Canto CCCLIX

Heraclitus has been switched to Timeline.
Needless to say, he’s philosophical
about the situation, he’s resigned

to having the world scroll down his profile
to reread all those late night, drunken posts;
his failed conquests, long periods spent single,

the just-dumped tantrums and the new love boasts.
And then there’s that urge he could never pass,
those background moonies at the Christmas toast.

It’s not the same office, nor the same arse.

Canto CCCXLVII

The man at the shop is growing a moustache
so I give him the same knowing look
he gives me when he rings up my beer stash.

The fuzz on his top lip raises the stakes,
so  I must add to my own vice for booze
and buy some cheap cigars that I will smoke

at one AM through the khazi window.
I’ll pluck a men’s journal from the top shelf
or buy some condoms that I’ll never use.

If something’s found to hamper human health
for minimal pleasure, I’m buying that.
But I’ll indulge my temptations with stealth,

that is unless he starts to wear a hat.

Canto CCCXXXVI

You’ve smashed the record, won over the crowds,
you used to be no-one, but now you’re the star.
You’ve rendered a nation of sceptics proud.

Now stand for the anthem. Pee in this jar.

Canto CCCXX

The bus driver goes sixty miles an hour
down the thirty degree incline of Knight’s Hill.
That lump in my throat isn’t one of fear,

it’s just the new location for my balls.

Canto CCCXIX

I’ve got a new mental definition
of quietly smouldering intensity—
and that involves the four punch combination

that Haye laid on the granite density
of Dave Chisora’s chin, and how my wife
was whispering “Do him!” to the TV

and wishing all kinds of unworldly grief
against the roundly booed and hated fighter,
thus proving one can still nurse major beef

while breastfeeding a snoozy baby daughter.

Canto CCCXII

I’ve spent decades trying to decode
that infamous ambassador’s reception,
whether Ferrero Roche was a code

for all the nobs to retire for a session
of inter gender sodomy next door
or whether the nineties recession

had hit the higher up, so the butler
was sent down to the supermarket?
Or maybe our noble ambassador

was just a cheap and miserly bastard
who knew the sycophants would feign their glee
as long as all the garage chocs were clustered

in pyramid fashion on a silver tray?

Canto CCXCV

I’m too knackered to write a poem today,
I’m beaten down by childcare and cheap lager.
You’ll get no Terza Rima fix from me.

Oh, wait a minute. I’ve just done it. Bugger.

Canto CCXCIII

Watching my ancestral homeland lose
another game of continental footie
at least serves as a good enough excuse

to quaff a few cold beers. Italian ’90
was lost in the mist of my teenage angst,
and so, like those inebriate Japanese

who toast the blown blossom’s evanescence,
I toast the sharpness of Ukrainian grass,
our defence with more holes than a tramps pants,

the world can kiss my plastic paddy arse.

Canto CCLXXXIX

Those moments when your dear national team
are made to look like games lesson last picks—
the ones that lost their kit before the game

and played in vest and pants, having to kick
about in leather school shoes and black socks.
Cannon fodder for the sure and slick,

the first team’s whipping boys, barely marked
but tackled as soon as they get the ball.
And yet despite the route in the ball park,

the fans sing out their sorrows til they all
become the loudest chorus in Ukraine.
We sing on though we’re certain to default

in paying a four goal deficit to Spain.

Canto CCLXIII

Come on you Irons! We’ve won at Wemberly
to step up to where we’ve always belonged,
the TV revenue, the true prestige—

the Premier League’s relegation zone.

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