H’re satteth tabl’d in Oxf’rd’s heart,
Covet’d tav’rn from yesteryear.
Present to hark on what folks doth sayeth,
Trap their w’rds inside mine own weir.
Hoyday! Nearby, a sir did request,
A bombard of brown sauce to borrow.
By sight, his wrinkly, bact’ria’d fing’rs,
Hath brought unto me deepened sorrow.
“Withdraw!” I demanded, “Wend hence with thee!
Th’re did lie plenty m’re at the counter!”
That gent did reply “Thou art c’rrect,
I’ll troubleth thee with nay furth’r bant’r!”
“On thy way fusty fart”, I hath said out aloud
As yond p’or gent but soft hobbl’d hence.
“Dareth toucheth this condiment with so filthy hands,
I holidam to nail thee to a fence!”
Green eyes and brown hair she greets me.
Straight-off my hunger ignites.
Hot panini – goats cheese and roast veg,
A combo designed to delight.
“An artist?” she asks me directly,
With candour remarkably free.
“Well, collage sometimes,” words stumble-out.
“While lately there’s been more poetry.”
“You know Simonov, Konstantin?
His war poem lament Wait For Me?”
“I don’t,” I say, “will look him up
Online, a translation, I will seek.”
Relaxed, we spoke of language, prose and verse,
Goals strived for, ahead of growing old.
Aware the queue had stretched out through the door,
I set off with my take-out, now stone cold.
Heavy rain fell throughout the night,
Is still falling early morning.
Cats stare out from behind the glass,
Ignoring nature’s calling.
“Dad, can you make it stop?”
My three all say to me.
“We can’t stay inside all day,
You know we have to be free!”
I say “There’s nothing I can do ’bout it,
My furry little friends.
It’s God’s way of washing
And starting over again.”
“We simply don’t believe you!”
They mewed and stamped their paws.
“We have no truck or faith in,
Such random, immutable laws!”
“And,” Otto – the youngest,
Did carry on to say,
“Just who is this God you talk of,
Adrift, by myself alone,
In the wintery city,
This alien largely remained,
Cheerful, polite and witty.
Carried atop the crest,
Of a rapid retail crusade,
Onward toward the centre,
And where the profits are made.
Here, the markets are bulging,
With clothing, books and food.
A delightful melange for the senses,
One’s spirit is lifted and wooed.
Watch as transactions are bartered,
In full orchestral grace.
This cooperative demonstration,
By the sapien race.
Sellers shout and declare,
In a strangely sounding tongue,
Draw out each of their words,
Into a rhythmical song.
Preparing myself to purchase,
Using a new currency,
Decorative discs in my pocket,
I find, mean nothing to me.
With no idea, nor clue,
Of what I can really afford,
Through brief negotiation,
We near a peaceful accord.
Slow down the exchange process,
Stop Earth spinning around.
Until finally sealing the deal,
Then take home, what I have found.
Turned my ankle over on a shiny super hard conker,
laid on the pavement, fallen from an urban horse chestnut tree.
If only I was now a whole big bunch of decades younger,
I’d have strung it and obliterated all of my rivals
during break time, in crowded conker competitions at school,
challengers failing to crack my golden brown miracle find.
Proclaimed as champ and regarded as exceptionally cool,
perhaps the resulting confidence would have changed my whole life.
Today and yesterday I tried
a look at the cinema’s seat
layout and position.
Usually I sit at the back,
having to tolerate
heads bobbing and mouths chattering,
I find can irritate.
Third row from the screen ‘came my choice,
exactly dead centre.
Screen seemed really big that close up,
I began to wonder…
Worried my eyes weren’t big enough,
forever scanning right,
left, up, down, diagonally,
suffering blurry sight.
Yet no, I liked my head moving.
Immersed, no distraction.
Et habitus I’ll now adopt,
this hunch that gained traction.
An aside: both films I rated.
It was ‘Joker’ I saw.
Also Lulu Wang’s ‘The Farewell’,
I’d watched the day before.
Visited an art gallery
at lunchtime. I felt less
than engaged with the works on show –
maybe because of stress.
An old lady spied earlier,
now out of her wheelchair,
she came shuffling into the room
as I was leaving there.
Raising her black gloved hand to me,
gently, I placed my hand
in hers and she said something I
did not quite understand.
“I am almost one.” She told me.
I waited, she stroked her
fingers down my fluffy fleece top
and said “I like your fur.”
In return I replied, “Thank you.”
blushed, with some sort of smirk.
At this she smiled, watched me depart.
Break over, back to work.
I had a small idea of what was going on
before teen years, but really not so much and
I had no reason to deal with it, directly
At 16 – 21, more idea
but life was busy, I remained occupied, enraptured or stoned
what happened out there, I really didn’t share
From that point on, I felt the economy squeeze
coming on, effecting me, from out there
I never experienced any sense of freedom from worries about money
And work made me miserable
By my late thirties
Personal relationships continued to dominate
and at sometime in my forties
that’s when it changed
like slipping silently through to another plane
When the world, on a political, economical, social and personal basis
went ultra loopy
And all those things, have been getting worse ever since
I imagine life will be just unimaginably awful
come the next decade
Unless I take action
and begin my second childhood now
quickly becoming comfortably
and undoubtedly deceased before
I notice it all going weird once more