Back to index of Nerve 19 - Winter 2011

Poetry Page

FALL GUYS by Ted Seagrave (Guy Fawkes Night. 20!!)

Have you been flirting with the FooTSiE Index,
cashed in your ‘Shares’ too late;
are your Savings safe, has your Pension shrunk ?
Are you struggling to keep up ‘the payments’
on the mortgage, the car,
or the book-now-pay-later holiday?
Can’t afford the Vet to keep your loyal pet alive?
Have you given up trying to make an appointment
with your doctor, or even find a crucial dentist?
Do you still hang on with hope that
the operator who ‘values your call’ may answer,
though Cold Callers arrogantly persist.
Was your train delayed, or worse still cancelled,
while empty buses race in circles,
but never where you need to go ?
Can you afford city car park charges ?
Did you bother to question that infuriating fine ?
Have your off-spring no sense of values,
no hope of fledging, of owning a house,
can’t afford car insurance,
don’t have the required experience
for gainful employment
or hope of having a permanent job;
didn’t last the Course, on Benefits,
idling and scrounge?
It’s not their fault they don’t
‘get on a bike to look for work’
the incentive’s gone.
We’ve let them down
by being suckered
with the charm and manifest-o lies
of ‘Smiley’ narcissists called politicians
enforcing Health and Safety rules in dread of writs
but used the euphemism ‘Speculation’
when what they meant was ‘gamble’,
and baled out Banks
who’d over-charged the overdrawn
or ‘in the red’ with Dole deposits.
Yet you’re the cautious one who’s deep in debt;
‘collateral damage’ sacrificed for the Fiscal Cause.
Computers can’t care-less, nor brought to book
are bosses’ bonuses and Corporate Irresponsibility.
So what’s accountable: Bad Luck, God’s Will,
Capitalism and Credit cards,
or weak-kneed Democracy ?
Q.E.D. it’s down to

'The Persecution Complex' by Pauline Wiggins

I’ve got a conspirator in my head
It says “he said she said” but instead
It holds me back and I can’t go
Resources down my ebb is low

Precarious I can’t progress
Intuition says you need a rest
Therapy and fitness too
What’s my poor ego going to do ?

Frustration angels hold me back
Doing it to me ‘til I get the knack
Up and down and high and low
I guess fate has struck another blow

There must be a reason for all of this
It certainly erases my bliss
Am I too fast, are they too slow ?
Then stop me quick before I go

Mad and crazy off my box
An introvert, my door locks
No way in and no way out
What the fuck am I on about?

'Fashion Notes' by Sandra Gibson

They are distressing jeans
as if they were pieces of furniture
for the world's well-off.

They are production-lining
rails and rails and rails
of sports attire
for a generation of the clinically obese.

They are rounding up
squaw boots
now that they have reserved the tribes.

They are fitting
clothing shops like galleries -
framed frocks and driftwood -
for those desiring exclusivity.

They are procuring brothel chic
for little girls who are still watching
The Night Garden.

They are selling combat clothing
to those who will not be sent
to the desert war.

Out there on the lean streets
the old and homeless scavenge
thin-tongued trainers
from previous decades.

And far away
the little hands wear themselves out.

'Nature in the Red' - An Unruly Sonnet by Graham Casey

Economy was born, they say,
When bankers first began to show
How paper could be made to grow,
As in the Land of Never Pay,
Where when the crops appeared too slow,
The farmer of the I.O.U.
Preferred to plant a note in lieu,
To nurture his portfolio.
The compound interest grew and grew,
But, sad to say, the growth of wheat
Was never able to compete
With overdrafts long overdue,
And no-one now believes the rains
Can wash away these paper chains.

'The Harvest Balloon' - A Villanelle by Minnie Stacey

As money magnets, you can stay on top,
ditch farms and factories for something phoney,
appropriated funding is your crop.

Destroyed communities will be your prop,
just pass the grants around to every crony,
as money magnets, you can stay on top.

Those cash cows can be milked by any fop,
address social collapse with your baloney,
appropriated funding is your crop.

Finance the arts, their politics will stop,
that tick box charity's a stitched-up yoni,
as money magnets, you can stay on top.

Fake competitions, bung your friends a drop,
sustain your common ground, although it's stony,
appropriated funding is your crop.

Control the masses, make them want to shop,
use aid to render minds to macaroni.
As money magnets, you can stay on top,
appropriated funding is your crop.

'Animal Riots' by Debbie Murrish

Two police horses in Bold Street
dressed for battle
under the war- scarred church,
roof opened to the sky
by the shrieking bombs.

Horses in helmets
shift foot, and eye the shoppers,
the lorries, the cars.
Trained to meet riots,
the rage of humans,
trained to hear
the sharp instruction,
to stand in the storm ,
the ebb and crush of people.

...but listen, look.....
Still, between themselves,
in hay-sweet whispers
they talk the language of green fields
and of the gallop.


On the edge and pretty high,
maybe it was the rarified air,
knees all bare and sunburnt,
shoes scuffed by scrambling,
we were masters of all we surveyed.
With one foot on the binlid,
a hand-hold on the toilet roof,
I’d climb onto the backyard wall,
to join Hilary and Tensing in their quest for glory.
A brick-wide ledge all there was
between us and certain death,
walls stretching ahead of us
like times still to come,
we’d walk the length of back entries
taking gaps over gates
in the easy stride of boyhood.
And, in congregation, one by one,
bound balance
and the sweetness of trust,
thinking we could nearly fly
we’d launch our selves outwards
then land on our bellies
on the opposite mountain.

'Thera - Bronze Age pearl' by La Bandanna Rossa

On Thera's cultured shores,
Women thrived, especially as Priestesses.
Plato tells of Atlantis legend
With its Minoan culture and trade.

Three continents meet trading knowledge,
Art and goods,
A Variety of languages could be heard,
Such close relations make conflict disadvantageous
Natural forces proved a potent enemy.

In 1620 BC volcanic eruptions so destructive,
Led to Thera's utter denouement,
Buried in pumice and pyroplastic pummelling
Such as would make Vesuvius' eruption
At Pompeii, a firework display.

As the earth stopped shaking,
And, fires burnt out,
Tsunamis came and drowned all life.
And, yet, in far away lands
New plant life bloomed, ie in Erin,
That fair isle
In its verdant meadows.

THE BORED GAME - A Spenserian Sonnet by Minnie Stacey

As history plays out its plight of time,
a heap of snakes and ladders repetition,
our doggerel, the business of bad mime,
religiously the same, is a tradition
of shit-for-brains forgetting recognition.
We’re humans looking forwards, backwardly,
with weapons standing in for our contrition.
Peer pressure grooms our personality,
unleashing missiles full of: me me me!
With self-esteem pumped up on bad advice,
the gate-crashed globe shows greed as pedigree.
We should be looking through a fear of ice.
Poor psyche’s in a motorway of glue,
the patient shows no signs of pulling through.

BANK VERSE (Buying Skylarks) - Blank Verse with Iambic Pentameter by Minnie Stacey

Sincerity, a heart’s appreciation,
when based in phoney money, is usurped,
and human interest ruthlessly replaced,
laid bankrupt by the usury of stock.
This prostitution masses painful piles
of non-conductive plastic, swipes to sting
our passage with a sense of static time.
Here, shattered hours are shards of cutting curse,
our repetitious seconds, where, as slaves,
we wish, but can’t afford to buy the self
that’s mortgaged to its sell-by-date of death.
With packages of care priced out of reach,
we’re rifled by a prophesy of goods,
consumers in the quagmire of a range,
beguiled by bosses, spirit-sapping shapes
who optimise the carriage of their rank
personifying theft, a first class race
to riches, so expensive for the rest.
And pins punched at spent fingertips inject
the marketing, the wash we won’t resist,
that stuffs our dreams and makes us into herds.
By voodoo, evolution comes to shop,
for beads, made from the sweat that’s freshly squeezed.
If minds are wastelands, synapses sucked dry,
on this blind watch the birds and bees will die.

THE SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE - A Rondel by Graham Casey

“The Servant of the People”: That’s a joke!
No politician ever fit the bill.
Myself, I doubt that any ever will,
As long as there are mirrors, mist and smoke.
No sooner do they speak, then, they revoke
All promises delivered with the quill.
“The Servant of the People”: That’s a joke,
No politician ever fit the bill.
I long to see a time when working folk
Invade those halls of power, overspill,
Demanding rights to wages based on skill.
Now there’s a guarantee to make them croak.
“The Servant of the People”: That’s a joke!
No politician ever fit the bill.

ORWELL WAS RIGHT - A Petrarchan Sonnet
by Graham Casey B.A. (Badly ‘Armed) A.K.A. Syd Sonnet - February 1983

Strong leadership’s what you, the people craved,
and now the time has come to choose your God.
A cross, a prayer, a promise or a nod
Will maximise your chance of being saved.

You’re free to choose to whom you’ll be enslaved,
By show of hands, or ballot, from a squad
Of candidates, particularly odd,
With manifestos suitably engraved.

And, each the less he knows, the more will shout,
Whereby all opposition is deterred.
A demagogue will go to any length
To keep the voice of truth from being heard.
Does power rest in knowledge? That, I doubt.
Experience shows that ignorance is strength.

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