Who’d be a sailor, with all those evil winds, sandy bottoms and ships bent out of shape? No thanks.

See Ya Later Navigator. 

If you're cruising down the Suez
Take this old sea dog's seasoned tip,
The last thing a good Captain should do is
Beach your bloody big barge of a container ship.
                       _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _                     

The Cap'n stood on the burning deck
A'peering but not seeing ten feet ahead,
Sweat ran in rivulets down his outstretched neck,
This desert storm filled his a'salted eyes with dread.

From up front came a graunching sound
And a judder ran through from bow to rudder,
The bold Cap'n knew in a trice he'd run aground,
From deep amidships the Captain felt that shudder.

'O Captain! My Captain! What have you done?'
Chorused the crew from First Mate to low deckhand,
But the Captain had fled the bridge, Cap was on the run
Because when Mother Nature bursts forth you sit, not stand.

Oh, ship.




(Sorry, all you fans of Walt Whitman or Felicia Hemans. Someone’s already weighed in and called me an anchor about this. At least I think thats what she said.)

©Obbverse

Running a Mom-and-Pop store can be boom or bust.

Bad Business.

We've expanded your ol' local Seven-Eleven,
Now we're ready for action twenty-four-seven,
We're here for your beer'n'snacks and cigarettes
But we won't extend you a tab or hold your debts.

'Sir, if you don't see what you want, just ask
But inside I'd rather you not wear that mask-
Oh; in light of your sideways Glock I now recall
In special circumstances we extend credit to all!'

My very first night of working dusk till dawn
And I'm already lookin' deathly pale and drawn,
In all my long days of working the seven till three
The one denying charging daylight robbery was me.

 I called it in... eventually the cops rolled out,
That consistent diet of donuts helps, no doubt,
They began the sit-down-at-the counter interview,
They had free coffee, a whole jelly roll, but not a clue.

The jelly rolls quick demise cut the interview short,
Perhaps they'd had their fill of filling in their report? 
They departed, snagging some Snickers without paying-
A five-fingered discount or more evidence in the weighing?

As my little corner of the world turns dark
I glare out at the shadily deserted car park,
Torn between leaving out the Welcome mat
And standing by the door with a baseball bat.

I used to spend all my given days a'waiting to serve
But that empty cash register shows I've lost my nerve,
My faith in customer relations- blown away, I can't deny,
Hoping every rattly banged-up ol' Cutlass quietly drives by.

I must just admit my shopkeeping days are done
If I can't trust the driver, or the dude riding shotgun,
This prime retail location looked fine in the light of day
Now here, due to Saturday Night Specials, crime does pay.

(‘Inspired’ by another news report on, yes, yet another armed robbery. Call it ‘Kim’s Convenience Store’ for the morbidly cynical and gun-shy.)

©Obbverse

A little exercise does you good. A long run is something to stop and think about.

Bide-A-Wee.
 (for those  unfamiliar wi' the Scottish lingo, this means 'to stay, to linger, to tarry, to take pause, take a wee little moment.)

When out on an easy backwoods jog
Far from the home comforts of a bog,
With a bladder fully stirred and shaken
A private easement must surely be taken.

When time runs short
Don't get caught.
Time to break stride
And step aside.

Find a fine quiet upstanding privet hedge,
Towards a wee private dark corner slyly edge,
With cool careful precision flash and splash-
Careful, that touch of poison ivy- rather rash.

Don't be cocky, silly-
Spraying nilly-willy- 
And it's downright folly
Dousing near holly.



©Obbverse

Breaking news; It’s a dogs life being a news-hound.

Poisoned Pen.

I started my days as a news reporter
Back in the days a paper cost a quarter,
Rarely did I step up onto the front page
But I had a fair trot in the pre-digital age.

I recall the first day I started my paper run,
Up bright and early with 'The Morning Sun,'
But I rose too fast, too high, pushed too far...
Seeing out my days at the fading 'Evening Star.'

But the sorry day that ended with my fall,
It's a sad story I'm not happy to recall,
The tale beginning with 'writers block,'
Ending with my resigned John Hancock.

Every wordsmith asks 'why oh why
Sometimes the words within up and die?'
Sometimes not 'coz the mind's crapped out,
Sometimes the lousy pen's just tapped out.

How can a poor reporter report
When ink and inspiration run short?
How can you stick your account in when
You're stuck with a washed-up fountain pen?

My cheap nasty pen, wot a waste of cash,
Now all it writes is lots of dots... then... dash-
While the words are dancin' in my head
It's lose the pen and get out the lead.

But a pencil is best 2B left for school,
Shorthand soon makes of it a blunt tool,
Plus a pencil has a built-in handicap,
When writing under pressure- SNAP!

So up my shitey pen I did take,
Gripped tight, gave it a mighty shake,
Another black mark for the newsman-
Tossed the bleeding thing in the shit trash can.

From its wretched twisted stuck-up tip
Black As Midnight ink began to darkly drip,
There it lay, its Guaranteed word broken,
A final message can take its time to soak in.

This pen then proved it hadn't dried out,
Silly me- I never clicked it hadn't died out,
My long-time pen-friend I treated so cruel?
Its lifesblood began to viscously pool.

But my fine story I would complete,
This Fleet Street journo won't be beat,
I tentatively asked my Boss for her pen to loan,
No mistaking 'no' when the middle finger's shown.

So I broke the Days story, thanks to a crayon,
Twilight came, I blinked, and the day's gone,
I'd written off the entire day!
Time to clean up, up and away.

My desk, in its usual state of disgrace-
And my Boss demands a pristine workplace,
When it comes to dealing with the crap trash
My method is a sweeping slap-dash.

I upraised the document recycling lid,
Of my balled-up confusions soon be rid;
One problem with the rubbish I write
Is I jam in all I can, bad, good and tight.

Gravity wouldn't empty this rubbish bin
And so, I put my left hand in,
I pulled my write hand out
And waved it drippily all about.

What I felt was more than an inkling,
In the bottom, more than a sprinkling,
I had a bad feeling, down to my fingertips,
And a bad banned word sprung from my lips.

Just as the Boss entered, her face went white-
I stood guiltily, hands up, black as pitchest night,
Potty mouth, filthy hands, dirtier than Monty Burns;
And here is where the sad story sinisterly turns...

She, the prissy mistress of clean and tidy
Told me to clean out my desk by Friday,
So I demanded to see the Department Head-
We'd see to whom the riot act would be read!

The rumours I'd so cavalierly dismissed-
That red hot tip about the Boss's secret tryst-
That cock-a-doodle tale came home to roost-
I leapt to the conclusion like I'd been goosed.

When your Boss's Boss has a bossy mistress
And she wears both the pants and the dress
How did this No-Shit Sherlock fail to understand
In this curly situation she held the whip hand?

Now she demanded a letter saying I'd resigned-
I tossed it off, left on her desk, but left it unsigned,
As I raised my pen, something penned-up released-
A red mist exploded as my high circulation increased.

Her desk was so scrupulously clean it was scary-
But then again, she dumped it all on her secretary,
I was young, impulsive, angry and foolish, I'll admit it-
I left her anally-retentive room like a hurricane had hit it.

I reported down town, showed the cops my guilty face-
I should've just signed off and not trashed the place,
I'd left a trail of destruction, burnt all my bridges,
A black trail awash with all my whorls and ridges.

Thats where my career started to run downhill,
Once blistering exposes- trotted out, run of the mill,
My days as a serious Sun scribe went down the tubes
When my page 3 story was covered by a pair of boobs.

Now my short sentence has finished long since,
For twenty years I've kept clean(ish) fingerprints,
Still I'm known as a Criminally Damaged Offender...
And I coulda shoulda been a Nobel Prize contender.

I've worked every dirty rag, at Times, in the Big Smoke,
I'm Ex-Press, past Post, your Standard journalistic joke,
I've hacked at the News Of The World, for what it's worth,
That mob, that job lot- I've toiled for the scum of the earth!

I've written reams of rubbish I'm not proud of
For fu- folk I never dreamed I'd be in a crowd of,
I've had a dab hand in fiction passed off as fact,
But today I've resigned again rather than be sacked.

The bad news was- our little paper has been sold-
My new manager- that stone cold fox bitch of old,
I already knew 'to know her is to loathe her,'
But the company she keeps is even lower.

               _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So now I'm working for peanuts, for a free giveaway,
Honestly, I put in a big days work for a wee day's pay,
But it is reward enough to be just a poor wordsmith
If the face I see in the morning mirror I can work with.

My past Press Associations still sadly lingers,
People still point at me with shaking fingers,
Asking me if it's true, just what kind of twisted views
Do I hold to be too damn good to report for Fox News?

©Obbverse

This struggling old school writer uses whatever bargain basement tools that fall to hand. All too evidently.

Cheap Penny Dreadfuls.

One fine day this dime-store writer will wise up,
Suss out as to why his buck-a-10 pack pen dries up,
Why do I persist in keeping my escritoire ill-equiped?
But I'm no gold-nibbed rich man, more... felt tipped.

In richer days I plucked up the flighty quill,
From its tip the Master's words must surely spill,
My manuscript was literally beyond description,
Illegible as my shaky trick Doc's prescription.

I've been advised to splurge out on a Scripto
But I'm too tight to sign up on that tip though,
That's one big cheque I'll personally leave blank,
I'd rather snip me a bargain... down at the bank.

At least no more notebooks I'll have to buy,
I've a wardrobe of A3s stacked five feet high,
When my old firm laid off their stationery clerk
They knew I've always taken home my paperwork.

So, doodling paper, I have oodles, I have screeds,
It's the piss-poor pens that don't serve my needs;
How many times I've pounded 'pon my poor desk top
When my cursive calligraphy decides to- fuc Full stop. 

I do not advise going in ever-increasing scribbles
Until the paper thins and/or a drop of ink dribbles,
Then my penned-up words emerge when hard pressed-
Less a messy plot, yet more blots on my Rorschach test.


 

©Obbverse

Another birthday arrives; Nothing to celebrate, sad to say.

(Some particular days you wake up feeling old. So, no funny business today. Sorry.)

Year Upon Year.

I still like to stroll 'neath the blue late summer sky
Though days run short and autumn's chill feels nigh,
Time was when I'd stride easy towards my leafy glade,
Nowadays a few more slow and stately steps are made.

This cool bower's perfectly placed for stop and rest,
Of late I feel this truth in my bones, and in my chest,
This stout tree I lean on now I've long thought as my own,
From young stripling and sapling, together we have grown.

As I look above those old signs are seen,
Subtle curls of gold amidst the sea of green,
Soon 'nough even summer's greenest leaf must fall,
Tomorrow, or two months hence, autumn reaps 'em all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm ageing happily every day I get,
Still, the years weigh and weary, we accumulate regret,
Every tree has twists and turns, Nature shapes and forms,
Each tree has boughs bent, bowed, scars from recent storms.

Will we weather another winter, to see in the spring?
Older, wisened to the fact the rose holds within a sting?
So take a little time to remember blooms cut cruelly short,
Long life holds more sorrow than we once young 'uns thought.

Today, a thought for Barb.

 

©Obbverse


	

How cruel can the beautiful game be? I have just seen the awful and ugly truth: Oh, I laughed until I cried.

(Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Crystal Palace 2.)


Dipped Out.

Down to Brighton the team bus quietly drove,
To where Palace hoped a point might be nicked,
At best to share the spoils with Brighton and Hove,
A dour nill-all draw the score this Palace fan picked.

But what a strange televised game we saw unfold,
Brighton controlled the ball, a team wholly possessed;
'Twixt his pristine posts the Brighton 'keeper idly strolled,
Never had he or TV watchers seen such a one-sided contest.

But the crosses flew in from the heave-Hove side,
Hot shots blocked by Palace's desperate defending,
Volleys from the blue clad lads blazed high and wide,
Brighton's besieging of the Palace seemed never ending.

Finally, came one brief moment of respite,
A Palace foot hoofed a stray ball down the line...
His untroubled face turned up towards the sunlight
Hove's 'keeper rose from the grass- time to rise and shine.

In came the hopeful cross, from far far away,
But one Palace player had made an exhausted run,
That's how slick-heeled Mateta, against the run of play
Made the most of his chances, or more precisely, our one.

As the Palace players smilingly celebrated
'Twas tragic to see the Seagulls managers pain,
His all-going-according-to plan smile evaporated,
To return once the one-way traffic commenced again.

Palace retreated back in the box, same old same,
Our 'keeper breathlessly making miraculous saves,
Just get to half-time, our is an offensively defensive game-
Endlessly the blue tide washed 'round the Palace goal in waves.

The half-time whistle blew, and scratching his head
The manager of the boys in blue traipsed past, downcast,
His team followed behind, shuffling like 'The Walking Dead'
In the Palace shed, *Roy, head bowed, prayed his luck would last.

Half-time came, ten minutes later it went,
The game recommenced, settings back to default,
Whoever had charge of the console seemed Hellbent
On bombarding the Palace with all-too common assault.

Eventually the Footballing Gods smiled on Brighton,
The football finally found purchase in the ol' onion bag,
Leaning back on his goalpost Hove's 'keeper yawned on;
When you've not even sweeping to do tending tends to drag.

Ninety minutes approached with both teams played out,
Had Palace drawn out a point, with a team of ten at the back?
Then came that miraculous moment that leaves one in no doubt-
Those devilish Footballing Gods keep a joker in play in every pack.

A ball splays out to a man on the wing, gasping his last,
Though cramped up he somehow forces his legs to obey,
Into the Brighton half where he had so rarely trespassed,
He lobs the ball up in the air, anywhere, to get it out of play.

Toward a fresh legged substitute the ball kindly fell;
Our Mr Benteke is known more as Mr Hit And Miss,
But today his shot put us in Heaven and Hove in Hell;
Those Footballing Gods sure can take a trick, and the piss.

'Glad All Over' boomed from the visitors dressing room,
Then chorus after chorus as the London bus drove away,
But in the Hove shed the blue room was as silent as a tomb,
A seaside smash-n-grab, a torn-up **Amex? Crime does pay!

(* Roy Hodgson, the wise old old Yoda of football managing. Or on this day, one lucky bastard.
**Amex Stadium, home of the Seagulls/Brighton and Hove Albion/poor unlucky bastards.)


©Obbverse

The Great Lone Star State’s Ted Cruz tries to weather his trip storm.

Holiday Cruz.

Well, doesn't Ted Cruz just take the cake?
Taking time off in Cancun for a winter break?
What a tropical hot spot Teddy has chosen
Especially when his home state is frozen.

Well, doesn't Ted Cruz's thinking take some beating?
His one day in the sun sure feels all too fleeting,
Now he's back, flush faced, looking none too thrilled
About getting grilled over leaving his constituents chilled.

Well, doesn't Ted Cruz's excuses take out first prize?
His taking a sojourn down South wasn't too wise,
'Protect our Great borders' strikes a dry hollow note-
Those Washington speeches now stick in his throat.

Well, doesn't Ted Cruz's cool logic simply take it all?
Once happy to build on and bolster Don's border wall,
Now with the frosty reception our border jumper's getting
His thoughts turn toward re-election- boy, now he's sweating.

‘Poor Ted- feeling not so Rio Grande?’

©Obbverse

The climate of late in the States is hitting a new low. No, we’re not talking politics, we’re talking polar.

Today's Weather Wrap Up.

All over the Continental United States
An ill wind brings in snow drifts and dire straits,
Louisiana has plunged towards an all-time low,
Even Surfside Beach is dusted with snow.

Be you from down South or ways up North,
Intrepid driver, don't set forth,
From the East coast to the West
Staying safe at home will serve us all best.

Yet some brave Souls put their trust in the Lord,
Venture out with sat-nav and faith on board,
Jeez, don't go out and rubberneck, please?
Must snow down South bring on a brain freeze?

Typically, dumb some people can't let it slide,
They just wanna go out on a fun joyride,
To make snow angels out by the seashore,
With God as your co-pilot, who needs a 4 X 4?

Stay wrapped up at home, crank up the heat,
What's the point of a quick spin down the street? 
Don't wrap those threadbare tyres in snow chains,
Leave the Kia in the carport, use your brains.

   'That staycation is lookin' good'

©Obbverse

There’s no place like home for the wandering prodigal son.

Slack Off Gets The Brush Off.

I told Mother Dear I'd drop in on Christmas Day,
What I neglected to say is 'Ma, I'm home to stay,'
Would she welcome a son broke, busted, divorced and thirty
Whose spouse has locked him out 'cause he'd done the dirty?

She listened silently to my sad well-worn tribulatory tale,
It's my Christmas tradition, regular as the Sears Roebuck sale,
And I expect she understands I've arrived here empty-handed-
She'd get her present when my unemployment cheque landed.

Mother knows her misbegotten son is a low-down louse
So she laid down the heavy ground rules of the house,
'You better keep more than just your nose clean, Buster,'
I guess her once Golden boy has lost his old lustre.

When the whole family came over I enjoyed Ma's fine meal,
Those many brandy and port toasts I savoured, a great deal,
I farewelled the family with air kisses and best wishes 
Then went for a power nap while Ma did the dishes.

I lay abed, my heavy head dizzied by all the drink
But ears not dulled enough to not hear the distant clink
As Mother stacked up the multitude of dishes to dry,
Then hear 'Oh my son, my son,' and she began to cry.

Staying sat at home with Ma proved tryingly  hard,
She said I'd best sweep up the shed, out in the back yard 
Since she won't open the door should I invite in the guys
Nor if I should try staggering in sometime after sunrise .

Ma's nagging kept dragging on all through New Year's day,
'My son, my son, get up and haul that dry old tree away,'
She'd taken down the old fading blinking lights
That had lit up a litany of past Christmas nights.

She'd unwound the twisted tinselled trappings of old,
The fraying strands of tarnished silver and dusty gold,
Boxed up the tree top angel, so well past her prime-
She's seen in far too many parties o'er Christmas time.

'Place those precious decorations in the Santa sack,
Put it up in your wardrobe, in place of your backpack,'
I'd say she made her New Year resolution perfectly clear,
'My son, my son, come Valentines Day, you're outta here.'

I drugged out the tree, both of us destined for the chop;
Did the carpet of needles make her sorrowful eyes drop?
Sighing, she began to run around the littered living room
Muttering over her venerable over-the-hill whining vacuum.

My burning ears faintly discerned 'Oh my son, oh my son,
Next Christmas please just present me with a nice new Dyson,
Or a Hoover, Electrolux, Roomba or Miele, I really don't care-
My son, who don't pick up a thing, just sucks and blows hot air.'

©Obbverse

(Based NOT on myself but very loosely on the Stephen King ‘character’ Larry Underwood in ‘The Stand,’ which I’m gamely re-reading after the Covid year?!?)