Poetry readings - approach with caution - they can turn deadly

I planned to read some stuff in Scunthorpe


the venue is a good one

and some of the women

have caught the eye

of this grey-head wannabe.


I packed copies of my latest book –

passable, if I say so myself,

better than my ‘prentice efforts,

not great, not good, but getting ‘there’.


I preened before a mirror

in a soigné black fedora,


‘not bad. not bad at all, my son,

you’ll have the ladeeze moistening.’


not that I’m vain in the least. 



scrubbed up, spruce, I aimed to set off,

in good time to catch the Scunthorpe bus.


until panic’s-ville! my flaming keys had gone awol.


(a presentiment of things to come)


I had a spare at neighbour

Raymondo’s, and panic over,

just made a bus in driving rain.


a sudden sinking feeling!


while fumbling aboard

with gloves and brolly

I’d dropped my wallet.


straight back pronto.


at my stop, another neighbour,

John Aloysius St John K. esquire,

one of life’s few righteous fellahs,

had found my billfold in the gutter.


thank you, Jesus


he passed it to me happily,

and, universal balance restored,

I hotfooted to the terminus

clambering aboard (what I took to be)

the Scunthorpe bus.


forty minutes later I wiped,

and peered through,

a condensation-mist porthole;


we should have been bouncing the potholes

of Composition Lane,


not passing signs for the local airport.


a second sinking feeling!

deep dark thoughts,

along the lines of,


‘daft bastard,

you’re on the wrong bus,

and there ain’t another.

it’s raining stair rods.

you’ve a bag full of books

a flock of adoring fans awaiting.

your evening’s gone total tits upwards.’


the driver said, ‘the last bus comes soon,’

and dropped me somewhere, nowhere,

dead centre of a lorry splash-zone,

where every second second or so

ice-grit sprayed me head to toe.


as I dodged another drenching 

a branch knocked off

my drop-dead gorgeous

black fedora.


I scrambled for the hat

at the precise instant,

my last-chance bus

barrelled past.   


it was blowing a gale.

the rain was biblical

I was soaked, stranded,

and could not get

a mobile signal.


I yomped four miles, or more,

avoiding snagging branches,

slipping, stumbling, saturated,


singing, ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,’


to keep up my spirits

as I waited for either

a quick road-kill exeat or

slower death from hypothermia.


I tried to thumb

a lift from passing hosing motors

nothing stopped and why should they

for some (maybe) deranged

half-drowned stranger?


that’s how it goes –  no blame.


luckily for me

I had scraps of dinner

trapped in my teeth

to stave off  gnawing

pangs of hunger.


Mother of Mercy - the end for Rico?


I dried the phone the best I was able,

prayed to the baby in the manger

and, miracle of miracles, got a signal.


a son arrived half an hour later, 




rejoice, rejoice, ye redux maidens,

the people’s poet’s is rescued safe,

you will be enthralled yet again.


weep in vain, you heavenly angels,

you’ll have to wait a little longer.


at Tesco we bought milk for baby Zebedee,

‘thank you’ vino for my son

and his darling wife ‘Rusheeeen’,

and a bottle of ‘medicinal’ Jameson...

for me.


after a splash or two of Irish

the evening’s disaster diminished

from a tragic brush with death

to a madcap slapstick episode

I could laugh about

and, with embellishments,

bore one and all later.


the only fatality? my fedora

brutalised, abandoned, somewhere

in deepest darkest Lincolnshire.


I’ll buy a new hat for next time at the Indie Café –

the first Thursday every month – an open-mic to die for.



◄ christmas where a girlfriend worked

thoughts of  Saoirse ►



Sun 10th Nov 2019 12:20

Thanks, Ray and Po - it was touch and go for a time. in retrospect I think it was irascible mother peeing on the world (and me especially) for not buying her a birthday prezzie - okay I know she's long dead but you try telling her that 😇

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Fri 8th Nov 2019 16:52

You get my sympathy vote and admiration too Rick. I think Lincolnshire is soaking most of the time , that's why it's got drainage channels, but that's another story - or is it? A great read, endless misery turned around to brighten the early dark evenings. There's a robust philosophy at work here.


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Fri 8th Nov 2019 15:25

Rich, rich in content, rich in humour,

Now my bloody feet are wet and going rusty to boot (in boots actually) Cos. I just pissed myself laughing and thanks to you, I'm also now bleeding headless, as I just laughed my head off!

Great job Rick

I think I'm going to keep a watch on you.


Fri 8th Nov 2019 12:09

The pome owes much to the life-saving Jameson's I consumed - and it shows ha ha 😀

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