting my human rights I’ll start wearing this ‘Me Too’ T Shirt, sir.

Me Too? What’s that? Some sort of Star Wars robot?

Oh you can scoff, sir, but there’s plenty more of us what feel the same. Do you think it’s an accident there was no paper in Admiral’s heads? What’s that on your fingers, sir?

Oh shut up, Blowpipe and get me my cocoa, unless you want my boot up your arse. Do you want me to get Midshipman Stonkly to flog you for insubordination?

Well don’t blame me if me and Tongs defect to the Spanish Navy, sir, that’s all I’m saying.

Defect? Spain? You impertinent blaggard! I didn’t get out of my bunk to hear your mutinous claptrap, Blowpipe! I got out of my bed due to a hot, sticky feeling that I want you to deal with.

Well I’ve a mind to defect, sir. You can keep your ten of port on, starboard fifteen sir. Admiral Juan Carlos McTavistock of the Royal Spanish Navy has promised me and Tongs special dispensation, sir.

Well that’s not surprising, anyway. The bloke’s a bald as a coot and grateful for anything he can get. What’s that?

What, sir?

Off the starboard bow. An incoming bogey at ramming speed.

Bogey, sir? Shall I get the ship’s handkerchief, sir?

Shut up, Blowpipe and clap the telescope to your eye, boy. Tell Stonkly to stand by to repel all boarders. Sound red alert.

No need to worry, sir. It’s the man from Milk Tray.

Milk Tray?

Yes, you know, sir. Special Agent Milk Tray, sir. Swoops from high buildings, dives over plunging waterfalls, hurdles rapids like a leaping salmon and delivers chocolates to beautiful queens, sir, and all because the lady loves…

This is Her Majesty’s navy. There are no beautiful queens here!

Oh, I don’t know, sir…

What do you mean, boy?

Well, those chocolates are probably for me and Tongs, sir. From Admiral Juan Carlos. Here he is now, sir.

You! Special Agent Quality Street or whatever your name is. You’re under arrest!

Shall I clap him in irons, sir?

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Wait. I beg of you. I come with a special message from Admiral Juan Carlos. He sends you these as a measure of his trust.

What are they, Blowpipe?

Ferrero Rocher, sir

Special Agent Milk Tray:
That’s right, Able Seaman, after all, as you Islanders say, the Admiral is world renowned for his reception parties. With these he is spoiling you.

Is he? Well, we in the UK are no slouches either when it comes to reception parties, you know.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Pah and gah! Cocktail sausages on sticks? Cheese and pineapple stuck in an upturned halved grapefruit? We spit upon your reception parties here in Europe.

Well, what kind of fancy pyramid is that? One heavy wave and the whole lot would tip over, spill on the deck and present a hazard to navigation! Blowpipe! Relieve him!

What, here, sir? On the bridge, sir? In front of Chief Petty Officer Noblik, sir?

No, no. I mean relieve him of that hazardous plate of chocolates, you blundering jackanapes.

Oh, I see. With pleasure, sir.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Wait, wait, wait - we have, how you say, got off on the wrong foot. The incorrect old plates of meat.

Meat? Where?

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Shut up, Blowpipe. I have this message from Juan Carlos, Admiral. He is offering a truce and cessation of hostilities. With certain…conditions.

Let me see that, Agent Rittersport.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Certainly, Admiral.

What’s this? “Dear Rear Admiral Thundertosser. Prior to Brexit, I accidentally insured my car with UK company ‘Sure Thing’ Finance. They automatically renewed it without my permission. Please could you cancel my policy and tell them I no longer need it and I want my money back. Yours sincerely, Admiral Juan Carlos McTavistock.” And here is a telephone number. Is this some kind of joke, Rowntrees?

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Joke? No, sir. He says that the UK has blocked all telephone lines and only you can successfully cancel the transaction. It is an emergency. The next direct debit of twenty five pounds and seventeen pence is due to be taken from his account in three days.

Three days? That doesn’t give us much time!

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Exactly. The clock, as you Britishers say, is ticking.

Yes, indeed. These people are bastards. Well pass me the ship’s telephone, Blowpipe. There’s no time to lose. Hello? Hello? Who’s this? Option 1, 2 or 3? What are you talking about? If I have access to the website I can easily make a fast payment from the comfort of my armchair? Hello?

What’s happening, sir?

It’s difficult to say. There seems to be some infernal tune playing on a constant loop. It starts. Builds to a crescendo. Stops. There’s a pause, then the whole thing repeats itself. Fourth time now. Fifth. Sixth.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
Ah yes. This happened to Juan Carlos himself. He assumed it was your English way of blocking him. He had to listen for a whole two hours. Nearly ran the ship aground on Dogger’s Bank.

Oh, I say.

Hello? Ah…finally. I’ve been waiting for twenty bloody minutes. Is that ‘Sure Thing’ Insurance? Yes, Thundertosser’s the name. Admiral, to you. No, no, I don’t want their number. Are they? Oh. Hang on. Er…it seems there’s a different insurance company that actually is called Admiral.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
I see. Another of your so called English jokes, eh? Juan Carlos will be most displeased.

Shut up, Cadbury. Now see here, my man. You renewed a policy set up by an acquaintance of mine called Juan Carlos and extracted money from his bank account. No he didn’t give you permission. It says here that he cancelled the direct debit. You set another one up? What do you mean you set another one up? Now look. He spends most of time at sea. Why does he want you to insure a car he doesn’t own anymore? Yes, that’s right. Ship. At sea. You can’t drive a car in the sea. No it isn’t one of those ones like James Bond had in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me.’ Those are made up cars. I don’t care if you thought you saw one at Bigbury on Sea. E mail? What do you mean he should have emailed you? How should he know that? Small print?

Well done, sir. You’ve got them on the ropes, sir.

Close Brothers? Who the bloody hell are the Close Brothers? Ah. Hang on…Er, it seems that the Close Brothers handle all financial matters for ‘Sure Thing’ insurance these days. Well, that’s all right then.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
These Close Brothers. They are friends of yours? How many brothers do they number?

Hello! Is that the Close Brothers? It is? Excellent. Now, see here…Ah, hang on. Blowpipe? Can you fetch my debit card? They want my bank details.

Certainly, sir. Right away, sir.

OK, yes. 17554923. Sort Code? Yes – ah – 02 – 72 – 85. Thank you. Thank you very much. No – I’m sorry, entirely my fault. Goodbye.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
What happened?

It seemed I owed the Close Brothers sixty four pounds and twenty two pence. They were going to send bailiffs around to board HMS Rigid next Tuesday. Still, no harm done, Mackintosh.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
What about Juan Carlos’ insurance policy?

They say it’s his fault for not dealing with a reputable company instead of a mickey mouse outfit designed to rip the unwary off and if he crashes his car it was highly likely they wouldn’t pay out anyway.

Special Agent Milk Tray:
This means war. And you can give me those chocolates back. Defect? You? I spit upon your so called defection.

I’m confused dot com. Where’s he gone?

Never mind that. I want my cocoa!

Me, too.

Meanwhile. On the fo'c'sle.

Oh dear. Another international incident.

Quiet, Tongs, you blithering idiot!

Sorry, sir. Just trying to disentangle my legs from these Spanish chocolates, sir

Shut up, Tongs and mind your stanchion.

Right you are, sir. Do you think Juan Carlos will complain, sir?

How should I know? What’s that off the starboard bow?

I think it’s the Close Brothers sir.

Close Brothers? How do you know?

Well…er…they look quite similar…and…


They’re quite…er…close…

I thought that was utterly pathetic, Tongs

Yes, sir. Me, too.