Geography Lessons

We are betterer then the Swiss
cause our cheese has no holes
and they need feet of snow
before they shut schools down

We are Africans that got lost
walking on water to China
and became white because
we argued with the sun

In Russia, they make cold sores
so we have to keep curtains
ironed in case they come
and make us like the poor.

Australia is made of desserts
that kangaroos jump in
but not like our puds
as they are originals

Reach Poetry


If they are so hard up why aren’t their kids skinny?

My granddad would put the Mail
on the beeswaxed table,
and reach for his pipe to point his opinions.

‘Anyone can afford a bit of veg.’
I’d murmur ‘ Cheap vegetables
starve the poor of Africa’

Grandma would sigh,
straighten her housecoat
and dust the mantel-piece clock.

‘He’s right you know, in our day,
a man did a day’s work and then
got out in the garden to dig.’

They looked blankly at my joke
about the Archers’
High Rise market garden.

Then pipe wagging, he’d say,
‘In my day the streets were our playground.’

‘Yes but what about the cars’ I’d say
and they’d agree
and say it’s a disgrace they had cars.

Granddad would then
blow a kiss at Grandma,
who’d giggle
and tell him to stop being so daft.

I’d reach for the Kipling’s cherry cakes
and ask after cousin Betty.


Reach Poetry

On retiring to bed with a cold

When her,
she says,
tomato soup,
Heinz, red, warm, white bowl,
round not long spoon,
bread triangles, toasted, slightly,
butter spread to be seen, not melted,
tray, pink not white, wood not plastic,
bottled water, not tap and in the nice glass,
fluff the pillow, straighten the duvet,
do you love me?

When him,
he says,
let me sleep.

Published in Gold Dust

Calling, calling

Parlez-vous français?

Pardon, this is a Whitstable number,
we live near the greengrocer and take
tea at 4 with a cherry slice on Tuesday.

Parlez-vous français?

I think you have the wrong number,
for I have never left this island
except when war called for my body.

Parlez-vous français?

You sound distressed so perhaps
you need to ring your number again
with fingers in the dial following turns.

Parlez-vous français?

I’m sorry, I am unable to respond
for I know nothing of what you say
and soon the sun will make shadows.

Parlez-vous français?

I am sorry…si vous appelez encore,
je doit rappeler à la police
de votre emplacement,

Vous ne parlez français!

No and now I shall put the phone down
for it is time that the sparrows were free
and this will be when Eagles are clipped

Published in Your One Phone Call

A weekend diary

Today, I shall love my son
as kitten eyes and tease
with milk teeth words

He said I was a Lion
with dirty mange
and claws of iron

Today, I shall love my son
as a Sparrow on eggs
in spring warmth

He said I was a seagull,
screaming and shitting
on his chips

Today I shall love my son
as a seahorse and hold
him tight beside me

He said I was a jelly fish,
a poisoned sting
and no back bone

Today, I shall love my son
until he comes back
from his mum

Published in Your One Phone Call

A good bird is one roasted in goose fat

Bird song, bloody bird song.
Seeing larks as you cough your morning up.
Being wise with crows as the roads shuffle you to work.
Count the magpies because ITV was good when you were a kid.
Think any pigeon is a bloated banker rolling off a business lunch.
Look at the cuckoo, and wink at the lipstick pout next door.
Bird song, bloody bird song.
Feck nature and land and the watery place of the gods.

The Cannon’s Mouth