John Hegley

GOING TO VIRGIN RECORDS

On the underground
a man communicates in sign language
and I listen to the sound of his anorak



CHALK AND CHEESE

As different as chalk and cheese they say
but there's plenty of things
that are a lot more different than these,
a blade of grass
and a pair of glass dungarees
for instance.



PIECE OF CHALK

Leaving a legible trail
a long hard snail
without any house.



POEM FOR JACK

Jackdaws without wings
Jack-in-the-boxes without springs
Lumberjacks with broken backs
And both their arms in slings
These are a few of my favourite images

 

MY AUNTIE GIVES ME A COLOURING BOOK

My auntie gives me a colouring book and crayons,
I begin to colour,
After a while Auntie leans over and says,
You've gone over the lines,
What do you think they're there for? eh!
Some kind of statement is it,
Going to be a rebel are we,
Your Auntie gives you a lovely present and you have to ruin it,
I begin to cry,
My Uncle gives me a hankie and some blank paper,
Do some doggers of your own he said,
I begin to colour,
When I have done, he looks over and says they're all very good,
He is lying,
Only some of them are.


CENTURIAN SOLDIER

Once a Centurian soldier,
Said, Venus how I want to hold you,
She replied, I'm a god,
And it's great on my tod,
And his mate said Marsellius I told you so.



A WEEKEND DIARY

FRIDAY
Hot.
Stretched out on hilltop all afternoon
wondering am I in wrong job?
Bloody Judas.

SATURDAY
Stayed in.

SUNDAY
Woke up feeling brilliant.
Visited friends - surprised to see me.
Ascended into Heaven.



BEYOND COMPARISON

I was scared
of you sharing too much with others,
you were scared
of sharing so much with me.
I wanted you most
when you were someone else's.
You wanted me most
when I was on my own.
Your clumsy lies
came out of care
not cowardice,
and although I never lied
I was untrue
to what we promised
it would never become.
But that's only YOUR opinion.



ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH

A passer-by possibly Austrian
picks up a yellow cycle clip
and asks if it is mine,
I stand up in the sunshine
shake my head and indicate
that I am wearing shorts



FRIENDSHIP IN THE MENDIP HILLS

Even though I'd put up your tent for you
I was happy that you spent
all your time in mine



TALES FROM THE TENT I

Yawning, he lent forward in his awning
and unzipped the morning.
Unfortunately he unzipped tomorrow morning by mistake.
Fortunately he wasn't awake.



ELECTRIC CHAIR POEM

the volts
the jolts
the end



THIS COULD BE HEAVEN

he's known you for under a week
and he wonders if he's under a spell
it's like he's been living in a shell
and for the first timer ever
he's poked his rocker out
he feels like a knocker
that's discovered its bell
like some sellotape
realising its more expressive
sticking things
than being stuck on the roll
he feels whole
and it's hell
he can't tell
is it just his imagination
or is it yours as well?



THE STAND-UP COMEDIAN SITS DOWN

The comedian climbs onto the stage
and truthfully points out
that the microphone smells of sick
so does your breath says somebody else
please - settle down
replies the comedian responding well
I'll start this routine if it kills me
there is an outbreak of cheering at the mention of his death
get off says the one who said get on with it
and the comedian comes up with the line
so apt and incisive
that any further heckling is redundant
unfortunately he comes up with it on the bus home



Libby Houston

DESOLUTION

blue as ice   but not cold, no
sea green   but not wet, this
deep abyss   bright, bright as mist -

my whole past flashed past last
time I surfaced, guess it's still
up there careering about

or, lifeless raft, rocked bland,
sits like some dumb microland
gulls use, let them:  I float down -

look!   it does not drown!

EDGING

How come you've got such a good sense of balance?
Years on the brink, my dear, years on the brink.

 

RAPE

Listen, seashell, listen to me,

your little curly head shall now be
crammed with English vocabulary

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