Canto CXXIII

And so, we end this knackered, run down year,
the crazy, wacky types flood into town
to glug down watery pints of marked up beer,

watch the London Eye spin slowly round,
the drawn out, pyrotechnic money shot
as Mayan Armageddon comes around.

It doesn’t matter, end of the world or not,
as long as I can spend it here with you,
watching DVDs back at our flat

as the city fills up with its host of tools,
the droll denoument, Robby Burns’s song.
The forced frivolity will take its toll

before the first of Big Ben’s doleful gongs.

Canto CXXII

This is truly what we’d call a nowhere—
a rain drenched dash past nondecsript hedgerows,
occasional stretches of pylon wire,

the dull-eyed sheep and heavy, ripened cows,
the overfarmed consolation of green,
crops lined up like stacked shelves in Tescos,

the little villages, what pretty scenes
must play on their 40inch plasma screens
after Daddy’s Mercedes has returned

from another commute to the Stock Exchange.
The Welcome Break is just six miles away,
the homely ring and crash of fruit machines,

the aroma or freshly stale coffee.
As night falls, we keep watch for clustered lights,
to signal the approach of the city,

no truer wilderness to these tired eyes.

Canto CXXI

You ask me if I felt it. Yes, I did.
A gentle tap that may as well have been
an earthquake or a exploding grenade—

the shock of it felt through my every bone,
quickened the heart to rush blood to the brain,
transformed this rented flat into a home,

my palm across your belly’s drum-taut skin.

Canto CXX

I have a feeling playing Grand Theft Auto
over the course of three leisurely days
won’t make me more the poet, less the bastard,

though I have made an effort, taken pains
not to drive my newly hijacked Hummer
over the grannie’s pixelated bones.

My wife is in the next room, looking over
her facebook backlog and within her womb
our child’s curled up, the length of a banana.

The shops close early and the short lived gloom
of almost days make their mark on the nights
that hold dominion until the Spring comes.

The slow drag of our bright blue satellite
around the sun seems to speed up as years
accrue on cartiledge and laughter lines.

The Hummer takes a drive off a short pier.
The words “Game Over” come and go and then
my avatar magically reappears

to fail a little better, fail again.

Canto CXIX

The heart is not the locus of the soul,
it’s just a meaty pump sat in the chest,
it keeps the hot blood flowing, plays its role

maintains its reps and never stops to rest,
as we blunder through our alloted days,
as fragile as a hatchling in its nest.

Two recent incidents argue the case—
the grand old Duke that went under the knife
to help extend his dicky ticker’s lease;

the boy that reached the end of his short life,
the short, sharp shank pierced through his pound of flesh,
to pay way over the Boxing Day sale price

for the ever present, branded leather swoosh.
I make no further comment of these two,
though you can make inferences if you wish,

I’ll simply leave this quaint advice to you
to get away from all this worldly din
and take a few moments to listen to

that blameless tempo, ticking on within.

Canto CXVIII

Even the internet slows down for the holiday,
as families reacquaint themselves to how
the eyes add something to what our tongues say,

and even tongues can startle when allowed
to ping against enamel’s coffee stains,
the fingers drum the table’s edges, cowed

and cut off from their hotline to the brain.

Canton CXVII

I’ll make a hash of carving up the chicken,
the veg will overboil and the spuds
will still be pale when all the meat is done.

But all that’s still to come, right now my mood
is high as it could ever climb because
we’re slow dancing to Johnny Cash instead,

your bump presses into both of us,
it really feels like we are three today,
two generations held within our clasp,

and maybe it’s soppy, but I’ll still say
that this is all I wanted for Christmas,
so even as the next CD track plays,

not even Michael Bolton’s voice can spoil this.

Canto CXVI

Suburbia for Christmas, nothing like it,
a low half moon, no towers in the way.
It’s been a while since I last trod in dogshit

while gazing at the wide December sky.

Canto CXV

The old black lady with the stacked trolley
and a plastic bag tied up around her hair,
chucks a bottle at some suited oldboy

that’s just got off the train. He tries to stare
her out, but she just shouts right in his face,
“Take your dutty rubbish with you, Mista!”

I stand up and applaud her. Now we’re mates.
She tells me people always blame the kids
or people that grew up on the estates.

Her stop arrives, she gathers up her things,
no time to hear the story of her life,
she looks to me and says with a sly grin,

“These kids today ain’t seen a proper knife…”

Canto CXIV

While running back and forward from the flat
for the vital documents we left behind
I see the postman trip up and take flight

then crash down hard onto a gravel drive.
Like Spiderman spotting a kid in peril
while on his way to his appointed fight

with Doctor Octopus, I do not not fail
to help a public servant in distress,
offer a soft palm to a fellow prole

then gather up his pile of dropped letters.
We stand within the well maintained front yard
of a house beyond the means of men like us,

we exchange Christmas greetings, head onward
on our respective chores and spare no mind
to look back at the property we trespassed

for telling twitches of Venetian blinds.

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