School Harvest Festival

I’d bought a tin of baked beans, Heinz, the good ones.
In later years when Mom went on an experimental cooking streak
they would be replaced with a bag of pasta shapes,
but this year as it was last year I’d bought baked beans.
I lined up in the assembly hall with the rest of my class
and when I got to the front avoided the Headmasters eye,
trying instead to shove my beans to the back of the harvest display.
Cag-handed I knocked over Jason Spruce’s harvest basket
– an immense donation, rumour had it his mom hand made the basket –
Anyway his home grown apples bounced wildly across the floor
and his packet of Alpen split wide open.
The harvest festival was briefly delayed as the caretaker
threw down some chemical sawdust,
– the kind he usually saved for when kids had been sick –
and set to work with his trusty mop and bucket.
As I sat shame faced I could feel Jason Spruce and his family’s eyes
burn into the back of my neck I noticed the harvest display
was full of tins of baked beans.
A proud green tinned army, some dented
victims of playground fights some with
faded labels where they had been found at the back of dark cupboards.
There were baked beans and plenty of them,
plus in support a scattering of spaghetti hoops.
When we filed out to go back to class an old lady
from the home the school supported whispered to me.
“We all hate Alpen and those apples are always sour.
We like the beans though, especially on toast.”
I wanted to smile but as inevitable as the dark nights
that were drawing in a fight was coming with Jason Spruce
and I needed to keep my wits about me.

If a Sausage Roll doesn’t have meat it’s still a Sausage Roll

The newspapers are screaming that it’s the apocalypse and the end of days,
“Society is crumbling,” the man on breakfast TV says.
The internet has gone in to complete meltdown,
The doomsday clock’s on the last minute of its countdown.
The nightly news broadcasts. ” We’re now at Def Con One,
Adding, ” if we don’t act quickly everything we love will be gone.”
Outside you can see rioters burning cars on the street,
All because now you can buy a sausage roll that has no meat.


Yes the UK now has a Vegan sausage roll and its causing some people a problem, read more here.

The sacred art of barbecuing

I place on the altar slabs of bloody red meat,
that I hunted down as the sun rose.
tearing apart with my teeth, the packet from Lidl.

I move the sacrifice into the sacred pattern,
determined by the casting of runes it lies on
the metal grill that bears the holy sigil, ASDA shopping basket.

I start to ignite the purifying flames repeating
the chant I learnt by heart from my father.
Sparking the magic fire stick, I chant, “light you bastard.”

Slowly the sacrifice blackens, but the gods are impatient,
I apply the blessed lighter fuel, then my hands and feet
move in the revered pattern, putting the fire on my trousers out.

Finally the holy smoke snakes heavenward
joining the black clouds that have started to gather.
I erect the consecrated brolly and stay put.

The skies reject my burnt offering and the rain falls
I anoint myself with the blessed four cans of Banks’ mild,
wondering if I had done a rain dance by accident.

A Poem for Breakfast at the Verve Poetry Ferstival

This year I had the pleasure of hosting a performance of poetry from the Birmingham Stanza Poetry group at the Verve Poetry Festival held at Waterstones. It was a great morning with a  lot of talented poets performing, here’s one of my contributions that I wrote specially for the event, Poetry Breakfast.

We’ve got for your pleasure…

Poetry hot from the grill
sizzling, steaming, spitting, sensations.
As you partake
fatty odes and greasy sonnets will
smear your lips, dribble
down your chin forming
a glorious mess, that you will
want to devour again
and again and again.

Poetry smoothies,
stories and dreams, whirling,
dancing and blending together.
Then served with love and
garnished with inspiration.

Poems as sharp and bitter as
the first cup of coffee of the day.
Refrains that cut through your senses
jolting you out of your seat
with their raw power.

Or poems as cool as milk straight
from the fridge. Pure, organic,
fresh words, that you gulp
down with relish,
smacking your lips.

I have heard that some people skip breakfast,
they don’t know what they are missing

After Poetry there should always come Beer

After poetry
there should always come beer.
Bitter hops match
the poet’s temperament,
slowly sipping dark beer
trying to quell darker thoughts.

Glasses are clunked down
contemplation commences.
Staring into froth,
wondering what will appear.

This poem is the spiritual successor to this little poem that at the time of writing I was unaware would grow into my first book of poetry.

There’s a Message in my Sandwiches

When we first got together
you wrapped my sandwiches in foil.

I’d gently run my thumb down the metal
With a soft pressure.
Imagining I was running it down the back of your neck.
Then I’d part the foil, peeling it away slowly
Like I would the dress from your shoulders.

Next I’d take a tiny scrap of foil
Reverently place it on my tongue
Running it around my mouth relishing
the electric shock,
Reminding me of when my lips used to touch
The nape of your neck.

Now you wrap my sandwiches in cellophane.

A clammy body bag, sweaty to the touch.
I would try not to flinch from it
Like when I accidently brush against your skin.

A cheap covering that can’t disguise what’s within.
Easily see through like the lies and promises I make.
Grasped at it tears easily, falling apart as we are doing now.

Nobody Told Me We Had Wine

I should have put the dinner in the oven on time,
I should have got the washing in off the line,
I should have tried to make words rhyme,
But nobody told me we had wine.

Now the grape has me firmly in its grasp,
Alcohol has my brain tightly clasped,
My liver surfaces for one last gasp,
As I empty another wine glass.

So I dedicate tonight to drowning my sorrow,
Glad that my legs seem quite hollow,
My jobs to hell in a hand cart can go,
After all there’s always tomorrow.

Blue Mocha

My mocha should be chocolate brown
Instead it seems to me to be blue.
It should comfort me on this cold day,
Instead it just reminds me of you.

Because to me it just tastes bitter,
Each time I raise it to my lips.
Its warmth on my mouth stings,
Reminding me of our last kiss.

So that is why my mocha’s blue,
It’s because of you my dear.
You’ve given it a sad aftertaste,
The salty sting of my tears.


Happy International Day of Happiness

Happy International Day of Happiness, here’s a poem I first wrote in 2011 that still stands true for me today. Apologies to the Sound of Music!

Mayo on chips and strong real ale pints,
New Dr Who and buses arriving on time.
Parcels from Ebay all tied up with string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Chicken kebabs and strong mocha coffee,
Clean public toilets and treacle toffee.
Pushing my daughter on her new swing,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Time off work and weekends that go slow,
Rainy days so the lawn I can’t mow.
Freshly cooked beer-battered onion rings
These are a few of my favourite things.

When my internet’s down
When my alarm rings
When I’m feeling sad.
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

I’m not a Tosser – a poem for Pancake Day


click for best quality picture and enjoy your pancakes.