Category Archives: Poems

Friday Poem #131: A Day in The Life

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem.

Up until 24 hours ago, I had no idea about what this week’s poem would be about. Regular readers of my poems will recognise this as a regular occurence, and although I have yet again come up with the “goods” (or the “rubbish’s” depending on your opinion of my poetry), there was definitely a good period of time when I had nothing. I had no finished poems in any notebooks, and no drafts that I felt I could finish. For the first time in a while I was genuinely scared that I might not be able to write a poem this week.

Thankfully, I remembered what variety there is in this existence, and simply drew on my experiences on today, Thursday 11th July,

I’m home alone this weekend – but I shall not be spending all weekend sat in my boxer shorts scratching myself. I didn’t go swimming on Tuesday night, as I was at my regular spoken work open mic night – Apothecary – reading last week’s Friday poem. If you want to see a video of my doing my stuff click this link
So on Saturday, with more time to go swimming (as I don’t have to rush back to run the children somewhere) I shall be having a go at swimming a mile in the pool. A mile is approximately 64.5 lengths of the 25 metre pool, but I will do 66 as I have swimming an odd number of lengths.

After swimming, I’ve got a raft of jobs to do in the home and garden, all of which will keep me active and help burn off some of the carbs that I slipped on for the first 3 days of this week.

I will also be scratching myself wearing only my boxers. I’ll post a video of that, next week.

But for now, here’s this week’s Friday poem. I hope you like it.

A Day in The Life

Dead biker.
Possibly sleeping.
But also possibly dead.
I drove on – semi-concerned.
Almost stopped to buy a bottle of water
To take back to him.
Not because I thought it would bring him back to life
But in the hope that he was just resting from the heat of the day.
I almost stopped.
But didn’t.
I assured myself that another driver on his side of the road would stop and check on him.
Probably.

Been waiting all day.
Waiting for an answer that hasn’t come.
I filled the time with answers of my own:
Lots of applicants…….
High standard of interviewees….
Unsuccessful on this occasion.
They said the end of the week at the latest
But possibly tomorrow.
That was yesterday.
I’ll know by Friday
Although I suspect I know already.

I hate corned beef.
Not the taste,
The stupid tin it comes in.
With the stupid key that never works.
Cut myself twice mangling the bloody thing open.
The whole thing was a complete shambles.
A last minute, spur of the moment, blood-letting shambles.
Tasted nice though.
(Not the blood)

In pain.
Before the Corned Beef lacerations.
Breaking in new shoes is crippling me.
Blisters make me limp.
One on each foot, so you think I would limp evenly.
But that would be too simple.
Equal numbers of feet and blisters means I limp unevenly.
I might as well be dragging one foot.
All while I’m parking a mile away from work
To supplement my fitness regime.
I’m the fittest shuffler you’ll ever see.

Tonight.
On taxi duty.
School Disco pick up.
Hoardes of sweaty school kids
Swarming out into the darkness
Fuelled by packaged and liquid sugar.
The sweet smell of hundreds of sweating children
Fills the air like smoke from a bonfire.
Red faced, and hyper
They burst from the light into the darkness
Where silhouetted parents stand in bored silence
Like extras from a Zombie film.
As one we shuffle from foot to foot
As if we all have blisters.

Most of the time
We only see the thread that we are following
But if you occasionally look back at the various threads you’ve held
You’ll see what a rich tapestry life is.

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Friday Poem #130: Where There’s Blame, There’s a Claim

Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Friday poem.

Last week’s poem was written before we knew the result of the Women’s World cup quarter final match between England and Norway. I’m happy to report that England won, and went on to face the USA in the Semi-Final – and promptly lost. Sadly, it was a familiar scene – plenty of heart, but not enough clinical finishing or accurate passing. I’m 48 years England team win it again.

Anyway, on to this week’s Friday poem. The poem you are about to read came to me after a phone call I received on Monday evening. I didn’t recognise the number – and that should have alerted me – but I answered it anyway.
It was from a claims agency and the lady on the other end was asking me about the car accident I had that wasn’t my fault. When I told her that I hadn’t had a car accident, she then immediately asked me if I had any other kind of injury, slip, trip, or accident. I then hung up, but wondered how far she would have gone if I had continued to listen.

This poem imagines the one way conversation that might have happened if I had let the lady carry on.

I hope you like it.

Where There’s a Blame, There’s a Claim

‘Hello, my name is Helen;
I’m calling from GSX Galaxy Claims.
I’m phoning about that car accident you had –
The one where you were not to blame?
Not a car crash? Then was it a tumble?
Did you slip over, stumble or fall?
Were you punched in the face by a migrant,
Did a hooligan kick you right in the balls?
Have you fallen from height off a ladder?
Turned your ankle as you stepped off the kerb?
Been bitten by a badger on a park run,
Or choked on a piece of Bratwurst?
Ever been knocked off your bike whilst in traffic?
Stayed out sunbathing and burnt yourself raw?
Have you sat on your keys at an orgy,
Or dogging shut your cock in a car door?
Were you crushed in a mosh pit at Glastonbury,
Tripped at home and fell right down the stairs?
Have you gone arse over tit in Waitrose
Trying to find where they keep the tinned pears?
Are you suffering burns from cheap straighteners,
Been bitten by an unfriendly horse?
Are you at risk of permanent blindness
After getting a facefull of Reggae Reggae sauce?
Have you lost several fingers juggling machetes
After boasting that you are ambidextrous?
Or dislocated your body at a Turkish massage
After mistakenly asking for “extras”
Ever been impaled on metal railings?
Or got entangled in your own washing line?
Have you broken two teeth on some gristle
That you found in a dodgy meat pie?
Was your train into work derailed?
Did the plane you were on crash-land?
Was a loose paving slab the cause of your injury
Or a tie, belt, or scarf – rubber band?
Whatever the injury or reason
Wherever or however the cause
I’m here to get you compensation –
Minus our small service fee of course.
Our records show that you’ve had an accident
And no matter how weird or bizarre,
We can help you get the money that’s due to you –
Now, what was the registration of your car?

If you liked this poem, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can by the first two volumes of these Friday Poems from Amazon – in both Paperback and Kindle versions.

Friday Poem #129: I Wish That

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday poem. I’m typing this on Thursday, moments before England take on Norway in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarter-Final. I hope that they will get through to the Semi-Finals, but also know that nothing is certain in the World Cup – and certainly if you are an England team.

Generally, I now only see any Football at such tournaments. Football has a great deal of people who are quick to put it down – the inflated player salaries, the cheating, the spitting, the way players fall down at the slightest touch. I often see meme’s comparing footballers to Rugby players, or soldiers, highlighting the many flaws about ‘the beautiful game’.

Personally, I do think players are paid too much, and there is too much ‘simulation’ going on in Football. Thankfully, it does at present only seem localised in the men’s game. From the games I have seen thus far in the Women’s World Cup, there has been much less of the negative aspects we associate with the men’s game.
What I do see in both the Women’s and Men’s games still are passion, skill and moments of incredible drama that always has me screaming at the television when I watch them. The World Cup is the only time that I can shout “Stamp on their cheating faces!!” in seventeen languages and not feel bad.

Although, I do also do that during the Eurovision song contest.

Anyway, on to this week’s Friday poem. It is another attempt at a new style of poetry for me, and the subject is based on some personal things I have going on at times in my life. I recently heard some poetry that, although incredibly personal to the performer, it struck a chord with me to.
This poem is personal to me, but I know that many people have similar feelings.

Here it is – I hope you like it.

I Wish That

I wish that

I didn’t have to work so hard

To not be fat

I wish that I had more hair

Here, not there

I wish that I wasn’t so insecure

So when it comes to what others think

I really wouldn’t care.

I wish that

I didn’t see myself as a failure

And that I’ll never be all that.

I wish my inner voice wouldn’t tell me it’s a fact

And that despite me trying not to

I’m desperately hoping

That you’ll approve

Because I need you to

But if your appreciation doesn’t filter through

My self belief bleeds into

A river of silence and is washed away.

I wish that 

I hadn’t bitten my tongue

As I tried to think of these words 

And say them out loud but 

They just wouldn’t come

So I bit my tongue

Just for fun perhaps, or maybe

As a warning of punishments yet to come.

I wish that I was as important

As the person in the car behind me Driving home tonight

Who was so desperate to get past

So fast

They clearly had more influence

That needed to be driven up my arse.

I wish that life was easy

But then at times I don’t

Ironically it’s when life is going well

That I leave those thoughts alone.

I wish that I was braver

Or at least a little less scared

I wish that I didn’t face every new thing

Feeling so very unprepared.

I wish that, at times

I didn’t wish that I was someone else.

But I do.

Sometimes.

I wish that.

I wish that.


Don’t forget that Volumes One and Two of “The Friday Poems” are available to buy from Amazon!

Friday Poem #128: Drowning in Conversation

Welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. 
I hope that you are well, and life is treating you how you deserve. Well, what can I tell you? Here in the UK the flaming manure cart of british politics continues to trundle through our society, polluting everything and everyone in it’s path. We are now only a few weeks away from selecting the new leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, and the new Prime Minister. The excrement in the air is palpable, and you can cut it with a knife.

Moving on to more personal news, I’ve got this rash that won’t go away……………..actually, what I meant to say is that since starting swimming, and with the recent change in diet I have managed to lose over 14 lbs and am looking considerable better for it. You’ll have to take my word for it – but I’m hot! 

Swimming is the inspiration for this week’s poem. My session on Tuesday this week was really tough; I don’t know if it was becase the pool temperature was 26 degrees (which is cold for an indoor pool), or if I was over tired, but it was a real war of attrition to get through it. When I swim, I’m constantly trying to have the right technique – stretch out my arms at each stroke, twist at the hips, keep my head down – whilst attempting to breath properly so that I get enough air to keep going. While both these things are going on I’m getting progressively more tired as I swim at a 1m 45s / 100 metre pace on average.

It genuinely is a constant battle, and although I’m getting fitter and losing weight / building muscle etc. on days like Tuesday it is really hard work.

But that is how I want it to be, because the really tough sessions are the ones that do me the most good. I never want it to be easy, because I know the easy sessions don’t push me to progress. So I may complain about how hard a session was, but in reality I enjoy the challenge.
This week’s poem is about the battle between tiredness, fear, and technique – and the other, lesser heard voice that speaks the loudest to me.

I hope you like it.   

Drowning in Conversation

Constant conversation
In the silence beneath the surface.
If you can call it a conversation, that is.
Technique is trying to talk over fatigue
And vice versa.
Meanwhile, fear is trying to shout them both down.
The only one listening is me
For 50 metres.
After every 50, a brief rest.
As I surface, the voices of fear and technique
Fall away like water.
Only fatigue remains, whispering in my ear:
‘Only 60 seconds rest…..look how fast the time passes..
Almost time to go again…..
So tired……’
Then I plunge back in, and start another 50.
Not getting enough breath in.
Not enough air.
Stretch out.
Keep kicking.
Stretch…..stretch……breathe.
The shouting match keeps going.
Occasionally, I get distracted by them
Just enough that I swallow some water.
Fear REALLY likes that!
It screams at me, ‘HELP! I CAN’T BREATHE! I NEED AIR!’
Deafening.
But it is then that I also hear a new voice;
Quiet.
Yet clear.
Determined.

‘Keep going.’
‘Don’t stop.’
‘Not until 50.’

Then the cacophony resumes:
‘Stretch out! scoop that water back! keep kicking!’
‘I’m so tired……my arms ache….just stop a moment – just a little bit’
‘Not enough air……’
And continues, over, and over
In perfect rhythm.
Unlike my swimming.

‘No.’
The quiet voice.
‘Keep going. You’re going to do this.’

And I do.
I reach my goal.
Get out of the pool.
I walk – slowly, achingly,
Breath rasping
Round the side of the water
To the changing rooms.
Technique says disappointingly, ‘Still not doing it right’
Fear gasps, ‘Not..getting….enough…….air’
Fatigue sobs, ‘I’m so tired. I ache, I ache so much…..’
Then my quiet voice,
Calmly.
Matter-of fact.
Whispers:

‘Well done.’

If you like this poem, you can find more like it in the two volumes of Friday Poems available to buy in paperback and for Kindle. Both are avaialble from Amazon – just search for “The Friday Poems” 

Friday poem #127: Motion Disturbance Receptacle

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem.

Here in the UK the weather has turned nasty – cold, with strong winds and rain. Or as we like to call it, “Summer”. We did have a brief spell of good weather last weekend, but now normal service has been resumed.
This week I went to a new (for me) spoken word open mic night – “Rainbow Fish Speak Easy”. It was a really good evening with lots of very talented poets of all ages, including the headline act, a young lady called ‘BirdSpeed’ who read some amzing poetry. She has been commissioned to write 6 poems for this year’s Windrush Day. Here is a link to a YouTube video of her poetry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxyyNXYtfgM

The spoken word event reinforced my desire to improve my poetry, and explore different styles of writing it. To be honest, i felt like I was bit “behind” in terms of my poetic skill, and I want to improve and grow as a poet. For me this will always need to be balanced with the importance of my keeping my voice. So you should be prepared in the coming weeks for a different style of poem from me.

I was instructed to write this week’s poem from a friend of mine who I saw at a recent family gathering. As this friend is a wizard of language herself, I could not refuse. Plus, I know that she would never let it lie if i didn’t.
I’m always open to suggestions for things to write my poems about, so if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch – either through the ‘contact me’ form on the homepage of this blog or via my Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Anyway, here is the poem. I hope you like it.

Motion Disturbance Receptacle

You can’t call them sick bags no more;

That, my friends is a fact.

Now they’re ‘Motion disturbance receptacles’

Whose bloody idea was that?


To call them ‘Motion disturbance receptacles’

Is a right awful mouthful at best.

And that’s just what you’ll get if you say it

Whilst trying not to be sick down your chest.


The reason we called them sick bags was simple:

To express a short word is quite easy.

So with vomit and puke, hurl, chunder and barf

You could let people know you were queasy.


But now, with this political correctness

You’re allegedly upsetting…..I don’t know – Tibetan monks?

So you have to try and get out ‘motion disturbance receptacles’

In less time than it takes to blow chunks.


And as we all know, when that feeling’s upon us

There’s no doubt; it’s not a guess or a hunch.

You just can’t prepare, for that moment

When you share with everybody your lunch!


But being well adjusted, polite human beings

We do try to give warning of impending sick

Though ‘I’m suffering from motion disturbance – is there a motion disturbance receptacle handy?’

Is a sentence that just can’t be said quick!


In such situations, speed is of the essence:

We just don’t have time to mess about.

For anyone who’s had late nights scrubbing carpets

You’ll know it’s key to act before the vomit comes out!


So I’m sorry if the phrasing offends folk

And this isn’t meant as a harsh rebuke

But don’t change what doesn’t need changing

All this meddling just makes me want to puke.


If you like this poem, you’ll be excited to know that two books containing the first 100 or so poems from my blog are now available to buy from Amazon for Kindle or in Paperback – Just click on the links to the right of this page

Friday Poem #126: All We Can Say

Landscape

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem.

Not much to say about this week’s poem – I wrote it yesterday, the 6th June, the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings when allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. It was to prove to be a turning point in the war, but it came at a terrible price. Almost 25,000 allied soldiers were killed during the attack.

So this poem is about the sacrifice made. We should never forget what happened in the two World Wars, but we should learn from their horror and strive to do more to avoid them. I don’t think that happens enough.

And you may think me a snowflake, but this is just my personal opinion.

Here is the poem. I hope you like it, and I dedicate it to all those who gave so much 75 years ago.

All We Can Say

It’s unimaginable.
Unfathomable,
Hard to comprehend
How many did fall.
75 long years ago
Landing at Omaha, Sword
Utah, Gold and Juno.
Heroes all of them;
Most of them boys
Not many men.
Brave just by being there
Way beyond being scared
Well equipped yet unprepared
For what was to come.
How many brothers
Uncles and cousins?
How many sons
Waved off by their mothers?
Sending their children
To serve King and Country
From all trades and professions
Paupers and gentry
Lying about their age
To ensure they got entry
Into the army
Or to fight on sea or in air
To storm the beaches of Normandy
And with their blood and their sacrifice
Buy our freedom there.
How many languages
On that day spoken
What unity held firm there
Compared to today’s hollow token.
How many answered
Freedom’s call?
How many signed up to go
Only to fall
Before their first steps on that terrible beach
Cut down with no chance of
Their objective to reach.
How many followed
Headlong into death
Seeing brothers lying lifeless
But not pausing for breath.
Driven on – not by knowledge of what was at stake
Just what was the objective – the next defences to take.
Thousands of souls who couldn’t stop to think twice
Countless brave humans who paid the ultimate price.
Looking back we can’t tell them that we still haven’t learned:
That we still value conflict over the peace that they earned.
The battlefields are changed now, and spread far and wide
And we don’t fight for freedom but for possession and pride.
We can’t tell them of the huge profit that’s there to be made
In manufacturing rifles, bullets, missiles and hand grenades.
We mustn’t tell them how advanced we are
With our million-pound tanks.
We should only remember their horror
With a commitment to do better.

All we can say is our humble thanks.

Friday Poem #125: Good Luck

Hello and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem .

Dirty Harry famously asked “do you feel lucky, punk?”. Luck or the perception of luck plays a large part in most of our lives. There are those who say that they make their own luck, but they are usually smug bastards that no-one likes, and fortunately only enter into our lives infrequently.

If you’ve never met anyone who has said that they make their own luck, watch out – it might be you.

I had a job interview this week, but was unsuccessful. In hindsight, I could say that it was unfortunate, or bad luck that I didn’t get the job – but in reality I just didn’t perform as well as another candidate. I think people’s perception of luck is flexible – what is considered good or bad luck is altered to suit us or the situation we are in.

But throughout our lives we are told different things about luck – for both outcomes (good or bad); we have cross our fingers, but also accept our fate. There are definitely conflicting messages here.

And that is what this week’s poem is about. It’s not a long poem – which in itself, could be considered lucky, depending on how much you like my poems. That being said, if you don’t like my poems but are reading them anyway, then you are some kind of poetic sado-masochist and probably own a gimp suit.

So, hope for the best, stop struggling into your latex outfit, and read this week’s Friday Poem:

Good Luck

They tell us to cross our fingers
But not to hold our breath.
It’s the taking part that matters
But you’ve got to be the best.
We kiss religious symbols
And say the words of our belief
All with the following disclaimer:

Whatever will be, will be.
We all touch wood; hold rabbit’s feet
And to the fates implore.
Then when things don’t go the way we hoped
We blame it on sod’s law.
Many of us have rituals:
Lucky pants that don’t get washed
Or believe that it would be bad luck
If our path a black cat crossed.

Some always put the left sock on
Before they wear the right,
While others follow strict routines
Before going to bed at night.
But whether you’re superstitious
Or believe in the promised land
I feel that the path before us
Is shaped by our own hands.

So if you’re nervous about what might be
Or if the unknown makes you feel lost
Just remember that we make our destiny
So don’t worry –
Fingers crossed!



If you like this poem, don’t forget that volumes one and two of The Friday Poems are available to buy from Amazon. Simply search for “The Friday Poems”