her frayed diary told the story of unseen trapdoors and fairy-tale castles in the air

also of her truculent atonement for thieving Ptolemy’s polished iron looking glass

a scribbled note saying just, ‘Sorry’ mailed to Alexandria of yore; no postage stamp


the testament of an angry old god, and journeying the beaten path, well-nigh travelled

allegories the both of them, objectivity her contradiction, truth measured in chronology

recalcitrance her contentious virtue, such were the ways of his blinkered sweet historian


‘a no nonsense gentleman and a fly by night waif, a recipe for romance’ her rule of thumb

that ‘there is a beast in every cul-de-sac; a devil behind each door’ told of her cold sweat life

a tailor-made chronicler of fabrication, of event and substance reinterpreted from times’ annals


as he swept through the pages of her own account of her life a thought smacked him in the face

‘what if she was correct in her ascertains; what if control freak good old me had got it wrong?

what if the dissent of foreign tongue, foreign lands were worthy insurrection, self-preservation?’


that her quest to discover time’s secrets had been her ruin spoilt bloodletting contentious debate

no fist slam upon the table top; no valid point to make; opinion to challenge; conundrum to unravel

she once had said, ‘the written word; first-hand accounts, are timelines storm clouds, nothing more’


later, evening time, still balmy close on the balcony, a shy moon slips out of her reddest sunset frock

he sips from his wine glass, lights up another, wants to fight with her so bad, and she to fight him back

in sadness, it is not to be, all he has of his sweet historian are ‘written words and first-hand accounts’


adam and eve

Garden of Eden; Quite a lot of years BC: God, “Don’t say I never warned you” has felt compelled to serve an eviction notice on Adam & Eve subsequent to Eve scoffing on a bit of fruit her pet serpent, Bob nicked off the forbidden ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’ that she later let Adam have a little nibble from. In doing so, and as if by magic, both Adam & Eve suddenly quit swooning about the place humming never to be hummed the same way twice Ravi Shankar melodies and hugging saplings and become aware they are both stark bollock naked. Additionally, said eviction notice states they vacate the premises forthwith. Also, codicil to the notice demands that the pair ‘go forth and multiply’ someplace else.

Someplace Else; Still a lot of years BC: Devoid of any possessions, save for Eve’s treasured IPad, the couple now find themselves locked outside the gates of the Garden of Eden and not entirely sure what they should do next.

“Well knock me down with a feather, I never realized before you were a ginger wrong’un luv! Just my bloody luck”

“Hold your horses fat boy, you’re nothing to shout home about…anyway we better find a branch of Primark sharpish what with the both of us having no togs to wear. I’ll check it out online”

“Good plan luv”

“Damn it, their homepage says they aren’t opening their first branch for another 6011 years, same goes for M&S and, I really can’t believe this, even Debenhams…best I check with my Facebook friends, one of them must know where we can get kitted out”

“For crying out loud Eve when will you get it through that thick skull of yours that you haven’t got any bloody Facebook friends…we are the only humans knocking about the place right now, besides you look top dollar in the naughty naked nude to me, dearest”

“Don’t you start getting any notions…I’ll not be putting up with any funny business from you, matey boy! Comprehend?”

“What’s ‘funny business’ Eve?”

“God give me strength”

Four years later: With the penny having dropped as to the fun part of ‘go forth and multiply’ Adam has a spring in his step and a permanent grin on his face as did Eve, until recently but less so now her belly is inexplicably expanding at a rate of knots. Whatever, this day an exuberant Adam has just returned home (a serviceable hole in the ground, next to what one day will be the A13 trunk road into London). Sadly, they still have not located a retail clothing outlet yet are grateful for the modesty the odd fig leaf affords, and even more pleased that they weren’t living amid conifers.

“Eve luv, you’ll never guess”

“Guess what?”

“Today, my dearest I have become none other than the ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’”

“But you only shadow box. How can that make you The Champ?”

“I can only fight what its front of me, and you should see the state of that shadow when I’d finished with it…first round knockout as it happens.  Add that to my Olympic gold medal tally for the standing triple jump, synchronized solo swimming and ‘tug of war’ and you’ll note I am fast becoming the most successful sportsman the world has ever seen…by the way luv, my Christ you’re as fat as I don’t know what”

“I know…just don’t know what’s happening to me, I seem to be getting fatter by the day!”

“It’ll be all that bloody foraging for periwinkles you do, and as for all the oat flat bread you stuff yourself with, we’re talking calorie central, luv”

“Might be, but back in Eden I scoffed even more and never put any weight on, something is amiss…I don’t feel right. I’ve checked Wikipedia online but it just says ‘Nothing has happened yet; please refresh screen in several millennia’ Fat lot of use that is!”

 3AM the next day: Not that he has any idea of what he’s doing, yet a frantic Adam assists Eve in giving birth to baby Cain. As dawn breaks natural instinct ensures the child feeds at weary Eve’s breast.

“What was all that about luv? How come a small person popped out of you? Wonder what caused that?”

“Haven’t a clue, Adam”

“Stuff me girl, funny old world this is. Having said that, boy do I have a twinge in my back what with me doing all that bending helping that small human make its entrance, or should I say, ‘exit’. God only knows why you were screaming so much, you gals don’t know the meaning of pain”

“Fuck off”

Two Months Later:  Eve has got her figure and mojo back

“Adam, I do hope you have a certain firming in your loins for I have the urge about me again”

“Not again luv, I can’t cope…besides since fermenting that barley and inventing beer I’ve got to be at work as landlord running me own pub of an evening now”

“But there aren’t any customers”

“No odds luv, I double up…I wouldn’t mind a ‘like’ on me Facebook page when you get a moment…good marketing that is…catch you later”



Book Review

Poesy plus Polemics

“The Shop That Sells Kisses” by Mike Steeden is a dandy read. Here is the review I gave it on Amazon.

This latest collection of poetry and prose-poetry by Mike Steeden is the product of a brilliantly creative mind. It is also relentlessly entertaining. His unconventional use of poetic dialogue is especially clever and highly effective. Mr Steeden brings a profound grasp of history and an unambiguous set of progressive political convictions into his satirical vignettes. With impeccable language and a keen sense of humor, he gives the reader that rarest of treats: joyful satisfaction from every page. Don’t let this book escape your attention. – Paul F. Lenzi



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slave market

“So they all sleep with the crustaceans in Atlantis this night?”

“They do, my brother, they certainly do”

“The crabs shall feast on them and we are now rich men”


Threadbare the age-old cloak of compassion

pooled amongst just the unchosen, unlikely few

in the moulded snug lands of the ‘take it or leave it’

bloated top dogs and cold-bloodied blue collars

no call for homeland refugee labour these pampered days

of smart automation, contrivance, gadgetry and cool app

yet when the Sea of the Philistines reluctant tide delivers up

the naked, the starving, the wounded and the vanished

one and all fighting to survive where the domiciled thrive

loaded pistol facing peashooter at misty dawn inevitable

though ‘once upon a time’ Empires of polar opposite prevailed

‘once upon a time’ in the not so good old days, as in the now

mercy took an undeserved vacation to God knows where


Across the unswhept golden Sahara, Arabian Peninsula bound, travels antiquities slow coach camel train of no hope for the stolen ones; great promise for the nomad boss come journeys end Moorish bazaars. Guided only by sun, stars and without moral compass all the boss seeks from life is a good auction price for his mish-mash human bare foot, bare butt huddle bringing up the rear and a desert friendly antidote for thirst.


“The girls will fetch a good price chief”

“Yes, they should scrub up well. Did you cover up the one with yellow locks, her skin will burn otherwise?”

“I did chief, just as you asked before we set off”

 “Good, she is more than just a trinket; she is the prized jewel that will make us very rich”


The perception of an unwanted ‘migrant invasion’ of refugees

now supplants yesteryears much vaunted imported human flesh

bartered for in exchange for guineas and goats in those times long since past

as is, as was, no sunny spells for the displaced back when, today and beyond




False hugs and latent promises, a precursor to love? Maybe hate? She could never decide.  Yet here, in this glorified candlelit pigpen, immune from sirens, horns and streetwise revelry, the old guard are at play.

Leaning on the bar, dressed to the gaudy nines (dressed to the gaudy nines to blend in, no other reason) she watches the smiling priest engage in Russian Roulette.  That his opponent is a dextrous devil may care Cross River gorilla in a top hat, an irrelevance to both parties. After the big bang she notes blood and gore obviously, more interesting though, that the dead as dead can be, in foetal position upon the sawdust, corpse that was once a priest still maintains that smile, as the now smug grin gorilla blows away the smoke from the revolver’s firing chamber. It seems that he may have cheated.  Still, with no bouncers, no medics, the carcass remains in situ for the duration. Duration of what? Matters not.

In the far corner, by the armless, harmless statue of a very naked Aphrodite, alpha males play poker, they belch frequently, punch their fists upon the card table, take a piss in the shadows and pinch the bottoms of the waitresses as fancy and/or a surfeit of vodka on the rocks takes.

She has never seen these thing previous, never been to this allegedly notorious place before. Just heard of it on the grapevine. Thought she would take a look for herself.  Curiosity, yes; ideal location certainly.


“A cormorant drying its wings tells no lies,” so says the one-eyed, bald barman in the patchwork suit.

“Pardon?” she is more than a little confused.

“My gift for the evening. A parable, ‘A cormorant drying its wings tells no lies’…think about it.”

“Cormorants can’t speak, so they can never tell lies…haven’t a clue what you’re on about.” 


She ceases to lean on the counter, alights the bar stool with apt modesty, walks over to a makeshift stage. Fours tea chests covered with a large sheet of worn at the edges plywood upon which an anorexic woman of indeterminate age, her virtue preserved by just well-placed peacock feathers, not quite manages to play the off-key accordion.

“Will you accompany me? I need a singer.”

“I can’t sing, sorry. I only came over here to hear you play.”

“That’s what they all say.”


Shortly before the explosion that ripped the place, as well as the planet apart, she had tapped the barman on the shoulder, “Press this button if you’d be so kind.”

“Certainly Ma’am…there, job done…what is the button for by the way?”

“A detonator, nothing more…thanks, must rush.” 

Above ground and outside, smothered in blackest soot and rainbow snowflakes a rather pleased with herself fallen angel thanks circumstance that she, the last of her kind alive, indeed the last of all ‘kinds’ had cancelled that appointment to be sterilized.




Guinevere 4

Tintagel, Cornwall. The Dark Ages: King Arthur and most of the rest of the Knights of the Round Table are in Newquay for Sir Percival’s stag night. It promises to be one hell of a bash. Only Sir Lancelot, Guinevere and Sir Galahad remain in the castle that is Camelot. Galahad, not a boozer at the best of times, has suffered from insomnia of late and simply couldn’t face attending Percival’s celebrations. And so it is that while the ‘cat’s away the mice do play.’  You see for some little time now Lancelot and Gwen have been conducting a clandestine love affair. Usually it has been an escape to the railway sidings; the deepest corners of the forest and the caves at the back of Poundland yet this day, in a fortress that for all intents and purposes is empty, the lovers consider it safe to stay home. No preying eyes and all that. Yes, today it is upon the Round Table itself where the congruence of desire expresses itself.

Unaware of all this is Sir Galahad once again denied access to dreamland. He rises from his bed chamber and pops downstairs to the kitchen, a peck of goat’s milk in his favourite pewter mug the object of his particular desire.  As he brings the nocturnal thirst quencher to his lips he is suddenly taken aback by an extremely loud crashing sound emanating from the Great Hall.  Plainly something is amiss. Galahad decides to investigate.

For their part, and at the very peak; the very fulfilment of carnal desire and having been going hammer and tong at it for the past hour or so a very naked Gwen and Lancelot both in a state of some considerable shock extract themselves from the tangle of their union. What has happened is that in the heat of passion the pair have managed to break in half the legendary Round Table. It is ruined beyond any repair.

We join the scene as Galahad makes his entry – an entry that causes the lovely Gwen to scurry around the place in an attempt to recover her clothes which lay strewn all about and therefore recapture at least a vestige of modesty. It is with extreme embarrassment, not just about being ‘found out’ but also being caught thus that she is consumed by a cold shudder from her head to the tips of her toes as Galahad wolf whistles her and bellows;

Galahad: “Blimey, I didn’t know you had a dragon tattooed on your bum luv. Nice one! See you kept your socks on Lancelot you old romantic you.”

Lancelot: “You haven’t seen me trousers lying about anywhere have you?”

Galahad: “No mate. What a bloody mess – look at The Round Table it’s buggered beyond belief. Sacrilege I tell you. Christ, it was made out of mahogany especially imported from the Amazonian Rain forests before the embargo on such timber came into to force. You Sir are in shit street. I mean I’ll keep me big gob shut about you shagging his missus but as for the table, well mate you’re going to have to put your hands up for that one I can tell you.  Art will go mental over this you know that.”

Lancelot: “Crikey, I hadn’t taken it all in. I need a plan me old mucker. Any ideas?”

Galahad: “Bolloxed if I have if the truth be told. Down to you old son.”

Guinevere returns from the shadows of the darkest corner of the Great Hall, her decorum and her decency restored.

Gwen: “First of all you can keep your witticisms to yourself and your eyes off my bum Galahad. Secondly, given the plight we now find ourselves in we have but one simple choice. A hasty and less than ideal one yet we must, simply must purchase a new Round Table before King Arthur returns.”

Galahad: “And where ‘dragon girl’ do you propose to make this acquisition at this late stage in the day – all the shops will be shut.”

Gwen: “Make one more mention of my bum and I’ll swing for you.”

Galahad: “Yes please.”

Lancelot: “Shut it Galahad we’ve got some serious thinking to do.”

Gwen: “IKEA sell tables. Let’s get one from them.”

Lancelot: “The closest IKEA is in bloody Bristol. That’s a full three day ride up the A38 then the M5 just to get there let alone getting it back here.”

Galahad: “True. That’s out of the question, Art’s back here early PM tomorrow he said, and he’ll have a zonking hangover so his mood wouldn’t have been that good at the best of times – now this.”

Gwen: “Wuzzocks! Have neither of you heard of the internet. We shop online; pay a little extra and they guarantee next day delivery.”

Lancelot: “Right let’s go for it.”

Galahad: “It was you two ‘going for it that’s got you both in this mess. I’m off to bed.”

With that Galahad leaves hoping for 40 winks. Gwen nips off to get her iPad. Together Lancelot and Gwen review the online catalogue and order the only ‘round’ table IKEA sell. Early the next morning a sign written horse and cart turn up and deliver a giant flat packed table. Gwen and Lancelot have difficulty getting into the package – that is until Lancelot grabs hold of Excalibur from the wall and prizes it apart.

Gwen: “Do you think he’ll notice it’s smaller than the old one and has a smoky reinforced glass top?”

Lancelot: “Haven’t got a clue luv. It’s these instructions that have left me somewhat bolloxed. I can’t make head or tail of them.”

After an hour or so of struggling the new Round Table is complete. Lancelot, sweating his cods off and with hands proudly on hips notes it is extravagantly smaller than the original.

Lancelot: “Bloody hell Gwen didn’t you check the measurements before you ordered. He’s bound to notice. It’s more bull’s-eye than dartboard. From the gallery it looks like a bloody foot stool.”

Gwen: “Not really they were all in metric and you know I can’t get me head around that. What we going to do? We need a magician to sort this out.”

In unison they bawl: “MERLIN!”

Somewhere deep in the forest, an owl sat serenely upon his shoulder an old wizard with a crooked walking stick awakens.



red sky at night racy promises seduce, offer up pizzazz come dawn’s early light

no overindulged brightest star withdrawal symptoms this cloudless summers day


he ambles about her rustic garden, buttercups and daises yawn, stretch their petals

the old palisade fenced perimeter a stained-dew spider web gothic cathedral basilica

skyward, on the tired chimney stack a prancing whitest dove chances his ‘worth a try’ luck

the floozy ‘seen it all before’ Jezebel pigeon nods her ‘OK, if you must’ affirmative nod

he, her ‘never forever’ prince charming; her, his ‘one-morning stand’ tasty bit of alright

“Good luck to the both you, you’ve got it about right. Cockcrow sex, maybe a little sustenance and thinking time is all we need in this world”


back indoors, kettle on, slice in toaster, click of radios ‘on’ button

bad, sad news from his beloved La Belle France

he contemplates the mind-set of the no kiss goodbye misled

embracing suicides supposed glory; those who take ignoble death as fated

“Don’t they know that beyond this conscious realm there is naught to entice but a now and forever longest sleep blackness?” his question tossed into the ghostly paradise

no movable feast, nothing unblemished, no heaven or hell awaits the counterfeit martyr


he sheds more than a single tear

bites back his runaway bottom lip

wipes away the snot, burns his toast

Getting older

My dear Shirley suffers…lack of coffee (in my case); lack of enjoyment of said substance (in hers) afflicts the both of us! So unfair.


I give a rictus smile to the bawling, mewling lump of snot in the pram. He’s cutting his first tooth and is a little upset says mummy. Well love, I am tad upset too as I’ve just paid a small fortune for this coffee and had high hopes of enjoying a little me time in the sunshine. Why don’t you take the barely amoeba along to the seafront where he can compete for noise with the shitehawks? You may not enjoy it but the rest of us will. Yours Ms Menopause. Xxx

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cafe 4

three days away from caffeine

a revelry of symptom’s run and hide

a banality of sensibility takes hold

he craves the addled smog of instability

wants back his barbed contradictions

‘Mother Nature wears her newest gown’

Does she indeed, the silly cow

he prefers her off the shoulder number

dragged through a hedge backwards look

what good a table outside a café without the twins?

his feral nicotine pines for caffeine’s brotherly love

what good pen, paper and reverie without ghosts?

“My, you look well…looking better already”

“Mind your own business. Fuck off”

a low punch, a cheap shot

he should care yet does not




she confiscated idle thoughts the dreamer cast aside

sold them on to deafest ears, said they belonged to her; she lied

just a waitress in a dark café, where stargazers came to muse

take black coffee, sip cognac, exchanging gifted views


the dreamer never caught her eye, so very lost within himself

claimed the impassive high ground, left her on cold-shoulders shelf

her full-fledged infatuation, an ever complicated thing

still, she had faith in fairy-tales, would be his Queen if he were King


in the clean up after closing time, lay forgotten by the door

a crushed note, scribbled words that told of a refugee, of a war

“Reality stole my sanity, a sniper my true love,

the wild ocean drowned my generation, there is no God above”


when nightmare foretells tragedy, darkest demons take to play

in the shadows of conclusions, is born the hurting castaway

the waitress shared with him small secrets, in return the dreamer spoke of fact

side by side, yet poles apart, a new born love in the abstract