I saw Prince Andrew in Pizza Express
at the Metro Centre in Gateshead.
He had the Pollo Forza, with an extra topping
of Kobe beef and oysters,
and a side order of foie gras
lightly dusted in saffron,
washed down with a bottle of Château d’Yquem,
and for dessert,
truffles rolled in the finest Italian chocolate.
By the time he’d finished he was
The waiter said it was ...
Thursday 2nd June 2022 11:31 am
I threw an egg at Thatcher.
Not the real one, but the statue
they put up in Grantham,
which is the closest you can get
since she's been ding dong dead.
Afterwards, I felt guilty.
I could have given that egg
to a food bank. But then
if it hadn't been for Thatcher
we might not need food banks
in the world's fifth richest country.
Just one of the many reasons why
I threw an egg at Thatche...
Sunday 15th May 2022 7:27 pm
I wonder what kind of inventor
was first to invent a placenta,
and which did decide
it is best when it’s fried,
with a side of delicious polenta.
One for #NationalLimerickDay :)
Thursday 12th May 2022 10:20 pm
My sister says she’d always refuse
to give us any biscuits.
It still annoys her now.
But I don’t remember that.
On her own since ’79,
when Grandad fell, fractured his skull.
One way to end a party.
I don’t remember that.
We bonded over puzzle books,
Wordsearch and Logic Problems.
If there was anything else we shared,
I don’t remember that.
In her sitting room, in ’83,
Saturday 23rd April 2022 1:10 pm
5 April, 1902
9 March, 1946
Bolton Wanderers nil
Stoke City nil
Bolton win two nil on aggregate
2 January, 1971
11 May, 1985
Bradford City nil
Lincoln City nil
Match abandoned after forty-two minutes
29 May, 1985
Juventus win the European Cup
15 April, 1989
Friday 15th April 2022 2:30 pm
We cast shadow puppets
on the bedroom wall,
in the circle of light we’ve made,
the lamp angled up so it beams across
the single mattress, and us.
I can manage an adequate rabbit,
and a Homer Simpson that’s good,
or bad, enough to make her laugh.
Like this, she says, feathering my palms,
turning me into an eagle.
we figure out ways
to create fant...
Monday 21st March 2022 2:54 pm
The space race was not enough.
The war could not be won
by Laika, or Yuri, or Neil.
So Spassky and Fischer
were sent to the front line,
reluctant troops in Reykjavik,
playing to save the world.
The Soviet’s revenge
was on the basketball court,
an arena as unlikely
as a miracle on ice.
marched in Moscow,
nor Russians in LA.
Better a boycott
than a Bay of Pigs,
Monday 28th February 2022 4:10 pm
“For all of the people like me that are hoping and planning for a normal Christmas, I think that’s where we’ll be, if we just keep playing our part.” - Sajid Javid, 25 October 2021
All we want is a normal Christmas,
not like it was last year.
One where we won’t have to choose
between the people we love to see.
Won’t have to save a place at the table
for a logged-in laptop screen,
Saturday 18th December 2021 1:55 pm
Your fist, her chin,
in the ring that never before
let the likes of you in.
Did you think about that
as you laid those blows, about
those who knocked you down
for a hundred and sixteen years?
They marked your gold
at the art gallery.
Outside, not in.
There are some fights
you are yet to win.
From 'The Taking Part': https://joewilliams.co.uk/publication/the-taking-part/...
Thursday 7th October 2021 11:03 am
It was Barry’s idea, so
he only has himself to blame.
For all the thrill of orbital flight,
of seeing the Earth from space,
those journeys are so damn boring.
I admit to sneaking the ball in,
and that Barry was winding me up.
The running commentary didn’t help,
calling me Gareth Southgate,
him being Andreas Köpke.
No one could have predicted
the ball woul...
Tuesday 13th July 2021 3:01 pm
Knowing I’d be with you,
I’ve been practising your language,
so when he scores the penalty,
instead of Fuck off, cheating shit,
I have something more poetic:
Que te folle un pez!
You equalise, but he scores again,
so I stand, shout at the screen,
Hijo de las mil putas!
in revenge for 2006.
When you take the lead,
I realise that I’m unprepared,
Sunday 20th June 2021 2:25 pm
It’s been a tough year, so
we’ve decided to diversify.
The State Room, over the road,
were doing a roaring trade.
We don’t have a bar, or a ballroom,
or a grand piano, like they do, but
we have a car park out the back,
and some very long cables.
We can’t do in-house catering,
but Sharkey’s Grill & Ale House
are on the next block.
We’re working on a partne...
Tuesday 10th November 2020 3:52 pm
She likes this one.
I can see it’s perked her up.
She was bored at the bar
on a Monday afternoon,
but now she’s dancing.
She doesn’t need to use her feet,
just hips, shoulders,
and a smile.
If it was later I might tell her
I prefer Peter Green
to Lindsey Buckingham,
but I’m still sober enough
to know better.
Instead I say
I’ll have another pint,
though she’s already pulling it
Saturday 25th July 2020 6:12 pm
Ricky Wilson pushed the button
that turned his chair around.
He was surprised to see,
standing on the stage before him,
in a tight, bright yellow dress.
He thought it unlikely
that this could be the source
of the beautiful rendition
of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
that he’d heard moments earlier,
but the stage was otherwise empty,
so it seemed this must be the case.
Thursday 14th May 2020 12:53 pm
Grandma used to tell this story, how she drove a truck into a wall,
in the war, when she was in the Land Army, a truck full of turnips,
knocked down a wall, and Grandad said he saw his mate die on a
boat, right next to him, shot stone dead, right there, right next to him,
just like that, right there. And I tell you about how, in the 80s,
the shops couldn’t open on a Sunda...
Saturday 28th March 2020 4:23 pm
The urban pedestrian knows all the tricks.
Every ginnel, every back street, every right of way,
knows how to shave a minute
and exchange monoxide main road
for a park or a lazy canal.
The urban pedestrian knows what it takes.
He’ll be there in exactly thirty-two minutes.
No traffic jams can spoil his plans,
no two star Uber drivers,
no buses lost to suburban Bermuda triangles.
Thursday 26th March 2020 1:14 pm
In fifteen eighty eight the Spanish navy came to fight,
to claim the crown King Philip thought was his god-given right.
Now millions of us fly to Spanish islands in the sun.
The wars are long forgotten, the Armada is long gone.
So sing for Europe, sing for peace, and sing to make amends.
Let’s raise a glass of sangria to all our Spanish friends.
The French are nearer ne...
Friday 31st January 2020 8:17 pm
The place where we landed seemed good.
There was water, and food, and air,
but others were there before us,
and they told us we couldn’t stay.
There’s no room here, they said.
We can’t help you.
the last humans,
went back to our ship
and continued our search
for a home.
(From the pamphlet 'Kiling the Piano', published by Half Moon Books)
Saturday 21st September 2019 12:04 pm
Is this the place for the poetry night?
Is it you that’s in charge?
Can you put me down for a spot on the open mic?
It’s Publius, but I use the stage name Virgil.
Can you put me on early?
I’m a little bit nervous.
I haven’t read for two thousand years.
Three minutes, is that all?
I was hoping to do a longer one.
It’s called The Aeneid.
I’ll just do book two.
There’s a good bit ...
Wednesday 11th September 2019 1:03 pm
You think I’d be impressed because a tiger came to tea?
I’ll have you know, a stegosaurus came to visit me.
He rang the doorbell yesterday, at twenty five past four.
I couldn’t let him in - he wouldn’t fit through our front door.
I put my shoes and coat on and we went to play outside.
He wasn’t bad at seek, but he was terrible at hide.
He played quite well in goal, although he couldn’t kick ...
Friday 24th May 2019 5:59 pm
They shut the pits down long before
they closed the shipyard doors.
The steel that we were promised never came.
Then they said they’d dock our dole,
because we weren’t at home,
available for work that wasn’t there.
For twenty-seven days we marched,
just trying to be heard,
but government can only hear the rich.
Three hundred miles and all for nowt.
We might have bloody known.
Monday 18th March 2019 1:25 pm
I love you, American girl, even though
you can’t spell aluminium,
or colour, foetus, sanitise,
you don’t know what a biscuit is,
or how to use a roundabout.
American girl, I know it’s hard,
to change your ways, to let go of the past.
I love you, American girl, even though
your portions are all super-sized,
you’re sugar spooned...
Thursday 14th February 2019 1:24 pm
Another fourteen boys,
another fourteen pints
set down on another wooden table
on another busy day.
Another brood of hens,
another fairy bride,
drinking halfs and bottles
of I can’t decide,
and I’d better take it easy,
we’ll have cocktails later,
and no, I’ll get these.
There’ll be hundreds today
just like them.
on a big day out
that might be once in a lifet...
Saturday 24th November 2018 3:17 pm
Said the chicken, ‘Dear egg, I have toiled
with that question in which we’re embroiled,
as to which of us two
was the first, me or you.’
The egg remained mute. It was boiled.
Friday 12th October 2018 1:51 pm
I rehearse in my mind
the words I have to say.
I’ve written your lines too
to sit between mine,
in the hope that you won’t
stray too far off-script.
I need to tell you something.
Perhaps you’ve worked it out,
though you haven’t said a word
about the new shirts,
the late nights at work,
or the weekend away
with friends I’d never mentioned.
No, you don’t know her.
Maybe you’ll ...
Thursday 4th October 2018 5:26 pm
Great Aunt Aggie always insisted
she didn’t want a fuss for her funeral.
‘Just chuck me in a skip,’ she’d say,
so when she died, peacefully at home
at the age of ninety-two,
that’s what we did.
Disposing of a body in this way
is frowned on by the authorities,
as we discovered two days later,
when the law came knocking at the door,
‘We’ve nothing to hide,’ we said.
Monday 3rd September 2018 1:28 pm
I am the fisherman
who plucked you from your bed,
an oyster in its shell,
closed up against the world.
There is darkness in you,
a single grain of sand
that broke in long ago
and burrowed deep inside.
I do not know whether
you took that intruder
and sculpted it, shaped it
into a perfect pearl.
Or chose to ignore it,
denied its existence,
allowed it to remain
Sunday 5th August 2018 11:34 am
I’m in love with Keeley Donovan,
I love her figure-hugging dresses,
cheeky smile and silky hair.
I love the way she can’t stand still,
rocks back and forth, sways side to side.
I love the fact she’s just a very
tiny little bit cross-eyed.
I’m in love with Keeley Donovan.
I hate it when Paul Hudson’s on.
I’ve sat through half a boring h...
Saturday 23rd June 2018 2:09 pm
We tried to save you with small ads.
Free to good home, must collect
but nobody called.
We tried schools and churches,
but none were prepared to accommodate you.
No room for the past,
no use for tradition,
and each back turned
was another key condemned.
Once we dragged you a hundred miles north,
and later a hundred back,
my faithful ...
Wednesday 25th April 2018 12:28 pm
When the new restaurant opened its doors,
the words on the window read Street Food.
I asked if the food was cooked in the street.
They said, ‘No, it is cooked in a kitchen.’
I asked if the food was served in the street.
They said, ‘No, it is served at a table.’
I asked in what way, could they say, this was street food.
They said, ‘Get out of my restaurant.’
Monday 16th April 2018 2:18 pm
‘If you make me Emperor,’ Hadrian declared,
‘I will build a wall in Britain,
from the west coast to the east,
to keep out those marauding Scots
who come to steal our sheep.’
The partisan crowd roared in approval,
but the left wing press were less enamoured
of this charismatic campaigner.
He came, he saw, he’s bonkers!
was the headline in the Mercury,
while the Herald ran with Emperor M...
Wednesday 27th September 2017 4:09 pm
You were the prettiest girl in the Co-op.
You said it yourself, to the lad on the other till,
when I was in the queue.
You were just messing around, of course,
flirting a little, perhaps,
but it was true.
You asked me once, as you scanned my sausages,
if the sun had gone down yet.
You said you were starving.
I told you it hadn’t, and knew what it meant -
that a couple of drinks in th...
Wednesday 30th August 2017 9:52 pm
Mrs Sorensen said
Ruby’s not here today
and asked if we’d seen her
since yesterday home time
or knew where she’d gone.
We talked about how
it is very important
to tell a teacher
if something is wrong.
We talked about how
keeping a secret
is sometimes the wrong thing to do.
Mrs Sorensen said
Ruby’s not coming back
because she has died
and if we are...
Thursday 13th July 2017 4:25 pm
Whatever happened to your revolution?
You’re working for Barclays, you’re up for promotion.
Back in the eighties you’d rage against Thatcher.
This time next month you’ll be regional manager.
Congratulations, you’ve made it in banking.
You’re queen of the high street, your CV’s outstanding.
How does it feel to be part of the team,
in the faceless, exploitative, corporate machin...
Thursday 22nd June 2017 2:13 pm
‘He’s won it already,’ Dad had said
the previous afternoon.
He’d always hated him.
‘Boring ginger git,’ he’d said,
as the score went seven nil.
It hadn’t helped that in eighty-three,
the one time he’d had tickets,
the ginger had finished Thorburn
before he’d even got to the theatre,
and all he got to see
was Reardon playing Spencer
for nothing but beer money.
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 1:08 pm
The poet won’t buy you a drink
Don’t request it
Don’t suggest it
Because the poet won’t buy you a drink
It’s not that he wants to refuse
If he could do
He would love to
But the poet won’t buy you a drink
It’s not personal, please understand
Don’t feel rejected
If the poet doesn’t buy you a drink
The problem is purely financial
Tuesday 21st March 2017 5:37 pm
I didn’t foresee
That carriage B
Would alter my life
In such curious fashion
And who even knew
That the 10:52
Could ever have been
The scene of such passion?
We entered the station
To great consternation
Our deeds were the subject
Of much speculation
But I don’t regret
And I’ll never forget
The good times we had
Tuesday 21st February 2017 3:35 pm
They know what he drinks
and that he likes it in a glass with a handle.
They know he never comes in on Tuesdays.
They know where he sits,
and how all of his stories
have changed over the years.
They know his kids and grandkids,
although they’ve never met,
and on the day that he doesn’t show up
they know who to call.
(Originally published in t...
Monday 13th February 2017 8:00 pm
Close the door slowly
Be quiet as you’re leaving
And turn out the lights
Sunday 1st January 2017 6:10 pm
In fifteen eighty eight the Spanish navy came to fight
To claim the crown King Philip thought was his god-given right
Now millions of us fly to Spanish islands in the sun
The wars are long forgotten, the Armada is long gone
So sing for Europe, sing for peace, and sing to make amends
Let’s raise a glass of sangria to all our Spanish friends
The French are nearer neighbou...
Monday 28th November 2016 3:16 pm
Brontosaurus, welcome back
When young I thought you were long dead
But later heard you’d never lived
That was what the experts said
Thunder lizard, once you roamed
Jurassic ground beneath your feet
Then gone, removed from history
Written out, obsolete
Now they say that Marsh was right
And your position is restored
The bones are yours and yours alone
No more a mere ...
Tuesday 22nd November 2016 5:36 pm
As it is National Limerick Day, here are four limericks of mine.
I murdered a woman named Stella
Her body is kept in the cellar
Says I wasn't nearby
So it must have been some other fella
A marathon runner named Mark
Went out for a jog in the park
He tripped on a log
And fell on a dog
Whose bite turned out worse than its...
Thursday 12th May 2016 7:52 pm