I’m landlocked to my flat by fatherhood,
and so my window’s ever present scene,
the Forest Hill estates and Dulwich Wood,

wears thin. If this is where my feet remain
I’ll let my palate play the role of hobo.
I’ve never set foot in the Philippines

but I can cook a mean chicken adobo.



If mantelpieces are the true altars
of post Victorian society,
I wonder what faith can be weened from ours?

The money plant’s an easy one, a plea
for the crumbling markets not to flatten us,
while the two Buddhas with the fat bellies—

the one found in a housing estate bush,
the other carved from Etna’s lava flows—
encourage us to remain quite aloof

to all the boons and bilge that fate allows.
The other chaps, carved in the Philippines,
don’t make an easy pair to analyse—

the first hides in a barrel, only when
you raise his hiding place above his head,
his penis pops out, mounted on a spring.

The other man carries his appendage
as if it were a hefty bag of coal
and on his stand someone’s engraved the adage:

HELP ME! It’s a punishment for all
the times in which he boasted of his size
and so the vengeful gods, ever watchful,

as keen on irony as they are wise,
made it grow to monstrous proportions
and now his only hope of pleasure lies

with amorous pachyderms and cetaceans.

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