First Pet

July 30, 2008

When I was nine
I wanted a dog,

but I got a budgerigar.

It was blue and small
and didn’t talk

but I tried to make the best of it.

First, I tried to take my budgie for a walk.
I made a small lead, with a loop for it’s beak

but my budgie wouldn’t pay no heed.

Next, I took him to the park –
but my budgie wouldn’t fetch or bark.

I tried to feed my budgie lamb,
Winalot – out of a can –

but it was useless.

My budgie wouldn’t budge
my budgerigar was budgie-stant.

And so we took each other home
agreed to talk no more of bones –

we got on much better
after that.

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Budgie-Dog (kids gig)

July 30, 2008

When I was nine
I wanted a dog,

but I got a budgerigar

It was blue and small
and didn’t talk
but I tried to make
the best of it all.

First, I tried to take my budgie for a walk.
I made a small lead, with a loop for it’s beak

but my budgie wouldn’t pay no heed.

Next, I took him to the park
and asked if he would fetch a ball,

but my budgerigar
just pecked the grass.

I tried to feed my budgie bones,
Winalot, and biscuit bows-

but nothing like that ever worked

Eventually I gave it up –
bought a mirror for his cage
a perch, a feeder and some games

and it was only then and at that point
my budgie barked

and wagged his tail.

10 Tips for Finding Lost Caterpillars.

Leave the lid off their tank.
This was their home
you never know
they may come back.

Accept that this is unlikely.
Leaving the lid off is exactly
what got you into this mess
in the first place.

Leave leaves
at regular intervals
around the house.

Don’t tell anyone
why you are doing this.
There is no sense in causing
unnecessary alarm.

Loiter round corners.
Quietly call to them.

Walk carefully.
Hide all shoes.
Encourage others
to go bare foot.

Promise them anything,
in return for them coming back.

Don’t have
green furniture.

Don’t have
17 caterpillars.

If you lose them
hope that they turn

into 17 butterflies.

This Cloak
is a cloak of invisibility.
When I put it on
no one can see me.

I won’t put it on now
because I don’t want to scare you
I’d dissapear into air
and no one would believe you

But this cloak
is a cloak
of invisibility

Look If I put it on my arm
you can’t see it anymore

If I put it on my head
you can’t see my face to talk

This cloak
is a cloak
of invisibility

But ok
I’ll tell you what I’ll do
I’ll put it on and tell it not
to make me go invisible.

The Box

July 26, 2008

Once there was a box
but no one ever opened it
because they didn’t know what was in it.

They put it on top of a very high cupboard
where no one could see it
and it wouldn’t be a bother to anyone.

The box waited.

It waited all day and all night.
and all day and all night
and all day and all night

for years and years and years

until one day, they –
(the people in the house)
had a child – and the child
grew into a boy.

The boy loved exploring.

He explored in the kitchen and in the hallway
in the laundry and in the bathroom,
in the living room and in the bedrooms.

He explored under the stairs and in the garden
in the shed and in the parlour
under the beds and inside all the wardrobes

He explored whenever and wherever he could
and when he thought he could explore no more
he went into the spare room –

and that was when he found the box.

The box
was on the top
of the wardrobe

where the boys parents had left it

but for some reason –
even though the boy was pretty brave
he didn’t want to open it.

The boy thought of all the things
it might contain – like –

a crocodile with yellow fangs
an annaconda with a plan.

a monster made of cardboard boxes
or one made of rubber foxes
a monster made of shadowy creatures
or one made of lots of teachers

And the box waited
and the boy waited
and the box waited
and the boy waited
AND THE BOX WAITED
AND THE BOY WAITED
AND THE BOX WAITED
AND THE BOY WAITED

until at long last neither the boy or the box could wait any longer
and one night – when everyone else had gone to bed
the boy walked from his room
into the room with the box
and put a chair
up against the wardrobe
and stood on the chair
and reached up to the box
and slowly,
very, very slowly
using a blunt knife to cut the tape
opened the box up….

The Box

July 25, 2008

Once upon a time there was a box
and no one ever opened the box
because they didn’t know what was in it.
They put it on top of a very high cupboard
where no one could see it
and it wouldn’t be a bother to anyone.

The box waited.

It waited all day and all night.
And all night and all day.
and all day and all night

for years and years and years

until one day, they –
the people in the house
had a child.

The box waited.

It waited all day and all night
and all night and all day
and all day and all night

for years and years and years

until one day
the child
grew into a boy
of 12 years old.

and the boy went exploring.

He explored in the kitchen and the hallway
and the laundry and the bathroom,
and the living room and the bedrooms.

He explored under the stairs and in the garden
and in the shed and in the garage
and under the beds and inside the wardrobes

He explored whenever and wherever he could
and when he thought he could explore no more
he went into the spare room –

and that was when he found the box.

The box was on the top of the wardrobe
where the boys parents had left it
and for some reason –
though the boy was pretty brave as boys go
he didn’t want to open it.

The boy thought of all the things
the box might contain.

He thought it might contain –

a crocodile with yellow fangs
or an annaconda with a plan.

The more he looked at it
the more he felt certain that it might contain
something that he wouldn’t want to find –

like a monster made of cardboard boxes
or a monster made of sharp knives
or a monster made of shadowy creatures
or a monster made of lots of eyes

And the box waited
and the boy waited
and the box waited
and the boy waited

until at long last neither the boy or the box could wait any longer
and one night – when everyone else had gone to bed
The boy walked from his room
into the room with the box
and put a chair against the wardrobe
and stood on the chair
and reached up to the box
and slowly,
very, very slowly
using a blunt knife to cut the tape
he opened the box up….

On Route

July 2, 2008

These photos
were taken by Red Riding
on her way across the forest –

they start in summer,

(lizard green and yellow
like a salamander’s gullet)

end in Jan,

(bright teeth, lodged against the
black mouths of curved paths.)

You can’t see the girl
in any of them.
She was behind the lense.

There’s one –
that’s opened up a bowl
of tangled roots.

She took it as the wolf
had got her by the throat.

But can you see the shadow in the last?

It’s a photograph
of the blossom scattered ground –
and the detail is lost in the twigs,

but there she is –

she’s a dark shape
picking the fur
from off his skin –

sewing it in-
to a bloody coat.

Bells

June 29, 2008

She eased herself into the chair
like it was the palm of a giant
and she was the drawing
of a china doll. Days like this
they left her feeling old
but like a child and then
she’d think of school:
sharp bells – pulling into rooms,
down corridors, up stairs,
the bell for fire, that also meant
the massed crush of blue clothes,
her place in lines of classroom groans,
only leaving more exposed,
the beating bells
of inward breaths,
raised lungs,
straight chests. The bell
ringing in the morning,
too early for safe in the world.
She always thought the bells would stop
She should have known
She should have heard them
ringing then.

Venus Meets a Mannequin

June 19, 2008

Someone has painted the mannequin gold:
like the woman in the book
who got hit by her boyfriend – Midas’s girl.

Venus feels sorry for her,
she looks drawn – stretched with hunger,
dressed in swim wear – Venus –

traces the line of her narrow torso,
presses a palm against the window,
mouths words:

‘Are you in any pain?’
‘Is there anything I can do?’

Midas’s girl
stares straight ahead.
Says nothing.

They ask her if no clothes will be a problem.
Venus says no. She’s used to this –

days at sea and not a stitch
but they ask her to do strange things:

touch herself all over
like she’s got a broken limb.

She tells them that she’s good with shells.
Standing in one like a bell

But the studio, it’s got a style:

Venus gets a deeper tan
Lifts her hair from gold to platinum.

The photographer adjusts a light
to line a curve – smooth a thigh.

They say the game would earn her twice
If she could up her breasts a size.