Saturday, 31 December 2016

'Under-Smoothers Pursuivant of the Summerweight Duvet.'


'Yes, Tigger tweeted that the list was out.'
'Tweeted, Piglet?'
'Yes…@BigJiggyTig.'
'Oh dear.'
'Apparently Sleaford Mods missed out again.'
'What…not even Under-Smoothers Pursuivant of the Summerweight Duvet?'
'Not even that…not even a pair of Obe-wans…'
'The thing with Sleaford Mods is, they don't push themselves forward.'
'Actually, they got themselves invited to Beatrice's party.'
'Really, Piglet?  Where she cut open Blunt Ed Mumford's face?'
'Apparently.  But only on condition that they had the sword.'
'Ah.'
'Plus any bows of burning gold and arrows of desire that were knocking about.'
'Sounds reasonable.  How did they get on?'
'They didn't.  Letter arrived relegating them to Jobseeker 10,000.'
'There must have been a reason for doing that.'
'Oh, there is.  There is.'
 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Nipping up the Pitbull


'Well, anyway, Tigger says he'll be submitting a tender to run it next year. Complete shambles, he said it was.'
'Sorry, Piglet, what are we talking about?'
'That…thing, that…Nine Lessons and Carols thing.'
'What happens with that?'
'Well, you know, this time of year, lots of people out there going into one of those drafty places with a spike.'
'A catheter.'
'Yes, they all pile into the catheter and then there's a sing-song and then nine ladies all called Carol take it in turns to go up the steps to that…that wooden effort…circular, you know, with--'
'Pitbull.'
'Yes, each goes up in turn to the pitbull and gives a lesson.'
'Nine lessons? Take all night.'
'Oh, no, they're not lesson lessons…more, sort of, handy hints.'
'Oh, I see,'
'Yes, so Carol One, she might say, I don't know, put a layer of kitchen towel in a plastic box with a tight lid and then your salad won't wilt.'
'Won't?'
'Well, not as fast. It'll still wilt when you're not looking.'
'Naturally.'
'Then Carol Two nips up the pitbull and says, having trouble with your odometer? Try this simple fix. Or something.'
'Ah, I see.'
'Apparently there's always one Carol who says many a mickle makes a muckle.'
'Oh, well, that's a handy reminder.'
'Isn't it, though? I mean, you might be running late, brain all over the place, halfway down the street and it's, oh gawd, where's me muckle? But never fear…'
'As if I would…'
'…you can hunt down humble mickles to an equivalent value, local rates permitting.'
'So what went wrong, then? This year?'
'One of the Carols was indisposed. They had to get someone else in.'
'Never!'
'True as I'm standing here or standing wherever I was standing before I stopped.'
'Well, there's a thing.'
'Yes. Festival of Nine Lessons, Eight Carols and a Trish.'
'Dear me. Well, I hope her lesson made up for it.'
'She said something about pricking out.'
'Good grief. In a catheter?'
'Pooh, I neither know nor care which receptacle she had in mind.'
'As well you might neither nor. But...one thing…'
'Yes, Pooh?'
'Couldn't this Trish lady…I mean, couldn't she have called herself Carol? You know, just to fit in?'
'Ah, now, Pooh, Tigger says things are bad enough in their post-tooth world without making it worse.'
'Post-tooth? Is that what they're in?'
'Revenge of the Chocolatiers, Pooh. On account of tariff fluctuation.'
'I had a touch of that this morning.'

Sunday, 18 December 2016

'Elliot Street' (Saskatoon, December)



Elliot Street

Saskatoon, December.

A small clearing some hundred yards or so
from city traffic.  In another place,
a village green.  Triangular, guarded
by year-end snow, the fingerbones of trees.

My place, my country. I come here each day
to watch the snow uneven out, the chase
of fog mites in the clearing-lamp, to hear
the ghost leaves of old Augusts at their talk.

Beyond, the morning and the evening cars
hoot and fishtail through the trees, but mostly
all’s quiet as fidelity and lets
the stations of the day move softly by.

I’ve tried where the cars go.  A traveller could
do worse than happen on a space like this
where nothing’s asked or thieved, where the bitters
of time unsour and fall beneath the snow.




Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New Poems in Poland

Hello, three of my recent poems appear in the latest issue (#10) of Crossroads: A Journal of English Studies, University of Bialystok, Poland.  I hope you enjoy them,
Season's Greetings,
Michael W. Thomas
http://www.crossroads.uwb.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/crossroads10.pdf

Sunday, 11 December 2016

'Few-ew-ell'


'It's simply disgraceful!'
'Pooh, if I can just explain--'
'I mean, to encourage folk to sing that!'
'Listen, Pooh, if you'd--'
'Totally against the Christmas spirit!'
'Pooh, just let--'
'To deliberately, wantonly hunt down a family called Hall, who've never done you any harm, and subject them to fisticuffs…'
'Pooh, when they sing Deck the Halls, what it means--'
'Not even fisticuffs. You're supposed to redirect their lives to A & E with boughs of holly.'
'Listen, Pooh--'
'So that's physical violence and environmental degradation.'
'When they say Halls--'
'Not to mention depredation.'
'See, Pooh, to deck means--'
'And decimation.'
'Pooh, it's all about making--'
'And any other long word from a Moody Blues concept album circa 1969.'
'If you'll only--'
'And fa-la-la-la-la. What's that, then?'
'Well, that's the--'
'Probably Tagalog for "Give us your PIN number". So you won't be hearing that one from my mouth.'
'It's a lovely carol, Pooh, and it's all about--'
'Or Away In A Manger.'
'Good grief, what's wrong with--'
'What a trick to play, eh?'
'What are you talking--?'
'All those good folk, they've come all that way, shepherds, the wise men with their gold, frankincense and mulch, they could have all been at home with their feet up, listening to their Queen saying, guess what, I'm having my gaff re-fitted, sorry more and more of you are on the streets….'
'Pooh--'
'They turn up, there's a note on the stable door.'
'Note? What note?'
'Probably said "Away in a manger. Sorry for the inconvenience to your adoration."'
'Listen to me, Pooh--'
'See, no-one was looking, on go the castors, they're off.'
'I doubt that--'
'No wonder that that King Hereward got after them.'
'King who?'
'Him and his Early Years Streamline Policy.'
'I think you mean--'
'That's why they called him Hereward the Wake. All those mourning events they had to organise.'
'Pooh, please!'
'And what about the cattle, eh? Having to shove up and make room for a manger that shoves off?'
'Pooh!'
'They don't like disruption, kine don't.'
'Pooh, it's getting late--'
'Kine pine.'
'--and I'm cold. Have it your way. When Kanga has her get-together, you can just sing Jingle Bells.'
'Good.'
'All right?'
'Fine.'
'Good.'
'Though I very much doubt if they got right-to-roam permission for all the fields they dash through--'
'Pooh!'
'Disgusting…destroying someone's livelihood and laughing all the way about it--'
'Have a chestnut.'
'Has it been roasted on an open fire?'
'No.'
'Good. I don't want to celebrate the gratuitous use of few-ew-ell.'

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

'Victoria Street', Brittle Star, 39 (Nov 2016)

'Victoria Street', a new poem in Brittle Star, issue 39 (November 2016).
http://www.brittlestar.org.uk/

Thursday, 1 December 2016

'Shame': a new poem in London Grip.

'Shame', a new poem just out in London Grip Winter '16-'17.
http://londongrip.co.uk/2016/12/london-grip-new-poetry-winter-2016-7/

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sa-hatis-fa-hack-chewun


'I was talkynge to Tygger just today and--'
'Pooh, what exactly is that voice?'
'Ah, Pyggelet, I'm getting into Ye Olde Zone.'
'What?'
'No, no, Pyggelet…whatte?'
'I'll stick with what, thank you. What's all this in aid of?'
'Itte isse in ayde of the Christmas Fayre.'
'Fayre? You mean fair?'
'No, Pyggelet, you must saye Fayre or you wul be bangede uppe.'
'What Fayre?'
'Thayre Fayre.'
'Whayre?'
'Outte thayre. Go onne…say, "Wel, aye declayre".'
'I shall do nothing of the sort. So they're all having fairs out there.'
'Fayres, Pyggelet!'
'I simply don't cayre…care…Pooh, are you getting round to saying that Tigger--'
'Tygger, Pyggelet!'
'--wants a fair or fayre in heere? Now you've got me at--'
'He alreddee has someone in mynde to openne itte.'
'I think I can guess…'
'Mister Anthony Blayre.'
'Oh. Not a Sonny-less Chayre?'
''Strewth, Piglet, yore dim an' no mistyke. Yew don' 'alf get up my chim-chim-cheree.'
'Who are you now? Hans Van Eyck?'
'Werl, see, yer Tigger, 'e's finkin' uv 'avin' a Victorian theme. Lots uv 'em aht there, thass wot they done.'
'I thought Mary Poppins was set in Edwardian--'
'Garn! All the same to them as'll be doin' the rahnds uv the coc-ee-nut shies un' avin' their fowerchunes read.'
'In that case, I'd say that all of those…them…those out there have wasted their time.'
'Howjafigurethatthen?'
'Well from what I've heard, they only have to stand still from now on and they'll be Victorian all over again.'
'Nah, lissen ter me, Piglit, yore talking like a wrong 'un--'
'They could just call their fairs Us Now. Go on, Pooh, cast aspersions on the cut of my jib…'
'I wunt giv yer the sa-hatis-fa-hack-chewun.'
 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Book promotion! The Mercury Annual and Pilgrims at the White Horizon

From 28th November to 2nd December 2016, the two novels that make up the Valiant Razalia sequence, The Mercury Annual and Pilgrims at the White Horizon, are on specially publicised promotion at their publisher, Theaker's Quarterly Fiction / Theaker's Paperback Library.  I hope you will have a look and enjoy them.  Thank you very much.

http://theakersquarterly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/pilgrims-at-white-horizon-by-michael.html



Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Jam Before Yesterday


'Jam?'
'Yes.'
'As in…Jam?'
'The same, Pooh.'
'So these are folk who are now having a tough time?'
'There's no now about it, Owl says.  It's been a while since they weren't.'
'So…jam before yesterday, then?'
'Long before some yesterday or other.'
'What does it mean?'
'What?'
'Calling them Jam?'
'Owl asked Tigger.'
'Oh…I wish I hadn't--'
'--who took a deep breath and said it means Just-About-Managing-To-Resist-The-Impulse-To-Seek-Out-The-Smug-Ticketyboos-Who-Neutralise-Problems-By-Roping-Them-With-Acronyms-And-Then-Eviscerate-Them-And-Sling-Them-In-A-Skip-At-The-Back-Of-A-Reasonably-Remote-Petrol-Station.'
'Gosh!  You and Owl must have splendid lungs.'
'So kind, Pooh.'
'Have you ever thought of trying to fly?  Like him?'
'Tigger says that, out there, I could do just that any time I like.'
'Well, there's a thing.'

Friday, 18 November 2016

The cost to the sax-players.


'Goodness.  Is that so?'
'Apparently, Pooh. Owl told me.'
'How much is it, again?'
'Three hundred and fifty million of their pounds.  Could be more.'
'And that's for the lighting--'
'Lighting, heating, big wash and brush up.  Apparently the wiring hasn't been replaced since the 1950s.'
'Sorry, Piglet, why did you put that Patrol-Leader voice on just then?'
'Ah, well, it's that phrase, you see.  If you want something importantly urgent done importantly, whether you deserve it or not, you have to say it hasn't been done since the 1950s.'
'Oh, I see--like saying that something's the size of whales--'
'--who have recently ingested ten football pitches.  Yes.'
'So whoever needs all this doing…they're paying for it?'
'Ah, well, they can't.  They're on special benefits.'
'Special benefits?'
'Divine right.'
'Meaning?'
'Owl asked Tigger--'
'--oh, dear--'
'Who said it roughly translates as, never give suckers an even break.'
'I see.'
'No, the saxplayers are footing the bill.'
'The…?'
'Saxplayers.  They pay for everything in their…their…oh, what's the term?'
'Civil society?'
'Well, yes, for want of anything better...that.  Apparently people are forever going on about the cost to the saxplayers.'
'Sounds like they've got some kind of fan club.'
'Mums are loyal.'
'So how does it work?'
'Owl reckons that in their…do I have to say "civil" again?'
'Not on my account.'
'Thank you, Pooh.  Well, in their thing, Owl says, there's a group of saxplayers who are so bad that they have to pay to play.'
'They must want to play ever such a lot.'
'They must want to stay rubbish even more.'
'And where is this place?'
'Oh…Buckingham Something.'
'Three hundred and fifty million.  Gosh.  Ah, well, you know…'
'Know what, Pooh?'
'Well, it's coming up to their season of good swill.  Perhaps the saxplayers will ask to be allowed to give it to, oh, I don't know, children who need to be needed.'
'Oh, Pooh…silly old bear.'

Something-Something In Need.

'Homeless in Need.'
'No, that's not it.'
'Sufferers from Hidden and Therefore Not Particularly Well-Publicised Afflictions in Need.'
'Shorter than that, Pooh. I should have got Tigger to repeat it. Might have made it worse, of course.'
'Poets in Need.'
'Good grief, no.'
'Latest In Long Line Of Governments Who Sit Back And Rub Their Hands While People They're Ripping Off In Other Ways Dig Deep In Their Own Pockets For Them...um, in Need.'
'Remember what we talked about, Pooh? The difference? He's not called Short John Silver; they aren't locked up in Short Lartin.'
'Oh, yes, yes...sorry.'
'If I could just remember one--'
'Celebrities With Mid-Career Flaggage Who Could Just As Easily Donate Anonymous--'
'Pooh! No, it's something to do with children...the kind of world they'll have to grow up in out there.'
'God Help The Children?'
'Closer.'
'Give Us A Hand To Beam Up The Children?'
'Ah...yes...Scotty In Need.'
'I knew we'd get there.'

Thursday, 13 October 2016

'Ah, a Celtic Vibeiste.'



'Piglet?'
'Hmm?'
'How did Rabbit's book launch go?'
'Launch?'
'Last Thursday…for National What Was That Thing We Can Forget About Again Day?'
'Ah…the poetry doings.'
'You'd forgotten, too, hadn't you?'
'I so had.  See how I dropped that in there?'
'I so did.  So how did his launch go?'
'Sooo…great success, Tigger said.  Rabbit--'
'--Brer Baudelaire--'
'--sorry, je suis desultory, M. Baudelaire was reading with a Celtic vibeiste.'
'What?'
'Her words channel the valencies of all things Hibernian, Tigger's proportional representative said.'
'Tiffany Breathless?'
'That's the pied-a-terre occupant.'
'Who is this vibeiste?'
'Meabh Na Bandwagonagh.'
'Hibernian herself?'
'Sooo, apparently her grandad was a barman on the Isle of Man ferry.'
'Ah.'
'For a good three months.'
'And Rabbit read what?'
'From his collection.  His slim vacuum.'
'I thought he'd only written that poem about having a leaf in his gob.  How did he--'
'--he got help from Tigger's PR and her PR.'
'She's got one?'
'Viola de Gapyear.'
'So what's it called, his slim vacuum?'
'Deep In My Heart, Where No-one Can See, I'm Oppressed But Photogenic.'
'Gosh, that's a real mouthful.'
'Oddly enough, what you just said is a line from another poem of his...theirs.'
'About what?'
'I didn't presume to ask.'

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

National Pottery Day 3: Brer Baudelaire

'Well, Pooh, it's all go.'
'Really. I'm sorry I missed it.'
'No, no, Thursday. National Pootling Day.'
'Oh, that, yes.'
'Tigger's been visioning Rabbit.'
'He doesn't want to make a habit of that.'
'It means getting him ready for his poetry launch.'
'Oh, really?'
'Yes. He has a proper poet name and everything.'
'Proper poet name? "Rabbit" not good enough?'
'Well it would have been last year. Tigger says that National Ptomaine Day '15 was all about channelling the edgeland-glade-and-wistful-wood vibe, so "Rabbit" would have done nicely. But as Tigger also says, we were then in the then then but now we're now in the now.'
'He does know he's talking out loud?'
'Yes. Tragically. Anyway, they found a name format that's been lying around for a few months because the previous owner no longer has need of it. Having…you know…'
'Having what?'
'Gone to meet his Mater.'
'Oh…oh, you mean that Mr Bowie.'
'No the other one…the one word--'
'Prance.'
'Yes. Only he stopped being that and became The Artist Formerly Known As Prance.'
'So Rabbit became what?'
'The Poet Formerly Known As Rabbit.'
'Doesn't make sense…'
'No, they realised that--'
'I mean, Mr Prance, that was his name. He could stop using it and keep prancing.'
'Yes, Pooh, they--'
'Whereas Rabbit is called Rabbit and is a rabbit.'
'Pooh, they did--'
'He can't un-rabbit himself, National Potiphar Day or not.'
'Pooh, they modified it.'
'They?'
'Tigger and his PR.'
'Gosh, he has a proportional representative.'
'Or is it PA?'
'Gosh, he's bought Philadelphia.'
'Personal Assistant.'
'Who is?'
'Tiffany Breathless. She came up with what she called an interim-facing-fix-going-somewhere-or-other.'
'Which is what?'
'The Poet Still Intermittently Called Rabbit.'
'Mmm. No. Timing problem, Piglet.'
'Timing?'
'How will we know when he's a poet and when he's a rabbit? We might see him out and about and say, "Hello, Rabbit, how are you?" but if we, you know, pick the wrong time, we might never get "I'm well, thank you" out of him.'
'Well actually, Pooh, they realised that, too, so--'
'I mean I might just want to pass the time of day with him--as him--but instead I might get an earful of that…you know…stuff.'
'Well, that's why they did what Tiffany called an assessment and unfurther-doingness implement, so--'
'I might say "Hello Rabbit" and he might give me the old, you know, "Thou still unvarnished bed of quietness" and all that.'
'They've decided--'
'Or start wittering about that Arthur League and how he kept going onwards--'
'Pooh, they've changed his name again.'
'To?'
'Brer Baudelaire.'
'What?'
'French poet, Baudelaire was. Tigger says he wrote Fleurs du Mal.'
'What's that mean?'
'Flowery and bad, apparently. But he's really famous. Tiffany says the name has cashew.'
'Fleurs…you sure it isn't Mal's Flowers?'
'Ah, well, now, she and Tigger didn't rule that out either.'
'So we're talking about bouquet-facing sponsorship.'
'A tee-shirt, at the very least.'
'"How's my emoting?" No, can't see Rabbit in a tee-shirt. Or writing a poem, come to that.'
'Oh, that's not a priority. The main thing is to be a poet.'
'Has he written any?'
'Just the one.'
'Which is?'
'"With a wife and twelve kids
and a leaf in my gob
that's amore.…"'
'They've got their work cut out.'
'Going forwards.'
'Backwards, Piglet. Emphatically backwards.'

Saturday, 1 October 2016

'There must be a cream for that.'

'Well, Pooh, it's all happening.'
'Thank goodness for that. What is?'
'The BBC's commitment to supporting National Pottery Day.'
'Oh…good.'
'Tigger says more presenters are lining up to re-vision poems which are old and therefore by definition useless.'
'Re-vision?'
'An ancient phrase, he says. It's Old Orthopaedic for have another butcher's.'
'Fancy. So who's re-visioning now?'
'A couple from Long Lost Motorway Cops are doing John Clare's senate, "I am, yet what I am none cares or knows".'
'Senate?'
'Special sort of poem, Pooh. All the words have to sit in rows according to power and function.'
'Ah, yes…like that "Shall I compost thee in the summer hay".'
'The very example I was about to give, Pooh.'
'So did it go all right, then? Their butchering of "I am what I am"? Always thought that was Popeye.'
'"I am, yet what I am none cares or knows," Pooh. Well, there were some teething troubles.'
'Oh, dear.'
'Yes, one of them thought John Clare was the other one's new stylist.'
'Ah, it happens. Let's hear the butchering, then.'
'"I so am but wtf I so am totes nobody gives a monkey's".'
'It has a certain….'
'Plangent yearning, Tigger says.'
'There must be a cream for that.'
'Several, I should think.'