Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Tuesday 30 April 2002
London

I know that these are now not so much an update of travel - sorry if you are looking for a where is he now kind of travel diary... the truth is I simply travel backwards and forwards into the city, and to Nottingham at weekends..

for the diary of the journey across the States on the bike - scroll down (quite a long way) the travel diary is there, honest...

but for today - here is another topical sonnet...

Ruth Handler, creator of Barbie, dead at 85

Oh what a contradiction, Barbie Doll,
All flaxen hair and up front bumpy bits,
Yet nippleless on, whisper it, your tits,
A virgin pure, though hunky Ken’s first moll.

So Tiny Tears grew up a teenage miss,
(Or were you brought home from the cabbage patch?)
In puberty, for Ken you’re quite a catch,
All flushed anticipation of a kiss.

That cheap cat Cindy snogged with Action Man,
Too easily impressed by Khaki pants
And chiselled jaw. Ken took you to a dance,
And afterwards discreetly squeezed your hand.

But Ken grew up and then came out, didn’t he?
Whilst you grew rich, making out as Britney.

Tuesday 30 April

Monday, April 29, 2002

[4/28/2002 3:40:10 PM | Rick Hall]
Sunday 28 April 2002
Nottingham

such strange days

Damilola

Small black dead kid, marble lodged in your throat,
How old are you, dead boy in the stairwell?
Just ten? What is that stain under your coat?
Your leg sticky with blood like caramel.
What sticky sweets did you hold out to share,
To hold them off, or smile to move away
From danger? Did they chase? Was no-one there
To call to, to help to keep them at bay?
You skipped from school; the cameras saw you,
A young wide-eyed and smiling kid, now dead.
A jagged bottle, not much of a clue
To explain why your life ran so blood red.
And in your throat a marble. What did you do
To rile them so, to provoke such hatred?

Saturday 27 April 2002

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Sunday 28 April 2002
Nottingham

such strange days

Damilola

Small black dead kid, marble lodged in your throat,
How old are you, dead boy in the stairwell?
Just ten? What is that stain under your coat?
Your leg sticky with blood like caramel.
What sticky sweets did you hold out to share,
To hold them off, or smile to move away
From danger? Did they chase? Was no-one there
To call to, to help to keep them at bay?
You skipped from school; the cameras saw you,
A young wide-eyed and smiling kid, now dead.
A jagged bottle, not much of a clue
To explain why your life ran so blood red.
And in your throat a marble. What did you do
To rile them so, to provoke such hatred?

Saturday 27 April 2002

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Tuesday 23 April 2002
London

some thoughts on France, on St George's Day


France standing on the top of golden hours,
And human nature seeming born again
– The Prelude

Poor Wordsworth what became of ton espoir?
As you looked out and basked in le soleil,
The heat of revolution – then le soir
Of disillusion. Pourquoi? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Alas, la France, what misfortune cette jour
Disturbs your contemplation of la gloire?
The country that epitomised l’amour
And fought for blessed freedom et la foi.

Et maintenant, the hopes of liberte
In disaffection dashed and ecrasse;
The peace that celebrates egalite
A centrist politique smug and blasé.

Don’t underestimate the power of hate.
Le Pen will strike when others hesitate.

Tuesday 23 April

Monday, April 22, 2002

Monday 22 April 2002
London, after Nottingham and Louth
in Lincolnshire - the Land that Time Forgot

to celebrate my mother's 76th birthday and my niece's 13th..

but only one topic of news in the headlines - so...

The Big News this Weekend

Tired as you are of Hello, Posh and Becks,
Read on you hungry sensation seeker,
Lusting for details of hot Swedish sex
With ‘coldplay’ Swen and his blonde Ulrika.
Of lovely Ulrika, Swen, so I hear,
Said, swedishly, I would love to meet her,
Play 4 – 4 – 2 on a bed by IKEA,
And share, in the morn, my crisp Ryvita.
At length, we’d discuss the films of Bergman,
Strindberg, Abba and long summer twilight,
Strikers like Luneberg and Henrick Larson,
Backwards and forwards in grey, black and white.
At the end of the day, the team Swen picks
Matters more than who shares his Weetabix.

cheers

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Thursday 18 April 2002
London
my mate Stafford's birthday..

and the day after Budget Day - hence time for a topical sonnet...

Budget Day 2002

The only things in life that are certain –
Death at the end, and before that, taxes.
Today’s one indisputable fact is
Mr Brown has increased the tax burden.
The health of the nation is in balance
With the wealth of the nation to the score
Of 40 billion spondulicks – what’s more
It’s all there in the minds of accountants.
Sixpence a word the poet now charges,
Tuppence a bag for the lickel birdies,
Bob for a job. On Wall Street the word is –
Affluence melts in desert mirages.
So raise a glass to the Chancellor’s need,
Down with avaricious grasping and greed.

18 April 2002


Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Tuesday 16 April 2002
London after Nottingham
and a weekend of back aching gardening - see picture file in links

but what a weekend of sporting action - Paula in the Marathon, FA Cup semis; Grimsby triumphant in avoiding relegation; Imola; Augustus..

and so in celebration, here is today's topical sonnet..

Cricket

I’m pleased to inform all chums in the States
That a new cricket season’s upon us;
While Tiger stalks lush greens at Augustus,
The next batsman in, in gloom sits and waits.

The crowd under blankets peers shivering,
His dog seeks ankles to worry and bite;
(Rage, rage against an appeal for bad light)
Like all hope, his sandwich is withering.

When drizzle to showers brings out the covers,
And dewdrops on cold noses become streams,
The scorer in his box muses and dreams,
‘Not a past-time for wild Latin lovers.’

In April, anticipation’s complete;
The sound of leather on willow is sweet.

15 April 2002

Friday, April 12, 2002

Friday 12 April 2002
Nottingham

a nation holds its breath and focuses on a left foot... so here is today's topical sonnet

Goldenballs takes a Tumbledown

The wars of Sissons’ Tie and Jenkins’ Ear
Are as nothing as the causa bellum
Of Beckham’s big toe, which may yet become
The Argies’ ‘Gotcha’ of this campaign year.

The hand of god and Captain Rattin’s knees,
A childhood of corned beef and Fray Bentos,
Then, total disbelief – Becks is sent off,
Forever haunt our World Cup memories.

And so to La Corunna, rue the day,
And though the coach expressed his sympathy,
We know a cold Argie conspiracy
When we see it. For his foot, let us pray.

In this misfortune, hopes of reversal
Are pinned in ‘the people’s meta-tarsel’.

12 April 2002

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Thursday 11 April
London

today's topical sonnet

The Queen Mum is Buried

Shut up the shops and toll the muffled bell,
The old rant has gone, goodbye and farewell.

Life reverts to a regular hum-drum
Pace after a weekend of slow marches.
The black tops to red top tabloids resume
Their pursuit of tits and sleazy searches.
The people’s grandmother, thank god, has passed
Into the blessed realm of history.
The nation can let flee a fart at last,
As if holding breath was a mystery.
Sixty million – her personal fortune;
Some allowance for all those crazy hats;
And lest we say anything importune,
Enough is enough, lord; let that be that.

11 April 2002


observations on the disaster of Becks's foot later...

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Wednesday 10 April
London

today's topical sonnet

More bloody carnage

Won’t you Israelis ever understand
The lessons of history? The harder
You oppress, deny hope, impose your ban,
The stronger, more inexorable, farther
Will be the bloody reach of resistance.
You, who so desperately link your fate,
Your motherland, your very existence
To the founding of a god promised state –
Learn how the prison bars of apartheid
Contained not Mandela’s quiet endeavours,
How a Berlin Wall is a tourist site.
Freedom will ever defy the labours
Of injustice. And as day follows night
Your enemies will die as your neighbours.

10 April 2002

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Tuesday 9 April 2002
London

today is the birthday of a dear chum in New York - Chris Vine, to whom I send love and best wishes..

it is also the funeral of the Queen Mother - dear oh dear, the sycophancy is breathtaking. The UK as a nation really does know how to abase itself. If I hear once more how the Queen Mother was just like one of us I'll need the sick bag. She was an old lady, who accumulated a personal fortune of £60m while the rest of us waved and cheered. The personal staff of her several houses are now looking for a job. Let her go quietly into history, and let's move on.

On this day in 1679 a dead orphan in Manchester was ordered to be buried wound up in wool. Paupers' burials were in wool in an order to increase wool sales (and consequently increase the royal coffers who claimed a royalty on wool).

enough - as Keats would put it - of this wormy circumstance...

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Sunday 7 April 2002
Nottingham

another topical sonnet

How do I write a topical sonnet about carnage?

My home’s a land of opportunity,
Of power, and influence throughout the world;
Then Gaza strips us to futility
And impotence. Death renders power absurd.
Whilst George and Tony boogie on the ranch,
In Nablas and Ramala vengeance stalks;
Angry, bitter cliches in the West Bank;
War war destroying any hope of talks.
Work back from what must be resolution
Can’t you, won’t you, oh you warring nations?
What hope lies in bloody retribution?
Do corpses cry out for compensation?
The word of god means nothing to us here;
Your children teach us only to despair.

Friday 5 April

my apologies if you use the travel update and the thought for the day via the links page in sneakinguponamerica.com - I have been duplicating the pages recently..

hot sunny April days in England just now.. though cold at night.. not good for queueing for viewing a coffin.

will Mariners stay up? it looks as if it will come down to a straight fight with Barnsley.. and we each have a tough run in with the final two games against teams looking for a playoff place.

tant pis

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Thursday 4 April 2002
London

another topical sonnet on the way - meanwhile here are some thoughts surprisingly from Benito Mussolini..

Live every day as if it was your last, but think as if you will live for ever.

Thursday 4 April 2002
London - later the London Eye

as ever the weather brings the office workers out at lunchtime to bask (like sharks?) along the Thames path and gardens.. the office here is just alongside London Bridge an earlier version of which was sold to an American entrepreneur who thought he was buying Tower Bridge - the one with the towers and arms that raise..

so booked a couple of tickets for the sunset ride on the London Eye - should be spectacular.. the capacity of the London Eye is 768 as any trivia quiz will tell you. It has been fully booked this Easter Week..

there's another topical sonnet on the way.. bear with me.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Tuesday 2 April 2002

London - again

and another topical sonnet

Fury as newsreader wears the wrong tie

We interrupt this programme with the news;
Four thousand molls in Blackburn, Lancashire.
A footballer has suffered a slight bruise,
Salacious gossip given the all clear.
A teenager has vanished in thin air,
Another Sgt Pepper track played out –
‘Standing alone at the top of the stair…’
No news; parental anguish put about.
And football in financial trauma fails,
The monkey may have eaten all the pies.
And garden centres report record sales,
And outings pick up under sunny skies.
The Beeb attracts the fury of the Mail.
What else? Oh yes, the people’s granny dies.

Monday 1 April 2002
Friday 29 March 2002
Nottingham

later...
another obit

Dud

You came from eastwards of the District Line,
And took the train to comedy and fame
Via Oxford and the groves of academe,
Tortured by height and talent all the time.
Then Edinburgh and Broadway with the guys,
All fresh of face and innovation blest.
Your music made you stand out from the rest,
The jazz did somehow compensate for size.
And though you took the California call,
And Bo’s fair busty substances inspired –
A uni-dexter heading for a fall,
In love, in life and comedy admired.
And yes, although the stars were rather small
Within your reach was all that you desired.

Thursday 28 March 2002