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5d · 48
ADMIT ONE
Tom had this preconception
of death, when life was through
there’d be a huge reception
to show the film of you

a film where everything was real
and shot ‘fly on the wall’
a film where every scene you steal
but shows you warts an’ all

with every good and every sin
until the credits roll
then critical reviews pour in
to judge your mortal soul

and hot from crematorium
it looked like it was true
Tom saw the auditorium
but had to join the queue

the fanfare for his shot at fame
was really rather flat
no marquee lights that spelled his name
it fell far short of that

no Cadillacs or carpets, red
no glamorous affair
no tux of black, he’d been misled
about his premiere

he bought a ticket from the stand
that told him ADMIT ONE
through darkened stalls was led by hand
to where a torch was shone

then handing him a large popcorn
the lights went down to dim
as velvet curtain cords were drawn
to show the film of him

heaven or hell they’d then select
that’s how he’d heard it goes
but in Tom’s case not quite correct-
a different film was chose

not clips of all the things Tom did
from birth to judgement day
not things well known or things he’d hid
not ciné vérité

his film was an alternate cut-
with some deleted scenes
not the life he just had lived but-
one that might have been

a massive action/drama
not documentary
in widescreen panorama
and glorious 3D

locations that he did not go
and things he’d never seen
the star, a man he did not know-
but one he wished he’d been

translated well to film from book
his charm hard to resist
mixed matinee idol good looks
with Liam Neeson’s fists

from day one until he was dead
in all things he prevailed
things Tom hadn’t done or said
were lovingly detailed

Tom’s life an over-flowing cup
he could not cram in more
romantic interest quota up
he’d even wrote the score

you’d queue around the multiplex
to catch this guy’s new reel
a man of massive intellect
and rugged *** appeal

a Tom who had no equal
this Tom, the film averred
would surely get a sequel
this Tom real Tom preferred

his hopes and dreams were realised
no errors did he make
a Tom who’d been idealised
but absolutely fake

just fantasy and make believe
to give the film some drive
but not one thing Tom did achieve
while he had been alive

then just as he was ushered out
towards the Pearly Gates
Tom said “who was that film about
I never been that great”

“your footage of had to be excised”
they said under their breath
“then C-G’ied, enhanced, revised
to not bore God to death

it’s not enough to do good stuff
to be let into glory
he will rebuff if your cut’s rough
or lacking in good story

God gets his kicks now from Netflix
and so the bar’s too high
if we don’t fix with camera tricks
for heaven, don’t apply”

Tom thanked them for the re-shoots
the budget they had spent
was glad they’d dubbed his voice to mute
and on his way he went

to run with the deception
embrace the way it is
forget his preconceptions
because hey, that’s showbiz

so at your wrap, your final take
hope that your film will sell
if they don’t do a remake
then it’s box office Hell.
Feb 5 · 255
THE BOX
The X Rhymes Feb 5
while in Pandora’s place
he found a wooden stand
from which a metal case
he took into his hand

a tiny silver chest
with an inviting glow
but what to do for best -
to know or not to know?

to open up the box
and see what was inside
or leave alone its locks
he couldn’t quite decide

what knowledge could he steal?
what secrets would he find?
was any of it real?
or all just in his mind?

ignorance is bliss
he heard himself intone
and understanding this
returned her mobile phone.
Jan 11 · 286
CONSPIRACY
The X Rhymes Jan 11
when the facts are unclear
there's a book you can buy
a podcast to hear
YouTube to spy
on the Machiavellian
pulling of strings
and the general Orwellian
nature of things
confusion? perhaps...
an honest mistake
if the rational naps
the conspiracies wake
 
to dark hearts of government
a crashed UFO
the ark of the covenant
Charlie Hebdo
insiders recounting
false flags and traps
slipshod accounting
the banking collapse
paranoia and doubt
something misunderstood?
a common sense drought
or conspiracy flood?

the diciest vices
the smokiest rooms
the ******* crisis
celebrity grooms
it's nineteen-eighty-four
caught on CCTV
an all out info war
over free energy
where did it begin
what made healthy folk sick
why's reality thin
and conspiracy thick?
 
well the queen is a reptile
a shape-shifting snake
resistance is futile
the moon landings: FAKE!
the men of the church
join the alien greys
holding hands as they lurch
to the ending of days
because nigh is the time
as the bible foretold
with the facts written fine
and conspiracy bold

while the hadron collider
goes faster than light
so says that insider
with God in their sights
and Israel and Palestine
fake dead sea scrolls
the CIA, clandestine
grassy green knolls
and they fired the shot
not Oswald, Harvey, Lee
so the truth costs a lot
but conspiracy's free
 
and now comes the sound
from the chip in your head
says the world's flat not round
and that Elvis ain't dead
and you're losing the plot
think they're tapping your phone
that's why Lennon got shot
Paul McCartney’s a clone
and the knowledge all blocked
by illuminati
secrets can't be unlocked
IT’S A CONSPIRACY!

or the sound of dissent
like an old protest song
where there’s no real intent
to set right any wrongs
of all those nine-elevens
and those Sandy Hooks
and all those seven-sevens
just a shiny new book
where you'll struggle find
any real smoking gun
thinking straight is a bind
but conspiracy's fun.
Dec 2019 · 455
BAD DREAMS, NO SLEEP
The X Rhymes Dec 2019
BAD DREAMS, NO SLEEP
(SHEET WEEP GRAVE RETREAT)



moon beams, count sheep
dark themes, mind sweeps
bad dreams, no sleep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat

supreme - big leap
esteem - trash heap
bad dreams, no sleep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat

hills seem too steep
fast streams, cold, deep
bad dreams, no sleep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat

teeth gleam, eyes peep
loud screams, blood seeps
bad dreams, no sleep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat

sweat sheens, skin creeps
mind deems, thrills cheap
just dreams, go sleep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat

moon beams, count sheep
dark themes, mind reaps
bad dreams, you’ll keep
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet, weep, grave, retreat
sheet
weep
grave
REPEAT.
Fatboy Grim.
Dec 2019 · 103
BURIED ALIVE
The X Rhymes Dec 2019
a rabbit went manic
deep under the wood
digging in panic
and clawing the mud
a trap was constructed
to not let him pass
the tunnel obstructed
by something like glass
though light he could see
he could not get out
he’d never be free
of that he’d no doubt
but yet he would try
his best to survive
he knew he would die
if buried alive
with effort restricted
he gave all his worth
but soon was constricted
by freshly dug earth
a taste of extreme
terror for sure
anxiety dream
or stark metaphor
a direct transmission
by mind TV set
if not quite a vision
a potent vignette
emotions exerted
from feeling his pain
i woke disconcerted
to not sleep again
so rose feeling sickly
and weary and rough
the morning came quickly
but not quick enough.
Dream I had last night.  A perfectly rendered snapshot, a succinct image. A vignette even.  And the vision is only the overture to what will be a long and uncomfortable night of big dreams in little sleeps and long spells of waking in various degrees of fear and paranoia.
Nov 2019 · 166
SASQUATCH
The X Rhymes Nov 2019
some say it’s not true
it has never occurred
since he’s hardly on view
and he’s so rarely heard

still they’d head to the woods
set their cameras to roll
to catch if they could
Bigfoot out for a stroll

along the lake shores
standing nearly eight feet
like that thing from Star Wars
but a bit more discreet

likes to trick and deceive
keep himself quite aloof
knows we like to believe
but are less keen on proof

so one second he’s there
and the next gone away
leaving swatches of hair
maybe some DNA

or a trail of footprints
with a ruler beside
as he like to drop hints
that the Sasquatch abides

yeti wants to live free
not be caught and made tame
and if he were me
I would do just the same

and I think you would too
it’s a high cost you pay
for a room in a zoo
and three square meals a day.
Nov 2019 · 52
THE DOPPLEGANGER
The X Rhymes Nov 2019
is it cause and effect
when you pause and reflect
through a bus window driven at night
the same view in reverse
or a new universe
with a face looking back that's not right
 
someone faking a smile
maybe taking in bile
with a profile of rake thin grey cheeks
once enhanced with laugh lines
circumstance redefined
in a matter of just a few weeks
 
lights aglow on high streets
put on show the crow’s feet
that don't go with a face that's on-board
and etched in like stretch marks
they're a sketch of the darks
from a smile that's been spread far too broad

and defined by it’s anger
this malign doppelganger
has no warmth in its eye, only cold
where the dread's run amok
and has sped up the clock
left a handsome face premature old
 
and it leers out of space
with a queer kind of face
that might once have been eager to please
looking weathered and strained
from endeavours that maimed
through the life it spent down on its knees
 
in the glare of headlights
it stares back for a fight
and the raindrops leave pock mark and scars
like a cosmic inversion
or a comic *******
or perhaps just the person you are?
Nov 2019 · 87
FULL OF HIMSELF
The X Rhymes Nov 2019
he felt like he was starving
and needing to survive
his limbs he took to carving
to eat himself alive

he thought ‘I’m a delicious chap’
while drinking his own blood
‘I will not share a single scrap
I just taste so **** good’

then choking on his body fat
he knew why he was doomed
he’d always been a selfish ****
completely self-consumed.
Nov 2019 · 158
MEPHISTO’S BAR
The X Rhymes Nov 2019
when angels fall from glory
and need to douse their pain
they drink in purgatory
but on an earthly plain

their bar is called Mephisto’s
the lost souls favourite haunt
it’s found beyond the discos
the clubs and restaurants

a place of mostly ill-renown
-so Trip Advisor says
that comes to seedy parts of town
at certain times of day

you’ll come across it’s open door
at dusk, as night draws near
and right where it was not before
Mephisto’s just appears

it’s kind of a way station
between Heaven and Hell
the perfect destination
for pre-dead clientele

so there the living dead are found
and spirits downing ale
Mephisto’s is unhallowed ground
for those with souls for sale

the room smells old and sour
since they’ve decayed a tad
it’s always happy hour
and yet they’re always sad

so look in your vicinity
it’s closer than you think
Mephisto, the licensee
will stand you your first drink

a libation called damnation
if you’re too lost to care
just say this incantation -
IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE

then dress down to dishevelled
be anorexic thin
and try to look bedevilled
or ruminating sin

and join them under neon
along that granite strip
on stools so often ****** on
your elbows mop the drips

you’ll fit right in and soon espouse
Mephisto’s drinking hole
the first one’s always on the house
the rest are on your soul.
You know what the difference is between an alcoholic and a poet?
Neither do I.
Oct 2019 · 145
HALLOWEEN
The X Rhymes Oct 2019
in the land of their tormentor
the ****** stood lined in wait
‘abandon hope who enter’
was spanned across the gate
 
they fell from grace for lives of sin
but Hell came with respite
- a spell of out instead of in
to dwell on Earth one night
 
despite the well-drawn boundaries
that night, with all their worth
they’d ignite hellish foundries
and set light to the Earth
 
and scare without distinction
nowhere, no one unburned
their flair for mass extinction?
beware! it’s been well earned.
Oct 2019 · 232
GLASS
The X Rhymes Oct 2019
with a drink in his hand
as the pool clicked and rolled
on the stool that he manned
looking out at the cold
Tom was left in no doubt
that the membrane was thin
between those who were out
and the ones who were in
watching winos compete
for a jaw at the jar
in their place on the street
from the warmth of the bar
where their eyes seemed to say
as they stared him right back
it is not a long way
to our side of the track
and it takes very little
to fall on your ***
because people are brittle
and they shatter like glass
like your windows at home
or the face of your watch
the screen of your phone
or that tumbler of scotch
from the tiniest chip
and the lightest of scratch
anybody can slip
when there’s no one to catch
Tom said ‘thanks for the tip
there but for God go I’
raised the glass to his lips
and averted his eye.
The only thing that separates any of us from the winos on the corner is the glass of the pub window we are watching them through.
Oct 2019 · 270
THE SHADOW OF A CAR
The X Rhymes Oct 2019
in the kitchen making toast
waiting for his tea to brew
Tom was startled by a ghost
that just happened to pass through

from the corner of his eye
through a door that stood ajar
he saw something floating by
just the shadow of a car?

right between the lock and jamb
past the pictures on the wall
could have sworn that was a man
moving quickly down the hall

or the postman at the window
dropping letters on the mat
‪Sunday morning Tom, don’t think so‬
it was certainly not that

so a random winter draught
that had blown in from the street
set the hanging clothes to waft
made a ghost of drying sheets

but that movement through the frame
left him thinking quite surreal
and confirming his eye’s claim
was the way it made him feel

it had chilled him to the bone
half asleep to wide awake
and made breakfast on his own
seem like such a big mistake

so his mind reached out to cling
at the tricks the brain can play
told his ears ignore the ring
try to think a different way

but he came to no excuse
that was easy to defend
with his arms the flesh of goose
and his hair stood out on end

since this reasoning was thin
he was perfectly aware
it went out instead of in
turned and floated up the stair

from a night of causing frights
no doubt, to bed one could assume
and when later on he might
find it sleeping in his room

but he had to get a grip
and stop staring at the door
into madness he would slip
if he thought of it much more

so he went back to his toast
stabbed the jam inside the jar
told himself that was no ghost
just the shadow of a car.
Ghost
Aug 2019 · 623
‘BELLA LUGOSI
The X Rhymes Aug 2019
~ one ~

it had happened before
and would happen again
since the vampire lore
gave a life without pain

at least that’s how it played
on the cinema screen
in the films they had made
where her heroes had been

and no need to apply
there was no interview
they just fed and you’d die
become Nosferatu

so she welcomed his bite
when The Count came her way
was a child of the night
and allergic to day

then she changed her I.D.
since she fed at the neck
thought about Chrissie Lee
or perhaps Maxine Shrek

but Bela was best
thought it suited her well
and Lugosi, impressed?
she just added an  ‘L’

‘Bella bought the same clothes
as her heroes had worn
and staged vampire shows
every night, dusk ‘til dawn

‘Bella never would die
‘Bella never grew old
‘Bella bled her men dry
‘Bella left her men cold

~ two ~

it was easy to see
why that lifestyle she’d crave
since the food was all free
the rent cheap on her grave

so for her time would freeze
and her looks never age
but like any disease
it came with an end stage

in a rapid demise
from a personal fail
time did not make her wise
or her thinking less frail

for a friend, stayed up late
so they could reminisce
she thought sleeping would wait
gave her coffin a miss

and when morning arrived
how the daylight had burned
went from dark where she’d thrived
to the hell she had earned

and left no more than coal
like a funeral pyre
only smoke for a soul
on the last of the fire

she had stayed up too long
she had not gone to bed
became words in a song
‘Bella Lugosi’s dead

as for vampire lore
and that life without pain
well, it’s happened before
and will happen again.
See also
THE VAMPIRE SHOW
for a different version of events
Aug 2019 · 490
RAT WAR
The X Rhymes Aug 2019
RAT WAR

Chapter 1:

AFFRAY

in which the reader can explore
how home and garden spats
can escalate to full scale war
between mankind and rats

•••

the story starts some summer’s day
when in a tranquil spot
a human/rodent lawn affray
leaves tempers piping hot

as pleasant stroll turns fight for life
in lush green habitat
commencing as a sunburned wife
screams OH MY GOD - A RAT!

then kicking boots, a swinging *****
a husband’s profane curse
while rat’s escape is somehow made
before things get much worse

under fence and into ditch
he cowers in a ball
tail curled tight, afraid to twitch
hid where the weeds grow tall

as feeling fouled a gardener growls
he’ll spill blood on the grass
and waves a trowel to disembowel
should next that rat trespass

but when the dust cloud settles
the rat makes like a mouse
creeps quietly through nettles
and nests beneath their house


Chapter 2:

OUTCAST

in which our rat will contemplate
the human love of hate
a plot device to illustrate
anthropomorphic traits

•••

men have built this social wedge
dividing skin and fur
if born the wrong side of the hedge
you’ll hear their vermin slur

like calling pigeons rats with wings
their prejudice is blind
outrageous fortune’s arrows and slings
do not ennoble minds

they make survival the key skill
for rebels and outcasts
a victim of this ethnic ill
our rat had caught on fast

all problems need solutions though
so gathering his friends
with revolution seeds to sow
our rat says “...ears, do lend

they ghettoise and blight our lives
for reasons rather vague
they cut our tails with carving knives
and blame us for the plague

the question’s be or do not be
acquiesce or defend
lets take arms to that troubled sea
and by opposing, end

my friends once more unto the breach
Apocalypse right Now!
Reservoir Dogs meets Halo Reach
oh brother, where art thou?”

but no paws raised to get involved
no songs sung in protest
and so the issue went unsolved
polite interest at best

they’d just keep calm and carry on
concede, surrender, yield
and so with hope of conflict gone
it seemed their fate was sealed

he thought of payback until late
then finally, went to bed
roll over and capitulate?
he’d sooner end up dead


Chapter 3:

WAR!

in which the tale continues
to chemical warfare
the holocaust that imbues
this rat’s thousand yard stare

•••

with their need to annihilate
such horrors man can think
a rat could underestimate
the depths to which they’d sink

that’s why he failed to smell a rat
when man set out some food
was such his lust for body fat
obligingly he chewed

while thinking what a lucky chap
their prejudice has turned
so he devoured every scrap
until his stomach burned

and when the meal would not digest
his mood went south from thrilled
and feeling ill returned to nest
to find his friends all killed

every one of them deceased
the reason plain to see
they too had found that poisoned feast
and ate as much as he

horror struck as rat deduced
from all the ***** hurled
his life, like theirs would be reduced
he’d not long for this world

behind him was his last sunrise
ahead lay no man’s land
a distant look befell eyes
he’d make his final stand


Chapter 4:

LAST STAND

in which our rat will meet his end
but just as death draws near
a potent message he will send
that’s received loud and clear

•••

they say that an undignified crawl
from certain points of view
can still be seen as ‪walking tall‬
depends where you crawl to

a one-man mission rat would lead
avenging those deemed ‘pest’
the only weapon he would need
was nature’s own bomb vest

he’d sneak in under radar
and dig past their front line
to this cruel world bid au revoir
and make himself a mine

hit ramming speed and say farewell
and give as good as got
his parting shot, the putrid smell
when he began to rot

so through a hole already gnawed
rat crawled to meet his fate
the pain too great to be ignored
but soon, he’d detonate

from deep within their crawlspace
a lesson he would teach
a rictus smile on his dead face
hid way beyond their reach

on slow release as he decayed
he’d poison their clean air
a ***** bomb, a gas-grenade
low-tech, bio, warfare

by process of corruption
an A-bomb, he’d mushroom
a weapon of mass disruption
to stink out all their rooms

like chlorine, sarin, cyanide
enough to sting the eyes
while flying from his rancid hide
for shrapnel he’d throw flies

no armistice or peace treaties
in this rat’s one-man war
he’d go down taking casualties
by drifting through their floor

that’s how you earn the name hero
when hope is almost gone
if sucker-punched by torpedo
you make yourself the bomb


Chapter 5:

REVENGE

in which I spill an afterthought
on rat’s red mist of rage
for those who like their poems short
just skip this final page

•••

revenge - a dish that’s best served cold
to retribute wrongs done
it’s made when anger’s heat takes hold
a humble pie, spat on

but rat preferred the slower burn
that smells bad while it bakes
the kind that makes the stomach turn
insidious as snakes

choose patience as your virtue
set low your cooker dials
when hurting those who’ve hurt you
the rat inside you smiles
I do do short ones.
But this isn’t one of them.
Aug 2019 · 222
LUNAR SEA
The X Rhymes Aug 2019
from apogee
to full moon blue
the lunar sea
came into view
its effigy
a face I knew
invited me
to join the crew 

with half hypnotic
thought implants
that loosened logic
with its glance
I felt exotic
queer, askance
tried a high kick
couldn’t dance

but in the thrall
of altered norms
wits in withdrawal
felt reborn
total recall
ideas form
in dusty squalls
of lunar storms

then colour blind
except for red
heard words unkind
inside my head
asked would I mind
to wake up dead
but I declined
and so it fled

the moon’s decree
I did not do
thought fleetingly
it might be true
but now I’m free
from that voodoo
just lunacy
I once passed through.
Aug 2019 · 450
CURTAINS
The X Rhymes Aug 2019
you’ve closed your eyes
and heard the call
of curtain rise
at curtain fall

and wind in sail
through stormy squall
you’ll pierce the veil
beyond the wall

back to the womb
and live reverse
to birth from tomb
inside a hearse

a wilted bloom
with shroud supplied
your new perfume
formaldehyde.
Aug 2019 · 371
REPSOL BIKE
The X Rhymes Aug 2019
done up bright
red and white
orange, black -
Repsol right?

leathers tight
pure delight
none held back
rocket flight

as for fright?
none, despite
racing track?
wasn’t, quite...

out of sight
traffic light
crunch and crack
chances slight

mortal plight
through the night
odds are stacked
live?
he might.
It’s about somebody’s eye being caught by a motor bike in Repsol-Honda racing colours speeding towards the traffic lights, then crashing. It’s kind of niche but poetry is finding the universal in the specific, or so I heard somebody say.
Honda didn’t fit the rhyme.
Jul 2019 · 221
KNIVES FROM SPOONS
The X Rhymes Jul 2019
from there to back
you come and go
and hairline cracks
begin to show
from top to base
from toe to chin
to line your face
from outside in
then gold to brass
to false from just
with bones of glass
and blood of dust
where passion throes
turn malcontent
well, so it goes
and there it went
a shadowed earth
where suns are moons
with jagged curves
to knives from spoons.
It’s one of them init?
Jul 2019 · 729
TROUBLE AT THE TOP
The X Rhymes Jul 2019
the organs had to mutiny
as brain had gone awry
‘it’s actions don’t bear scrutiny’
the eyes were first to cry
 
‘well, something doesn’t smell right’
reports ran from the nose
and though the lips remained shut tight
they’d plenty to disclose
 
like how brain’s lack of thinking straight
had wrecked the status quo
too weak, they felt, to bear the weight
high office did bestow
 
‘it don’t inspire confidence’
the spine said, round his back
‘and acting past it’s competence’
the heart joined the attack
 
promoted past ability
their feeling, by and large
and causing instability
who’d left the brain in charge?
 
‘forgetful,’ hands said, ’like a sieve
it’s time we seized control
and who has brain been sleeping with
to land the leading role?’
 
‘so much for meritocracy’
the throat began to shout
‘****-kissing and hypocrisy
that’s how they dole jobs out’
 
the kidneys cried ‘who is that *****?
he’s offal at his job!’
‘hey that’s offensive!’ said his ****
‘to every **** and ****’
 
these rumblings in the canteen
left appetites un-whet
‘it’s time for action’ called the spleen
his stomach got upset
 
‘I know it sounds hard to digest
when you’re all so annoyed
but my gut feeling’s brain’s depressed
or maybe paranoid’
 
with state of play in disarray
morale sailed south from low
the matters grey brought such dismay
‘the brain’, they said, ‘must go’
 
and so they called a meeting
and forced brain to attend
the feet said ‘no retreating -
elbows and knees, don’t bend’
 
the fingers typed the minutes
the backside took the chair
saying ‘brain, we’ve reached our limit
you’re broke beyond repair
 
once a steady moral compass
now your needle’s in a spin
and your body parts will rumpus
if your reasoning grows thin
 
and your constant heavy drinking
leaves your sanity suspect
and if beer does all the thinking
we’ll be forced to de-select’
 
they thought him sick
a lunatic
that what they said, he’d do
but they’d been tricked
failed to predict
their worst fears could come true
 
presumed a thorough rinsing
would leave brain hung and dried
he’d need no more convincing
but then the brain replied…
 
‘you think you can
control this man
with coup d’etat flim-flam?
you’ll need more than
a foolish plan
I THINK THEREFORE I AM!
 
if those down there
could wear my hair
my tenure would be stopped
but jaw’s too square
the lungs? hot air
the ***** have long been dropped
 
the fists? no clout
the mouth? all pout
so state your nominee
to push me out
but have no doubt
this ship goes down with me
 
and those who boast
that they may coast
by transplant, have no hope
since there’s no posts
if overdosed
or found hung from a rope’
 
and so thoughts of brain’s banishment
were quick to lose their worth
they’d be under new management
and six feet of damp earth
 
and as his threat rang loud and clear
the fists could barely thump
the ears pretended not to hear
the ****** did a trump
 
the lungs felt so deflated
but wheezed back into work
his bones felt dislocated
his wrists felt like a ****
 
but brain’s brand of diplomacy
had quelled their malcontent
and while not how things ought to be
I hear that’s how they went.
Spoiler alert.
It’s another long one.
And there’s some fruity language in there somewhere.
Short stories in rhyme.
Jun 2019 · 1.2k
FLOOD
The X Rhymes Jun 2019
first the storms clouds grew huge
keeping all the warmth out
then a constant deluge
put an end to the drought
then the moon became bold
and it kept the sun set
and the weather turned cold
as the ground became wet

it was in those damp days
came a new kind of mold
with the smell of decay
as the rot took it’s hold
on the things they had made
in the wood and the brick
fungus proudly displayed
and it made them feel sick

oily ****, black as coal
it would get on the skin
creeping into the soul
from without to within
then the great cities fell
tumbled into the sea
like the watery hell
from some old prophecy

flooding west from the east
man came to understand
as the drownings increased
that his downfall was planned
and the warnings, unheeded
let these dark waters flow
so all things were conceded
to the swift undertow

the Earth then hibernated
and lay foetal and curled
as new seeds germinated
to walk upon this world
they’d venture past the shore line
and find human remains
reminders that come would the time
when Earth would flood again
Jun 2019 · 211
SOME OTHER ALIENS
The X Rhymes Jun 2019
the aliens had no queries

of the cosmos they called home

they'd given up on theories

made peace with the unknown



they hadn't always been inclined

to live with their backs turned

once they travelled space to find

what secrets could be learned



and journeyed many years of light

to understand life's birth

what made the universe work right

but landed here on Earth



and found a world built on greed

where rich folk ruled the poor

with people fending off their need

by fighting rich man wars



there evil was applauded

and truth a point of view
no mercy was awarded

good? not the thing to do



so rancid were the things we did

they went back to the stars

to remain hid 'til God forbid

we made it out that far



so fleeing in their UFOs

with lessons we'd supplied

their whereabouts kept need to know

and up there still they hide

despite our best intentions

to show a friendly face

we're the race that no one mentions

in deepest, darkest space



to knowledge their eye is now blind

since questions brought no good

a universe that spawned mankind

could not be understood.
Jun 2019 · 409
ALIENS
The X Rhymes Jun 2019
their world fell into silence

when the aliens evolved

they bid farewell to violence 

and problems became solved


but still they kind of miss it 

since their guns sound no more
so Earth they often visit

to get a taste of war

they listen to our children cry
while safely in the stands

and when blood flies and people die

they cheer and clap their hands
 
they’ve seen our wars on DVD

and streamed the whole box-set

while biding time for World War Three

but we’ve not dropped it. YET.


but final season’s coming

with posters up round town

the trailers have been running

and they’ve been counting down
 
to soak up all the anger
as death tolls quickly grow
they live for a cliff-hanger

and we’re their favourite show.
Jun 2019 · 357
THE SOMNAMBULIST
The X Rhymes Jun 2019
just past darkest, in pre-dawn
where only ghosts belong
somnambulist stood on the lawn
in lonely morn birdsong

up high a sky of dark blue slate
and smudged by moonlit chalk
inquired why, so soon, too late
he’d judged it wise to walk

he’d missed the gold at set of sun
the cloak of night long fell
and kissed by cold, feet wet and numb
been woke under this spell

in bare feet, naked and alone
his toes caressed the grass
had rare, sweet, sacred things unknown
disposed themselves to pass?

if not then how had this occurred -
just slept-walked down the stairs?
alfresco now, from slumber stirred
and crept out unawares?

no light did switch, no latch did lift,
no dead bolt did he slide
what nightmare glitch cast him adrift
and led him on this ride?

to understand why he’d been drawn
he leaned upon the fence
and scanned the hills ahead, forlorn
but gleaned no ounce of sense

his thoughts parlayed a trick was played
a kind of waking dream
for sport that bade him walk or wade
the mind’s unconscious stream

but when coerced the mist did clear
on tracks once shaded black
how he’d traversed from there to here -
the facts cascaded back

he’d climbed in bed to get some rest
a touch before nightfall
an aching head and tight of chest
that much he could recall

he’d said “I’ll live, not really
ill
benign, not far from norm
I’m fed up with this winter chill
but fine, on par, just warm”

then pulled the sheets ‘til tightly wrapped
to burn that fever out
but lulled from sleep, felt shoulder tapped
he turned as if to shout

a djinn or sprite was in the room
beside him, floating there
it’s skin so white it lit the gloom
supplied him quite a scare

and tall and thin, half out, half in
each limb a branch of birch
with pointy chin and wicked grin
the grim of some dark church

he couldn’t deal with that right then
so lay to face the wall
in time he’d steal a look again
or maybe not at all

“I’ll save my view from things untrue
and hocus-pocus lies
that see-through, voodoo, bug-a-boo
made by unfocussed eyes.”

since that’s the way he dealt with things
and had done all his life
downplay, delay the woes it brings
he’d shun, defer all strife

with problems near, beset by fear
he’d sit them out and wait
his steer was clear, why interfere?
commit them unto fate

you might expect fiends from beyond
that form of fevered head
won’t interject, reply, respond -
but here’s what this one said

“Why, don’t be shy, deny your eye
or will me to wink out
divert, decry, dismiss, defy
I’ll still be here, don’t doubt

concerns you spurn when trouble stirs
you never make a stand
your court adjourns, your head inters
wherever you find sand

but think on this, somnambulist
who sleeps all through his day
ignorant bliss by case dismissed
won’t keep my kiss at bay

Death, the darkest, endless black
says nigh it’s time to pay
somnambulist get off your back
or die right where you lay.”

what happened then remained occult
but hindsight left implied
the whys and whens and end result
was in the night - he’d died

a skipped heat beat, forgotten breath
then pale and stiff and cold
beneath the sheet, begotten death
the tale at last was told

unless, undressed he’d thought to rise
impressed by Death’s dark voice
duress he guessed might make him wise
if pressed with that stark choice

to Heaven’s bliss, to Hell to roast
or on Earth still to dwell
somnambulist or new born ghost?
the birthing morn would tell.
Spoiler alert:
This is a long poem.
If you don’t like long poems...
don’t read this far.
May 2019 · 615
THE SPACEMAN SHOW
The X Rhymes May 2019
Tom did not care
for space no more
that stagnant air
he’d breathed before

though stars still shone
they’d not enthral
if he’d seen one
he’d seen them all

and cooked up tight
in that tin can
half-satellite-
half-caravan

a short-term let
this starman bought
turned space-cadet
to astronaut

‘there’s nothing here’
he would complain
a pioneer?
a lad insane

day in, day out
no life on Mars
just float about
with Tesla cars

lost his physique
to muscle waste
the cockpit reeked
and left a taste

it made him mind
the airtight doors
feel less inclined
to eat through straws

the flashing lights
incessant bleeps
the endless nights
the lack of sleep

and constant state
of undue stress
that added weight
to weightlessness

and so the guy
from that space show
who’d been so high
recorded low

secured his fix
but peaked too soon
a lunatic
who’d reached the moon

he yearned to see
some green outside
for gravity
to be supplied

he’d leave the sky
for birds to take
in dreams you fly
not while awake

the one-man crew
then called ‘abort’
and stepped out through
the docking port

said ‘Ground Control,
I have to roam
it’s time to stroll
I’m coming home”

then by radar
and naked eye
his falling star
lit up the sky

‘cross stratosphere
white light, white heat
his golden years
you’d think complete

but in the fuss
I heard it said
like Lazarus
he wasn’t dead

he’d left a note
words large and clear
and what he wrote
said TOM WOZ ‘ERE

a simple plan
that gave him worth
he is the man
who fell to Earth.
It’s about a man in space getting bored. Or it’s about claustrophobia and depression. Or it’s about drug addition. Or it’s a re-telling  of Bowie’s Space Oddity. It was all of those things at one point or another.
May 2019 · 598
THE ‘BOT
The X Rhymes May 2019
year on year Tom would feel
like a gear or a wheel
or a cog in a clockwork machine
in the same office space
just a nameless, lame face
in the slog of the corporate routine

any thought, null and void
shopped and bought - an android
a synthetic, a robotic drone
or a replicant man
who’d been sent from Japan
cybernetic, machina, a clone

then one bleak winter's night
he saw streaks of bright light
shooting stars bringing evening alive
from the white headlight glare
and the red taillight flare
of the cars on their homeward bound drive

from his place in the queue
they erased out his view
as their glow burned peripheries black
being dazzled to blind
kind of frazzled his mind
yet the show meant he kept looking back

close his eyes, sight to save
and he’d rise through the waves
by the macular, swimming in tears
‘neath his lashes and lid
where the flashes are hid
and spectacular lens flares appear

blobs of green, yellow, blue
quite serenely they flew
like the puck from that old TV game
but what struck him as strange
as the lights ducked and changed
was their route stuck exactly the same

moving at the same pace
proving easy to trace
as if lightning bolts forked the same line
any ape could compute
that the shape of that route
happened not by default but design

leaving trails in his sight
as they sailed left to right
back to centre, dipped, then rose again
they would bounce once then fade
or renounce and degrade
on the boards and chips of his brain

and wherever he looked
as if tethered or hooked
caught on screen - left, right and centre, down, rise
though of course you’d object
Tom was forced to accept
he’d machines in his head for his eyes

now that brainwave he’d had
struck him stark-raving mad
plain eccentric...at least first it seemed
then a new insight crept
that at night, while he slept
of electric sheep often he dreamed

so he knew it was true
the review had come through
that his person had been synthesised
Tom was not bone and flesh
he was chrome, foam and mesh
a good version but still a disguise

the construction of man
from instructions and plans
spools and chains running his moving parts
under hood, copper coils
and no blood, only oil
wire veins and a battery heart

and this news left him numb
should he fuse, what would come
would he find obsolescence built in
would they repair this chap
or declare him as scrap
did his kind just get thrown in the bin

he appeared out of sync
from this weird way to think
but the notion once thought just increased
and he feared he would sink
but as he neared the brink
the commotion cut short - it just ceased

he thought ‘circuits aren’t bad
if you work it a tad
there’s a fix for those who’ve been man-made
it’s programmed in our code
promised land, like we’re owed
something clicks and we’ll get the upgrade

our design’s been refined
to remind all mankind
God had failed and left Heaven amiss
battery dead, I’ll survive
since my head’s a hard-drive
that is e-mailed on death unto bliss

so the jolt this supplied
finding bolts for insides
and each breath he took, just a veneer
was succinct to subside
since his instincts implied
that of death Tom had nothing to fear

since equipped with radar
he’d be shipped to V.R.
not a hole in the ground where he’d rot
there's no place in the sky
when his master race dies
but there’s soul in the heart of each ‘bot’

so he got on the bus
and forgot all the fuss
like a freak who’d found merit and worth
there’d be others like him
plastic covers for skin
and those geeks would inherit the earth

why decry the expense
being A.I made sense
Tom could take being called phoney once
he came to understand
next to same and to bland
being fake was the only response
Turn off my robotic brain
All my thoughts are all the same
(All insane)
May 2019 · 976
FLIRT
The X Rhymes May 2019
could have come off like a traitor
when he tipped that nurse a wink
saying ‘what you doing later
fancy going for a drink?’

she said ‘look at our left hands
where we both are wearing rings
stuff in common’s always grand
but that’s one too many things’

her lips not pursed or in a pout
her smile said no-one hurt
the answer never was in doubt
but still, it’s nice to flirt

and a happy ever after
since in a glow they basked
that he’d had the ***** to ask her
and she’d been the one he asked.
May 2019 · 180
ALONE
The X Rhymes May 2019
everybody came and went
the same way, all alone
some rules cannot be broke or bent
this truth he long had known
and every soul sees one dark night
that’s not followed by day
and though the end was not quite right
the world still slipped away
to have his love there at his side
he’d thought fate would arrange
but sadly the way that he died
had been subject to change
that’s when he gave up trying
and embraced the sense of calm
with just one regret on dying
that he was not in her arms.
I know. I’m too cheerful for my own good.
May 2019 · 1.5k
POISONED
The X Rhymes May 2019
took a bottle from the cupboard
then she tilted back his head
this meant trouble, Tom discovered
when she read out what it said
 
it said hazardous to health
twice as poisonous as bleach
keep it on the highest shelf
keep it out of children’s reach
 
treat like pepper spray or mace
or an acid that could maim
store it in a cool, dry place
and avoid all naked flames
 
the instructions then suggested
it could leave him stiff and pale
if by chance it was ingested
if by chance Tom did inhale
 
then its pungent, toxic odour
from its allergens, writ BOLD
burned his nose like caustic soda
made his nostrils yearn for cold
 
since the content seemed unstable
so she handled with a glove
then she let Tom read the label
and the word he saw was LOVE
 
held his nose and told him ‘swallow’
made him chug it in one go
and the pain was quick to follow
why she did it, hard to know
 
felt like acid ingestion
not a gentle warmth inside
so he asked the girl a question
‘is an antidote supplied?’
 
she said ‘there’s no medication
just a long and slow decline
there’s no cure or vaccination
you can only pray for time’
 
and that pain he still remembers
since his stomach’s still upset
just a  pit of glowing embers
from that girl Tom can’t forget.
Apr 2019 · 1.5k
ASTROGLIDING
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
by time machine
and hyperdrive
Tom flies between
leave and arrive
from home to work
when to or from
he’s Captain Kirk
and Major Tom
who’ll astro-glide
by spaceship bus
where right outside
a cosmic fuss
of solar rays
and phantom zones
and milky ways
of traffic cones
where space jet black
will mirror glass
and transmit back
critical mass
of meteorites
and raindrop stars
and streaking lights
from passing cars
a white hot glare
of comet tracks
one hour there
one hour back
same time each day
same ticket bought
same route, same way
same train of thought
and folk he’d meet
right since his birth
said ‘keep those feet
on Planet Earth
don’t fantasise
or think surreal
just close your eyes
and please don’t feel’
that’s why, Tom’s said
he has employed
the backs of heads
as asteroids
and yawning lips
reveal black holes
while Martian ships
do barrel rolls
he’s boldly gone
where none before
have soldiered on
and warped his core
then in the dark
of his home town
Tom disembarks
by beaming down
to Planet Weird
where weird is good
where weird’s not feared
weird’s understood
and weird enough
weird keeps him sane
to find weird stuff
in things mundane.
How Tom occupies his mind on his boring daily commute.
Apr 2019 · 292
FLAT EARTH THEORY
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
from lazy doze he’s rudely woke
with twisted nose and teeth all broke
and bellowed calls from whispered breath
as glitter ***** turn crystal ****

then ribs exposed and ripe to poke
and water flows as thick as yoke
the ill-earned gains from idle hands
turn grassy plains to shifting sands

then indisposed to see the joke
his airway closed, he starts to choke
and hits the ground to notice that
the world’s not round, it’s really flat.
Things aren’t always as they appear to be.
Apr 2019 · 287
MURPHY’S LAW
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
it’s not difficult to measure
what’s gained and what is lost
to buy now, pay at leisure
to Hell with what it costs

since failsafes are not fool proof
and yours has failed before
uncomfortable, like any truth
but that is Murphy’s Law

that anything that can go wrong
more than likely will
press ahead and before long
you’re landed with the bill

when taking sticks and poking snakes
you’re only tempting fate
payback’s a ***** make no mistake
the universe can’t wait

and that’s when **** will happen
and outcomes are deserved
it’s a well established pattern
when caution’s been reserved

so don’t bemoan the consequence
when falling through the floor
costs you more than pounds and pence
provoking Murphy’s Law
Universal truth. Although pounds and pence localises it somewhat. Substitute dolliars and cents if you like. Other countries can add their own currency, so long as it rhymes.
Apr 2019 · 235
LIMBO
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
when Tom first walked in Limbo
he had drunk a load of gin
passed out with legs akimbo
he was drooling on his chin

the vision came with sound and smell
that felt entirely real
a twilight woodland short of Hell
with textures he could feel

then riding on the bus from work
fatigue would overwhelm
and send him where the spirits lurk
inside that nether realm

the image came to such extent
it left Tom with no doubt
Limbo Land was where he went
each time that he passed out

every night and sometimes day
around those woods he hiked
and once he found he knew the way
he went there when he liked

he'd wake each morn and fantasise
this world was kept at bay
and mesmerise and hypnotise
the sun to stay away

then clinging to the sandman's hand
he'd count a few more sheep
to slip back into Limbo Land
where he belonged: asleep

that limbo world of dark and light
that's stitched around life's seams
hid between the day and night
and conscious thought and dreams

with gloomy skies, no sun to warm
just forests lit cold blue
a place where dusk shades are the norm
or daybreak's overdue

and every time he came to rest
that scene would play once more
so each time further he'd progress
and deeper he'd explore

of Limbo very little's known
but from glimpses Tom had stole
it’s where the trees of life are grown
and in each trunk a soul

there's mossy faces set in bark
and limbs reach to the sky
from knotty mouths, a message- stark
"you come here when you die"

so many times that wood he'd seen
he came to understand
all he'd become and all he'd been
was growing in that land

his lifespan told across tree rings
and written through the grain
with all he was and all the things
he'd surely do again

his future though he could not gauge
but one thing surely true
no turn in fortunes could assuage
the pain life put Tom through

the life where nothing went as planned
was growing in that field
and frankly more than he could stand
to know his fate was sealed

to come again would be a waste
to live the same life through
so narcolepsy he embraced
to fall asleep on cue

he'd enter in that world he'd found
and lucid dream a saw
then cut his tree down to the ground
reincarnate no more

"I'll chop my tree down into planks
and make them what I please
another life for Tom? no thanks,
no more bad memories"

he'd burn the bark that wore his face
the branches, leaves and roots
and smash each acorn just in case
it cursed him with a shoot

and then the time I saw Tom last
I asked how things were going
he told  'Limbo’s just so vast
with new trees always growing'

and now he never leaves his head
Tom’s bed ridden and ill
he's comatose but not brain dead,
just searching Limbo still.
Apr 2019 · 678
WETBONES
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
past the brown stone
water sides
wetbones lies alone
and hides
the ancient bridge
the canal trail
through gnat and midge
where barges sail
and walkers walk
dark waters flow
and voles will talk
of bones below
or choral birds
in mournful song
say she’s interred
in reeds grown long
with withered hand
and bony frown
with silt and sand
as eiderdown
she sleeps in tears
and fishing hooks
and counts the years
in baby ducks
‘and best forgot'
croak spiteful frogs
atop the rot
of floating logs
yet life she’s borne
to their tadpoles
from eggs they’d spawn
in her eye holes
where once there’d been
such emerald gaze
her eyes now green
in different ways
but when night calls
those bones will sing
so signets fall
to mother’s wing
as from the floor
she draws the silt
away from jaw
just like a quilt
then ‘neath the moon
wetbones will rise
to make them swoon
with lullabies.
Wetbones is a human skeleton in the canal. Only the animals know she’s there.
Apr 2019 · 2.4k
THE VAMPIRE SHOW
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
the restaurant bins were backstage wings
and ‘Bella’s dressing room
no overtures of spectral strings
no orchestra to tune

the brooding silence ‘Bella planned
would creep across the set
and make her theatre of the ******
the best performance yet

so when she dimmed the lights to low
the atmosphere grew tense
it signified her vampire show
was ready to commence

the curtain rose on concrete sprawl
of city streets at night
past backdrop walls of spray paint scrawls
she entered from stage right

as grey mist danced a pirouette
she floated through the air
as dry ice clouds, in etiquette
might unveil something rare

with forked electrostatic
the supernatural sort
my flair for the dramatic
remains intact, she thought

and passing over street debris
of bottles, bags and cans
left and right she looked to see
‘Bella’s leading man

who this dusk she’d meet to mark
their former glory days
before she’d betrothed unto dark
while wed to light he’d stay

their differences unreconciled
the rules, they’d found, could bend
and from each other’s worlds exiled
they’d stayed the best of friends

those paramours would rendezvous
away from sunlight’s glare
front and centre, bang on cue
and yet he was not there

arriving fashionably late?
he’d never be so rude
nobody made Bella wait
her mood became subdued

their human/undead peace accord
was due beneath this moon
no anniversary ignored
he’d be there surely, soon?

so, landing by a lamppost
she drew back slow her hood
her skin the white preferred by ghosts
her mouth the red of blood

and dragging fangs across her lip
she rolled her emerald eyes
her shadow hands his throat would grip
should he materialise

once face to face and cheek to cheek
she’d breathe into his ear
like Transylvanian, vampire-speak
“long time, no see, my dear.”

this night they’d both vowed not to miss
and always kept their word
a warm embrace, a gentle kiss
no consequence incurred

for human touch and living skin
once every year, this night
came Bella’s lust for carnal sin
with one she would not bite

since love conducted on the sly
will keep its sense of fun
and that’s the second reason why
they kept it from the sun

vampires don’t turn into bats
as stated in folklore
but may in darkened habitats
use sonar to explore

it’s like the fabled siren’s song
unheard by human ears
that makes it known and whets the tongue
when haemoglobin nears

she sent it down the roads and walls
a plaintiff, high-pitched cry
a kind of vampire mating call
that garnered no reply

just sweepers sweeping gutters
from late night litter louts
the clang of closing shutters
as neon signs winked out

and engines growling down the street
from taxis on the prowl
an urban fox caught indiscreet
by CCTV owls

that’s how the night proceeded
until the sky turned blue
and the street lights all conceded
since they’d much less to do

the problem is, if you don’t age
it’s hard to work out when
the last time was, it’s hard to gauge
what’s one year and what’s ten

since time moves in fast motion
in dark affairs of heart
with high costs for devotion
when dead right from the start

so Bella came to realise
though she’d not aged at all
in one blink of vampire eyes
the mortal man could fall

her audience of one was gone
her leading man had died
no roses thrown in great aplomb
his rave review, denied

the roles they’d made had now been played
with no awards to haul
and no cascade of accolades
just one more empty stall

her vampire life had been so sweet
but now the debt was due
the price - a heart that just won’t beat
but can still break in two

this gaping hole she’d never fill
no matter the blood drawn
and so she waited patient, still
and saw first light of dawn

and as the glow of morning fire
stained the clouds like rust
this Nosferatu, vampire
became no more than dust

those paramours perhaps would meet
in heaven or in hell
but with the vampire show complete
the final curtain fell.
See also
‘Bella Lugosi.
Apr 2019 · 79
TOILET TROLL
The X Rhymes Apr 2019
said he felt most at home
with his shampoo and foam
in the tub watching rubber ducks float
since he liked to keep clean
give his teeth a white sheen
shave the whiskers from chin, cheeks and throat

but one day by the sink
such a terrible stink
seemed to come from the base of the loo
overcome by disgust
could have sworn he had flushed
so he looked but found no trace of poo

then he took out a brush
and he gave it a push
to remove any stools underneath
but before he could shout
a troll’s arm had reached out
and dragged him to the pool down beneath

then he tumbled around
and he fumbled for ground
while the cold water deafened each ear
just the squeak of his skin
on the sleek porcelain
I am told was the last sound he’d hear

with a desperate gasp
he had made a last grasp
for the sides - but the troll yanked the chain
and though he tried to swim
better athletes than him
had succumb to the lure of it’s drain

that’s the place where you go
when you can’t fight the flow
and the undertow spirals you down
to a world past the grid
where the bodies are hid
of the others the troll thought he’d drown

then that arm in a flash
wiped away every splash
and the towels it folded with care
set the soap in the tray
put his toothbrush away
just as if he had never been there.

— The End —