A song to keep you awake late at night …


In half-heeled homes on terraced streets
the suburbs sing their psalms:
the charger buzz, the deadlock click,
the shrieking, far-off car alarm.

I’m sorry love, it’s nothing much –
a carb and protein fix.
Remember how we used to eat
before the kids knocked us for six?

Then here again: the half-bought couch,
the supermarket wine,
the drip-drip of our Netflix fix,
the whittling of our brittle time.

A soggy packed lunch Friday waits
so keep me from the sack.
I can’t admit that this is it
but she’s got meetings back-to-back:

And so, to that familiar song:
Oh, you go up, I won’t be long.
The sad refrain to Big Ben’s bong –
Yes, you go up I won’t be long.

And now it’s Newsnight, Question Time,
I tell myself that things are fine
as callow SPADS, unreal like sims
all sing their grim familiar hymns

And this is what we’ll leave our kids:
the safety net in pieces,
the wolves well versed in double-baa
with tell-tale bloodstains down their fleeces.

What will I leave? Vented spleen?
Four-lettered verbal litter?
A spray of righteous leftist bile
at people just like me on Twitter?

Young, so young and yet so weary ,
thumbs like scatterguns.
Another day of useless ire.
Exhausted, I ignored my sons

I’ve never cast a selfish vote,
nor backed a winner yet
but here I sit in up-lit comfort,
am I really that upset?

I sing along to Britain’s song –
I pick my place among the throng
I sing their words so I belong –
You go up, I won’t be long.

But look around the towns and shires
at all these gleaming steel-glass spires
and retails parks and malls so dear
and tell me who is thriving here.

Apocalyptic Friday sales
and zero hour contract fails
off-shore fixes, bedroom tax
while banks and business tip their hats

to politicians flush with chips
and healthcare firm directorships
the safe seats, and consultancies
that wring-out our democracy.

And couples like us, cleaved in two
with no idea what we can do
but proffer up a dour love
to things that can’t empower us

or knock back booze or laugh it off,
make strongholds under covers,
or shelve our reason now and then
to scream, scream at each other.