jack the bird

Jack the Crow did gangster rapping,

up high in his oak tree,

Chantal the Gull sung power ballads,

at the seaside, on the quay


Peter Sparrow tweeted,

in places far and wide,

just where the fancy took him,

with no bird at his side


Then an impresario,

had a good idea,

let’s have a singing contest,

for the birds that all live here


Seduced by fame and fortune,

and some celebrity,

many birds did enter,

this singing fest for free


The Woodpecker was supported,

by her very small Blue Tits,

a Blackbird and a Jenny Wren,

Both sung some Beatles hits


Each week the birds all voted off,

the ones they didn’t like,

first gone was a Wood Pigeon,

“Get off son, on your bike”


The next loser was a Budgie,

followed by a Jay,

things were hotting up now,

Birds of Britain had their say


Then the grand finale,

it finished after dark,

the winner was a Nightingale,

who only entered for a Lark!



I will take my leave ahead of you,

to a place that is most sublime,

and rent for us a suite of rooms,

at The Hotel End of Time


By the time that you arrive there,

you can take for granted that I’m,

going to ensure cocktails await us,

at The Hotel End of Time


We shall have an open reservation,

in the restaurant most elegant,

the chef is cordon bleu you know,

although I’m told a little arrogant


I hear the view from the veranda,

is to behold and quite divine,

we shall breakfast there on summer morns,

at The Hotel End of Time


But please always remember,

that right now you are in your gorgeous prime,

so there is no need for you to hurry yet,

to The Hotel End of Time



29th May 1431, the Tour de la Pucelle, Rouen

A vigilant night sky, stars aplenty to wish upon

Alas the last night on earth for the girl of visions,

for young Joan, The Maid of Orléans


Just 19 years and banged up, convicted as a

witch, her cross-dressing a heresy punishable

by death under the suitably adapted to fit the bill

English interpretation of ecclesiastical law thus

ridding themselves of a burdensome blood blister


The kid never stood a chance really, certainly not

after po-faced Henry Beaufort and his bastard inquisitors

had finished with her. The verdict after the ‘show trial’?

To burn alive at the stake, a predetermined given


I met with her that night, that night before her last sleep,

if she got any sleep that is; a pleasant enough youngster

for one of illiterate peasant pedigree she possessed a

mind as sharp as an old blade left out under a full moon


My purpose in paying her a call you may very well ask?

Her last supper if the truth be told, I am a chef of some renown

My old drinking chum, the Dominican friar, Isambart de la Pierre

asked me, me an old closet atheist to sneak her in a bit of a treat

on the scoff front, I decided Lobster Thermidor was just the ticket


Had to bung the guards a good few groats mind, grasping sods

to a man that they all are, still it was the very least I could do

Whatever she tucked in like billy-o, even held the plate to her lips

and licked it clean all over, let out a belch of satisfaction afterwards!


“Stupendous sauce Sir! Indeed a sauce to die for…oops,” wiping the back of her sleeve across her lips 

“Cheers…amazing what can be done with a few shallots and a drop of cream”


I made light of her plight, even told a joke or two

taking care they were not too near the mark what with

her being a bit like it on the religious front, still she cracked a smile


“Why you dressed as a boy soldier Joannie girl?” 

“Oh that old nugget. Since the guards left me sweet Fanny Adams to wear I had to barter a bit of this, a bit of that for some kit. Came in handy as a matter of fact as it fastens up into one piece. Makes it harder for the sicko Lords and Clergy to…well you know…I don’t need to spell it out to a man of the world such as yourself do I?”

“No you don’t luv, scum of the earth they are. Here before I take of my leave I mustn’t forget to give you this.” 

“What is it?” 

“Oh just a hand carved little wooden cross one of the English archers took the risk of making for you…look he made it into a necklace…he thought you’d like to wear it tomorrow…like…draw a bit a comfort from it.” 

“Thank him from me would you…a kind gesture. Are you at the old market place for my burning in the morning? I understand there’s quite a crowd expected.” 

“No luv it’s not my cup of tea. Look I better be off now…take care and keep the faith.”


As to why I said ‘take care’ I will never know

Heard her chuckling over that as I left

Obviously our paths never crossed again




Calcutta, India 1857: Her scabrous locomotive from Delhi arrived two days late yet through a haze of soot and smoke and to the overbearing melody of whistles, clatter, hoots and bells bang into the oppressive humidity of the City of Joy arrive it eventually did.  The delay? Perhaps dung on the tracks, peasants on the roof, maybe a makeshift bomb or something else irksome according to the shoulder shrugging portly jobsworth guard – although from his body language he plainly had not a blind clue.

As ever I was there to greet my ‘first class only’ Queen of Sheba.  Not for her to be squished in with the diaphoretic traders in regular class or in the lower ones where body odours make for a most rancid perfume. “Take a piss at your peril” the Viceroy once told me – words I had passed on to her!

I took her dainty hand, had a porter grab her luggage as she alighted the carriage none the worse for the journey, indeed looking her dazzling usual self. Not a stain of note on her embroidered pink Ghagra Choli, a gown that gave away her Rajasthan roots. It had cost me a small fortune in bribes to have her travel out of sight of and contact with the rank and file. Worth every last penny though for she is my treasure.

“I love the hustle and bustle of Calcutta you know…and the smell of the food is so sublime……..look there the old street hawker…him there, that one …fetch me a Veg Chow if you would darling I’m famished…I could eat a bloody horse I think…wish those Hindus would keep their wretched cows off the street though. They do chuck up a bit when you get too close.” 

“Veg Chow! Chinese food? Surely not?”

She just gave me one of her ‘looks’ and without delay I, grinning as cheekily as a rebuked ‘couldn’t care less’ schoolboy, acceded to her request. As per usual, and throwing decorum aside, she scoffed her nosh on the hoof.

Later, at The Grand Hotel in the heart of the city the fancy had taken me to share her bath yet on this evening she was having none of it. It was thus I took a drink in the bar while she bathed.  Over dinner taken on the balcony of our suite of rooms that night she announced she was with child. That the child would be a fine blend of two purebloods of different race and creed spelt ‘mongrel’ to the bigots; spelt a new pedigree to both her and I.  Besides being both well-heeled, and I, Gyges to her Nyssia all would be well for our flawless egg shell and chalk child.

Worryingly in the circumstances there was civilian unrest within the subcontinent as it was thus that I determined I would return home to England with my lover for the period of her confinement and likely thereafter. That we would build our very own kingdom of Lydia where we chose, a given.

Richmond, Surrey, England 1968:  Spotless the marble tiled kitchen floor; tarnished the life of the barefoot rich boy of mixed race who walked them. At least that’s what the self-deprecating, dressing gown clad, bleary-eyed, one day maharajah thought as he fumbled through the making of his breakfast espresso caffeine hit.

When lies copulate with truths the visual analogy is inevitably painfully accurate – there for all and sundry to gawp at.  Where once it was satin sheets, marmalade and buttered toast, itchy crumbs, thighs and all things sweet, riverside strolls, Canada geese to avoid and moorhen chicks to adore, the way things had turned out that last spring together had removed those joys forever; slammed the door of love deservedly smack in his face.

“Go now or you’ll leave in instalments” she had told him. He left of course. In shagging the new waitress at his swish restaurant in Swiss Cottage he had plainly taken a step too far. His lover had for all intents and purposes kept her composure while he, once the remonstrations were done with, had turned to drink and hashish as was his want; had become even in his own eyes a lethargic waste of space. Notwithstanding this night he would leave the realm of reality; would up his game and pay, ‘The Man’ for pure white snow.

Dealer and punter were to meet in the park where King Henry had hunted roe deer back in the day. Secluded the woodlands there, fine the view of The Thames when eight miles high. As per usual the candy man arrived late. Was it a monkey or grand in cash he had agreed to he wondered? Mattered not when you are as rich as Croesus and any sum is merely small change. As he waited by the ponds he almost but not quite recalled her exact parting words, “I mistook your door key as the key to your heart,” or such like.

It was 2am and with a Purple Haze jumbled brain when he saw her there, right in front of him; his great grandmother, young and as fresh as a daisy as in the painting at his deceased father’s house yet now before his very eyes. An hallucination perhaps yet she seemed to have substance, her form suggestive of flesh and bone. “You have forfeited your claims to your lover, outraged propriety. You know what you must do.”

Dreamers validate the other realm; one where blades slice naught but thin air. His dream was over.

As the glorified boy slipped his mortal coil he thought he heard her say, “Who will possess themselves of my kingdom now?”



sherlock rathbone 

A CASE FOR SHERLOCK HOLMES (even now still suffering from detective’s block)

“What the hell is that in her mouth Inspector Lestrade? Looks like a pink banana to me!” 

“Dr Watson really…what an idiot you are. I do not think you’ll find the evolution of the elongated and curved yellow skinned fruit known as a banana has evolved to be ‘pink’ thus far…you can check that out with your chum Charles Darwin if you so desire.” 

“Bet Darwin found a pink one in Madagascar so there…and don’t call me an idiot…it’s not nice.” 

“For pities sake Watson any fool can see that what this deceased young lady has bitten into and has clutched firmly within her jaws is, without a shadow of a doubt, a todger.” 

“A todger!” 

“Yes a todger, a nob, a Hampton, a willy, a bloody penis…call it what you like it is not, I repeat not a banana in part or at all.” 

“Well then Lestrade what then is an external male sexual organ doing in this obviously ‘pure as the driven snow’ gals mouth…answer me that if you can!” 

“Put simply Watson she’s bitten it off.” 

“Bitten it off!” 

“You heard…bitten it off. If you care to cast your gazers stage left you will note the corpse of a bloated fat bloke, trousers about his ankles, in a pool of blood and devoid of his John Thomas. It is crystal clear to me that she has murdered fat boy here and, having bitten off more than see could chew (so to speak) choked on said John Thomas.” 

“Why on earth would she do such a thing…I mean she can’t be a day over 21 years and in my book no gal has ever seen the male reproductive member before at least the age of 40 and only then if she has taken up the nursing profession. No Lestrade there is more to this case than murder. As ever you are barking up the wrong street…although I’m hardly surprised what with you being an intellectually challenge rozzer.  Indeed a man like you so lacking in even the most basic of detection skills has not a hope in hell of fathoming this little conundrum.” 

“Do what Watson…how dare you speak to me like that…I’ll have you know I’ve solved more murder cases than you’ve performed Caesareans! You should be struck off the medical register you incompetent buffoon.” 

“Sherlock did you hear what Lestrade just said to me…did you…what a wicked, unkind thing to say…Sherlock say something, tell the swine to mind his own business…Sherlock just say something will you? There’s not a moment to loose….hurry man, hurry.” 

“Fuck off.”





loving feeling 

Studio A of Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles 1964: Lyricist Cynthia Weil and her musician husband Barry Mann are ensconced in the studio debating how best to complete the lyric for the ballad, ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ a song that one day will become an epic global hit for not only the original artists The Righteous Brothers but also the likes of Dionne Warwick, Cilla Black, Hall & Oates and many others. Outside the studio pacing the corridors and not best pleased at the delay is none other than Phil Spector who is chomping at the bit to set to work adding his ‘wall of sound’ touch to the songs final production. However poor Cynthia has what is known in the trade as ‘lyricists block’ for try as she may she cannot get that all important right word to finish off the first line of the lyric!

“Oh Barry honey I am 100% bolloxed as to how to finish the opening line to this sodding song ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’…it’s bloody ridiculous…you know I have the entire lyric composed…all I need is that one crucial word to that one vital line, plus I find it hard to think with a pissed off Phil pacing around outside…it’s getting on my tits if the truth be told.” 

“Well Cynthia my darling what have you got thus far then?” 

“It goes like this, ‘You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your…’…..your ‘what’? I mean, for example would you stop closing your eyes if I kissed your ‘what’?” 

“My ‘what’! Hold up there for a second darling and whilst I am no expert in human anatomy I cannot say I have a ‘what’ about my personage. I mean I have kneecaps, ears, and a todger even but a ‘what’…can’t say I’ve heard of any adult male with a ‘what’.” 

“Good God honey you are such a fool…I didn’t mean ‘what’ as in an appendage named thus, merely used the word as a substitute for the word I’m seeking.” 

“Oh I get you now…um let me have a think…um…right I think I can help.  How about, ‘You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your sister’…there that works. I mean if I kissed your sister you wouldn’t shut your eyes and ignore the goings on…in point of fact you’d likely go off into one and file for divorce…not that I have kissed your sister what with her being built like a brick shit house and all that.”

“Well that hardly typifies lost love…I have to point out that lost love is what this song is all about in case you’ve forgotten!”

A fierce knock as Phil Spector pops his head round the studio door and bellows, “Look you useless pair of toe rags I’m getting well and truly pissed off with you two fucking about finishing off this no doubt piss poor song of yours…just thought you’d like to know I’ve now taken the safety catch off this here .38 calibre Colt Cobra…I’m thinking here that that might help you both apply your minds to the problem.” With that Phil slams the door and carries on pacing about.

“Crikey darling that was a bit uncalled for, surely Phil knows we are doing our level best…anyway I think I’ve now got an absolute belter of an opening line for you…oh yes…oh yes…here we go, ‘You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your arse.” 

“Kiss my arse! Really!” 

“Well only if you want me to…but no funny business…I mean if it’s a moment of unbridled lust you’re after I’m not sure I can manage that what with Phil toting his weapon in the corridor.” 


“Well the ‘kiss your arse’ bit does reflect…in a magical way I think…unrequited love.” 

“Not in my book it doesn’t.” 

“Oh I don’t know then…‘when you kiss my…eyeballs, belly button, lug holes, nose, heart, lungs, liver and legs’…take you pick Cynthia.” 

“Rubbish the lot of them…its back to the drawing board for me then.” 

With that Phil, clutching a half drunk bottle of Jack Daniels staggers into the studio. “Oi Cynthia luv if you don’t knock out a swift lyric in the next 5 minutes I’ll put the barrel of me gun between Barry boys ‘lips’ and blow his brains out…got it!”  Phil totters away.

“I say Cynthia I really don’t fancy Phil’s weapon twixt my ‘lips’ one iota as it happens…between my ‘lips’…crumbs never heard the like of it…best you get on and finish this ruddy first line forthwith. ‘Lips’ indeed.” 

“Barry really do not go on so…now I’m stuck with the word ‘lips’ in my mind…it’s quite putting my off my composition!”



Better to be a spectator than a participant when time stands still.

As to exactly how long it stood still I have no idea…best guess? As long as it takes to quaff a bottle of cheap plonk from the south? Make love in a hurry? Run a barefoot marathon over broken glass? No odds…it took as long as it took.

Certainly when time was up and running once more all there seemed to be alive and kicking was yours truly and, if you could call it ‘alive’ the foreboding black clinker plain where once stood The City of Love and I might add a bothersome profound high pitched pulse ringing in my ears.

However, and as ever I was wrong…I was not alone. I remember her now, the petit blond girl with ridiculous overkill rouge lips in the plain white frock now stood before me albeit out of my reach, just gawping at me quizzically, head at a tilt, her expression an ostensibly puzzled one.

In my mind, a nanosecond before the colossal detonation I had christened her ‘Grenade Girl’. You see I had glanced in her direction at the very moment she pulled the pin.

I strode toward her, my much favoured military boots crunching lumps of shale to dust with each tramp – a rather melodic percussion of sorts in the circumstances even if I say so myself. Annoyingly the dust I raised caused me to expel the sneeze of all sneezes…one that echoed obstreperously notwithstanding the fact nothing that might reflect sound remained upright…odd thing that!

Getting closer I noted not a mark upon her person whereas I was battered, bruised, cut up and bloody, my clothes in tatters, my briefcase oddly intact, my fedora God knows where.  As I advanced she straightened up, looked disconcertedly delighted at my approach. From her little brown leather bucket bag she drew a fresh nectarine. Offered it me from the spotless palm of her hand. I accepted her gift…she beamed.

Doing my level best to talk through a mouthful of the juicy fruit, “Some hand grenade that…I mean to say you’ve taken out a whole city…my favourite city of all I might add.”

“True…although I think you’ll find I’ve ‘taken out’ as you succinctly put it the entire planet.”

“Why on earth would you do that?”

“I determined it was the only way to rid the place of evil…seems to have worked don’t you think?”

“Fuck me you’ve killed everyone both good and bad and regardless how do you know I’m not evil?”

It was then in a matter of fact manner she explained she was aware that I was a serving judge and that in her opinion the most honourable of all judges and it was thus that I should determine her guilt or otherwise and pass an appropriate sentence…one befitting of her perceived crime. Indeed I was told that that was the reason I was not obliterated along with the rest of humanity, the rest of all things.

She went on to say, “Justice must be seen to be done,” before adding, “Will you don the black cap and have me executed…Madam la Guillotine perhaps…or will you go for a life sentence without remission?” I sensed a certain impudence in her words.

“Look young lady I shall do neither. Firstly I abhor the death sentence for it sees good men sink to the same noxious depths as the perpetrators of evil and secondly given that there are no bloody buildings left let alone prisons where on earth could I incarcerate you even if I wanted to…and believe me I really, really want to.”

“Just a thought.”

“Bloody stupid thought. Can you not simply put things back to how they were before…you know…make it all as if this never happened?”

“I can do anything I want as it happens…It’ll cost you dear mind.”


“Yes…would you swap your own life to save all that there is…I mean was?”

“Sell my soul to the devil you mean…metaphorically of course what with me being an atheist?”

“Yes…metaphorically…although ‘never have ever existed at all’ would be more precise. It’ll only work if I airbrush you from time…shame really yet that’s how it is.”

Walking around aimlessly I gave the matter some considerable thought and determined that this was the right course of action and replied that if my life could be traded thus then she should do her worst. With that the girl insisted I close my eyes tight shut and not open them until directed to do so. Then perceiving the merest click of her fingers in an instant I detected the sound of car horns, the white noise of the hustle and bustle of shoppers, excited tourists and listless office workers on lunch break, the bellowing of profanities from a disgruntled whore from a garret window aimed toward a liberty taking punter, the desperate foreign tongue of ‘in your face’ beggars, the waspish sound of 50cc mopeds, a concertina virtuoso, indeed the living sound art that could only be Paris. She told me to open my eyes; that I was allowed one last view and I saw the whole kit and caboodle was restored.

Her last words? “The fortitude of one good man knows no bounds.”

Of me? I have no substance that’s for certain. I’m not entirely sure I where I am.


mayfly 1

Given we have a plumber putting in radiators and a bloke musing over floorboards we are escaping across The Channel for a while. The place we are renting boasts…yes boasts…’occasional’ internet as a selling point in the particulars! Should be interesting. I shall not post at all for the duration yet will try to read posts and comment as ‘occasional’ internet allows.

So then I shall be back soon. In the meantime herewith one of my old poems written for the grandkids;


The problem with us poor Mayflies
Is living for just a day
We eat, we drink, we laugh, we love
But are careful when we play

The reason is quite obvious
It’s plain for all to see
If we play too rough and hurt ourselves
We might die before our tea

You see we only get to take tea
Just once in our short lives
Because after tea we’re grown ups
Because after tea we die!

Best of luck to one and all



A congregation at prayer

or a jury of his peers?

Either way a hard thing

to unravel when tangled are

the silken threads of notions.

Were it his requiem then he

should be at rest not at sea


Her lover had pawned a

blue blood’s pickpocketed

silver and amethyst locket

was shipped to Botany Bay

to atone for that small sin.

In spite of her destitution

she inexplicably blossomed.

Of her the natives heard tell

she had once touched the

breath of Helios, reawakening a

dying star; resurrecting it’s moon

such was her exalted alchemy


To a transported convict a

dour Oceanic penal colony

serving out his lifetime at

His ‘Mad’ Majesty’s pleasure

home was where the head is

hard labour and imaginings a

poor surrogate for dignity lost.

A smuggled, debased liaison

with a luckless shared abstinent

courtesan a transgression more

loathsome than a trinket’s theft.

No laughter lines encasing the

forsaken eyes of the reprobate


Unspoken incantations

a click of the fingers and

from forest floor embers

a spark compels an inferno

and her phoenix has risen

from the other side of the earth.

He, her flawless aberration




Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A young man deep in contemplative thought
cued post a frontal lobe recollection stage play
is, more often than not lost to the real world

It is the way of things, more so when the recalled
melodrama is one of sexual promise and tasty food
Indian summer scoff; a sweaty Pont l’Eveque, a
baguette and something red and special from
Bordeaux to wash it down, plus both he and his
then lover, legs dangling over the highest ramparts
of Victor Hugo’s favoured Citadelle of Montreuil
Perfection indeed!

He noticed her rainbow painted toenails first of all
looked up startled, “Who the bloody hell are you?”
That she had the audacity to explain the implausible
alleging she had arrived at his domain via the shower room
mirror, irked, angered and, if the truth be told scared

“If you’re going to claim your name is Alice then rest assured I am not the Mad Hatter – that’s for certain!’

Agog that she was closer to being bedecked for a skinny dip
rather than a house call, and was the dead ringer for Fleming’s
brainchild, the self-sufficient Honey Rider took his breath away
Nervously finger drumming upon his blotter he awaited her riposte

“The chink of bright light leads the way to freedom or perhaps the full moon. Only the escapee slave can say where the plight of the moth ends”

Albeit utter bollocks it provoked thoughts of death in him
She stood quite still looking about the study asked him if he
kept pets, said she hated spiders but quite liked Border Collies
He answered in the negative all the time wondering how a full blown
statuesque centrefold had managed to prance through a looking glass
Had he gone crazy he wondered; perhaps his sugar levels had gone haywire again

Nonchalantly, as if the house owner, she drifted over to the framed
prints by his bookshelves, seemed struck by one particular painting

“I simply loathe the Pre-Raphaelites you know”

“How so?”

“That Millais was such a scoundrel. If his so called Knight Errant was really out to prove his chivalric virtues then he would have had the good manners to cover the girl up first and cut her free after. Mind I always thought him an absolute domineering bastard.”

“You knew him?”

“God yes…and the way he and his brotherhood cronies treated poor Lizzie beggar’s belief…imagine leaving her in a freezing cold bathtub modelling Ophelia. It was very nearly the death of her you know. She was never the same…pneumonia, fucked up lungs thereafter you see”

As if from nowhere she then announced apropos nothing
that she was off to visit someone more riveting than he
and departed as she had entered…even invited him to watch
No harm done; mirror still intact; seven years bad luck averted
The thought struck him that she might have been the kind of
gal who would not be too fussed if he kept his socks on

Later on, and very much detached per usual he thought to enquire of the ghost of Andy Warhol if one could copyright a dream