Drowning In The Water Of Life

Drowning In The Water Of Life

a long time ago in the time of the hippy
a wee small boy who was mostly happy
was sent to school where he was told
aged only five
that he needed “a rocket up his backside”
just a figure of speech you understand
no firework insertion was really planned.

on the face of it the boy was bright
he could read and he could write
before attending any schools
and though he had these useful skills
his teachers (who should get a mention)
demanded much of his attention
and asked him every single day
“you boy! what did I just say?”
a dastardly and cunning ploy
to snare the inattentive boy.

the boy thought this a horrid ruse
this academic subterfuge
for no one said there would be questions
if they had asked him for suggestions
he would have told them to forego
these tests of what a boy should know.

the truth is most of what they taught
was lost in waves of idle thought
his ceaseless inner monologue
made learning stuff a tiresome slog
then at the end of every term
they’d send reports to make him squirm
and sadly the accompanying letter
would say the boy “could do much better”
although in fact this wasn’t so
it wasn’t that the boy was slow
it’s just he had a certain pace
for life is long: it’s not a race
and one way or another friend
we cannot help but reach the end.

the boy has grown to like his brain
(it would be futile to complain)
it entertains him day and night
as neurons randomly ignite
a stream of consciousness whose sparks
are fuelled by overactive quarks.

that’s just a theory by the way
what causes it? well who can say
and if the boy had just one wish?
he’d prob’bly choose a Babel fish
or some other memory aid
though brains are tricky to upgrade
they don’t have an expansion slot
you do the best with what you’ve got.

a theory which may yet be proved
if his memory were improved
the boy might lose his inner voice
which seems to be the Devil’s choice
his brain is set on constant shuffle
an inner monologue kerfuffle
which drives him crazy: keeps him sane
but let’s be frank and make it plain
to him his daydreaming is cool
although not valued much at school
“you boy, what did I just say?”
that’s what they asked him every day.

don’t rush the ruminating boys
protect them from extraneous noise
they’ll get there – just a little later
don’t cram their heads with endless data
that’s what the internet is there for
creativity is therefore
simpler with a broadband router
smart phone, tablet, or computer.

the boy is in his fifties now
been married over thirty years
his wife still sends him to the shops
to buy comestibles and beers.

when buying two items or fewer
from the baker or the brewer
the boy will mostly get the gist
but more than that requires a list.

his true love is a patient soul
she knows his foibles and his quirks
and circumvents them on the whole
a strategy that sometimes works.

and he is grateful; he is glad
his ever loving, caring wife
knows exactly how his mind is
(he hopes it doesn’t cause her strife)
without her he’d have lost his marbles
this disorder’s running rife
without her he’d have drowned for sure
a long time ago in the water of life.

Letter To Brezhnev

Dear Mr Brezhnev, I know you’re deceased,
As is your mate Mr Nixon
The two of you saw that the world was policed
With a dollop of nuclear friction.

I would stand at my window and look to the East
Expecting the missiles of doom
But that wasn’t the worst of it, not in the least
As I stood there alone in my room.

After some time I’d convince my poor brain
That the world would survive one more day
Then I’d climb into bed feeling physically drained
And sometimes I might even pray.

And I’m just getting warm, and I start to relax
As my eyes are beginning to close
But my rational thinking is showing some cracks
And there’s ice on the end of my toes.

I leap out of bed, and I look to the West
Now I’m waiting for missiles from Nixon
And I’m freezing to death and incredibly stressed
I think I may have an affliction.

I glance to the East again, changing my mind
Being bombed by the Yanks doesn’t sit well
But it seems, Mr Brezhnev, that you weren’t inclined
To waste any weapons on Whitwell.

After what seems like hours I get back into bed
And I try not to think radiation
Though I’m still not convinced that you don’t want me dead
Which causes me great trepidation.

Perhaps it’s all over, and London’s no more
And Moscow and New York and Rome
And nothing will be as it had been before
Though I seem to be safe here at home.

So I start to nod off, Mr Brezhnev, I’m going
Now I’m sure you won’t kill me tonight
And I think I can sleep well, now that I’m knowing
The risk of explosion is slight.

I’m nodding off now and my breathing has slowed
My anxiety’s less keenly felt
As my nuclear worries all start to offload
And the ice on my toes starts to melt.

I’m going, I’m nodding, I’m starting to doze
My heart rate is somewhat diminished
And now there’s some feeling once more in my toes
And my Russian anxiety’s finished.

Then suddenly: BANG! There’s a new kid in town
The sockets downstairs are ablaze
We are all going to die, for the house will burn down
Why does death come in so many ways?

So I sneak out of bed and down two flights of stairs
Taking care to avoid all the creaks
If there were a God he would answer my prayers
I’ve been doing this nonsense for weeks.

So I check in the kitchen, the sitting room too
Though I know this obsession is folly
And I climb the stairs quietly, two steps by two
Convinced that I’m quite off my trolley.

THE HOSTESS TROLLEY: DEAR GOD ABOVE
Now the dining room’s all of a blaze
So I’m off down the stairs again: just one final check
It’s madness – I hope it’s a phase.

It wasn’t of course, I’m still lying awake
And inclined to obsessively think
It’s not an addiction that I can forsake
Except with the help of the drink.

So you see Mr Brezhnev, it wasn’t your fault
(Though we don’t need those nuclear rockets)
My worryguts thinking won’t come to a halt
Banning bombs or electrical sockets.

The Naked Rambler

This poem was written in October 2012, on hearing the news that “The Naked Rambler”, Stephen Gough, has been released from a Scottish prison after many years in jail for breach of the peace and contempt of court.

Today, three years later, I read this excellent article ( ttp://barristerblogger.com/2015/10/26/free-the-naked-rambler/ ) by Matthew Scott, a man who has represented Stephen Gough in court.  This is a most thought provoking quote from the piece: “But for all that he is a prisoner of conscience whose treatment shames the nation”.

In short, if he spends another day in prison, or worse still eventually dies there, we should all hang our heads in shame.

~ ~ ~ ~

Stephen Gough, Steven Gough,
Have you not had enough,
You’ve been rambling for years in the nuddy.
In England that’s fine,
Almost all of the time,
But Scots’ law is more fuddy duddy.

Up here the strict rule is
No showing of goolies,
A concept you seem to find foreign.
So north of the border,
To maintain public order,
Could you not wear a thong or a sporran?

The people of Brighton
Are fairly enlightened!
(Or maybe just some of the rudest?)
They’ve a section of beach
Where banana and peach,
Can be proudly displayed by the nudist.

For your bare naked frame
And your media fame?
Six years as Her Majesty’s lodger!
That seems a bit strong,
A sentence so long,
Just for failing to cover the todger.

Top Of The League

People of Britain, I have some good news
For once we are topping the league
And not just at rugby and orderly queues

Or even league table fatigue

We all know our country’s a great place to live
Though foreigners may ask you why
So if you can’t think of an answer to give
Tell them this is the best place to die.

Last Of The Mohicans

I don’t think he is thinking straight
His syrup’s made him hottish
And that can happen in the sun
To men whose genes are Scottish

He can’t abide these immigrants
Syrian or others
Some of them are children
And they’re coming with their Mothers

He says that he would send them back
If he gets into power
Which ill behoves a candidate
Who lives atop a tower

I wonder if he’d do the same
With Mexicans or Greek’uns
Or men whose ancestors were slaves
Or, perhaps, Mohicans?

There Is Pressure On My Left Side Brain

There is pressure on my left side brain
An affliction of the nominally sane
It isn’t like a headache
It isn’t like a pain
I have it when I’m walking
And I have it on the train
It has been with me forever
Now it’s something of a bane
But there is pressure on my left side brain.

My right side brain does nothing
I could swap that side for stuffing
Though the left side’s always busy
Slightly edgy, in a tizzy
All day long and through the night
Nothing happens on the right
But my best hallucinations
And imaginary flirtations
Come from pressure on my left side brain.

It’s been that way for aeons
God I hope it’s not my prions
Or perhaps my mitochondria
Or worse, my hypochondria
Such morbid thoughts are random
I should prob’bly get a scan done
‘Cos there’s pressure on my left side brain.

If my grey matter explodes
And comes dripping through my nose
(Though I bet my lazy right side will abstain)
Leave it to neurologists
And please tell my pathologist
I had pressure on my left side brain.

Artist Envy

Artists, I hate you all
With your canvas big or small
With your palette and your easel
Brushes made from hair of weasel
I envy you above all folks
And your little arty jokes
(At those who cannot paint for toffee)
With fellow artists over coffee.

What better way to pay for food
Encapsulating in the nude
The essence of the human form
Or stuffy men in uniform
Or landscapes of the highest peaks
Or an abstract scream that speaks
To those of us, who nothing more,
Would love the skills to paint and draw.

Let’s not pretend what is or ain’t
For those who cannot draw or paint
May well have skills of other ilk
Like making cheese from curdled milk
Or brewing beer from hops and barley
Or customising someone’s Harley
But probably should never choose
Careers in permanent tattoos.

So paint away, if paint you must
Express your anger or your lust
Your grief or other sad emotions
Or just do ships that sail the oceans
Or jungle wildlife in situ
Or any topic that may fit you
But keep your subject choice astute
And please refrain from bowls of fruit.

Xenophobia

Beware the pure bred xenophobe
His rage is quite frenetic
He might not like it if you probe
His heritage – genetic
His family have been here
Since the melting of the ice
Avoiding nasty foreigners
To keep their bloodline nice.

He hates the bloody Romans
And the Angles and the Jutes
And the Saxons and the Vikings
With their tendency to loot.
He hates the dreaded Normans
Though they bravely took their chance
In truth he isn’t very fond
Of anything from France.

He doesn’t mind the Indians
He wishes they’d come sooner
As he’s partial to their Tarka Dhal
And Vegetable Bhuna
For centuries the xenophobe
Was desperately in need
Of stimulated taste buds
Instead of boiled swede.

He detests the poor old Hugenots
Abhors the bloomin’ Jews
And Somali’s are all pirates
He has seen it on the news
He doesn’t like those aeroplanes
Or ocean going boats
Enabling all these foreigners
To circumvent his moat.

“It’s come to such a sorry state,”
He’s telling all his mates
“I’m thinking about selling up
And moving to the States.”
The irony is lost on him
So let’s not point it out
For reasoning is futile;
Xenophobia’s about.

Beware the pure bred xenophobe
His Mother was a virgin
What madness to have random tribes
Genetically mergin’?

The Word You Were Looking For Is REFUGEE

the word you were looking for
is
REFUGEE
it doesn’t have a synonym
it’s not the same as
migrant
(prob’bly economic)
nor the same as
immigrant
(which can be sardonic)

there’s a picture of a girl
in a pretty spotted dress
she is lying on a beach
and her hair is a mess
where was it taken?
somewhere by the Med
but it doesn’t matter now
for now she is DEAD

just to be clear then
REFUGEE
(the clues in the name)
means ‘one who seeks refuge’
from the ravages of war
or persecution
seeking compassion
the cup of human kindness
a peaceful resolution
to a bad situation

you reap what you sow you know
with your immoral polity
waging war remotely
through stupid ‘foreign policy’
so wave after wave of them
fleeing from the fighting
are coming round to your house
don’t be so frightened

and above all else
it might be sporting
if we gave them safe passage
and some accurate reporting

just to be clear again
the girl in the spotted dress
dead on a foreign beach
drowned in the sea
she wasn’t a migrant
she was not an immigrant
she was somebody’s daughter
and a
REFUGEE