Stuff that rhymes, sometimes

I verb lonely as a noun

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I verb adverb as a noun
That verbs on high o’er nouns and nouns,
When all at once I verb a noun,
A noun, of adverb nouns;
Beside the noun, beneath the nouns,
Verb and verb in the noun.

Adjective as the nouns that verb
And verb on the adjective noun,
They verb in adverb–verb noun
Along the noun of a noun:
Ten thousand verb I at a noun,
Verb I noun in adverb verb.

William Wordsworth, 1804

Almost is enough

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It’s quite alright to live a life of ‘almost’
if you tried.
To stretch for stars but barely scratch the sky
if you tried.

There’s nothing wrong in coming second place
if you tried:
the victory’s in finishing the race,
if you tried.

Pay no heed to critics,
to nitpickers and cynics
if you did your best
but didn’t lift the cup.

If you pushed beyond your limits
with your focus on the finish
then you passed the stiffest test
that life throws up.

It’s quite alright to live a life of almost
if you tried.

But not if all you’ve done
is almost tried.


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I’d rather we made points than scored them,
prime minister. If we could stick to the facts…
Do you deny that we’re funding a ministry
managed entirely by cats?

Is that why Hyde Park has been re-sown with catnip,
dogs have been curfewed at night,
and doors nationwide have been swapped out for flaps
a fifth of the previous height?

Does it explain the free-flowing cream
in fountains in each major city,
not to mention the tonnes of white gravel
on every street corner with shit in?

It’s answers we want, not a squint and a purr –
your reticence is a disgrace.
And while on that subject, if you don’t mind,
stop rubbing your nose on my face.

Not so smart phone

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corrects me
less than I
correct it.
Its only purpose
seems to be
to make me look
a tit.

Am I dying already?

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Do I already own the clothes I’ll die in?
The songs I won’t hear from my casket?
What of the mourners who’ll claim to have known me
– who among them have I met?

Has the picture they’ll put on my coffin been taken?
My hearse had its first set of tyres?
The crem been paid the price of the gas
that will light up my funeral pyre?

Do my cupboards contain the groceries
from which I’ll make my last meal?
Is a chain of events already unfolding
through which my fate is now sealed?

Memories of times past

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Remember when you used to be able
to shit without a smartphone,
and loosen your sphincter without a finger
tapping a touchscreen display?

Happy days.


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I couldn’t help but comment
on that fiery facial fur,
not thinking my kind words
could be taken as a slur.

‘My father had a snot-mop
much the same as yours,’ I said.
‘An oily top lip doily,
that he dyed a deep fox red.

‘He used to wax his mouthbrow
every night and twirl the tips,
like you, until each point strayed
several inches from his lips.’

I’d barely finished speaking
than she slapped round the face,
and wailing like a banshee,
she upped and left the place.

I learned that day no woman,
young or old, appreciates
kind words about her facial hair
from men met on blind dates.

The wreckless school of motoring

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The Wreckless School of Motoring,
reckless with its claims,
closed down after several crashes
(couldn’t handle lanes).

Pas de chat

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A better ballerina
    I bet I’ll never meet
than my cat astride a fence post,
    so sure upon his feet.
All focus is ahead of him,
    his eyes on living meat,
his head aquiver, measuring
    the inches and the feet
that a plié and a sauté clear
    so teeth and meat can meet:
not even Rudolf Nureyev
    could hope to match that feat.


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You can’t put out water with fire,
burn off the sea in a day,
outswim a tide of helplessness:
life doesn’t work that way.

You need to find out what’s holding you back
if you’re going to achieve your desires,
so scoop up the ocean in buckets
and throw some more wood on the pyre.

Stoke the furnace to boil off the water
until all that’s left is the silt.
Then, when you see what the obstacles are
your life can perhaps be rebuilt.

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