Category Archives: Poetry

Speaking as the Moon

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The challenge from Sarah over at dVerse is to write a piece of prosery, of flash fiction (limit 144 words) incorporating the phrase “I dreamt I was the moon” from a poem by Alice Oswald.
So here goes:

Speaking as the Moon

I dreamt I was the moon, a cheddar searchlight in the sky waiting for the arrival of man with his small steps and giant leaps, his garbage can machines, his religion, his culture, his competing ideologies, his self-aggrandizements, his bragging rights, his racism, his greed, his pomposity, his self-importance, his astronauts named “Buzz”. I tell you, colonization never works out for the colonized. Speaking as the moon, I have no desire to be turned into a destination for space tourists or a land fill or, more accurately, a moon fill, then to be compensated, to be re-moonerated (a bit of lunar humour) some hundred years later by some conscience-stricken liberal prime minister of Canada. They say that nature abhors a vacuum, well, speaking as the moon, I can handle a vacuum quite nicely, it’s vacuity, I abhor.

Trumplings (A Retrospective and a quote from T.S. Eliot)

Orange is the New Bleak 1 (3)


The other day, I was looking back on the number of Donald Trump related posts on this blog and a pattern emerged. In 2015, there were 3 posts; in 2016, 10 posts; in 2017, 23 posts; in 2018, 19 posts; in 2019, 2 posts so far.
That’s when I thought of T.S. Eliot:
“And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned wriggling on a wall”
It seems, looking at the above stats, that in my mind, at least, Donald has been formulated and there is little more to be said creatively, even the outrage has become stale. He has the approval of over 40% of American voters and maybe now that is the subject, the man himself has been defined and will not change.

These are the Trump posts  I had most fun writing , they rely a bit more (I think) on language rather than straight polemic. They are arranged somewhat in chronological sequence

“Agent Orange has a dark Moment” was published in Rat’s Ass Review” ,and “Donald Trump – On Reflection” was published in “Oddball Magazine“. “Trumputin” was published in Anti-Heroin Chic .




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Donald’s Early Days

A farrago of fiascos,
banishments and bans;
weekends at Mar-a-Lago
the world in his hands.


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Agent Orange has a Dark Moment
Do you know who I miss? Jeb Bush. I miss Jeb Bush. He was my first. When I hit him with that low energy jibe and he fell apart and all the Bush family could not put Humpty together again, I knew I was on to something. Then Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted, I miss them too. But most of all, I miss Hillary, Crooked Hillary. Man, she was tough, had me on the ropes. It took Comey and Vlad, that pointy headed villain, to get me back on my feet. I was nearly out for the count, which might not have been a bad thing. Who needs this shit! I should give Vlad a call, I’m a bit worried -there’s no such thing as a free hack.
Reince Priebus – what kind of fucking name is that? It sounds like bad news from the doctor. “I’m sorry, Donald, you have a Reince Priebus on your rectum and it doesn’t look good”. Ha, I just made myself laugh. And Bannon, I’ve seen sofas on the side of the road in better shape than that rumpled fucker. Spice Box? Hardest job in the world – explaining the unexplainable. That Melissa Mc.Carthy just slays me. How come all the cool people are on the other side? Who have I got? Ryan and Pence? Bland and Blander? Where did Pence come from anyway with his brush cut and his antediluvian politics? The best surgeons in the world couldn’t remove the poker from that guy’s ass. Antediluvian, you didn’t expect that did you?
Talking of cool, I should give Barack a call, ask him down to Florida for a game of golf; check his birth certificate again (Joking! How I miss those days). Man, I hate this fucking White House furniture, is it Friday yet?


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Haiku for Donald

petulant pillock

postcranial curmudgeon

bombastic buffoon.


Orange is the New Bleak 1 (3)
On Reflection…. Donald Trump

America has given birth
to a giant orange child
a zaftig infant Gulliver
striding the ravaged earth
of his own imagination
trampling whole villages
swallowing villagers whole.



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Trumputin (a romance)

Don loves Vlad
Vlad loves Don
Love as big as
A nuclear bomb.

Front door, back door,
Kremlin, tower
Nuclear love
Nuclear power.


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The Toddler King (excerpt)

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

in the empty parking lot
of a big box store
a plastic bag pirouettes
on the halitotic breeze

national monuments
fear for their lives

the adjectives – good, bad, great-
drop in value again

the toddler king
picks a fight with himself.



Anderson Cooper’s Hair (updated)

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Anderson Cooper’s Hair

There’s something comforting
about Anderson Cooper’s hair
its quietude
its insouciance
its unabashed whiteness
no Paul Manafort chocolate brown
no Clooney dusting of grey
no Pavarotti boot polish black
just plain white
lightly cropped
a hint of a comb over, maybe
but that’s ok
and it does not move
Hurricane Barry
a Midwest tornado
vile invective
a blast of foul air
from the president’s mouth
nothing moves Anderson Cooper’s hair;
to misquote Paul McCartney
and triple down on a preposition
in this ever changing world
in which we live in,
there’s something
comforting about that.

Haiku written in response to a comment by the incomparable Steve Simpson.

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Haiku written in response to a comment by the incomparable Steve Simpson.

it’s summer here, Steve
keeping the syllable count
as low as I can.


(see Steve’s comment here )

( if you are not following Steve’s blog, you should be, he’s one of the most original poets out there!)

The Water Taxi Arrives (Caye Caulker Chronicles Take 2)


The Water Taxi Arrives (Caye Caulker Chronicles Take 2)

like Sherpas in search of an expedition
the backpackers tumble onto the dock
clutching Lonely Planet guidebooks
it’s nowhere near as lonely here
as their guidebooks promise
but it is part of the planet
they got that right
it is part of the planet.

(in the café below
Bob Marley is still jammin’
the locals talk of paradise lost
of Eve and apples bitten.)

This is a rewrite of a previous post.

Fracking Song


Fracking Song

You’re standing on the corner
Watching the trucks roll past
Pumping out their diesel fumes
Pumping out that carbon gas

And it’s the middle of winter
And it’s twenty below
And that gas just sits there
With nowhere to go

There’s something wrong in the valley
Babies stillborn
Ten in one year
And they call that the norm

There’s something wrong in the valley
Poison in the ground
Something wrong in the valley
Since the frackers came to town.


The challenge over at dVerse is to write a poem consisting of 4 quatrains. This is a song lyric adapted to that form.


A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

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A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

like that rabbit on TV
our love will last

you know, the pink one with the drum
(our love will last)

and the dark sunglasses
(our love will last)

who sometimes hits a wall
(our love will last)

and sometimes stalls
(our love will last)

but he keeps banging that drum
(our love will last)

the rabbit keeps banging the drum
(our love will last)

but unlike our love
alkaline batteries are not everlasting

and eventually the rabbit falls
breathes his last

and we need another simile
one that lasts

like plastic in a landfill
our love will last

like craters on the moon
our love will last

like the power of the sun
our love will last

like the winds out on the ocean
our love will last.


In my previous ghazal , “Bucket List” I vowed to write a ghazal about everlasting love for the dVerse ghazal challenge. So there you have it, my first love poem, a big challenge – I’m the kind of person whose usual response to the words “I love you” is “right back at ya”.

Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym (quadrille)


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Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym.

listening to Carlos Santana
in Kitsilano Gym,
his guitar solos
leading always
to that existential wail
on the top fret
above the cutaway
takes me back to Asbury Park
walking along the boardwalk
having watched Woodstock
my head an unsustainable mix
of idealism, hedonism.


This is a response to Quadrille #82 – Fretboard of Poetry, the prompt from Kim at dVerse, which is to use the word fret in a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.


Landline (for Dad)

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Landline (for Dad)

Sometimes, I think
I should text my dad
give him an update
tell him where I’m at.
Not that he would answer
he’s been gone a few years now
and even if he were alive
texting would hardly be his thing;
at the turn of the century
he was still approaching
what we now call a ‘landline’
with some trepidation.

Landline: a rope
uncoiling towards the shore.

He once told me
that when we have children
of our own
we begin to understand
our own parents better
so I think my text
would be an attempt
to let him know
that, yes, dad
I have found this
to be true.


Stock Market (a tanka)

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Stock Market

a bear is on the loose
the once priapic market
losing altitude

false hopes and false dreams for sale
nothing tangible.


This is response to the dVerse prompt to write about markets. It’s a haiku that I have upgraded (?) to a tanka, check out the poetry over at dVerse, some excellent market poems.

The photo is of an actual market in Sicily.



Foraging with Farage (poem)

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Foraging with Farage

In his new television series
Foraging with Farage
coming soon to The Bollocks Network
Nigel discusses
the influx of foreign fungi
to the hallowed fields and forests
of the Kingdom By The Sea
and the subsequent decline
of the Great English Mushroom.

In the final episode,
under the influence of psilocybin
Nigel takes a walk in the forest
and encounters a naked Boris Johnson
sitting on a giant toad stool
in a sunlit glade.
Boris, Nigel exclaims,
full of chagrin
and psilocybin,
I thought you were a natural blonde!
Has it all been a lie?
This is dream sequence, you fool,
Boris replies
The writers have run out of ideas.
He then tumbles off the toad stool
and bounds on all fours into the forest.
I tell you folks
if you miss one television series this year
make sure it’s this one!

This was originally posted for Open Link Night over at dVerse.

I have just read an intriguing prompt over at “Imaginary Garden with Toads” to do with unreliable narrators in poetry and prose, I thought this poem might fit that category.


Bucket List (a ghazal)

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Bucket List (a ghazal)

mountain climbing in County Meath
put it on my bucket list

fly fishing in the Sahara
put it on my bucket list

snow shoeing in the Serengeti
put it on my bucket list

surfing in Saskatchewan
put it on my bucket list

stop hiding behind a shield of sarcasm
Really? Put that on my bucket list?

write a ghazal about everlasting love
aw fuck it, put it on my bucket list

stop peppering my poems with profanity
that’s a prohibition, it has no place on the list

and furthermore, call me James, Jimmy, Jimbo, Jim
but don’t fuck with my bucket list!


It’s ghazal time again over at dverse, so here’s another attempt. By the way, in a classical ghazal (which this is not!), it is customary to insert one’s name in the final couplet.

Sorry about the language, I’ll do anything for a rhyme!

Saturday Morning in Idabel (Sunday Morning Coming Down)

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Saturday Morning in Idabel

There’s a dead armadillo
On the side of the road
Empty beer can in his claws
That joke just never gets old

There’s a dog on the shoulder
Trying to bite his own tail
I’m in the motel parking lot
Watching that dog fail

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go.

Down at the Piggly Wiggly
There’s no one in the aisles
No one at the check-out counter
Hasn’t been for a while

There’s a big box store sitting
Out of town, someplace
People are moving towards it
Like it came from outer space

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go

And Cookie he is worried
His wife’s leg has turned black
He’s got a concealed weapon’s license
A shotgun and a rack

And he has no idea
How he’ll pay the hospital bill
He says: guns never hurt nobody
only people kill

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go


Amaya, over at dVerse has asked for a poem about or based on a song to which we have a strong emotional connection. The above piece is a song lyric I wrote thinking of Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. I used to travel in my work, and I got stuck in strange towns and cities on Sunday mornings quite a lot. Being away from my family was a depressing experience at times and Kris Kristofferson’s song lyrics resonated. On the upside, being stuck in Idabel, Oklahoma, generated a poem, and a song lyric which my friend, John Mitchell wrote music for, (I have previously posted about that process).



“On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleepin’ city sidewalk
And Sunday mornin’ comin’ down”