Monday, 29 November 2021

A cornucopacabana

 

'I'm telling you, Pooh, it's most unwise.'
'I care not.'
'Look, we've been through it times --'
'I know we've been through it times enough. To the point where there isn't enough time to time the times we've been through what you've put me through till I'm through in the face.'
'Well, then...if it's you, or me, or Eeyore, or Owl, then you add (he / him / his). If it's Kanga or Tigger's PA...whatever her name is--'
'Tiffany Breathless.'
'Right...then you add (she / her / hers).'
'What's that little shushing sound you're making?'
'I'm opening and closing brackets, Pooh.'
'Oh, is that what they sound like?'
'They should. If the runners are oiled and they're flush with the woodwork. Which mine are.'
'Well I don't care a fig for--'
'Pooh, you just can't present yourself as Edward Bear (it / wot?).'
'That, Piglet, is just the start of it.'
'What?'
'I'm not just Edward Bear. I'm Edward Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and Pooh. I'm a confection, Piglet. A plurality. A cornucopacabana.'
'So - '
'So on other occasions I may advert to my being as Winnie-the-Pooh (them / more of 'em / "Zulus, Sarge, thousands of 'em").'
'That's even worse.'
'How so?'
'You're not a Zulu. And it's not right to claim--'
'How do you know?'
'What?'
'How do you know I haven't been channelling my essential Zulu-ness on our homeward walks?'
'For pity's sake, Pooh --'
'What?'
'You're just Pooh!'
'I see. So now I'm a victim of your mono-descriptoral malfeasance.'
'My what??'
'You're a fascia!'
'It's fascist, Pooh. I've told you--'
'Now don't you try baffling me with your high tone and semantications. I suspect that you need re-educating.'
'Do I, now?'
'Oh, yes. You need training out of your unconscious Gonzales Byass.'
'And what on earth might that involve?'
'For a start, a free crate-of-twelve...and with Christmas coming up...'
'And where does the unconscious bit come in?'
'I'll repeat it slowly, Piglet...A. Crate. Of. Twelve.'
'Please, Pooh, just stick with (he / him / his).'
'You do know how annoying that shushiness is...'

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

The last-chance spittoon

 

'So, Piglet.'
'So, Pooh.'
'COP 26.'
'Happening right now.'
'What does it refer to?'
'Whom, Pooh.'
'Whom?'
'Specifically, PC Jamie MacGillivray of Coatbridge.'
'Ah...you mean he's in charge of security--'
'He is security.'
'Goodness...big responsibility.'
'Oh, yes...all that sitting around...listening.'
'Sitting and listening?'
'That's what each one-cop security contingent has to do at these farragoes. Listen to all the speeches and arrange them in rank order.'
'I see.'
'So, next time, whoever comes top starts off and whoever comes bottom tries to make themselves heard amid all the departing Range Rovers and bijou jets.'
'Ah...so I suppose whoever comes bottom would have to change their tune for next time, to avoid--'
'Can't be done.'
'No?'
'Speeches have to stay the same, by law.'
'Oh, I see.'
'They have to declare that everyone is...now, what's the phrase?...gobbing in the last-chance spittoon.'
'Good grief.'
'Plus a lot about our children's children not forgiving them.'
'How will they know they won't forgive them?'
'Oh, they'll jet into the future, turn up all breathless, ask "So how's the forgiveness thing?" and a bunch of semi-skeletons in the red wastes will say "Nul points" and they'll jet back just in time to see PC MacGillivray draining the last of his thermos.'
'I see. Still, it begs the question...'
'Just one?'
'For now. I mean, if all the speeches stay the same, no-one can change their place in the order next time.'
'Ah, now, that's a matter of taste.'
'Taste?'
'Oh yes. Rhetoricorically-wise, Cop Twenty-Six might be, well, differently attuned to, say, Gendarme Vingt-Sept or Polizist Achtundzwanzig...or indeed يىگىرمە توققۇز ساقچى .'
'I'm sorry, Piglet?'
'Cop twenty-nine...in Uyghur.'
'Hmm...but the chances of Uyghurs having any say in climate--'
'About the same as having any say in how they draw breath.'
'Nul points?'

 

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Dongledangle

 

'The problem with you, Piglet, is you've got no gumption.'
'Pooh, all I'm saying is that it's unworkable.'
'Of course it's workable. Look...all we need...big cushion against the seat...you up on my shoulders so you can reach the steering wheel...me in my winter galoshes to reach the pedals...extendable arm on your left trotter so you can do the gears...and Hey Pasta! Solution! One less lorry standing idle.'
'I doubt that we'd be allowed--'
'Piglet, they're crying out. We'd be doing our bit to rescue the nation...you know...our paleolithic duty.'
'Really, Pooh--'
'We'd turn up at Swansea, you on my shoulders, extra long coat, chappie says "Congratulations, young man, here's your matriculated lorry licence, go forth and truck" - result!'
'They'd figure out that there were two of us.'
'I'd hold you steady. And you could wear a balaclava. That would--'
'So someone turning up in a balaclava asking to be let loose on the roads...that wouldn't arouse any kind of---?'
'Your problem, Piglet, is that the bigger picture constantly eludes you. Think of the benefits. Travelling the world. Seeing how Maersk is spelt in a hundred languages.'
'I rather think you'd find it's still Maer--'
'Taking our place on the pantechnicon of haulage greats. You know, Norbert Dongledangle...'
'Er, Dentressang--'
'R T H Lubbers. Scared of water, they are...great opportunity to poach business from them, though, global-solution-logistics-wise.'
'I think R T H Lubbers is quite happy to sail on--'
'Prestons of Potto. Word is they're actually Potters of Preston but the sign-writer got all squiffy on the paint fumes...by which time it was too late.'
'Actually, Pooh, Potto is in North York--'
'And who knows where we might go from there? Like that chap who built up his fleet and then made it big in Hollywood.'
'For the last time, Pooh, you're confusing--'
'Humphrey Stobart. Terrific, he was, in "Doverblanca". Means "white cliffs", you know. Epic lines. "Sign it again, Sam...here's flashing me docket at you, kid...round up the usual sprockets." Immortal.'
'Pooh--'
'Just imagine, Piglet. Sunrise over the Hook of Holland. The smell of dockside containers in the morning--'
'Pooh--'
'Like victory, you know. Which we'd be helping to ensure. I can see it now--'
'Unlike one of Rabbit's larger holes, which you're about to fall into.'
'Pooh 'N' Pig--Provisioning the Planet. Big gold letters in--Aarrrgghh!'
'Told you.'


 

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Watteau

 

'It's very sad, Piglet.'

'Indeed it is, Pooh.'

'And to think he wasn't just a drummer.'

'No, he started out in graphic--'

'Discovered the steam kettle, you know.'

'Pooh, I rather think you're rather thinking--'

'And when Benjamin Franklin invented the electric kite, he was first on the scene.'

'Pooh--'

'Came straight out with "Watt's all this?"  Didn't bat an eyelid, just punned himself and coined a unit of power.'

'I think you'll find that Benjamin--'

'Not to mention his swerve into art.  'Course, he called himself Watteau for that.'

'Where on earth did eau come--?'

'Watercolours.  Honestly, Piglet...'

'Silly me.  Well...a man of many parts.'

'All of which clubbed together to help him...well, club together.'

'And what's your favourite song, Pooh?  Of theirs?'

'Oh, has to be Dinky Toy Women.  Yours?'

'Mmm...probably Jumpin' Flash Git.'

'D'you know, I always fancied being born in a crossfire hurricane.'

'One to ponder, Pooh.'

'Exactly!  Because it strikes me--'

'But not now.'


 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Jenga (i.m. 2004-2021)

 

Jenga

Not a four walls enthusiast.
His were the scarps and highways
of the garden,
the shrubs above him
high as Nordic pines.
Mid-morning by the summer-house
he’d turn from whatever labours
the cat-world confects
and just sit,
then maybe take on a fence-post
or have an unavailing lick
at one of his off-white paws.

Jem, I called him for a bit,
but mostly we settled for Jen.
Jenga was thrown round him
like a kid’s brute embrace
by whoever had him before he arrived,
an RSPCA two-for-one
with a sister who died years ago.
To begin with he stayed a good seven days
in the sideboard’s under-shadow,
fearing the rough-house would simply resume
in this new, just as frightening land.

The evening after his sister died
he patrolled the living room
chair by chair and cover by cover,
sensing that the world now nursed
a black-and-white-shaped absence.
Before much longer
our lonely tabby might search the same,
still hearing in her own way
his morefoodnow plaint.
And maybe she’ll wait in a room’s open country
for the off-white clip round her ear
which he’d deliver at full-bowl time,
and which, in the ether behind her eyes,
he may keep on doling without a care
from whatever pocket Eden
now protects him.


 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Nornornornornor...

 

'Well it just sounds tedious.'
'Pooh, I think you've misheard the title--'
'Six hours of folk running up and down between decks
belaying and mizzening and yelling Hardyhardyhardaport.'
'Pooh, it's actually called--'
'Is this what I avoid paying a licence-fee for?'
'Pooh--'
''Course, we should have known. What's that new Director-General called?'
'I think it's Tim--'
'Tim Blackjack Davy. You can just picture him swaggering round Broadcasting House telling everyone to swab and haul and pitch and putt.'
'Pooh--'
'Chomping on Old Jamaica chocolate.'
'I don't think they make that any more.'
'Not for the likes of us, maybe, but he's doubtless got a stash salted away off the coast of Hispaniohavanagila.'
'I think his background is a bit diff--'
'So all of their programmes will change. Easterlyenders. Who's A Peaky Blinder, Then?'
'Pooh--'
'Normal Lubbers.'
'Pooh!! That programme's called Line of Duty!'
'Are you sure?'
'Completely.'
'Ah…not Liner, then.'
'Never was.'
'Hmm…well…you just keep an eye on Blackjack Davy. I still say he's got nauticalistic plans.'
'Well, let's leave it for--'
'Happy Galley.'
'Pooh, I said let's--'
'Pretty Polldark.'
'It's a lovely evening.'
'It is now, maybe, but there's a squall a-comin' out of the Nornornorornor, yew mark moi words ye foine young porcinerator.'
'Just let it, Pooh. Just let it.'


 

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Under Smoky Light: new poetry collection

I hope that you'll be tempted.

 Available from  https://offaspress.co.uk/  (‘Good on the page, good on the stage’).  The orders page is https://offaspress.co.uk/shop/

September 2020:  Michael’s new poetry collection, Under Smoky Light, is now out from Offa’s Press. 

‘Michael W. Thomas’s poems always spring surprises of description, of language and of story’ – David Hart, author of Setting the poem to words, The Crag Inspector and Running Out. 

‘Michael W. Thomas’ poems are rich with the details of past and present lives.  They explore the wildest possibilities of those lives with passion and humour’ – Alison Brackenbury.

‘Michael W. Thomas tears the traditions of metaphors and similes apart.  One feels each word took him hours to select before he cemented it in place; he has complete control of his medium’ – Kirby Congdon, US poet, dramatist, editor and associate of the Beat Poets; author of Selected Poems and Prose Poems and New Mystic, Connecticut, Sixty-Five Years Ago.

In Under Smoky Light, Michael’s poems fully justify such appraisal.  Grouped in four sections – ‘A tunnel for the gust of time’, ‘Under smoky light’, ‘Down the road I go’ and ‘All that waits’ – they offer the reader striking landscapes both real and imagined, explorations of lives both present and past and reflections on the future in all its enthralling possibilities.  The collection, says Simon Fletcher of Offa’s Press, is ‘first rate.’

Michael W. Thomas, Under Smoky Light. 
ISBN: 978-1-9996943-4-0