bent nail


As moth voyeur’s to a boudoir keyhole flame they gather
each and every one on a ‘look but don’t touch’ promise
they queue as only the bloated ignoramus connoisseurs can to glimpse
salivate and add critique as the jaundiced eye of vindictiveness demands
at the highlight of the nouveau-rich exhibition of pigeonhole virtuosity
namely the perfect trophy muse reclining, fully nude of course

The artists of The Emperors New School of This and That and Whatever
in beauty’s name vie for flawless skin, chocolate box smile and malleable mind
of the girl in the garret studio now portrayed just right for telescopic eyes
she a memento, bedded and one day perhaps, yet not for love, wedded
the Louvre this week, the Tate next, then fly blue sky St Tropez south together
pastures new for the same old, same old crew of immaculate misfits

On a foul day in yesteryear an also-ran dauber from afar arrived in
dream’s city, stoking angers own fire in his belly and blacklist preferences
he favoured the edge of a rusty saw to the gleaming knife blade
a rouge stained glass of ‘morning after’ flat fizz to sparkling fresh spring water
toasted tobacco from east of Constantinople over fresh air, red lit alleyways
over harvest moon, open sewer street life above tree lined boulevards
and a given, namely ‘fifty grand’ Ernie over a ‘theory of soul’ Aristotle

In his cups, through the fog of indifference bleary eyes mark
a night shift tomboy waitress, her mob of scar blemishes of a life lived
the marked down bracelets, hair in a tangle, sweat pearls upon her brow
an offbeat propensity to be looked into rather than looked at
she a corporeal phenomenon rarity far outshining the completeness
of perceived superiority of trophy muses everywhere, conspicuous her
perfection of presence over his poverty of being, tantalising her magical flaws
her frowned upon non-conformity, her palpable fervent noncompliance

Moreover, the imperfect perfect creature dug him out, saved him from
his guaranteed collapse, his otherwise kiss goodbye sullied liver ruination



Upstream, where riparian ledge
weds the chattering cascade from
100 paces she spots a hectic kingfisher
my daydreaming eyes would never see
Later outside the Tea Rooms
a not so nervous, brave even
gregarious little blighter enacts
the eternal photographers trick
moves in ever closer, closer still
‘Good morning Sparrow Fart…suppose you’re after my orts?’
Sparrow Fart hangs around while
she affably explains that sunflower hearts
are far more nutritious than Victoria sponge crumbs
moreover that they are presently in season
the little fellow listens intently to what she has to say
takes a swift dust bath and is off about his business
A small child unwittingly drops her comfort blanket
an ‘allsorts’ tail-wagging thief heads for the horizon
no need for tears for she is on the case, a click of the fingers
and all is well, dog ticked off, harmony restored
I could watch her all day long
when she talks with animals and plants
and yes, it is a given she can read this mind
“Well then tell me”
“Tell you what?”
“What’s going on upstairs?”
She pauses a little while to cogitate
“Well what isn’t X-rated is quite compassionate and I rather think you’re about to let the joker out of the attic…I like him…you’ll do!”
“That’s handy”


salle verre

Being left-handed can be a right pain in the arse in a world where everything is engineered with the right-handed in mind. I know this because I am a lefty (in both senses of the word). Moreover when a lefty well and truly knackers his left arm to the extent that his missus quite understandably gets the raving hump as he whinges on and on about the pain he is in being worse than childbirth something must be done!
It is thus that I now have a sling (I use ‘on and off’) to ease said pain, a sling annoyingly devoid of panache. The very blandest of slings. Even now she refuses to embroider the crest of my beloved Arsenal upon it! Regardless, I type with my left forefinger and have been told in no uncertain terms to lay off the keyboard until they work out exactly what damage I’ve done. The plus of course is that I shall frequent my cafés of choice even more often than before and for the duration of this most irksome affliction, whilst hopefully getting in the odd sneaky post when ‘she who must be obeyed’ is not looking.
With this short leave of absence in mind (and do forgive the FB’ness of this post) herewith a few snaps (some borrowed) of my favourite nearby haunts frequented in order to seek a little inspiration as to what to write about. Above is a one of the rear garden of La Salle Verte, my most favoured spot where the coffee is sublime as is the owner, an absolutely lovely Portuguese gal… think Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant here! It is rather splendid inside also.
Should one find oneself in or about The Port of Dover and in need of a coffee or lunch then this is the place to go!

la salle verte 2

Below another brace of snaps revealing a fine alternative café, restaurant, bar Cullens Yard I visit often from which I ‘traffic watch’ – rather than my usual pursuit namely ‘people watching’. You see across the marina is the main road where HGV lorries from a galaxy of nations (although mostly within the EU) exit the port upon arrival in the UK. They fascinate me…it doesn’t take a lot to fascinate this old fool I should add!


cullens 5

On occasions, in places where retail franchise outlets huddle together there are times when one cannot find an independent café…the vile gluttonous trend toward reservoirs of coffee in manmade cardboard foot spa’s Starbucks style comes to mind. Below is not a Starbucks yet a similar national franchise I had little choice but to patronize a couple of days ago…were it not for the antics of ‘Brian the Seagull’ I think I would have opened a vein. As you may observe my chauffeur (the arm prevents me driving presently) for the afternoon was my youngest musician son a tad miffed at having been charged with the task of propelling me about on his day off!

seagull george

And finally a couple of French haunts. Firstly, a lane up high in Boulogne’s charming Old Town just across The Channel where each and every café sells coffee to die for and where the pretty gals promenade!



Lastly, the square in Bethune (a wonderful little town near Lille in Northern France) with cafes galore I generally make a beeline for whenever possible.  It is here to the melody of ‘A Scottish Soldier’ that the clock in the Belfry chimes every quarter hour (with a full rendition on the hour) in honour of the brave Highlanders who died defending the place in WW1.

bethune 2

Do have the most wonderful Christmas one and all…time for a glass of something red methinks!


cliff edge 1

Within his tavern of imaginings, out of body looking further outwards
indulgence his shy waitress serving up a comedy of realities
actualities that would censure his each and every manipulation

Dreamlands purple anecdotes a sometimes painkiller save for
when The Master of Suspense visits unannounced, then all is
a mere twisted and spoiled incidental lecherous laundry list plot
Returning to loves dawn he turns back the clock, visualises her one last time
sat there as if only yesterday, kicking off her weather fagged sandals
such lovely legs dangling over a ‘crumble in your hands’ chalky cliff edge
so very high above the sea anemones and their tide pool stamping grounds
“Such a long way down, too much time to think if I were to fall” a passing thought
her mood changing with the weather, grumbling grey gout ridden clouds
hailstones and illusions determining that counting one’s losses prior to loss
as a bad habit except for when an outcome is as plain as the nose upon her face
By the time he had left she was ensconced indoors sat knitting a lone spare stocking
beside a dying hearth, enter the slovenly Tom cat and it felt like home once more
Tom cat had been on the missing list for several weeks, puts down her needles and wool
a cup of tea quest overdue, not before a witless dance of petulance for the
watched kettle that never boiled, wonders whether it is life or love that is a foreign thing?
had he been about he would have answered, “Both” she guessed
for she had unremittingly been the bookends keeping safe his word
Were he not away prospecting for golden flakes he may have been of some use
yet his opulent eyes always on the lookout for more, more, forever more
It seemed only proper the ringers tolled a peal of six wedding bells, those bells sat atop
the ‘once a house of worship,’ as of now most secular of crematoriums for posterity’s sake
this being the closest he would ever get to fulfilling a vow made back when the hermaphrodite daffodil flaunted its come hither treasures, blew its own canary yellow trumpet in the company
of a kindred montane pastures indistinguishable ensemble
‘Returning to love’s dawn he turns back the clock’ certain in the knowledge
that within the macrocosms fraternal twin there is no such thing as fiction



In the days when possessing the Seven Seas meant domination of the globe and almost all things therein and thereupon there was once an Englishman who could neither swim nor tell stern from bow, who suffered seasickness and always put his back out climbing into a hammock

To those prepared to take heed of his words he would tell of his times as a consul and how and why he fulfilled the jingoist’s dream of painting the planet pink

“You see I was able simply through my knack of blending vermilion with a daub of white upon my palette to carefully combine the perfect pink…did the trick alright…they couldn’t get enough of it if the truth be told”

It was at this juncture Topsy the precocious nose picking schoolgirl butted in, “What exactly did you paint pink?”

“Anything and everything my dear…the whole kit and caboodle…but a map mainly…map of the world”


“To reveal to one and all, especially so the doubters that we rule the world…look see for here is the very map I talk of”

“Some bits aren’t pink…loads of bits in fact…there, there and over there…why aren’t they painted pink?”

“Ah young Topsy you must understand what could not be painted thus was not worth having…nothing more”

“Oh…did you get paid lots and lots of money then?”

“I should really overlook this rather cheeky question young lady but would say ‘yes’ that I am quite comfortably off thank you very much…I have a lifetime’s stock of tobacco from the New Lands and more cotton shirts than I’ll ever need; from Southern Africa I have gold and diamonds galore; from the Orient I have spices aplenty to cook with and several wardrobes of silk dresses for my dear wife Mary; from the Indian sub-continent I have my tea…I do love a fine cuppa and the Darjeeling is to die for and, of course from West Africa I have my darling slave girls to amuse me”

“What about Australia why do you have nothing from that place, its pink after all?”

“Well we just use it as a place to house our miscreants…out of sight out of mind if you get my drift…besides only strange looking native types live there…well them and the kangaroos and who in their right mind would want a kangaroo I ask!”

“I do, I’d love one! Did you have to pay for all these things you have though?”

“Well not with real money child, no not with money…take my gold and diamonds from Southern Africa for example, we, my employers that is, exchanged such things for our glorious religion and the right to thereafter rule over them…pretty fare trade I think you’ll agree?”

“And the slave girls, surely you had to pay for them?”

“Well the chaps of the New Lands who own the tobacco and cotton plantations had to buy them from our slave traders, but mine…just a bit of bunce really…a thank you for all my hard work if you like. You see the plantation owners were ever so grateful I was able to source cheap labour from those lands north of the Gulf of Guinea from whence we globalized the little cottage industry that was slave trading…we are a rather clever lot you see!”

“Why are we called ‘GREAT’ Britain not just Britain?”

“For all the reasons I have just given…surely you can see that?”

“Doesn’t sound so ‘GREAT’ to me Sir…especially if you are a slave…being ‘owned’ sounds awful”

“You don’t need to understand these things or ever will Topsy for you are just a girl…whatever I must take of my leave…I have a hymn to write……good day Topsy”


frank the fly

I was film noir daydreaming when I first saw him
and what I shall say is surreal yet no lie
for I am now about to impart to you
the Tale of Frank the World’s Most Intelligent Blowfly
Initially I didn’t take to Frank much
when he turned up in our kitchen in La Belle France
what with him dive bombing the food I’d been preparing
and landing upon some to do his flash EDM dance
Indeed, I hated Frank so very much
the bloody nuisance that he had now become
I even went out and purchased a fly swatter
even had procured for him a poisoned crumb
Yet tenacious was our little wicked Frankie
he never once fell for my cunning schemes
but I kept on planning his demise
when awake and also in my dreams
Then one day I spotted the buzzing blighter
watching me intently and right up close
studying each and every move I made
him aloof in a state of some calm repose
You see he’d crawled out from under the toaster
as I was to discover he did everyday
for underneath that rekindling bread machine
was his home where he’d go think, rest and play
One day a rival blowfly flew in
no doubt seeking to usurp Frank’s esteemed place
yet Frank he was having none of it at all
and away the oppressor Frank did chase
In the lounge upon one early evening
as I was in the deepest train of thought
pondering over a new poem I might write
when over to me came Frank, now quite distraught
Noticing he was looking the worse for wear
I wondered how this could be so
until he led me to a galley work surface
Ah! It was then I got to know
For Frank had not long previous
found the merest splatter of red wine
clearly drunk the lot and got quite pissed
and now reckoned he’d have some of mine!
“You’ve got a bloody cheek Frank the blowfly
You bloody freeloading Dipteran”
still how could I deny Frank his bit of pleasure
and thus it was our friendship really began
I spilled just a drop of my Burgundy
upon the drying stain of the booze Frank had overlooked
at the sight of this and as happy as Larry
it became clear that on alcohol Frank was hooked
We soon became the greatest of buddies
he would follow me about everywhere
and when watching TV (albeit in French)
he’d sit with me on the arm of my rocking chair
Yet all good things must end it is so true
and the day came when we had to return
to our real home back in Olde Blighty
and thus it was I left him a saucer of chilled Sauterne
At this Frank was most delighted
I could see it in his omnipotent compound eyes
with a nod and a wink he bade me a fond farewell
Did Frank, the buzzing blowfly oh so wise


male politician

They lie about their mistresses
their expenses, their principles
yet when it comes to taxing ‘us’
I’m afraid they do not lie at all
Wealth tax, stealth tax, income tax
they have ‘us’ each and everyway
yet when some poor sod’s made redundant
they turn a blind eye, look away
Foreign policy in coded messages
the economy in sound bites to suit
and underlying dishonesty
more of the same of that old toot
They talk about compassion
toward the hapless refugees
yet when it comes to action
they offer false promises, no guarantees
So here is one wizard idea
from one besotted with fillies, namely me
let just gals take charge of government
for on balance I can see
A better planet for one and all
one of compassion and selfless charity
except perhaps for once a month
when they might just start World War Three!



The heady days of catapults, caterpillars
and rosehip syrup long abandoned in the place
where lost childhood rests, in their wake a
‘Made in China’ poor man’s counterfeit claviature

Older yet no wiser the gatherer confiscates words
hovering free form hither and thither with his butterfly net
removing each and every one with precision from the mesh
some, those deemed ‘good’ now pinned upon a scroll
never to be liberated, the dregs, those rubbish ones squished
upon a Victorian tiled public convenience wall nearby
he named the latter art…it most likely was, perhaps…
some shook their heads, others grinned, most ignored
whatever, on a good day a surfeit of the little blighters enthused
set him off chasing reprobate Orson’s ‘Ribbon of Dreams’ seductive swarm
on a bad day ‘zilch’

Every so often, slipping in unannounced
through forgotten left open apertures
feral words showed their stuff and nonsense
siblings of those in his own collection yet not his own
these ones contaminated, born of misconstrued jabber
the tainted disguised as expression, point scorers
most begging, some brawling, all questing to be the very last word
so peripheral, yet a necessity to some though an enigma to the gatherer

Albeit a weary ever upward trek he travels west a little
to a place held dear, where the most dignified
cherished words ever spewed were spawned
a place where rhapsodic conscripts once stood
one last time on England’s green and pleasant
before the ‘Step Short’ command triggered the march
off down the hill to the harbour and a wave goodbye

He takes a snap into the sun, a representation in silhouette
hailing those that fell to save others from stumbling, pointless really
those others stumbled anyway, of course they did



 Dearest Fanny,

I think of you often. Even now with the passage of time your image stays with me – as fresh as a daisy in springtime.

Do you remember when we took that camel train across The Sahara desert?  Week upon week without shadow; the harsh unforgiving midday sun and sandstorms; you and I gnawing at freshly prepared goat meat on flat bread with such venomous hunger – moreover you and I gnawing at each other with equivalent passion.

Then Fanny that afternoon when we arrived at the Awjila Oasis on the old trade route – it was there that we bathed naked in the invigorating waters cleansing both our bodies and souls. And later, after quenching our thirsts we took shelter from the stark rays of the fiery orb under the protection of palms where we made such sweet love until our passion was duly quenched also. What a time that was!

And just a few weeks on whilst heading for Constantinople on the Orient Express when over dinner you told me you were with child. Never had I seen you so radiant – such heady times!

So then to Paris and that little street café just off the Champs Elysees when the accordion player clad in Breton shirt and beret played for us at our candlelit table as we shared coffee and cognac.  Do you recall that it was there that I asked you to close your eyes tightly shut and speak your name aloud? ‘Fanny Bygaslight’ you confirmed in that cute little manner you have about you.  It was then, with eyes still firmly shut that I told you I had a special little something just for you in my pocket. How excited you became. Then when I handed you the Criminal Bankruptcy Order served under the terms of the Insolvency Act 1792, Part IX and subject to section 266(3) and further in accordance with section 264(1) upon which the petition was based, how that exuberance turned to tears when I added that a significant custodial sentence was a forgone conclusion.  You see Fanny you really should not have abused your Poundland Store Card to the extent that you had should you?

So now as you languish in a debtor’s cell at Newgate Prison, the child in the care of nuns I think of you often.

Yours Once,

Mo Collarup




The curse of the half open door
reticence the mother of fear
fear the spouse of bondage
bondage an only child

Periscope to Lusitania
Madame La Guillotine to a sweet tooth
BOGOF handguns to a kindergarten
Paris one autumnal night
all worm fodder on the crumbly pages of
The Decrepit Book of Malevolence

Long since worn out ethics
as of now apathetic, out of breath
what was once squarely omnipresent
in the days following the death rattle of any war
when there is no blood left to shed
now a philosopher’s malignant tumour
irrelevant in this modern age of manmade thunder
so leave incantation aside, never magic
the resuscitation of scholars long gone
consign upon high ceilinged stepladder access
to dust ridden library shelves their works
yet never forget them, remembrance a part of the resolution
take heed of the student theorist litter
a new age dawns, as is the way of things
I see it in the young songsmiths, the young poets
I shall look and listen from my vantage point
obscured within the shadows of the ghosts of giants
The high noon sun cannot arrive too soon

“One day we shall dance again”