A collection of poems and other writings...

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Absolutely Anything Achieved

My dear wife came across an advert for this company in the Big Issue - it seemed such a bizarre advert that she looked a little further and found their website.  This is my imaginary prospectus for the company and I hereby offer every possible disclaimer - it in no way reflects their actual services, and is not my endorsement of them as a company!

Absolutely Anything Achieved

Absolutely Anything Achieved -
just ask and this will be the case,
for there is nothing we won't undertake
and nothing we are unable to complete.

Should you need aid, assistance or advice,
should you require a helping hand or two,
we are available at a reasonable price
(subject to what we're asked to do.)

Absolutely Anything Achieved -
(within the bounds of law) just make demand.
There is no job too large or yet too small
that cannot be accomplished by our talented team.

There is no task that we will not address:
we can find your long-lost lover, cousin, son;
we can decorate your bathroom; paint your stairs;
or sell your company and, thus, release your funds.

We'll dot your tees and cross your eyes, of course,
and sort the details of your mother's will.
We'll fix the boundary dispute with the 'friend'
who lives next door, or we'll 'help' him move.

For gardening jobs we are happily engaged.
A chauffeur can be prearranged.
Need a bread oven in your granny flat?
No problem, let us draw up all the plans.

Fulfilling requests for vinegary pickled eggs
is a speciality in which we quite excel,
and sourcing other picas for the young
expectant mother can be done as well.

We'll ensure your acrimonious divorce
is hassle-free from start to sour end,
and we offer our cast-iron guarantee
that you will not be beaten in the settlement.

Do not despair if you should need to know
the value of your dying grandma's ring,
or we could arrange for you to go
and meet almost any player from the premier league.

A request that quite frequently recurs
is the acquisition, at a suitable price,
of a peerage, baronetcy, earldom, or the deeds
of some reknowned estate within the British Isles.

No problem there.  And did you see the news
of our great success in finding for Miss C____
a rare recording of Paul Robeson singing
all the greatest hits of Booker T?

Which brings us to the matter of our fee.
You'll find the trickier jobs may cost a little more
but please do not be too afraid to ask -
there is no obligation if you are too poor.

We sense you're wondering if there is a catch.
Do our services seem too good to be true?
a little over-ambitious in your eyes,
yes, maybe in ours, too.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

the last blackberries

am out too late again this year and all that’s left
are gritty on the vine, some bleeding under
clumsy thumbs, some bullet red, some green
some sourly shaded from the autumn sun

I pick a handful, two, just for the sake
of other more refulgent times and roll
them in this optimistic tub, where bruising stains
cloud plastic sides and maggots mouth their fill

more berries here but just at dog piss height
so left by others and by me and those
above protected by tall grey nettle shoots
that catch the fingers as the hand withdraws

then through the wood to see the tree that once
I fancied held my mother’s breath in sun,
where once I stood my hand held still against
the bark, and dumbly wept her loss again – again


The garden gate is new
and unfamiliar toys
stake claim to the lawn

some new flop-haired child’s tricycle
some other one’s ball
there are people living

in the place now
that I do not know
and although

I once inhabited
the ground they squat upon
knew every inch of hedgerow

I am a stranger now
and the kitchen cupboards
glimpsed through cupped hands

against the glass
are of a new design, soft closing
and where the cutlery drawer once was

it is not now
and where it was not
it now is

I imagine
I stand at the bedroom window
on the upper floor once more

and feel the tense twine that attaches me
to every item in the room
and every tree in the garden