Proper Followers

Monday, October 03, 2016

Examples of Poetic Flash Fiction in 51 Syllables

Time creeps backwards, forwards, closing statements, words open emerging worlds
Shifting sands, sentimental claptraponomy, truths variable
Made up worlds, breathed from words like collapsion - lies waiting to be de-mythed

Oceans waterfall from the thunderstorm, lightening never strikes thrice
Everything leaps sideways sometimes, even umbrellas turn outside in
Much like melting ice this galaxy and the next is subject to change

The things they tell me don’t make sense; they want to put me into their box
Scary stuff, they don’t understand that they’re the ones who have been brainwashed
I can take it or leave it - walk away before things get too heavy

But sin is addictive, harder to give up than tobacco or gin
Like the Gin mill, the Gin Palace, and the babies that are born in Gin
It’s the same the world over, different ones telling the same old lies

Selling the bodies of those that they have violently captivated
Prostituting themselves for peanuts when the candy starts to run dry
Leaving me sitting here alone, crying myself to sleep every night

The racket that they make, they think the carnival is still in full swing
All I can do is pray for rain, it’s like living on a fairground here
With next winter to look forward to - all I can do is hibernate

Lonely as the proverbial fish out of water - fighting for life
Gasping for air, stupid as a beached whale stranded on the sands of time
Beware of the fallen angels, demons, and delirium tremens

She’s screeching ridiculously like a flat tyre on an express train
Demanding as a child with a massive case of the terrible twos                          
She kneels in front of Father Ignatius and confesses all of her sins

Astronomy, astrology, Scientology (kicked it into touch)
World religions come and go unlike golden calves in the wilderness
That hang about like proverbial millstones around the felon’s neck  

Playing music manically suggesting it replaces all language
Dressing for the occasion stretching in her leotard yesterday
Upsetting the apple cart and the boy on the back of the beer dray

Walking in the snow looking for Poo Sticks to throw into the river
All knowledge is subjective you will realise one day when it’s too late
The milkman gives the little boy a carrot to make the snowman’s nose

Everybody’s going home for Christmas, sounds like some sort of sad song
Of course, I’m already home, I live here in fear of my life daily
The best I can do, is go to the match on Boxing Day, if they play

In the New Year things will be fine, all bad memories will be erased
Pleasant thoughts will be implanted into the corporate mind of man
Don’t forget, no one will need to regret anything ever again

Space rockets will come and go from the moon, shooting the bad comets down
Lovers will watch them from secret places as they dart across the sky
Whisky will be mixed down until it looks and tastes like river water

In Poland my cousins husband took me for a bike ride to the park
At the junction he dismounted, ‘We have rules in this country’ he said
The rest of the family had gone to Warsaw, so we ate Bigos

Why are the girls so beautiful in Poland? My son and his friend ask
We were driving from the airport to the cathedral in the salt mine
It was late September, but still warm enough for us to sleep outside

The ballerina and the bally dancer will practice at all hours
No mistake, lovers will be matched according to the music they make
Life is not a chocolate orange, a cheese mountain, or a lake of wine

The feng shui lady is coming today to rearrange the kitchen.
The cook has been throwing daggers at me all day, he hates changing things
When the tide goes out, will it come back? And where does the ocean go to?

The only stars the little boy knows play football on the TV show
It’s amazing the difference a little bit of investment makes
Mediocre Leicester can become champions with the right set up

She makes the tea letting it brew slowly in the kettle on the hob
People come to ask her the way to the mythical temple of love
She looks deep into their souls and saves the penalty for later on

Who are all these people, and where do they come from? Where are they going?
This life doesn’t have all the answers yet, the planets keep some secrets
Even on Mars they have water under the dust, if only you look

The Martians and the little green Moonsters that we’ve talked about before
Travelling at the speed of light, they might eventually arrive here
We travel anywhere, everywhere all the time, at the speed of thought

Nobody really knows how to have their cake and eat it, or do they?
A lot of people drink it these days, they make cake and shake it madly
Some married guys I know have a girlfriend on the side, what does that mean?

Check the afternoon lock-in at The Pancake House in St. Peters square
The skateboarders take a big holdall of cans of beer and hand them out
After they get tipsy they get spray cans out and graffiti the walls

She doesn’t need to go on a diet; she can buy the next size dress
All women are beautiful, ‘I know’, she tells me, when she smiles at me
‘If the barn needs painting, slap on the lippy!’ they say down south - sometimes

Old timers, blue rinse brigade, and grey, coffin dodgers to the last man
They say that I’ve only got eight years and eleven months left to live
Why were there some guys in the Bible that lived to nine hundred and odd?

We go to Oversize Elisabeth’s for the full English breakfast
Every month that’s got an ‘R’ in it, and a few that don’t like July
Last time Pierre the inebriated artisan came with us too

We sample beer shake brunch for starters, and take vodka smoothies to go
Then queue outside the pub, waiting for it to open at nine am
The red Rum drinkers sit there scratching their boozers hooters, it’s murder

The day drags on, drinking pint for pint with Peter the pissed up painter
Artistic as Cézanne, sober as a hanging judge, nowhere to run
When nightfall comes we stagger to another bar for cocktails at eight

Outside and up there somewhere planets collide, new worlds are formed by thought
You know what thought did don’t you? I think he just thought he did what he did
Satellites are falling from the skies back down to earth like lead balloons

But the cranes are still going up to build more towers to scrape the skies
Bent as a plastic fiver, crooked as the Chesterfield church spire
More backhanders than a tennis bat, one racket after another

Everything’s computerised, what will people do when the power fails?
The Millennials and the generation before them have no clue
The three day working week, no electricity, and candles for light

It gets addictive; starving yourself for more than three days is not cool
The self congratulatory society annual big ball
And guess who turns up? All the grabbers, all of the tramps, and all the thieves

The old Jersey lighthouse looks magnificent, standing there in the rain
The Grand National at Aintree will never be quite the same again
Runners and riders jockey for pole position at the Tartan Bar

We watch the international at the Corbiere Pavilion
It’s Scotland v England and they beat us 2-1 we buy all their beer
Only the year before we had thrashed them at Wembley five goals to one

I used to drink in the Trafalgar and the Tenby at St Aubins
All the pubs were open from nine am until eleven pm
Some hotel bars were open all night and the beer was as cheap as chips

I worked at the Royal Yacht Hotel in Saint Helier for a while
And later on at the Parade Bar where I first met the crazy beans
The head waiter at one place was a window cleaner from Wythenshawe

Deluded, waiting for the frost to thaw on a sunny summers day
Funny as a rocking horse rider on steroids, racing round the house
Bubbly as Champagne, fizzy as Cava, mad for it down in Dijon

Keen as mustard, fit as a butchers bitch on heat, fired up for the fight
Tooled up to the elbows, dressed up to the nines, if only looks could kill
Is commercialisation an imitation of reality?

The newscaster announces the capture of another terrorist
He says he is acting alone, but the devastation is so vast
A dozen organisations or so claim he was working with them

The flags remain at half mast as the president makes an announcement
‘The ceasefire is well and truly over, we will resume bombing soon’
The pilots scramble, and the ground crews kick start the jet engines over

The rebels, the terrorists, and the government troops blame each other
The superpowers can’t resist throwing in the Wellington for fun
Manipulating life, death, and eternity to win brownie points

Obnoxious as Baden Powell, with his Wolf Cubs, and the Boy Scout movement
I was the last Tawny Sixer and the First Red Sixer at Eleventh Sale Saint Joseph’s
Frightening as the Hitler Youth was, we would have beat them at football

Me and my street could have played for England, we trained outside every night
Five-a-side, seven-a-side, in the hockey nets at the tennis club
In nineteen sixty-six we beat North Korea at Worthington park

At Saint Aidan’s school we played football every day with a tennis ball
Two of the names I recall are, Antonio Bibby, and Chris Cain
I was a milk monitor, handing out the little bottles with straws

Mrs Harrison was the only shopkeeper open on Sundays
We would always stop to buy cream cheese, pickled gherkins, and kiełbasa
But the thing I liked the best was the cold milk machine outside the shop

Friday, August 26, 2016


Forbidden fruit the day that we first met
Drinking under the bandstand in the park
Regret - for me that was the best day yet
Holding hands until sometime after dark

Remember you were cold and almost blue
And really not as old as I first thought
If love’s a drug then I was hooked on you
And also on the vodka that I bought

If time could swap for that moment sublime
I’d choose to spend it with you anyway
Dancing darkly until the church clocks chime
The dawning of the morning of the day

The apple that we bit right at the start
Was like an atom splitting in my heart


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Referendum 2016

Referendum what a bore
The man in the street will still be poor
And the rich will be richer than before

The press will descend on Manchester
And what she declares the world will swallow
The public’s chance to change tomorrow
Leave or stay? Remain or exit?
United Europe? Or Sporting Brexit?
The lying deceitful corrupt elite
Boring yawning I’m snoring asleep

We’re not voting for a personality
It’s not a party political thing
Is this our one shot at democracy?
Eurocrats – idealistic or pragmatic?
Floating voter don’t miss the boat yeah
The London centric meritocracy
Whatever they say there’ll be bureaucracy 

Referendum what a bore
The man in the street will still be poor
And the rich will be richer than before

The impracticality of reality
If the truth were told no one would vote
Fortress Europe we’re outside of the moat
It’s all insane – a stupid joke
Nobody knows if we’ll sink or float
The party you stand for might be wrong
It’s your chance to perform - play your own tune

Write your own lyrics and sing your own song
Don’t vote for this geezer or for that clown
If you’re feeling snookered - Take off your blinkers
Make up your own mind - it’s your turn to think
It’s not the way that the biscuit breaks
Pot luck - Russian Roulette - no room for mistakes
Like the lady said: Is it Eccles Cakes!


Saturday, April 02, 2016

Suzie Lowe

I don't usually post other peoples poetry on my blogs, but for Suzie Lowe I will make an exception. She sent me the following piece today:


Close to midnight And wide awake.
Silence in surround sound
What lurks in the shadows beneath my bed.
Listen carefully you can hear my heart pound.
Still awake waiting for sleep, relax, get out of my head.

Suzie Lowe 010416

Monday, March 21, 2016

World Poetry Day 2016

Some nasty submarines below
There’s rusty red and blue ones too
That fight each other in the snow
Who really knows quite what they do

Beneath the water magic dreams
Some tasty submarines below
That deep sea dive for hot ice creams
With Trojan Horses on the go

No matter which way the winds blow
Stripped bare down there like Ulysses
Some hasty submarines below
So may I have the spanners please

Bananas in the Bay of Pigs
The Yellow Submarine’s on show
With broken nuts and bolts to fix
Some pasty submarines below


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Not tick tocking (like it should)

He shields her from the truth
The lies don’t matter anymore
Breathing becomes nonsensical
The air is thickly around her

No more counting the pennies
She calls to the spirit of change  
Something stops her ticker
It’s not tocking like it should

He screams blue murder
As she gives up the ghost
Banging his head again
Everything goes pear shaped


Monday, February 29, 2016

No Congestion

Machines half-empty some half-full
Bubblegum bouncing on the floor
Some girls blow it into landfill
And others stick it up the door

A bubble blowing bovver girl
Machines half-empty some half-full
Chew chewing spearmint gum don’t twirl
La Automaton – shoot to cull

Jell-o shots and Sherry trifle
Pray let me make a suggestion  
Machines half-empty some half-full
Manchester has no congestion

A sticky artery or two
Some road works not on schedule  
And dodgy traffic lights on blue
Machines half-empty some half-full

Here's a link to a post I originally wrote in 2007 and re-posted two years ago - It's called Congestion What?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Heading back to Arkansas

Alive like you I stumble in the dark
Arkansas I’ll be with you in a mo
Move over my other lover be still
Jill is waiting for me in the backroom

Mushrooms aren’t as magic as you might think
Inking your name onto my upper arm
Charming as the first day that I met you
Useless me talking to anyone else

Elsewhere everybody knows what wot is
Isolated as we may be - speeding
Dingbats are trying to undertake us
Usually we would fight and go faster

Disasters happen with open throttle
Bottle merchants we may be - but alive


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some Re-posted stuff from Cottonopolis

Little Miss Cotton Cottonopolis
rocks her baby at the factory
in the cradle of industry.
It’ll soon be noon in boom and bust
And she’s just twenty-four hours ahead
She knows that by this time tomorrow
that the whole world will follow
every single word that she said.
And she said:
We’re going to build a canal to bring
coal to town and to link us to the sea.
At noon the next day
the whole world laughed
and said that she was daft
but they waited and they watched
and they copied her by half past three.
And she said:
We’re going to build about
two thousand mills each one eight floors high
with chimney stacks that scrape the sky
we’ll power the looms in boom and bust
with the new technology that we trust
and we’ll fuel those steam engines with coal
that we’ll cart up the Bridgewater canal and
the finished goods we’ll send across the sea.
At noon the next day
the whole world laughed
and said that she was daft
but they waited and they watched
and they copied her by half past three.
And she said:
We’re going to build a passenger railway station
and lay tracks to every city in the nation
and build new dormitory towns to house the hoi polloi.
At noon the next day
the whole world laughed
and said that she was daft
but they waited and they watched
and they copied her by half past three.
And she said:
We’re going to build a university
and a new town hall
a free library and art gallery
and public parks for all.
At noon the next day
the whole world laughed
and said that she was daft
but they waited and they watched
and they copied her by half past three.
And she said:
We’re going to build a ship canal
so ships can come to us
thirty-five miles from the sea.
At noon the next day
no one laughed
or said that she was daft
but they waited and they watched
and the ship canal officially opened in 1894.

First free public Library, Manchester 1653
First real canal (not river assisted) 1761
The Bridgewater Canal Manchester 1761
First steam powered mill Arkwright’s, Manchester 1783
First passenger Railway Station, Manchester 1830
Manchester Ship Canal officially opened May 21st. 1894 
by Queen Victoria
First Red Brick UniversityManchester 1824

Little Miss Crochet
up from Whatsit?
queues outside the
monastery gates for
bread and honey and
her baby cries for the
milk that she’s not got
and across town the
dark satanic mills
rise up eight floors
above the cut and
the phallic chimneys
tower one hundred
and eighty foot into
the air belching smog
that hurts your eyes
and the bargees down
below are blindly carting
coals to fuel the loom
in bust and boom
and even as the tracks
are going down for the
worlds first passenger
railway station
across the road she still
shares half the basement
with eight children and two
drunken and abusive men
there’s no sanitation yet
they dump and hit and miss
in the river and kill the fish
almost next door to the
Italianate warehouse fronts
of the Nouveau riche that line
in eighteen twenty nine
the streets of Cottonopolis

Cottonopolis = nickname for Manchester UK 
in the nineteenth century
Bargee = boatman on a canal barge
Cut = canal
Whatsit? = the countryside

Sloppy Joe's, mee-mawing, 'what was cotton?'
There they were knocking up the worlds trousers
Once upon a time when the mills were here
Lentil soup for supper, I think, innit?
Outer Mongolia's, eating lentils
Now that the post production rot's got out

Only who could spin a yarn like that now
Cotton was the pride of Manchester once
Trousers that would change the world if only...
Outside in the cold light of day pissed up
Pissed off with the way that they've been kicked out
Innit! and a bit of bread with your slop...

Cotton was the pride of Manchester once
Once upon a time when the mills were here
There they were knocking up the worlds trousers
Trousers that would change the world if only...
Only who could spin a yarn like that now
Now that the post production rot's got out
Outside in the cold light of day pissed up
Pissed off with the way that they've been kicked out
Outer Mongolia's, eating lentils
Lentil soup for supper, I think, innit?
Innit! and a bit of bread with your slop...
Sloppy Joe's, mee-mawing, 'what was cotton?'

Uni-ted in Lublin Warsawza and Dublin
Uni-ted are big in Hong Kong
Uni-ted are thunder, they cheer from Down Under
Uni-ted are strong in Korea

Uni-ted Uni-ted from Bang Kwok to Blighty
Uni-ted they sing in Cadiz
But down my street we all follow the blues
Home, away, win, or lose

‘Cos you know what they say down my end,
well me and my mates anyway
There’s two big teams in Manchester;
City and City reserves

It was Saturday afternoon at three o’clock when the chant went up.
Manchester Boot Boys!
And the Bovver Girls joined in, taking the bubble gum out of their mouths.
And expertly spinning it round and round and round an index finger.
Manchester Boot Girls!
They cried, flicking the sticky gum over the heads of the police line.
Towards the Rockers who gathered on the left side of the steep terrace.
The Boot Boys were a makeshift mob of Skinheads and Scooter-boys and Mods.
Most had Steelies, Hobbies and Docs on their feet and the Mods wore Oxfords.
The Bovver Girls wore Monkey Boots to the match in those days, with red socks.
And the Mods and the Skinheads and the Bovver girls all wore Crombie coats.
The Scooter-boys had Fishtail Parka’s with tin badges on the front.
They rode Lambretta’s with ‘Sex Machine’ emblazoned on the side panels.
The Greasers wore leather jackets with studs and sleeveless denim colours.
They all said that they rode Triumph Bonneville’s and six-fifty Norton’s.
The ageing Ted’s used to stand next to the Rockers on the left hand side.
The Ted’s always wore their drainpipes and winkle pickers or blue suede shoes.
When the game went quiet the Bikers would taunt the Scooter-boys like this:
‘Are you there skin?’
They would sing,
And the chant would come back,
‘Are you there Grease?
And the Rockers would laugh, giving a little wave to provoke the Mods.
‘Back to school on Monday!’
The Greaser’s would jeer.
‘Back to school on Monday!
But soon things would settle down and the whole of the Kippax Street would cheer.
When City scored a goal – everywhere, all round the ground the chant would ring.
Manchester la, la, la, la,
Manchester la, la,la, la...
This is a link to a story about the Moss Side Stadium with pictures of The Kippax Street Stand!

Up in flames like the chippy on China Lane
This car park on a vacant lot
Was once the site of the burnt out shell
Of the only shop that didn’t get bombed in the war

Shoulder to shoulder shoehorned to attention  
All ages and colours and creeds
From Piccadilly to the Daily Express
With their photographic memories
Those beautiful buildings mesmerising me

Drawing us all - including you - into
The bestest little city in the world
And how we miss our china plates
Woolworth's and The Queen's Hotel
New Brown Street and Swan Lane
And whatever happened to Tommy Ducks

For forty-five years I’ve wanted to paint you  
Map you - photograph you half to death
Your shop fronts change - logos come and go
But the beauty of your facades remain

It’s funny how so many young thin  
Fashionista’s like such old fashioned things
All those gold and diamond rings
That they buy from the pawn shop
Where the sex shop used to be

Some people never get sick and old
They tell the same jokes that they were told
Sell the brown brogues that they sold
In eighteen-sixty-nine and the years unfold
Like the Tib Street Parrot and the price of gold

Fashion is the passion for all ages
The vintage clothes stores are the New Oasis
The inking parlours and the piercing places
For the café cavemen and The Millstone Elvis  
We all fall down in the middle Yates’s

Glitterista and her sister are out on the razz
If looks could kill in mum’s ball gown
Up to the nines in The Castle and all that jazz
The wholesale markets are well out of bounds

Advertising boards now clutter the pavements
The hairdressers and the bargain basements
From Diet Deli to the gutter - screaming
All Day Breakfast’s - Bacon and Sausage Barm’s
Non Stop Breakfasts’s - Free Coffee Refills
Hot Custard - Bakewell puddings - Manchester Tarts

But this is an empty car park on a vacant lot
That was once the site of the burnt out shell
Of the only shop that didn’t get bombed in the war

Ragchester, Fanchester
Ragchester, Fanchester

If you think any of the above are new words then think again.
I googled Fanchester and it gave me 143,000,000 hits!

Shining shoes at Waterloo, his medals at his side.
Jon was born in Salford in Eighteen ninety-five.
His Daddy came from Ireland a digger of the ditch -
The Ship Canal to Manchester -
that kept that city rich.
His Mammy was a mill lass in Ancoats Lancashire
She worked long days for little pay -
nothing much to cheer.
Jon's Grandpa was a Bargee -
on The Bridgewater
carting coals from Worsley to dirty Manchester.
By Nineteen ten, Jon’s schooling done –
an apprenticeship that was no fun …
from early morn to after dark
at an engineer's in Trafford Park.
At eighteen he went to France
to fight the German might.
Jon lost all his pals there but he came back alright!
He's got one leg to stand on
but man can't live on pride
shining shoes for farthings his medals at his side.
AS 1991

Waterloo is a railway station in London.
A Bargee lived and worked on the canal barges.
The Bridgewater is the oldest proper canal in England.
Ancoats is an area of Manchester where many cotton mills stand.
Trafford Park had many factories.
Farthings are old money, four farthings = one penny.
The Medals are from the First World War 1914-1918.

From my Paris collection:

I wander alone in this great place
no-one bothers me, hardly,
apart from a few girls,
calling out of upstairs windows after dark.
'Hey English!' and 'Sprecken sie Deutch?'
But I'm tongue tied, except for 
Vingt Gitanes, Sil vous plait!

and Merci becoup, Madamossell!
After a while I start to read the shop front names.
The street signs come alive -
Rue de St. Germain, Montparnasse
and Parc de Champs de Mars.
Advertising bollards suck me in.
Newspaper HEADLINES shout at me.
Eventually, I speak my first French sentence.
But the girl behind the Turkish bar
answers me in broken English.
Chicago, hey Mac? she asks.
Manchester! I tell her.
Oh, Bobby Charlton, she grins.
And I can't tell if she's taking the piss
out of my haircut, or what?
From 1987 rewritten 20697

My version of Shakespeare's sonnet 18:

On the eighth day god created Manchester
More lovely than any place he made
Rough winds and rain to come before Easter
Summer’s over before the world cup’s played

And yet a heat wave has been forecast soon
The sick squid all rides free unfair funfair
This week the planets line up with the moon
It’s not coincidence that we’ll be there

But our eternal summer’s still to come
As everything around us fades away
Our fair ground at Platt Fields will still be fun
And the eternal tightrope will not fray

So long as we with third eye still can see
Enslave the queen and this gives life to me

Any bit of sunshine brings them out
outside my front gate this morning
mourning the death of this cold spring
rings on their fingers banging tins.

Tinsel town it's not - Sunchester
Manchester with wheels - tyres screeching
ching ching cheers the mad mullah sings
singing over his car radio.

Radiotelegraphy phew!
hewn with an axe wheels within wheels
heels from 
Columbia - streetwise
wisdom comes from knowledge acquired.

Acquitted but guilty as sin
Sinbad  says - any bit of sunshine.
Thanks for reading this mini-collection