The Crab Road
Leaving Trinidad we drove west
to find the tobacco fields,
fringed a green Caribbean
filled with weed swells.
That week we’d spent punch drunk
on rum sun, Havana Club No.7,
a bottle a day bursting our eyes to starlight,
could not prepare us for that drive.
We were making good time-
before the oil stopped,
soviets fallen, sugar and cigars
decaying in the fields-
careering with cicadas in lime groves,
plantain and banana bulging green.
We sensed the scents for miles
before we came upon
a seafood salad boiling
in massive waves of air,
a mirage of pink tar, hovering.
There was carnage there
but still they came,
small robotic armies
spawning from the woods,
impulse driven to the sea.
We braked hard but the locals
knew better, better to accelerate,
wind up the windows and sauna than hear
their crunching screams under hot tyres.
Instants before annihilation they’d rise,
pulling up to full height,
as big as two hands, claws akimbo,
snapping in mimed shows of hubris.
We crawled for miles
weaving through their flesh.
For days the stench stayed with us,
that hour on the crab road.
How do you write about
a tiny boy who's died
coughing mould up from his lungs,
his fragile body robbed
of all its preciousness,
despite his parents' pleas,
their belabouring of those
who could have saved his life
but inexplicably chose
not to? Whilst they luxuriate
in their 100k's and liberal debate
his ashes moulder further still.
There are lessons to be learned
but, given the history of these things,
I doubt they ever will.
The Battle for the Pub -A Sestina
At six p.m. I'm heading to the pub,
A local situated on my street,
The Bird in Hand is swinging on a sign
Enticing would be drinkers come inside
To sit around the crackling, cosy fire,
enjoy a hand drawn pint of foaming beer.
There's few round here who can resist a beer,
Though lately say, I don't want to buy the pub!
At this price I can't quench the raging fire
Of my thirst. I'll likely end up on the street
Or bankrupt, spend a year or two inside.
Give me an I.O.U, where do I sign?
Discerning drinkers see it as a sign,
The end of joy at quaffing down a beer,
Of congregating with your mates inside
Social spaces like your local pub.
We can't descend to drinking on the street
Bereft 0f darts or cribbage by the fire.
I heard a landlord set his place on fire,
Such was his desperation when asked to sign
For a rent increase or be thrown into the street;
A rise that couldn't be met by the price of his beer.
For he loved his job, he loved that parish pub
but could feel his mind uncoiling from inside.
Such economic woes aren't felt inside
The palaces of those shielded from the fire
Of neo-liberal thugs who want our pub,
Those oligarchic thieves who would consign
Us all to gristle pasties and small beer,
Gloating on their rampage through our street.
Unusually there's two pubs on our street
Both called Bird in Hand! I know the inside
Story. How these two purveyors of beer
Came to be named. It was in the raging fire
Of sibling rivalry, as sure a sign
As any of The Battle for the Pub.
This pub and its twin were set up on our street,
Two brothers' signs beckoning inside
To a blazing fire, pints of foaming beer.
A Clerihew or two......
Won't have your back
Unless you're a multi-millionaire
Or Tony Blair.
For some is public school dishy.
Winchester has beaten
For the Rononvan Decima Challenge with CHASE as the prompt word on the C rhyme line.
Blessed are the Cheesemongers
The Soviets were first to send
a cosmonaut beyond the air
we breathe. Gagarin had a rare
resolve, was slightly round the bend
not knowing where his flight would end.
So then began the thrilling chase
to fire some men to outer space,
be first to land upon the Moon,
discern from which cheese it was hewn.
A Gorgonzola carapace?