IN THE LAND THAT COMPASSION FORGOT

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To awaken is a saddening thing

as and when the sandman’s coma flounders,

gifts the valueless gift of spontaneity,

that ordeal of wretched consciousness

in the ‘once upon a time’ land that compassion forgot

 

He never knew his telescope had a lens cap fitted

The man in the shop never mentioned that at all

Nevertheless, with one eye shut, the other on the lens

He could see clearly the magnified blackness of the future

 

“Can I have a go on your telescope mister?” the young boy asked

“Of course you can lad…here, you try…it reveals the future you wait and see”

Quizzically the young boy takes hold of the telescope

Holds it this way and that

Notes the lens cap

Removes it

 

“Wow, this really is something else mister. I can see right into the distance…and there, up there, the rainbow. Never seen the colours of a rainbow so clear, so big…and over there, by the bandstand there’s a bunch of lads kicking in that bloke who runs the corner shop…that’s not very nice”

“Now, now young man, do not tell fibs, there are no colours in the future. Besides, the good folk in these parts don’t kick people. Never heard the like of it!”

“Silly old twat, you had the lens cap on…you can’t see a thing with the lens cap on. How long have you lived here?”

“Born here as it happens…72 years old me”

“You don’t know much do you? Here, you can have it back now”

 

To awaken is a saddening thing

as and when the sandman’s coma flounders,

gifts the valueless gift of spontaneity,

that ordeal of wretched consciousness

in the ‘once upon a time’ land that compassion forgot

 

 

THE LISTENER & THE RUMANIAN

Two Cups Of Coffee

A luke warm day on England’s pastures green

Foreign bloke, missus and nipper out strolling

Babe in second-hand pram, a good one, mind

Bunch of lads, tracksuit bottoms and hoodies

Block the path of foreign bloke, missus and nipper

Mouthing, ‘You can fuck off home where you belong,

If you don’t we can fucking kick you out now, bastards’

Heads down, fearful, foreign bloke’s lot try to walk on

He doesn’t need a confrontation, really doesn’t need it

Thing is, bunch of lads can’t let the matter rest

More insults, then one spits on the baby in the pram

Gob all over the child’s face to cheers and flag waving

Cross of St George flag obviously, bit tatty though

Eventually the gang allow them ‘free movement’

The gang strut about a bit, a couple light up fags

They share a plastic fuselage of something or other

 

The following day, half decent weather, half decent café

The Listener and the Rumanian take coffee together

“Cezar, they did what? Surely not mate…you’re for real aren’t you?”

“Yes I am. One of them even called my wife that ‘c’ word I hate”

“Jesus man, you’re a big bloke, why didn’t you lay the bastard out?”

“Why do you think? Six of them, one of me and I don’t want any trouble”

“Police?”

“No point, it’ll only start a vendetta”

“How’s the babe then Cezar…he is OK isn’t he?”

“Funny thing was he slept through it all”

“Missus?”

“Scared, what is it you lot say?… ‘scared shitless’ that’s it…still is. It’s got worse since the referendum”

“I can well believe that Cezar…just read in the papers about that Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith. They’ve plastered it with racist graffiti. Don’t know what the world’s coming to mate. Fancy another coffee…it’s on me”

“Wish I could, sadly I’ve got to get back to work at the hospital…well for as long as they let me continue to work there”

“You know I’m not one of those bastards…you do know that?”

“Of course I do…catch up with you later”

 

JONNY CATAPAULT – THE PLUMBER THE ARTISTS ALL TRUST & VINCENT VAN GOGH’S EAR!

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“How you doing Vinnie dude? Got your message via little Rachel from the Maison de Tolerance up the road. She says you’ve only gone and flushed your right ear down the bog. How on earth did you manage that?”

“Pardon…oh, I got a bit down in the dumps so I popped down the pub and got lashed up on absinthe, came home and thought to myself ‘fuck it’ I’ll hack my ear off and chucked it in the lavvy pan; one tug of the chain and bingo, gone!  It felt like a plan at the time but I want it back now.”

“Easier said than done mate. Still what with this old dump you live in not being connected to the main sewers there is some hope that said lug will be somewhere in the cesspit by now.”

“Pardon…what you mean it’ll be covered in shit?”

“That’s about the strength of it Vinnie.”

“Pardon…crikey, will it clean up all right only I can’t see Rachel sewing it on if it’s covered in poo.”

“Can’t really say mate but I’ll have a look and then we can take a view as to what’s best. By the way who’s that bird in the pic what you have painted there. Fuck me she’s hardly what you’d call a stunner is she?”

“Pardon…oh, her. Met her down the pub the other week – think her name maybe Violet. Christ she was all over me like a rash. Then she goes on and on and on about how she’d like me to paint her in the raw. She even said she’d give me freebies for life if I’d paint her thus. What with me not having two Francs to rub together I thought that was a fair exchange.”

“Bloody hell Vinnie I think I’d prefer me right hand to that.”

“Pardon…well you have to consider the fact that I was getting close to topping meself having to paint free stuff like boring bloody starry nights and poxy sunflowers plus the odd chair. Bit of nude work had a certain appeal especially so as it wasn’t costing me. I agree though she’s not what you call a beauty. At least she kept her surgical socks on for she has varicose veins like a map of the Ganges Delta.”

“What about the face Vinnie?”

“Pardon…oh, I’m not all that when it comes to painting faces. Let’s just say what I’ve done flatters her somewhat. Man she chews tobacco like I don’t know what – teeth as black as taffy’s arse.”

“Right here’s your ear. Look I’ve done me best cleaning off the excrement yet sadly it looks like the rats have had a bit of a chew. Let’s just say if it was my ear I wouldn’t want it reattached to the side of me head. Looks crap in my opinion – people will laugh at you. If you want I’ll let you have one of my sink plunger heads – they do look a bit like an earhole and all you’d have to do is paint it skin colour. Anyway it’s up to you as I’m off to sort out Paul Gauguin’s old boiler next.”

“Pardon…oh, thanks for all your help Jonny you’re a living legend.”

 

DAZED VIOLET EYES

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Memories flung into a harvest time bonfire, an immaculate enforcement of shameless remorse

Reconciliation is but transparent breathing space, twixt hostilities estranged lovers endorse

The waning moon, her closest confidant, the ubiquitous sun her silent nemesis

On a ‘seen better day’s’ hopeless mattress, she favours his sex, not his kiss

The albino girl wearing just one earing, a mere name tag bearing her onetime address

Astride him she rides out the storm of entanglement, dazed violet eyes indisposed to obsess

Picking out a dirge on his wilting heart strings, a heretofore courtly love blasé troubadour

A stock refrain, a pretty poor anthem, for a battle won, though she cares not for the war

She holds the key that locks in his tainted passion, the whitest smile that undoes his cold heart

Recycles confetti for next year’s rainy day wedding, leaving big man, big ego torn apart

(a muse upon a new character; she, who has breezed uninvited into a tale I am endeavouring to pen presently)

 

Discussing life with hamsters and Mike Steeden

I’ve never been interviewed by hamsters previously, though back in the day I was a rather accomplished earwig trainer.

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 MIKE……

Not until just now! That said, when I started blogging I did write the tale of ‘Joan of Arc & Her Beloved Hamster’ regarding Joan’s heartfelt desire to get her house in order pre the burning at the stake the very next day, hence a new home for her pet hamster was required!  With hardly any ‘followers’ at the time it was largely ignored – probably for the best in hindsight!

https://mikesteeden.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/joan-of-arc-her-beloved-hamster/

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THE SAD DEMISE OF ERIC THE HAMSTER

 In Hamsterland I have heard say

That the energy supply is ideal

For hamsters’ spin around all day

Generating electricity via their treadmill wheel

However, they ran into a problem once

Generating their power thus

For one such wheel did detach itself

Span off, hamster inside, under a number 37 bus

Eric, that was the wretched hamsters name

To the A&E was rushed

Yet there was nought…

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OF WAR AND A GIRL NAMED RUTH

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The summer of 1914 in London, a tediously overcast yet fortunately dry one.  A polar opposite to the devil dark storm cloud July Crisis in diplomatic circles across Europe that would soon spark ‘The War to End Wars’.

She was sat upon an Old Father Thames towpath newly painted wrought iron bench lobbing pieces of crimping’s from an obvious, to even my untrained eye, shortcrust Cornish Pasty to a mob of dabbling mallards to scoff upon on that day we first met.

As ever, upon my morning habitual constitutional and as was my want, good manners ensured I delivered her a cheery, ‘Good day’ notwithstanding her self-evident lack of decorum. Bare feet indeed, plus a rather risqué double skirted mid-calf dress, bright orange in colour of all things, although it did match her locks and galaxy of adorable freckles. Plainly she was fashioned from an unusual mould.

I was walking on by, Kew Gardens bound, when I caught her almost impudent, “Excuse me Sir. I need advice and possibly you can assist in that regard.”

Turning about face, my riposte, “Should such advice be within my gift you are welcome young lady. Pray what do you need to know?”

“The sun is due to make an appearance later I understand and my desire is to get a suntan upon the soles of my feet. The thing is I find myself unable to decide whether or not to stand on my head or lie on my back with my feet in the air. I mean either way the soles of my feet would face the sun, just not sure of the best option.”

“I think the latter, as the former methodology would likely cause you a rush of blood to the head and that would never do would it?  Additionally, you may think in terms of common decency the act of your intention would be better enacted within the privacy of your own plot.”

At this she laughed aloud, afforded me the most captivating wide smile, “I’m an actress and when I said, ‘Excuse me Sir. I need advice and possibly you can assist in that regard’ I was merely reciting from memory my lines. That you responded allowed me to play a cheeky game. You have my apology Sir.”

She need not have apologized in this instance. Such is the sometimes alchemy of chance encounter I was besotted.

 

The black satin blindfold was your choice

and at your insistence you led the way

along the corridors of vague revelation

to the concert hall where the freethinkers pray

 

Theatregoers witnessed with unusual blind faith

a farce marketed as sombre tragedy

you played the flawless protagonist

I chose to overact nonsensically

 

Let others keep their world weary contradictions

for me, a flashback to the wild flower of your youth

lest you think our love was lost as I lay dead in the trenches

think again, it lingers on for keeps, my sweet darling Ruth

 

 

ADRIFT IN FRANCE

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Dearest sweet Chantal,

I do so hope the signed copy of my new book ‘The Shop That Sells Kisses’ has safely reached you and trust that on this occasion you will refrain from self-harm.  I well remember that upon reading my last tome, ‘Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse’ you took a razor to your wrists, silly gal that you are!  I’ll not tolerate such shenanigans this time around.

Oh how I miss you Chantal. Even now, all these years on I merely have to close my eyes and you are there taking all manner of things down for me while I sit back and admire the sublime tempo and dexterity of your shorthand. No finer personal secretary has any chap had.

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To the point! I need your urgent assistance for I am presently adrift in France and at my wits end. You see there are only so many concussive bumps on the head and attacks by giant hornet a man can take and this 300-year-old farmhouse we are renting in quite the dullest, remotest spot in all of France is cursed with the lowest ceilings and doorways imaginable and murderous hornets infesting the bedrooms to boot. My God it is cold also. Outside the day is sweltering, yet within so cold to the extent I am thinking of changing my name by Deed Poll to ‘Shackleton’. I am convinced that a batch of trafficked, naked illegals in the back of a locked freezer container lorry on a cross-channel ferry have more chance of survival than I in this place. The fact that the property name is ‘Le Maison du Fridge’ should perhaps have given me a clue that all would not be well here. Sorrowfully, I overlooked that point so taken was I with the place upon scanning the brochure prior to parting with a King’s Ransom in advance rental fees. Odd how the pictures in said brochure barely match the actuality of this wretched place.

untitled.png28 So unconducive to all but the vertically challenged in the extreme is this property that I note from the guest book none other than Toulouse-Lautrec in July 1890 upon his stay makes mention of the fact he bashed his bonce severely on more than one occasion. Indeed, he goes on to point out that the café/bar Madam Tortionnaire, the owner, had advised was in easy walking distance was, in truth some 87 kilometres away. Gagging for a beer Toulouse-Lautrec, a chap notoriously short in the leg department, it seems eventually successfully made the trek to that bar whereupon he chanced upon buxom Fifi the barmaid who kindly gave him a piggy back home. Interestingly the artist’s notes verify what my wife and I had already concluded, namely that not even the humdrum missionary position was humanly possible in this house of guaranteed celibacy. As to Fifi it seems the poor frustrated girl left empty handed sometime in the early hours.

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Another entry within the guest book and signed by an ‘Esmeralda’ dated August 1881 suggests that it was during their short visitation that, her partner, The Hunchback of Notre Dame first developed his hump within the walls of this very house.

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Additionally, the master bedroom boasts an ensuite bathroom yet, as I have discovered to my cost access to the loo be it for either a number 1 or 2 can only be achieved by first dropping one’s trousers and underpants about the ankles, bent over at a 45-degree angle and then reversing in taking care to ensure bum cheeks moor themselves in line with the lavatory seat. Ten days have I stayed here now and have yet to have a pee standing upright. Likewise, the shaving mirror is ideally placed for those prone to shaving off their pubic hair rather than that about their chins.

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Downstairs, in the lounge are two large settees’ although I’ll wager that the arse on the corpse of my long since deceased Auntie Maud has more spring to it than these arguable ‘furnishings’.  Also in that same lounge sits a grand piano that promised, by the look of it to offer some potential diversion from the general misery of being here. That it is hopelessly out of tune and has been for many years has been verified by yet another entry in the guest book. Heinrich Himmler, founder of Waffen SS requisitioned the property during May and June 1943 so as to enjoy a quick break from being generally beastly to all and sundry. He notes, ‘How is a man supposed to belt out a bit of Wagner when the fucking piano’s fucked.’ It is generally accepted that Himmler had a way with words.

Last week I had cause to attend the local Médecin three days’ drive away as Shirley had become worried as to the stoop I have developed since we arrived in France. Gratifyingly he advised that it was nothing six months in traction back in Blighty wouldn’t cure. You see a positive often comes from a bad experience I find young Chantal!

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By the way I did gift Madam Tortionnaire a copy of ‘The Shop That Sells Kisses’ just the other day. Imagine if you will Chantal my dismay when popping up to the big house where she resides to beg a little kindling this morning only to see that my treasured poetry book was hanging from the back of the door to the outside privy her servants use when caught short whilst on duty. There’s gratitude for you!

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To the nub of the issue then Chantal.  We, that is my entire family are trapped within the minute ensuite bathroom all being ‘caught short’ in unison. There is no prospect of escape unaided, more so in that I carry not a shoehorn nor axle grease about my person.  You must get that husband of yours, ‘Brian’ by name if I’m not mistaken…regardless, the one who plumbs for a living, and is, so rumour has it, hung like a brewery dray horse the lucky blighter. Have him and his burly plumbing chums drive over to France in that frankly common as muck, awful sign written van thing and rescue us before we feed on each other’s flesh.

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I leave the matter in your universally accepted most capable hands.

All my love,

‘He Whose Name Must Only Be Spoken in Whispers’

 

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