Man hollowed out wooden leg to smuggle iguanas

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I would have got away with it
but for the noise –
claws scratching at the wood,
those genteel coughing sounds
iguanas make.

“One moment, sir”
I knew then I was done for.
“ If you could come this way..”

In my skivvies, standing on one leg,
I watched him spring the secret trapdoor –
out they tumbled – all my little darlings
skittering across the polished floor.
Tiny dinosaurs in Terminal Two.

It’s said that they escaped into the drains
and flourished there…

One day they will return, Godzilla like,
crunching Dreamliners to junk
between their claws, reeking of jet juice
and rotting airline meals.

Depressed penguins make recovery

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We’re fine now. Thanks for asking.
White chests and black tail coats,
we look like waiters in some posh hotel.
Three times a day we go through our routine –
the comedy walk-on in perfect sync –
then dive in one by one and swim
to the ice floe
made out of cement
which never melts or grows.

They throw us chunks of frozen herring –
always the same but quite nutritious –
and laugh to see our antics.
Sometimes they clap their flippers in delight.
It is nice to be appreciated.

They’re very needful of our welfare.
Even the herring
has a special tang to it these days.

Yet still, some nights
huddled with others on a concrete floor
I hear  great bergs crash together
see distant sky
shimmer
feel the ice
sharp under my claws.

No, honestly. We’re fine.

Snail gel and Pro-trousers

 

IMG_0358Something really odd is happening in the world – not just Donald Trump – but other little signs and portents signalling that The End Is Nigh. Look at the chap with his warning of impending Doom at the top of the page. “ Most people will die next year” What does he mean “ most people” ? It’s so annoying. He grabs your attention with the promise of a final curtain, then goes all woolly when it comes to statistics. How many is most ? 52% ? I’ve got an almost 1 in 2 chance there. Or does he mean 98.7 % In which case I won’t borrow any long novels from the library.

And then there are the strange products for sale. This morning, in the herbal food shop, I saw an advert for snail gel. Yes. You got it – snail gel. I thought it might be stuff you smear on your patio to keep snails away. Not so. I looked gain and it said “ snail gel will get rid of those stubborn wrinkles.” You put it on your face ? And then I thought of the snails….snatched from walls and damp bits of the garden, flung into a giant macerator until they were reduced to a kind of gritty paste. I asked the woman behind the counter and she said no, they didn’t grind up the snails, they just used the gel they exuded. Oh, that’s ok I thought. And then I thought – no it isn’t. How are you going to harvest this “gel “( or should I say “mucus” or maybe “slime”) Are the snails somehow milked ? It all seemed very disgusting. I was going to ask the woman, but she was dealing with someone who wanted to know if they had any concentrated thorn milk.

And outside, just across the road, I looked in the window of the outdoor shop. A red and white banner said “ 20% off Pro Walking Trousers.” What other kind of trousers are there ? I wondered ,and then I thought of Sitting Down Trousers with extra cushioning for the buttocks and a built-in tv remote or maybe PickPocketing Trousers – baggy and voluminous, and with pockets huge enough to hide a Steinway Grand. And what, exactly, are “ Pro” trousers ? Are there Pro Walking Competitions ? Do they have a built-in exoskeleton hidden under the tight denim, which will allow you to walk ten times as far as your competitors ?

And these are only two examples. Be warned. The earth is moving beneath our feet. I think I’ll put my Sitting Down Trousers on and get rid of those stubborn wrinkles with a pot of Snail gel.

Man and Dog

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Man

The dog plays football every day
with me, along the passageway.
We pass the ball from dog to man
and then from man to dog again.
I’m bored as hell. It pleases him
for dogs are slow and somewhat dim.

Dog

The man plays football every day
with me, along the passageway.
He tries so hard, it’s rather sweet
for one who’s blessed with two left feet.
It keeps him happy; I don’t mind.
I’ve grown quite fond of human kind.

Man and Dog

We both hate football.

How much happier we would be
watching cricket on tv.

The next Rembrandt

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A Dutch company recently created a new painting by Rembrandt. The fact that he has been dead for hundreds of years was not a problem. They scanned his paintings ,selecting details  from each picture they looked at. The final database was huge. Then they created a multi layered picture that had depth and texture as well as light and shade – and it looks faultless- you can see the video here:

I was fascinated by the whole process. This man never lived….but he looks real, alive. Is this a work of art ? Or a workout for Big Data ? This is the poem which came out of it all.

The Next Rembrandt

A tradesman shopkeeper perhaps,
stylish in his Sunday best –
the ruff starched crisp and white,
A countenance so every-day,
so commonplace, and yet a palimpsest
of all the people he has ever been
from boy to man.

Truth lies in that face.

He is a phantasm, a chimaera,
a million data points distilled,
a clever magic trick.

Or maybe there’s a ghost in the machine,
a bug which emulates the human soul,
An Instant Message flashed up on the screen,
A spark of hope which makes the broken whole.

Moments from a parallel universe

1.
Isac ! Your lunch is ready.
Stop moping in that orchard !
Go and wash your hands !
Unheard unseen
the apple falls.

2.
It’s a message, Will,
from the Queen.
She likes the play
but could you make Hamlet
a bit more cheerful……
and alive at the end..

3.
I shall call her Luisa.
If it had been a boy, my husband
would have called him Adolf.
4.
Honey, I got to stay late at the Oval Office tonight –
can’t make the theatre.
Okay Abe

The Schrodinger poems

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Schrodinger’s Cat

Well, here we are then
or possibly not.
It’s a bit cramped in here
what with the radio active sample
and the bottle of poisoned gas
and me.

I come and go as I please
I visit my friend McAvity
or pass time with my cousin Smiler
who lives in Cheshire.
I’m in and out all the time.

Notice he chose me for the experiment
and not Schrodinger’s Dog.
That would have put
Particle Physics back
a hundred years.

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Schrodinger’s Dog

You wouldn’t get me into that box.
I’ve just had a dump on your lawn.
Got any biscuits ?

 

Walnuts

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Plump as plums, clustered among leaves,
they hang in a green shade.
Pick one. Peel back the husk and find
a shell there, pocked and wrinkled
like some distant world.

You’ll need a knife. Just press
your blade against the lateral line
then prise the halves apart
and there, in a nutshell
is a brain.

Packed tight into an inch wide skull
two waxy hemispheres
each ridged and swollen
into lobes and clefts
and each the image of the other.

Remove the nut and place it on your tongue.
Crisp at first bite, then soft.
It tastes of sap,
and garnered sunlight
and green thoughts.

 

The woman who invented the selfie

The Donald Trump Drinking Game

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It’s very simple.All you need is a tv permanently tuned to American (ie Trump) Election coverage. You also need a lot of alcohol – pick your poison.

Every time The Donald uses one of the following words or phrases you must have a drink :

Hunerd percent

Strong

Believe me.

If The Donald refers to himself in the third person ” Trump  says…” you must have two drinks.

Happy electioneering !