Friday, 23 June 2017

Poetry Friday 51

Poetry Friday from The Topical Poet on Vimeo.

Welcome to poetry Friday 51.
The weather is dominating our thoughts this week, so two poems, one a found poem, created by stealing lines about the Welsh heatwave from various newspapers, the second is a topical poem combining my two favourite subjects, the weather and Brexit.
Hope you enjoy.

A Newspaper Heatwave
Temperatures are soaring,
with Wales basking in
glorious hot weather.
Swansea is sweltering,
Bridgend boiling,
Wrexham roasting.
People flock to the coast
seeking refuge from the heat
as the mercury jumps higher than
The Sahara Desert.
It's a true British bake-off.
But enjoy it while it lasts,
the heatwave is about to break.

A Brexit Heatwave
They said  the mercury's topping 30,
oh no, that can't be right,
this is Britain my dear old thing,
and we use Fahrenheit.

They said it's global warming,
but that's a load of rot,
I remember Seventy-six,
now that was bloody hot.

The mercury's topping 30,
there's too much flesh on show.
Gents even removed their jackets,
at Ascot, don't you know?

And boys are wearing skirts to school,
it should be against the law.
It's a leftist conspiracy
Transgenderism through the back door.

So the mercury's topping 86,
but don't let standards slack.
We'll stop all this nonsense
when we take our country back.

Hope you enjoyed those, join me next week for the 1 year anniversary of Poetry Friday.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Debs part 1

For audio click here 
The thinnest branches at the very top of the tree moved slightly in the breeze. Wisps of smoke rose from different gardens, and the smell of grilled meat and suntan lotion filled the air. A duck quacked and a hidden thrush chirped repeated. Cardiff didn’t do idyllic, but this was the closest it came. A woman’s voice cut through the still air, the laughter echoing around the blocks, and then came the rumble of diesel engines and the clip clop of marching boots on tarmac. A flutter of duck wings and the ripple of water as the birds took to the sanctuary of the canal.
A thousand doorbells chimed simultaneously.
“Yeah,” Debs answered the door and looked at the uniformed man in front of her, hisr black gun shining in the sunlight.
“Your house has been requisitioned by the British Government, you’ve got one hour to leave.”
“Do what?”
“This explains everything. Please be ready to go in one hour. We will take you to a local processing centre.”
“A what?”
“Pack a bag and get ready to go. Oh, by the way, just one bag per person.”
            Debbie could see her neighbours having similar conversations with other uniformed men. One by one the soldiers turned their backs on the residents and marched back to the trucks that were parked in the street. Some lit cigarettes, while others removed their helmets and enjoyed the sun on their faces. Debs looked at the paper the soldier had thrust into her hand.
Emergency Requisition.
Emergency Powers Act 2023
Due to the increasing threat of armed conflict and the need to provide housing for troops and government officials in places of strategic interest, your home is being appropriated by the authorities.

“Bullshit,” Debs said, she let the paper drop to the ground.  A few of the soldiers looked over to her. “I’m not going anywhere,” she yelled over to the troops and then slammed her front door. She took her phone out and tried to make a call, but there was no signal.  Texts messages wouldn’t send, and Facebook gave her an error message. She glanced at her router, there were no lights blinking on it. She switched the kettle on and plonked a tea bag in a mug.

Debs watched the ripples in her tea as she blew on it. She looked up and saw her neighbours filing out of their homes, suitcases in hand. They were escorted by the soldiers who helped them into the lorries. Debs took a sip of tea. One black cloud floated across the bright blue sky. Her neighbours continued to emerge. They looked around as if answers to their questions were written on walls around the block. Debs only had one question, why were people so compliant? Where was the fight? She watched her soldier march over to her front door. Her doorbell rang and then there was a regimented rat-a-tat-tat on the door. She ignored it. The doorbell rang again. She watched the boy look around at his mates. The pimples on his face going redder as his face flushed. Another formal knock and then he turned and marched away.

Debs wasn’t daft. She took this opportunity to throw some things into a bag and make sure she had her bank card and phone in her pockets. The rookie came back with reinforcements and again there was a perfect rat-a-tat-tat on the door. This time Debs opened it.
“Your time is up. Please come with us.”
“No. Who’s gonna make me?”
“Please don’t make us use force.”
Debs slammed the door in the face of the four soldiers standing there.
She turned and went back through to the kitchen, but before she could get there a loud explosion sent her flying forwards, dust and door debris clattered down on top of her. Rough hands grabbed her and hauled her to her feet dragging her out of her house and across the tarmac of the car park.

“In,” the rookie said, pointing to the back of the lorry. Debs could taste blood in her mouth and could feel damp in her hair. She didn’t make any effort to climb into the lorry so the soldiers manhandled her in and dropped her on the floor in front of her neighbours. None of them looked at her, none of them came to her aid. They just left her there as the lorry’s engine started and they moved off to god knows where.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Held Hostage

For audio click here 
The police helicopter hovered just above the rooftops, its blades creating ripples on the canal at the front of the house. I’d often heard the chopper overhead at night but this was the first time I’d seen it in the full light of day. I watched as it circled around and came back to hover over my block of flats. I couldn’t see any other action, so I went back to my sofa and back to Facebook sure that the chopper would find was it was looking for soon and buzz off. I heard a siren from the street outside and guessed the airborne lot had called in the ground troops. Like all middle-class, law-abiding citizens I had that guilty feeling for a split second, was it me they were looking for? but I dismissed it as soon as I started watching the latest Jonathon Pie video.
Something caught my eye, I looked up just as my clothes horse was falling towards me pushed over by the man who was climbing in my window.
            “Oi,” I said.
            The man stood in front of me, bloodstains on his t-shirt and blood dripping from a knife in his hand.
 “Is there a back way out?” he asked. He could have only been about seventeen, or maybe his bum fluff-y moustache and pimples made him look younger than he was.
            “You’re dripping blood on my carpet,” I said.
            “Sorry mate, it’s just, well I’m in a bit of a jam if the truth be told.” The sirens were louder now and the helicopters blades were beating just outside my window.
            “Is there a way out that way?” he pointed to the door.
            “You could try the bedroom window,” he slammed the door open and went into the bedroom just as three police cars screeched into the courtyard.
            “Fuck,” he said.
            “They’re out the front too,” I said.
            “Fuck,” he opened the window. “Don’t you fuckers come any closer or I’ll fucking kill this old geezer.” It took a while for me to realise he was talking about me. Christ I’m only forty-six.
            “Just drop the knife and come out side, Danny,” one of the police officers said.
            “I told you, you come any closer, I’ll kill Grandad here.”  He slammed the window and turned to me.
            “Sorry fella, a man’s gotta do...”
            “I’m only forty-six,” I said.
            “Fucking hell mate I thought you was about seventy. I thought I’d had a hard life.” He looked around. “We better stay here in the hall so they can’t get a shot at me.”
            “What have you done?” I asked.
            “I gave some old pervert what he deserved,” he gestured a stabbing motion and blood flicked onto the walls. “he’d been fiddling me and the other boys for years. Well, I wasn’t gonna take it no more.”
            “How old are you?” He suddenly looked very young.
            “Fifteen,” he said.
            “Look mate…” I started.
            “Don’t say it,” he waved his knife around.  I ain’t gonna give myself up. No way, they’ll send me back to the home.”
            We sat there not saying much for around twenty minutes, he chewed his gum loudly and rolled a ciggie.
            “Mind if I smoke, like?”
I did mind, but he had a knife. He sat back and leaned his head on the wall as he breathed in the nicotine.
“Listen,” I said. “the chopper’s gone, maybe they’ve given up.”
“They won’t give up.”
“Maybe they will, why don’t I go and have a look?”
“No, you stay there. I’ll go.”
He stood up and walked right into my trap. As soon as he went into the bedroom a loud bang echoed around the canal. Danny fell to the floor.

When I left the police station, having given my statement, I picked up the evening newspaper, the headline read:
Man holds pensioner hostage in knife siege.

            “Pensioner?” I said. “I’m only forty-six,”

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Busking - a Steve Rant

For audio click here 
“Hey, did you see that busker on the corner?” Johnny said as he put two full pints on the table.  “He was doing the Proclaimers when I went past. He was pretty good.”
“Aye, he wasn’t bad,” Steve said.     
“Oh, come on Steve, his voice was great.”
“I’m just sick of buskers,” Steve sat up in his chair, Johnny recognised the rant pose. Where was he going with this?  “It’s just there are so many of them these days. Every ten steps there is someone with a guitar or a saxophone competing for my earspace.”
“It’s better than outright begging,” Johnny said.
“And when did it become okay,” Steve took a mouthful of beer, “for buskers to use backing tracks?”
“What do you mean?” Johnny asked.
“You’ve seen them, they’re all over the place. People playing their instruments while a shitty tinny Karaoke version of Baker Street or Paradise City is being pumped out of shitty tinny amps. There should be a law against it.”  
Johnny sat back and took a swig of his beer.
“I don’t mind buskers showing off and doing their thing. As you said, that kid outside McDonald’s has a great voice. But surely using a backing track is cheating. How do we know it is actually them playing? How do we know they are not miming like the bands were on Top of the Pops in the Eighties?  The whole point of busking is to showcase your talent. You should be judged on that and not on how good your fake backing band is. They are being dishonest.”
“It’s hardly dishonest Steve,” Johnny said, “and anyway you don’t have to listen to them. Just walk on by.”
“But I do, I do have to listen to them.”
And I have to listen to you, thought Johnny.
“I have to listen to them because their amps are casting their music to all four corners of the city. It’s noise pollution.  And I’m not sure it adds anything to it. Wouldn’t it just be better to enjoy the sound of the instrument? Anyway, they are not getting any of my coins.
“You don’t give money anyway,” Johnny smiled.  
“That’s not the point. It’s the principle of the thing. If they are wanting coins off people, they shouldn’t hide behind a backing track. Busking should be unplugged.”
“Sometimes,” Johnny said. “I wish I could unplug you.”

“Oh, charming that is,” Steve replied, and got up to go to the loo.