Rushed

Rushed

 

My heels clip on

London concrete.

My hamstrings strain

To increase my stride.

I slalom around

Pavement zombies,

Phone junkies,

Loitering monkeys.

 

Don’t they see?

I’m late for a meeting

With a client of grandeur.

A key player.

A major money man.

(I can’t drop the name

Due to a

Signed NDA).

 

It was suppose to be

A blue sky meeting

On a grey winters morning.

But I slept too long,

And the tube

Went wrong,

And now I’ve

Got the dreads.

 

If I’m late,

My rep will be tarnished.

I’ll never secure

Another meeting again.

Because in this town,

Time is a diamond

We can’t possess.

But we know it exists;

Out there on the outskirts,

Out there in the sticks.

 

It’s below freezing but I’m

Working a sweat;

A pavement cardio,

A sidewalk rodeo,

A street athletics show.

There’s no way I am going

To be on time.

It’s curtains for me;

I’ve sealed my P45.

 

Finally I arrive.

I collapse at the entrance,

My power-walk ending

In a muted reception.

I approach the desk.

‘Yes?’

Glared a future

X-factor entrant.

 

‘Good morning.

I’m here to see

The top brass.

The big cheese.

The head honcho.

I was delayed, but please,

Pass my humblest regrets,

I am spinning a lie

Which I hope he accepts.’

 

‘I’m sorry, sir,’

The young lady chewed.

‘The Great Man is away,

Tanning on a beach.

You’ll need to reschedule;

He returns in two weeks.’

 

Will The Panda Please Rise?

Will The Panda Please Rise?

 

“The Panda had a tendency to go berserk,” the newspaper said. And I couldn’t deny it. My unpredictable behaviour was a great inconvenience to friends, who often had to prise me off fellow binge-drinkers, or talk me down from gastropub tables, or apologise to bar managers for damage to windows or furniture or structural beams. ‘The Panda’s lost-it, again’, they would declare, before wading in to prevent injury to regretful drunks who had caused me offence.

Anyone who knows me well, calls me, ‘The Panda’, or ‘Panda’, or ‘Pand’, depending on the formality of the situation. For example, when I was in school it was, ‘Pand, wake up! It’s home time.’ But in court, it was, ‘Could The Panda please rise?’

I’d like to say my nickname was coined by close friends, drawing affectionate comparisons based on my size (overweight and cuddly), demeanour (lethargic and docile) and parentage (black and white). But no, the moniker was conjured by the wasted wit of a bully. A hateful, ugly little worm, who put all of my traits into his mixing-bowl of inner torment and parental neglect, to serve up a fitting and painful insult —‘The fat panda’. I was able to have the ‘fat’ prefix dropped after I finally erupted and beat the boy into unrecognisable shapes.

‘The Panda’ stuck though, and I came to like it. So much so, I changed my name by deed poll in the midst of a week-long bender. Hence, when in court, the judge was obliged to ask, ‘How does The Panda plead?’ This was headline manna for the red-top newspapers, which devoted spreads to the story, with side-by-side pictorials of me (‘The Panda’) and a real-life panda (‘The accused’). And if the readership felt inclined to scrutinise the small print, they would learn that during a run-of-the-mill bar scuffle, I had allegedly crushed a young man’s head like an overripe melon.

My barrister refused to accept that the compliant man he saw before him could have committed such a brutal crime. ‘I think we need to get you on the stand,’ he said. ‘No jury will believe that such a softly spoken gentleman would do that to another human being.’

‘But, sir…I did do it. And I’m afraid, if I go on the stand, I might explode and smash the courtroom to smithereens’.

‘Ok, maybe let’s not do that then.’ He backed away and loosened his tie. He was a smart lawyer.

I don’t drink any more. I couldn’t if I wanted to in here. Alcohol was the worst thing in the world for me to discover. I dare say, that young lad would still be alive had I never been introduced to drink.

They still call me, ‘The Panda’, in prison. I hear the inmates whisper it to each other. No one really speaks to me, though. I suppose some people must have read about me in those red-top newspapers. And gossip spreads through prison faster than a fresh carton of cigarettes. I’m a nice guy, really. For now though, I tend to agree with the judge; ‘The safest place for The Panda, is in captivity’.

‘Bag for life’ population out of control, says everyone.

‘Bag for life’ population out of control, says everyone.

With the demise of free plastic bags, a new menace has taken its place; bags for life. However, whereas plastic bags merely polluted the earth, bags for life have given rise to a  more severe issue; the pollution of our homes.

Nancy, from Isleworth told us, “Look, I’m all for protecting the planet and that, but we’ve just replaced one problem with a much worse problem. Every time I open the cupboard under the sink, a flock of bags lunge out, covering the kitchen in hemp. Ever taken a hemp bag in the face? It’s shit.”

Billy, a resident of Guildford, said, “I enjoyed tutting and shaking my head at the old plastic bag problem, safe in the knowledge it will never really be my problem. But now I’m fucking drowning in bags for life. The dolphins are fine, but I’m fucking drowning. Where’s the logic there?”

News broke this week that the ‘bag for life’ population in your cupboard has increased by 85% since you started reading this sentence.

‘Proud’ Englishman sectioned under Mental Health Act.

‘Proud’ Englishman sectioned under Mental Health Act.

A man from London has been locked inside a padded room after boasting he is still proud to call himself ‘English’.

Paul Hill, from south London, was heard by members of the public speaking in tongues and babbling things like, “We’ve still got a lot going for us. The tennis is on, which means we can drink Pimm’s and eat strawberries. The parks of London are beautiful at this time of year. Our music is the envy of the world. Shakespeare is from England, you know? Things aren’t so bad.”

Dr. Stephens, who is overseeing the care of Mr. Hill told us, “National pride is now considered a mental illness. Patients presenting these symptoms are clearly delusional and suffering chronic denial.”

Paul is being kept under 24hr surveillance at South London Mental Hospital. Reports from staff claim that Paul remains stoic, with his chest puffed out, sometimes bursting into powerful renditions of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.

Dr. Stephens concluded, “Paul is a mentalist.”

Weather reports answer prayers of thousands of Glastonbury non-ticket holders

Weather reports answer prayers of thousands of Glastonbury non-ticket holders

The Glastonbury forecast is in and the outlook is muddy, to the delight of thousands who were unable to secure tickets and scores more who didn’t even try.

George, an elated non-reveller told us, “I went to Glastonbury once and it rained. Everyone pretended it was OK, but it wasn’t. Booze and ketamine helped, but I can do that at home, thanks very much.”

Jane, owner of eight cats, has never been to Glastonbury and has no intention of ever going. “Nothing makes me happier than a wet Glastonbury. I watch all the coverage on television, but only to see the mud-caked crack-heads dressed in fluorescent bin bags swaying in misery to a band I’ve never heard of.”

We spoke to one unlucky ticket holder, ‘Fred’, on his way to the site. “I really don’t care if it’s raining, mate. I grant myself these five days a year to ingest a range of illicit powders and I’m not going to let fucking drizzle get in the way of that.’

London Monsoon

London Monsoon

Passing ransacked umbrella stands,

grasping newspaper with their hands.

Holding shelter above their heads;

sloshing through tar riverbeds.

 

Hailing taxis from the pale;

the diesel saviours from the hail.

Wading through the flowing street,

committed to their client meet.

 

London converted to a wet-room,

The Shard bathed in humid gloom.

Meetings start with sweaty handshakes;

small talk steams as some run late.

 

Returning home to tiny flats,

they open up the door out back,

to sit on decks and regroup,

but the garden slugs have staged a coup.

 

London mourns suede shoes:

ten thousand pairs lost in June.

Today the weather won again,

we must prepare for war,  good men.

 

But sleep well, beloved city,

for tomorrow will take pity;

the weather programme on TV

said, “Mostly sunny, highs of twenty-three.”

 

RLG

Beach, inspired by Barrett

Beach, inspired by Barrett

Humans clothed in their own skin,

Bare for all to see,

Chasing plastic bags,

Turning towels to face the beams,

Like soft sun dials,

Who leap in the waves

And share salty kisses

As the foam breaks against

Their cooked leg meat;

Then return to dry in the grit

And the dust of the beach.

The eternal sand,

Found weeks, months, years

After the beach is forgotten,

In creases at the bottom of bags,

Dug out by finger nails searching

For some miscellaneous crap.

 

We must go back to the beach.

 

Father’s Watch

 

My father’s watch,

I notice stopped.

His movement ceased

to turn the cogs,

that spin the gears,

which move the dials,

that give the promise

of a while.

 

The watch now mine,

but still it’s stopped.

It sits inside a precious box.

The frozen hands,

my father still,

his whispered breath,

his secrets kept.

Regret, regret.

 

One day ready

to wear that watch,

I’ll move the gears;

start time again.

In good knowing,

the hour I’m stood

will come to be;

eventually.