I've been playing with a bull
And idiotting a ball of wool.
I've been fooling with my fall.
I've been pushing a roll of wall
Down a hill until I come
To where I left my kettle drum.
I'll plug it in and make some tea,
And field these questions thrown at me.
"How can you eat your crutch like that?
Why do you sniff all the worms in your path?
Might they not climb up your nose
And find the place in your brain where woes
"Are boiled in pots and stored in baths
And hopes are crushed like grapes in vats,
Squashed by feet attached to legs
That hang from wires. They're held by pegs."
I try to answer all they ask.
I'll gladly undertake this task.
Answering helps me unwind.
I'm not afraid the worms will find
The kitchen in my brain where peas
Are trained to fly like bumble bees
And go up other people's noses
While they're busy sniffing roses.
The peas will pick the locks of doors
Inside the brains of dreary bores
And paint the walls of rooms with thoughts
Baked by chefs with rows of noughts
But not one cross. They all look mad
And scary too when they are clad
In blood-stained clothes emitting smells
That wear their garish clothes and bells.
These one-eyed chefs adore their knives
Much more than life itself or wives.
They love to cook or bake their theories
And think of people who'll soon fear peas.
The worms will be led to a room
Where TV screens defeat the gloom.
The worms will see all that I do,
Like wearing red and saying 'boo'
To sleeping bulls who lie in shade,
Or hammering the scones I made.
They'll see me kick a ball of smoke
And pick up shards of glass it broke.
I walked for many days on hills
And through a mountain gap
Until I came across a town
Not marked on any map.
I ventured down an alley
Guarded by an alley cat.
He spoke in broken English
But I didn't stop to chat.
I found a place to stay
Above a pub where evil lurked.
The taps poured out brown water
But at least the damn things worked.
I had a bath and washed my face
To lose the smell of sweat.
I read the news on my tattoo,
The forfeit of a bet.
Because I incorrectly called
The outcome of a race
I had a page of newsprint
Written on a private place.
I've never bought a paper since.
The news remains the same.
Politicians work both night
And day at shifting blame.
I brushed my hair to excavate
The ancient coins and earth,
And then I had to brush my face
Till it was free of dirt.
I wore my suit when I went out
To seek what I could find,
Something burning brightly to
Illuminate my mind.
I roamed the streets. I passed the homes
And clubs of ill-repute,
Where everyone has firearms
And a tendency to shoot
When they perceive an insult
Or the slightest little slight.
Fights decide who'll be the rightful
Owner of the night.
I passed the pubs and hubs of vice
With prices on the door.
All the staff possessed two legs
And some possessed two more.
I came across a building with
A dark, foreboding look,
A place where scheming butlers
Would be murdered by the cook.
Something drew me in,
Even though I was afraid.
As soon as I set foot inside
My fear began to fade.
Crystal chandeliers illuminated
Countless happy dancers let
The music's jazzy fumes
Affect their minds and bodies
And their feet became a blur.
The legs of people who were
Sound asleep began to stir.
Waiters dressed in white served drinks
To writers who expressed
Their love for one great writer
And their hatred of the rest.
My stylish new surroundings
Left me in a happy mood
Until I saw the crazy prices
Of the drink and food.
A woman there perceived
The disappointment on my face.
She said she'd make me dinner
If I went back to her place.
She promised me some wine as well.
I wouldn't have to pay.
I said I'd be delighted
And I let her lead the way.
We walked down streets in darkness
To the other side of town.
It seemed her house was wondering
If it should topple down.
Inside she started working on
A late-night meal for two.
She put what looked like beef into
A pot of Irish stew.
She used a carving knife to cut
The gravy in a dish.
Dessert was chocolate gateau
But it smelled a lot like fish.
She made a pot of tea and raked
Some sugar from the rug.
She evicted all the insects
Who were living in my mug.
I was shocked. I couldn't quite
Believe that she would do
So much to make me feel at home.
Our time together flew.
While she read my tattoo,
I enjoyed my cup of tea.
This was the nicest dinner
That I'd ever had for free.
I treasure all that life entails.
When my most recent mission fails
I'll say 'hooray' and celebrate.
I love what high-achievers hate.
Failure's nicer than success.
Being good at playing chess
May well inspire respect and awe
And compensate for some great flaw.
But this success means spending hours
Strengthening your mental powers,
Gazing at a board of squares
And facing bishops' vacant stares
While I'd be at the estuary
Where two fake bishops blessed my tea.
These bishops wore more jewellery
Than Mr. T. In fooling me
They told me they had just said mass
To a most angelic class
Of pupils from a local school
Where light and mindless kindness rule.
The children's smiles were disconcerting.
The bishops heavy hearts were hurting.
I had a thermos flask of tea.
The bishops' eyes lit up with glee
When I poured tea for them in mugs.
They told me that their favourite drugs
Were tea and cake. I quelled their hell
When I gave them some cake as well.
They blessed my soul before they left
On a raft acquired by theft.
The sun above makes me feel blessed.
It tells me I'm a welcome guest.
On riverbeds of mud I stand.
I search for buried treasure and
Retrieve detritus when the tide
Goes out and leaves no place to hide
For old umbrellas, broken planks,
Shredded documents from banks,
Tangled nets and ropes in knots,
Bins and cans and pans and pots.
The office-bound can have success
And days indoors and waves of stress.
Film stars can't steal a raft
Without being seen and photographed.
I'll stay out in the sun till nine
Without being seen, and then I'll dine
On fish I found. My makeshift shack
Has candlelight to fight the black.
With peanuts I can pay my rent.
To celebrate a day well spent
I'll open my homemade champagne,
Made from aftershave and rain.
Fish don't like being caught.
I'm sure they'd rather not
Be abducted from the water
And subjected then to slaughter.
Fish don't like baked beans
Or glossy magazines
With dozens of celebrities
Who spread throughout the web with ease.
They don't enjoy weekends
Spent on road trips with their friends.
They don't like barbeques
Or picturesque sea views.
Fish don't surf the net.
They'd surely sense a threat.
'Net' sounds worse than 'gun',
Though surfing sounds like fun.
If I had a genie's wish
I'd choose to be a fish,
Swimming freely in a shoal.
The zoo inside a bowl
Would be fine for those whose aim
Is a modicum of fame.
They'd have their fifteen minutes,
Or half an hour and then it's
A trip through death's wet moors,
Down the toilet, through the sewers.
And when it ends they'll be
Floating in the deep blue sea.
This would be their afterlife.
My sardonic laughter's knife
Would cut them up inside
If they hadn't gone and died.
I would be alive.
I'd be free to swim and dive
In their heaven, where they're dead
After being overfed.
If I should meet my death
On a hook or in a net,
I'll fail to keep life's lease
But my laughter will not cease.
As my heartless killers dine
The last laugh would be mine.
I'd taste like cheap hair gel
Because that's the way I smell.