She Knows How to Make You Feel small

She knows how to make you feel small

loudly with-holding favours

she bestows on all

She makes you wait till the very last minute

then tends to you

but there’s not much love in it

She doesn’t brook criticism, praise

& rejects the crawl

she’ll squash you like a snail you’re so small

Her kind multiplies in prisons, offices,

re-education camps

to some she’s a monster, others a champ

pic ourtesy of Pinterest by

the Bunny Holding the Ball

when someone says, the ball’s in yr court

you know you have to do some heavy lifting.

It’s up to you.

If the shit hits the fan,

yr responsible.

The ball’s in yr court, remember?

I used to play tennis a lot, so the metaphor’s

sort of apt, but I remember tennis as a lot

of to and fro, you and someone else at the other end

but somehow it ended up just me:

the bunny holding the ball.

I can’t even remember asking for it.

How does that work?

Wish I Had a Name

I wish I had a name

something exotic like Sterling Holy White Mountain,

the name of the author whose story I’m reading now.

Not my name.

My name is bland as white bread, white as the face cream

my mother used to apply,

and shorn of all mantric significance,

It’s cute and cuddly like ‘Iggy’.

I want something mildly mischievous like ‘Flea’ or ‘Slash’.

‘Slash’ is good but I’d settle for something less edgy

as long as it was colourful. ‘Vance Blossom’, for instance,

named after a deep-pink velvet used on a sofa for the Cobble Hill line.

It is apt as I like to lounge around.  

Chandler, Chandler Manning, I like — I made that one up,

the sort of guy

who doesn’t run away from fights or who is scared of lifts,

a bit like me in my more mythic moments.

Scenes from an Abduction

It was like something from the Marie Celeste

the remnants of a meal — the last supper?

a half full stubbie of Fosters, tele still on:

‘A Current Affair’ with Tracey at the helm —

he never would have left Tracey in the lurch —

car keys still on the mantelpiece, signs

of a scuffle in the hall, the whiff of a cigarette

in the doorway but no note, nothing — and then

that call from the watchhouse:, cold & bleak

‘Your boarder, Adrian ….’


I want to make a bee line for the shop —

there is panic buying again —

but my bowels won’t let me,

Please let me go, I say.

But my bowels are recalcitrant.

When they get in this mood there is nothing

you can do.

I threaten them with torpedoes,

my moondrop grapes

but they grip their fists even harder

against the attack.

So rather than sit and wait & twiddle my thumbs

I write this little poem.

My bowels immediately relent.

There are enough bad bowel poems out there


Mine does not want to be added to the list.

My bowels heave a sigh of relief.

The Reader

There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.

So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.

I went over to him.

Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?

Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.

And then he showed me.

Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.

It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.

I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.

Of course, he said.

Is it fiction? I asked.

No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.

But it’s condition?

Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?

Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?

Yes, he said. How did you know?

It takes one to know one, I said. Happy reading.

The Nine Towers

While I was sleeping

the nine towers rose

in my head

from the TV news

the night before;

They were nothing like

the Eiffel Tower

or the Burj Khalifa

of Dubai

not even the Tower of Babel

though their residents spoke

in a multitude of tongues,

Instead they were the nine

po-faced Tower Blocks of Melbourne

ringed by police

like a besieging army

in ‘hard lockdown’:

a term we had never heard before.

They looked more like the Grenfell Towers

though the fires consuming them

were a virus and fear







She likes the new me, the gentler me.

The one that’s considerate and consoling.

The nicer me. The fun me.

The accepting me.

Not the old one

Who criticizes and condemns

From his high moral ground.

Though we all know the old me lurks

just beneath the surface.

The creature from the black lagoon.




Don’t Be Creepy

small eye


Don’t be creepy, I said, as she slunk down the passageway when she heard me

come inside and began circling the bowl.

I just fed you an hour ago.

But she looked up at me with her one cold, implacable eye.

Look at you, I said. You’re tubby.

I’m not fat, she said, Just fluffy. Will you please feed me?

I had no comeback for that.

You can’t argue with a cat.