Friday, 30 August 2019

Bah, Handbag

Bah, Handbag

When you leave you’re some glad you came
your brain swimming for shore
through Cassio’s invisible spirit
where’s the wallet and where’s the door

where they’re cheaply sold in Mega Mart
simply going for some soft song
 sung blue by all the best caged birds
by your tossed bed in the throng

and throat throbbing above your table
honey trapped hummingbirds
hover fly far from lost children
never knowingly speak a cross word

aloud and then across but mostly down
amongst seed scattered me and your
mother smile when will you be home
for she sends never no earthly clue

but photographed soul however stiff
upon your knees open mouthed
refrain in every kind of every church
stumble out eternal forgiven but soused
while endless trafficking flows and flows
through our beautiful souls

that twitter me not and fret no more
as you stumble drunken for the door
when her kind guide vocals soft in hand
and goodness guides us back to land

begrudge her this lax leather handbag
when we both should be more than glad
to soften those different degrees of prison
that make all bright smiles dazzle so sad.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Search

The Search

She once constant kissed
him by moon cooled pond
under crisp willows blessed;
four heady words were wished,
decanting his sunrise blood red.
Tassellated bulrushed fingers swept
felt his tracks and wept.
Those self-same tears
have long fallen now
brought forth back-paths
where leaves black fertilised
lay lines like drills, past planted,
fast irrigated ditched streams.
Counter stitching strong currents,
his headstrong swimming
against futured morning mists.
Ghosting, she fades in, rolls
seed heads of bittercress,
cleavers him to her tight,
cowslips his slipping grasp,
binds with white weeds
those insecure wracked wrists,
horizontal holds and tracking
under unfixed sextant star
above, twists his tissues,
tortures nothing as such.
He feels it, fevered shrieks
of burns, boils, I’ll not returns,
weak, those dribbled imperatives
never thinks he’ll come again.
But her fast forward or backtrack
mirrored by the stretching rack
yokes them by reflected lake.
Enthralled both corporeal shake
loose, glide atop Lillith’s lilies,
still fast bound for foothills,
slow thawed both beneath
sun’s pondered backscatterings
gathers to him vestal moon
with light cobwebs pale.
Now their sky streaks hail
down teal windowed glass,
voyaging forward rainbow cast
borne on sycamore seeded sails
in murmured flight, ascending,
travelling past outlying interiors
perhaps in hope, perhaps in fear:
some who search for lost ones dear,
some who should not venture here,
some who should fear to trample
on the corpses of the living
and the almost dead. But she smiles.
Takes him for old time’s sake.
Buries his head to milky breast
sighs sure, for certain it will be
over soon enough where there’s rest
for those wicked enough to see
through doors. Shocked, 
now looming large before him, 
shooken free of his guide
he withdraws and wipes, in fury
fast judders, unscabbards his sword,
you bring us back to this, this, this:
where once we constant kissed,
named us unspeakable, kissed,
cleaved with machete, still kissed
endless yet kissed us both to hell.
This past foresight lies not in your gift,
it is where my fantasies will exist
for fools being fooled
must their dreams be ripped
by murky raiding magpies stripped
who look in looking, look back
strong in motive, strong in crime,
weak in vision, weak in rhyme,
blunt in imagining; they lack
what it takes to ever learn,
sledgehammer pounding 
my mind's anvil,
batter until I crash and burn:
More clearly does he see wrong's right, 
wrenched free his hand in slapped spite,
before he might attain full flight
over moon cooled pond, 
seeks release.
Fall fast full fall and surely peace.

Saturday, 10 August 2019



You noticed I topped your tank up?
Somebody remembered calling
pointedly from separate room and bed.
Tossed back clean sheets, thinking
there’d been no topping for years
then cursed softly and wished
other words were spoked instead,
that couldn’t be later misconstrued,
knife twisted into something lewd,
broken to pistol start some daily feud
and set them off that morning.
Yawning, ignoring, ostrich buried heads
clueless in the pillows - well possibly:
foreseeing through closed doors
eludes both of them at present.
Gnawing those fossilised bones,
discontent rattling round home
like unmixed cement, churning
their toothpick skeletons in closets,
flicking on those charging points,
sockets switched off that could
or could not stew overnight;
spark electric fire, smoulder; burn
with why won’t you ever learn?
Arguments this meagre and weak
in construction misses the point:
their muttered mouths open, speak,
score points, roll eyes and greet
with pick the bones out of that,
why don’t you? Or some such crap.
Beyond the whatever don’t be soft
light switch with knowing laugh,
more building walls, less crossing bridges,
both experts at throwing them up.
To change this late is to dream
of futile rubbing antiseptic words
like cream onto a conflict
raging so hard and for so long,
that what began it has gone,
just an irretrievable snatch of song;
not even so much as a crotchet.
Every phrase calls for contradiction,
slapdash rasping matchbox friction,
no thinking of touching thoughts –
all feelings felt are dirty double dealt;
so putting it between sharpened lips,
a tongue so pointed, teeth that grit,
rictus fixed and bite down so hard
they shatter the wanton flesh into shards.
No. Topped up during restless sleep,
where both dreamed of handling points.
Pushing the button, switching tracks:
parallel lines that gash and wrack,
divergent lines that wide the crack,
or collision course concludes attack
in an ultimate nuclear winter fall-out
of half life. Well possibly:
Foreseeing through closed doors
eludes both of them. At present.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Cupboard Love

Cupboard Love

Dobson heard those watchmen whisper

of chafing skin, bursts of blister,

doubled bent back with sore aching knees,

tossed frilly damp black lace panties

and this love cupboard’s special keys

mislaid, veiled from big brother’s CCTV.

Entrance exams were conducted swiftly within,

with dexterous strokes and parting grin.

Slight of touch with passionate words,

he shepherds corridors for the straying herd,

Scotty bare concealed his fevered need

to hook older ladies who had gone to seed

slightly; his foible, his penchant, his errant kink,

takes all of them straight to passions’ brink,

with generous laugh and knowing winks

made moist with leaking, tickled pink

to kneel down upon tiled floor and drink.

Plucked beauties all; well versed in muck,

quite blissful in the halter to give suck,

starved nightly, oozing lust’s grubby smut;

stuck husbands moaned of crack and rut.

His flaming wits smouldered long overtime

when he could, stiffening his rampant resolve

for each, burning her cheeks with grime,

she sighing blousey sobbed duets in time

to the friction of her raw rubbing knees,

hang heavy tempting forty Ds to double Gs,

fumble forward with tender tugs, squeeze

those heaving hands, tantalize and tease me,

in my last gasp of make it last, oh, oh, Scotty.

Off timetable, filling up all those free slots,

with inspired use of dark cupboard spaces,

bra straps and laces, slip by in cunning knots,

devilish devices, loud cry those locked hidden places.

Yes, yes - appetites were made to be this free

and, surely, Dobson can’t help but agree.

In the end, caught napping, sent packing;

bureaucrats complained work was hard to do

with exam papers tacky and stuck like glue.

Or perhaps each guessed the other’s name,

fingered blame, felt false shame, ended games;

what cupboard love remained snuffed the flame.

Laying on his shoulder only sympathetic fingers,

long lost now; merely his song lingers

behind the dead-locked door and rusty hinges.

Saturday, 3 August 2019



The leavers left and, after they had gone;

exited through red atriums in blue ventricled

clip-boarded, front loaded data-trains,

those who hung back in the fading

light, too dim to see, clinging like fleas

to cooling fleece of slaughtered beast,

unwilling or unable yet to release

their piercing sucking mouthparts,

the red giant cooled; rumours spread

of the unliving and the not quite dead

looking down over the congregating mass.

Upon not just any ordinary crossroads,

for street sliced street into quarters,

then, hanging hobbled, drew

child-bearing wrong angled triangles,

ink bled wet etch-a-sketched

spirographing scatterbrained shapes,

forgetting hills that over-forge

like phantom pregnancies; swell

near distant bellies of neglect

where gatherers puff on e-cigarettes

mutter archly from foot-hilled base camps,

hold fast onto our children, bar their way,

you’ll not be climbing that mountain today,

because there was life up there once,

ramp it up, Bovril boil the rumours

that camp 4 was in the Death Zone.

At the summit they blunt eviscerated,

cauterised, hacked, cut the bleeding heart,

the dykes' breached scarlet floods, thumb plug

clutch it, oh, but it comes out and out,

in crimson spooned semolina pools

which you would know – ah,

but if only you could read, child,

besuited calls for a perfect execution,

could shed a salt lake city of tears

but were not enough bothered to try,

where nothing in life becomes you

as the leaving of those behind it all,

the bigger the heart, the harder the fall.

So, here’s one, grey hair washed feet,

teeth and eyebrows, kissed girls,

beached, grit sticky between tangled toes

spent sand dancing, waltzing waves,

fox trotting head of hunt and hounds

ghosting machinery, cutting teeth

on clogging the clockwork cogs

so, cry havoc, release the dogs.

Hush. Look back no more.

Freeze heart, close door,

our children don’t need that anymore.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Dear Writer, I regret to inform you that...

“Dear Writer, I regret to inform you that…”
Unsolicited scripts and treatments that didn’t quite make the cut.


Dear BBC,

Please find enclosed a treatment for my new and exciting whacky social comedy sex drama ‘Oh No, It’s Eleanor Doughballs’ in which an intrepid investigative reporter working for ‘Sports Live Radio’ (the eponymous Eleanor Doughballs) pokes her considerably large nose into all things bizarre and sporting - news that’s ‘fit-bit’ to print.

I am confident it could be a Sunday evening sure fire ratings winner and replacement for sentimental, mawkish shite like ‘It’s the Midwife’; easily realised on a small to medium sized budget.

Look forward to receiving your cheque. Happy reading!

Yours truly,
Andrew MacHack, (writer).

From the dark engines of a national sports radio studio, ‘Sports Live Radio’ she comes: hard nosed and soft boiled empathiser Eleanor Doughballs on the trail of crooks and ne’er-do-wells, sniffing out the emotional, the tearful, the pathetic and the recently deceived.  

It’s tough on those mean streets of Salford Quays, too tough, no place for the weak willed or easily frightened. But it’s here on her relentless beat we find her, armed only with a clunky square microphone with one of those upper lip attachment thingies and a swag bag full of hyberbole and cliché.

Oh no….it’s Eleanor Doughballs!

Oh No, It’s Eleanor Doughballs

Episode 1: Back of the Netxit


GRAMS: Suggest you use ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by those tunesters from the sixties - The Hollies, was it? Your researchers should know, get them to look it up on AltaVista. Update the mix – include swanee whistles / car hooters to signify slapstick and wah-wah slap bass to indicate that ‘Eleanor’ is hot and I mean ‘sizzling’!

Update the lyrics too (You can have these at no extra cost):

“Eleanor Doughballs,
intrepid reporter, not very tall,
in fact much shorter,
there ain’t nothing about sport
you coulda taught her,
buys the odd sports bra,
hot enough to melt snowballs,
is our Eleanor Doughballs,
lacking a daughter,
sizzling sausage reporter,
hides behind bushes,
weeps a lot and gushes,
golf course whisperer,
netball courter, hockey ball spotter,
on the spot reporter
drives a sports car,
if you’ve been to sport recently
she’ll be over to bore yah.”

Add some more of your own if you like but ensure lines rhyme with ‘reporter’ for verisimilitude. If The Hollies aren’t available or turn out to be dead, then use something from stock with plenty of radiophonic bleeping. This will evoke newsroom urgency.

Cut and paste graphics, any crap your designer deems suitable - but include plenty of weeping emojis, clouds, shots of blue, wet things and long shots of the star herself out and about around Salford Quays in grimy but tearful rainfall – then, after a bit, whip-pan to title cards.


It is the Female Underwater Darts World Cup Final. SLOW PAN OVER swimming pool - festooned with posters celebrating ‘World Cup 2019’, ‘Swimming Darts’s Coming Home’ and ‘Win One for the Gipper’. Empty except for a few members of the public plodding up and down the pool in the ‘clockwise swimming only’ lane.

TILT DOWN to the surface of the pool where, tacked to the ceramic tiles underwater, we see a darts board and, floating above, several darts. The flights should be red, white and blue.

SLOW ZOOM from MID SHOT of pool into ELEANOR DOUGHBALLS’ face then PAN RIGHT to CLOSE UP on interviewees, two women and a small child. ELEANOR, with microphone and headset, stage whispering passionately to herself and thence to RONETTE ‘THE ROCKET’ WIBBLY and MICHELLE ‘EELBITE’ VAN GERBILS who have taken positions ‘one’ and ‘two’ on the assembled podium. There is no third place as these two are the only competitors. Suggest they wear flags or other loose clothing that indicate their nations – England and Holland.

(gushingly into microphone)
Well, Ricky, it’s literally packed with excited crowds here at Salford Public Baths and what a historic venue, opened to the public in 2015, home to renowned star athletes such as the world famous…er…well, certainly, many incalculably countless, hugely big and celebrated world distinguished athletes have thought very, very seriously of competing and even swimming in this magnificent temple to our sport and achievement on the world stage and even across the planet itself.

(Inaudible burble)

Oh…yes…no, Mark Spitz, Adam Peaty and Rory McIllroy did not turn up due to media commitments but all did send heart warming messages of support via Twitter…no, I can’t put my hands on them right this minute…it’s here somewhere. Move on? Yes well, let’s speak to the victorious champions themselves…

(to WIBBLY)…how does it feel to be the new world champion?

Well underwater darts take hours of preparation… throwing darts underwater equipped with only a snorkel isn’t easy, you know, so I….

Yes, yes, but our listeners want to know how it feels. Did you cry when you threw that magnificent bullseye to clinch the world cup for England?

No, I don’t think so. The training and my sports psychologist had prepared me for the moment when I…

I see…well, I suppose being underwater might mean you didn’t notice when that first salty tear trickled down your face as you realised you had become world cup champion for England…how did you feel when you stepped onto the podium and heard the swelling strings of the national anthem…were there any tears?


Could you try very hard to cry for us now? No? Would it help if I chuck an underwater dart at your eye?

(tapping headset)
No, Ricky, no tears yet…


Now, hello there, young (lady / gentleman – delete as appropriate according to your casting decision) How proud do you feel of your mummy being world champion?

I’m very, very proud of mummy.

That’s lovely. What would you like to say to our listeners about your mummy?

I wish…I wish…Daddy could have been here.

(sensing opportunities)
Daddy? You didn’t mention an absent father. Of course, there’d be no tears…Ronette ‘The Rocket’ Wibbly had to be strong for the both of you, bringing you up alone on that estate amongst deprivation, drugs and crime. Oh, the struggle to maintain your dignity, your pride…the teasing at school… same sex marriage… that is why sport is soooo important. I must arrange for a live phone in show, followed by a documentary and podcast at once. We’ll call it…er…’Underwater Darts - Drowning not Waving’ and subtitle it ‘Arrows Through Our Hearts’. Tell me…(insert name here)…how did it feel?

I’m very, very proud of mummy.

Of course you are…but did you cry? When your Daddy walked out at such a tender, tender age?

He’s in the hospital.

Is he?

Mummy said he tripped over in the pool and poked his eye out with a dart.

I see. Did you cry when the dart went through his eyeball? Did it come out of the other side with some brain on it?

A commotion off camera. WHIP PAN from interviewees towards the podium and CRASH ZOOM into OBVIOUS CRIMINAL TYPE a slight figure wearing a black mask, striped jumper, beret, a bag with SWAG written on it. He is running towards the entrance, laughing maniacally.

Oh my God! Quick! Quick! A petty crook is making off with our stainless steel world cup and beating it towards the swimming pool exit…call the police!

Piss off, European scum and your so called Pickles the Wonder Dog! Brexit forever!

An international incident! Ripped off by a leaver!

Was it a big dart? A big dart with a fishhook barb on the end? Did it snag on his nostrils and tear them away from his moustache?

Daddy might never smell again…boo hoo hoo….

                CUT TO:

SCENE 2.  RADIO STUDIO – DAY 2 [13 00]       

PAN ACROSS brightly lit radio studio with several guests mic’d up and headphones on. ZOOM IN on ELEANOR DOUGHBALLS at console as she watches the clock then points with her pencil.

Good afternoon, it’s one o clock, and time for Friday Sports Panel, with me Eleanor Doughballs. This afternoon we tackle serious injuries in sport. And after a small child was seriously traumatised by an injury involving her father and the World Cup Female Underwater Darts Final this week, we’re asking the big question this afternoon…should sports be more carefully regulated by governing bodies…but first the news…and it’s over to Ricky who’s with Pickles the Wonder Dog…

Dear Mr MacHack,

Thank you for your treatment, which we read with interest.

Unfortunately, we currently have no plans to commission a new and exciting whacky social comedy sex drama like the one you have sent us. We find the public have no taste for outlandish and far fetched situations such as those contained in your script and would react with incredulity at the idea of a Sports Radio station that only covers minority sports in such an inept fashion.

Writing for television is a difficult skill.

But don’t give up! If you have any further ideas to submit, please do send them to our drama department.

Yours sincerely,
The BBC.