Thursday, July 27, 2006

266. Mexico

In many different ways
the nights were a torment
far worse than the days.

Trapped, involuntarily,
in a situation beyond our control,
we believed, contrarily,

that others were to blame.
We tried to shrug aside responsibility,
and so avoid the shame.

We were not good at introspection:
we were trained to fight, wrong or right;
thought was a kind of infection.

We had killed the enemy with impunity,
to be captured was a blow to our pride;
then kindness broke down our immunity.

Why were they devoid of hostility?
This we could not, would not, understand;
it made us consider the futility

of the righteous, murderous behaviour
that had primed us from the start.
They spoke of a just and gentle Saviour

bringing peace and freedom to the land.
We tried, but it was beyond us --
at first we could not understand.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

265. Rue du Bonne Chance

Madame Vavasour
trips the light
dans le Rue
du Sauvignon.

in zee hand
is worse too
in zee Boosh.

Alors, quel’ homme!!
Inky- dinky
Quest ce-que tu dire?
Never push
when you can shove instead.

Hola, parlez vous?
(Oui, oui, on y va chez nous!)

Life is short,
soon comes le Morte
and by report
the silent resentful dead
remain dead for a very very very
long time.

My crime
was complex, yet quite simple,
my best girl had a pimple
and the blowtorch
came to hand.
Franz Ferdinand
war ein “echter Wiener”
In Bosnia-Hercegovina,
Jetzt tot, der lieber Mann,
his white on white tunic
now so dunkel-rot
and poor morganatic Sophie
shot and squealed and bled,
equally, beastly dead.

La veille ogresse avec les dents jaunes
No, that was Queen Victoria,
a completely different storia.

In another place, another time
some other crime
transpires; now the fires
of Hell burn low:
the Devil’s stokers want to strike
instead they just “go slow”.
They don’t much like
their permanent condition
and seek the Devil’s permission
for a 3-week summer break
in Purgatory. Nugatory, I fear,
such hopes, the rise and fall of tropes:
after all, they have made their beds
along with other nasty deads.

And it’s only them feckin Paddies
(such an awful lot of them down here)
who keep acting queer, obstreperous laddies,
getting into fights,
demanding non-existent rights.
So, the Devil, well, he’s right annoyed
and consults his adviser, Sigmund Freud
(yes, of course, he’s down here too,
an under keeper of this shabby zoo,
a critic and constant scathing belittler
of his hopeless assistant, Adolf Hitler).
Ah, feck this crowd, says the Devil,
would you ever get on the phone to Neville
Chamberlain? He’s one of the pure
blithering idiots beyond,
he’s easily fooled and easily conned.
Tell him to ask that fella God
if he’s ready to do a trade?
He can have the Irish, the whole bleedin’ crew,
and all he has to do
is send me some Baptists and Quakers
and a slew of pious Protestants.
They’ll work without the bother of getting paid
and pay attention to the borders;
best of all, at my beck and call,
they will obey my Standing Orders!!

Madame Vavasour
is not a hoor
but a woman of a certain age
with a mind “en clair”
who thought, this world is so unfair
with young girls placed in a cage:
Alors, she reflected, what can I do,
If not be unfair too?
Her raging business success
has got her on the Fortune 500
along with all the other crooks and liars.
On the smouldering funeral pyres
of our moribund civilization
a final oration
falls due to our Captains of Industry!
Damaged people, with nervous tics and snuffles,
who root out money like pigs find truffles.

On the Chateau d’If
d’Whether, du When,
the wind blows from the south.
Ah, Bisto!
cries out the Count of Monte Christo,
rinsing out his … armpits;
today I believe I shall them deceive,
Voila! Heu, heu .. oui, sacre bleu!!
Vite, vite, vite, doleur!

Zee tricoleur
will fly over all zee nations
and reparations
will be honoured, on presentation
of a duly signed and stamped receipt
at Burlington Court, 114 the Strand.
Ah, life would surely be grand
with loads of unearned money!
But life is brutal, grasping, sick,
a carny trick --
but sometimes very funny.
Things happen.
Things happen some more.
Things happen some more some more.
You can’t help but love it.

War criminals
die peacefully in their beds
while their innocent victims
die in agony, in hundreds of thousands:
that’s the way things are.
In my little car
I drive ten thousand miles
across the weeping frontiers.

do nothing.
Nothing changes,
Nothing improves.
Power remains a heartless game
in every generation.
The occasion
of death is incidental,
accidental, and necessary.
It moves all people aside.
It ranges wide.

Friday, July 07, 2006


East Jesus

Nowhere, East Texas,
set down on the courthouse square,
walk over to the store,
dark and dim, take a moment or two,
to adjust from the outside glare.
Three pair
of cold unfriendly eyes
look me up and down:
Where you from, boy?
Uhh, Dallas.
You stayin long?
No, sir.
Can I buy some stuff, is that OK?
If your money's good
yewkun bah whut yew lakh.
No satisfaction
in that transaction: walk out
and some lizard-like lounging lout
spits a gob of tobacco
right in the shadow of my shoes.
This is totally calculated, calibrated,
so I look in his rattlesnake eyes
and think "Oh fuck, I'm outta luck"
but don't look shook or frustrated.
"Y'all have a nice day now,"
I drawl with a smile and a wink,
(you need a Stetson to really pull this off,
you tug at the brim, look constipated)
hoo, that made that bastard blink!
Scoot back quick into the car,
ignition, ignition, ignition!!
get me, get me outta here!
Whoa, slow down,go almighty slow,
'cause only a fool would fail to know
that the county sheriff is around the bend,
"Well, well, pull over mah little friend"
and he don't take checks or credit cards.
Ahh, Texas.
I dunno.
Give it back to Mexico?


The bells of hell
go ting-aling-aling
ting-aling-aling, ting-aling-aling,
the bells of hell
they ring-a-ling-a-ling,
for you but not for me.

O mournful mournful is my role
as horror-struck I view
the used-up hanky of your soul
dissolve into the blue.

The bells of hell
go ting-aling-aling
ting-aling-aling, ting-aling-aling,

O Death where is thy sting-aling-aling
O grave thy mysteries?
Across the hot and heartless highways
armadilloes whacked by SUVs.
O we may weep into our pillows,
and we may weep in lanes and byways,
our emotions can be such a tease.

they ring-a-ling-a-ling,
for you but not for me.

Her name is Yuki
and she tells me that means snow.
I know. She has bad teeth but a nice smile,
and like all girls, she wants to be liked,
and not chased and used and thrown away
and cast into the blue.

My feelings, sorry, don't run deep.
I'd really rather go to sleep.

When girls ignore guys
people smile and call it a game;
when guys ignore girls
it's suddenly not the same:
no, somehow, that's not funny.