In place of a church baptism you get
a poky office in Brixton Town Hall,
no Holy Water poured, just an ink jet

printing your official names in full.
You’re in the system now, there’s no escape,
your first tax year will arrive on schedule

in sixteen years from now, no-one can wipe
a tainted record clean, but just remember
some aspects of your life won’t yield to type,

you can’t be crunched if you are not a number.



There are two kinds of terror within us—
our biology and humanity
(I got this idea from Prometheus)—

without the human element to tie
our lives to some fictitious narrative
we are simply a huge community

of grasping cells, the blind, devouring drive
to mindlessly go forth and multiply.
Though these pale next to the alternative

the face that’s never skewed nor elderly,
far worse than sharp mouthed leeches in the the sod,
humanity minus biology,

not undead or unliving. Call it God.


I’ve no problem with all that Argie Bargie,
the Thames clogged up with waving Monarchy,
let’s wave our flags, salute her Majesty

and let those inbred toffs float out to sea,
to meet her new subjects, some crabs and cod,
and as the waves grow higher, we will see

if, like the song says, she’ll get saved by God.

Canto CCLX

I have to field the question now and then—
when’s the date for baby’s christening—
I tell them she can choose her religion

when she is old enough, that I will bring
all of the world’s faiths to her attention.
Of course I hope she will choose no such thing

and make do with this life. If the command
to have no other god save for Yahweh
elicits worship from her adult mind,

I will not wave some Dawkins at her face,
although I reckon knowledge is enough
to keep the fear of any hell at bay,

the manifest versions of Pascal’s Bluff.


It’s oddly fitting that the final day
of our thirtysomething, Zone 2 coupledom
would be a Sunday. The same old films play

on laundry day rotation, viscous calm,
where next week’s immanence dry humps the leg
of ticking, Sabbath sanctioned tedium.

Full time whistles end the hit-hoof lag
of nil-nil draws but will not help the climb
of mid table minnows in Sunday League.

In musty chapels, in half whispered rhymes,
congregations rote-petition God
until the droning sermon mumble comes

to send the most devout soul on the nod.
Hangovers prove trickier to shake,
Ibroprofen capsules are swallowed

in greater numbers than the glib intake
of thin communion wafers. Not long ’til
the sudden moment when your waters break,

and others face the dread of work or school.


I once shone a torchlight on the floor
and made the cat scramble about the house,
trying to pin it down with his sharp claws

as if it was another scrawny mouse.
At least he was wise enough to give in
unlike the blinkered hordes of our species

who never seem to get bored of chasing
a tiny fickle spotlight, I guess fame
requires as many hearts as Aztec sunshine—

our state religion, our zero sum game.


The old mattress is naked, the old springs
press tight against fabric like vertibrae
that become visible through ancient skin.

The animacules that founded their state
within its land of nightsweat and dead skin
have no idea that this will be the day

of reckoning for them, the white van man
is finishing his job at the high rise
and will soon be here to ransack their nation

and dump it, pillaged, down the landfill site.
Perhaps they’ll call upon us in despair,
the heavy sky gods that suddenly denied

their nightly rain of heavenly ambrosia?


The busker in the tunnel plays Mad World.
The fifty pence piece stays in my pocket.
Outside the tube station I am told

by happy clappy godders that my Judgement
awaits me down below amidst the flames,
a sweet eternity of endless torment.

Though it would be worse to hear their inane
warblings and meekly strummed guitars
on loop forever in their dire heaven.

This world may be mad but it could be worse,
it’s the only world and life we have, so I will
embrace the product of this randomness

and put my mp3 player on shuffle.


Some virgin in a stupid hat and robe
seems to believe he’s an authority
on how two full grown adults share their love.

He also has some strong advice for any
women with the gall to harbour views
on what they should do with their own punanis.

Do I ask vegans if they have a clue
on how to tenderise a peppered steak?
Do I ask lions how to build igloos?

O Cardinal O’Brien, you’re the freak.
Your moral code’s cooked up by bronze age males.
We’re cooking up some rainbow wedding cake—

go swing that aspergillum someplace else.


I wonder what my constituent atoms
were doing fifty thousand years ago?
They spanned highest heights and deepest fathoms,

they brooded within caves and softly flowed
in springs that tip toed through the stricken rock.
They waited for the last sun to explode,

a fiend within a cloud straight out of Blake,
when all that we were then were formess motes
that glowed within the universe’s black,

and even now, the finger tips that write
materialistic missives on touch screens
once swirled within the settling Guinness pint,

and grazed by motorways on bristling greens.
Add to that all of the old ideas
we sometimes mistake for our very own,

the genes shuffled by rhibosome dealers
and what room’s left for what you call the soul?
Barely enough to set the scales aquiver,

a piddly, ectoplasmic thimbleful.

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