Category Archives: unfunny catacombs

The Park

The sun was going in,
and a ball missed my eye by an inch.

It was no match for the cup.
I was holding tepid water in the park;
“thanks a lot”,
I don’t forget to think.

I didn’t have enough
for a sandwich.
My legs and, kinda, soul
felt shorter than they are,
reclined on a flat, busy patch.

More of a stand in, and because of cuts,
rarer than fiction,
a new man they’ve got
pruning short an incoming plea.

The overflowing bins,
not his fault, not his job,
overflowing tin cans
or muffled walkie talkies
as his argument for the garden’s upkeep
scatters wildly.

I like him, he
didn’t serve, nor make me spill,
my beans.
I can tell he has other people’s priorities
to avoid.

Like rats leaving for a plague,
fur sleeked smooth by noble flood of
banana-flavoured milkshake.

They’re not even keeping score
and none apologised
for trembling my hand slightly,
being a family.

With a small ball
not even right for the game.

Too many jokes to downplay,
too much anger to come out funny.

Too much in the sun,
too much change, too little,
too short of soul –
that’s where they get it wrong
people should shut up,
not scream just because
they’ve found a patch
for a goal.

People need
green spaces.


Piano Sonata No. 14 – “Moonlight”

Tears screamed
from howls of steam.

Hot at the ear-folds,
a defeated towel
wrung to the last song,
is thrown in.

The night moth busily eats
He is entirely his
black blinking wings,
and bigger shadow.

The caterpillar’s
fur, only just damp
like the towel,
will be dry in the cocoon

its thirst is already over
and out drips
the colour to poor life.
The carpet drips a deeper weave.

I stood in the living room
for a while.
I looked below to see
other spenders of time
in constellations
on the concrete courtyard below,
and decided,
– my bathroom bare-feet were grimy,
green on tiles –
to join stones
in our closest thing to a garden.


I had the foresight to bring with me
a slice of Sylvia’s classically kind
Victoria sponge
golden in foggy Tupperware,

Artlessly, “help me” flatly escapes from the flats,
not my mouth; toneless,
“help me” with no effort or voice, and once more, too noteless.

A vending machine teenagers are jokily assaulting for Cola
has gone without repair
for as long
as everyone should remember.

The landlady disallows the sweetest animals.
This sweaty pride is what she has.
B.O under blazers.
They may have once cared for a pet,
but not this time, no-one.

weed burns
to grow.

They pile drive with feeble muscle,
arms drawing wide arches at mock belief in
their usefulness now
to dislodge coins,
and their strength to affect
gears, more complex than they can imagine


Instead the cola machine’s
mechanical red pain shoots inside the fingers of
a stupid one’s hand –
a 15 year old Dr. Frankenstein’s
experiment falls flat.

Eyes dart to each other,
beats are taken to time
careful turns
to top an
escalating joke.

A bit nippy in an overlong black coat,
but shaking more in strangeness
and exhaustion.

Two old ladies have been discussing someone else’s business
for some ill-informed while,
yet nattering in repellent detail.

My arms hoover crumbs.
I stuff a mouth
to stuff theirs,
cake is too good for them and,
proving by night,
Sylvia’s kitchen
is the only place, ever.

Kindness rises
from her mouth,
not gossip
with no flat artless help from me,
her mixes rise keenly as cakes for sale.

People believe in pressing on.

In the early days, sloppily icing her small industry and
with time to think of
of others,

personalised esteem,
letter-writing paper.

People have closed their eyes to hope
before firing squads,
shared their last prayer,
shed shot bodies
to a red helpless wall,

while black treacle
forms together,
with their spirits

in a moonlight,
invisible to a row of ordered soldiers,
is Sylvia.


(Alternatively, see Version 1)

You reordered fear to shifting organs.

You’ve heard of the cold epidemic
running rings around us.

Your smile is
spot-lit helplessly but
you get on like
your house, engulfed.

In the baroque interior of your thoughts,
after all,
was a theatre,
and a setlist for five-hundred seats
asking for wiser stages
from your agent.

Famous under your sun
for anecdotes I couldn’t begin,
in-betweening some with laughter
in our tough-crowded room.

I hope you understood
that if we could
we would
brew our doppelgängers
out of malt, water, yeast and hops
to fill fold-away chairs
with lopsided, spewing froth,

in those unfunny catacombs –
the basement of this bar,
which was
not even tragic enough
for comedy.

You spoke with teeth given freedom,
tongue and body without trying,
punctuating a joke, an exclamation,
like I’ll just have to imagine
a funny lady where Ian Curtis stands –
but I love you, more than my creation;
I was wide-eyed
on my ticket.

Now I come along with
fake moustaches,
a smile up the slow stairs
and a tour of the city.

I called it a night.


so whisper,
behind a curtain,
you the baroque interior of your thoughts,
the Art Deco façade,
after a Gothic phase.

Now I come along
offering fake moustaches for us to wear,
and pose like Tarzan and Jane,
you, in whom I found a place,
with whom I defined what I had.

At lunchtime, when portable oranges
are in plentiful supply,
I’ve become an entity,
more than a glass of milk.

With you,
I get up at witching hour,
with thoughts of brooms.

You with phoney moustache on
an old cathode-ray tube set,
in monochrome,
think of railroads,
as I think of repairing any serviceable car into being,
and horses.

Available work
for a fruit marketeer,
you Arabic pattern
repeated often and often,
on ceramic vase, kitten, tile,
behind you in a reflection in
the bathroom cabinet full of chocolate, cranberries, wolfberries,
loosely defined as a place to be there,
with the first scene of unrealised dreams of being a filmmaker in place,
the rest to be worked on
in the manner of Dennis Hopper –

and you know,
being a good writer and performer
on wisely-chosen stages
since you journeyed here,
from Croatia

you have stood around
as a casual observer,
in the blue windmill lacking blades,
from which we
milled the occasional flower
in our days,
and had memories of
hanging paintings,
at which to stare,
and enjoy in some way.


We have enough freedom,
not to get drunk,
there are plenty of cold beers in the fridge.

When I close my eyes,
I see Roy Liechtenstein’s dots.

After going through reams of receipts,
I have worked out
you were overcharged by five pence
for tinned apricots.

I have nailed our mattress to the wall,
where we uncage panthers,
to hunt moss-green toenails
in the long-grass
of growing cress.

You play an old video game
called “Castle of Enchantment”
released exclusively on your heart,
a plucked zither,
for the SNES.

In the middle-distance,
where castles of Edinburgh
float above your knees,
as we await RAC recovery vehicles,
and National Express coaches pass by like hippos,
boastful of their newly-fitted wheels.

My habit of imagining every moment as it’s sung.