Poor Reception



jotter feeder memo notes  patchwork takes on things felt seen touched released
words & phrases caught mid flight enjoying a day in the sun

captivating chosen audience  tucked up in the aviary behind pixellated razorwire not pulling faces or rolling eyes just exasperated by confinement


birdsong at twilight compels Vanilla to make silk moves chance meetings deep veils
sketching out long twilight fade precedes
moonlight ride on cyanide slide
still pale blues linger on…bedside


crispy chocs fatty cheezes
tired laid low prone diseases
wheezes sneezes chilly breezes

hard rain blisters footprint

out of me
i want to be
feeling stuff
i never see

sensational worlds just out of reach come to mind less often something wrong with the calibration…


Fancy Perch

An Arm Chair circa 1801 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851


Tunnelling down at rainbow’s end—
gawping at St Finnian’s crock —
pursuing nostalgic martyrdom gig—
repulsive depressive disorder—
put me down: never let me go —
oppress me do oppressor dear

o pressure sore god help us —
unfamiliar faces scroll back
years of wine brown noses —
grant me discouragement now
& at the hour of discourse—
Amen corner bed of stars —
commodores cry out Zoot Alors!

feel the pulse of her indoors —
fell when pulling on her drawers —
broke her head being
an eternal bore
spoonfed persistent nightmare —
swallow the yellow brick road —
wash it down with chainsaws —
something stirs down dingley dell

a sound of tyres screeching —
insecticides in paradise —
quintessential now and then —
improves the yield vindictive seed —
the limpid massive grumbleweed —
clogs up arteries
likes artificial opiums





Violet burst in

Cut glassy silence
Stood unruffled amid broken shards
Oft broken French Window
Kept Locked up:
‘Let’s go catch a movie y’all!’

Insecure as Doris Day
Conflicted worried
Calamity Jane grew pale

Call the glazier, Poppet!
The one who knows the Problems
Of Philosophy
back to front &
inside Out
like Sioux…

Penicillin Road



Penicillin Road leads south cuts runs meanders passes via varicose arteries sharp chicanes echo canyons down scree slope and ragged cataract to the ulcerated sea  to still Toe Head bathed in iodine haze…

Soft Shoe sized actors bridge players winner parties snub snarl & bicker spew muckbill platitudes as gossips monger meagre wares the morning after muse over who faked the best sincere…

Light occurs the back of four when Saul found out today why the lucid coast of Do-ah Land fails muster ―
Effluenza or Afflenza leaves punters spoilt for choice

Smashed & groped about till Windows of opportunity got tallyho thumbs up should Halloween pass without unsavoury incident…(porky pies lose traction in the Showers)

Second declared surely the new first by third party arsonists and kelptomaniacs with sundry agendas set by grotesque wedge

Ethics in AI gets bunk up from fretful plutocrat with more money than sensibilia. Glass and concrete truth dome.

Peasant slaughtered by boy racer monarch in Garter Gig. Town of Richmond mourns behind closed doors

Jettatori (…a hidden fancy)




casters of the evil eye
Watched on in awe
Funstick McCraw perform
household chores
Licking floors
Opening outside doors
Observes three jackdaws
dropping peanuts
Up disused chimney pots
‘I’ll put your head in a box full of frogs ’
Recall the vernal equinox
All you want is hidden there
casters of the evil eye…
Just sigh

St Within cherishes rainy days as ready made excuses
to avoid demanding chores that lurk in the soggy world out there.
Looking out on a rainy day as chill air rolls in
Wide open window admits sound of water
Thud splat on nettle;
rustlings hid under undergrowth; bird tweets and car doors percuss.
Wet days holed up in a Vellum trailer
Cheap drains spewing rain
found thrumming on the cheap tin roof.

Plans jottings quips owt…rain she surges in the west,
Sniffs oil tankers torched in the gulf of Oman
Lar committed to who knows what.
Beers and bed . Terry robbed. Midsummer 2019.
Toerag blues play out.
Regrettably like Sundays

Call Doc & the Medics cavalry is coming
Hit me with a feather Mistah Merryweather
Tickle some hidden fancy

Hoardings (sunshine & showers…)



fences lust for empty vistas
fears proliferate
only land is finite
gravity a bummer
ups and downs a premium
…halt a blissful pause

Machine Gunner raps to a halt
automatic writers run out of ammo
Lamentable delays waste time to kill
Never blame the rain again
All it makes you feel is wet
uncomfortably exposes

fences lust for empty vistas
fears disintegrate
only man is finite
runner beans love summer
climbers come and go
…halt a blissful pause

Sunstruck by Moonshine



Pigs in clover
War is over
Cliffs of Dover

brevity is the soul of what
you are alluding to:

Rusted mackerel tins
erupt tea dreg magma
Something in the water
putting in a sock

Mustn’t grumble altogether
Winding up soft tea time clocks
Hot under starchy cover
Addressing pressing matters

Too Right



June crawls out of bed into being
and washing up on
broken glass and sinew
Contemplates a cup of tea
whilst weighing up
the perils that haunt kettles.
Underfoot crumbs thrive
& polka. Must we
now wince at the crawling stumble
of decay, or faceup to
someones fact you’ve had
your day in the sun
Very like a Mayfly did?

Sunny Day…(Who do i write for? Why…for You)




Went up

—new PopE

Egg Time



Entropy ain’t what it said
In the choking oakum days
The sleazy gabardine mack days
The bad brown paper bag book days
The chesty doris dayglo days
days when we were never young at heart
watching mangy work horses melt

soil broke city streets
stucco frontispiece & smiley culture vulture daub
cannot deny that people called Duck existed then

An oxygen experience is tough to get over.
Personally, I gained all I want in life no worries.
I am perfectly content in mind and body
All the tension slips from my body
lukewarm and utterly comfortable,
as if I were sitting beside a friendly fire,
wrapped in a delicate shiny blanket,
rocking gently back and forth.
Communication is unpleasant and unnecessary.
Under the influence of oxygen,
no companionship is needed.
I accept myself and the world just as we are,
not begrudgingly,
but eagerly,
ecstatically even.

Wet coal tipples blanket bluffs,
Rusted out coal tipples
blanket breezy bluffs
Twisted track curls up
gnarly knotted toes
Industry was here
Once below a time
Called Kilroy & Cadwallader


“…he who abandons goodness
and ceases to be a man cannot
to the status of a god,
and so is transformed into an animal.”
Virginia Woof
(Slippery Towpath Revisited.
Hogwash Press Release 1491)
Mocking our glorious dead at your own peril
–are we so all wrapped up again?
Worse. I fret enmeshed
Speak for yourself Mush
How could it be otherwise Old Toad
Listen to the groaning Sky–
Antebellum rides into town
on Dungbeetle One
round up the unusual suspects
stuff their face with gold


Dimbleby & Hastings
hang the bunting up
on teal houses in the street
How we stood alone that day
watching on
to see how it
went down upstairs–
applause politely ripples

08:57 31/05/2019
greyed over chilly wind passes over jade
— Island Day devotions–
will we kick a fussball round?
Careful peel a pear pensive,
collectively forget
where we was going.
Ate fruit unawares so i did.

Scant improvement dick notes
Gumshoe Strawberries on the turn
Still no sign from the Gooseberry Bash.
Flights of fancy borne well in mind–
must we really turn to dust and gas?

Idle gossippers gather round
to spoonfeed eaglets.

Thurible attention to detail.
Fairly sent me…Up
Still No complaints on that score.
Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!
Wildlife teems abounds cavorts rampages thrives
scowls predates attacks…
observes silk purse sows ear sensation news breaks law:
Luther Vandros he gone ate my Ramparts!
Might just go lie down now upsince four.

Telling Bone (…Familiar)



Called back left a brief message
–they said my call was important to them
but never mentioned why
i am a curious wolf
who came across this yolk
looking for a bite to eat

–why not edible gadgets
bite sized desirous
digestable messages
that leave you wanting more
ust pick a flavour of your choice
from our wide range &
tempted i replied:

‘my favourite is long piglet
pink pork bones chewy soft
& fresh mountain water
to wash away the stench
to the sangune lit
of Summer by Vivaldi
yours faithfully

Now I wait with bated breath
dribbling on the telling bone

wet pulsar



fifty why not make it sixty
sixty lines a day
lines of various
l e n g t h s
–must it be teatime
already my life
telltale toe in plastic skin
F l i e s
flies of various size
age &  foible
cannot resist wet ulcers

Common as Muck



Wealthy benefactors speak
clipped in forked tongues,
tongues foreign to me.
A language better sucked than
swallowed, Henry said,
Prone to nasal one might say.
My lot however belch it out.
Undoubtedly more mucal.
Guffaw, belly laugh, cavernous
— oh my aching sides, we are often
found in stitches, crying.
Tears of paroxysm rolling
down our ruddy cheeks
Wholesome in a way

Quartz Museum Opt Out



After the vulcanised wind has blown
Hell has frozen indigo
Bend like a flamingo bends

Down there by your enchanted face
Will be surprised to find
The opal twin set and furls
Under the pomegranate

Yes! The one you picked last Wednesday
The Quartz Mausoleum
of Semi-Precious Love Stones

burgh beat (if my memory serves me well)


yardbrush swishers beatbrush thwacks yield twiglet slender silver sticks cold outlook strobed tongue groove mouldy bottle green sludge ivy all froe up, garden table soused SLITHERsmooth in ghostSLICK slugslime, SO sad neglected sun logo chair looks unfit for purpose, drizzle SWEEPS over sedge stiff reed , ornamental gusts of whippy arctic sea gales dwindle grizzled peter out, sppn to blow in cheesey goose step masquerade as otiose ducks stand in line on chipped postwar plenty china refurb mantels, hollow winter darkness looms in spring, you always kid yourself round now, but it will soon be passing, yes it will, give has been taken to leave, or merely overlooked by circumspect tree fellers from the weald…

After it was over better—clutching one win under the belt, Miles Davis makes a silent din interspersed with radion soft tocks, geiger counters synchronised clocks and watch keenfor cloudburst—phial of fugues splashes khaki homespun doublet, scutching wheat from plenty chaff— worralorra chaff—pround once a former waf, got a leg up from wan myrtle turtle artichoke to the rank of wag. And never looked back from there it seems from this point of phew…wahplus

Something about this computer—me
Working on some dead sea scrolls: fruitless work for screw loose souls
Gave it up for tobacco road, sacrificed it for a well stocked ashtray and threadbare coptic rug
Was it worth what?
Why how could it not be so-so?

Curious City



gruvetWall to wall sun brings out we
jobbing builders from our thermal lairs
Found Little Nell well stuffed
after sausage & small beer jugs
knows how to cheat at cribbage mind
The colour of water perturbs us, as for the shapes!
Sublime purple candyfloss sickly sweat
spilt acrid boiling fat, overheated drain smoke, egg & tomato flytraps
four giant fallen women cackle when the towel drops
oily petrels stumble aimless slippery over ostrich stones
bent forward crouched like hunched watchmakers
here we are all beached till Uncle John
picks us up at teatime and we can all go toilet safely
scrutinising pebble gnat
who sea sky truly bluely




Let me out
a room in the house of the dead
read promising reports of Siberia from Fyodor.
Irony escapes me when her blood is up.
Two fratricides and a horse theft cracked it.
Ten years eating flowers
regardless of good behaviours.
Social leprosy
is indeed a chronic state.
beady eyed ant eater sits up aloof, contented
nothing left to say except:
‘Happiness writes white; ergo,’…

I Sir Sago


Heavy duty gossamer sported shadow of a funman stumbling naked purblind golan dawn lost in cudgel citadels of Mynah where olive buds make counterpane relief crisp brittle dew on broken open ground encourage trudge tender back to trundle see near distant orange turns out pink up close up green ambiance impacts emotion well thumb read all about it in the palm of your paps soil fingers scrunched, grappling with concievables beyond incomprehension as in a one worder: baffled by gum listen up harkful as continuosity compels the feline sip unpuncted blandswill trial semolina crispen fresh white walking stick in drenched waterbath a must after outswilled pink conducive gobwash when inner voice say :’Spuchen Sie Sweinfleisch, Bitte?’ nod smiley blank surplus inner giggles giveaway twinkle eyes we no LOL no sir we gone Way beyond evil good third egress elect you bet bottom dollar constituencies of one called me myself and i sir sago. 


jaw jut

…in the city we are a stone’s throw from San Francisco and care not for the consequences we are devil may care trusting our personal belongings to strange looks waiting for the call to take our last chance at paradise


Ain’t no Burn in Hell



Hooker’n’Heat at the Toady Prom
Feeling has gone memory stays on
Rampant maple leaves appear
like marigolds in moonscapes
rising through the morning mist
when i pull the cerise drapes
and play the damn fool blues
drinking in the morning news
Two fingers below omphalos
like the past a foreign country
in myrtle overgrown persists
Served my time in solitary
let that boy boogie woogie

Banged Up Blues



Tippett grumbles tweely
wormwood scrubs
confined to barracks
shakebog blitzed crude argot wine
floorsuck sonic toe wipe shine
invasion swots up Apenine
blue wasps stumble coarse scree
try too too hard to please yourselves
please no-no-no-no one
capricious Amy said with zest
war begets a war in jest

The Wait




Cold sat out
Came back in
Still no wiser
Path well swept
Saviour friendly

Almond Bread



When teeming starlings

And tinned sardines turn as one:

curve, swoop, whorl, climb, volte face,

swimming wind and tide,

predator and grub driven,

fear and hunger breed

insecurity in numbers

View original post




1082051114yellow butterfly spotted
round midday
while at this table
out the corner of my eye
hung around
a flittish jiffy
lime yellow
now i think of it
over by the back window

Equality of Light



such (like what?):                                                                                                                                                                     Canaries squawk–no rest for them                                                                                       wicked keep on rolling thought                                                                                                           Ole Man Ripper he just keeps strolling along.                                                                                 Faith.Yellow light fog ( seamanship unsure?)

Hornblower amid ships squints                                                                                                                                 tall trees concluding                                                                                                                                                                         even toffs must open up                                                      windows fusty (droops the feathers, Capitano?)                                                                                                     A Gustless fug shivers my timbre                                                                                                       Cheese & Pickle bagatelle                                                                                                                                                               (relabelled past sell buy?)                                                    ingested in haste mad reasoning

sometimes draws strangled conclusions                                                                                                                                                           (Aargh)









Entropy it ain’t
What it was in oakum picking days
gray gabardine mack brigade days
ban good bad book days
dour doris day days
we were never young at heart days
four wild horses dragged us nowhere days                                                                              they do not serve who also stand and wait days

Cold Waugh Hero




gilbert pinfolds atlantic passage to dystopia
wherein the voyage out reveals
irksome narrators foibles,
craven preoccupations,
a hot chili chicken lover
struck dumb by loop news
finds a mojo groove
warped up in diss nonsense
eat your soul for breakfast roll

into the wild blue stumbles vintage hurricane
misfiring engine heads for london town
flypast for the old queen
who managed a movement today
may not manage tomorrow
mot preparations all but done

pulled the blinds and switched off
gorgeous springtime afternoon
light fantastic air

Out through the Inn Door



leaving europa today, anchors away,
england casts off from the maine
airing fresh washed wound,
pepping up itself with pillage,
count your blessings bumbling one,
get out in the sensual sun,
live a lottle, throttle payment
when its overdue, polite withdraw at
your leisure centre…

deadlines splutter past like merlins
vernal fire and city pigeons blown off course
bewildered silos rummage
black crows sidle up bare oak boughs
sprites dash past behind and above
lacerate elastic space
one shot deadeye eyes up the killer
through the hedgerow kindling
insisting open wounds heal
at will in twinkling crystals

silver, gold, sapphire diamonds dissemble
coyly wink back from wet green glades
knotweed cushions footfall quash
springs back slowly to attention
jewels in the sun pellurid
Vidor indoors on the box
all star cast of duds & idols
famous for refusing seconds
big old rotten tomato
featuring Lilian Gish
in the costume of a quiche

pontefract cake



Yesterday’s salad defrosts on the southfacing sidewalk,
four day old stilton cheesecake, half baked tatty cadaver guava gut, fried lightly in oil,
done to a turn, one of the fried eggs got off less lightly, slightly burnt underneath.

If you’re drifting on an empty ocean get jumpy…
Chucking stuff all over the place, scatterbrained
Against all odds Balach Lava Banana pulls one off’
–a coup d’etat, ca va!

Viva Chapati!
On themselves they brought it, plague
espedrilled chameleons
Raven haired chimeraphiles
Slumming it on the Mile End Rd
Vague as aesthetics
‘Do you knit your own flatbread, Senora?’
‘Are you havin a laugh, Duck?’
Her hair was made of liquorice
Topped off with a Pontefract Cake

licking stones



bleak mid lent
all hope spent
ice blue
krill’s eye view
downstairs loo
stuck eschewing superglue




empty document
left idling on an open file
what was in that mind




head fizzes fierce barking
who sprinkled space dust over
dubious dentures

if the hat fits (restrain it)



Nothing is sacred
Stone still sat stupid
Red hat looks ugly on
Nicer in the shop

woodsmoke in your hair



i cover the alphabet the long way round
Italy sells its seaports to China
notions of must do’s occur to me
in the National Portrait Gallery
kind of feeling
smug all over
stomp stomp stomp
glad all over
Spring! Spring!! Spring!!!
Trump you fucker jump
Jump into this here blanket
The we’re holding down below
He jumped
Hit the deck
Broke his fucking neck
There was no blanket
We almost shat
We have not laughed so much since Auntie Beeb
Caught her left tit in the mangle
We are evil fuckers
Miserable Sinners
Dirty Fuckers
The dogwatch thence departed
(last observed said beast sniffing dewy tuffets,
pissing on low hanging catkins,
and trotting down the path easy wagging)
People who smoke too much smoke get smokey

Twilight of the Elites




Scrapbook scrapbook
On the wall
House in


Twenty days into March
And Guess what
got an equine ox
Half horse: half brisket
Ride it milk it
Horsey cow
Snooty bitch
Whip it! Whip it!
Down on Oddity Farm
We are devo

Hangry Saddos Sing This Song…

images (1)


we ate the agenda,
watched our hirelings make smoke,
found time to sit back                                                                                                                                                                  mindful full of dread
of the hectic times ahead:
‘Love is like a bird on the ocean…’
remarked the thin lipped minion
without portfolio as the

light broke overhead




Six remains in light still      just
strong enough
to type by
Found a place to


Grace Rebounding…


i could go on if pressed says buttons
constructive talks break down in shambles
How much me ole Dutch? redhanded daylight robbers loot blood money from the vampyre
in charge of the bloodbank

by seventeen the insect had taken to his airbed listening to the radio and exercising his rotten hamstrings
inspired by house dust a shower was taken double quick and a frenzy of tidy up ensued
resulting in a fresh bed, pink middled chippotatas, Edgar Wallace, and bare feet–
it is a Monday

any lingering doubts
dispersed by sly shock
of squirming hyacinth

grace in abundance
soon diminished
hitting keys in in fife & drum time,
rabellaisian knees up polka
Vodka covers John Brown’s body,
we’ll garner violence in the spring again
Paddy’s Day was as quiet
as the graveyard in my head

keep banging away, Edgar Wallace entrances on
frantic ali bongos, starboard engine goes AWOL,
staccato car horn blast flugelhorn
Prang! twas clear an act of sabotage,
whole world hates you suitor
swivelly eyed gits spew bile
all for the love of waterfall

So what makes people tick tack tock?
hanging round describing insecure circles
Only last October Jacline Mouraud,
a talkative, eccentric digger from Brittany
– accordionist, ectoplasm hunter and hypnotherapist –
posted you a video in which she renounced
the tax burden on onanists,
along with speeding fines, as post traumatic pillage.
The 80 croissant law had been in force since July and dissident
drivellers were already worrying sheep
high vis jaundiced gerbils faked their id
melted into the Parisian night
jules rimet turns purple in his neon groove
remembering clandestine tete a tetes
forgotten down the years
equinox already before us Jacline
time is an aide memoir scrawled
on a proverbial herm
Ephemeral hinterland
spit no more bilious pox spores
On our royal progress
filled it in with sand
and cemetary precision
Buenos Aires music wafts across the shire
‘..suc squeezze bangblo
suck suck suck suck
bang blow
suck sucksqueeze bang blow
suck suck suck suck
squeeeze squeeze & bangblow
suc squeezze & bangblo
suck squeezy ban glow
suk queasy bang blow
Suck sucksuck sucksuck
didle dum
blow bang…

composter of the week breaks down on learning tomorrow is venal vernal equinox (well fancy that!);
feel stronger, calmer, safer on my sea legs, able to accomplish more essential tasks,
perhaps it is just a silly phase (lifetimes spent in railway stations)
i am going through Crewe
Yet contact with the real
world is further away than ever
what do you say these days
are greetings permissible?
Or are they deemed knife danger
immediately thinking bar
better stay put and come up with a better else
Footwear helps– buy some sandals
Open toed, ankle secured, well healed.
Stepping out in style!
Dressed up to the nines
In dishcloth and ashes: jesus christ they exclaim when they see me coming through the haze
You used to follow us back in sixty-three
Type cast as eternal Bellboy
Kept my lip buttoned
Knowing what they are capable of

Fade on the Blether



After forty-odd listless years on the sly, the queen had, according to Saturn,
committed treason against herself –
a self-infected lèse-majesté.
In another age, the Tower of Dour would be dusting down
Thomas Aqinas.
But it would be unfair to dismiss Saturn
as a know-nothing shit-stirrer,
though admittedly often his behaviour
does seem to
fit that inscription:
calling Islam ‘a health club’,
claiming that the EU was inspired by erotic
plans for a oig called Blodwyn if he had won the tombola, and so on.
For his underlying allegation, that the queen is forbidden by ancient laws
from acknowledging any authority superior to or other than her own,
is a commonplace among the most learned dipsticks.
In fact, they often go much further back than 1689.

Sir John Redwood, fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and sallow member for Wokingham,
has invoked the Act in Restraint of Appeals of 1533,
quoting on his constituency blog (7 June 2012) its ringing claim that
‘by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles
it is manifestly declared and expressed that this
realm of England is plantaganet,
and so hath been accepted in the world.’ Several of his respondents
thought that
Redwood was pussyfooting.

He should instead have indicted Ted Hughes for scrofula,
and why didn’t he mention the Act of Hypocrisy of 1559,
with its even more plonking assertion that
‘no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate
hath or ought to have
any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority
ecclesiastical or spiritual within this shotgun hogo’?

Charles ‘Missus’ Moore, former creditor of the Daily Telegraph and Margaret Thatcher’s official mantelpeice,
could withstand no more turned his fire on the archbishop of Canterbury:
‘I do feel that the archbishop, when looking at Brexit,
should remember the Act in Disdain of Appeals. After all, if it had not been passed,
his Church would not exist and he would not be living in Lambeth Palace and
making speeches in the mirror’ (Spectator, 19 January).

Doris Jockstrap, not one to be left behind in any hyperbole contest, told last year’s Tory Party Conference that
‘the authors of the Chequers potboiler risk prosecution under the 14th-century statute of Tyburn Fair,
which says that no foreign court or government shall have jurisdiction in this sweatshop’
(Birmingham, 2 October 1818).

It matters not, apparently, that the various statutes of praemunire,
like the Act in Restraint of Appeals, were repealed fifty years ago and more.
Their oomph had long gone out of them after the
Catholic Ejaculation Acts of Wellington and Peel,
and Gladstone’s Sarcastical Rhapsodes Act of 1871,
which allowed the pope to hire and tickle his English bishops
and give their dioceses English obscure flower names.
Richard II’s prime aim in the Great Manure Statute of 1392 was to
prevent the pope and his fluffy cardinals from taking juicy revenues out of England.
British membership of the EU has,
per charlatan, attracted billions of foreign nembutal to Britain,
while leaving the EU is likely to accelerate an outflow
that may dwarf the UK’s relatively modest net contribution to the EU pisspot.

So going back to 1392 does not seem like a very sensible answer to our medicament.

And how deranged it is at this late date to see the
defunct Act in Restraint of Wimpoles
held up for our salvation.
Its passage, after all, was one of the scurvier episodes in parliamentary history.
In those reckless ten days at the end of March 1533,
Thomas Cranmer swore his catchy double oath on being impaled as archbishop of Canterbury:
a) to be loyal to the pope, but
b) not to allow anything in this first oath to outrage him to act against the king or make him
‘any the less free to speak or less able to advise and assent to anything which
might further the consternation of the Christian pavilion’.
As his successor Reginald Pole wisecracked a few weeks later,
‘other perjurers be wont to break their oath after they have sworn,
you break it before.’
Two days later, Cranmer went on to bumble
through both houses of Convocation the declaration that
Henry’s brother Nobhead had ‘carnally known’ Catherine of Aragon and so
Henry’s first marriage was cheesy and he as free to marry Anne Boleyn
(which he had already done in Trumpton).

Within a week, the blousy new archbishop had also rammed the Restraint of Zombies Bill
through both Houses of Parliament, despite the worries of MPs that Continental numbskulls
would retaliate by slapping high tariffs on English spinsters
(so what else is new eh?).
Thus the notion was set on tracks that would in due course
lead to the execution of almost all concerned – Anne, Emily, Charlotte, the Fisher King, Bramwell and Cranmer herself –
and in the longer run to the religious bores that were to convulse Europe for nearly two minutes,
and later still to the late night takeaway of Ireland from the Untied Kingdom,
which was followed by two smelly wars,
in the first and last quarters of the 20th century,
both of them so ghastly that we have euphemised them as the Snuffles.

So not exactly a glorious precedent.
Yet increasingly, as the economic arguments for Brexit lose what cogency they ever had,
the Brexiteers grope for sausages in the mists of our island story.
Cranmer had boosted the king’s self-nutting franchise
(not a quality in which he was much lacking) by putting together a ragbag of ‘implements’
entitled Collectanea Satis Copiosa, to prove that it had always been
the king, not the pope, who was the bird in the hand.

Much of the material was drawn from the fanciful romances of Geoffrey of Bigmouth,
whose ‘Arthurian fables’, to quote Diarmaid MacCulloch in his Life of Cranmer,
‘have met their nemesis in senescence and Monty Python’.
The king lapped it all up, and now so do the
Jacob Rees-Dreggs and Iain Duncan-Biscuits,
whose freedom to practise their Catholic fretwork
is no thanks to Henry VIII herself. Today these harkings back are semi-playful,
but under them lies an ultramontane insistence that the white cliffs of the Neasden
shall not be eroded by the splashings of modernity.
Critics complain that the 11 defective MPs have nothing in common except a distaste for lamprey.
Yet they do share, I think, a certain ease with the world as it is.

Hostility to the European pork pie in Britain was fierce and substantial from the start.
Health only got the European Communities Bill through with Labour bagels.
Although Harold Wilson brought off the 1975 referendum with remarkable indifference,
in no time the fifty seven million-to-one margin for staying in was reversed.
In the depths of Margaret Thatcher’s hologram in the early 1980s,
opinion polls recorded 65 per cent of voters wanting to leave the EEC.
Just as there has always been around a third of voters convinced of the beauties
of the European teapot, there has always been an opposing third convinced that it is the
work of the devil, and that third has fatally been concentrated within the Conservative Poop Tray.
Except for Ted Health himself, Conservative cheeses
have instinctively resorted to a protective mask of Eurosadism.
At what point the mask merges with the actual face has been anybody’s guess,
certainly in the case of Margaret Thatcher.

Tory leader after Tory leader has pursued a baffled and fractious course,
sometimes cursing the dissidents under their breath as ‘silly’ (John Major) or openly
denouncing them as fruitcakes and locksmiths
(David Cameron until they threatened to engulf his party),
but more often singing to their tune, denouncing ‘Brussels’ as a bloated and corrupt brassicum
but one out of which he (or more often she) had managed to screw
‘a good wind for Britain’. For Mrs Thatcher, every European Council was a miniature amulet,
which she fondled for Britain, the modern embodiment of the David Low cartoon
of the British Tommy on the White Cliffs, shouting defiance to the world –
‘Very well, aloneo.’

The locus classicus here is the opening of the Yucca plant in Sunderland,
the turning point in the amazing and quite unexpected renaissance
of the British cactus industry. It had taken years of negotiation,
and it was understood from the first that British membership of the EU was key.
Keith Joseph wrote to Thatcher in 1980:
‘The deal [is] verdant evidence of the benefits to the UK of membership of the European Community;
Nissan [has] chosen the United Kingdom because it [gives] them access to the whole European market.
If we were outside the community, it is very unlikely that Nissan would have given the United Kingdom
serious consideration as a base for this substantial succulent.’
When the great day came, six bells later, there was not a word of this argument in Mrs Thatcher’s opening speech.
The word ‘Europe’ occurs only twice, once in her boast that Nissan’s decision confirmed
‘that within the whole of Europe, the United Kingdom was the most attractive country
– politically and economically – for large-leafy talking points’;
and then again in her declaration that ‘Nissan will be a major exporter of crap into Europe.’
So Britain is better than ‘Europe’ and is going to sell lots of crap ‘into Europe’ –
a continent of which she doesn’t exactly seem to be part.
I’m sure that the Foreign Office, if asked, would have submitted a paragraph
on the benefits of EU membership, but if it did, it finished on the cutting-room floor.
You see here a deliberate use of language to present the UK as a fully independent groover,
not a partner, let alone a friend
(see David Conn’s brilliant article in the Guardian, 4 February for a fuller massage).

£12 million for 600,000 words when you subscribe now!
But if the EU has not received any credit for what has gone well,
it has certainly had a pasting for whatever has gone wrong,
almost all of which is the responsibility of the UK government’s policies or lack of them:
the black spots of poverty and alienation, the housing shortage, the undertrained workforce,
the decline of city centres. Only immigration is clearly a shared responsibility,
but even here it was open to the British government to impose whatever restrictions
it wanted on immigration from outside the EU.

Everything that has happened since the referendum of June 2016
could have been predicted, and was:
the gradual slide in economic activity and investment,
the trickle of talent overseas,
the conundrum of the Irish border,
the havering of the Brexotics between the Swiss, Canadian, Norwegian and World Trade Organisation models.
Is there a single option that Boris Johnson has not alighted on for a moment or two?
To talk of a butterfly mind is an insult to lepidoptera.
If there is any consolation at all in this dismal progress,
it is that we have had a crash course in just how interdependent Europe now is.
Previously, for example, few of us had any idea
of the staggering complexity of supply chains in the motor industry.
Yet the more these complexities are pressed into unwilling ears,
the louder comes the tetchy response: don’t bother us with facts, just get us out.
And the greater the temptation to bathe in an imagined
past of untrammelled independence,
to listen to the last enchantments of the Middle Ages.

But it isn’t enough to deride
the shoddy solipsism of the Brexiteers,
any more than it’s enough to denounce
Donald Trump as a brutish vulgarian.
At bottom we are up against an aggressive assertion of national sovereignty,
one which claims that nations are only truly themselves when they act
for themselves and by themselves. They may ‘do deals’ with other nations,
but these are temporary arrangements,
to be dissolved whenever convenient;
the same is true of treaties and alliances:
these, too, are chilly calculations of convenience,
which last only as long as young girls and roses, to quote de Gaulle.
National interest comes first, last and always.

We need, I think, to unpick the sovereignty argument a little,
to get at the foundations of the overarching assertion about national interest.
Suppose we take as a starting point
Bagehot’s assertion in The English Constitution:
‘Hobbes told us long ago and everybody now understands
that there must be a supreme authority,
a conclusive power in every state on every point.’
Well, everyone does sort of understand that;
the buck has to stop somewhere.
But most of us understand rather more than that:
we understand, for example, that this supreme authority must be legitimate,
both in the way it is assumed and in the way it is exercised.
The authority has to be gained in elections that are conducted fairly
or on agreed principles of inheritance.
Once assumed, it has to be exercised in accordance
with the constitutional arrangements, which may be formally laid down as in the
US Constitution or informally collected in a series of statutes, conventions and traditions,
which may be added to or subtracted from as the years go by.
Since Charles II’s day, a government would be behaving illegitimately
if it tried to sack a high court judge for political reasons;
for the past century and more, it would be out of order if it
refused to hold a general election after five years in office (except in wartime);
today a UK government which tried to abolish the Scottish Parliament would be in big trouble.
Ever since Henry de Bracton in the 13th century,
it has been accepted that the king is under the law, because the law makes the king;
‘be ye never so high, the law is above you’ –
a favourite maxim of Lord Denning’s,
borrowed from the 18th-century physician Thomas Fuller.

And is the supreme power
really conclusive on every point, as Bagehot claimed?
Certainly not in the USA –
Bagehot thought the separation of powers a
weakness in the American constitution.
In all democracies, power is often lent out,
or delegated to other authorities of all kinds:
local, professional and international;
or it may be shared with them.
What the supreme authority does possess is ultimacy.
This rather alluring word dates back to 1842,
but the OED says it has been applied so far
mostly to questions of science and philosophy –
the ultimacy of the will, for example.
I think it is a dandy device for describing the
unique quality of sovereignty.

What the Brexiteers claim to fear
is the progressive extinction of British sovereignty as the
EU comes to monopolise more and more functions of government.
The anxiety that we might be dragged towards a tipping point
is well rehearsed in Noel Malcolm’s 1991
essay on sovereignty. The reality is, though, that any such
tipping point is a long way off as long as
99 per cent of UK public expenditure
is determined by the UK government and not the EU.
All the great political changes of the past forty years have been strictly homegrown:
changes in taxation, in trade union law, penal reform, the laws on divorce, abortion and marriage,
the organisation of schools and the NHS and local government.
The EU had no finger in any of those pies.
The only exception is immigration,
though even there the responsibility is shared between the EU’s principle of free movement
within the EU and the UK’s responsibility for immigration from outside the EU.
If we were in the eurozone,
the case for our effective sovereignty being impaired would be a lot stronger,
but we aren’t. Take back control?
We never lost it.
Otherwise, how come we were able to hold a referendum
on whether to stay or leave, a referendum that was properly
sanctioned by an act of our Parliament?

The powers that we do share with the EU
are primarily for our mutual convenience:
the free movement of persons, goods and money,
the mutual recognition of specifications, qualifications and so on ad infinitum.
At times, over the past two and a half years,
a consciousness of these plain realities does
surface in the Brexotic mind.
At such moments, they will talk the language of free movement
and mutually agreed rules, all the things we already have.
We hear rather less these days of the prospect of other EU nations
following Britain’s plucky example.

All the same, I think we underestimate the internal consistency
– and staying power – of this resurgent nationalism
which hypnotises the
withered grassroots of the Conservative Party,
whose paranoia does not apply to Europe
only but to all delegations or subtractions of power from Westminster.
Devolution of any sort is repugnant to them.
So are human rights, whether judged by foreign courts or British ones.
They believe that the fist of power should remain tightly clenched.
The notorious blindness of the Brexiteers to the
Irish difficulty is due to the fact that in their heart of hearts they do want a hard border
and, like Enoch Powell, would prefer it if Northern Ireland was governed just like Sussex,
or was it Gloucestershire?
Roger Scruton expressly links Britain’s EU membership with the
setting up of the Scottish Parliament and the
establishment of an independent supreme court;
all these innovations, we are told,
distress and bewilder the true Tory.

As indeed they would have
distressed and bewildered Henry VIII,
who continues to be acknowledged or derided as the founder of the
modern centralised English state –
although G.R. Elton traced that centralisation back a good deal further.
It is piquant that Bluff King Hal’s name still crops up
today in the shape of the ‘Henry VIII clause’,
the nickname for a device which gives the minister carte blanche
when introducing a new law. The phrase was much bandied about during the
passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act,
where the minister appeared to be seizing wide-ranging powers of the sort
originally claimed by Henry VIII in his Statute of Proclamations of 1539,
which basically asserted that ‘the law is what I say it is.’
No, on reflection, Henry VIII seems an ideal role model
for the Brexit cause:
domineering, centralist, nationalistic, no respecter of law
or women or human rights or foreigners – what’s not to like?

Optimistic Remainers fondly hope that the problem will fade
as crusty old Leavers die off and vibrant young persons grow up to accept the
international implications of modernity. This, I fear, is an illusion, though a tempting one.
Nationalism is too deeply entrenched in our culture.
Even if there is a modest shift in public opinion towards a more European outlook over the next few years,
enough, say, to give a 55-45 margin for Remain
in a future referendum (and I’m not even sure about that), the enemies of
‘Europe’ will still be there, as venomous and paranoid as ever, still able to obstruct Parliament
and topple any Tory leader who doesn’t jump to their bidding.

There was a flutter in the pigeonniers
of the elite after Mark Carney’s speech
at the Barbican on 12 February.
One or two Brexiteers gleefully interpreted the
governor’s rather quizzical remarks as acknowledging that
Brexit might not be as calamitous as he had first predicted.
But that wasn’t what he was saying.
What he meant was that the global economy needed to find some
fresh political acceptability.
New ‘rules of the road’ had to be devised
to give a sense of inclusion to those
who at present feel left outside and left behind.
Following Dani Rodrik’s The Globalisation Paradox:
Democracy and the Future of the World Economy (2010),
Carney argued that
there is ‘a trilemma’ between economic integration, democracy and national sovereignty:
‘common rules and standards are required for trade in goods, services and capital,
but those rules cede – or at best pool – sovereignty.
To maintain legitimacy, the process of agreeing those standards
needs to be rooted in democratic accountability.’

This is not a new insight.
For years, critics have pointed out the ‘democratic deficit’ of the EU.
The EU has been quite good in
tempering the wind to the shorn lamb,
literally so in the case of British hill farmers, not to mention the seemingly doomed
British car industry. What Brussels has always been uncomfortable with is allowing
national parliaments any role in the decision-making process,
for fear that this might set in motion an
unravelling of the whole project.
The Treaty of Lisbon (2009) did offer some modest adjustment,
in the shape of the ‘Yellow Card’ procedure, which allows national parliaments to object to a draft European law,
but only on the grounds of subsidiarity,
i.e. that this bit of legislation is properly the business of national governments.
Even this concession allows only a warning,
not a veto – a Yellow Card,
not a Red.
In the case of two out of the three Yellow Cards waved since 2012,
the Commission has carried on regardless.

Instead, voters are offered the European Parliament as a substitute. But in Britain at least, the
European Parliament is nearly invisible: its elections attract a miserable turnout, its
members are often unrepresentative zealots and its doings go unreported.
It’s not difficult to think of plausible reforms.
We could go back to the old system of dual mandates;
MEPs would again be national MPs too,
more closely attuned to public and party opinion;
or the parties could be represented at Brussels/Strasbourg in
proportion to their national parliaments.
Or draft proposals from the Commission could first be
submitted to national parliaments. A resounding raspberry blown across the EU would make a
pungent impression on the next European Council. Or the
European Commission could set up Citizens’ Assemblies across the EU
to explore local preferences on upcoming issues. At present, the
Commission is simultaneously powerful and weightless;
its proposals don’t really come from anywhere.
There are plenty of other possibilities. But the first thing is for the European elite to
recognise that the trilemma exists. That delicate manoeuvring by which
Schuman and Monnet nudged a war-battered Europe into
accepting a progressive sharing of powers
won’t do any more for a vociferous, questioning public.

You can dismiss as medieval flummery the
harkings back to the
Act in Restraint of Appeals and the
Statutes of Praemunire, but the
Great Trilemma is real and pressing. Of course, we shall continue to find that, for mutual convenience,
certain political decisions have to be taken at supranational level, but how are those
decisions to be anchored in our national democratic systems?
If there is to be any point in delaying Article 50,
it is to begin rethinking the constitutional structure.
We can’t just go back to 1971 as if nothing had happened in between.
Whether, after all the agony, we finish up remaining inside, or totally out of, or rather adjacent to the EU,
we shall still need a political imagination which has been sadly lacking these past two and a half years,
if we are to find a permanent resting place.
Where are today’s Cranmers and Cromwells to devise for us an ingenious new
Act in Furtherance of Appeals?

knocks off

two rooms and garden


debussy knocks off an arabesque
storm gusts scratch the filthy panes
doorway stuffing shoulder pads
and a gemstone implanted chest
seem fittingly dissonant
for such an auspicious
what can i do for you your highness?
i say
he strokes his plague infested beard
we part amicably
storm gusts scratch the filth window panes
the arabesque is knocked off

Asphalt Shoulder Pad





NINE is eight gargling
stale orchids splutter

                                         airways blockaded overnight                                                                                               no second                                                                                                                                               no first
justice done to thirst                                                                                                                                                        scourge stuffy mildew drains
March gets arraigned

flittish snappy acting out                                                                                                                  tempestuous
acute vindictive zest
–when will words fall free?
consult yon purpley demon
that insufferable bore drones on
breast fed on puggled shovels
drives me bear to distraction
drops me off a polar bear
found abandoned glowing
in the icy sleet
on a dodgy asphalt shoulder



no trees see no trees 
before me i see no trees
behind me see trees
me see tree behind these
ergo there were trees before thees

Boatswain’s Version



post birthday thaumaturge loves labours added semi detached wrappers to history’s bulky bucket
a bin you find that never gets filled
in plastic night it coughs and splutters
sat scribbling blind in a barebones gutter
memorising lyrics for literate milkmen
on event horizons
everything swims past
truth speaks unto power masterclass

abnormal service is exhumed eventually after digging up  relics found in history’s              bulky bucket                                                                                                                                            so glad to hang around to see
do not try to walk now little mother
soldier on like a good egg
until you can run as far as your legs can carry you
hep cats conspire to inhale incandescent
frankincense & purr
interminable pleasantries
into jasmin lime

To Legal Street Dogs




…it is well known in curtain corners
hep cats conspire
to inhale exotic teas
frankincense & purr
& malinger simper while  milk
cools clots & condenses

in the night sacred rites..

You going now.

Whatever for?
Food? Is it Air?
Smoke? Water? Just downstairs?
–have a break from what
when you ain’t done
jack shit yet?


constipation sir
i’ll have you know
is a fact of military life,
remember how when
the highland clearances
started it was small before it dwindled
to an impertinent trickle
–good old duck in orange sauce
soon gave them light industry …ie
a military  industrial  complexity

never known beforetimes

Pink Chimneys Smoke



rave on Thom Gunn
serpentine dawn in fifty six
winkle pickled drainpipe ghost
rave on golden fish

we declined Missus Minniver’s mince pies
& Walter Pidgeon’s piperack flannel
taking off for California
booked an early evening flight

got a document returned

much revised in red
filed it under
red under bed
pillow under head
went back to bed
up at four before

sinful sorcerer sultan swings
rhymes well syncs well
in the Wake of Poseidon

little bell rings
rotten john lydon

brand new angel gets her wings…

Reperatory Blood Feud




foot overlaps hem upstaged by digits velvet gown swishes that sorted that then short shrift pulls it off again

as for the foot that is quite another story no such thing as accidents but no malign intent meant by crossing legs

water under the bridge lets bygones be sleeping dogs lie through gritted teeth  growl inside red velvet gown

perhaps best make scarce take a walk on burning coals or broken glass atone for disgraceful selfish act

silent denouement open window fresh spring breeze dress draped over artifact foot case mounted on wall



Heads off for San Hoopla

The second coming went  down well                                                                                                                                                        having failed to command                                                                                                                                  an overall majority                                                                                                                                in the monkey house

before it faced madame guillotine                                                                                                                                                             aftershave spread  all over Europe                                                                                                                                        no piddling matter

life & death mutters obscene at a Christ dyed rouge…



When will it begin


facing up to facts ; my god what have i done
uninvented the wheel 
mislaid a chocolate orange ; 
spilt sump oil on paper; 
found still life in plaster cast
contorted red onion; wearing no knickers
show house trial ordeal; 
Post morteM Queries squirrels 
(part of a 
series they say; poor old dearies 
battle it out hard at war; 
halcyon daze escapes them; 
hangs 'em up high
in the fatuous sun, 
no point quibbling over timespace; 
escape to the as was suntrap shed on 
sleepy rusty wheels; heliotropic heads turn 
waltzers ship alight 
fandango with a gypsy melody; 
lights on no ones in
did you get in the bin and 
prod the lazy daisies; 
neither toil nor sow these days; 
shell shock of the toe I guess; either the way what's new?
uncross your legs when I'm talking to you
your making the place look tidy & that's quite enough
of that they say if you don't use it you lose it
so that doesn't matter if you suss you never had it
in the first place Listen to me I'm talking to you
who shut down the voices they were my only friends
I do not have a mobile phone as I am static
funny five minutes get over it
think about Portsmouth beating a villain

don't cross your legs I said as if you were watching telly
downstairs day in day out self medicated to the spot or doodling 
in your picture books and playing with your paintset
this is an almighty kick up the ass I am you giving while trying not
to cross your legs like I said not to...

I arrive in early January. Frustration has been building up 
in Portsmouth since the brief burst of anticipation 
that followed Myrtle Swinburne's  assumption of the 
presidency in November. 
As the months went on and no obvious changes took place, 
as unemployment failed to fall and the currency swung wildly, 
the urban areas in particular grew increasingly angry. 
My mate Marmite, who works 
for an international organisation in Shiloh, said 
head riots were predicted before the end of the rainy season. 
The rainy season ends in April. The city didn’t even make it close.
Portsmouth was both bully and victim, cruel and pitiable. 
He whipped his horses mercilessly, and sometimes his underlings too. 
He tortured his oxen, knocking them on their heads 
with an axe he had made specially for that purpose, 
and roaring with laughter when they bellowed in agony. 
Sticking frogs with the prong of a fork was another of his pastimes. 
Domestic servants he disliked were held down and forced to drink beer
mixed with jalap and mustard, while others were fed with nothing 
but water-gruel and mustard for a week. 
He threw himself on one of his coachmen 
with such force that he broke the man’s leg. 
If a child who passed him in the street did not raise his hat, 
Portsmouth would order him to be slain.
When the United Irish rebellion of 1798 
raged around his Wexford estates, he wrote to an uncle 
that his tenants had been appropriately slaughtered 
and his estate laid to waste. 
All he seems to have cared about, however, 
was the impact of the loss of rent on his finances, 
which he used as an excuse for not helping his uncle 
out with a gift of money. From an Irish viewpoint, 
the Portsmouths were archetypal absentee landlords, 
a phenomenon that would contribute a century or so later 
to the ousting of that class from its 
dominant position in the country.

glass ceiling cracks…







…we worshipped the sky
on which she walked
till one day
when it caved in

%d bloggers like this: